With its unique heroes, Overwatch needed at least one character who would be easily recognized and figured out by the fans of games like Call of Duty. Soldier: 76 is that character. Playing it, you will feel similar to what you used to do in Call of Duty, just better. Why? Because Overwatch is better than Call of Duty, of course.
If you want imaginative character design, Soldier: 76 is not for you. His abilities are very basic, but still useful. Basic doesn’t always mean bad, after all. The most basic one he has is his Left Shift ability, Sprint. As you might guess by the name, Soldier: 76… runs faster when you use it. That’s it. There’s nothing else to say about it. Zilch. Nada. Still, despite it sticking out like a sore thumb because of its plainness in the quirky and colorful world of Overwatch, it’s not bad. You can use it to get back to the fight faster, to run away from enemies (and you should always run when you’re met with more enemies than you can deal with, because staying alive to fight another day is one of the most important things in the game), or to flank that annoying sniper. You will just have to run the normal way, because Soldier: 76 doesn’t have anything that gives him vertical mobility.
Your E is Biotic Field. The name is kinda self-explanatory. Once you press the button, Soldier puts down an emitter that heals every friendly hero (and you, of course) who stands in its range. For 5 seconds, it heals 40 health per second, on a 15 second cooldown. While it looks basic, like everything else on Soldier: 76, Biotic Field has many uses. You can make up for having one healer on the team a little, if your teammates insist on not playing Support (though in that situation, you should just play Support, really) by planting it in the middle of the fight, potentially allowing your team to come out ahead. It’s also useful when you’re fighting alone, to provide a small buffer, which would let you kill your opponent. Of course, the most obvious use of Biotic Field is healing yourself to full, having run away after receiving a whoopass.
Soldier: 76 weapon, Heavy Pulse Rifle, is a hitscan weapon, meaning that it’s projectiles have no travel time. They are inside your weapon or wherever you point your crosshairs. The weapon has 25 rounds, firing 10 per second and dealing 17 damage with each hit. While there’s no recoil, bullets spread out a little the longer you fire, with the first four shots being perfectly accurate. While it’s okay to spray and pray in close range because the target will be close enough that it won’t matter, you should burst fire in medium to long range engagements to maximize accuracy. Burst firing involves holding your fire button for 4 shots or less, releasing for a split second to reset and continuing. With this strategy, you can actually kill snipers in long range firefights, especially if you are good at getting headshots.
Heavy Pulse Rifle’s alternate fire is Helix Rockets. Once you press the Right Mouse Button, a linear splash projectile comes out of your gun, dealing 120 damage if it hits an enemy or a surface close to him. The rockets have a travel time so you will have to predict your opponent’s direction and lead the shot, unless you’re fighting in close range. Once you use the rockets, they won’t be available for 8 seconds. Don’t try aiming at your opponent’s head with them, because the damage won’t be multiplied anyway. One of the most popular uses for Helix Rockets is to finish off opponents. You should look to whittle them down with bullets and finish off with Helix Rockets if at all possible. Alternatively, you could also start the engagement with a Rocket and finish off with primary fire, depending on the situation. It’s just that using the rockets as a finisher seems easier because you will have a better idea of where your enemy is moving, making it easier to predict and lead the shot. Of course, feel free to blast him with the 120 damage if you catch him unaware, or just standing in place.
Finally, Soldier: 76’s Ultimate is a hack. Literally. Tactical Visor gives you an aimbot when you activate it. 76 locks on to the target that’s closest to your crosshairs and shoots him perfectly as long as you keep firing. If you run out of bullets, 76 will reload faster than normal. If enemies leave your line of sight, Tactical Visor will lock onto something else.
Soldier: 76 is a simple hero, perfect to introduce players to the world of Overwatch, however, it doesn’t mean that it’s bad. In fight, you can be extremely useful to your team if you’re good with it. Sometimes, mechanical simplicity allows you to focus on other, more important things, like strategy, aim, and outsmarting your opponent.