For the longest time, Team Fortress 2 was considered the staple of team-based shooters. Although Counter-Strike was always more popular, it didn’t have the same emphasis on building a balanced team composition and experimenting with classes.
While TF2 isn’t as complex as Dota 2 or League of Legends, it does have some similarities to MOBAs. Most notably, you need to pick the right classes for a specific map and situation. Furthermore, there’s much more emphasis on team play than there is on shooting.
Over the years, we’ve seen numerous attempts to replicate TF2’s success. Finally, with Overwatch, we have a game that uses the concept and elevates it to the next level.
As someone who has played similar titles all his life, I recommend that you try both of these. Team Fortress 2 is more suitable if you’re looking for a simple yet chaotic experience. Overwatch is better for those who like to strategize and prefer the mix of MOBA and FPS.
If you’re looking for a technically advanced FPS with lots of emphasis on team play, you can’t go wrong with Overwatch.
The game was released by Blizzard on May 3rd, 2016. A few years before that, the company was focused on another major project called Titan. It was supposed to be a mix of team-based shooters such as TF2 and MOBAs like League of Legends and Dota 2. Although the company scraped Titan, it used a lot of its resources to create Overwatch.
Although the title had lots of issues in the first few years, most of them are resolved by now. In my opinion, the first iterations of the game lacked content and suffered from balance issues. As a result, the product felt dull and uninspiring despite the fact it functioned properly and looked nice.
Nowadays, the game feels much better and provides a complete experience. The recent introduction of Overwatch 2 gives us a new mode and a few new maps and characters. It is fantastic for gamers who like to have fun with their friends.
I have to give credit to Blizzard for bringing new and interesting concepts to a genre that started to get stale. Instead of creating a generic shooter, they added a unique ability system to keep matches fresh and engaging. Furthermore, these abilities add another layer of complexity that MOBA fans can appreciate.
Team Fortress 2
Although TF2 didn’t age well, the game experienced a major resurgence in the last two years. Team Fortress 2 was made by Valve and released on October 10th, 2007. It features nine unique classes, further classified as offensive, defensive, and support characters. Each one of them has different weapons, stats, and strategies.
Compared to other games of that time, TF2 gave players more freedom of choice. Unlike Counter-Strike, where you have a weapon shop, or games like Quake 3, where you collect them on the ground, every character in this title comes with a default set of items. By simply swapping classes, you can have a different experience each time.
Another thing that goes in TF2’s favor is the funky graphics, environments, and character models. The game doesn’t take itself seriously, which makes a big difference compared to other shooters that try to be gritty and realistic.
The thing I especially like is the fact that teams can have up to 16 players. If we also consider all the classes and strategies, this makes for lots of insane action on the screen. It’s the type of game that you can thoroughly enjoy even if you don’t win.
Nowadays, shooters have become too serious. Most players are just grinding MMR points, causing toxicity and stress. Team Fortress is much more casual and is one of the rare FPSs nowadays that gamers play for fun.
Main Differences Between Overwatch vs Team Fortress 2 are:
These are the main differences between Overwatch vs Team Fortress 2:
- Overwatch has beautiful graphics, whereas Team Fortress 2 feels outdated.
- Overwatch has an ability system, whereas Team Fortress 2 doesn’t.
- Overwatch has 3 classes, whereas Team Fortress 2 has 9.
- Overwatch heroes can often perform different tasks, whereas characters in Team Fortress 2 have to fill a specific role.
- Overwatch provides a more competitive experience, whereas Team Fortress 2 is more casual.
- Overwatch features much more mechanics, whereas Team Fortress 2 is simpler.
Team Fortress 2 vs. Overwatch Storylines
Overwatch is set in the not-too-distant future. During the 2040s, the robots known as Omnics started an open rebellion against humankind. These events came to be known as the Omnic Crisis. After trying different solutions, human leaders finally decided to create a paramilitary battalion known as Overwatch.
