When it was recently announced that we were getting a forthcoming range of LEGO® sets based on the Overwatch Video Game, I was a little intrigued. A game that I perceived as a shooter becoming a licensed line of LEGO sets? While it may not be entirely my thing, it is a game that has occupied many of my son’s off hours over the last year or so. I thought “Terrific – a chance for us to bond and for me to get to understand this thing a bit better.”
As a newcomer to the world of Overwatch, I found myself confronted with a wide variety of what appeared to be confusing information. I am an AFOL, not an Overwatch Player; and it is from that perspective that I write. I have asked my son, Harry, to provide some commentary on the game and characters, so that we might better understand the sets that are available.
I will be publishing a review of all of the Overwatch sets over the coming weeks, and I would like to thank the LEGO AFOL Engagement team for providing me with the opportunity to review these sets. Provision of material for review does not guarantee a favourable review, and all opinions are my own, except where I ask Harry for some advice… Overwatch sets are now available from shop.lego.com in Europe, and are otherwise due for worldwide release on January 1st. 2019.
“The lore of Blizzard’s Overwatch is a particularly difficult thing to understand, especially from the perspective of an outsider. As anyone who has invested any significant amount of time in the story of Blizzard’s other main property World of Warcraft will tell you, Blizzard’s relationship with their writing staff is a little…unconventional. At least, that would be the polite way to put it. To start with, it’s important to establish that the game of Overwatch, i.e. the 6v6 multiplayer shooter, is not considered ‘canon’ to the lore of Overwatch, which in the context of the game simply dictates why the characters have their abilities and occasionally trash-talk each other in the spawn room.
The line of Lego Overwatch sets seems to meld both the mechanics of the game, such as the Tracer vs Widowmaker set’s depiction of the payload objective on the ‘Watchpoint: Gibraltar’ map in-game as well as two characters who are canonically enemies.” For further understanding of the lore, you can also refer to animated shorts found on the PlayOverwatch YouTube ChannelHarry – Advice to my Father: Overwatch Lore vs Game
Trash talk? Spawn Room? So… essentially, the lore sets up the backstory for the characters, and explains (most) of the character’s abilities. But as the game is set up as a multiplayer team based game, players’ teams are not obliged to be set up along the lines of traditional enemies or friends.
I asked Harry to explain the premise for the backstory of Overwatch, and the sort of world it exists in…
Let’s start with a brief recap of the story of Overwatch. Sometime in the 2150s, the Omnic Crisis started; in essence, a bunch of robots called Omnics started attacking humans for no discernible reason, even to other omnics. [Bastion, whom has already been seen on the Rambling Brick is an example as such an omnic]. This led to the creation of Overwatch, intended as a global military unit to combat the omnic threat. Members of this new unit included Jack Morrison, aka Soldier: 76, as well as Ana Amari (mother of Fareeha “Pharah” Amari) and Gabriel Reyes, who later became Reaper. They eventually managed to defeat the omnics, but instead of dissolving Overwatch they continued on as essentially a global military police force until Blackwatch, Overwatch’s black ops branch, botched a mission very publicly which lead to global protests against Overwatch as a whole and eventually the Petras Act, which dissolved Overwatch and forbid its agents from trying to carry on its work.
Several years later, After repelling an attack led by Reaper on Watchpoint: Gibraltar, Winston, the genetically engineered gorilla, initiated the Overwatch recall – basically asking the old members of Overwatch to come back together and do something to help the world which is now threatened by Talon, a terrorist cell created through Blackwatch’s lack of internal oversight, and renewed tensions between humans and omnics (This location you may recognise from that big set with the rocket in it, has lived since the fall of Overwatch due to not having a lot else going on.)
Harry – Advice to my Father, the Overwatch years.
Today, I would like to consider the first, and smallest, set in the Overwatch line: 75970 Tracer vs Widowmaker. Priced at $AUD19.99, with 129 elements, this set is one of two set on the Watchpoint: Gibraltar Map.
Immerse your favorite Overwatch® fan in epic missions with this LEGO® Overwatch 75970 Tracer vs. Widowmaker set. Based on the internationally acclaimed team-based action game, this set recreates the drone satellite from the Watchpoint: Gibraltar map where Overwatch heroes Tracer and Widowmaker battle for control of the payload. With weapons for the heroes and space in the drone satellite to sit a minifigure, youngsters will love playing with this set’s instantly recognizable characters and setting. Older fans will love to show their passion for Overwatch by displaying the set by their gaming setup for all their friends to see.
The series of Overwatch sets follows up with the same art style as seen on the exclusive Bastion set, which we reviewed a few weeks ago. With one side of the box consisting of full art, and the reverse showing the LEGO Overwatch Banner, with the callout featuring a picture of Tracer’s minifigure. A few things are obvious from the art: the mini figure artwork looks like it will be quite impressive, and there is a new gun element available, in both white and black, and more about that later. Oh, and there is a small drone craft, which can sit a minifigure if necessary. This craft is one of the in game ‘payloads’ (Ed.:What’s that you cry? Payloads are the objective device that one team need to move from Point A to Point B on the in some missions, while not being stopped by the other team. Apparently the easiest way to not be stopped by the other team is to shoot them all. Thanks for that Harry)
What’s in the Box?
HeIn the the box: 3 poly bags, a loose baseplate, sticker sheet and folded instruction manual.
