March 21st brought big updates for Killing Floor 2 and Overwatch! Most of you probably already know about the new Overwatch hero, so let’s get that one out of the way first.
Orisa is the newest addition to the Overwatch roster and the first post-release tank, intended to fill the role of ‘primary tank’ that currently only Reinhardt really succeeds at. While the forums can’t agree on whether she succeeds in this regard, I can say in practice that she is very powerful and I often felt quite safe hiding behind her and her disposable barriers.
However, due to being a mid-long hero instead of close-mid, I’m way less scared to challenge her head-on. Thought you were safe behind that barrier, huh?
Due to being the brainchild of Efi, an 11-year old genius inventor who idolizes the Overwatch heroes, Orisa is an amalgamation of abilities jumbled together from the other heroes Efi took inspiration from. Her E-attack is a mini Zarya graviton, her barrier is a cross between Winston’s and Reinhardt’s, and her ultimate is just Mercy damage-boost beams for everyone nearby. Speaking of barriers, I have to complain that Orisa and the accompanying Winston bubble buff has created a pretty annoying ‘barrier meta’ in the immediate post-game meta. Far too frequently I found myself wondering what the point was of even shooting when the enemy was taking turns raising Barrier Fields, Barrier Projectors, Protective Barriers, Photon Barriers, and ice walls. The only real counter except continuous sustained fire is Sombra’s EMP pulse, and in all fairness the Orisa update is a solid buff for everyone’s least appreciated Offense class. Blizzard’s reductions on almost every one of her cooldowns (and new wallhacking healthkits) certainly help, and I look forward to Sombra shedding her sordid reputation for throwing games just by being picked.
Speaking of machine guns, let’s move on to Killing Floor 2, which has added several oft-requested weapons to the survivors’ rosters. The Stoner 63 is the new LMG for commando, and it is impossible for me to overstate my excitement that this venerable Vietnam veteran has appeared in one of my favorite horde-based shooters. Do yourself a favor and read about its inception, its inventor’s motivations, and its military history if you don’t already know, because the Stoner is a one-of-a-kind firearm that I cannot wait to wield in battle. In game, Tripwire has opted to make it a high-magazine low-damage Tier 4 weapon, which certainly sets it apart from the other firearms in the Commando’s tier. In all honesty I think it’s going to be a more popular firearm for SWATs, though Commandos who craft their builds around extending Zed Time will love how many bullets they can put downrange before having to reload.
The other new weapon, the dual Spitfires, are modeled after the fan favorite flare revolvers from the first Killing Floor, though these pack something of a weaker punch in exchange for igniting the ground on missed shots. This opens up some really interesting zoning opportunities, but I can’t lie I’m way more excited about the Stoner LMG. If I could pick any KF1 ordnance to give the firebug, I’d rather have my Mac-10 back.
Discussion of this update wouldn’t be complete without discussing the new map, Descent, which introduces a brand new game mode, Holdout! The map is composed of ten different rooms, and after every wave you’ll be ferried to a new room to hold out in unfamiliar environments. This is the best thing Tripwire could have ever released for Killing Floor 2. My primary complaint about KF2 rounds is how repetitive they get; every map has two or three community-certified holdout spots that everyone agrees are the best places to survive the waves, and it can get droll to just camp there until the final boss finally shows up. Descent eliminates this problem by thrusting you into unfamiliar territory after every single map.