Shortly after Blizzcon 2015 ended, Blizzard added three playable characters to its excellent new shooter Overwatch. Most of the hype is centered around the pro gamer-turned-mech pilot “D. Va,” which makes sense, since she fights with a gigantic friggin’ mech that’s bright pink. Awesome.
In Overwatch lore, D. Va is actually a fictional former StarCraft II player, which is just the sort of not-so-subtle cross-branding that Blizzard’s so good at doing for their various gaming franchises. Her backstory isn’t quite as important in-game, though, except when you notice funny little details like the way she shouts: “I play to win!” More important for my purposes is the fact that she pilots a huge mech which she can also jump out of. Playing as her is like getting a small slice of the once-hit mech-based shooter Titanfall...only without going through the trouble of having to play Titanfall this late in 2015.
I’ve only managed to play a few short matches with D. Va so far, but my first main impression is that she is positively beefy as one of Overwatch’s main tank heroes. Tank is a vital position on any team; it’s the play who’s meant to soak up damage for the rest of their teammates and shield them from incoming attacks in a number of ways.
Like a lot of the other tanks in Overwatch, D. Va is able to tank because she has a ton of hitpoints compared to most other heroes. But she also has a unique ability called “defense matrix” that stops enemy projectiles in their tracks with a series of anti-ballistic missiles:
This is an incredible way to disable an enemy’s ultimate ability—one of the show-stopping moves that every hero in Overwatch has. In this clip posted to the Overwatch reddit, for instance, the player uses D. Va’s defense matrix to essentially cancel the enemy’s Reaper’s entire “die die die!” spinning bullet ult:
And speaking of ults, D. Va’s lets her jump out of her mech and set the evacuated robot to self-destruct, dealing massive area damage to any enemy unlucky enough to stick around.
I haven’t landed a solid team-killing self-destruct yet with D. Va. But YouTuber Tactical Koala captured an appropriately epic one that he used to wipe out four enemy players and save an objective simultaneously:
I can’t wait to get some more D. Va games in—though I’m also going to have to make time for the two other new characters that also just came into Overwatch. I’m planning to post full impressions of all three tomorrow.