Overwatch 2 vs Overwatch

by Ben Kirby
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Overwatch 2 is just around the corner, being released on the 4th of October, it’s literally a week away. That’s pretty exciting, in that the next evolution of Overwatch is just days away.

The thing is, do we need an Overwatch 2? With the work that Overwatch has done over the years, is Overwatch 2 going to deliver enough difference to make it the alternative? Making it the game all Overwatch fans flock to, and enough to abandon years in the original?

Overwatch 2 logo

Free to play

I’ll be the first to admit that I initially baulked at the £40 cost of Overwatch. An online-only shooter without much in terms of content to go at? Are they mad?! I wasn’t down for it and avoided the game for a good while. Until curiosity got the better of me.

I went straight in and fell quite hard for Overwatch. So much so that I’ve since bought it on Nintendo Switch and on PC to keep playing it no matter the platform. Although without cross-saves I’ve unfortunately had different skins and contents spread out all over the place (more on this later).

In 2022, though, I know, and Activision knows that they can’t get away with charging full price for a game like Overwatch. So they’re going down the free-to-play route. I personally welcome this because whilst Overwatch is a well-made and constantly-improved game, the “amount” of content kind of doesn’t justify the price in a traditional sense.

Sure, game prices and content vs value is a massive conversation that has no “right” answer. I do feel that this is the right move for Overwatch long-term, though. With the now standard battle pass system in place, they can make money more often instead of waiting on those one-time purchases. Season after season of battle passes sees more regular income.

Sensible for the longevity of the series, and also sensible as a means to get more people playing Overwatch! No entry fee means more people will give it a go.

This, in my opinion, is the right move and a definite improvement over the original title.

Overwatch 2 skins

Gameplay changes

Here are the points of contention. Some are now known, some still unknown.

New heroes, new maps and new game modes all sound great. But why not just have those in the original game? Particularly as maps and modes were added throughout its lifecycle of it. This is what always made me think Overwatch 2 was a cash grab.

The infrastructure is clearly in place for the game to continue to build, but perhaps loot box spending dropped off and the game itself had hit a saturation point, so gamers weren’t buying it anymore. I get it, a company needs to make money, but would a paid expansion pass or something does the same job? I don’t know, and I suppose until I get good hours with it and “feel” it, I’m not sure we actually need Overwatch 2 as a new, separate game at all.

Take all of that aside and let’s look at the more significant changes to the game’s core. Moving teams from 6v6 is a massive shake-up. Moving to 5v5 has negative impacts on trying to play with my clan of 6 people, for instance….. However, feedback from the Beta was much more positive than how I’d met the news. Perhaps forcing players to focus on their roles more? I’m not sure. There must be tactical/gameplay benefits for Overwatch as a series, but I’m really struggling to see it without game time played.

Finally, we’re expecting to see a lot of hero re-works and changes. Now, I’ve been the victim of nerfs to some of my mains over the years and I’ve ultimately just gotten by. So we’ll see what that looks like. Overwatch has always been a game of constant change and refinement. I’m happy to see how things play out, and perhaps find that I like some of the characters now (looking at changes to Orisa and Doomfist here!).

I don’t know, the game is free so what the heck, I guess? Let’s see what comes.

Whether or not I find my groove with Overwatch 2 as I did with the first remains to be seen. I’m not optimistic, but I’m open to change and have to trust that developers know more about the inner machinations of the game than I do! Let’s see on 4th October.

Overwatch 2 - Content

Overwatch 2

If you’re looking for some solid information on the changes, it’s a credit to Activision that I’m able to point you towards their site for some FAQs and guides on what’s coming.

Cross-play is coming which is massive, and if that’s pulled off correctly, that means all my progression will follow me on different platforms like Fortnite and Rocket League. That immediately helps me get invested. Because having spent a good amount of money on Loot boxes over the years and not seeing all my skins on different platforms, means I’ve been hesitant to bother any longer. Now I can use everything everywhere, and that’s how you build loyalty to a game.

New heroes have been mentioned, too! Kiriko looks like the kind of hero I’d try and get to grips with. Junker Queen might be an interesting off-pick for me personally, but I can see her being popular. And Sojourn will be an interesting potential alternative to Soldier 76.

Assuming the furore around hero availability and battle pass access is resolved, there’s plenty to look forward to with Overwatch 2, and we might see the legacy of Overwatch reach a new benchmark. I’m not convinced that we need a second game, and I truly don’t care about the co-op PvE content if it’s similar to those limited events in Overwatch.

No doubt I’ll be back here writing about the release after I’ve stuck some hours into it, so keep an eye out here and let’s see if I’m rightfully concerned. Or perhaps I’m wrong to be pessimistic and Overwatch turns out to be just what the community needed. We’ll see soon enough.

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