I’ve been dying to get my hands on Blizzard’s first-person hero shooter, Overwatch for ages now and with it finally reaching consoles via an open beta, I didn’t hesitate to get in amongst it.
I have to say I’ve been enjoying it immensely. If, and it is an important if and perhaps Overwatch’s biggest problem on consoles, a game is played correctly and players work together and focus on the objective, matches can be incredibly tense and have a real flow to them. Each character is memorable due their distinct personalities and they all vary massively, which makes every one completely different to play, different to learn. Some are better than others. Some you can learn immediately, others take time.
I played one match with every single character, and here are my impressions of each character from playing just that one game.
The first match I played in Overwatch was with the robotic ninja Genji. In that game I got “Play of the Game”, which immediately made me feel ace. I like Genji a lot. His primary weapon is the ninja star, which are effective from close to medium range, and he has a good sense of speed and movement. Not to mention a really satisfying “ultimate”, in which he whips out the katana and goes to town on fools.
Prior to actually playing Overwatch, McRee the cowboy was actually one of the characters I wanted to play as most – being slightly fascinated by cowboys and all. Unfortunately I didn’t really get a long with him at all. His only mean of attack is a magnum, which has a painfully slow fire rate, low bullet capacity and isn’t much use from a distance. His abilities are a stun grenade and a roll, which didn’t particularly offer me much of an advantage either. But yet something still draws me to the character, maybe it’s the poncho or the gruff voice.
Now Phara, a mech suit wearing, rocket firing Egyptian ruler, is pretty ace. Her rocket launchers and hover ability allow you to cover a great deal of distance quite quickly, which is especially useful when getting back to the action from the usually distant spawn point. She’s also very useful at breaching defences to push to an objective, as you can vault high, fire rockets at those below and then land in the objective zone. Her weapon being quite powerful is great, especially when taking down Bastions.
Much like McRee, Reaper is the other character I was excited to play before hand, just because the design immediately stuck with me. But also just like McRee, I find his lack of attacking options underwhelming. You can only use Reaper’s duel-wielding pistols to attack, with his abilities being focused on movement. His teleporting and ability to briefly turn into an un-killable ghost are useful for pushing behind enemy lines but, unless his ultimate is ready, I always found him to be immediately overwhelmed and outgunned.
Soldier 76 is the most normal, typical, character in the game as he is literally just a solider. An action man who runs into the battle. But his simplicity is useful as he’s a character that is easy to understand and play as. I got 20 kills in my match with him. His ability to run is one that I find priceless as it can get him back into fights quicker, and his arsenal of a rifle and small rocket launcher make him equipped enough to take down a lot of enemies in quick succession. His ultimate gives him a visor which will automatically lock on to enemies as you fire, and that is very good.
The poster girl of the entire game, the speedster with the god awful accent. Tracer. She’s a weird one. As a beginner she’s incredibly difficult to play as due to her game being based on speed, getting behind enemy lines, not letting them be able to rest their crosshairs on you and then killing them from behind. You can see how good she is when far more experienced players are wielding her, but as a beginner I found her incredibly weak and frustrating.
As I’ve been informed on numerous occasions, Bastion is the character for the noobs amongst us. Which means he’s definitely the character for me. Bastion is a friendly walking tank, who’s nature loving persona doesn’t half mash with his ability to mow down enemies like a WW1 Gatling gun. He’s easy to use for a beginner because you can literally just plonk your arse down at certain choke points or the objective, turn into the turret, and blast everyone to hell. Playing as him was also the first time I experienced people playing tactically in Overwatch. I positioned my self on an objective to defend it and, taking cover a few yards away, was Mercy constantly keeping me heeled. We won easily.
Hanzo is my guy. He’s my dude, even if his tattoo is a bit shite. Hanzo is your resident archer, and he’s bloody ace and my favourite character, I think. His bow and arrow is very satisfying to use and can be brutal. It’s interesting to play as him as it’s very much a risk and reward when in a 1v1 firefight; do you hold down the trigger to build up the power or do your fire a lot of weak bolts in quick succession? His side abilities are also really good. One arrow will break into multiple pieces and can do damage to multiple enemies and another will act as a sensor and can show you where enemies within a certain radius are. He can also climb walls.
Straight out of the Mad Max apocalypse is Junkrat, a crazy Australian with flaming hair, a peg leg and a crazy temperament. Junkrat is the dude with grenades, and he’s also quite effective. He works really well when defending as you can just get cover at the objective, lay traps and continuously fire grenades in the direction of the enemies. His ultimate can be good, a remote control explosive wheel of death, but it’s also quite easy for the enemy to destroy it before it can do any damage.
This little one is easily the cutest character in the game, in her plush little parka and mittens it’s almost hard to believe she’s as effective as she is. Mei the character that harnesses ice, and does so to great effect. One of her abilities is to build an ice wall that can block of enemies and the over is to encase her self in an ice case (no move suits a character more in the entire game). Both are really effective when defending, especially on payload, as you can block of key entrances and keep your self on objective points. Freezing enemies with her ice gun is also pretty neat, but she isn’t the best for wracking up kills.
