Over three years since its announcement, Overwatch 2’s long-awaited and highly-anticipated PvE mode has finally arrived. While fans have had story content in external media, such as comics and animation, these have almost always been set before the Recall cinematic, released in 2016. Overwatch’s future narrative begins with the launch of Overwatch 2: Invasion, featuring charming in-game cutscenes, delightful character interactions, and short but captivating gameplay.
However, this is just the beginning. With over seven years of build-up and the wide misunderstanding of the mode’s “cancellation,” players’ expectations for a fully-fledged campaign are understandably high. Overwatch 2: Invasion is not that — though it is an incredibly enjoyable experience that paves a promising path for the road ahead. To help you determine if Overwatch’s initial PvE offering is worth it for you, this is our review of Overwatch 2: Invasion.
The World Could Always Use More Heroes | Overwatch 2: Invasion Review
Overwatch 2: Invasion takes place shortly after Overwatch 2’s announcement cinematic, Zero Hour. Heroes of the past have answered Winston’s Recall just in time for a worldwide invasion by Null Sector, a terrorist organization of omnics led by Ramattra.
Invasion revolves around the newly reformed Overwatch team dealing with Null Sector’s initial worldwide attack through three total missions. Players will enlist the help of old friends, recruit new faces, and all-around kick robot ass.
Every mission occurs in a different country’s city, each uniquely distinctive and truly stunning. Rio and Toronto both massively expand upon the maps seen in Overwatch 2’s PvP mode, while Gothenburg is entirely new and my personal favorite of the three. Null Sector actively destroys and damages parts of the environment, requiring players to travel to new areas — such as a Null Sector warship — through transportation like an airship and Toronto’s subway.
All missions in Overwatch 2: Invasion are 4-player experiences, with one tank, two damage dealers, and one healer. Players can either group with friends and dive straight in or automatically matchmake with other players once a mission is launched. The heroes available to choose from depends on the selected mission, with Toronto having the widest choice of available characters.
Each mission involves fighting through waves of enemies to reach the next objective, such as setting up Gothernburg’s defenses or protecting key civilians in Toronto. The enemy variety in Invasion is refreshing to see compared to Overwatch Archive events, with their “destructible body” mechanic, in particular, being especially impressive.
Destroying specific parts of robots will cause their behavior to change. For example, players can disable a unit’s ranged weapon by aiming at their arm, forcing them charge at you with their melee weapon. Each robot has its own weaknesses players will discover as they progress, sometimes requiring players to switch up their strategies to counter them. Even when you’re not aiming for a particular spot, watching Null Sector take battle damage and actively adapt to it is phenomenal attention to detail.
Overwatch 2: Invasion’s first mission took me around fifteen minutes to complete, with the other two missions taking twenty to twenty-five minutes. My first playthrough on normal difficulty took a total of one hour to complete from start to finish, not including the extensive cutscenes that play before and after a mission.
Thankfully, replayability is a focus in Overwatch 2: Invasion. Completing a mission with a character unlocks new codex entries in Winston’s Lab, a new menu full to the brim with juicy lore segments that bring newbies up to speed and satisfies the cravings of those starving for more information about their favourite characters.
The dialogue you hear throughout each mission also changes depending on the combination of characters chosen, providing a relatively fresh experience each time you replay a mission both through a change of gameplay and the story you’re presented with for your team’s chosen characters. Blizzard told us that somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 voice lines were included in Invasion’s patch. I’ve replayed these missions countless times and still hear new lines, which are always wonderful to hear.
Invasion’s higher difficulties also aid in its replayability, being significantly more complex than the challenge modes we’ve experienced in Overwatch Archive missions. The only rewards for completing these are sprays (and bragging rights), however.
Cinematics and Character Interaction
One of the most exciting aspects of Overwatch 2: Invasion is seeing characters we’ve grown to love finally interact with each other outside of occasional quips in the spawn room. Each cutscene is charming and full of love for the franchise and fans, guaranteeing countless cheesy grins for the most dedicated Overwatch fans among us.
Character interaction inside of missions is mostly as compelling as their cutscenes, exploring characters’ personalities, thoughts, and feelings through witty back and forths. However, some heroes are far more focused than others, with a handful receiving little interaction both in-game and cutscenes.
Outside of the lore entries I mentioned earlier, we can also snoop into emails and texts between characters. Some of these made me burst out laughing and are perfectly written to suit the characters’ personalities, from D.va rage quitting a group chat due to lack of a gaming room and Tracer’s late-night typos and sass.
Overwatch 2: Invasion builds upon its world and characters more than any other piece of Overwatch media, and I can’t wait to see fans’ reactions on social media. However, Invasion’s story suffers unfortunately from a lack of conclusion.
Without spoiling any of its contents, Overwatch 2: Invasion mostly serves as a teaser for the future of Overwatch 2’s storyline. We learn new things and recruit fresh faces, but none of the questions raised in its cutscenes or dialogue are answered within these missions. The final cinematic, while excellent and wildly exciting, ends abruptly with a major teaser and left me wanting far more.
When asked about future story plans, Blizzard claimed that Invasion is just the beginning of a lengthy storyline that will be told through future PvE missions. Though how much those missions will cost and when they launch, we don’t currently know.
Overwatch 2: Invasion is full of charm, visually beautiful, and a blast to play with friends. Fans looking to learn more about their favorite characters and explore their world are in for a treat; however, its short length and lack of narrative conclusion do leave something to be desired.
Whether or not Overwatch 2’s PvE mode is worth your purchase depends on how you plan to play. Someone looking for a long campaign to enjoy once won’t find much sustenance in Overwatch 2 quite yet. Dedicated fans, on the other hand, will relish Invasion’s replayability and the dawn of a bright future for storytelling in Overwatch.
Overwatch 2: Invasion is available now for PC (via Steam and Battle.net), Xbox One, Xbox Series, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Nintendo Switch.
- This article was updated on August 11th, 2023