Marvel Rivals – Another Overwatch Clone Or Possibly A Better Game?

Despite initial allegations of cloning, new reviews suggest Marvel Rivals might be a better game than Overwatch.

Marvel rivals - an Overwatch clone or a better game
Marvel Rivals - an Overwatch clone or a better game

I knew a comparison with Blizzard’s Overwatch was inevitable from the start when I watched the Marvel Rivals trailer. Now that the registration for Closed Alpha Testing has ended and the initial reviews are live, the comparison between both games has become more clear.

Key Takeaways

  • Marvel Rivals introduced familiar Marvel characters which gives it an edge over Overwatch’s original lore. 
  • While it certainly took inspiration from Overwatch, Rivals did a better job at innovating gameplay mechanics to give players something new and more enjoyable.
  • The gameplay is also ruthless and won’t forgive your mistakes. Overwatch on the other hand is flexible and its characters can survive big blows.
  • The third-person perspective perfectly complements the game’s vibrant graphics and players get to enjoy every character they are playing with.
  • With many playable modes and challenges, it has strong prospects for a big competitive community. It might even be a contender against Overwatch’s huge competitive community.

The question still stands there. Does Marvel Rivals offer enough unique elements to stand on its own? Is it the next big thing in team-based shooters? Or is it just another clone riding on Overwatch’s success?

Personally? I believe that games can take inspiration from each other and we shouldn’t call it cloning if a new game comes up with better mechanics and a different storyline. The same is the case with the team-based shooter genre. Overwatch took inspiration from Team Fortress 2 and now Marvel Rivals is doing the same (except in a better way).

Therefore, before giving a final verdict, it is better to keep a few things in mind.

First Thing First: The Marvel Universe Advantage

Unlike Overwatch which introduced players to a new world with fresh lore, the new team-based shooter boasting a huge lineup of Marvel characters is set in the Marvel universe. This is actually a very decisive factor and possibly the standout feature of Marvel Rivals.

Marvel's complete cast is featured in Rivals
Every major Marvel character is featured in Rivals. (Image source: Steam)

The franchise with millions of fans around the globe never fails to utilize this advantage neither in movies and comics nor in video games. I think it is a good thing they keep everything connected, just like Apple’s ecosystem. This familiarity gives Marvel Rivals a significant edge.

Inspiration To Innovation

Overwatch’s passives are very subtle and balanced. However, these per-hero passives are very unique to each character. For example, Mercy’s Regeneration passive can’t be used by Hanzo and similarly, Mercy can’t use Hanzo’s Wall Climb passive.

On the other hand, Marvel Rivals introduces a more innovative system for character abilities. While each hero has a specific passive ability, like in Overwatch, they also have a secondary passive that activates when paired with compatible heroes.

For example, You can use Iron Man’s Arc Reactor with Captain America’s shield to cover your teammates. The same is the case with Spiderman and Black Widow where their passives complement each other to increase their stealth and mobility.

I think this is pretty cool. The basic inspiration is certainly from Overwatch but it is upgraded in a Marvel-ish style. 

Ruthless And Chaotic Gunplay With Better Crowd Control

In Overwatch, there are chances you can survive with certain characters through risky plays due to healing or other specific abilities. This is not the case with Marvel Rivals. It punishes you immediately and punishes you hard. 

If you are out of position or make a risky move, you can be eliminated immediately. This creates a fast-paced, chaotic, but enjoyable experience where each player’s decisions have immediate and significant impacts on the match. The interesting thing is, even with its ruthlessness, it has better crowd control than Overwatch, which is often frustrating.

For example, Iron Man’s repulsor beams and flight capabilities provide excellent mobility and offensive power. However, using his flight ability to engage enemies from unexpected angles can be a double-edged sword. You can easily get him killed if you fly Iron Man too deep into enemy territory without support.

This is another factor that differentiates Rivals from Overwatch. Personally, I find Rivals’ gunplay more engaging as it involves strategic planning and deep caution. 

The Comic Book Charm And Third-Person Perspective

Marvel Rivals has a vibrant, comic book-inspired look. The game’s art style and character designs are true to the Marvel legacy, with cel-shaded graphics that make it feel like you’re playing in a comic book. Again, this is very different from Overwatch which has a more polished, animated style.

Iron-man in Marvel Rivals
Iron-man in Marvel Rivals (image source: Official Trailer)

I think one reason why the game is in the third-person perspective is so players can actually look at and enjoy their favorite heroes in action. On the other hand, Overwatch is playable only in the first-person perspective. If you ask me, I usually enjoy it more in first person but again, what use of playing as Iron Man when you can’t savor his deeply polished looks?

Matchmaking And Competitive Scene

As appreciated online by many reviewers, queue times in Marvel Rivals are notably short, even with a limited player base in the alpha test. And mind you, it is a huge plus point from me against Overwatch with longer matchmaking periods. Hopefully, as it looks now, the matchmaking will be even better after the final release when hundreds of thousands of new players will join it. 

Talking about lots of players joining it, Rivals also holds a huge potential for competitive e-sports. With the game offering a variety of challenges, daily and weekly objectives, and seasonal events, the prospects for a thriving competitive community look good. Whether it can break Overwatch’s stronghold in the competitive community or not is something that only time can tell.

Overall, the game looks better and fun than Overwatch in almost every way possible and that’s the only thing that matters.

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