Blizzard has uploaded a new trailer (three new trailers, actually) to introduce yet another character to Overwatch, its currently-in-development multiplayer FPS title.
The videos give Soldier: 76’s brief backstory. Jack Morrison, leader of Overwatch for 20 years before it lost popular support and ended up destroyed, has become a vigilante with a gun that shoots lasers and rockets.
Soldier: 76 boasts a fairly wide array of abilities, although they feel somewhat uninspired at the moment: His Heavy Pulse Rifle is your standard flak cannon, albeit armed with Helix Rockets – a cluster of missiles that deal damage in a small area.
His shift ability is a sprint that lets him outrun sentry gun fire, while the E key will drop a Biotic Field that will heal Soldier: 76 as well as any nearby teammates. Tapping Q will trigger his Tactical Visor, which will lock onto enemies – allowing you to point in their general direction and hold down the fire button until they die.
Soldier: 76’s blasé selection of abilities comes as a bit of a surprise amidst a roster of characters with interesting-yet-balanced skills. Tracer uses two tiny little pistols but can teleport and rewind time; Widowmaker who boasts a sniper rifle that couples well with a grappling hook to traverse the map, and an infrared visor to track enemies through walls; and Zenyatta doesn’t have much firepower, but has enough healing and support abilities to bolster any team. Soldier: 76 is just a guy with a machine gun who can run fast.
In a market awash with games like Call of Duty and Battlefield, do we really need a character whose defining trait is “has a machine gun” and whose special ability is “don’t bother with all that pesky aiming business?”
I don’t know, maybe we do. If nothing else, it will give the game a more gradual learning curve and give new players a solid, basic starting point if they don’t want to jump straight into another character.
We’ll see if Soldier: 76’s middle-of-the-road abilities turn out to be fun when Overwatch enters beta – predicted to be later this year.