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Overwatch 2 has finally entered its first player-versus-player (PvP) closed beta testing phase, which will last till 17 May 2022 (subject to change).
With it comes new PvP game modes, as well as certain hero tweaks that were designed for this new iteration of the game.
Yahoo Gaming SEA was granted access to check out the beta build of Overwatch 2, and here are our first impressions.
Do note that all modes and features discussed in this article are subject to change, and do not represent the what the final build of Overwatch 2 will look like.
The first thing that made me rejoice is the fact that I have all my skins from the original Overwatch in the beta build (yes, I am superficial that way).
The main menu looks bare, but I am pretty sure this will change in the future. This is just a beta after all.
Let's get straight into the meat of it all, the gameplay.
Has the shift to a 5v5 changed a lot of Overwatch's gameplay?
Teams are now composed of two DPS heroes, two healers and one tank.
Games feel a lot 'emptier', especially in the old maps that were present in Overwatch.
Since Overwatch 2 is shifting to the 5v5 format, there seems to be more 'space' to play around with, since there are effectively two players missing from the whole game.
It feels like some maps which had the core design of 6v6 in mind are affected by this the most, especially maps like King's Row.
Games also move much faster in Overwatch 2, again because there is one fewer person to kill on the opposing team, but also because of the tweaks made to the tanks of the game to be more aggressive.
Some DPS heroes that have tools to take on a multitude of enemies at the same time (like Genji's ultimate) instantly shred everyone, due to the fact that he has one fewer person to target in game.
The omission of another tank to soak the damage from the DPS heroes also makes it much easier to kill enemies and win fights, hence making the gameplay flow much faster than before.
I also found that hitscan heroes like Soldier 76, Cassidy, Sojourn, Ash and Widowmaker are thriving in this beta, again simply because there is only one tank to soak the damage if they are shooting at your team from afar.
Any attempts to hunt them down need to be initiated by another DPS hero, because mobile tanks like D.Va and Winston will leave their team vulnerable if they chase down the far-ranged DPS heroes.
New maps and modes
Overwatch 2 introduces a new game mode called Push.
Both teams start with their own team's payload in the middle of the map, and there's also a robot that will push the payloads.
The objective here is to take control of the robot and make it push your team's payload to the enemy's base.
Whenever your team loses control of the robot and is taken by the enemy team, the robot will then turn around to push the enemy's payload instead.
Push is a much better version of Control, in my opinion, simply because Control always felt a little too disadvantageous for the attacking team that does not hold the point/site.
Control requires a team to fill out a percentage meter to win the round, and to do this, each team needs to capture the site to have their meter filled.
The problem is, even if there is still one person from the opposing team alive and defending the site (and being a nuisance), the percentage meter still gets filled for the opposing team, as long as the site isn't captured by your team.
Push combines the idea of Control with Escort, and makes it much more fair when you are in control of the robot that's supposed to to push your payload.
It also adds a new dynamic to the game, because the closer the payload is to your goal, the faster the enemy can get to you because of their spawn point.
The Ping system
The Ping system is really fleshed out in Overwatch 2's beta.
When you ping an enemy that is in your line of sight, the ping actually follows the enemy around, which is great for enemy visibility.
There are many other options that you can use as well much like in other games, but the most impressive one is the fact that you have a countdown ping that you can use to coordinate attacks with your teammates.
To be honest, a ping system would have been extremely useful in the early days of Overwatch, but better late than never.
At the moment, if you took away the new Overwatch 2 HUD, you would think that you are still playing the old Overwatch.
Graphically, it feels like it has absolutely no changes from vanilla Overwatch. The character select screen seems to have more 'defined' models, but that's about it.
I am still hitting the cap of 400fps at 1440p on an Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti, and around 150fps on an AMD Radeon RX 6500 XT at 1080p at medium settings, so I don't think the game is anymore taxing than the original Overwatch.
Like what I prefaced at the start of this article, this is still a beta.
A lot of the things discussed in this article may change in the future, so this impression only applies to this beta.
But at the state the game is in now, a lot more heroes need tweaking to fit the 5v5 meta. Not only is it one less person a team, the absence of another character's skillset and abilities also affects the balance of the game.
Abilities from heroes that are meant to deal damage to a lot more enemies (and another beefy tank at that), are really overtuned right now, and could end a fight even before it starts (Nano Genji is absolutely even more terrifying now). Some tanks like D.Va and Roadhog feels absolutely out of place unless they are given more utility to absorb or bypass the damage that is being dealt to the team, or else it makes no sense to have them in tank roles (as they are supposed to be bullet sponges and damage negators).
Push is amazing as a game mode. Period.
The Ping system is a very welcome addition to the game, and it does help a lot in chaotic fights in addition to bolstering communication with your teammates.
But if you are hoping that Overwatch 2 is a whole brand new experience, much different from vanilla Overwatch, you are definitely not going to find it in this beta.
Dominic loves tech and games. When he is not busy getting headshotted in VALORANT or watercooling anything he sees, he does some pro wrestling.