Recently, I was given the opportunity to jump into the early access build of Overwatch 2 Season 6 and attend a presentation and interview hosted by the Overwatch devs. Season 6 is titled Invasion, and is the biggest content drop in the history of Overwatch 2, bringing PVE story missions, a brand new Support hero, a new game mode, limited-time game modes, new maps, the Hero Mastery and progression system, and much more to look forward to.
I’ve been a dedicated player of Overwatch for a few years now, and I’ve seen the game through the numerous highs and lows. However, if there’s one thing I’m certain of, it’s that Season 6 will be a lot of fun, and will have something for all players to enjoy.
New Support Hero – Illari
With the arrival of Season 6, the Overwatch 2 roster gains a new Support Hero. Meet Illari, a Peruvian youth with a bright and sunny appearance and a cloudy personality. Illari is quite unique in the form that, unlike other new Heroes, she has no existing connections to the characters who are already in the game, which creates this mysterious and intriguing aura to her persona.
On the surface, Illari has a great character design with some seriously cool links to the sun, wielding a solar-powered rifle and carrying a fierce glow on the battlefield. She is the first Overwatch 2 character to have a custom shader for her model that alters something about her appearance depending if she’s standing in the sunlight or the shadows, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled to see how this affects her in-game! It’s little details like that that makes characters so much more unique and interesting, especially as Illari is quite mysterious on the surface as an individual with no links to other Heroes.
Upon selecting Illari, I was met with her intense, brightly illuminated gaze and a grumble about carrying her burdens alone, alluding to some potential tragedies of her past. Honestly, in contrast to her sunny theme, Illari is a little bit of an emo kid at heart – she has some angst to her, and I absolutely love her for it.
She seems quite moody and grim in her voice lines, with the majority of them hinting towards tragedy and loss. However, unlike the familiar doom and gloom persona of Reaper, Overwatch’s default edgelord villain, it’s also very obvious that she is fiercely brave, a passionate fighter, and has a good heart. Maybe poor Illari just needs a friend – after all, as a true newbie to not just us as players, but all of the other Overwatch Heroes, she’s a bit of a loner.
It will certainly be interesting to see how she develops with other individuals. I can see her and other youthful characters such as Kiriko, Brigitte, or D.Va potentially all becoming best friends, or absolutely hating each other – no in between. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. But, as far as Illari’s personality and character goes, she’s moody, she’s a lone wolf, she’s fierce, and she’s a complete force to be reckoned with. Trust me, you won’t be able to help yourself from loving her.
Illari has a really interesting Hero kit that allows you to play her in a variety of different styles, meaning she can be utilized by both high-ranking players with strong mechanical skills as well as lower elo players who may opt to take a less aggressive approach to her playstyle. Here’s a quick rundown of Illari’s abilities and how I found them to play during my time spent exploring her potential.
Illari’s main weapon is her Solar Rifle, which is powered by the sun. Illari’s Primary Fire is a long-ranged auto-charging rifle shot. This shot feels most mechanically similar to a Sojourn Railgun fire but inflicts less damage. This makes Illari quite an offensive Support Hero, and gives her the strong capability of helping her team to secure picks, all whilst her Healing Pylon continues providing heals to the team on her behalf. This might sound a little confusing, but I’ll explain it more below.
Illari’s Secondary Fire is a medium-ranged solar beam that consumes the solar energy within her Solar Rifle. This beam mechanically feels quite similar to Zarya’s primary fire beam and is perfect for topping up targets with a stronger burst of heals to turn team fights in your favor. However, this heal beam should only be used in short bursts, as the solar energy can quickly be consumed, and will need a couple of seconds to recharge once empty.
Illari’s E key ability is her Healing Pylon, which deploys a small turret-like device that will automatically provide bursts of healing to your team, similar to Lifeweaver’s heal bursts. This Healing Pylon can stick to objects, walls, and roofs, which allows you to be quite creative and clever with the positioning of the device. This Pylon will provide small bursts of healing to any teammates within range who have taken damage, allowing you to prioritize dealing damage and helping secure picks with your rifle when necessary, and then using your Secondary Fire to top up critical targets when needed.
