'Overwatch' Anniversary Skins: Our rating of every character's new look from the event
The number one thing Overwatch fans — including us — lose their minds over are the new skins that come out with every event. That's especially true for Overwatch Anniversary, which kicked off on Tuesday and delivered one of the strongest batches of skins for its characters thus far.
But not everyone is on the exact same page about which ones are worth raving about, so we broke it down in a roundtable discussion. Please join me, writer Ryan Khosravi and editor Amanda Farough as we pick apart every single new Overwatch Anniversary skin, Top Model-style, and assign them each a rating out of 10.
Overwatch Anniversary skins: Tracer's "Graffiti" skin
Amanda Farough: Tracer is beyond cute, as per usual.
Ryan Khosravi: Yeah, I'm very into this. I've seen comparisons to Jet Set Radio, which I dig, and Waypoint tweeted about it looking like a Borderlands NPC.
AF: I love everything about this skin. I love the teal, the orange and those badass leggings. I want those leggings, to be honest.
Tim Mulkerin: Yes, the leggings are great! I'm going to sound like a broken record this whole conversation, but it really bums me out that most of her face is covered. It totally ruins that highlight intro of hers where she's trying to keep a straight face.
RK: I'm actually cool with it in this case, but mostly because I love her hair.
AF: Tracer and I are definitely sharing a hairstyle now.
TM: Oh, wait! Did you all see the meme online where people where it zooms in on the fact that her guns say "Tracemaker" and turning it into the Tracer/Widowmaker ship?
AF: Holy what?! NO!
AF: That's amazing! 9 out of 10. I love everything about her, except for the fact that I can't see much of her cute face.
RK: I feel like I have to be stricter on this one because I love a lot of these skins, so 7 out of 10? I'm going to hell I know, but the standards are being raised.
TM: No, I agree, Ryan. 7 out of 10 for me too. It's cute but it's not quite as amazing as a few of the others.
Overwatch Anniversary skins: Zarya's "Cyberian" skin
TM: Let's talk about Zarya.
RK: OK, so I know everyone hates this one, but I'm kind of into it.
AF: I don't hate it. Hate's a strong word. I just — don't really like it.
RK: OK, mom.
AF: That's "mama" to you.
RK: I'm grounded.
TM: It just seems like such a missed opportunity, in my opinion. Zarya has such an expressive, strong face, and to hide it behind that strange gold mask is a weird choice.
AF: The funny thing is that the mask is the only thing I like. It's kind of Orisa-like. And I love Orisa.
TM: Really? It doesn't move, though. The thing I love is the idea of turning her into a beefy, pink space Power Ranger.
AF: I don't know, guys. It's the only thing about this that doesn't make me cringe.
RK: Well the thing I love is, regardless of anything, I'm really into the fact that Blizzard has made weird skins for Overwatch. I don't want them to go off the deep end like their other games, but I'm happy they're experimenting.
TM: It frustrates me that the fandom designs better skins for Zarya than Blizzard can, like this:
RK: Yeah, that's pretty amazing.
TM: It's so good. It's like Ru Paul's Drag Race meets Wonder Woman and I love it.
AF: I love this so much. I adore her with longer hair, too. But this Anniversary skin is just — no. I can't get into it. I love Zarya and it does her some massive disservices.
TM: Agreed. Final ratings? I give it a 5 out of 10. Cool idea, bad execution.
RK: Um, probably 7 out of 10.
AF: 2 out of 10. The Orisa mask is the only thing I like. The rest of it is horrendous. Wouldn't wear any of it.
Overwatch Anniversary skins: Mei's "Beekeeper" skin
TM: All right, onto one of my personal favorites: Beekeeper Mei. It's honestly incredible.
AF: Oh, Mei. She's so, so adorable. I haven't seen it in the game yet, but I love every single screenshot I've seen. She's so cute. That bee insignia is fantastic.
RK: Yeah, this is one of the ones I reserved my high marks for. It's really great. It's one of those skins that utilizes every part of her appearance — like, her little buddy is a freakin' bee. And she has a stinger on her gun.
TM: I think this one plays with her silhouette in a really fun way, too. You'd never think to turn someone with an ice gun into a beekeeper but for some reason it totally works. There's no logical reason for it and yet it feels totally in line with who she is. 10 out of 10. It's flawless.
AF: 10 out of 10. Curvy and bee-utiful.
RK: 9 out of 10.
Overwatch Anniversary skins: Lúcio's "Jazzy" skin
RK: Jazzy Lúcio is — eh.
TM: It's a bit of a wreck in my opinion.
