Last time there were Overwatch [official site] videos aplenty, Jem lavished you all with them. He works at LoL folks Riot now (COINCIDENCE?!) so I’m here to do the same, not only because they’re pretty rad but I have some thoughts on latest announced character Soldier: 76. Oh yes, some thoughts indeed. Press on for those and the latest footage of Bastion (robot tank) and Zarya (russian gravity woman).
We’ll start with Bastion, because it’s adorable:
The tank mode has a jump, capturing my heart forever. Less important modes include turning into a sentry gun and back, giving Bastion vulnerable periods while it’s switching. The trade off for this is being able to make entire fields of fire no-go zones for the enemy team. Self-repair lets this continue indefinitely while the tank mode acts as a combination of the heavy firepower of the sentry gun and the manoeuvrability of the ‘recon’ mode. Bastion: I want to play.
Here’s Zarya, who’s less adorable, more in control of the forces of nature:
Zarya’s tanklike in a whole other way, absorbing damage, moving slowly and carrying a large, uh, particle cannon. I like the synergy of her abilities for keeping herself and team-mates alive and dishing out damage, but the ultimate is what I’m really excited for here. It’s obscenely powerful to a degree that most in the game aren’t. Usually they’ll be good for taking out 3-4 enemies in quick succession, but a well placed Graviton Surge (I love you, people who name wizard spells in video games) will block off whole areas of the map or catch entire teams in easily AoEable piles. Zarya: I really want to play.
And then there’s Soldier: 76, the newest announcement:
Soldier: 76 I do not understand. I don’t reject the base appeal of a more standard shooter, but S76 isn’t even CoD-Man. CoD-Man would be summoning helicoptors, have some sort of kill streak mechanic perhaps, or a wide selection of weapons, grenades, throwing knives and so on. S76 has a machine gun with an underslung rocket launcher, and the ability to run fast. Every other character in the game just seems to have far more imagination in their design, either by weapon, movement or both. Pharah can fly and has rockets implanted in her chest. Tracer can teleport. Even Sniper-trope Widowmaker has a grappling hook to move around the level.
S76 just seems boring, and he’s the first of Overwatch’s characters to make me feel that way. Perhaps things will change once I and everyone else get a chance to play in the upcoming beta, which should launch some time in the next couple of months. Expect further news at Gamescom, which Blizzard have often used as a European version of Blizzcon, as far as announcements go.