Illari’s left-shift ability is called Outburst. This is a movement ability that also provides knockback to enemies. Outburst will launch Illari in whatever direction she is facing, and the jump key can be held to reach a higher peak of movement. This ability can be used in many scenarios, from moving to high ground to making space from enemies who are rushing you.
Lastly, Illari’s Ultimate Ability is titled Captive Sun. Upon activating her Ultimate, you will receive a short timer that allows you to launch an explosive ball of solar energy. Any enemies that are hit with this ball receive a temporary slowed status effect and will explode after taking a certain amount of damage.
The interesting thing about this Ultimate is that you can use it to inflict a chained reaction of kills, as the explosion damage from one kill may be enough to detonate the explosion on another enemy, and so on. Illari’s Captive Sun is perhaps the most offensive Support Ultimate in the entire game, which adds a lot of fun to her character and gameplay.
Illari is a very offensive, yet versatile Hero who appears to be suited to players of all styles and skill levels. I can see Illari fitting into many different team compositions with success and working together with other Support Heroes to pull off some very strong plays, especially in regards to her Ultimate, which is very strong when paired with the likes of Zen’s Discord Orb, or Ana’s Anti-Nade.
If you work well with your other Support and have clever positioning of her Pylon, you can let the Pylon perform most of your heals throughout a team fight while you back up your allies by picking off low HP enemies from afar. Additionally, Illari also has quite a strong potential to play as a flanker, perhaps more so than any other Support. With her Healing Pylon, you can position it down corridors or hallways to provide yourself healing when initiating a 1v1, and the knockback from your movement ability, Outburst, helps Illari retreat to safety when needed.
Overall, Illari is a great all-rounder Hero with a very strong ability kit. From my first impressions, she seems to play well on almost every map I’ve trialed and works well in a team composition with several different characters. Most importantly, every single time I play Illari, I feel like I’m having fun – even when the game doesn’t work out in my favor.
Null Sector has finally arrived to inflict acts of terrorism and doom on the world in Season 6 invasion’s PVE Missions, and it’s time for Overwatch to make a revival, gather new recruits, and go head to head to save the world from being overrun by an Omnic war led by none other than the villainous Tank Hero, Ramattra.
I have a deep love for the world of Overwatch and the characters that live within it, so witnessing some of these individuals reunite for the first time since Overwatch disbanded is an incredibly special way to kick off the first three missions of the PVE story mode. The dynamic between these characters is nothing short of beautiful, with all sorts of emotions running high – on multiple occasions I even found a slight tear in my eyes.
PVE is much more than just a secondary game mode, it’s a story of hope and bravery from heroes against the dark and intimidating forces of Null Sector, a narrative that gives us a deeper connection to the characters we love to play, and a chance to see certain characters interact for the very first time and build new friendships and dynamics.
The gameplay is bright, entertaining, and straightforward to follow. There was a part of me that was concerned for newer or more casual players who may find this mode overwhelming or get lost on what to do or how to defeat the various enemies. However, upon experiencing this mode for myself, I’m convinced that there will be so such issues.
Missions flow smoothly, with clear pathways and indicators for what you should do and where you should go, and for moments that may confuse players, the conversations between the Heroes involved in the mission will often guide you in the right direction. I loved this side of the gameplay, as it made me feel like I was right there with everyone on the frontlines, trying to form a plan with my allies to take down the various Null Sector enemies wreaking havoc across the world.
Furthermore, there are multiple heroes you can select to play for each role (unless a specific mission is centered around a particular hero), which adds an element of fun to the different teamwork combinations and hero conversations that you’ll hear throughout your playthrough. During the press interview with Blizzard, Overwatch 2 devs revealed there were as many as twelve thousand different voice line interactions between the various Heroes in PVE, meaning the possibilities for sly jokes, banter between the heroes, and even some butting of heads, are endless.
