Blizzard announced two new playable characters for Overwatch at yesterday’s panel: Zarya, a new female tank with a particle cannon and McCree, a six-shooter carrying bounty hunter who’s clearly not one for modesty given the fact he wears the title of BAMF on his belt buckle. We had a chance to sample McCree for ourselves on the show floor of this year’s PAX East and the character definitely lives up to his chosen moniker.
Starting with the basics, McCree carries a six-shooter that can be fanned at close range to take targets out quickly, but unlike characters like Tracer and Reaper, he’s also deadly accurate with single shots at medium to long range. This affords the character additional versatility, which is great, because he’s just as squishy as the other aforementioned characters.
McCree’s shift skill allows him to roll in a direction, though it’s on an eight second timer, which sounds short, but feels like forever. It’s clear the roll is meant to be used more for dodging in combat than as a means of travel. It appears his additional versatility comes at a price in mobility when compared to Reaper and Tracer.
McCree’s also got some pretty potent crowd control capability in his E skill, Flashbang. This skill stuns enemies in a small AoE and it can be crucial for setting up kills. It’s not as stylish as some of the stuff the other characters can do, but it gets the job done.
Finally, McCree’s ultimate ability is Deadeye. When triggering Deadeye, McCree holsters his six-shooter and focuses on all visible enemies in order to line up a kill shot. Pressing the fire button after initiating Deadeye will fire McCree’s pistol at all targets and targets that have been fully locked n will be killed instantly. I pulled off a Deadeye on three targets for a multi kill and I can tell you it was definitely as satisfying as it looks in the video clips.
We also had a chance to try out McCree on Overwatch’s newly unveiled map, Gibraltar. Unlike the previously announced maps, Gibraltar is a full payload map. It plays out like any TF2 payload map for those that are familiar. The attacking team attempts to push an object towards the enemy base along a predetermined path and the defending team is tasked with doing everything in their power to stop them. There wasn’t anything spectacular about the map, but the gameplay was definitely a step up from what I’m used to in Team Fortress 2.
For me, McCree is definitely a cool character that I can see myself playing a bunch, but he feels sort of like a one trick pony. McCree’s visual theme is executed strongly and enhances the experience, but I wouldn’t rank him amongst the most interesting or unique characters in the cast. My cool moments primarily came from successfully lining up Deadeye, but he doesn’t have a whole lot of interesting options or considerations when the skill is down. You basically pick off targets at mid range or you’re forced to fully commit in close range with little to no options of escape once you do.
If you’re an aggressive player, rolling into close range and landing a perfect Flashbang will almost assuredly land you a kill, but what happens after that isn’t so clear. Given McCree’s health, it’s hard for me to imagine him surviving after getting that kill, which made playing him on a Payload style map a bit frustrating at times. I was basically forced to stand back at range and try to pick off characters since they clumped up a lot more and trying to get in without getting vaporized was often impossible. When Deadeye was up, I would definitely rack up the kills if I wasn’t gibbed mid-lock, but I feel like I would have had a lot more fun with him on some of the other map types, and unfortunately we didn’t have a chance to play anything but Gibraltar at PAX.