BlizzCon 2015: Overwatch Preview – Three New Ways To Die

Three new characters were announced today for Overwatch at Blizzcon. Be jealous, because I got to play as all of them. Tell us, O Bragging One. How do they play? Are any ofthem the next Tracer? How come I still don’t have a beta key? Well, I am happy to answer two of those questions for you.

Thrown into a match with eleven strangers, I was forced to play as Genji first (because adorable anime tropes in playable form are a gamer’s kryptonite). Genji is a cybernetic ninja straight out of a Metal Gear Solid fan fiction. His basic attacks include attacking with three ninja stars in a straight line, and three ninja stars in a wave. While that may sound underwhelming, they do pack a punch. Speed is Genji’s strong suit; his L shift ability allows him to quickly close the gap between him and other players, dashing forward and closing with a sword strike (as all cybernetic ninja should). He also is one of the few characters who can double jump, which is my only gripe with Overwatch in a post-Destiny world.

In addition, Genji can block all incoming projectiles with his E ability, which pairs well with his charged ability (The “Q” attack for all you beta players out there). Closing the gap and dealing heavy melee damage with your Q attack is a lot of fun, especially when someone on the opposing team picks Bastion (because they will).

After a few deaths, mostly my own, I chose to play as D.Va. Those familiar with the eSports scene will recognize the name and character design based after South Korea’s own eSports Starcraft II champion. I just think she looks cool. Packing herself into a Ghost in The Shell mech with a Hello Kitty pink touch, D.Va is the Little Mecha That Kills. Perfect for players like me who die a lot in Overwatch, D.Va can automatically climb out of her mech when it’s on the verge of destruction, allowing players increased survivability (assuming you can live long enough for the next mech to drop).

Much to the shame of D.Va, we lost our first match. Recognizing my obvious lack of beta practice, I was shifted to the formerly opposing team to even the odds. It was there that I chose the last of Overwatch’s new characters, the eco-friendly Mei. Mei is a character so immediately adorable I’m surprised they weren’t selling plushes of her on the showfloor (expect plenty of fan art and, heavens forbid, racy fan fiction). She dominates the battlefield with her handy-dandy freeze gun. Nothing is more humiliating than death by ice cube, which explains my high-pitched cackling every time I trapped an opponent in freezer burn.

Mei’s primary strength is support and defense, made ever so apparent by the huge ice wall she can deploy. Perfect against the army of camping Bastions you will no doubt encounter in the beta. Perhaps because of the equipment involved in creating a portable ice gun, mobility is not in Mei’s repertoire, opting instead for a self-freezing ability that both protects and heals her. I did not get chance to use this once, as I was too busy cackling at the frozen graveyard I was leaving behind.

With the second match done and victory assured, I left with a lot more confidence in Blizzard’s new IP. Once again we have a showcase of Blizzard’s attention to detail and world-building. I hope the experience translates just as well to consoles, because everybody deserves a look into Blizzard’s latest and greatest.

Oh, and for all you Tracer fans out there, be warned: Mei is coming for you.