If you're not aware: Overwatch is the biggest release this week. You'll probably be aware of that since it's pretty much being plastered on buses and billboards just like A Typical AAA Shooter. Problem is, Overwatch is a little more character-oriented than a standard shooter — and not every character is suitable for every situation.
On top of that, some characters are more complicated to play than others. So if it all seems a little daunting, or you didn't get much experience during the game's closed and open beta phases, here's five heroes that any average gamer can get started with when Overwatch launches tomorrow morning.
Overwatch is first and foremost an objective-based game. It might be fast paced and plenty of characters pack a heavy punch, including the support heroes. But if you want to win, you'll need to either capture a point, push enemies off a point or nudge a payload forward. And to do that, you need someone who can hang around a while.
Reinhardt with his massive hold-down-one-button shield is the perfect tool for the job. He was one of the first heroes Blizzard ever revealed, and he's purpose built for giving yourself and teammates the room to navigate through chokepoints and tricky situations without getting slaughtered.
Reinhardt has his counters, of course: Symmetra can shoot directly through his shield, Junkrat can lob grenades over the top, and Tracer can blink around Sauron's jacked up cousin for days. The shield will often get you close enough to drive an enemy into the wall, however, and Reinhardt's Flame Strike does a hefty amount of damage without needing to be in melee range.
My Name Is Pharah. I Have A Giant Rocket Launcher.
That's genuinely all you need to know about the Egyptian Quake 3 representative. Pharah sounds incredible on paper: you have a giant rocket launcher that does more damage than its DOOM equivalent (on a direct hit, anyway). Your secondary ability can blowback enemies, useful for separating healers from their targets, and your primary ability that launches you into the air.
On top of that, your basic jump functions as a jetpack. It's more useful for hovering in the air than vaulting from place to place, but it beats being stuck to the ground. And it's also handy for staggering your position mid-air, something which is necessary to avoid becoming a completely easy target for the snipers (Hanzo, Widowmaker, McCree) of the Overwatch world.
There's a reason why Generic Shooter Bro is the character you play through the tutorial. He's the most akin to a character you'd find in any other FPS, with a standard assault rifle, a healing ability with AOE properties, and an ultimate that functions quite literally as an aimbot.
That's already a handy start, but it gets even better when you realise that Soldier 76's default attack doesn't have any recoil. Provided you keep bursting his assault rifle, all your bullets will hit their point (holding down the trigger for longer increases the bullet spread, however).
The secondary Helix Rockets is one of the most versatile and damaging secondary attacks in the game, doing 120 damage on impact. That's enough to nearly kill off the majority of support characters. Finally, Soldier 76's Sprint ability is one of the more flexible movement abilities and is useful in just about any situation.
His backstory might be boring and his animated short might be the most dour Blizzard's produced to date, but he's a bloody versatile character to play. There's literally almost no situation or combination that can prevent him from making a contribution to the game, and if you're just starting out you could do a lot worse than picking Shooter Bro.
The problem with playing a dedicated healer — like Mercy — is that you don't do a great deal else. Your heals are great, but your attacks are pretty weak and a poorly timed ultimate can bugger up everything.
Zenyatta's a little different.
The spiritual Omnic monk is a weird healer. It's fire and forget: you simply aim at a teammate, press a button to give them health over time, and then you just have to keep them in your line of sight.
Zenyatta's Orb of Discord works a similar way — fire it at an enemy and keep them in your sight to amplify the amount of damage they take from allies. It's an excellent anti-tank weapon, particularly against heroes like Roadhog or Pharah that need to be visible and exposed to do their jobs.
But the best part about the contemplative robot is just how much damage it can deal out. The primary fire does 45 damage per hit, while the secondary can be charged up to fire out 5 orbs that does 35 damage each. You can't keep the secondary charged permanently, however, so newer players are best off spamming the primary fire.
There's also the small part of Zenyatta's ultimate: it grants invulnerability to Zenyatta and all allies within a decent radius for 5 seconds. It's a genuine lifesaver when it comes to a final-second fight on the capture point or if you're trying to squeak the payload a few extra metres to the checkpoint, and your teammates will be grateful.
In a month or so, everyone will have worked out what to do against a Turret That Can't Move. But in those first few glorious weeks, especially if you're playing on console, picking Bastion and sneaking around into the right locations is a surefire recipe for mopping up Overwatch tears.
There's not a great deal of nuance or strategy to the robotic turret. One button fires a rifle. Another button transforms Bastion into an immobile turret that fires a bigger rifle. A third button heals you in either mode, and the ultimate ability is a tank with a massive cannon that basically kills anything even remotely within the explosion radius.
It's ridiculously easy to use and not that difficult to combat. But as the open beta proved once again, plenty of people still haven't worked out what to do. That makes Bastion a perfect choice for beginners, and once you've learned the map you can have quite a bit of fun setting up and taking down your turret in bizarre locations for free kills.
Provided you move on a fairly regular basis, there's no reason you can't lay waste to an entire game as Bastion. Just don't do the beginner thing of sitting in one spot for the entire game — that's not going to win you any friends.