Overwatch is a game with a lot of characters. And I mean a lot of characters. The roster currently has twenty-one unique heroes, all of which have vastly different weapons, appearances, and personalities. But in the crowd of colorful personalities, one clearly stands head-and-shoulders above the rest. His name is Jesse McCree, and he’s shaping up to be one of my favorite new characters of the year.
From the moment McCree was announced last year, I had a feeling he would be something special. As long-time readers may know, I have a thing for Westerns of all types, but it wasn’t just his cowboy gimmick that caught my eye. No, what really stood out were his abilities. While other heroes use ridiculous speed or sheer firepower to bring enemies down, McCree focuses on quick bursts by fanning the hammer of his revolver, quickly bringing an enemy down before vanishing into the shadows to reload. He looked good in footage, but it wasn’t until the open beta that I realized just how good McCree really is.
In the hands of a skilled player, McCree is a gamechanger. His focus on hit-and-run tactics allows players to quickly stun a tank and bring them down with two quick fans of the hammer, potentially changing the tide of a battle. And if said player is knowledgeable in a map’s layout, McCree can becocme a real thorn in a team’s side, sneaking behind enemy lines and letting loose with a storm of flashbangs and bullets. Or, if they’re really unlucky, a Deadeye, allowing McCree to lock onto anyone in his sight long enough before blowing them all away with one well-placed shot. He occupies a unique role in the moment to moment action, but McCree has a lot more than just cool abilities going for him.
Like every character in Overwatch, McCree takes the usual trope of a western gunfighter and brings it to the extreme. His mannerisms may as well have been pulled directly from a spaghetti western, and nearly every one of his unlockable voice lines pays homage to the genre. His constant squinting, smoking, and gun-twirling is what really brings the package together as a loving homage to the stories of the American frontier.
But there’s more to McCree than just cowboys. In the Overwatch lore, Jesse McCree formerly worked as an outlaw in the Deadlock Gang, working as a weapons trafficker. However, he was eventually busted, and forced to make the choice between joining Overwatch or serving hard time. As you could guess, he picked the latter, where he worked under Gabriel Reyes, later known as Reaper. While he did eventually depart from the organization in favor of vigilantism, it seems the brief time with Reaper paid off, and the quotes exchanged if you manage to off a Reaper during a shootout show another side to McCree’s character.
Like the rest of the cast, there’s still a lot to McCree we don’t know. While the brief, but enjoyable Train Hopper webcomic gave us a deeper look into his methods, most of his history before and after his time in Overwatch is still a mystery. But what we do know and can infer shows that McCree is a wildcard—both a quick-witted, humorous man and a stone-cold killer. While both Overwatch and its cast have room to grow, I can safely say that I’m excited to see what the future has in store for Jesse McCree.
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