Overwatch 2: Building on great memories you once had

Luke Vore, Video Editor

It has been a couple of weeks since Overwatch 2 has come out, and I am happy to say I am having fun again, a feeling that was lost near the end of the first Overwatch. With new characters, modes, and teams changing from six players down to five, this sequel has been the only thing my friends and I have been playing.

When the first Overwatch came out in 2016, it was my first experience with a “hero shooter”, a game that features multiple “hero”-like characters for you to choose from. Each has different abilities that all suit certain situations and playstyles. Each hero is divided into three categories. You have “Support”, which heals and helps your team out; in terms of offense, however, there is not much you can do as this character. There’s “Damage”, which is your main attacker. They tend to be a bit more agile, with the trade-off being less health. Finally, there’s the “Tank” category. These are the big, heavy characters that are easy to hit and move slowly, but in return, you deliver much more damage and have more health than any other character. Each team member selects a character and then you play against other people online trying to complete a certain objective.

What stuck out to me when I first played it was how perfect it felt. Every character was different for various reasons. If I needed to be faster I could be Tracer, who has the ability to zip around the map. Or, If I needed to be at a distance while my team was charging in, I’d choose Hanzo, who is equipped with a bow and arrow. No character was too powerful or too weak. You always felt that you could select any Hero at any second and change the tide of the game.

However as time went on, little tweaks would be done to characters. Some would have new abilities and lose old ones, have more or less health, and other changes. Because of this, some characters would become too strong, while others too weak. After an update came out in order to address these issues, a new character would take the place of the previously overpowered one, and this cycle would continue. If you weren’t playing as these strong characters, you were going to lose. And as the years would go by, the skill gap would increase. It was harder to jump into a match and casually play. Unless you were with a team, playing by yourself felt like all odds were stacked against you.

Many people began to leave the Overwatch franchise in irritation. So, when a sequel was announced, many people wondered what the point was of playing. Blizzard, the company that produces the game, made the smart move of making the game free to play. And after years of waiting, it seems that decision was enough for players to get back on and play again. I was greeted with a game that was tweaked and once again felt balanced. It has been so much fun playing with all my friends again just like how it was in 2016, and many people on the internet share this sentiment as well. The new game brings together your old squad.

However, nothing is truly free, and in the case of Overwatch 2, we were met with the most egregious microtransactions of any game to this point. In the original game, if you played enough you would get loot boxes. These would contain new skins for characters, new in-game wallpapers, and other cosmetics. All it would take is a little grinding- but in a reasonable amount of time, you could get everything you want. Now if you are a new player and want to collect all the stuff veterans got for free, you either have to play for weeks on end or spend real money. Reddit user RevJoystick calculated that it would cost you $10,226 in order to unlock every skin. However, if you would rather earn the in-game currency (which you BARELY get) it would take you 326 years to gain enough to unlock everything.

Many fans have already voiced concern over this issue; Blizzard has stated that this is only the beginning, changes will be made over time. With a new campaign mode coming out soon, and new heroes and maps being added on a more regular basis, I am excited to see what the future of this game has in store. Besides the glaring microtransaction issue, Overwatch 2 is in a good state right now: it’s actually fun. I hope they continue to do nothing but improve an already great experience. If so, I think my friends and I have found our new game.