Finally to my personal top 5 Overwatch Hereoes! It’s been fun thinking about and comparing these guys, and they all have such GREAT design, GREAT personalities, and everything else that goes with it. But, these five, all in all, have wormed their way into my mind the most, and for good reason, I’d think. So yeah- let’s finish it up!
Gunslinging vigilante extraordinaire, Jesse McCree starts off the top 5 with a…bang. Ha.
Anyways: McCree’s combination of great design, well-done characterization, and hidden depths puts him over other characters who excel in any one of these things. Originally part of the Deadlock Gang, based in the American Southwest, during an operation gone awry, he and the gang were captured by Overwatch. Recognizing his talents, however, he was offered the chance to redeem himself by participating in the covert ops organization, Blackwatch. Although not very happy about the arrangement at first, he began to believe that through his efforts, he could do good, and make up for his past mistakes. He believed this, so much so that when Blackwatch and Overwatch began spiraling apart, he took no part in it, and instead went rogue, taking on jobs from clients, given that the cause is just.
The gunslinging cowboy stereotype has never been done so well. His slick design, with that awesome cape and belt, as well as his neat facial hair just works, so well. I also love the very clear sense of honor he has, despite at first seeming like just a normal, regular character without much chance for anything deeper. Just like how he seems simple on the surface, but can be a lot better of a character when you look into him, his gameplay is extremely simple, but due to requiring great aim, McCree ends up being the most mechanically rewarding character in the game. Overall, McCree is just a very cohesive character, with just enough of everything to make me happy. It doesn’t hurt that his ultimate ability has spawned probably the best meme of the game.
At number 4 we have Lucio Correio de Santos, Brazilian DJ, and international celebrity. Growing up in a poor part of Brazil, Lucio saw a need for emotional uplifting, and found an answer in music. Performing anywhere, from street corners, to underground shows, Lucio was able to unite the populace in a way never before seen. However, when the Vishkar Corporation interfered in his community, exploiting the poor region under the pretense of social improvement, Lucio realized he couldn’t stand for it. Stealing sonic-based technology, Lucio was able to use his music in a whole new way, driving out Vishkar, and skyrocketing Lucio’s popularity, making him a star on an international level, and allowing him to do good for more than just his small community.
What I love most about Lucio is the creativity that went into his design. We’ve got a space gorilla that uses electricity, fair enough, an environmentalist with an ice gun, an architect with a hard-light blaster/laser thing, but these guys all have at least some sort of weapon in the realm of plausibility- no, at least we’ve seen lasers, ice guns, etc. in other media. But Lucio, no, they had to just make his music an AOE healing effect, make his character, in a cast of intimidating, unique powerhouses, a freaking DJ- with his own real life songs, to boot. Lucio is up here much for the same reason D.Va got so high, but unlike D.Va, Lucio has a positive character that’s easily seen, and his own ideals of freedom that can contrast with the ideals of other characters in the game. The fact that he’s so helpful in the actual gameplay doesn’t hurt either- he’s just a fun character, in design and backstory, and I love that, despite his far-out concept, it actually works really well for Overwatch as a whole.
3. ReinhardtCharging his way into number 3, it’s the jolly German juggernaut, Reinhardt William! one of the original members of Overwatch, he proved himself as one of the most idealistic, strong, and honest members of the organization. Criticizing it when necessary, but also undoubtedly supporting it, Reinhardt cared greatly about the peace-keeping aspect of Overwatch, and hoped to better the world. Because of such zeal, the fall of Overwatch and his subsequent retirement saddened him greatly. Despite this- or perhaps, in spite of this, Reinhardt once again donned his Crusader armor, choosing to fight injustice across Europe, and bring hope wherever he could.
Reinhardt’s theme of being an honorable knight, a Crusader, is a pretty good concept as is, but having said knight be such an elderly, jolly, kind individual is just too much. His skins, his base design just looks badass, and to pair that look with undoubtedly one of the kindest heroes in the game is great- coming from him, rather than a small, cute character like Mei just hits all the right spots for me. In-game as well, Reinhardt strikes that great balance between unparalleled defense, and at times, unparalleled offense, but it doesn’t have to be shoved down your throat, like other characters of Overwatch, whose characters seem to be based solely around their intimidating factor. He just IS a good character, and doesn’t seem to have to push it in anyway. In inspiration, personality, and actual gameplay, he excels, which is why Reinhardt is so high on the list.