You’ve all probably seen Widowmaker by this point, she’s the Russian sniper with the extremely over animated arse and purple skin. I’ve never been a big sniper player but Widowmaker is one of the best I’ve ever played as. Her gun is really bloody cool; it’s an assault rifle when not aiming down the scope and then it morphs into a sniper when you do. It works because it means she isn’t vulnerable when making her way around the map. But, of course, she is most effective when high up above the action, which can be attained with her grappling hook, so she can pick off unsuspecting foes at her leisure.
The dwarf with the awesome accent is another character for us noobs but, once again, he’s well effective and easy to use. Well, once you realise you need to whack the turret with a hammer a couple of times to make it so it doesn’t get destroyed after one hit. The turrets are deadly efficient. You just stick them down in an advantageous position and then they’ll do the rest; they’ll automatically sense someone if they come in to sight and then will shoot at them until they die or get out of the way. His own weapon, a weird sort of shot gun that has two firing modes, is also pretty useful in close quarters. They also really nailed the sense of height with Torbjörn, I actually felt like I was small while playing as him, especially when my head was level with a bar stool
I didn’t get along with D.VA well at all. She’s a girl in a massive pink mech and, while I like the fact it can move really quickly, her weapons were far too weak for me and I found my self constantly getting blown to bits. I hear that she’s very good from close range, so maybe I need to give her another shot, but my first impressions weren’t positive.
This fella looks like he’s just wandered off some sort of Final Fantasy set, he’s a giant knight with a massive hammer and an even bigger shield. I have mixed feelings about him. Reinhardt is really good for defending, no question, his shield is excellent at keeping enemies at bay, but I found it so hard to kill anyone with him. He’s glacially slow so nearly everyone can get out of his way, and if i did even manage to hit someone with the hammer they were then hit too far away for me to strike the killing blow.
I’m pretty sure that Roadhog is Junkrat’s big brother, as both seem like they’ve teleported from a world of oil, dust and fire, populated by nutters, and ended up in this futuristic landscape. Roadhog’s a great fat, scary bastard who chops about with a shot gun and a big hook. The point of him is that you hook enemies and drag them towards you, then blasting them in the face with a shotgun shell. When it works it’s incredibly satisfying, and I did find myself enjoying Roadhog a lot. However, the bullet capacity on his shotgun is far too low and doesn’t seem powerful enough to me, if he gets in a 1-on-1 with practically any other character he’s almost certain to lose. His ultimate, wildly wielding a tossed together machine gun, is very good when surrounded by enemies.
Winston is another of the iconic characters that I felt I knew a lot about before even playing. He’s a massive sentient gorilla that acts all composed and wise, but will occasionally lose it and literally go ape shit. *wink*. His ultimate is the best example of this, when he goes into a period of rage and just jumps about and beats people up. In my first game as him I ended up having an epic battle with another Winston who was using his ultimate and it looked like a wrongly rejected King Kong film. He’s good at taking objectives as he can leap into an area, lay down a shield and hold his ground, but his electric beam weapon feels weak and isn’t satisfying. I do like Winston’s mutterings on “the survival of the fittest” a lot, though.
I’d heard and seen nothing of this pink haired lady before playing the game, so it was a nice surprise when I enjoyed playing as her a lot. She has a nice mix of abilities, which let her shield her self and a team mate, launch a pulse grenade and fire a large laser beam weapon. As I just said about Winston, I’m usually not a big fan of beam weapons, but Zarya’s does work quite well.
It’s pretty clear that Lucio is far beyond my current ability. I love it when people on my team play as him, as he’s a healer that can wrack up kills and is also very fast, being behind him as he runs also means you move at a far greater pace. Unfortunately, when I played as him I just couldn’t get the hang of it and was continuously getting munched.
Mercy is bloody brilliant and if you play as her I will love you for ever. I wish I could, but I just can’t. Not yet anyway. Maybe it’s just my problem with support characters, but they just don’t jive with me. I like playing tactically and doing what’s best for the team, so I’m not against playing as them, but whenever I do I’m just always really bad. Mercy is an angel who knocks about the battlefield healing or buffing any of her team mates, and her ultimate can bring the recently deceased back to life. She’s ace if you can play as her. While she’s great at giving life she’s not the best at taking it. Her only weapons are a weak pair of pistols that hardly did any damage at all for me so, therefore, I just kept dying.
I’m very happy that my first game with Symetra (great name) was one in which I was defending, as she’s ace at that. She’s able to set numerous powerful laser turrets up anywhere, which means you can defend certain points really well if you put them in a position that enemies won’t immediately see them and thus can’t destroy them. Her ultimate ability is a teleport that allows anyone to travel from the spawn point to where the other portal is set, this lets fallen brethren immediately return to the battle which can help a lot in tight situations. While brilliant in defence, I imagine I won’t like her in attack as she’s another that uses a beam weapon, and I find them really ineffective.
Finally we have the last character, the floating monk type fella that is Zenyatta. He’s easily the most offensive of the support characters, as he has two different ways that he can hurl damaging orbs at enemies, and his support orbs are useful too, as they can either heal teammates or weaken the defences of enemies. He’s alright, but is too in the middle for of offence and support for me to really like. Pick a side dude!
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