Certain heroes even have ability changes or tweaks for PVE mode, such as Winston, whose secondary fire can toggle onto multiple enemies at once, which is ridiculously fun to play with. I can assure you all that any Overwatch fan with an appreciation of the world and characters, is going to have a great time in these missions.
Invasion’s PVE missions are not only a great lore development and progression for longtime fans but also make the perfect entry point for newcomers to learn about the heroes and the story of the revival of Overwatch against the forces of Null Sector. To put it simply, both newbies and fans from the very beginning will both be able to find strong enjoyment in both the narrative of this game mode, and the entertaining, interactive missions that push the story forward.
Resistance – Rio De Janeiro
Resistance is the first of the three new PVE missions, kickstarting the story with the Overwatch Heroes answering Lucio’s distress call, begging for help in his hometown of Rio De Janeiro. It’s within this initial mission that you’ll witness firsthand the devastating invasion of Null Sector and the destruction that they are bringing to the world, while residents of these locations helplessly flee or attempt to fight back.
Resistance is the perfect way to kickstart the revival of the Overwatch organization, and there’s a sense of real satisfaction at getting to see Lucio’s Heroes come to aid him in battle. Furthermore, the story takes place in Rio, so you’ll also get to explore the destroyed ruins of the familiar Paraisio map from PVP as part of the experience. Seeing a familiar location such as this in such a state was quite jarring, and truly showcased just how devastating Null Sector is on the world. Thankfully, the Overwatch Heroes are here to help!
Liberation – Toronto
Liberation is the second adventure included in the initial three-mission PVE bundle launching with Invasion. This mission takes place in Toronto, home to both DPS Hero, Sojourn, and the PVP Push Map, New Queen Street. In this adventure, the reformed Overwatch heads over to Toronto after receiving reports of an ex-Overwatch agent tirelessly fighting back against Null Sector, vigilante style. Upon arrival, they run into their old friend and commander, Sojourn, who is doing her best to fend off Null Sector and evacuate the remaining citizens of the city as a solo act.
This mission is where some of the darker tones and events start to unfold regarding Null Sector’s Invasion, and the Omnic race in general, so don’t let the reunion fool you – things are just getting started. This mission is fast-paced and immersive, so much so that I struggled to tear my eyes away from the screen, even to blink.
There’s also a fun sense of adventure when it comes to where this mission is located, as it truly feels like you’re exploring the previously unknown side of the map that you can see from the edges of New Queen Street. I’ve always wondered what there is to discover in the background scenes of various Overwatch maps, and it seems PVE may be exploring that in more depth, which is a nice touch.
Ironclad – Gothenburg
The third of the three PVE missions included in Invasion is Ironclad, taking place in Gothenburg, home to Reinhardt’s close friend and DPS Hero, Tobjorn, and his beloved daughter and Support Hero, Brigitte. As Reinhardt and Brigitte make a surprise visit to see their family, Null Sector tracks them to this location and begins to throw the town into destruction and chaos. Thankfully, Tobjorn is prepared with tools from his trusty workshop, and Bastion, who has been living with him, is more than happy to help defend the city.
This mission is touching in several ways. It’s no secret that Reinhardt, Tobjorn, and Brigitte are extremely close, as Rein is one of Torb’s closest friends, and Torb’s daughter, Brig, has been training as Reinhardt’s squire over the years, now appearing alongside him as he answers the Overwatch recall. Hearing the numerous snippets of hearty banter and love shared between these three is extremely heartwarming, and helps to show how special the various dynamics between the characters of Overwatch are, even bringing a sense of light and humor to the grim reality of invasion and war.
Between Brigitte’s embarrassed sighs as Torb gloats at how much she’s grown and how proud of her he is, Reinhardt’s eye-roll-worthy complaints and jokes about Torb’s ways, and the little snippets of history and inspiration behind the latter’s inventions, these characters prove themselves to be some of the most endearing and beloved individuals in the game – all whilst defending Gothenburg from certain doom and keeping up against a high-intensity, faced-paced invasion!
