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Overwatch 2’s Level Playing Field Means Frantic Fun for Everyone (Closed Beta Impressions)

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Overwatch 2’s Level Playing Field Means Frantic Fun for Everyone (Closed Beta Impressions)

The best part of my time with the Overwatch 2 beta, by far, was quickly hogging Sojourn on the hero select screen, and then proceeding to press E to win every game I got to play as her. Most of the games. Okay, only some of them. Like, 20% of them. But in all seriousness, Sojourn has quickly proven to be a fantastic, beginner-friendly addition to the DPS roster, and the big headline here is that Overwatch is fun again!

I’ll preface this by saying that I am by no means an Overwatch PvP expert. After falling off the game when the triple tank meta came around, I’ve kept up with its little changes here and there, but never dived back in properly until now. Overwatch 2’s big character changes are so substantial that it feels like the jolt back to life that the game has really needed for a very long time.

For starters, the decision to turn Doomfist into a tank is huge. He never had much of a place in the DPS roster, and was an incredibly niche pick in both the casual and competitive settings. I’m still not convinced he’s going to be a great tank as he doesn’t seem to have many defensive capabilities, but he benefits just enough from the new tank passives and boosted HP to be able to create space for his team much more effectively.

Whereas Orisa had previously felt like a worse version of Reinhardt, her kit has also changed significantly to make her much more offensive. Her shield is gone, which definitely took some getting used to, and in its place is a javelin that she can either spin in her opponents’ faces to push them back and destroy them, or throw at a distant foe.

Orisa’s skill floor has definitely been raised with this kit, but it was important for Blizzard to really differentiate her from the other shield tanks and give her skills and utility that are unique to her.

genji and hanzo in overwatch 2

Other heroes have gotten small tweaks as well, including Winston who was my favorite tank hero and just feels sad to play as now. And there’s Zarya, who’s been buffed slightly with the ability to throw on two shields.

And then there’s Sojourn, who definitely stands out as one of the better beginner-friendly DPS heroes in Overwatch 2. I used to point at Soldier: 76 as the starter hero to check out if you were looking into getting into the DPS role, but Sojourn might very well take that spot. She still feels like a fairly standard shooter character, but she has just enough pizazz that gives her the edge over Soldier.

Her charged shot is harder to land, but it deals so much damage, and her E ability is an incredibly annoying force field that slows her opponents down and ticks down their health at the same time. She also gets an awesome ground slide, and you can propel her high up into the air if you jump at the end of the slide. Sojourn’s kit is just so much more fun to play around with than Soldier’s, and she very well might become my go-to hero whenever I need to fill the DPS role.

That’s not to say that Sojourn is broken or unbalanced, as she can still be countered fairly easily by more mobile characters like Tracer. With regards to counters, I also noticed that with the changes made to each category of characters across the board, hard counters in Overwatch 2 feel a lot less prevalent than they were in the first game.

Reaper will still be able to destroy shields if he gets into your backline, and a good Soldier or Cassidy will always be the best answer to a rocket-firing Pharah, but the heroes are definitely on a more level playing field right now. Of course, it’s still early days and it’s inevitable that a new meta will eventually emerge once everyone’s had more time with the game. But right now, Overwatch 2 is in a great spot.

overwatch 2 push mode

I also got a glimpse at some of the new maps and the new Push mode in the beta test. I wasn’t all that impressed with Push to be completely honest; it’s a fun mode for sure, but every game mode in Overwatch is fun. It felt like a cute evolution of Escort, and look, I’ll always love that adorable robot that diligently pushes the payload when our team comes a-rolling.

The maps and Push aren’t anything major or groundbreaking, but they don’t have to be groundbreaking when the game’s foundation is already so solid; it’s just more Overwatch content, which is always a great thing I’ll never say no to.

Returning to the colorful, charming world of Overwatch felt amazing. Despite feeling like the first game had run its course and completely falling off the bandwagon after sinking hundreds of hours into it, Overwatch is an incredible IP that I’ll never quite let go of simply because of how well-realized its universe and characters are. The hero changes are great, Sojourn is a total badass, but it seems like the best is yet to come with Overwatch 2, and we’ll see if the IP manages to really find its footing again once we get to check out its PvE content.

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