Blizzard’s new hit game, Overwatch, is a 6 v 6 first-person shooter that blends elements of multiple genres to create an experience unlike any game to date and has garnered wide critical and commercial acclaim. The game itself is set in a highly fictionalized future Earth where humans live alongside robots, known as Omnics.
However, life alongside Omnics did not generate lasting peace, as the factories creating them, Omniums, went rogue and began producing militarized robots in order to stage an uprising. To combat their forces, the UN gathered elite soldiers from around the globe to create a peacekeeping task force, dubbed Overwatch.
Initially, Overwatch was wildly successful in crushing the Omnic threat and establishing peace. But it wasn’t long before rumors of corruption and abuse surfaced, and the organization started falling apart from the inside out. With rampant terrorism, systemic inequality, and unchecked violence commonplace, more than ever, the world needs the heroes of Overwatch. Here are our top 10 coolest Overwatch characters.
Mei-Ling Zhou may not look like much, but this world-renowned climatologist is definitely more than meets the eye. As a part of Overwatch’s initiative to mitigate the devastating climate change caused by rapidly advancing technology, in no small part due to Omnics, Mei was assigned to the watchpoint in Antarctica. When disaster struck and the scientists inside were stranded with dwindling supplies, they entered cryo-stasis in order to survive while waiting for rescue, which unfortunately never came. When the station was eventually recovered, Mei was the only member of the faculty to survive.
Her role in the game is quite interesting, as she is a defensive character armed with her climate-changing gun, which is capable of harassing enemies while slowing their movement speed, as well as freezing enemies in place. She can create and entire ice wall capable of controlling the flow of the battlefield, and when she finds herself in a tight spot, she can encase herself in ice, rendering herself temporarily invulnerable and recovering health. She definitely shouldn’t be underestimated.
Mercy, aka Dr. Angela Ziegler, is a medical professional at the top of her field who is heralded as a peerless scientist and a world-class healer. Although she is a pacifist at heart, due to the tragic wartime death of her parents, she joined the Overwatch organization with the understanding that she would be capable of assisting those in need on a much larger scale than operating independently. For safety and mobility, she created and pilots a Valkyrie swift -response suit, and took her talent to the front lines.
Mercy is a support class character, with a skillset based on healing. Her Valkyrie suit is capable of firing alternating beams that can heal teammates that are connected, or increase their damage. She has a speed boost that allows her to get to teammates quicker, a sidearm in case of emergencies, and her ultimate allows her to resurrect dead allies at full health, which can completely change the tide of battle.
Gabriel Reyes was an officer in the US military who eventually became the head of Overwatch’s clandestine operations division, Blackwatch. In his capacity as leader, he trained agents and successfully performed many black-op actions behind the scenes, and became resentful of the acclaim and attention garnered by the agents of Overwatch, while he operated in the shadows. After an op went bad and he was thought dead, a mysterious, merciless mercenary wielding two shotguns came onto the scenes and began leaving a trail of bodies in his wake.
Reaper is a straight-out damage dealer, capable of inflicting ridiculous damage in a short amount of time with his twin shotguns. He is also capable of turning transparent, rendering him invulnerable and granting him the ability to pass through other characters, and he also has the ability to teleport. His ultimate lets him tear enemies apart with a flurry of blasts from his shotguns, clearing a battlefield in no time.
Reminiscent of a bandito from the old west, Jesse McCree was originally a member of the outlaw Deadlock Gang. After a run in with Overwatch that left them impressed, he joined their clandestine Blackwatch division. When Overwatch collapsed, McCree found his moral compass and began operating as a mercenary, but only when he found a worthy cause that was worth his considerable combat prowess.
As his appearance would imply, McCree is a crack-shot damage dealer with respectable combat mobility. His six-shooter can line up precise shots or be fired rapidly by fanning the hammer. He can roll across the battlefield and toss flashbangs to disorient enemies and give his team the element of surprise. His ultimate lets him take a few moments to line up deadly kill shots against all enemies in his line of sight.
Amélie Lacroix was married to Gérard Lacroix, an Overwatch agent spearheading operations against the terrorist organization, Talon. Although Gérard survived several assassination attempts, his resilience had the unfortunate consequence of making his wife, Amélie, a target. After being kidnapped by Talon, she was rescued by Overwatch no worse for wear, and all seemed well. Until two weeks later, when her husband was found dead and she went missing. After returning to Talon, she was turned into an, even more, ruthless, dispassionate killer, and all traces of her former self-vanished completely.
Widowmaker is a defensive character perfect for those who like to snipe targets from afar. Her signature sniper rifle is perfect for taking out enemies from a distance, but can also be fired on semi-auto in a pinch. She has a poisonous mine that automatically detonates when enemies trigger the motion detector, a grappling hook that gives her the mobility to escape sticky situations, and can even activate heat vision for herself and teammates, allowing them to see enemies through structures on the map.
