Being a-Mei-zing in a Winter Wonderland

Another holiday, another Blizzard roll-out of things to get you wildly excited about their video games again. This time it’s December, so instead of taking a punt on doing Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, they stuck to the ever-popular Christmas to draw their inspiration from.

Damn you mainstream.

In spite of that, they’ve brought a bevy of newness that you should expect by now. Skins, emotes, voice clips, sprays and a new game mode are wrapped up for you as usual, only this time the paper has little bits of snowflakes on because, y’know, Christmas.

Starting with the game mode for this month, Mei’s Snowball Offence, and it’s a nice little distraction. Everyone plays as our favourite snowy heroine and she keeps all of her abilities except she has a one-shot snowball gun you need to refill with snow after every shot and her ultimate turns into a rapid-fire shooting machine.

It’s just a little more than a glorified distraction that gains you a loot box. The one-hit kill rule means games finish quickly but also end quickly for you if you’re bad like me or unlucky like the poor soul who killed me at the same time I killed him simultaneously on four different occasions.

That being said, at least it isn’t broken like Lucio Ball was but at the same time, no one will be clamouring for this to be a permanent addition to the line-up. A novelty Christmas gift that will be forgotten about just as quickly when the new year rolls in.

Again, much like in the Halloween expansion, there are some sensational skins. Zenyatta’s Nutcracker skin is by far and away the best, both hilarious and frightening to the same degree in the fact that everyone desperately wants even with the knowledge that it will give you nightmares for months.

Other than that, a few look a little too similar or just aren’t fully fleshed out ideas. There are far too many Santa/Green and red combos and two ice-based ones that just scream a lack of creativeness outside of a few special ones.

Which also includes the Scrooge McCree outfit, that could not be more perfect for a more curmudgeonly character.

Sprinkled in are a few funny emotes and Christmas-themed sprays but nothing that particularly jumps out as exciting. There’s still nothing that tops the grave end-game poses from the last event and nothing that tries to push something new.

The snowy maps are a cute little addition you see in most games, while the brawl “Winter Mystery” is literally the random character brawl again. It’s a little uninventive but it’s at least one more thing to play that unlocks a free loot box which can only be an added bonus.

Overall, Blizzard clearly played this one safe. Make a few Christmas things, don’t push the boat out too far, have Zenyatta look frighteningly like an old decoration you’d find in the corner of a charity shop.

It has people playing again, which also showed me the new modes which are a nice plus to the game and the new character Sombra, who I’m simply awful as. She’s a great addition and superb in the right hands but those hands aren’t mine just yet as the person wandering around in circles invisible trying to boop people.

After that, there’s not much to stick around for. With the plethora of games out at this moment, that might have been a wise move but next time, let us hope they push the boat out a little more than they cared to do so this Christmas.


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