Overwatch 2, the tried-and-tested Beta of Blizzard's hero shooter

Overwatch 2, the tried-and-tested Beta of Blizzard's hero shooter

Overwatch 2

Last month Blizzard finally threw the mask on its plans for Overwatch 2, the sequel that everyone was waiting for before, then a little less, and which now risks coming out much more muted than the phenomenon that was the original title, practically left to itself after the development team retired to work on the new game a few years ago, limiting themselves to publishing a few contents that have dispersed the community. There is still a hard core playing, however, and a large group of fans waiting in the shadows to get their hands on the new iteration, and above all on the single / multiplayer campaign that will arrive in the course of 2023.

We played the new Beta in continuous revision and in this Overwatch 2 trial we will not offer you a detailed analysis of individual heroes or game features, because it would be almost completely useless: Blizzard is updating the client regularly, bringing small and large adjustments in view of the free to play release, scheduled for October on all platforms. We will then offer you our first impressions, explaining what we liked and what we didn't like about these hours spent in the company of old and new heroes.

What we liked

Overwatch 2, the map of Rome The first impact with Overwatch 2 was certainly exciting. At first glance, the game doesn't seem to have changed that much, but those who have spent hundreds of hours on the first version of the Blizzard shooter will recognize the significant graphical improvements in the blink of an eye, thanks above all to a new ambient lighting that projects the game from one generation to the next, while keeping it extremely scalable and performing even on the most ancient systems.

Some of the old maps, such as Ilio and Eichenwalde, have been retouched accordingly: they now take place at different times of the day than in the past, and so the new lighting subtly changes their appearance, perhaps decreasing visibility at night. Obviously without affecting the gameplay, but if you've spent hours on those maps, you will immediately appreciate the new shades and shadows that improve the visual impact.

From a technical point of view, the aspect that struck us most positively was the sound. In addition to having rearranged the already beautiful original music, including some orchestral songs in addition to the unreleased ones of the new maps, Blizzard has implemented the so-called Weapon 2.0 Sound Pass which aims - pardon the pun - to make the sound effects more realistic based on the environmental context. In other words, each voice, noise or shot sounds different depending on whether the characters are outdoors or indoors or in specific environments that affect the reverb.

Although the Beta has some small bugs in this sense, we tell you right away that the result is spectacular and really deserves some good headphones to be appreciated to the fullest. The sound the guns make is ... galvanizing. It has a very different feel than in the past, although the gunplay has remained essentially unchanged. This was probably the best surprise of Overwatch 2 and from this point of view we can say that Blizzard has certainly hit the target.

Overwatch 2, the new Escort mode Returning to the maps, we also played in the new arenas designed specifically for Overwatch 2. Unfortunately, the rotation in Beta is random and it can take hours before you return to Toronto or Rome, to name two, but the absence of the maps of Assault - Hanamura, Paris, Industrie Volskaya and Tempio di Anubis - has reduced the variety a bit. The new maps are beautiful: intricate just right and never confusing, they offer a great battleground on multiple levels and have been designed around the new game mode, Escort.

Escort mode forces teams to fight to control a robot that must be escorted from the center of the map to various checkpoints on one side or the other: the winner is whoever arrives at the last checkpoint, or the team that went farthest at the end of playing time. The old maps have also been retouched, which now offer a greater number of shelters and some additional routes by virtue of a great change to the gameplay that we will focus on in the second part of this tried.

Overwatch 2, Orisa is practically a whole new character The Overwatch 2 Beta has changed all the characters aesthetically, giving them new looks that in most cases we loved, but fear not: the skins you collected in the first version are still there, ready to be selected . However, it hasn't changed all the characters from a gameplay point of view: this test phase offers only some important revisions, although many heroes have been retouched in a small way.

Mc --- Er, Cassidy, for example, has lost her Stun Grenade and instead of him can throw a normal grenade, while Reinhardt can stop his Charge at any time and can fire up to two Fire bolts. Doomfist has become a tank - so it has more life than before - and has lost the Upright: in its place it now has the ability to parry bullets while moving, a bit like Reinhardt does, but otherwise it plays the same way. .

Overwatch 2, Doomfist is now a tank These are some examples of the minor changes, while some heroes have been practically redesigned. The reworks that have convinced us the most, for the moment, are Orisa and Bastion. Orisa has lost both the Protective Barrier and the Pull Mine, replaced by a javelin that she can shoot very far - and with a little skill, plant an enemy's head for direct elimination - or that she can spin to parry bullets and mow down opponents in melee. Her changes make her a much more versatile and dynamic tank, which fits perfectly with the new 5 vs 5 gameplay style that we will return to shortly.