The Omnic monk, Tekhartha Zenyatta is a unique entity among the cast of Overwatch: not for his gameplay, not even for his design- rather, his backstory, despite not being extremely expansive, is unique, for how much it represents the overarching backstory of the game as a whole. The Shambali monks are where Zenyatta originally came from- a group of Omnics who established a monastery in the Himalayas. Concluding that, despite being artificial intelligence, they did indeed have some sort of soul, they spread their message far and wide, gaining a huge following, repairing at least some of the damage caused by the Omnic Crisis a generation earlier. However, Zenyatta disagreed with the dogmatic teachings of the Shambali, and instead advocated empathy and interpersonal connection as a means of connecting with the world, leading him to leave the monastery, spreading his message in a different way.
Zenyatta, as the one obvious example of an Omnic character, was the first step for me in learning of the actual expansive storyline of Overwatch. What the heck was the Omnic crisis? What did it result in, why is it such a big deal, why is this dude even a robot in the first place? His backstory explained all that to me, and delved into an area that I understand is very controversial to address in any video game- religion. And I absolutely loved it- his Buddhist/Christian references in-game, his kind, absolutely peaceful nature, they represent the religious problems that could arise in the universe of the game, and treat them with enough respect to avoid controversy, but also pushes far enough to establish him as a unique, deep character. He stands out among the other heroes of Overwatch who advocate, or feel no qualms with violence, considering his unique background story. To compound on that, his actual design is really, really cool, mixing the design of a real-life Buddhist monk with a cybernetic touch that works so well. Such unique design choices, inspiration, and backstory secure Zenyatta the number 2 position, and I won’t lie, he was close to becoming number 1.
I didn’t want to do it. I KNEW she was a good character at least, but I didn’t want her to end up at the top, I mean, she’s already the poster girl for the series! But I couldn’t help it: my number 1 is Tracer, or Lena Oxton.
The youngest person to be inducted into Overwatch’s experimental flight program, Lena was handpicked to test out a teleporting fighter, the Slipstream. However, something went wrong, and the craft disappeared, leaving people to believe that Lena had died. Luckily, or unluckily for her, she was not dead- rather, she became like a ghost, separated from the flow of time, reappearing and disappearing for hours and days, unable to stay rooted in the present. No one knew what to do, until Winston designed a device- the Iron Man-esque reactor on her chest- that allowed her to stay rooted in the present, and beyond that, control her own personal flow of time, speeding up and slowing down at will. She then served as an effective agent of Overwatch until its dissipation, and even afterwards, she wandered the world, doing good where she could.
…You see, if you’ve noticed a trend in the past few characters, starting even around the top 10, I seem to have a predisposition to lean towards the idealistic, kind, heroic characters. Now, why is that? Well. If I consider Zenyatta to be the representation of the potential of Overwatch’s story, I consider Tracer to be the representation of the thematic elements of Overwatch. Energetic, happy, idealistic, snarky, fearless, yet serious when she needs to be, such a character as Tracer might not have been as high up on my list if this were any other game, any other book, anime, manga. However, Overwatch as a game is clearly aiming for a theme, and it happens to be one that they’ve actually used Tracer as a great representation for.
The information provided about Overwatch, lead me to believe that the game’s theme is the need for heroes- and more, that anyone can be a hero. The main animated trailer for the game represents this best, but even considering the backstory of characters like Reinhardt, Genji, even Zarya and Ana, they all feel driven to return to combat for a cause, and Tracer, who suffered through chronal dissociation and near death, yet still desired to be an unrelenting force for good, represents this best in my opinion. She best represents the “adventurer-hero” stereotype out of the characters presented in Overwatch, and I think that works very well, for what the game is trying to be. Beyond this, she has an obviously cute design, a snarky personality, and some of the most fun, dynamic gameplay in the game, which, altogether, cements her place as my favorite hero of Overwatch.
Phew. Finally done! This list has been a decent amount of work, so if you stuck with it, a like or comment would be appreciated! Having stated all my favorites, I’m very curious about the favorite heroes others may have! Mind you, getting to the top ten has been a thing of nuance, and for many, I could see any of the heroes of Overwatch as someone’s favorite. Anyways- Ayron out, I’ll be returning next week, for a more academic look at a lesser-known manga!