Decrypt’s Art, Fashion, and Entertainment Hub.
Overwatch 2, the sequel to Blizzard’s 2016 first-person team shooter Overwatch, has finally released on the popular PC game store Steam—and it’s already received nearly 50,000 negative reviews attacking Blizzard with a litany of complaints.
The free-to-play core Overwatch 2 game and its four bundle versions—which cost various sums of money and come with additional cosmetics or characters as downloadable content (DLC)—have all been rated “overwhelmingly negative” on Steam. Overwatch 2 initially launched on Blizzard’s own BattleNet launcher last fall, but just hit Steam on Thursday.
At time of writing, the sequel’s primary Steam page has received roughly 47,000 negative reviews and just 5,700 positive reviews in one day. Out of this onslaught, though, just 14 are listed as “verified” Steam buyers. Out of those reviewers, the majority are also negative.
In the negative reviews for the four DLC packs, many reviewers reported that they never received the additional content they purchased via the Steam bundles. Others said that it took upwards of 13 hours to receive the content they had purchased.
While most of the DLC buyers left negative reviews because they did not immediately receive purchased content, the majority of Overwatch 2’s negative Steam reviews are from fans who appear to have been frustrated with the franchise for some time.
Many Overwatch fans have previously vented their frustrations on official Blizzard forums, along with Reddit, Twitter, and other platforms—that’s nothing new. But now, the barrage of negative comments at Steam’s point-of-sale could impact Blizzard’s bottom line.
For years, Overwatch players have argued that too little content had been added to the original game to keep it feeling fresh. Some of the anxieties apparently subsided when Overwatch 2 was announced in November 2019.
The sequel was first positioned as an expanded version of the original with better graphics, improved audio, and a complex player-vs-environment (PvE) mode in which each playable character or “hero” in Overwatch would have skill trees that could be leveled up and customized over time, like in a role-playing game (RPG).
This skill tree PvE demo was demonstrated to thousands of fans back at Blizzard’s BlizzCon expo in 2019, and players got hands-on playtests with a taste of what Overwatch 2 was initially planned to be. In 2019, fans widely hailed the skill tree PvE demo as impressive, and player sentiment was high.
Introducing Illari ☀️
— Overwatch (@PlayOverwatch) August 10, 2023
But the PvE mode was canceled and the original Overwatch was sunset, forcing fans onto a sequel that didn’t live up to expectations.
“They should make a sequel that includes the whole PvE experience we were promised with skill trees and call it Overwatch 2,” one sarcastic review reads, which has received over 9,000 “helpful” votes from other Steam users.
In May, Overwatch Game Director Aaron Keller apologized to players and explained in a blog post that PvE content was scrapped because the team was “never able to bring together all of the elements needed to ship a polished, cohesive experience.”
Overwatch was always intended to evolve from being a first-person shooter (FPS) game to an FPS PvE game, but then ultimately to a larger-scale massively multiplayer online (MMO) game, Keller wrote.
“We had an exciting, but gargantuan vision,” Keller added, “and we were continuously pulling resources away from the live game in an attempt to realize it.”
Instead, Overwatch 2 offered improved graphics, audio, a few new heroes, and a new game mode type called Push, among other features. Just this week, Overwatch 2 released a new “Invasion” event, with story-based “missions” and a new support hero, Illari.
But Steam reviewers decried the franchise’s switch from an upfront payment (originally $40) to a free-to-play model with a Battle Pass and cosmetics that have to be purchased when they were previously unlockable for free in the first game.
“Overwatch 2 has no respect for you, it’s an attempt to pry open your wallet while masquerading as the game it used to be,” one Steam reviewer wrote in a post that has received nearly 16,000 “helpful” votes. Another user described the game as a "scammy dumpster fire."
Multiple other reviewers argued that Overwatch’s vast world of user-generated pornography was better than Blizzard’s own sequel. Others suggested gamers play Team Fortress 2 instead—a first-person team shooter game first released in 2007 that shares some similarities with Blizzard’s title.
But as Steam reviewers decry Blizzard’s past choices, the game is still seeing players log on. Steamdb data shows that Overwatch 2 had over 75,000 concurrent players at peak earlier today, and that stat doesn’t include players logging into the game via BattleNet. Over 70,000 viewers are also watching streamers play the game on live streaming site Twitch, making it the 10th-most popular game on the site.
Blizzard and Valve did not immediately respond to Decrypt’s requests for comment.