Overwatch is one of those games that almost everyone seems to love. The game offers a handful of maps with different modes and 22 unique playable characters. Each character has their own individual play style, instead of having only a few standard classes. This menagerie of characters allows gamers to pick how they want to play, and allows for players with different skill sets to do well.
The variance of characters also allows players to connect with one (or more) of the heroes on a personal level. For players who identify more strongly with female characters, there are a number of them and they’re not relegated to sex object status. The characters are from countries around the globe, helping to represent a number of ethnicities and cultures. There’s even a robotic zen-master and a scientist gorilla, if those are more your thing. While the game still has a little ways to go with representation, having so many characters and having them all be different is a great start.
By having so many characters with different skillsets, each group combination in Overwatch leads to a different style of gameplay. Teams need balance, and they usually need at least one player in each character class to succeed. (There are those meta-gamers who enjoy full groups of one character, but that’s a monster all of its own.) Let’s take a look at the classes and characters of Overwatch, highlighting some of the best unique facets.
The easiest Overwatch characters to play initially are the attackers. These characters are meant to do lots of damage and help take command points away from the opposite team. These are characters who move relatively quickly with high maneuverability compared to some of their Defense and Tank counterparts. The two with the most interesting movement strategies are Pharah, who uses rocket boosters to fly, and Tracer, who can jump forward and backward in time. The characters’ range of mobility allows players to use the complex maps to their advantage. There are many hidden corners, back entrances, and ways around in Overwatch maps. The offensive characters are the best at exploiting these in order to flank the enemy or steal the point from behind them.
Offensive characters are great for players who have previously played a lot of first-person shooters. Their primary focus is to kill the other guy, which is great because it’s simple to understand and easy to rack up points.
The Defense characters in Overwatch are a bit more complex than the offensive ones. Widowmaker and Hanzo both work as snipers, taking out opponents from a distance. Fan-favorite Bastion is the easiest to play. Bastion is a robot that can turn into a turret and a tank, allowing him to do a great deal of damage while not taking much himself. Torbjörn, a viking-esque weapons designer, is similar to the Engineer of Team Fortress 2. He can create weapons and shields while also doing a fair bit of damage with his rivet gun. A good Torbjörn player can change the course of a game for the defending team.
Defense characters require some forethought and knowledge of the game’s maps to be the most useful. Knowing where to build turrets or snipe enemies is integral. Of course, players who want to defend but don’t feel like being too still can always play Junkrat, who throws bombs with aplomb and is a total blast to play.
One of the great things about playing as a Tank character is their core ability to take lots and lots of damage. Players who aren’t great at getting out of the way or are otherwise prone to dying frequently might enjoy tanking. Reinhardt, who is Overwatch‘s oldest character at 61, is also one of its most traditionally badass. The gigantic knight-in-shining-armor uses a shield to defend his allies and a rocket-boost attack with his hammer to take down his enemies. D.Va is a lot of fun to play because she is able to function even after her mech is destroyed, using a pistol to defend herself and take out the other team until she can summon another mech. (Plus, she’s adorable.)
Tank heroes can be easy to play (Reinhardt, Roadhog), or especially challenging (Zarya). They are capable of both offensive and defensive maneuvers, and are perfect for holding the all-important control points.
Support characters can play a variety of roles on a team, which makes it the most complex class. Each has the ability to heal, which is the primary function of the support class. They have additional skills as well that make them formidable. Mercy is the easiest to play and the most adept healer. The newest character, Ana, is a sniper/healer whose bullets heal her allies and injure her enemies. Lucio can make his teammates faster, plus his sonic blast can send enemies off cliffs/down wells/anywhere other than the map. Each support character is able to defend themselves in some way, which means they can rack up kills as well.
Good Symmetra and Zenyatta players are rare but incredibly helpful. Symmetra’s turrets do a lot of damage, and her portals can make a huge difference when players have to run a long way to their targets.
I was initially hesitant to play Overwatch because I’m terrible at first-person shooters. After I sat down and started playing with the different characters, however, I began to really enjoy it. I discovered that there was at least one character in each category that I could play with some skill. I may be the lousiest McCree anyone’s ever seen, but I can Mercy like there’s no tomorrow. The ability to change tactics and learn new weapons and abilities made Overwatch fun and addictive. Working toward the great skins for each character is a great goal, too. It forces me to try new characters and step outside of my comfort zone. Casual gamers and pros alike can enjoy Overwatch because of its unique approach to characters. I look forward to seeing the cast grow as the game evolves.