These soldiers were the best every country could offer, possessing various skills that would ultimately help them win against Omnics. After the war, human leaders decided to keep Overwatch as a type of global police power. But as time went on, the members of this faction grew distant, ultimately leading to the company’s dissolution.
The criminal organizations and terrorist groups now loom above citizens of the world, realizing there’s no one to protect them. The most dangerous organization of them all, Talon, is hell-bent on causing a new Omnic Crisis. Winston, one of Overwatch’s most reputable members, decided to reform the group and put a stop to all current and future threats.
Although this is your generic “end of the world” storyline, I like the international flavor. Each country provided its best operatives to tackle the incoming threat. This gives the story a universal feel as if we’re all forced to band together against common foes.
According to Blizzard, they wish to create a wholesome world. Knowing the company, they will likely start releasing additional content in the form of videos, artwork, books, and other merchandise they can sell. And while I don’t appreciate their money-grabbing practices, I do love the fact that the loyal fans will have extra content to enhance their experience.
Team Fortress 2
When you start the game, there isn’t a big storyline or something of that sort that would attract you to the titles. As it usually goes with shooters, the company focused on gameplay, putting storytelling in the rearview mirror. However, players could learn more about the TF2 world through subsequently published comics and other content releases.
Given the game’s tone, it shouldn’t be surprising that TF2’s story is completely whacky. We have a baby talking in the womb and being abducted by an eagle, a mercenary team consisting of Billy the Kid, Abraham Lincoln, Nikola Tesla, and Sigmund Freud, a pregnancy machine, etc.
Basically, the story dates back to 1822 and the birth of Blutarch, Gray, and Redmond. For the purpose of the story, we’ll avoid talking about Gray and focus on the conflict between Redmond (who later on formed the RED team) and Blutarch (owner of the BLU team).
These brothers were entrusted with the powerful Mann Co., but due to the fact they couldn’t find common grounds, they were forced to battle each other.
They created two mercenary teams consisting of 9 operatives, which is a reference to TF2 classes. As previously mentioned, one team is called BLU, and the second one is called RED. By using immortality machines, Blutarch and Redmond have managed to survive to this day and are still vying for control of the company.
There’s much more in between, and none of it makes sense. Anyway, you have blue and red teams, both of which are equally bad. So, your task is just to ensure the victory of one of these two brothers.
Team Fortress 2 vs. Overwatch Visual Appearance
In my opinion, graphic is one of the game’s main selling points. The ability and weapon effects are fantastic, and the background textures are every bit incredible. I also like the information interface, although it looks crowded at times.
Overwatch reminds me of numerous other modern shooters that focus on bright colors and vibrant backgrounds. It’s much more polished than games such as Fortnite, and I prefer it to Valorant and Apex Legends.
The characters look unique, and you can relatively easily distinguish them from one another, even at a distance. Weapons with store-bought skins are noticeably different, with numerous intricate details. Projectiles have lots of colors, and they sometimes meld into equally colorful backgrounds. Exchanges between the teams are often a sight to behold.
Anyway, whether you like this visual style or not, you have to admit that the graphics look really nice.
Team Fortress 2
It’s really hard to make a proper comparison between these two games, as they belong to completely different eras. Team Fortress 2 looked pretty sweet when it first came out, but it simply can’t hold a candle to modern games such as Overwatch.
The character models don’t have many details to them. It’s as if a first grader took a bunch of simple geometric shapes and glued them all together. The character’s arms look like twigs when you’re holding a weapon from the first-person perspective.
Although Overwatch has much better graphics with more details, the styles are relatively similar (although from different eras). You can even notice some similarities between the characters’ moves. For example, how Engineer and Torbjorn use their contraptions.
So, I wouldn’t be surprised if Blizzard’s developers drew inspiration from TF2 and built upon it.
Team Fortress 2 vs. Overwatch Gameplay
Overwatch places a lot of emphasis on team play. A large number of spells, such as barriers and certain heals, are tailor-made for players grouped together. In that regard, the success of certain strategies can vary based on how close you are to each other.