The instruction manual looks a little different to many I have previously used: a QR Code on the front directs me to scan it again, using the LEGO Life App, where new content will apparently be made available. Today ( 11th December 2018) the App denies knowledge of this set… it will be interesting to see how things go forward.
The sticker sheet leaves me a little concerned: it looks like we might need to apply a sticker to a surface curving in two planes later on. While I have become a little less upset about the use of stickers in recent months, this is one place where I think we are potentially dealing with a recipe for disaster.
Tracer and Widowmaker. I don’t really know what to make of this combination of characters. Is this like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, or Richard Kimble and the One Armed Man? Friends or foes? I asked Harry again.
I’m given to understand I need to explain what’s going on with Tracer and Widowmaker: Tracer was an Overwatch Agent before the Petras Act curbed their activities. She is able to teleport and rewind short periods of time thanks to her chronal accelerator (the chest harness thing), which also keeps her tethered in space and time after an accident test-piloting the Slipstream, a prototype teleporting jet.
Widowmaker’s backstory is a bit more complicated. Originally named Amelie Lacroix, Widowmaker was the wife of Gerard Lacroix, one of Overwatch’s founders. Talon kidnapped her, brainwashed her, and turned her into a sleeper agent who assassinated Gerard before fleeing back to Talon, who subsequently engineered her to become the perfect sniper; she was given thermal goggles to see targets through walls, and her heartbeat slowed for steadier aiming. Now, if you’re sitting there thinking “wow, that makes literally no sense at all”, then just wait until we get to the D.va and Reinhardt set….Harry – Advice to my Father: Tracer vs. Widowmaker
Both the Tracer and Widow Maker minifigures are magnificent, featuring front and back torso printing, as well as printing on the legs. They have alternate faces and unique hair pieces: Tracer has her trademark spiky hairdo, while Widowmaker’s features her thermal goggles, as well as her long ponytail. Unfortunately there is no arm printing. – which is perhaps more of an issue when comparing the figures with the detail seen in game.
Tracer’s Dark tan torso depicts her jacket, and the chronal accelerator is printed on her chest. Widowmaker’s bodysuit details are well rendered, featuring a black widow motif on the back.
They both feature unique weapons constructed using the new gun element: essentially featuring a handle, and four studs (left, right, under and in front), I can see this element becoming an invaluable element for SNOT (studs not on top techniques) in the near future. I’ll look at this gun element in a subsequent post.
As stated earlier, we get three bags of elements. I laid them all out on my work surface and found myself confronted with a lot of wedge plates of different dimensions, as well as a few slopes. There is a 6 stud diameter dish, with printing on, as well as a computer screen. The tail planes seen have only previously appeared in 2017’s A-Wing Starfighter (75175)
The build proceeds simply enough: layering plates is a great way to build a spaceship (ask anyone who bought into the first couple of years of Classic Space). Some sloped and double sloped wedge bricks build up the fuselage, and as expected, applying a sticker so that it aligns in two planes in a source of considerable aggravation. Some simpler stickers apply the overwatch logo to tiles which go on the wings, and add some detail to the tailplanes.
Ultimately, we build up the neat little drone ship. I was particularly taken by the construction of the sloped nose: using a white hinge brick attached to a 2×3 window frame on one side, and a SNOT Bracket on the other. The engines take advantage of click hinge plates as well as 2×2 bricks with grooves to get their shape.
On the dorsal surface, there are two 2×3 tiles which can be easily removed to allow a minifigure to sit inside. While this might not strictly be true to the source material, it creates an increasingly swooshable craft, bringing back memories of the original Classic Space set 885 Space Scooter, from 1978-79.
How does the build compare with the original source material?
I think, within the confines of LEGO System, this set is pretty true to the form of the original in game artwork. There is no doubt that some of these characters take on a different form when confined to the shape offered by minifigures, but as far as conveying the essential design details of their characters, I think they get the details just right. Tracer might have benefitted from dual moulded arms, while perhaps I have been having my Widowmaker minifigure hold her gun the wrong way since I put them both together.
I enjoyed this build, and I think the figures are terrific, even allowing for the lack of arm printing. The set is let down a little by the reliance of stickers , especially for the detail on the curved wedge brick. The final model is quite swooshable, and it appears to be able to integrate further with the rocket to be built in 75975.
I am glad that Tracer and Widowmaker, two of the more iconic characters from the game are. available in this, the smallest of the sets. They can be found as rivals in the original cinematic trailer for the game and
I give this set four out of five Arbitrary Praise Units: its a quick and easy build, quite swooshable and features a character which might be considered essential to any Overwatch fan’s collection.
This is the second series of LEGO sets based on video game, with Minecraft being the other. I consider the Angry Birds sets to be a theme based on a Movie based on a video game, rather than on the game itself. I find it interesting that LEGO have entered into a license for a game than functions using shooter mechanics: I suppose the question to be asked is what makes Overwatch different to other games that were being released at the time that the license was adopted. I’ll give Harry notice on that question….
What do you think? Are you an Overwatch Fan exploring the LEGO aspects of this set? Are you an AFOL interested in the back story behind the sets? Are you a confused parent trying to understand what your kids were doing before they gave up on it and started playing Fortnite?
Why not leave your comments below. Until next time, Play Well!