The first post-release Overwatch hero is here, and she’s the Crusader’s Crossbow personified. I know, I’m having trouble believing it myself!

Ana’s sniper rifle will heal teammates or damage enemies; all that matters is who you hit. Likewise, her E-attack is an area-of-effect radius that heals teammates, similar to Soldier 76’s biotic field, but it also damages enemies in range. Finally, she has a sidearm she can fire every 12 seconds that temporarily knocks out any unlucky enemy in its crosshair, kinda like a mini-Reinhardt ultimate. Ana’s ultimate is a buff dart that grants one lucky teammate increased damage resistance, damage boost and a speed boost, meaning she’s got the closest thing to an Ubercharge in Overwatch.

You have to join the Public Test Realm region in order to play her, so she’s in something of an open beta right now and not the game proper, but you owe it to yourself to give her a try. She’s amazing, and she makes me happy for so many different reasons. Let me just run down the list: First of all, she’s really fun. Sniping onto the objective and knowing that you’re either buffing teammates or hurting enemies is a great feeling, its one of the reasons I adore the Crusader’s Crossbow. As far as I can tell headshots don’t do anything, meaning the scope is actually mostly optional and even a lackluster Ana can keep the heals coming with noscopes and her E-attack. Also, since she’s a sniper I can only dream that she’ll endear herself to all the sniper mains who resolutely pick either Widowmaker or Hanzo. Might as well get the COD kings to help the rest of us out a bit more.

Anyone invested in the canon will be pleased as well, since Ana Amari is Pharah’s mother, not to mention the missing Overwatch founder.

And finally, she fills yet another uncommon character design in video games by being a grey-haired older woman. Overwatch has clearly been trying to cover as many bases as possible with its character rosters, and Ana fills probably one of the rarest archetypes when  it comes to ass-kickers. Not to mention she’s actually Egyptian, unlike Pharah who has more Native American influences than Egyptian. Also as a minor side note, they added an AI version of her to the “Humans vs. AI” game mode, which is great because it diversifies the severely-limited AI character options, not to mention gives AI teams more healing, the one major weakness they have at the moment.

Though if you wanted a more traditional middle age, her epic skin is how she looked when Overwatch was first founded.
If you wanted to play a more traditional middle aged hero, Ana’s epic-level skin is how she looked when she helped found Overwatch.

Ana wasn’t the only thing added in her recent update; huge changes came through for Zenyatta and D.Va and both characters are way more fun to play (in particular D.Va’s new toggle-able projectile shield is amazing, I actually enjoy playing as her now), and Mercy’s been rebalanced to a certain extent, making her more mobile and lowering the frequency with which she can ult. I’m a bit worried about Zenyatta, he was always supposed to be “high risk/high reward” so I hoped they’d buff his strengths rather than reduce his weaknesses, but then they went and did both. We’ll just have to see how he plays in the beta. Ultimately everything in the update gets two thumbs up from me, not least of which because I now have someone to play when I get tired of Lucio and Mercy.

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