Overwatch 2 review: Heroes never die

Monitor 2 Doesn’t add anything new to its predecessor’s highly successful six-year legacy, but it’s a much-needed refresh nonetheless. The first-person multiplayer hero shooter saw 35 million players in its first month alone, and with faster gameplay dynamics and an overhauled monetization system, the game looks set to breathe new life into franchise.

Overwatch 2 The release wasn’t without a number of issues, however – long wait times, DDoS attacks, and PC crashing bugs. My brief foray into competitive mode ran into latency issues that seem to be plaguing a number of Australian players with no clear fix.

It continues – several heroes have already been temporarily removed from the roster for weeks to fix bugs, such as the Bastion mobile sentry being able to bypass the maximum number of artillery shots (three) in its ultimate ability, and fire multiple times until time runs out. Luckily, most of the issues that plagued the game during its weeks of launch have since been resolved, but our initial playtime was plagued with issues that spoke to a game that wasn’t quite ready for it. the launch, or who did not expect such a large influx of players. everything at once.

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Bugs and server capacity aside, Monitor 2 is just as fun as its predecessor at its core, if not more. Having been an avid fan of the original since its debut in beta, I was interested to see how this refresh would compare to the game I’ve been playing for over half a decade.

With the (usually) 36 playable heroes reworked to account for the reduction in team size from six to five – much to my disappointment, at the cost of losing one tank per team – each hero is now a lot more formidable for self-defence. In the past, team synergy and the right mix of heroes was a key consideration – Pharah and Mercy, for example, or dive combos like Winston and D.Va. Monitor 2 reduces the need for them.

Tanks now go it alone, unlike previous offensive/defensive paradigms. Heroes who previously had the ability to weaken the enemy team, in order to give their allies an opening to strike, now have new ability loadouts and increased damage to finish the job themselves. Sombra is the prime example here – she now deals 50% more damage to targets she’s hacked, whereas before it was often much faster for another character to finish off those opponents.

While this might be a welcome change for some, reducing reliance on others and allowing you to rely on your own skills, it comes at the cost of more strategic play and unusual hero combinations that have made the first. Surveillance shine.

Image: Blizzard Entertainment

Reduced team size and subsequent hero updates also see Monitor 2 become much faster and more intense. The game has always been dynamic, with little room to breathe, but the speed of matches is all the more noticeable in this new iteration.

Each role (Tank, DPS, and Support) now has more passive abilities, such as increased speed and cooldown when a DPS hero kills, or the global passive healing that all Support characters now have. These additions make every character much more enjoyable to play, especially the support heroes.

New heroes like Kiriko and Junker Queen are also great additions to the roster. Kiriko, the new support hero, possesses a range of abilities that have become vital to the team’s success and make her a formidable foe in both combat and healing. Each hero has been meticulously redesigned, not only in their loadout but also in their appearance. By comparing the Monitor 2 default skins to the original, there is a marked improvement in the level of detail and refinement of the overall style of the game. The new dialogue between heroes also brings the lore of the universe deeper into the game itself, allowing for fun and heartfelt interactions. As always, the voice acting itself is well executed and the right balance of light and serious, without feeling overdone.

Overwatch 2 review screenshot
Image: Blizzard Entertainment

But one of the main drawbacks of Monitor 2, which has become all the more noticeable as the dust settles, is how thankless the game’s meta-progression now feels. That the game gave up loot boxes for a plus Valorant and Fortnite– The inspired monetization system (i.e. free play with a battle pass and cosmetic store) is only a small factor in this problem. The introduction of a paid battle pass allows you to earn more cosmetics such as skins, voice lines, and emotes. However, with the glacial pace of earning in-game currency to purchase particular skins or even, the next battle pass, you might have watery eyes at the cost of acquiring skins that could previously be earned by playing a certain number of matches.

Read: Overwatch 2: Battle Pass and Seasons explained

Beyond the battle pass, the diminished sense of achievement filters into the gameplay itself. While the heroes still retain their vocal lines to be “on fire,” the accompanying visual element in Surveillance disappeared, along with medals awarded for healing, damage, and damage mitigation. Competitive rank progress now also updates every 7 wins or 20 losses (whichever comes first), removing the gradual change in rank (and sense of progression) that many other competitive games continue to employ.

Overwatch 2 review screenshot
Image: Blizzard Entertainment

While small, these changes remove the sense of individual achievement in the game, which was always a nice factor even if your team wasn’t doing well overall. The loot box challenges for Arcade Mode wins have also disappeared with no tangible replacement, and judging by the wait times for an Arcade Mode match at the time of writing (as opposed to Quick Play or Modes competitive), it seems other players feel less pressured to try them without a clear reward either.

Despite the lack of appeal of arcade game modes, which remain pretty much the same on a rotating roster (with modes like Mystery Heroes, Team Deathmatch, and seasonal games like the Halloween-themed Junkenstein’s Revenge ), the introduction of ‘Push’ is a welcome addition to regular matches.

Push is a type of game where both teams must rush towards a robot in the center of the map and fight to maintain control of it, pushing it as far as possible on either side of the map before time runs out. As a mix of point grabbing and payload pushing game types, it adds a new dynamic to the gameplay and has been a highlight of matches I’ve been in.

Overwatch 2 review screenshot
Image: Blizzard Entertainment

While the new modes and heroes are some of the most notable changes to Overwatch 2, Minor changes, like the ability to “ping” where enemies are or might be, are just as integral to the overall feeling that this game has improved over the original. The in-game HUD has also been simplified, taking up less screen space and making it easier to see what’s going on in often hectic team fights.

Monitor 2 offers high octane multiplayer gameplay and a fully upgraded version of the popular hero shooter. Now that the dust has settled, it’s becoming clear that despite a number of teething problems, the game manages to do what many sequels struggle to do; build on a successful game and make it even better.

Three stars: ★★★

Monitor 2
Platforms:
PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC
Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Editor: Blizzard Entertainment
Release date: October 4, 2022

The PC version of Overwatch 2 was played for the purposes of this review. Blizzard Entertainment has provided GamesHub with a free battle pass.

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