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Overwatch vs. Overwatch 2: What are the differences?

Tracer in Overwatch 2.
Tracer in Overwatch 2. (Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

Overwatch 2 is on the horizon, but for many people, it's unclear what it offers that you won't be able to get in the original Overwatch when Overwatch 2 arrives. Don't worry, though — we're here to provide all the answers. Here's the lowdown on everything that the first Overwatch game will get you, as well as what content will be exclusively limited to Overwatch 2.

Everything you get with the first Overwatch

Overwatch heroes

Source: Blizzard Entertainment (Image credit: Source: Blizzard Entertainment)

Primarily, the original Overwatch provides access to the famous player-versus-player (PvP) gameplay experiences that have taken the gaming community by storm in the last several years since Overwatch's original release. This includes all of the heroes and maps that have come out since 2016, but it also will consist of the new heroes, maps, and tug-of-war Push game mode that will come out when Overwatch 2 does. Content that comes out after Overwatch 2 does will also be made available for the original game. Essentially, the first Overwatch is your ticket to the franchise's multiplayer suite.

The first Overwatch is perfect for people who only care about PvP content.

In addition to the PvP content, the original Overwatch will also get the engine update and graphical overhaul that Overwatch 2 is bringing. This will make the game look sharper overall, and will hopefully make on-screen information less messy and easier to process as a result.

Finally, the first Overwatch gives you the opportunity to get all the cosmetic items in the game, which you can earn by getting loot boxes from leveling up your account. These include skins, sprays, victory poses, and voice lines for all of the different heroes.

Everything exclusive to Overwatch 2

Overwatch 2

Source: Blizzard Entertainment (Image credit: Source: Blizzard Entertainment)

Overwatch 2 is more like an expansion to the first Overwatch than an entirely new game. As such, it includes everything mentioned above, as well as some exclusive content.

The main thing you get in Overwatch 2 that you don't get in the first game is a brand new four-player cooperative player-versus-environment (PvE) Story Mode. It will have specific heroes and will significantly advance the story of Overwatch forward, which is something that fans have been begging developer Blizzard to do ever since the original game released in 2016. In addition to the Story Mode, there will also be Hero Missions. These are levels that are designed to be highly replayable and will focus less on story, allowing players to use whatever heroes from the Overwatch roster that they want.

Overwatch 2 will be the best option for players who want to experience PvE gameplay as well as PvP.

In both the Story Mode and the Hero Missions, players will also be able to upgrade their heroes in interesting ways that are not (and will not be) present in the PvP modes. These upgrades include things like Reinhardt's Earthshatter having a 360-degree area-of-effect, Lucio's boop killing foes if they are knocked into walls, and Tracer's Pulse Bomb explosion spreading to enemies who are near the one she sticks. As the release of Overwatch 2 gets closer, we'll know more about how each hero can be upgraded. For now, though, information is scarce.

Overall, Overwatch 2 will be ideal for players who are interested in enjoying both PvP and PvE content with Overwatch and also will be perfect for folks who are invested in the Overwatch story and want to see where it goes next.

Your thoughts

What do you think of the PvE content that is exclusive to Overwatch 2? Do you think you'll be buying the sequel to check out the new story content and hero upgrades? Let me know. Personally, I'm probably going to get the game, although I hope that they come up with a system that makes upgrading to Overwatch 2 from the first Overwatch cost less than buying the game brand new.

Overwatch 2 has no release date to speak of, but you can get the original game right now on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.

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.

  • I will definitely get Overwatch 2, I love single player content, so I have no qualms with paying for it.
  • My sentiments exactly. I'll enjoy this more than PVP, especially doing PVE with my 3 kids (who all love Overwatch).