30th October 2022

Overwatch 2 is overrated

Overwatch remains unchanged, with microtransactions and minimal reward systems leaving people wanting more
Overwatch 2 is overrated
Photo: Fenixs-ru @ Wikimedia Commons

Microtransactions, horrendous progression systems, and locking characters behind a battle pass. These are the hallmarks of the newly released Overwatch 2, a sequel to the game I loved spending hours on back in 2016 due to its amalgamation of fun gameplay, unique characters, well-designed maps, and rich lore.

I would love to comment that remnants of the original game have continued into Overwatch 2 to show my disappointment with the new release, but that would be a lie as it is literally the same game six years on. Some may say the core features of Overwatch don’t need to be changed since the concept is inherently great, but as Blizzard have taken the decision to stare into the abyss that is free-to-play games, the abyss has stared back and wreaked havoc on Overwatch 2.

To get the positives out of the way, the gameplay is still fun. It was always going to be fun since it’s still the same game, the main objectives are the same, and not many characters have changed. Blizzard have limited the number of players on each team to five instead of six, making the game less hectic although me and my friends haven’t found it to be an issue.

There is always action happening (apart from the dreaded walk back from spawn which can feel like forever), and when the whole team clicks, there is still that huge buzz and rush of adrenaline that people felt back with the original game. The new maps are well-designed, and the art style and graphics remain exceptional.

Now for the negatives. This is where my rating for Overwatch 2 completely drops into a pit since Blizzard has fallen into the pitfalls of free-to-play games. It makes sense because by making the game free to play, they need to make money in other ways, so they put in microtransactions and have pushed for people to spend real money to buy cosmetics. However, they’ve pushed too hard.

Originally, Overwatch rewarded players with loot boxes for playing the game which gave players a chance to get flashy new skins for characters. After scrapping this for Overwatch 2, the only way to get new skins is by paying real money or spending irregular amounts of time unlocking credits. With the new weekly challenge system, players can get virtual credits to stockpile until they have enough to buy their chosen skin, but with the way Blizzard have designed it, it would take someone eight months of continuous playtime every week to get just one skin of the highest rarity.

This renders Overwatch 2’s entire progression system kaput. You can unlock cosmetics through the game’s battle pass, which offers a free and paid version, but there are so many instances where you get nothing for progressing. It is nightmarishly bare boned. Even worse, Blizzard decided to lock new heroes in the battle pass, meaning you can only play them after reaching a certain level.

Fortunately, I played the original game so I got the new character Kiriko for free, but new players and eventually long-time fans like myself will have to grind it out after the next one is released. As expected, the trend continues, with players who want to unlock all of Kiriko’s cosmetics having to spend five years accumulating enough credits.

The launch was a buggy mess too, with people having to wait hours in a queue to even get into the game. In-game, it was as if Blizzard hadn’t play-tested all characters as many abilities were broken, and exploits gave one team an unfair advantage over the other.

My friend fared the worst, since there was a bug where if you got an achievement for doing a certain objective, your game immediately crashed, and you couldn’t re-join any matches. You get penalized for leaving games, with incremental bans ranging from five minutes to 24 hours. Eventually my friend was booted off from so many games that he was given a ban for the whole season, which is expected to last a few months. How is that fair in any way?

With Overwatch 2 essentially being a large patch to the original game rather than a true sequel, it is understandable that many players have been utterly disappointed. The current microtransactions are more than predatory, there is no incentive for players to level up because you get minimal items in return, and the option of paying £5, £10, or even £20 for cosmetics dangerously looms in the menus.

All in all, Overwatch 2 is highly overrated – and probably best to be avoided.

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