Overwatch 2 was released on October 4th, 2022.
You may have heard about the struggles that Overwatch 2 faced on release day—hours of queues, random server closures, and DDoS attacks—and perhaps that has made you think twice about downloading the game for yourself. As somebody who waited with my friends on release day myself, I understand your hesitation. However, as the game stabilizes, and servers become playable again, Overwatch 2 has emerged as a free-to-play team-based shooter that is absolutely worth the time
Overwatch 2 is the updated version of Overwatch, a team-based fantasy PvP shooter. The standard game mode gives you an objective, which typically consists of capturing a control point or escorting a payload with your team. Gameplay includes using abilities, which vary based on which character (called heroes) you pick. Heroes specialize in either soaking up damage, dealing damage, or healing allies.
Furthermore, after closer exploration, one can see that the gameplay in Overwatch 2 is not much different from the original version. Heroes and abilities are largely the same, with a couple of new additions, like Kiriko. If you were a fan of the first game, you might as well give Kiriko a try. She can make heroes temporarily invulnerable, and her ultimate makes heroes shoot fast. Another addition is the push objective, which is essentially characterized by a cute little robot which pushes walls for you. Playing a push map feels similar to playing a payload escort map, but there is a big wall that often gets in the way. Push games also typically go on for a pretty long time, because the only way to stop the timer is to completely push the wall into your opponent's spawn.
To many competitive gamers, Overwatch can seem to entail a lot of effort or exertion, and this is true. In order to play competitive, one has to win 50 games. But compared to other competitive games, such as Valorant, Overwatch is not that bad. And on the upside, by the end of those 50 games, you will have unlocked most of the playable characters.
One downside for competitive gamers, however, is that you have three ranks—one for tank, damage, and support, and for each one, to be placed in a rank, you must first win 7 games or lose 20 games. This can be frustrating, considering you have to win 21 games just to get your first rank in all three. After that, the game will only update your rank after another 7 wins or 20 losses. Estimating your hidden MMR is a little harder with this system, and for gamers that like to spend hours grinding on competitive, may be a little more satisfying to see your rank skip a division, but for most players, immediate feedback is much more engaging.
Furthermore, the addition of push maps is also something that can be very infuriating to grind on. Push maps are 8 minutes, which can only be shortened by being overwhelmingly better than the enemy and pushing the robot into the enemy spawn (or, if you’re like me, having the opposite happen). In a competitive match, such terrible matchmaking is so rare that push maps are often considered more tedious and annoying when you want to climb.
Another change that Blizzard, Overwatch’s game developer made to competitive gaming was removing a tank. This was overall a good change; less health in the game means that individual actions are a little more meaningful at low elo and incentivizes more creative play. Sneaking around the back with your buddy? Tanks are a little stronger, so your frontline might still be intact when you surprise the enemy with your flank.
Every game is fun with friends, but Overwatch is especially so. There is lots of potential for goofy plays, and maps typically have a back entrance that you can use to sneak attack some enemies. The cartoonish graphics and bright colors makes for a lighthearted environment, as do the voice lines between the characters.
But the best part of Overwatch 2 is that it’s free to play. You can get all of your friends on it, even if they can’t buy anything.