My overall experience with Overwatch 2 hasn’t been all that pleasant. But that’s a personal issue, and I don’t see if it stands to hold tons of importance in the grand scheme of things. Sure, there’s the good, and there’s the ugly. But is Overwatch 2 worth your time? Is Overwatch 2 worth playing in 2023? Let me walk you through my 4 months with Overwatch 2 from Season 1 all the way through Season 3.
Let’s start off with Overwatch 2 in the initial days. I hadn’t quite played the game since 2019 probably due to a perma-ban for going nuts in voice and text chat. The onslaught of reports and suspensions was a bit too much for me which is why I couldn’t play the game again. We’re all guilty of it.
Overwatch 2 – It’s Free?
I hadn’t had a hands-on experience with Overwatch for over 2 years. And with the cheap Xbox Series S paired with a free Overwatch 2 release, I certainly deemed it as a must-try. Why not? It’s free. And that’s where Overwatch 2 shines. It’s a full-fledged multiplayer FPS title all neatly packaged into one, without the price tag of 60 dollars.
I think Overwatch 2 gets a bad rep for a lack of in-game content, considering it is free for the taking(For the most part. More on this later). You gain access to competitive, quickplay, custom games, lobbies and people to chat up with, seasonal events, and the Arcade pool that’s rotated every day.
Let’s Talk About the Launch
Okay, so the launch was pretty disastrous. Most of us were locked out of the game due to server issues causing incredibly long queue times. It was pretty much a hassle to get into the game and enjoy a casual match. And from the get-go, Overwatch 2 felt like a former shell of itself. The game had been stripped down considerably.
I would have preferred paying 30 bucks for a fully fleshed-out Overwatch 2, as I did with Overwatch 1, instead of the lack of many in-game quips and features. You had to play a few matches to get your hands on the characters which was quite annoying.
But the full roster wasn’t available? Bastion and Torb were pretty much unavailable as they were taken out of the game. Fortunately, they were reinstated later. And then Mei was pulled out of the roster due to some bugs.
Some reworks have really changed the landscape of Overwatch 2’s casual and competitive play. Remember Doomfist? His kit has been completely changed and reworked in the Tank Department. We lose a few key abilities here like Rising Uppercut.
Now, the average Overwatch player might not be upset about this. But this pretty much brushed a chunk of Doomfist players under the rug. There were dedicated Doomfist Parkour servers and even communities that no longer exist because of these extreme changes.
And the new Orissa kit. Well, I’m not an Orissa main, and in retrospect, she was pretty weak in firefights and as a tank. But this new rework has certainly put her on the map. She’s faster, punishing, and brutal through and through. It’s one of the few good things about Overwatch 2.
And we got a few new characters added to the roster. Cue in Junker Queen, Kiriko, and Sojourn. Junker Queen is a bit hard to get used to, and she looks nothing like a Tank in the game but it’s a personal problem. Sojourn is a welcome addition with her Rocket boots and minimal recoil pulse rifle. And Kiriko’s a fairly balanced character when it comes to going on the offensive and defensive capabilities, so there are no qualms here.
Overwatch 2 has been a considerable downgrade in some aspects. It doesn’t make sense to remove some aspects that just worked well. Albeit the new support UI is a welcome addition. Still, player cards have been removed which gave you a sense of accomplishment if you made it to the end of a game.
You can no longer be on fire, after decimating the opposing team. I really liked the player icon going up in flames. We still have the on-fire voice line, which doesn’t make sense. And what’s worse is that I really miss my shiny Competitive ranking borders.
The new character models aren’t all that great but just serve to tie in the excuse of a sequel. Maps now cycle with various times of the day but they don’t do a lot in terms of creating a sense of immersion or depth, which is supposedly what Blizzard was going for.
The new gun sounds are a bit of a hit-or-miss and there wasn’t much point in reworking them. And what’s worse is that the new lighting changes make it hard to see clearly, especially when you enter a decrepit building or the castle in Eichenwalde.
Platform matters. It’s not as one-dimensional as you might think as there’s a lot to consider before playing Overwatch 2 on the platform of your choice. This might wildly affect your experience with Blizzard’s new iteration of Overwatch. And I guess it wasn’t so different with Overwatch 1 either.
Going from PC to console. There’s a bit of a learning curve. Your mouse is replaced with an analog stick and your keys are mapped to buttons and triggers which take some getting used to. This was a bit of a hurdle for me. Let me elaborate.
I play a wide roster of characters and I’d like a bit of versatility when it comes down to customizing my keymaps for each individual character. This functionality was available on Overwatch 2’s PC version.
But you can’t change settings for each individual character. You can change global settings for all characters. This loss of fine-tuning on console is kind of annoying. Blizzard pls fix.
Voice Chat and Communication
On Console, Overwatch 2 is kind of isolating and lonely. You’ll mostly run into casual players on Overwatch 2’s Console Edition. This means a large number of players won’t even consider using text or voice chat. Sometimes, it feels like you’re playing with bots or against bots.
The lack of voice chat carries over to competitive play too. Players won’t try to communicate or act willy-nilly in high-stress situations. Forget voice chat, players don’t even consider text chat either.
Let’s be honest. Most players don’t own a wireless headset with a microphone if they’re playing on Console. The most average and casual player can now easily get their hands on Overwatch 2 for free, which means everyone with a console likely owns Overwatch 2.
But the experience has been different when transitioning back to PC. Players will acknowledge, communicate and talk to you however they can. It’s a change of pace compared to PC. But it’s not as lively as it once used to be.