AF: I kind of like him, but he looks like he walked out of Wild, Wild West.
RK: Not a huge fan of his head, except for the hair. I'm into them trying new things with his hair.
TM: Gold codpiece aside, it's very weird that they're contorting his heritage here to be more of like, a classic 1920's Harlem jazz vibe, even though he's Afro Latino?
RK: Yeah, and specifically Brazilian.
TM: I'm cool with them playing around with the backgrounds of characters in legendary skins — like beekeeper Mei — but it feels like they're homogenizing his background in a way that feels kind of gross here.
AK: Yeah, I was thinking about that when I first saw the skin. It feels too much like the "token black character," to be honest.
(Gita Jackson at Kotaku expanded on this idea in her article about Lúcio's new skin if you're interested in reading more on the topic.)
TM: That said, the fact that the skin changes his songs is pretty amazing, and it's something I really hope they start doing for his skins moving forward.
RK: Yeah, definitely. That's a nice detail. I might actually give this one a 6 out of 10.
AF: Yeah, that's pretty cool. I think he looks great, in the sense that it's decent sartorial choices, but it feels icky with the cultural baggage. 6 out of 10 for me, too.
TM: I give this one a 6 out of 10. If you strip the cultural baggage away, it has nice detail, but it's a little uncomfortable for me. That codpiece though. Yikes.
Overwatch Anniversary skins: Hanzo's "Cyberninja" skin
TM: How do we feel about Cyberninja Hanzo?
AF: Outside of that incorrect kanji, Hanzo looks pretty badass.
RK: That kanji thing is hilarious — but also, wow, hire a translator!
AF: The color palette is fantastic. I love the subtle detailing, too.
TM: I think it's cool too, but it's a little understated for my tastes.
RK: I actually like it more for that reason.
AF: You'd prefer a bombastic cyberninja, Tim? I'm with Rye on this one. The minimalism is a nice change.
TM: I just have a hard time getting excited about something that doesn't really transform him into anything new, I guess. It's designed well, I'm just not, like, blown away.
RK: I get that for other characters, but he hasn't really had any skins, so I'm happy with him getting simple stuff right now.
TM: Yeah. I think I give this one a 6 out of 10. It occupies a similar space as Tracer's for me. Good, but not amazing.
RK: I'm actually going with an 8 out of 10.
AF: 8 out of 10 for me, too. I like the minimalist attention to detail, minus the kanji kerfuffle.
TM: "The Kanji Kerfuffle" would be such a good title for a martial arts movie.
Overwatch Anniversary skins: Genji's "Sentai" skin
TM: Power Ranger Genji! It's so absurd, but I love it.
RK: Yes. All yes. I love the specific cultural reference.
AF: I really, really like this. That wink to sentai is fantastic.
RK: I also love that it's believable that Genji was a nerd and would be into that as he stands in front of his favorite arcade in that picture.
AF: Totally, yeah.
TM: I just can't wait for all the new "I need healing" memes that people are going to make with, like, pictures of praying mantises now.
AF: Hah! It's also great that Genji and Hanzo tie together so well because of course Hanzo is the more minimalist of the two.
TM: This one gets a 9 out of 10 for me. I love it, but I can't in good conscience give Genji a perfect score because he is the worst.
AF: Wow. I mean, I agree, but wow. Just because I can, I'm going to give this a 10. I wouldn't improve on it. Sentai for the win.
RK: 9 out of 10 for me as well, but only because I need to reserve my 10s for what's coming up.
TM: You mean for Bastion, right?
Overwatch Anniversary skins: Bastion's "Dune Buggy" skin
AF: I just — I can't. The roll cage is OK? But, ew — it's ugly.
TM: I like the idea of turning him into a go-kart, but I don't think it's really communicated that well.
RK: I don't know, Bastion is a weird one to measure for me. No comment really about this. The flag detail is cool, but that's pretty much it — and his face looks kind of like the Pixar lamp.
AF: I'm bored. It's Uprising all over again. Bored.
TM: 4 out of 10. It's fine.
RK: 5 out of 10.
AF: Roll cage is cool but I'm falling asleep at my desk. 3 out of 10.
Overwatch Anniversary skins: D.Va's "Cruiser" skin
AF: I absolutely adore D.Va and this skin makes me love her more. I didn't know it was possible to love her more. And yet, here I am. I love the scarf, the jeans, the checked shirt and the midriff. It's so great.
RK: Yeah, it's amazing. I love it a lot. Please put the GIF of the selfie highlight into in your piece, because it honestly rocked my world.
(Here you go, Ryan.)
