Kyle Nakasaka ’19 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Among Overwatch’s colorful and diverse cast of characters, many stand out as exceptionally unique, in terms of both their appearances as well as their abilities. Look to characters such as Zenyatta, the hovering cybernetic monk, or Zarya, the Russian weightlifter with a big honkin’ laser, for examples of exceptional character design. However, as someone once said, they can’t all be winners. Cue Widowmaker, the French femme fatale that falls flat to the rest of the roster’s design.
My beef with Widowmaker lies, well, everywhere, but let’s start with her moveset. Widowmaker is equipped with an assault rifle that morphs into a sniper rifle when scoped, a venom mine, a grappling hook, and her Ultimate Ability, Infra-Sight. Already, the moveset sounds like a loadout for a Call of Duty character. Venom Mine, despite having a somewhat promising name, is a mine that is only used for seeing if a flanker is on their way to get you, since it does very little damage and is only impactful in large scale team fights. Grappling Hook is a cool ability, letting Widowmaker get to good vantage points, but the cooldown is so long that it really doesn’t help when trying to escape from foes and doesn’t make up for a lack of satisfying abilities. Infra-Sight, her Ultimate, lets your whole team see through walls for 12 seconds, which can prove to be a helpful ability if you are struggling to find placements of certain heroes, but it doesn’t provide a satisfying Ultimate that so many of her Defense counterparts have, seeing as all you get from it are recon assists that don’t grant you much satisfaction at all. Like some of the other Ults, it doesn’t really put you in control of the fight in the way that most of the other Ultimates do and really doesn’t provide you with that instant gratification.
That leaves only one part of her kit left and that’s her assault-sniper rifle hybrid: a fairly unique weapon, able to switch between them by scoping in and out, though you rarely ever see it used outside of its sniper form. There are a couple things wrong with the weapon, the first of which being damage scaling. When using it as a sniper the weapon does a rather large amount of damage when hitting for headshots, roughly double, but trying to hit body shots is only viable when picking off people with less than 25 health. Not only that, but the damage and the spread when using it as an assault rifle are utter garbage, making her close to useless in close quarters and not even a potential pick in tighter corridors. The fact that the cool hybrid weapon that she has isn’t really a hybrid weapon when it’s only really good in one form makes Widowmaker all the less diverse and unique as an Overwatch character. No other character has this weird emphasis on the weapon as much as Widowmaker does, and if some of you think that isn’t the case, then at least that character has some sort of satisfying Ultimate. Even things like Lucio‘s Sound Barrier have some satisfying quality to them as you bring up your friends shields and lead the charge into battle. But for some reason, Widowmaker just pushes a button on her visor and can see through walls.
If you compare her to the other snipers, Widowmaker falls even further behind, putting her alongside Hanzo and Ana. Hanzo, the Japanese archer with a troubled past, can climb walls, shoot sonar arrows (which essentially act as a mini Widowmaker Ultimate), scatter arrows (which shoot multiple arrows out upon first contact), and not to mention Dragonstrike in which he fires two large dragons across the map that deal massive damage if you get caught in them. Ana, the Egyptian medic sniper, is able to shoot bullets that heal teammates and damage foes, put foes to sleep with her sleep dart, throw grenades that heal and boost healing of allies and prevent healing on enemies, as well as Nano Boost a fellow teammate, making them do massive damage and increase their damage resistance. Not only do both heroes have a lot more to them, they also just visually look a lot more creative than Widowmaker.
The only thing I can really say about Widowmaker’s design is that she’s blue. She also has a thing for latex because that’s all she wears. Widowmaker is visually unimpressive because all she really has going for her is her visor, which is supposed to resemble a spider’s eight eyes, but just makes me think about Master Yi from League of Legends, and then the rest is either blue skin or latex. Oh, she also has tattoos. That’s about it. Her background story is also relatively unimpressive as all we really know about her is that she works for Talon, who made her blue by making it so she could slow her heart rate down without killing her, making her a more efficient sniper, and that she killed her husband and now she just kills people for fun. Like literally for fun because Talon has no clear motives other than just murder people.
Now let’s compare her to someone else; let’s say Lucio. Lucio was a musician in Brazil, until one day the Vishkar Corporation threatened to build over much of the favelas that he and many others lived in. As a result, Lucio stole Vishkar sonar technology that he would then use to rally people to help take down Vishkar. Lucio then repurposed said sonar tech and converted it into his weapon and the rest of his gear as he soon became a world renowned DJ. He joined Overwatch as a response to the claim that “the world could always use more heroes.” In addition to his pretty rad story, Lucio also has very unique abilities and a very unique design, featuring light up roller blades, armored legs, a chest piece that delivers his speed or healing boost, a sonic amplifier gun, cool shades and some sweet dreads. Widowmaker doesn’t have those, nor does she have anywhere close to that level of detailed design.
Widowmaker still just doesn’t compare to really any of the rest of the roster just because of how disjointed she feels from the rest of the cast. I would love to see more applicability from her in terms of her moveset, perhaps enhancing her abilities, as well as a visual redesign because I really think that her outfit is pretty boring seeing as it’s a visor and a latex suit. Nothing has been announced yet, but here’s hoping that the next patch is the Widow-Makeover patch.