I’m not sure what drew me back over watch. Correction: It was all Jessica Conditt’s fault. Her succinct overview of Summer Game Fest, noting the lack of new updates for AAA games – those big games we all look forward to – got me thinking about what games I’m waiting for.
One of them is surveillance 2. the is coming this year, has a release date and is just completing its public beta. Oh, and it’s completely free of loot boxes. To cheer!
The fact that the original over watch will evolve into its sequel which will be free to play, rewired my brain. Before I knew it, I was back in the game’s lobby waiting for my turn to play as all the popular characters (now categorized as Damage players).
I was already used to your team of heroes having to balance support (healers), tank (damage sponges), and damage (your, uh, damage dealers). This dynamic makes for more strategic combat, even in loose fights. But it means I often can’t play with some of my favorite characters.
Unfortunately, there seems to be a lack of support players in casual games. (Luckily, Moria is one of my favorite characters.) Hopefully, surveillance 2 will be redistributing characters across these three categories – not to mention new additions and new abilities and Supers. Of course, these mandatory squad layouts were one of many big changes and shifts over watch since it first arrived in 2016.
Once upon a time, when the dwarf Torbjorn had an upgradeable turret and ejected armor packs, Reaper needed to collect small death orbs to gain health from his kills. One of the relatively late additions to the game, Symmetra has reshuffled her abilities and ultimates multiple times. At one point she had two ultimate options, while another change reduced her watchtower from six towers to three. Outrageous!
The most controversial change was made to Mercy, everyone’s favorite healer. In the early stages of over watch, her ultimate attack would revive any KO afflicted heroes in range. It was… pretty overwhelmed. These days it’s a more sane single-person revive that recharges faster – but some may never get over some of those tremors. (They should.) [Ed. note: I won’t.]
Big changes are coming surveillance 2, to. After weeks of playing the beta, I was relieved that many of my main characters haven’t changed at all – at least not yet. It’s unusual to see Bastion cruising around as a tank (and I’m bad at playing Bastion now?) while still learning about Orisa’s changes that completely mess up her playstyle (no shield?!). This will take some time. A few new skill effects are also a bit difficult to decipher visually. (You can check out my colleague Jessica’s deeper thoughts on the beta here.)
I maintain, despite (or thanks to) the many, many additions, that over watch has since had the most iconic character roster of any game Street Fighter 2. Anyway, I don’t like really looking for the backstories and character backgrounds outside of the game to understand the motivations – or at least the cheeky asides they say to each other. It’s funny, I mention SF2because the beta feels a little Super Street Fighter 2, That gave us four new characters, a few more locations, but didn’t exactly reinvent the wheel.
The beta remains limited to standard vs matches, although you can occasionally check out the cute robot tug of war matches. It’s mostly the same over watch Experience. The two new characters, Junker Queen and Sojourn, are both compelling additions to the roster so far (though there are still too many Damage characters). The Junker Queen in particular seems to offer some intriguing new moves to shake up the competitive meta.
However, I’m still hoping for more beyond the base game matchups, be it more cooperative set pieces or something entirely new and different. Is that asking too much of a free-to-play game? Hopefully, surveillance 2 will also be more responsive to narrative bits and pieces.
The addictive ebb and flow of combat feels the same, but I wonder if Blizzard can continually evolve and expand the experience to make me addicted this time around, like Roadhog would have wanted.
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