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Overwatch celebrates Lunar New Year with face-shifting new skins

How are you with rodents? Lunar New Year returns to Overwatch today, celebrating the Year of the Rat with a wealth of themed cosmetics old and new. It’s all gone rather theatrical this year, with heroes like Sombra, Lucio, Brigitte and Moira celebrating musical and damatic styles to engage in the time-honoured tradition of murdering each other to steal flags. Me? I’m with Junkrat up there – stuffed full of food and ready for a nice kip.

For the next three weeks, Overwatch is offering Lunar New Year cosmetics old and new, with weekly unlock challenges and a fast new variation on Capture the flag named “Blitz”.

Blitz is an odd one. Aimed at creating a higher-stakes, faster-paced CTF experience, Blitz shrinks the map and doubles the score needed to win. More captures, more chaos, more fun, right? Well, reader, I tried it. I loathed it. In the round I played, both flags were placed within eyeshot of each other across a small Nepal courtyard. The match was a straight slaughter, with one side quickly dominating and reluctantly capturing the flag almost as a formality. It’s all a bit naff.

Capture the flag has always been an odd fit for Overwatch, and Blitz only exacerbates the existing problems. The game’s arenas aren’t designed for capturing flags, heroes need to be modified beyond recognition to stop them breaking the game. Shrinking the play space only exacerbates those issues. It feels like a glorified deathmatch, in a game that already has a serviceable free-for-all mode.

The real star of the show, then, are the theatrical new outfits. There are some fabulous hats and dashing dress in the mix, but Sombra’s Face-Changer skin is a stand-out pick. Inspired by the Chinese dramatic art of Bian Lian, her mask morphs through 6 different appearances over the course of a match.

Last year’s cosmetics also make a return, selling for a reduced price in the in-game shop. A full lineup of the event’s cosmetics can be perused over on the Overwatch site.

There are seven new cosmetics in all, alongside two new emotes and that delicious highlight intro for Junkrat, pictured above. Each week, for the three weeks of the event, you’ll be able to earn select sprays, icons and skins. The first week of unlocks kicks off today with some nifty Doomfist goodies up for grabs. New rewards will rotate in each week until the event ends on February 5th.

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Natalie Clayton

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