To be clear, the first game and this sequel are largely the same. Overwatch 2 retains the core content and gameplay of the original, but has been updated more extensively than ever before. What's new are several maps, three characters, and the Push mode: a fun tug of war-inspired game where players fight for control of a robot and attempt to guide it farther into the enemy team's territory than they can with yours. Several existing characters have been reworked with new abilities and roles. Instead of six players per team, there are now five, and players need to commit to particular roles in matches. As a whole, Overwatch 2 makes quality-of-life tweaks and bold character balancing adjustments that aren't perfect, but refine an already stellar experience. Cooperation and coordination are essential to victory since characters have such diverse, pronounced strengths and weaknesses in objective-oriented mode. Few multiplayer titles can compete with how well designed and exciting Overwatch 2 can be with team-oriented gameplay.
New players have a slew of wonders to behold, but the launch of this new chapter of Overwatch will leave veteran players expecting more. More modes and cooperative story missions are promised but disappointing to not see yet. Weeks into its release, account migration and connectivity issues abound, including one character being completely taken out of the game for balancing, which never happened in the first Overwatch. The game's biggest mistake comes with overhauls made to its progression systems and digital store. Before, players earned free "loot boxes" at a decent rate from leveling up and completing simple challenges, which rewarded players with randomly generated cosmetics and in-game currency. It's nice that you can directly buy currency now to purchase particular items, but rewards are earned at a notably slower rate through gameplay alone. The new digital store and Premium Battle Pass also locks one new hero (and future ones) — who can provide game-changing advantages — behind paywalls unless you complete a steep list of challenges. The shift toward more monetization is from Overwatch 2 becoming free to play, but the current market skews unnecessarily predatory and restrictive in small yet unwelcome ways. In the moment-to-moment action, the game puts itself back on the map as a champion among multiplayer games with incisive improvements to its design and feel. But big technical issues, less rewarding progression, and relatively little content at launch prevents Overwatch 2 from being worthy of its status as a sequel.