Whereas I await Overwatch 2 to launch on Oct. 4 (on PC, , PS4 and PS5 and Switch), I have been serious about my introduction to the unique sport. I first performed Overwatch at a good friend’s home in 2017. I performed for under about an hour, however I used to be instantly hooked. I spent the remainder of the evening studying guides, watching movies and simply typically absorbing all the pieces I might in regards to the sport. I needed to know who all of the characters had been, discover ways to play them higher and learn how a lot time I might realistically spend taking part in Overwatch in a day.
I used to be obsessed.
Sadly, the obsession light over time. Overwatch become a slower, grindier sport, muddying a lot of the preliminary fast-paced thrill that had initially enamored me. It was nonetheless fascinating, and generally satisfying to play. However it wasn’t all the time enjoyable. Most of my different pals turned to different video games. And whereas I by no means fully deserted Overwatch, I did ultimately put down all the pieces apart from the sport’s 4v4 Workforce Deathmatch mode, which was the one factor that also supplied me the identical pleasure because the early days.
Subsequent Tuesday, Blizzard will launch Overwatch 2, greater than 1,000 days after the hero shooter sequel was introduced. It is a main shift for the collection, altering the gameplay to 2 groups of 5 as a substitute of two groups of six, and embracing a free-to-play, seasonal content material mannequin with new stuff coming each 9 weeks. (If you would like prompt entry to among the new content material, you should purchase the Watchpoint Pack in your most well-liked platform.) However the looming query is whether or not it might probably stay as much as the unique sport’s peak.
I have been fortunate sufficient to take part in each of thethis yr, together with an early take a look at construct simply forward of launch, and all the pieces I’ve skilled thus far (particularly the ) has me desperately craving extra.
Enjoyable, satisfying gameplay
My experiences with Overwatch 2 take me again to my favourite recollections of unique Overwatch: fast-paced, caffeine-fueled electrical energy. Capturing, therapeutic, flying, crouching — the sport is at its greatest if you’re within the motion and making performs. The shift to 5v5, and particularly the transfer to 1 tank (a participant that may take in plenty of injury) per workforce invigorates the tempo of the sport.
There are additionally fewer issues to gradual the sport down — crowd-control talents have been tuned down and largely given to tanks, which implies you get to spend extra time shifting and capturing, and fewer time frozen or surprised.
And with just one tank per workforce to dam injury, all gamers can really feel the additional affect they’ve on the sport — for higher and for worse. Touchdown essential photographs might outright win fights to your workforce, however lacking them might be the error meaning a loss as a substitute. There’s extra strain, sure, but it surely feels extra rewarding. Matches give me that adrenaline-filled buzz that had been lacking for therefore lengthy and that makes me need to hold coming again for extra.
The factor that actually hooked me on Overwatch was the lore — all of the characters, their relationships and in-game interactions. The builders appear to grasp how essential these parts are for his or her sport, as a result of Overwatch 2 feels supercharged from the narrative aspect.
Lead Narrative Designer Gavin Jurgens-Fyhrie has stated that there are 25,000 voice lines in Overwatch 2, and that there are some voice strains that solely play in particular, uncommon circumstances. These have been one of the crucial shocking highlights of the sport. I do not need to spoil the enjoyment of discovery, however attempt placing Kiriko and Wrecking Ball on the identical workforce if you wish to hear among the funniest prematch voice strains. Moments like which might be such small particulars, however they’ve an infinite affect on how immersive the sport feels.
These interactions give the sport extra narrative dimension and texture — I really feel like I am a part of the sport’s universe, quite than a meat particular person taking part in the sport in entrance of a pc. And seeing how a lot has been squeezed into the PvP sport mode makes me much more excited for the PvE sport modes which might be coming subsequent yr.
New content material each 9 weeks
Greater than the rest, the factor that thrills me about Overwatch 2 is the considered getting new content material each 9 weeks. The largest factor that held again the unique sport was the dearth of content material for the previous two or three years. The final new hero in that sport was Echo, who was added in April of 2020. Quite a bit has occurred since then — each on the earth typically and— but it surely was a tough ask for gamers to stay round with out something new being added to the sport.
Now the Overwatch workforce is promising us new heroes each 18 weeks (two in-game seasons, roughly each 4 months), with new maps in seasons the place we do not have new heroes. Which means gamers get one thing main, both a map or a hero, every new season. The builders have additionally teased new sport modes and future mythic skins — the brand new, customizable hero skins that actually stands out as the coolest cosmetics I’ve ever seen in a online game.
My preliminary fear was that every one the most effective content material would get dumped into this primary season. However I’ve gotten a take a look at among the heroes, maps and extra coming in future seasons, which was sufficient to reassure me that there is loads of cool stuff within the works within the months and even years to return. I am speaking, involuntarily-banging-my-fists-on-my-chair ranges of pleasure.
For the primary time in two-and-a-half years, Overwatch may have a discernible future. And gamers will lastly have one thing to sit up for.
Battle cross raises some considerations
Although the transition to a free-to-play, stay service mannequin looks like the appropriate path for Overwatch, I do fear about among the particulars, just like the battle cross system. The battle cross permits gamers to unlock in-game objects and cosmetics by taking part in the sport and finishing challenges, or by spending in-game forex to advance the cross.
New heroes being launched at(or immediately with the paid battle cross) is a serious and controversial change for the sport. For the primary time in Overwatch historical past, some gamers will not have entry to all heroes, and gaining entry will take significant time for gamers who do not buy the premium battle cross. After a battle cross expires, any new heroes it contained shall be unlockable by means of later challenges or within the store.
In the end, the brand new battle cross does what battle passes are designed to do: ask gamers to sink plenty of time into the sport as a way to obtain rewards. I believe it is an enchancment over the loot field system — I would a lot quite pay $10 every season than have to purchase loot bins. However, like all battle passes, it looks like the sport is bargaining to your play time quite than merely inspiring it. I hope Blizzard strikes away from the locked heroes mannequin, as a result of I believe the battle passes supply such cool unlockables that they needn’t resort to holding heroes hostage.
Even nonetheless, my hands-on experiences with the sport have been overwhelmingly optimistic. Within the latest early entry, I’ve discovered myself signing on at odd hours only for the possibility to play a number of extra video games with individuals from different shops. These video games do not advance my battle cross, they do not depend towards challenges or unlock something in any respect — they’re purely an opportunity for me to play the sport much more.
And each evening I need to signal on for only a few extra video games. A number of extra rounds as Kiriko. One other sport as Ashe. Please, Blizz, simply let me play. And that, greater than the rest, tells me I will be obsessed once more.