Offensive spells work in a similar manner. Some of them, most commonly ultimates, work in an area of effect, making them a perfect counter against stacked enemies. Success is often determined by your ability to assess the situation and use the right spell at the right moment. Although shooting is still important, it’s secondary to ability use.
Similar to MOBAs, Overwatch allows teams to experiment with compositions and strategies. Maps and modes add another layer of complexity, so certain approaches might be more suitable for certain situations.
The thing that separates this title from other shooters is that it’s much more dependable on the individual hero’s strength. Certain characters were immensely overpowered during the game’s history, making them the first pick or first ban. So, I’ve watched numerous pro games where inferior players managed to snatch the win due to their picks.
Team Fortress 2
My personal experience with Team Fortress 2 is that it’s incredibly chaotic. Regular games support up to 16 players, where everyone is doing their thing. One-third of the players take Spies and often roam aimlessly around the map pretending they’re James Bond. In these matches, it’s hard to talk about strategy.
Luckily, the game has a competitive mode which is much less chaotic. So, if you’re looking for a genuine TF2 experience, you should definitely queue for one of these matches.
Although characters in Team Fortress 2 aren’t as complex as those in Overwatch, they still feel unique and have to perform critical roles. Finding the right 6-man composition is crucial for winning competitive matches, and like other FPSs and MOBAs, you should use team chat for the best performance.
Unlike Overwatch, where certain heroes can step into different roles, you have much less room for experimenting in TF2. Each class has an optimal strategy and approach, and doing anything besides that would be counterproductive.
So, although people enjoying this game don’t have the same “team spirit,” they’re much more dependent on their teammates. For example, getting separated from the group with Scout will most likely lead to your quick demise. However, it’s worth noting that teamplay is significantly better in competitive games.
Team Fortress 2 vs. Overwatch Classes and roles
The thing that always bugged me about Overwatch is that Blizzard decided to call characters “heroes.” While this is probably an homage to Dota 2, it doesn’t make sense according to the game’s lore. Anyway, all heroes in the game can be separated into three roles/classes: tanks, damage, and support.
Tanks in Overwatch perform the same function as other frontliners in MOBAs. Their task is to go ahead of the team and take the brunt of the enemy onslaught.
Like in Dota 2 and League of Legends, their task is to initiate combat. They have various charges and other movement abilities that would allow them to close distance. Upon reaching opponents, they try to stun them or incapacitate them in some other way, buying allies time to close the distance.
Given the nature of shooters, it makes sense that tanks in Overwatch would have lots of different barrier skills. This allows them to take the point while simultaneously shielding the entire team from entrenched enemies. I feel that the barrier mechanic is simply incredible and adds a lot to the title.
Damage dealers, or DPS, are your run-of-the-mill carries. They have significantly more damage than tanks and supports and can take enemies in just a few bullets.
As it turns out, most of them have significant defensive drawbacks, most notably a low health pool. They compensate for this with various mobility skills that help them escape enemies or get into the fray. DPS are opportunists, having to keep their distance and go in for the kill at the most opportune time.
The thing I like about these heroes is that many of them have tracking skills. This makes them much more than simple assassins, as they provide a valuable utility to their team.
As you can presume, support characters have various skills focused on healing and buffing allies. Although they’re somewhat squishy, they are considered more durable than DPS just because of their self-healing and regenerative abilities.
Generally speaking, these characters are not meant to engage enemies. If they have offensive abilities, they’re extremely limited. However, as we’ve seen during Overwatch’s competitive history, many pros have found ways to turn these characters into offensive juggernauts.
Team Fortress 2
Although characters in TF2 aren’t as flashy as those in Overwatch, they still feel unique. Basically, each class has two or three weapons and sometimes abilities allowing it to perform a certain task. Furthermore, classes in Team Fortress 2 aren’t as interchangeable. Scout is your primary recon. Medic heals, and Engineer builds. As simple as that. We can categorize all classes in TF2 as offensive, defensive, and support.
Offensive (Soldier, Pyro, and Scout)
Offensive characters spearhead teams’ attacks and gather intelligence. Their main task is to clear the way for others and initiate clashes with the opponents.