Ironclad is the perfect tale to conclude the first set of PVE missions, fulfilling a wonderful tale of how the harmony of family, friendship, and love, can inspire each other to fight back in the toughest of times and make a stand against terror and destruction. However, if there’s anything certain, it’s that things with Null Sector are only just getting started.
If the rest of the PVE missions follow the same approach as Resistance, Liberation, and Ironclad, then I certainly can’t wait to see which new locations we’ll get to travel to next, as well as the expanded stories and dynamics of the numerous other characters stepping up to fight back against Null Sector.
The cinematics within the intro and outro to each mission uphold the high quality standard of previous Overwatch animations, evoke emotions, create hype and tension, and maintain a wonderful sense of storytelling, shaping the closest possible thing to the hypothetical Overwatch movie or TV show that many of us have always longed for. Already, I’m completely hooked on these adventures and incredibly eager to see how the rest of the story pans out.
New Game Mode – Flashpoint
Flashpoint is the brand new PVP game mode arriving this Season 6 in the Invasion content drop. In matches of Flashpoint, teams fight to control one of several different capture points located throughout the map, aiming to claim three of these points before the enemy to ensure victory. After playing Flashpoint on repeat for several hours, I can safely say that it’s probably my favorite game mode in Overwatch, other than KoTH / Control Maps, and I’ll explain exactly why below.
Gone are the problems and one-sided feeling matches that came with Push, the last new game mode. Instead, Flashpoint feels very balanced, with the maps for this game mode making the largest in Overwatch PVP history. These maps are completely symmetrical in design, giving teams the exact same advantage as to which route or approach they may take to control a Flashpoint, and plenty of variety to work wih. This game mode is not only fast-paced and fun, but combines the test of mechanical skill with teamwork and quick-thinking to get ahead of your opponents.
There’s also no significant respawn disadvantage to capturing points, as Flashpoints capture much slower than Control Points, giving your team plenty of time to get back and take control from the enemy. Flashpoint maps have numerous hallways, high ground locations, and plenty of cover to work with, meaning there’s no severe map disadvantages for certain Heroes at first glance.
Instead, there’s an element of mind games to Flashpoint, as teamwork, composition, and strategy are all key. Additionally, after a Flashpoint is captured, the next Flashpoint location is completely randomized, meaning each team will need to stay on their toes and be ready to adapt to whatever the match throws at them next. I’ve always enjoyed the fast-paced brawls of Overwatch 2, and Flashpoint seems to embody this very aspect at the core, creating the potential for some very entertaining and intense matches.
New Junk City
Currently, two maps are launching for Flashpoint. The first of these is New Junk City, an area within the familiar Junker Town location that clashes dystopian Wastelander elements with small cyberpunk touches, such as neon lights and bright-colored signs. There are also plenty of fun little easter eggs and visuals linking to the Junker Heroes, such as Junker Queen, Junkrat, and Roadhog.
This map even comes complete with an incredibly catchy guitar riff for the intro music, which I’m pretty sure is the same one from the song present in Junker Queen’s Origin Story. Seriously, best Overwatch map music ever, there’s no way you won’t find yourself getting pumped up for a match on New Junk City once you hear this tune.
The second Flashpoint map is Suravasa, the long-awaited Indian map that Overwatch fans have been holding out for. Suravasa is vibrant and eye-catching, with lots of intricate and delicate details, such as beautiful paintings and patterns scattered across the various buildings – just don’t get too distracted by the gorgeous visuals and forget to jump into the next team fight!
In the time I’ve spent with Flashpoint, I’ve found it to be an absolute blast, and hope that many more maps will be on the way to join Suravasa and New Junk City soon.
This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to content arriving with Overwatch 2’s Season 6 Invasion, with plenty more to look forward to, such as the Hero Mastery and Progression system, a brand new Battle Pass, new seasonal cosmetics, collectibles, event challenges, a brand new co-op Mission set in a new section of King’s Row titled Underworld, and of course, a brand new Competitive Season featuring the latest Hero arrival, Illari. Be sure to keep an eye out for the rest of our Overwatch 2 content, as we’ll be covering these in more depth along the way.