Genji Shimada is the youngest son of the master of the Shimada family, members of a criminal syndicate that has mastered the ways of the ninja. Genji had little interest in his family’s business, which became a problem after the untimely death of the clan’s leader when Genji’s older brother Hanzo demanded more involvement from Genji. The tension between them eventually erupted in conflict, leaving Genji on the verge of death. He was saved by Mercy, and his body was reconstructed using cybernetic enhancements. Although initially torn by his place in between the world of man and machine, Genji studied under Zenyatta and eventually made peace with his physicality.
Genji is a highly mobile offensive character, capable of sneaking behind enemy lines to inflict massive punishment. He can throw harassing shuriken, as well as deftly double jump and scale walls. His katana can slash through opponents and deflect incoming projectiles, and his ultimate ability causes his sword strikes to become even more lethal.
Aleksandra Zaryanova was born in a remote Siberian village in Russia during the Omnic Crisis. Although she grew up in the aftermath of the conflict, she trained tirelessly as a weightlifter and bodybuilder, earning her national attention and posing her as a rising star in the international sports community. However, an ill-timed attack by omnium convinced her to abandon her athletic aspirations and join a local defense force, turning her into a symbol of hope for her community.
Zarya is a powerful tank character who becomes capable of inflicting more damage as she takes more and more punishment. She has two barrier abilities that shield herself and an ally from damage, while using that shielded damage to augment the attack strength of her particle cannon. Her ultimate, Graviton Surge, creates a powerful force field that draws in enemy combatants and damages them, while leaving them as sitting ducks for the rest of your team.
Winston is one member of a group of genetically enhanced gorillas sent to live on the Horizon Lunar Colony and test the effects of prolonged life in outer space. Winston’s response to genetic enhancement was so significant that he was taken under the wing of the famous Dr. Winston, and allowed to assist in further experiments and research. When the other gorillas in the colony staged an uprising and killed the human residents, Winston adopted the name of his slain benefactor and sent himself to Earth in a makeshift rocket, where he joined Overwatch.
Winston is an unconventional tank character, in that his hyper-intelligence is augmented by an incredible level of map mobility. He has a tesla cannon that inflicts electric damage, and can activate his jump pack to soar through the air and inflict damage on enemy characters when he lands. He can deploy a bubble-shaped barrier that protects teammates while allowing them to fire on enemies from within, and he can fly into a primal rage that improves his base stats and allows him to inflict greater physical damage.
Satya Vaswani grew up in extreme poverty in India, but her life changed when she was forcibly enrolled in the Architech Academy operated by the Vishkar Corporation, which creates self-sustaining civilizations for impoverished communities using advanced hard-light technology that allows Architechs to shape structures telepathically. Satya’s affinity as an Architech allows her to organically construct objects through the art of dancing, setting her apart from her peers. Because of her aptitude, she was sent around the world to protect Vishkar’s corporate interests.
Symmetra is a support character focused on controlling mobility around the map. She can set up multiple turrets that slow enemies when hit, and her primary weapon is a short-range homing beam that does more damage to enemies the longer it is connected. She has the ability to shield her allies from damage, but her true utility is her ultimate, which allows her to create a teleport pad that allows her allies to travel instantly across the map, and get back in the fray.
Lena Oxton was one of the youngest candidates to ever be entered into Overwatch’s flight program and displayed fearless piloting skills. Her abilities led to her selection as the pilot of an experimental teleportation fighter. When the technology malfunctioned during the test, Lena became lost in time and was assumed dead, only to reappear as a sort of ghost, for hours or days at a time before mysteriously vanishing again. However, thanks to the scientific mind of Winston, she was fitted with a chrono accelerator, which anchored Lena in the present and gave her newfound control over her ability to travel through time.
Tracer is perhaps the most iconic character in the game, as the franchise’s cover girl. She is an offensive character with very high mobility due to her ability to manipulate time. She has twin pulse pistols capable of rapid fire, and she can store up to three charges that allow her to zip forward from her position on the battlefield. She has the powerful ability to rewind time, returning her to the health, ammo, and position she was in a few seconds before. Her ultimate is a sticky pulse bomb that sticks to any surface, even opponents, before exploding and causing massive damage.
With that, we come to the end of our top 10 coolest Overwatch characters. With a game as nuanced as Overwatch and new strategies for its ensemble cast constantly evolving along with the backstory and lore, it’s tough to pick just ten cool characters, since they’re all iconic in their own way. Who’s your favorite character in the game, and why? What about their toolkit or background makes them so appealing? Sound off in the comments below and let us know.