Overwatch 2’s visual design leaves fans feeling unsatisfied

Overwatch 2’s visual design and user interface leave fans of Blizzard’s latest game feeling deeply unsatisfied. After multiple periods of Overwatch 2 server downtime and several bugs, including one causing random purchases in the store, players who have managed to spend time with the multiplayer game seem to largely have one thing in mind – it’s fun to play, but its presentation is just … bland.

Blizzard made a large number of changes to Overwatch 2 in its sequel, which led players to feel excited about its presentation. Gone are the medals and player cards at the end of matches, gone is the “fire” mechanic that lit up player portraits when they were on a hot streak. Blizzard spoke before launch about their decision to remove them – in many cases because they felt they caused increased player toxicity – but at what cost are these changes coming?

Both Twitter and the Overwatch 2 Reddit have been abuzz with posts bemoaning missing features, calling the game’s UI a “stripped down version of OW1,” or voicing various issues with the new UI design. One of the most common complaints is the end-of-round screen, which players note feels “low-effort” with simple blues and reds that don’t match the default palette and don’t adjust with your team’s color settings like first game done.

Others mention the new scoreboard, which many feel is confusing to read at a glance and uncomfortable to look at mid-match due to the short opening animation. It also feels a bit counterintuitive to Blizzard’s decision to remove medals and player cards – if there’s concern about players highlighting their teammates for ‘underperforming’, then a screen that highlights all of your key stats in a match seems like a complete no-brainer. wrong move. Players also say they miss rooting for the enemy team after a match, and I agree. Sometimes you really have to give it to them. One commenter notes, “It’s such a morale booster to be recognized by enemies.”

The “fire” mechanic was a purely cosmetic bonus for performing well – your player portrait would go up in flames and I’d usually get a festive voice line from your character to match. Rather strangely, the voice lines are still there, suggesting that the engineer still exists behind the scenes. Fans say they’re “hopeful” this means the feature could return – one notes, “I didn’t expect ‘fire’ to be one of the things I miss most about OW1.” Even in matches where things don’t go your way, it can be nice to have that feedback revealed – especially for courses like support where it can often be less obvious.

It’s not just the UI that annoys players, as many do expressing frustration in his character redesigns, especially the new character portraits. The new-look art brings all the characters into somewhat similar form – and, in many cases, better represents their in-game models – but lacks a certain personality and pizzazz. Junkrat in particular stands out: Gone are his missing hairs and charred face in favor of a glamorous steampunk catwalk model with perfectly coiffed hair. Also missing from the game is Ana’s parrot, who seems to have flown the nest.

As for the game’s models, longtime concept artist and animator Tommy Millar took to Twitter to discuss the new look for the returning cast, noting that “The universal direction here seems to have been ‘busier, more detail, more sci-fi.’ Millar points to redesigns like Junkrat and Mei that take away from the ‘wearable’ storytelling’ by removing visual information from their clothing and observes that ‘To me, it only takes away from the essentials’.

Some of the new legendary skins are also coming under fire – the top post on the subreddit at the time of writing asks why many of the fancier (and more expensive) skins for Overwatch 2’s new heroes often look less exciting than their defaults. Junker Queen’s legendary Wastelander and Circuit Breaker skins are highlighted, both of which give the Aussie tank a fairly simple black outfit and hair dye. By comparison, her default look boasts spikes on her gauntlet, a fun graphic design on a ripped blouse, and her full-length faded blue mohawk. This left players playing a guessing game of “which skin is the legendary”, with many saying they would have guessed the default skin was the paid one.

Similar remarks are made in support of newcomer Kiriko’s Athleisure legendary skin, which gives her a new coat in place of her usual robes, but barely changes the appearance of her leggings, with no visual changes to her shoes or gear. There’s a slightly bigger difference to Sukajan’s skin – currently available via Twitch drops – but still a minor change. Thankfully, Hinotori’s skin has a more dramatic look similar to what fans have come to expect from the class’ legendary skins, but you’ll need the premium battle pass to get your hands on it.

It’s important to stress that it’s not all doom and gloom – many upvoted posts and many of the comments say they’re enjoying Overwatch 2 despite the issues. One thread says that the game “is extremely fun and the majority of its problems are fixable”, and that certainly seems fair. If there is a demand for these features that have been removed, perhaps they could return. Other users have started sharing their own fun ideas for what systems like a new endgame screen might look like. Players, however, are wary of the future – one quips: “Sure they can be fixed, but that doesn’t mean Blizzard will fix them.

If you want to try things out for yourself, our Overwatch 2 list and guide to the Overwatch 2 meta at launch will help you find your place. We’ve also got a walkthrough of Overwatch 2’s competitive classes and a full Overwatch 2 settings guide. It’s not long before the Overwatch 2 Halloween event kicks off – traditionally responsible for some of the first game’s best outfits, we’re hoping it brings new appearances that cause more joy.

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