- The first Overwatch was released all the way back in 2016 and the sequel would follow it up in 2022
- Both Overwatch 1 and 2 are largely similar aside from a few elements being enhanced for the sequel
- Heroes have received numerous balancing updates, there are new maps, game modes and more tailored for the sequel
- Despite being free-to-play now, both new and old players need a decisive answer on whether the sequel is good or bad so far
The original Overwatch was released back in 2016 after much anticipation from its betas and alpha releases to the industry. But safe to say it left a mark on the industry and the genre of competitive hero shooters as a whole due to its sheer cast of characters and fun gameplay. Fast-forward all the way now to 2022, and after a few delays and surviving some controversies in-between the release, Overwatch 2 is finally released as a free-to-play title, but despite all of the feedback so far, fans and newcomers have one question; is it good or bad?
I bought the first game on release, much before its soon-to-follow Game Of The Year Edition, released the following year. We will be discussing quite a few of the changes from the first game in comparison to Overwatch 2, as well as entail our personal verdict on whether the game is truly good or bad.
The Evolution Of The Story
The main story and setting of Overwatch 2 greatly benefit from the foundation laid out by the first game. As most players know or might not know, the lore and storytelling of the franchise were, and still are, mostly told through animated shorts and comics, which Blizzard periodically releases.
Going into the grand scheme of things here, The first Overwatch had this unique opening where Winston sends an emergency protocol across the remaining Overwatch heroes to call for their aid and support. So over time, we would soon learn who would answer that call, and among them were Genji and Tracer, who would all reunite sooner or later in the events of the second game.
Through these uniquely crafted animated shorts, we would learn so much more about each hero, such as Hanzo’s rivalry with his brother and the tough nails Reinhardt, who dons his powerful armor and gigantic hammer once again to help the world in desperate times. Seemingly enough, it looks as if the developers and writers continue the tradition with Overwatch 2 as the new heroes, such as Kimiko, all have their character arcs told through the animated shorts released on the Official Overwatch Youtube Channel.It is clear that for fans of the lore in the game, Overwatch 2 is stepping that part up with its highly anticipated campaign and PVE mode, which is planned to release in the coming year, as stated by the developers. As we witness during the zero-hour cinematic, Winston’s plans bear fruit as he is able to reunite most of the operatives under one banner once again to help the world against the threat of the Omni Crisis.
While there is no certainty where the actual plot progression goes, the future of storytelling is looking brother than ever as compared to Overwatch 1, as the 2nd game indeed continues the passion of fleshing out its newly released characters and their distinctive personalities. There was truly no better feeling than being amazed at your favorite character’s cinematic animation and learning more about them through it.
Thankfully, as new characters get introduced later down the line, do expect a comic or animated short about them on the Youtube channel of the game so you can stay updated on what their role is inside the game as well as how they fit in with the current events so far.
Differences Between GameplayThe main gameplay in both Overwatch titles has relatively remained the same, albeit with a few significant changes, which have surprisingly improved the pacing and quality of the matches. The original game supported six versus six combat but what’s different this time around is that the game completely abandons that in favor of 5 versus five teams. It is one of the more noticeable changes between both games, one that many longtime players such as me gladly appreciated for a few different reasons.
One of which is that the inclusion of 5v5 matches means that the roles of the players in teams will be much more spread out evenly than ever before. In layman’s terms, most teams can go about their own way of making correct team comps for every battle, especially in the competitive or the game’s ‘Ranked’ mode. The preferable team composition with 5v5 in Overwatch 2 is that players will be able to create a line-up comprising at least one tank along with two DPS heroes and two supports as the backbone.Furthermore, it also heavily impacted the pacing of the matches, too as you would no longer have to tear through two tanks of the enemy team and break their line of defense during the opening bouts of matches. It encourages players to experiment with different synergy tactics now to get the upper hand during the encounters, which makes it all the more exciting to see what’s in store with the meta of the game moving forward.
The ‘meta’ is essentially a term used to describe the popular strategy or any type of means that most of the player base uses in a featured multiplayer title. So with 5v5 dramatically changing the pace and tone of the combat, it is exciting to know what different professional and casual players may cook up to create the ‘meta teams’ in both quick plays and the future.
Compared to Overwatch 1, there has been a significant change to how most of the heroes tend to operate both in their abilities and ultimate. Thankfully Overwatch 2 does not modify any of the heroes too much that they feel either nerfed or overpowered in the ecosystem. Instead, it felt pretty amazing to know that revamped heroes such as Orisa now felt like proper tanks with a completely new set of moves and kits.
