Articles » The Overwatch 2 Beta - the good and the bad (so far)

The Overwatch 2 Beta - the good and the bad (so far)

The Overwatch 2 Beta - the good and the bad (so far) download

Overwatch, Activision Blizzard’s take on the popular multiplayer FPS genre with a cartoony art style and a diverse cast of heroes to choose from, has had somewhat of a fall from grace. But with the upcoming rework of the entire game (now known as a separate title called ‘Overwatch 2’) the devs might just be able to turn things around for the better. 

In this article we go over some of the good and bad things we experienced during the initial days of the beta-release which we received early access to. Read on, as we take you through the Overwatch 2 Beta and our take on what this might mean for the future of the game. 

The Good:

New shadows, lighting, and atmospheric effects 

Once players boot up the beta they will immediately be able to tell that something has changed dramatically, simply by looking at the heroes featured in the menu. The dev team has overhauled the game’s graphics quite a bit - so even though players were unable to see any of the new character designs coming in the second version, each character still feels new to play around as (or against). The new lighting and graphics are even more noticeable in some of the new maps that players will have access to. 

The lightning and shadows honestly make the game feel brand new - and once the characters receive their updated versions, we’re certain the game is going to feel fresh to play. Whether this is enough to fulfill O.G. players’ desire for a new type of experience is something we can’t wager on yet - but hopefully it will be able to satiate the community’s thirst for content that feels fresh and new. 


Sojourn - the good:

The newest hero, Sojourn, features a kit that has great synergy, not only with her other abilities, but also with the abilities of those around her. For example, using her ‘Disruptor Shot’ (the massive, circling AOE that damages and slows enemies) is perfect to use in combination with a D.Va or Zarya ult. 

Her gliding ability also allows her to gun down her enemies while gaining momentum (albeit this specific ability is not all roses and sunshine as we will point out in a later section). Her primary fire is similar to Soldier 76's gun in terms of feel. Her secondary attack fires a focused energy beam that deals damage based on the amount of energy Sojourn has stored (energy is stored by doing basic attacks to enemies or shields). 

Her ultimate ability constantly resets her secondary attack and allows it to pierce enemies (similar to a constant Widowmaker sniper shot that pierces). Overall, Sojourn’s design is good and she fits right into the Overwatch universe - especially with the second version’s increased visual fidelity and stronger contrast elements. 


The in-between:

No new character models (yet)

One of the biggest overhauls from the first game to the second is the introduction of new character models - something a lot of fans have been looking forward to experiencing themselves in beta versions and eventually in the full game. However, fans will have to wait a little longer as the PvP beta for Overwatch 2 uses the old character models - albeit with an updated portrait photo for some characters. 

While the new character models weren’t present in this early beta version, the team has already given the players a taste of what is to come on their website where you can see fifteen of the original characters in their new looks. Although some players might not be too excited about changes to some of their most beloved characters, it goes without saying that the characters nevertheless benefit from the updates to the engine which in turn improve how shadows and light contrast and reflect on each character. 

This gives a better sense of depth to each character’s look, and despite individual feelings towards each character’s design, objectively speaking, the character remodeling and retexturing seems to be an inevitable positive once the models are actually implemented in the game sometime in the future. 


The Bad:

The cross-team leaderboard (and a comment on toxicity in the community)

One of the features which seems capable of making or breaking the game in the future is that of the cross-team leaderboard. In the past, players were able to bring up a menu showing their general stats as well as featuring the names of the players they are playing with / against and whether or not they are ‘on fire’ (i.e., doing a good job during the match). 

The toxicity in the community as a whole (along with other competitive gaming communities such as League of Legends) had practically reached an all-time high last year and a lot of players have left the game as a result of this. In Overwatch 2, however, the dev team has implemented a new leaderboard feature which allows players on both teams to view all players’ current progress - both in terms of how much damage and healing they’ve dealt and how many kills and deaths they have under their belt. 

While this can be fun in situations where you are trying to compete at a higher level and gain better insight into the overall mechanics of the game, this can also lead to more problematic behavior among the fanbase. We will see whether the feature makes it into the full game - fans of the franchise have certainly been divided in terms of reception of the feature. 


Sojourn - the bad:

While Sojourn has some fun abilities that synergize well with plenty of the other heros from the current roster. But she also has parts of her kit that make her come off as a bit more static and ‘heavy’ feeling compared to a lot of the other characters with movement-boosting abilities such as Cassidy (McCree), Soldier 76, Echo, Moira, and Reinhart. While all of these characters obviously are different sizes and thus perform differently in their movement, none of their movement skills feel clunky - even Reinhart’s charge feels satisfying to execute. 

However, Sojourn’s glide leaves something to be desired, especially when looking at other current games’ iterations of this type of movement skill. For example, Fortnite has been coveted lately due to its implementation of a new movement boosting glide animation. While the ability can feel good to use at specific moments (such as when gliding downwards), it can also feel out of place in situations where the terrain should be acting as a barrier of sorts. While we understand the idea that she’s using rockets to launch herself forward there are situations in which the glide mechanic comes off as both stiff and unpolished - but this is a minor thing which will most likely be fixed before the game’s launch. 

General sentiment from the first few days of playing the beta

Overall, the game is fun - it’s overwatch, what else can you expect? It runs smoothly much like the first game did - and while the gameplay is obviously eerily similar to the original game (the PvE campaign and its talent system were not available to try out during this beta version), the new version has a level of polish and finesse which almost makes the game feel like a completely new title in its own right. 

The newly added shadows and atmospheric lighting definitely helps make the game look more alive. And with the general UI overhaul, the game actually manages to stand apart from its older sibling.

If you haven’t been paying attention to the future release of Overwatch 2, you might be wondering what the release of the second iteration means for your current progress in terms of sprays, skins, and emotes. But fret not: as Activision Blizzard has stated on their official website that “[the] mission continues” for current players, meaning that all of their progress will be transferred to the new version of the game if one chooses to purchase it. Simultaneously, new and existing players on the original version of the game won’t be separated as the two games feature cross game playability. 

Overall, the game seems to be heading in the right direction (especially in terms of its art direction and quality of graphics) but whether players will choose to support the now infamous game company and spend money on a game that has almost no developmental changes in terms of gameplay, will be interesting to see.