Note: This review will only be covering the new PvE Story Missions added in Season 6 of Overwatch 2, not including the event, Underworld. The new hero, mode, maps, and other PvP content will not be considered.
To say the story of Overwatch’s development has been tumultuous would be an understatement. From its canceled Titan days to being Game of the Year in 2016, to being ignored for years to focus on a free-to-play “sequel,” to finally getting scaled back Story content in 2023, it has been a roller coaster ride.
We are all too familiar with the numerous scandals and controversies coming out of Activision Blizzard at just about every turn the last five years, and given the gross monetization of skins in the game, it’s easy to see why there is so much bad word of mouth surrounding Overwatch 2, leading to review bombing after its launch on Steam. Without condoning the poor behavior of select toxic individuals online, Blizzard alone is responsible for putting itself in this situation. However, after what feels like a lifetime of waiting, we finally have our first pure PvE release in Overwatch 2: Invasion. A great release of content, but as is the case too often, Blizzard’s management of Overwatch 2 muddles the experience.
It has been a long wait to finally have Story PvE
I have been playing Overwatch since it first released in 2016. As you may notice from my recent ranking of the cinematics, I love the world and lore of Overwatch. Before the announcement in 2019, I had been dreaming of a dedicated story mode. To finally have the first three missions here made me ecstatic. Getting to Winston’s computer the first time gave me goosebumps and the starting cutscenes for each mission had me fighting back happy tears. These are the kind of feelings only a few games in the past have given me.
While I did notice some choppiness when starting the cutscenes, seeing these large groups of characters interact with each other was a long time coming. They show their unique personalities at every opportunity, even in their text messages back and forth, including a style guide about how each character texts. It’s a level of character depth that shows how dedicated the Overwatch narrative team is to bringing these heroes to life and a big reason why I love them so much.
Gameplay doesn’t break the mold, but is still a good time
Things have definitely taken a step forward from the older PvE event missions with Invasion. There are plenty of new enemies and objectives to freshen up the experience. The boss fight in Rio, for example, often requires your team to position themselves behind an exploding core to get the enemy to charge into it to drop his invincibility shield. Gothenburg starts as a pretty standard payload escort before shifting into a lengthy defensive mission. The variety on display looks to keep people like me coming back to try the harder difficulties.
In Toronto, there is a point where someone needs to cross a couple of large gaps that a train will pass through. When they get across, they can extend a bridge for everyone else to get through. Only heroes like Sojourn and D.Va can make the jump while avoiding the crossing trains. While this is the only situation like this in the original missions, I really hope there is more in the future. It gives heroes with particular abilities a chance to show off those talents.
Choosing from the group of heroes available in each mission gives you a different approach in the same way as you get playing in PvP. Completing missions with each hero also unlocks more text entries in that hero’s database, showing more of their life outside of the missions and offering even more reasons to replay missions to unlock them all. Again, these are all brilliantly done by the narrative team. If you are a fan of lore and story you won’t be let down.
For $15, you get a little over an hour of gameplay, cutscenes, and various database entries that expand on these beloved characters. While it is disappointing to spend even more on top of the battle pass to get these missions, that was an outcome I always expected. $15 is definitely the most I would spend on this, with $10 being the more consumer friendly approach, but look at the company we’re talking about. Overall, the price isn’t terrible for what you are getting if you’re invested in the lore and characters.
What we have in Overwatch 2: Invasion’s PvE Story missions are great, but it’s hard not to think of what this could have been. For the foreseeable future, just about everything that comes from Blizzard should be expected to have the accompanying talk of how cost-cutting measures were made in favor of grubby money-making decisions. That said, the team-up interactions and missions finally gives the community what we’ve been begging for, but no Hero Missions and talent trees still sting, and knowing we are not getting more for a long time brings us back to where we were before — waiting for months for another drip feed of story progression.
The Overwatch 2: Invasion Story PvE missions were reviewed on Xbox Series X with a code provided by Blizzard Entertainment. Overwatch 2 and the Invasion missions can also be played on Nintendo Switch, PC, and PlayStation.
- Cinematics show us more of our favorite characters
- The narrative department is working at the top of their game
- Variety in objectives and new enemies keep gameplay interesting
- Long road ahead for this story to keep progressing
- The loss of Hero Missions and talent trees will forever be a stain on these releases