TM: This, again, is one of those skins that doesn't really make much sense, but somehow totally works. Turning her MEKA into a giant Cadillac is brilliant. And the fact that she says "Hi, Daddio," — it's just perfection.
AF: Holy crap. That is amazing. So, my blatant love of D.Va aside, this skin is utter perfection. Would wear everything except that crop top, because I'm over 30 and would feel weird about it.
RK: The car detailing on the mech — the hood ornament, the air freshener — is very cool. Yeah, so this is one of the two skins that will get a 10 out of 10 for me.
AF: 13 out of 10.
TM: I'll allow it. 10 out of 10 for me, too.
Overwatch Anniversary skins: Pharah's "Bedouin" skin
TM: I really appreciate the detail here. For me, this one is kind of like Hanzo's. Not mind blowing, but made with care, I guess?
AF: It's beautiful. She's beautiful.
TM: I just wish it wasn't blue. It really lowers its impact, in my opinion. Can you imagine if it was red? Especially since Pharah's default appearance is blue, I think it just looks like a slightly tweaked version of that.
RK: Yeah, and the cultural references are — I mean, it's cool, but I wanted more I think. We know she's Egyptian, that's cool. Do more with that. I'm into it. But this feels like her regular skin with a headscarf, and I'm bored.
TM: This one is another 7 out of 10 for me.
RK: Yeah, probably 6 out of 10 for me.
AF: I think that it's beautiful, but the blue is kind of boring. 7 out of 10 for me.
Overwatch Anniversary skins: Soldier: 76's "Cyborg: 76" skin
TM: This is one of those skins that's potentially interesting from a lore standpoint — I saw someone theorize it depicts him after his battle with Reaper? — but it's just kind of boring to look at. It literally looks like about 80% of the generic action figures I got in McDonald's Happy Meals as a kid.
RK: Some (my roommate) are also theorizing it might be a clone! Imagine if they just wrote "Soldier: 75" as the title of the skin. People would have lost their minds.
TM: Oh my god, bye. They are giving Blizzard way too much credit.
AF: This is boring as hell. The orange doesn't work here, because it covers large swaths of his body. The shaved head is cool, I guess, but it's not that interesting. It's like giving Bastion a roll cage and calling it a day.
TM: Blizzard loves its gray and orange.
RK: So, like, I know he's always looked like Cyclops, but he really looks like Cyclops now. 4.5 out of 10.
TM: This one is so boring to me, I don't even care. 4 out of 10.
AF: 4 out of 10, but only because I like the technical details. Otherwise, I'm yawning.
Overwatch Anniversary skins: Symmetra's "Oasis" skin
TM: For the love of god, can we please finally talk about space princess Symmetra?
RK: Without a single shred of doubt, I can say this is my favorite skin in the whole game. I'm so thrilled she has a good legendary skin. It's so beautiful.
AF: This one is phenomenal. The technical details, the palette, the silhouette, the originality. It's all amazing.
TM: She looks like a Final Fantasy boss mixed with a dragonfly mixed with a cyberspace superhero and it works so well.
RK: This is, like, the sequel to the Zarya skin in the sense that this is what happens when you refine the weirdness of that one. My favorite detail is the matching skirt print and the veil, so from the front it looks like a cape.
AF: I want to read this manga, is all I'm saying.
TM: I think my favorite detail is the asymmetrical cut of the skirt balanced against the weight of her metallic left arm.
AF: It's that balance and tension that makes this design so, so good.
RK: Also, all of it glows in the freaking dark, including her turrets.
AF: Wait, what? Really?
AF: Holy moly. Now that is a lovingly crafted legendary.
RK: Yeah, it's the best, but everyone else is going to hate it. Want to know why? Because now I'll be playing Symmetra on even the most inappropriate maps and game modes and we'll all be losing. But I won't care. Because I will be stunting as I die.
AF: HAH. You're going to be that player.
RK: When I saw her highlight intro — I have the "My Reality" one — I actually gasped.
TM: So true, though. It's so good. 12 out of 10.
RK: 100 out of 10. I literally can't even rate this one.
AF: 10 out of 10. It's still no D.Va.
More Overwatch news and updates
For more on Overwatch, check out the rest of what Mic has to offer. Here is an essay about how Efi Oladele was a missed opportunity for Overwatch, a deep dive into the issue of sexual harassment in Overwatch voice chat, an unintentionally hilarious infographic showing the most popular Overwatch characters in each state, a criticism of Blizzard's failures in its design of Symmetra and a dive into a cool trend on Tumblr that converts your most-played heroes into a psychedelic illustration.