Overwatch 2 Review in Progress: Fun Game, Worrying Progression – GameRant

Overwatch 2 is an incredibly fun game, but its slow progression is worrying based on our hands-on time with it so far.
Overwatch 2 is a fun game, but its progression leaves a lot to be desired. Game Rant has been going hands-on with Overwatch 2 for a little over a week, and while the core gameplay is as action-packed and fun as ever, the game's slow progression is worrisome.
Before diving into the progression issues, it's important to make it clear that Overwatch 2 is incredibly deep and rewarding from a gameplay standpoint. It features a huge roster of 35 heroes at launch (including one new hero for each role), the brand-new Push mode, and some fresh maps for players to battle it out on. And since Overwatch 2 is free-to-play, gamers across all platforms can check out all this exciting new content without paying a dime.
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Overwatch 2 switches to a 5v5 setup, down from the 6v6 setup that defined the original game. To compensate for each team having one less player, Blizzard has massively buffed and reworked the game's existing Tank class heroes, while also making balance changes to other heroes across the board. Having one less Tank results in faster-paced matches, where more aggressive play is rewarded versus hunkering down behind shields.
The original Overwatch won Game of the Year awards, deservedly so, and that same high level of quality is present and accounted for in Overwatch 2. Those who have never played the original Overwatch will especially be in for a treat, as they can now experience almost everything that game had to offer plus all the new content that's coming to Overwatch 2 as part of its early access launch.
Gameplay-wise, Blizzard has hit it out of the park with Overwatch 2. Unfortunately, the game has one massive downside, and that is its slow progression. Overwatch 2 dumps loot boxes in favor of a Battle Pass system, like many other free-to-play games on the market, but it makes a big mistake. Whereas free-to-play games like Fortnite refrain from putting anything truly important to gameplay in their Battle Passes for the most part, Overwatch 2 locks new heroes behind the Battle Pass.
Those that buy Overwatch 2's premium Battle Pass instantly unlock new Support hero Kiriko, but those that would rather stick to the free Battle Pass rewards have to grind all the way to level 55. To put in perspective how long this is going to take, we have played the game for an average of two hours per day for about 10 days at the time of this writing. This includes 83 games played and 44 wins so far. After all this, we're only at tier 26 in the Battle Pass. This is with a 20% XP boost from owning the premium Battle Pass. Needless to say, it's going to take free players in Overwatch 2 a significant amount of time to unlock Kiriko.
In a game like Overwatch, it's important for all players to be on an even playing field. Some players won't unlock Kiriko until very deep into the season, and so they will simply have one less hero to work with when compared to other Overwatch players. Considering how game-changing Kiriko's Ultimate can be, that means some Overwatch teams will simply be at a disadvantage when compared to those who forked over the cash for the premium Battle Pass.
Overwatch's loot boxes had to go, and a Battle Pass does seem like the best alternative, but it's clear that there are some adjustments that need to be made here. Right now players need 10,000 XP to level up a tier in the Battle Pass. They get 100 XP for playing a match, 100 XP for playing a consecutive match, and 150 XP for a win. Either players need to get more XP per match, the XP requirement to level up a tier in the Battle Pass needs to be reduced, or the new heroes should be moved to a spot earlier in the free track so players don't have to go the bulk of the season without them.
Now, there is a caveat to keep in mind. Overwatch 2 has challenges that players can complete that offer huge chunks of Battle Pass XP, and many of those challenges have been unavailable to us during the review period because they involve modes we can't reliably play, like Arcade, Mystery Heroes, Deathmatch, etc. Being able to tackle all those challenges will certainly speed things up, but it seems like progression will still be way too slow in its current state.
Overwatch 2's slow progression is frustrating, but the good news is that it's an early access release. Blizzard can make big changes to the game between now and whenever its proper launch happens to improve matters. The other silver lining is that Overwatch 2 should not have any of the content droughts that plagued the original game, as there are exciting new heroes, maps, and game modes on the way for future seasons. Blizzard gave us a look at some of this upcoming content, and while Overwatch 2's progression issues need addressed, its future is otherwise looking incredibly bright.
Overwatch 2 launches on October 4 in early access for PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.
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Dalton Cooper is an editor for Game Rant who has been writing about video games professionally since 2011. Having written thousands of game reviews and articles over the course of his career, Dalton considers himself a video game historian and strives to play as many games as possible. Dalton covers the latest breaking news for Game Rant, as well as writes reviews, guide content, and more.

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