Wow, These New Overwatch Skins Are Boring

Wow, These New Overwatch Skins Are Boring

Who looks at Overwatch and says, "Let's make this gaggle of heroes look like generic video game protagonists?" No one.

Upon seeing a leaked trailer showcasing Overwatch’s upcoming event (thanks to Playstation France), my thoughts were scattered. These skins are the worst, I thought. So boring. So lame. So... unlike Overwatch. After the past events of the Summer Games, Halloween, Year of the Rooster, and the slightly-disappointing Holiday event (there are more holidays than Christmas, Blizzard), for Overwatch’s hotly anticipated fifth event, they shied away from the outside world. The latest event, starting tomorrow on April 11th, is a celebration of the game’s lore, giving a peak at the original team with Overwatch Insurrection. But for an event so centered on Overwatch as a universe, it's surprising to find its skins so jarringly... plain.

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Personally, I am a big fan of cosmetic options in games. In a world where oftentimes the clothes on a shooter's back are neglible, Overwatch in particular grants me a space where my characters express themselves through dress. This is what initially drew me to Splatoon, the squid kid dress-’em-up masked as a ink-splattering third-person shooter. This is also inevitably what drew me to Overwatch, the hero dress-’em-up masked as a whatever-shooting FPS. The clothes in these games matter. Not just to the characters' identities, but to our enjoyment in playing them as well. Overwatch, with its flurry of unique characters, has some lively fits for its rotser. And events are, in theory, an expansion of that. But Insurrection seeks to abolish that golden rule, with primarily royal blue outfits that are a sin to my very eyes.

So let’s do a rundown on all of these new skins. But before that, let’s recall the amazing D.Va and Mei skins of the Year of the Rooster event; the Witch Mercy of Halloween; the Futbol Lucios from months past. Let’s recall the visceral excitement of opening a lootbox during a limited time event, even if its contents would just be another four duplicate sprays. Let’s warmly remember those times, because frankly, within the next few weeks that excitement will be lessened.

I think my biggest grievance with the primary new Overwatch skins—the ones that make the characters look like their standard armor was dipped in a vat of blueberries—are that they’re so boring. The most bizarre of which is Torbjorn’s, a character who already has an eyesore blue skin. (And now he's gifted with two, I guess.) There are other characters with classic Overwatch and Blackwatch-era skins already attainable (Soldier 76, Ana, Tracer, and Reaper), the new skins serve to round out those old school digs. If anything, this event's offerings give insight into the game Overwatch might have been if the game's timeline remained in this Omnic Crisis era. Something more generic and bland, something less colorful and lively. Something less, well, Overwatch.

The Blackwatch and Talon skins, at least with Genji and Widowmaker’s, are the clear highlights of this event. Gone are the garish blues (or orange and purple, as is the case with alternate Torbjorn and Bastion skins); in is the ever-timeless 'all black everything.' Here we see a Widowmaker before her skin turned blue after being engineered to be a human weapon by the antagonistic organization Talon (which led to her being brainwashed and killing her husband, an Overwatch agent). We see Genji, single incredibly muscular arm and all. We also see a slick Blackwatch-era McCree. But if anyone thinks I’m ever taking off the AmeriCree skin, they are sorely mistaken.

The bright side to this event is that its new PvE (player versus environment) mode looks to be worthwhile. As Junkenstein’s Revenge was a highlight for the Halloween event, Insurrection’s omnic slayage might prove itself as an enjoyable horde mode battle against AI. And also look at this little D.Va spray. Awww. Maybe things aren't so bad after all. I take back all my grievances.

Edit: An earlier version of this piece attributed Widowmaker's skin to be from Blackwatch, when she actually was a part of the antagonist faction Talon. This has been amended.

Caty McCarthy

Senior Editor

Caty McCarthy is a former freelance writer whose work has appeared in Kill Screen, VICE, The AV Club, Kotaku, Polygon, and IGN. When she's not blathering into a podcast mic, reading a book, or playing a billion video games at once, she's probably watching Terrace House or something. She is currently USgamer's official altgame enthusiast.

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