Overwatch 2's Battle for Olympus event is the worst in the game's history

Overwatch 2
(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

Recently, Overwatch 2's Battle for Olympus limited time event went live, offering players the chance to play an alternative free-for-all deathmatch mode of the same name. Rooted in the Greek mythology theme of Season 2, the Battle for Olympus sees eight players go head-to-head using seven heroes (Ramattra, Roadhog, Reinhardt, Junker Queen, Pharah, Widowmaker, and Lucio), each of whom has a snazzy Greek skin and a special "divine" variation of their Ultimate. 

These are significantly more powerful than the regular versions, as they have novel bonus effects and also provide temporary buffs to the rest of a hero's kit when used. For example, Hades Pharah can move around while using Divine Barrage and shoots three rockets at once for a short time afterwards, and Medusa Widowmaker can freeze enemies looking at her while her Divine Infra-Sight is active.

I was very excited for the mode back when Blizzard first announced it while marketing Overwatch 2 Season 2, as even then, it was clear that it would be one of the most creative Overwatch modes ever made. As someone that enjoyed the likes of Lucioball and Mei's Snowball Offensive quite a bit, I was looking forward to a new wacky and unique experience.

(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

Sadly, the Battle for Olympus plays terribly, to the point where I'd say it's the worst alternative mode yet. In its scrappy deathmatch environment, Cyclops Roadhog is the overwhelmingly dominant pick thanks to his deadly Chain Hook combo and Take a Breather self-healing. On top of that, his Divine Whole Hog is easily the best Ultimate in the mode, as it gives him an extra 600 HP, buffs his melee attacks with five times the damage and knockback, and allows him to repeatedly blast foes with powerful boulders. And because he dominates both the neutral game and Ultimate fights so effectively, most lobbies end up becoming Roadhog fests.

Another problematic character is Pharah, who can rain down death from above uncontested since most of the other heroes in the mode are ill-equipped to fight airborne targets. Widowmaker is a good counter in theory, but in reality, trying to snipe while the chaos of free-for-all deathmatch is happening around you is extremely difficult. Then, you have characters like Reinhardt and Ramattra, both of whom feel completely outclassed by other heroes. Reinhardt's slow speed, large hitbox, and reliance on melee damage are all hugely exploitable weaknesses in deathmatch that this mode did nothing to alleviate. Ramattra, meanwhile, struggles to secure eliminations since his kit is designed for sustainability over strong damage.

Ultimately, everything about the mode just feels poorly thought out and horribly balanced, and because of that, playing for more than a few games quickly becomes a chore. Even though all of the "god mode" abilities are cool, the novelty wears off fast.

(Image credit: Windows Central)

The other big issue with the mode is that it has painfully grindy challenges and underwhelming rewards. Earning one of the event's name card titles requires you to get a whopping 300 kills in the mode with the hero that it corresponds with, meaning that you'll need to score 2,100 kills in total if you want all seven of them. Since you can only get a max of 20 kills per match before it ends, you'd need to play at minimum 15 games to acquire each title. That grind is completely unreasonable, especially for an event that ends in just two weeks on January 19. 

Aside from the aforementioned titles and some hero voice lines, the only other reward on offer is Mercy's Winged Victory skin — a cosmetic from the original Overwatch that many players already have. Getting it is thankfully pretty easy since you just need to complete six of the event's easier XP-focused challenges, but the lack of something new here is a big disappointment.

To be clear, I'm glad that new Overwatch 2 players have a way to get this legacy skin. However, there's nothing here for veteran players to look forward to, and that's a huge bummer. One or two of the Greek skins from the game mode itself would have been a fantastic reward, but Blizzard chose to charge $20-30 for them in the microtransaction shop instead. Go figure.

(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

Overall, between the various gameplay issues with the event's game mode, its mountain of a progression path, and the lack of fresh and exciting rewards, the Battle of Olympus stands out as the worst event in Overwatch history. The concept of the event and the new Greek skins are phenomenal, but it's tough to enjoy them when the gameplay is a frustrating mess and none of the skins can be acquired without opening your wallet.

Overwatch 2 is available now on Xbox Series X|S, Windows PC, PS5, PS4, and Nintendo Switch. It's arguably one of the best Xbox shooters available, and since it's free-to-play, it doesn't cost anything to check it out. Alternatively, players can purchase the Overwatch 2: Watchpoint Pack that provides access to a Premium Battle Pass, 2,000 Overwatch Coins, and a bundle of unique Legendary skins.

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Overwatch 2: Watchpoint Pack

The $40 Overwatch 2: Watchpoint Pack offers fans a variety of benefits that will allow them to get guaranteed access to a Premium Battle Pass track, unlock some unique rewards, provides some in-game currency to use, and more.

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Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.