There was a lot of buzz in the gaming community when Overwatch 2 was announced at BlizzCon 2019. While there is no question that the game generated a large amount of hype, it also caused more questions to be asked about how it will even work. Specifically, how the compatible playability with the first Overwatch, as well as the new progression system being implemented in the PvE mode.
Jeff Kaplan and company seem have the utmost confidence in their current direction, so we knew we had to try it out. It’s been less than a day since Overwatch 2 was announced, and out of all the new IP’s, it has the most going for it. We were able to get our hands on the Story Mission demo here at BlizzCon, and it’s safe to say that whenever this game comes out, it will be the one to beat for Game of the Year.
The Story Mission takes place in Rio De Janeiro, and consists of four heroes. Lucio, Mei, Tracer, and Reinhardt take on the Omnics as a four-man cell, working together to get through the mission. We are huge fans of the froggy boy Lucio, so we jumped at the chance to leap around and see what he can do. But before we jetted off to the mission, we got a cool opening cut scene to set the mood and tone for us.
It starts off with Lucio fighting off wave after wave of Omnics before Mei, Tracer and Reinhardt come in to help him out. As Jeff said himself, the art style is slightly different, as all of the heroes have some alteration in their outfits. Lucio’s hair is what sticks out most here, with some neon green dye in the back part of his unique hair style.
Despite this, the animations are still top notch. Everything is fluid with no stuttering, showcasing Blizzards perfection at crafting a cut scene. Once that ended, we were brought to the new progression screen, where we had two options. We could either keep Lucio’s standard Amp it Up ability where it either speeds up allies or heals them, or change it to where it both speeds, and heals simultaneously. We wanted to mix it up so we went with the double ability.
The new PvE mode is very similar to Overwatch Archives, where you need to work together to survive the oncoming attack from numerous enemies. We personally love when that event comes around so this was a blast to play through. We moved through the level with three other players, holding the point while defending ourselves from attacks. Once the desired amount of opponents were destroyed, the mission continued.
Each new section introduced newer and tougher enemies to contend with, some with larger health bars than before. Teamwork was key in the first game, and that principle still holds true for Overwatch 2. If not for some key actions taken by the team, this mission would have ended long before it began. Lucio’s healing/speed kept it together while Reinhardt’s barrier and front/center assault made it hard for enemies to do anything. Mei and Tracer essentially went around the perimeter damaging everyone, both with their unique abilities.
The ability of having Lucio’s Amp it Up also helped out in some clutch situations. Low on health, we were facing two heavy Omnics that were about to take out Mei, before we came in and activated it and got her out of harms way while she healed a bit. It’s the little things like this that factor into the success of the PvE, and the PvP matches. Even more paramount is the brand new items that you can use in PvE. These can range from healing, shields, and barriers to use to your advantage in a clutch situation. The addition of these items makes the gameplay feel a bit refreshing quite frankly.
As far as gameplay goes, it’s freaking Overwatch. The core aesthetics literally haven’t changed one bit. It’s still the fast paced, 60 fps, fluid game that we all know and love from 2016. The major difference is now that game has a lot, lot more to offer. We only got a taste of the progression system, as there are four additional ability changes that you can unlock the more you play through the game. We can’t even begin to imagine what the other heroes list will look like.
So in the end, is it worth it? It’s too early to tell right now, but we can definitely tell you that if the demo is any indication, this will be the game to watch for whenever it releases. Jeff and his team are on the cusp of something amazing once again, and we knew it once the demo was over. It’s a shot of new life for Overwatch, the shot that will probably keep this franchise going for a long time.
Overwatch 2 will launch for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. No date has been announced. Stay tuned for more BlizzCon 2019 coverage!