BlizzCon 2019: Overwatch 2 hands-on – Like Archive events on nanoboosters

Many people have been begging for it and I know I was definitely one of them: PVE content for Overwatch that wasn’t just around for an event. Thankfully it is on the way and it looks like the events we have had were all training for what comes next.

I sat down to play Overwatch 2 and I got to see the PVE mission in Rio. It starts with a big cinematic, explaining what is happening. After Winston, Mei, Genji, Tracer, Brigitte and Reinhardt fought that massive omnic in the Overwatch 2 trailer, things have been going sideways all over the world. Mei, Tracer and Reinhardt arrive in Rio to help old Lucio out, and we get to see Lucio’s house as well as his nightclub. But before we get to enjoy that, there are robots that need dismantling. A whole lot of them.

Overwatch was built to have 12 people on a screen at a time. The engine had to be pushed and reworked for events like Junkenstein’s Revenge, and special tricks were required to get BOB on-screen with Ashe, making for 13 for a short while. Overwatch 2’s PVE is made to have a lot more happening in an area than you have seen before. If you think of the waves that attack in the latest story missions, think of double that, or even more, all attacking you at the same time. Things get hectic. Thankfully the heroes are ready for the challenge and they get a little help.

As you move through the level, several chests of goodies are waiting at set points. These contain items that can really change the way that fights play out. From turrets to acid grenades, healing items, forcefield walls and more, each player can carry one at a time and when used correctly, a tough fight is suddenly a lot easier. Hit a large group with an acid grenade then mop up the softened targets, or deploy a turret or two and watch that wave of flying enemies get shredded by your personal flak.

Playing in PVE means the tight balancing act of PVP can be ignored for a while. Mei freezes things faster and for longer. Reinhardt gets ultimate meter charge by blocking attacks and moves faster with his shield raised. And that is before the talents come into play. I played as Mei, whose level one talents offer an interesting choice: do you pick to have your ice block freeze nearby enemies when it ends, or do you want killed frozen enemies to explode when they die? It definitely offers some variation as you play, letting you play the way you want. I went for frozen robotic explosions, making full use of enemies freezing up quicker than in normal play. Just as well too, because some of the bigger enemies you want to lock down as often as possible.

A new enemy type, a large omnic with two massive weapon arms, will rain hate and hurt if you give them a chance, but you have several options. I took to freezing them, or ice-walling them until we had a chance to deal with them. Continuous fire on an arm will eventually destroy it, reducing the offensive options it has available and because we all know that Mei is a heartless monster beneath that cute exterior, I took to freezing enemies and sniping both arms off, leaving large but near useless robots around the room *insert cackle here*.

Besides enemy numbers going up, the number of varied environments you will see in a single level are also up. Like I mentioned, you get to see Lucio’s house, his nightclub, the fight goes onto the streets of Rio and then you fly a ship inside a really big ship, where you fight until you reach a reactor core that you want to blow up. Everything comes to a head with the reactor core, which you can only damage when there are no other enemies around. Enemies attack from all angles and you need to work together to deal with multiple threats. Reinhardt can take the fight to the ground forces and shield the team, but does very little against flying units that strafe the area, so back up your team and help cover their weaknesses. Then get ready to evacuate because well, you just blew up the reactor of the ship you are currently standing on. I never said it was a well-thought-out idea… Good thing Lucio has speed boost, right?

If it has the letters RPG in it, I am there. Still battling with balancing trying to play every single game that grabs my interest, getting 100% in a JRPG, and devoting time to my second home in Azeroth.

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