Scouts are the fastest character in the game. Although they don’t offer much in terms of offense or defense, they’re great for taking strategic points. Soldiers are the generic class that offers a bit of everything, while Pyros are tanky, close combat specialists fantastic for ambushing opponents.
Defensive (Engineer, Demoman, and Heavy)
As the name implies, defensive characters are ideal for holding strategic areas. They’re generally slow, and have high health but also dish a lot of damage. To be effective with this class, you have to be patient and know map layouts.
The Engineer can create various contraptions, such as Sentry guns. They make Dispensers and Teleporters making it easier for allies to maneuver the base. Demoman sets up bombs and detonates them when enemies come nearby. Heavy has the highest health pool in the game and can dish a lot of damage in a short amount of time.
Support (Spy, Sniper, and Medic)
Support classes usually act alone and are not part of the main group. They perform specific tasks that can tip the balance of a match. Although these characters score fewer kills than the other ones, they’re vital for the team’s success.
Snipers and Spies are assassins meant to take out crucial targets. Snipers work at a distance, while Spies infiltrate opponents’ ranks and take out key targets at melee range. They can also sabotage machines and buildings. Medic is the only healer in the game. Aside from restoring health, he can provide various other buffs to teammates.
Team Fortress 2 vs. Overwatch Modes
Although Overwatch is set in the near future, most of the maps look like the current real-world location. Havana reminds me of today’s Havana, Dorado looks like a South American city, and Circuit Royal is inspired by Monte Carlo.
The fantastic thing about Overwatch maps is that they’re not interchangeable. In other words, each one of them is used for a specific mode. This makes them tailor-made for specific gameplay and strategies. Still, by the time Overwatch 2 came around, Blizzard introduced many more maps helping the game feel fresh.
Here are all the game modes and their goals.
In this mode, teams are split into attackers and defenders, and their goal is to escort or prevent the transport of a payload. Attackers need to reach the destination before the timer expires, while defenders take fortified positions and try to stop them. Every time attackers reach one of the checkpoints, they get some extra time on the clock.
While close to the payload, attackers regenerate health and help “push” it forward. The more attackers there are, the faster it moves. Similarly, if there aren’t any characters close to the payload for 10 seconds, it will move back to the previous checkpoint.
Hybrid mode combines the previously mentioned Escort and Assault. The match starts with the Assault rule set. Attackers try to rush two control points and capture them, while defenders prevent them from doing so. The attacking team has 4 minutes to take possession of the first checkpoint, and if they’re successful, they receive extra 3 minutes for the second one.
When both areas are under their control, a payload appears, signifying the start of the Escort phase.
During the Control mode, teams are vying for dominance over three randomly selected checkpoints. Once they capture a control zone, they start getting victory points shown in percentages. The first team to reach 100% wins the game.
To earn points faster, a team should try to snatch all three points, which is extremely hard as you would have to spread thin. A player has to stay close to a checkpoint to gain control. The more teammates you have in the area, the faster you’ll acquire it. Similarly, if there’s an enemy nearby, neither team can take control.
In Push mode, both teams are trying to push a giant robot closer to the enemy’s base. To take control of it, you need one or several teammates nearby. As soon as the opponent reaches your position, the robot stops moving.
In this mode, there aren’t attackers and defenders. Instead, both teams are simply trying to push the robot in different directions. The team that has pushed it more wins the match.
Overwatch also features 4 arcade modes:
- Elimination (win by killing the enemy team)
- Duel and Limited Duel (1 vs. 1 matches)
- Capture the Flag (teams trying to snatch a flag and carry it to their base)
- Deathmatch (free-for-all)
A fantastic thing about Arcade is that players can use custom rules. You also get lootboxes at the end of the matches.
Team Fortress 2
This mode is similar to Overwatch’s Escort mode. Basically, the attacking team is dragging a payload toward the goal while defenders are trying to stop them.
Arena mode is basically an elimination match between two teams. The first one to kill opponents is declared the winner. This mode is usually played on smaller maps and is quite hectic.