If you are thinking that these changes represent the end of the winning combination Orisa + Bastion, you are right, but for completely different reasons. In fact, the new Bastion has been redesigned for more or less the same reasons, and is now perhaps a little more mundane to play, but much more versatile: it can no longer repair itself, but can move in Turret Alignment and can launch a sticky grenade that even bounces off surfaces before exploding.

Our doubts

Overwatch 2, Sojourn is a new attacking heroine We also played the two new heroines who made the their debut in Beta - Sojourn and the Queen of Junker - and which unfortunately did not convince us very much, but the speech is more complicated. We start with Sojourn, an extremely mobile attacking heroine thanks to a slide that results in a high jump. Sojourn's Rifle is a weapon that fires precise bursts and accumulates energy with each pulse, energy that the player can then discharge with secondary fire into much denser and more damaging bullets. Her second ability is a grenade that produces a force field that can reduce the life of players in her area of ​​action and increase the damage dealt by Sojourn's rifle. Finally, the Ultra automatically loads the secondary fire for a short period of time.

Sojourn is fun to play, although she requires good accuracy and skill, as well as considerable knowledge of maps to maximize the effectiveness of the grenade and its slips. So why didn't she convince us? Because it's extremely trivial: she really seemed like one of Overwatch's less inspired heroines, with a not particularly inventive skill kit.

Overwatch 2, the Queen of the Junker is a new tank The Queen of the Junker, instead, it banned us for a completely different reason. She is very, very funny to play. She is an aggressive Roadhog-style tank, with the ability to deal "bleed" damage over time that regenerates her life: for this reason, the more enemies she hits the Queen - with her short-range sawed-off shotgun, ax or his magnetic knife - the more he regenerates, the longer he can stay in melee.

Whether you like the look of this giantess or not, her extremely fast-paced fighting style is more reminiscent of an attacking character than a tank, and this is the factor we liked least: even Roadhog is more defensive, between his size and his Breath of fresh air, while the Queen of the Junkers plays as if she doesn't have to protect the team.

Overwatch 2, the Queen of the Junkers regenerates by dealing damage The design of the Queen of the Junker, in a certain sense, justifies the new gameplay of Overwatch 2: in the matches now only five players per team face each other, and the slot sacrificed in the Code roles is that of the second tank. This change initially frightened us, because we believed it would deeply unbalance the gameplay, and although our opinion is now a little more positive, we are not sure that we are still used to the new game dynamics, which involve much closer clashes.

After a few games it almost seems like there are still six, but we also realize that the tweaks that Blizzard has made to damage, lives and shields have influenced the progress of these engagements which, in the absence of a second tank, are resolved in a few moments. If on the one hand we appreciated this return to the "divas" formations - it is no coincidence that the Queen of the Junker possesses an ability almost identical to the Rapid Vibrations of LĂșcio - on the other hand it is evident the desire to approach a more frenetic to Valorant.

Overwatch 2, even Bastion has been heavily modified This desire is also reflected in the interface which, perhaps excessively streamlined, has taken on a look more in tune with modern shooters, so to speak, and it has lost much of its uniqueness. It is still clean and readable, except for the game summary screen, which would like to better outline the information, but which instead seemed much less intuitive.

In general, this is our first taste of Overwatch 2. looked more like an Overwatch 1.5 in test, and this is demonstrated by the fact that Blizzard is still changing many aspects of the characters and gameplay just a few months after the official launch which, as we know, will replace the original Overwatch client, moving to the free model to play. We have explained the most important details of this transformation - still in progress, since contents such as the shop and the Battle Pass have not been defined - in our previous preview, which we invite you to read to find out more. For now we just have to follow the development of this new iteration, aware that we will have to wait some time to be able to evaluate it in its final form.

If you have loved Overwatch, we are pretty sure that you will also love Overwatch 2: the spirit of the Blizzard shooter has remained intact, although some changes may seem more difficult to assimilate. The significantly improved technical sector, especially as regards the sound, is associated with a general revision of the heroes that would seem to have hit the mark in most cases, even if we have some reservations about the new ones. Now Blizzard will have to work carefully on the balance, because the 5 vs 5 matches are a novelty that risks alienating a large slice of the fanbase, but until October it can change everything and more.


The improved technical sector, especially the sound effects The rework of some characters such as Orisa or Bastion DOUBTS Finding the perfect balance for the new 5 vs 5 format will not be easy Will you still be able to get a grip on the audience or time has passed of Overwatch? Have you noticed any errors?

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