But of course, being a Lucio main with over 200 hours him from the original title, it felt great that the developers hardly changed him. Most newcomers might argue that the game functions the same as it did in Overwatch 1 in terms of gameplay, but it can be argued that with so many substantial changes and reworks, it truly feels like a sequel to the game and that the developers want to focus wholeheartedly on setting things right this time.The only real caveat here was the fact that the servers of Overwatch 2 became overloaded, thus resulting in huge queue times at launch as well as breaking the ‘Account Merge’ feature, which is basically cross-progression. Personally, I was looking forward to using my skins and stats from the previous game, but that does not seem to be the case right now, as Blizzard has stated that there is a delay in fully transferring the progress data.
Another new feature from Overwatch 1 is that the sequel now features a full-fledged battle pass through which you can acquire exclusive cosmetics as well as unlock heroes early. While the battle pass was expected from the free-to-play aspect, the original heroes being locked behind a progression wall during the first few hours of the game may be hit-or-miss with newer audiences. Depending on the mindset of the player, it may either incentivize you to slowly unlock them or feel fatigued at the slight thought of unlocking them to access them.Overwatch 2 also introduces you to a brand-new game mode called the Push maps, which are basically a new stylized format of the King-of-the-hill objective. Teams will need to push the Robot in their favor, and similar to escorting the payload, you will need to maintain your pace with it and push it as far as possible toward the enemy team zone, and whoever has the longest distance pushed is the winner.
Overall, when it comes to deciding the winner here with Overwatch 1 vs. 2 in terms of gameplay, the sequel does not disappoint too much. As a hardcore player who’s been through much of the journey of the first game, the sequel revitalizes the core mechanics and joy of playing it. If you have friends who are interested in the game or would like to make them return to it, you will indeed feel the joy of playing it again, even though it might pose minor inconveniences.
The Visuals & Performance DifferencesOverwatch 2 isn’t necessarily a leap in visuals from the first game, as many of the assets and textures primarily remain the same with some added enhancements and fine-tuning. The first thing to note is that the game visually offers a much more dynamic feel to the map design as some have seen some overhaul to them while some have mostly remained the same aside from a few tweaks to some areas.
Returning players should feel right at home as they dive into the fray once again with newly added maps to the rotation, such as the beautiful Paraiso, which is based in Brazil. They are carefully designed so that there aren’t too many instances of either side of the team getting bombarded with spawn killing or other lawfully evil strategies during ranked play.
What impressed me to some extent was that some of the character models felt more expressive and vivid, almost as if the developers added a fresh coat of pain over them. It may seem lackluster on paper, but quite frankly, the glamor and art direction aren’t the main focus of the game since you are mainly focused on all of the action. It isn’t something that most players like myself complained about, but it was a welcome addition nonetheless to see Blizzard polish the engine of the game so that Overwatch 2 felt refreshing next to its predecessor.The game runs at a smooth 60FPS framerate on my RTX 3060Ti along with the Ryzen 5 3600 at high to ultra preset settings, but with budget builds in mind, they should face no problem in running the game by tweaking a few settings related to the lighting and graphical fidelity. I played Overwatch 1 on my PS4 when it first came out, and safe to say that the game is incredibly optimized despite the sequel’s new lighting and engine overhaul.
The Verdict – Is Overwatch 2 Good Or Bad?While the first game may have had its highs and lows with the player base, there is no denying that Overwatch 2 is slowly shaping up to be a somewhat ambitious sequel. The live-service aspect can be fine-tuned, and while many newcomers would’ve preferred to have every original character unlocked at first glance, it does seem to indicate that the developers wanted to add a progression incentive for you to chase here.
But the question still remains to be answered, which is that ‘Did the game really need a sequel this soon?’. It comes down to different perspectives here, but considering the changes and the new features to almost everything in place here leaves much to be desired. But the overall gameplay and visual upgrades made here honestly make it a worthwhile investment to pick up and play it.
Not to mention the game is ridiculously fun with friends, and the different game modes here are sure to entertain players for hours on end. Balancing the different heroes – both old and new will allow players to build new synergy tactics soon enough as time goes on. Moreover, the game is free-to-play, and it doesn’t hurt to take a gamble and check it out since Overwatch 2 is a worthwhile sequel with a few new tricks up its sleeve.
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