We are truly in the era of the ‘Geri-action’ media, kick started for this generation some would say by Liam Neeson’s turn in Taken. People seem to have a fascination that has spanned through the years, of older, seasoned heroes shaking off the shackles of age and shrugging off the bullets of enemies to deal out some elderly justice. This is true in games as well with the appeal of the older Batman, Solid Snake, Nathan Drake and other characters becoming more popular with age like a fine and violent wine mixed with the blood of their many enemies. There’s an instant romanticism that goes with the weary warrior heaving themselves up into action just one more time, trying to earn their rest and peace of mind. Enter Ana.
Blizzard may be largely impervious to criticism, fanboys will throw their fragile bodies in front of any negative bullets aimed at their beloved developers. However the popular game makers caught some flak for the lack of ‘unconventional’ female characters in their game. Widowmaker and Tracer in particular were the faces of the franchise, young attractive character models with physical traits and shapes that may be impossible for actual humans to achieve. Zarya was their answer to this but although popular she again was hailed as a stereotype herself. The large, muscular Russian with the short hair was accused of representing what some would say goes with the idea of being ‘butch’ by some of society. Mei and D.Va went some way to stem this lack of apparent diversity but Blizzard still seemed to be unable to avoid the hail of criticism and call soft blatant equality if such thing is possible. Achieving is to walk a tightrope of perception across a raging waterfall of public outrage but in Ana, Blizzard found their answer.
Ana Amari is a 6o year old operative based in Egypt, assured, skillful and ultimately broken. As deduced by the fanatically passionate fans she is a support sniper who heals over long distances with her aptly named biotic rifle. During the Omnic crisis robots did what they do and rise up against humanity, seriously they must be programmed to do this it’s every time! Maybe we should lay off making robots for a while? Egypt was a fairly poor country in this timeline during the war for survival and had to rely on teams of skilled snipers such as our much younger Ana who was a renowned warrior. At the age of 26 she had a daughter who grew up to be the explosion happy, playable character Pharah who pops off missiles like most go through tic tacs. Ana became a founding member of Overwatch and Pharah grew up surrounded by these heroes who were also her family. She wanted to be like Tracer, McCree or Winston minus the hair issues, these inspiring titans who helped save the earth but also helped raise her, but Ana tried to dissuade Pharah as this was the very violence Ana had fought to keep her daughter from.
Relationships with her daughter frayed like Converse worn at Glastonbury and things only got worse. On a hostage mission Ana for the first time in her life hesitated and was shot by Widowmaker, all the hostages were then killed which is tragic and a fairly large large faux pas in the world of anti terrorism. Ana was presumed dead but actually lived which does make her a much more fun playable character let’s be honest. She lost the use of her right eye and became less obsessed with killing but driven to help and heal her comrades. After being in hiding and up to her eyeball in shame Ana returned to Overwatch to mend the wounds of her allies and the wounds she had emotionally inflicted on her daughter.
Ana’s rifle has been outfitted to now heal as well as deal damage, both of which are fairly important when it comes to a spot of war. Her biotic rifle heals allies and damages enemies and best of all you don’t have to switch, it will do it automatically depending on who you hit. The damage and healing is gradual which the developers deemed as “important” to the character design, it does add character as you assume you are firing medicine or poison depending on your target and this does give that impression and feel. The rifle is single shot whether scoped or unscoped as oppose to Widowmaker’s rifle and headshots do no extra damage which is hard to adapt when your a melon crushing machine like myself…kind of….sometimes. Ana started with a 6 shot clip in the rifle but this has been increased to 8 shots in the patch, the developers probably took pity of my patch-ruiningly bad plays as Ana and i fully appreciate it. Most people such as myself have found that with the hit boxes being so generous the rifle works well from the hip and i rarely scoped. With Ana being so vulnerable alone i was more often just behind my team or even in the middle near my tank. When too far from my team i suddenly found an enemy Tracer or Genji on my lap and died quicker than i could type “Healz plz”.
Biotic Rifle: 60 damage. 75 Healing. 1 round per second. 8 shots per clip.
Ana also has a biotic grenade which makes her deadly than a fully intelligent elephant armed with a flamethrower trunk and enough hatred to power three Donald Trumps. This grenade not only heals allies in it’s area but damages enemies and prevents them from being healed including self heals. Roadhog will now stand their as helpless as bacon waiting to be sizzled and enjoyed. her other ability of the sleep dart is also very hand as a means of escape as oppose to Hanzo’s wall climb or Widowmaker’s hook grappling straight from Adam West’s leftover belt. The sleep dart will render them unconcious for 6 seconds unless they take damage which will wake them. This ability can also interrupt ultimates and works on all characters. Bastion looks positively adorable as he enjoys his electric sheep filled slumber.
Biotic Grenade: 60 damage. 100 Healing. 10 Second Cooldown. Enemies cannot be healed.
Sleep dart: 12 Second Cooldown. 6 Second sleep duration. Any damage will wake them.
Ana’s ultimate is the Nano boost. The numbers are hazy with this but you basically shoot some Duracell juice and e numbers into one targeted ally who is then super charged up and clothed in good electricity. They gain a speed boost, damage boost and damage resistance for 8 seconds. This ability works well on Genji if he has his ultimate but the best bet is definitely Reinhardt who cleaves through enemies like a volcanic-ally hot knife through some already liquid butter. This is immensely useful a lot of the time but especially on capturing points or breaking through choke points. Some gamers are annoyed Ana will never get play of the game because all credit goes to your chosen ally to imbue with super happy strength but Ana is a support after all and some of us are team players. Others people are overpowered skill-less Genjis…. I’m working on my issues.
Nano Boost: 8 Second duration. Speed boost. Damage boost. Damage resistance boost.
All in all Ana is a worthy first character with instant impact on the game balance as well as fantastic wardrobe of skins and rich back story. At first i was annoyed Blizzard had drained the well of family trauma again after Hanzo and Genji but Ana has some snappy dialogue. And she is happy to air the dirtiest of khaki combat laundry with past enemies and allies from Overwatch’s wartime history. Her emotes and voice lines are mostly Mum humour or nods to Pharah’s catchphrases but they are always tongue in cheek and charming from Blizzard and never lazy or offensive….like playing Genji. Overwatch has charged out of the gates like Lucio on a sugar high and with fun and fleshed out characters as well as imaginative back stories and game modes, this game looks to go from strength to strength. Ana is a confident first step into additional content and instantly part of this violent, beloved family.
Feel free to watch my introduction, tutorial and gameplay inclusive video on Ana below.