Overwatch has suffered a drought in terms of new content, but the Summer Games skins mark a triumphant return after a series of bland event cosmetics.
2021 hasn’t quite been Overwatch’s year. With Blizzard’s focus on the upcoming sequel, Overwatch 2, the base game feels like it’s been left a little out in the cold.
I’ve commented before on the lack of interesting cosmetics this year. While the Archives event was a sea of unattractive skins, Anniversary contained some hits and misses, but was at least a step in the right direction.
Summer Games 2021, however, is the standard I expect from Blizzard. Packed to the brim with stunning new cosmetics for some of the game’s long-forgotten heroes, this summery event is the best skin pool we’ve had in a long time.
Overwatch Summer Games: Epic Skins
Let’s start off with the Epic skins. Available weekly by playing games in allotments of nine, these stunning skins are very much worth the grind. You can check out all the skins here, if you’re unfamiliar.
Week One’s focus is Ocean King Winston, a skin that sees the lovable Overwatch leader transformed into an aquatic titan that we wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of. While this, for me, is the least interesting skin, the level of detail in his armor still makes this look the perfect addition to any Winston main’s collection.
It’s Week Two that truly shines, though. While Pharah’s existing skin collection is jam-packed with some of the best skins in the game, this Sunset skin is a very different look for the queen of the skies. The flawless gradation, the wooden inlays, the hibiscus flowers in her hair and on her suit – it makes you smile, and that in itself says it all.
The last Epic up for grabs is Hanzo’s Nihon skin. While less colorful than its colleagues, Nihon Hanzo is a subtle yet perfect tribute to his home country. The national skins are some of the most popular, and while they’re lacking in numbers this year, the Japanese archer’s masterfully crafted skin is honestly the only one we needed.
And those are just the Epic skins, just wait until we dive into those Legendaries!
Overwatch Summer Games: Legendary skins
I’ve just enthused about the Epic skins, but this year’s Legendary skins are set to be some of the most sought-after items that we’ve seen for a very long time. With Ashe and Symmetra’s skins already an instant hit, Mei, Orisa and Sigma’s new looks give some of the title’s most unsung champions some cool new gear.
The thing that struck me about each of these skins is that we’ve never seen anything like them in-game before. While fans have been craving a mermaid-themed outfit for years, most people probably expected it would go to the hyper-feminized Widowmaker instead of the Indian Viskar. Not only is Symmetra an unexpected choice, she’s literally the only choice after seeing this design.
Additionally, the level of detail in each of these designs is insane. Ashe’s iconic Viper shotgun has been transformed into a water gun, and her dynamite is a collection of water balloons. The tiny rotors on Sigma’s scuba suit spin by themselves, functioning as they would in real life. It’s all of these little touches that we’ve been missing of late.
The past batches of Legendary skins haven’t felt very noteworthy, and as I write this I’ve had to check back which Legendary skins actually dropped this year. Aside from Black Cat Sombra and Funky Baptiste, the others have been completely forgettable.
But we won’t be forgetting these summer skins anytime soon.
What do Blizzard have to do to ride the tide?
For most Overwatch fans, the Summer Games event has breathed new life into what has been a year of somewhat boring, stale content. With this event, it looks like Blizzard actually tried, and that’s what we want to see.
While it’s understandable that the devs are plowing focus into Overwatch 2, the base game has felt neglected for some time. This event harkens back to the good ol’ days, where skins were actually worth grinding for and didn’t feel as though they’d been plucked at random from a bank of unused designs.
All Blizzard has to do to maintain high tide is just, well, give a damn. This event proves that there are talented artists working behind the scenes, and that the devs really can maintain interest in the game if they let their creative juices run wild.
I’m excited to play Overwatch again, something I haven’t felt in a long time. Maybe it’s heatstroke, or maybe it’s pure euphoria. Either way, the Summer Games better watch out, because this writer is back to scoop up all these skins and snatch the trophy.