Back at it again, continuing the countdown of my top 22 favorite Overwatch Heroes!
We’re gonna get right into it, but I’ll just go over the criteria I’m using here. I’m judging the characters primarily by backstory and personality, rather than specific gameplay elements. It’ll be more on their design as a fleshed-out character, rather than how they work in-game. And yes, this is an opinion- personal preference is certainly going to be present. With that said, let’s get into it!
Starting off, we’ve got the peerless Chinese climatologist, Mei, who was tasked by Overwatch to discover the cause of a violently changing climate. However, struck by a blizzard, she and her team were forced to abandon the project, entering cryostasis to survive. Years later, Mei escaped, only to find that the climate had worsened, all progress had been lost, and Overwatch had been disbanded. Ever the idealist, Mei remained resolute, choosing to single-handedly reestablish the eco-network that had been devoted to studying the climate change, and help the world in that way.
What I like about Mei isn’t due to her intensive backstory though. It’s not her gameplay, because, as fun as freezing people might be, it’s not my favorite thing in the world. Rather, I find that Mei, despite not having any real supplementary material, has a kind personality that seems to shine regardless. Throughout the game, Mei’s quotes and lines are both cute and friendly, supplemented by her very fluffy design. Add on top of this her background story, which is unique in how it indirectly addresses a problem of the overarching storyline of Overwatch, and you have a character that is certainly above the bottom six, but again, just needs more material in my opinion, to get higher.
“Heroes never die,” Mercy, or Dr. Angela Zeigler, claims the number 15 spot. An adamant pacifist, prodigal scientist and healer, Ziegler was seeked out by Overwatch at the age of 17. Despite her opposition to Overwatch’s militaristic methods, she realized the opportunity as one that could benefit many, many people, and so, accepted. During her time with Overwatch, she was able to create the Valkyrie swift-response suit, allowing her to be on the frontlines, and still help people. Because of her goals and motivations, she was continually against the overarching goals of Overwatch, and when it fell apart, Ziegler continued to help people wherever she could.
Similarly to many of the lower-ranked characters, Mercy does not have a very in-depth storyline to follow, but to compensate, she has a great design, and a personality I really enjoy. Her pacifistic and kind nature provide a decent contrast to the rest of the cast, and her AWESOME design and gameplay decisions reflect that very well. Looking like a straight up technological angel, it’s given a decent enough in-universe explanation, and the feeling when you’re getting pocketed by a Mercy is actually pretty wonderful to boot- fitting of a pacifistic healer.
My personal favorite character in the game to play, Pharah, or rather, Fareeha Amari, makes her way to the number 14 spot, with a backstory that’s as cute as you can get for someone who ends up being such a badass. As a little girl, her mother joined Overwatch, giving Fareeha people to look up to, and a dream of becoming like those heroes. Working hard and never giving up, she made her way up the ranks of the Egyptian army, until it seemed certain she’d be able to join Overwatch- at least, before its disbandment. Even after the passing of Overwatch, Fareeha was determined to make a difference in the world – using the callsign Pharah, she works for Helix Security International, guarding over the God Program Anubis.
I will admit that Pharah, despite having a great design and, for me, awesome gameplay, her character can feel a bit stiff sometimes. Her character traits are very set in stone – she’s honor-bound, determined, a bit arrogant, and she doesn’t deviate from that too much in regards to her quotes, emotes. However, the acknowledgement of her backstory in little ways – her dialogue with her mother, Ana, as well as the admission that she has an Overwatch poster on her wall (what a nerd, I love it) gives her a small amount of personality that I really love. Between that, her design, and her fast paced gameplay mechanics, Pharah can easily make it to this spot.
Coming in at number 13 is Ana Amari, founding member of Overwatch, elite sniper, and mother to Pharah. Ana has one of the more in-depth backstories in the game, taking her from her first involvement in the Overwatch team, to her responsibilities as second-in-command, her near death experience which cost her her right eye, and her decision to rejoin the fight, for the world’s sake. Throughout it all, she wished for her daughter to not be part of it- to stay out, and keep her hands clean.
Throughout her backstory, one gets a feel for her sense of responsibility, her general sense of caring, and nice personality in general. She’s pretty badass, and overall, I just really enjoy her character. To compound on this, Ana’s biotic rifle that heals allies and hurts her foes is a creative idea that translates VERY well to the gameplay of Overwatch. Combined with her sleep dart and healing grenade, she’s one of the highest skill cap characters in the game, and overall, I just find her really fun to play!
Bastion, a rather surprising breakout character, gets to number 11 thanks to a very special seven minute trailer. The kind robot we are specifically referring to is just one of a huge number of Bastion units, designed for peacekeeping purposes (although why they had huge guns on them is beyond me). Turned against their masters during the Omnic Crisis, Bastion units became a symbol of the horrors of war. This Bastion’s combat programming, after many years of dormancy, have receded into the background of its “mind,” and as such, only emerges in times of danger and stress. To avoid such situations, Bastion keeps to itself, wandering wild, uncharted regions of the world.
Bastion has only had one appearance in any other sort of media, but dang was it good. Showcasing Bastion’s past as a weapon of war, as well as the uniqueness of this Bastion’s fate compared to the rest that were destroyed, give it a better character than many of the other heroes of Overwatch. It very clearly has internal conflict, based on its old combat programming, and has its own desire for independence, choosing to stay in nature, rather than pursue its original purpose. However, what keeps Bastion at 12, rather than any higher, is the fact that I honestly can’t see it in any other media that fleshes it out more than it already has been. Other characters have great interactions with the other heroes, a design that leads to more questions, whereas for Bastion, we know of its past, its history, and its current conflict, but not much else.
To top off this section, we’ve got the former Shimada assassin, master bowman, and of course, brother killer, Hanzo Shimada. As the eldest of the Shimada Clan, he was bound by duty to to rule, and he certainly would have, given his natural aptitude for leadership, martial arts, archery, and more. However, when his brother Genji refused the wishes of the clan, he was forced to strike Genji down, filling him with guilt and shame. With such shame, Hanzo felt he could not rule, and so, left the clan, aiming to atone for his sins in some way, perfect his craft, and prove himself to the world.
What separates Hanzo from the rest of the group is his awesome characterization. He comes off as arrogant, but it’s arrogance that actually kinda makes sense, given his background. The mix of guilt, shame, and pride is perfect for a character like Hanzo, and his backstory provides just enough material to have his character make sense, while allowing for our imaginations to fill in the gaps. From a design standpoint, he’s pretty cool, and his archery in-game is rather fun, but simply put, the extensive background information we get on Hanzo makes him as a character really interesting to me, and I hope we get to see more on him as time goes on!
Alright. That’s 16-11 down – tomorrow, we’ll head onwards to the top ten!