I had fond memories of Overwatch 1. There were loads of players that would actively interact and communicate with you even with non-verbal cues. You could bully that opposing Widow as Genji (Genji Main here), befriend them, and then proceed to have a chat about life in a 1v1 custom match. You could’ve shown them the ropes and gotten to know them better as a person.
I once encountered a fellow on Overwatch 1 (before I was banned). After a bit of talking, he indulged in me and told me he took care of special needs kids for a living and played Overwatch to take the edge off of work. It’s one of my fondest Overwatch memories, for some reason.
And then there was the occasional Genji main that thought they could take me on and we’d 1v1 to finally settle who was the better Genji main. But now, I can’t quite find any form of these former interactions on Overwatch 2.
Voice Chat is a bit buggy on Overwatch 2. By a bit, you can’t use open-mic Voice Chat at all. You get a bit of audio feedback for a couple of seconds during the beginning of a round and then it cuts out entirely. Whether it be me, or a fellow player on my team, you can’t seriously communicate on Console.
I’ve found myself switching off to discord chats to get a decent voice chat experience. Thankfully, my reliable Arctis 9X supports dual audio playback which gets the job done, considering the on-console Discord experience is a bit of a hassle to get right.
Server selection matters too. Sadly, I’m stuck in a weird server pool, as you can’t change your Server in Overwatch 2, console edition. You can switch your server in Blizzard’s client, but we seriously need server selection on Overwatch 2 console edition. I can’t stand pairing up with players that text Arabic in English every 5 matches or so, and communication is dead the rest of the time.
Battle Pass and Monetization
The Battle Pass deserves a little segment of its own. Overwatch 2 adopts the good, the bad, and the ugly of every live-service model out there. I had some decent hopes for the Battle Pass initially getting into Overwatch 2.
Sure, most of the content is locked behind a premium battle pass paywall but you get what you don’t pay for. There is the occasional premium skin drop across every 10 tiers you complete for the battle pass but it isn’t quite as exciting or rewarding as I hoped it would be.
Overwatch 1 was far more lenient and generous when it came to handing out rewards. You could obtain Overwatch Coins for every match you completed and they stacked pretty nicely, allowing you to obtain a plethora of common, rare, and legendary skins through your playthrough. During my 500 hours in Overwatch 1, I managed to unlock almost every skin, even seasonal ones by spending just Overwatch coins.
And even if I didn’t have enough coins, I could always relegate myself to opening a few loot boxes here and there. You could get them pretty easily and never did I have to pay for loot boxes once. With every level you completed, you’d obtain 1 loot box.
But sadly, the gambling concerns revolving loot boxes and warnings by international governments put a strain on the whole rewarding loot box fiasco. The randomness of it all made Overwatch fun, considering most of us never went the route of spending money on them in the first place. But ultimately, it was something out of Blizzard’s control.
Speaking of Overwatch coins, they’re pretty hard to obtain and come across now. Sure, the Watchpoint Pack is paid from the get-go but that doesn’t justify the horrendous coin pricing for Overwatch skins that were so easily attainable in the past.
Right around Season 3, Blizzard finally came to their senses and decided to reward Overwatch coins for leveling up your Battle pass. Relieving at first, we were met with disappointment when the community found out that you could obtain a total of 1500 Overwatch coins for completing the entirety of the Battle pass. That means you can only get one decent and two recolors at most.
Let’s be honest. The price of the skins available in the Overwatch shop is pretty outrageous. Blizzard did tone things down a bit, but it’s still far too expensive. Considering you’ll most likely have to pay good money to obtain an Overwatch skin in the first place, a single skin might cost anywhere from 10 – 30 dollars. With no customizability for skins and their plain jane outlook, Blizzard seems to be playing it lazy and they make it pretty clear they’re in it for the money this time around.
Overwatch 2 Campaign?
During the reveal trailer, we were treated with the fact that Overwatch 2 will be getting a standalone campaign that players will have to pay for. That’s a fair trade, but it’s been a long time since we heard from Blizzard again.
It’s likely that Blizzard has no plans to release the Overwatch 2 Campaign mode any time soon. Recently, Blizzard announced that they’ll gradually release campaign content over the course of 2023. We don’t know what they mean by ‘gradually’ but let’s keep our threshold for disappointment high and expectations low.
The only thing that Blizzard has managed to get right is the gameplay aspect in Overwatch 2. Over the course of its tenure, Overwatch 1 did things right but it started to strip the game of match-changing dynamics, opting for a more casual approach. They kind of broke the skill-to-reward ratio for playing high-skill characters like Genji.
Then, things got pretty drastic after Season 6 with the addition of low-skill characters the likes of Moira and Brigitte. In trying to make the game approachable for the casual gamer, they really bonked up everything else for the rest of the veteran player base.
And what followed basically destroyed what remained of Overwatch. Shields, shields, and more shields. And that’s where my Overwatch 1 journey ended and following suit, most of the community started to sign off.
Concerns started to pop up about whether Overwatch was dying. It could explain why Blizzard went the route of announcing an Overwatch 2, ultimately wiping out Overwatch 1 and its servers off the face of the Earth.
And now we finally get into the good of Overwatch 2, and it’s the improved gameplay. DPS characters get a movement and fire-speed buff for every kill they get. The new characters, Sojourn, Kirko, buff Orissa, Ramattra, and Junker Queen are welcome additions to the current roster.
Characters get buffs and nerfs which don’t change the overall dynamic of the game to any extent. And finally, the onslaught of extra shields has been wiped out from the game, being relegated to characters that specialized them from the get-go.
If you loved Overwatch for the gameplay from Season 1 to 5, there’s still room for enjoyment in Overwatch 2. But if you were addicted to comms, loot boxes, and shiny skins, then keep your expectations low because, in the current state of Overwatch 2, you won’t have a good time.