marvel rivals characters backs
Image via NetEase

5 Ways Marvel Rivals Is an Overwatch Clone & 5 Ways It’s Completely Different

A worthy competitor for Overwatch or just another clone?

Marvel Rivals is the latest entry into the genre of hero shooter titles and it’ll be available very soon. The game takes some clear inspiration from similar titles in the genre, such as Overwatch, but does it have enough personality to stand on its own two legs? Let’s go over 5 ways Marvel Rivals copies Overwatch and 5 ways it tries to be different.

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5 Ways Marvel Rivals Is Like Overwatch

Core Gameplay

When you take a cursory glance over what Marvel Rivals is trying to offer, it’s a 6v6 Hero Shooter game focused on PvP combat. The time to kill, the pace of combat, and the basic gameplay style are more or less similar.

marvel rivals core team heading out
Image via NetEase

You’ll have two teams of heroes with unique skill sets fighting across various maps to complete objectives with a simple respawn-on-kill mechanic. Despite being a third-person shooter, shooting remains a core mechanic and we’ll have to wait and see how polished and responsive it feels compared to Overwatch.

Art Style

Marvel Rivals is also going for a safe, friendly, and very marketable cartoon-ey art style for its character and gameplay. The characters are stylized rather than realistic and none of the violence is over-the-top or bloody in any way. The same can be said for the environments, animations, hit-markers, kill-markers, and various SFX that can be spotted throughout the trailer. Marvel Rivals is rated T, so it’s going to be marketed towards everyone.

marvel rivals art style for characters and map
Image via NetEase

Abilities and Ultimates

Marvel Rivals seems to have an almost identical skill and attack button layout as Overwatch. Each Hero gets a Primary and Secondary fire, alongside three different skills and an ultimate ability. All of these are unique for every character and the ultimate ability features the classic percentage charge that is commonly seen in games like Overwatch, Valorant, and Apex Legends.

marvel rivals character abilities dr strange portal spiderman
Image via NetEase

Map Design

From what we’ve seen, the map designs, besides the style, feature the same structure as those in Overwatch. We see long corridors that are meant to serve as chokepoints, corners and open areas meant for brawls, and various vantage points littered across for snipers to use. There are linear paths leading up to all these objectives and the maps are designed around the same basic principles as Overwatch.

marvel rivals map design
Image via NetEase


marvel rivals objective capture the point
Image via NetEase

We spotted objectives such as Asgardian Carriages being escorted by one team while the other attempts to stop them. We can assume this is similar to the Payload Delivery mode in Overwatch. Furthermore, we even spotted locked doors on the path that will probably open up and serve as a checkpoint once your team pushes the Payload far enough. Last but not least, we saw various capture zones similar to the Overwatch capture point objective maps.

5 Ways Marvel Rivals Is Different From Overwatch

Third person shooter

A key difference is the basic shooting and combat principle for Marvel Rivals. Marvel Rivals is going for a third-person shooter approach which is something relatively unique for hero shooters. Third Person shooting might slow down your reflexes and provide lesser immersion, but it gives players more awareness of their environments and emphasizes positioning and tactical awareness.

Emphasis on Melee Combat

Marvel Rivals melee attacks
Image via NetEase

One thing Overwatch 2 lacked was good melee characters (sorry Reinhardt), and Marvel Rivals seems confident in taking on this challenge. Balancing melee characters to be as effective as ranged characters in a team-based shooter is difficult. However, we’ve seen some pretty impressive clips of characters such as Hulk, Magik, and Groot dealing some serious damage in melee range. Magik in particular has an incredibly cool ultimate attack with a flaming sword.

Hero Synergy Team Ups

Marvel Rivals team up attack
Image via NetEase

A very unique feature that differentiates Marvel Rivals is the Team Ups that characters on your team can perform. Hulk can supercharge Iron Man with Gamma Rays and Rocket Raccoon can hop on top of Groot for some really epic moments. We’re yet to see if these synergies are just a gimmick or if they’ll be key to defining the meta and the best team comps in Marvel Rivals. Regardless, it’s a fun and unique new idea for sure.

Destructible Environments

Marvel Rivals destroy environment
Image via NetEase

Another new mechanic Marvel Rivals is adding is the ability to destroy the environment. It appears this destruction isn’t just for show as you can use it to block enemy and Payload paths while also dealing a ton of damage to enemies. If used strategically at the right moment, environmental destruction could play a key part in deciding the winner of a match.

Flying and Climbing

Marvel Rivals flying
Image via NetEase

Last but not least, there are several moments in the trailer where characters are seen comfortably flying across the map, such as Doctor Strange and Iron Man. However, there are many clips of other characters who are simply leaping into the air, teleporting around, or just running up buildings. It appears that Marvel Rivals will have a lot more emphasis on mobility for all of its characters and will design the map around this as well. It’s a welcome feature as most of us (Titanfall 2 fans) love shooters with great mobility. We can only hope that it’s well implemented!

Those are five of the key similarities and differences we noted between the new Marvel Rivals and Overwatch. It’s shaping up to be the first true competitor for Overwatch which has been in a bit of a slump recently. Hopefully, Marvel Rivals learns from Overwatch’s mistakes and gives us a game worth remembering!

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Syed Hamza Bakht
A freelance journalist passionate about games and technology. You'll find me working at publications such as Gfinity and Twinfinite, trying to gather as many game codes as possible! Otherwise, I can be found struggling against my giant backlog of games.