I was quite skeptical back in the days when Blizzard announced about the upcoming sequel of Overwatch, Overwatch 2. This was back in BlizzCon 2019 and they showed a snippet of what Overwatch 2 looked like and ugh, the focus of PvE (Player vs Enemies) which I’m not so excited about.
I play Overwatch PvP almost every night and somehow the announcement of Overwatch 2 didn’t sound like it’s worthy to be called a sequel. It’s more of less the same with a “slight upgrade” to the visual, more maps and more heroes – but not in a ground-breaking way with huge visual engine upgrade with Ray Tracing, breakable environment, and stuff.
But after watching the “Behind the Scenes of Overwatch 2” on the most recent BlizzCon 2021, my faith has been restored. This is definitely the sequel to the game I love the most and spend the most time playing.
It looks like there are a lot of upgrades and updates since the first announcement, and it’s not as trivial as I thought it’d be.
For example, weapon sounds have been upgraded and the team don’t just replace them with new audio files. They actually fired real guns, recorded them, and analysed how they sound in different environment and tweaked them accordingly how they sound in game.
Other cosmetic, nifty updates include a minor camera shake when say, Soldier 76 is firing his weapon, making the weapon feel more powerful and satisfying to fire. Damage indicator also gets a better upgrade to make it in line with modern shooters, giving you better visual when you are under fire.
But is the PvE mode really that bad and boring? I thought so during the first Overwatch 2 reveal. It felt like the missions we’ve played on Overwatch 1, which pretty much to just shoot at things non-stop and repeat. It feels repetitive and uninteresting.
However, it looks like the Overwatch team has gone full-blown RPG style into the PvE mode with talent trees that you usually encounter on First-Person-Shooter RPG games like Borderlands. Your hero becomes more and more powerful as you level up and unlock more tree abilities (which means there will be different hero builds to try out and master). These progression unlocks seem to be saved permanently too and not getting reset each mission (like DOTA 2), which means that it is more fun as you play more.
The team also plans to release hundreds of missions (which sound crazy) and while the core foundation of the missions is still the same (i.e shoot and repeat), it feels fun as your hero grows stronger and diverse in skills – especially when you see your favourite hero defying
gravity their preset skills that you are very familiar with.
Plus, it looks like they listen to the feedback that the combat didn’t feel engaging enough – and I nod on that sentiment. What they do to tackle that perception is by creating more variety types of enemies and elite units that don’t just have more health and more damage, but really unique in their design: the way they shoot, the way they die, etc.
Killing the enemies is also more satisfying from the looks of it (with kickbacks, breakable arms, cool physics, etc).
After watching a bit gameplay on the BlizzCon 2021 behind-the-scene video, I got more excited now to play PvE with my friends.
All in all, Overwatch 2 is definitely worth the wait after seeing what the team has come up since the BlizzCon 2019 announcement. My doubts have now been replaced by the excitement to play Overwatch 2, both the PvP and PvE modes.
I’m not sure yet about the directions they are going with the new PvP changes, but we can’t really comment until we have a play or at least see a full PvP gameplay.
But for now, alas, there is no official Overwatch 2 release date, or even an Overwatch 2 Beta date. From what I learned about Blizzard back in the 90s and early 2000, the game is ready “when it is ready”.
If you haven’t make sure to watch BlizzCon 2021 Overwatch 2 Behind the Scenes video. It’s definitely worth a half hour of your time.