Capture the Flag
Basically the same as Capture the Flag in Overwatch.
During Control Point matches, teams try to take different checkpoints and gain points when they acquire them. Unlike Overwatch, where there is just one version of Control Point mode, Team Fortress 2 has five: Symmetrical Control Point, Attack/Defend, End of the Line Attack/Defend, Medieval Attack/Defend, and Domination Control Point.
King of the Hill
In King of the Hill, both teams try to take a single checkpoint in the center of the map. When one of the teams captures the zone, they should hold it for three minutes to win the match.
Mann vs. Machine
This is an extremely cool mode where a single team of 3 to 6 players tries to fend off weaves of robots carrying a bomb to your base. There are 5 operations and 29 missions in this mode, which makes it stand out from the rest.
Mannpower is a modified Capture the Flag. In this case, you’re trying to retrieve a briefcase instead of a flag, and there are numerous powerups you can use. Another thing that makes this mode unique is the grappling hooks.
Aside from these modes, there are also PASS Time, Player Destruction, Territorial Control, and Special Delivery. All in all, TF2 has much more interesting modes than Overwatch.
What Does Overwatch Do Better?
Here are some things that Overwatch does better than Team Fortress 2:
- Overwatch has superior graphics.
- Much more emphasis on team play.
- Better and more extensive class system.
- Abilities make the game much more complex and rewarding.
What Does Team Fortress 2 Do Better?
Here are some things that Team Fortress 2 does better than Overwatch:
- More modes.
- Less stressful.
- The characters and story are extremely funny and interesting.
- A great choice for people who like chaos.
- Easy to get into, hard to master.
Which Is Better Overall and Why?
If you look at the player numbers, you might think that Overwatch is a much superior game. However, as someone who has tried both titles, I stayed with TF2 for a much longer time. Simply put, this title isn’t suffering from common issues that are plaguing modern games, such as being overly competitive.
Team Fortress 2 is an excellent choice if you’re just looking to shoot other players. It’s goofy, fast, and unrelenting. Every class feels different yet balanced. Although it’s easy to get ahold of the basics, it takes time to master them. Due to class limitations, you’re extremely dependent on teammates.
Classes in Overwatch are much more nuanced. Characters have specific roles but can easily transition into different ones. You’ll need lots of time to master some of them, which is a challenge in itself. The thing I like about Overwatch is that there’s more emphasis on team play. Then again, this also leads to more toxicity.
As controversial as it might sound, I would much rather play TF2 than Overwatch.
If you’re looking for something similar to these two games, you should try these:
- Rainbox Six Siege
- League of Legends
- Dota 2
- Unreal Tournament
- Apex Legends
- Borderlands 3
Question: What’s more popular, TF2 or Overwatch?
Answer: Based on the player number, you can easily tell that Overwatch is ways ahead of Team Fortress 2. It’s a great game with fantastic graphics and lots of increasing characters. However, this isn’t to take from TF2, a title that still has a large player base 15 years after its inception.
Question: Why is TF2 so great?
Answer: TF2 forces you to play differently depending on your character. Each class has its advantages and drawbacks, forcing you to a certain style. This also means that you’ll have a completely new experience when you try another class.
Question: Is Overwatch similar to TF2?
Answer: In many ways, Overwatch and TF2 are similar games. Both focus on team play and executing specific roles. Their modes are similar, so it doesn’t take much time to transition from one title to another.
TF2 vs Overwatch: Conclusion
There’s a good reason why TF2 has been around for such a long time. Valve has done an amazing job of adding content over time, and this investment has started to pay dividends. The game has doubled its player base since 2012, which is almost unheard of.
Despite the sequel, Overwatch’s player base hasn’t increased that much in 2022. In my opinion, the reason for its popularity lies in the fact it was made by Blizzard. My main critique of this title is balancing. Although this is a common issue in MOBAs, it’s even more noticeable in Overwatch.
As someone who doesn’t like stress and doesn’t like to lose due to exploits, I would have to go with Team Fortress 2 as my preferred choice.