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Video Games

A shooter hater's guide to Overwatch

Hate twitchy, fast games that need elite aiming skills? Overwatch might be the answer. We suggest five heroes to try in Blizzard's new team shooter that skip the need for headshot perfection.

Do you like the idea of fast-paced team shooter video games but hate having to become a master of precision aiming skills? Overwatch is for you.

Blizzard's first new game franchise in almost two decades (since launching Starcraft in 1998) goes live this week, with an open beta giving everyone a chance to taste test the game before its official launch on May 24 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Windows PC.

Overwatch is a team shooter in the vein of Valve's Team Fortress 2. The game pits two teams of six against each other in short five-to-ten-minute games, where you fight to achieve objectives like capturing control points and escorting vehicles. At launch there's a range of 21 heroes to choose from, each with unique abilities and style.

Blizzard is a master of bringing approachability and easier learning curves to game genres dominated by only the hardcore and Overwatch is another solid example. Gorgeous map designs and fun hero styles offer a great mix of ways you can dive in and be helpful to a team without needing perfect mouse or controller skills.

Make no mistake, highly skilled shooter players will still shine through in Overwatch. But "the rest of us" will still have a lot to offer our teams by playing a range of great characters that don't require you to aim well to be an asset to the team.

Skills you do need

Blizzard

To be good at Overwatch the most important skill you can acquire is map knowledge. This comes by just diving in and playing, but you'll give yourself the best chance to learn this well by practicing against AI opponents. These practice modes let you explore the maps without the pressure of letting a real team down.

As you learn the intricacies of maps and all the best lines of sight and bottlenecks you'll become valuable to your human teammates in any role you choose. Knowing where to go and how to get there can become the deciding factor in this style of game.

With that in mind, everything else is about finding a few characters that suit your play style. Many of the characters in Overwatch are very easy to pick up and have fun with, and with 21 heroes available at launch there's plenty of styles to explore.

But for now, I've picked out five heroes I think will suit players who normally hate these types of games, giving you unique and interesting options to have fun with from day one. Plus a further five characters to avoid because they are exactly the kinds of characters that are perfect for those who can melt faces at a thousand paces.

Five fun Overwatch heroes for shooter haters

Left to right: Reinhardt, Mercy, Bastion, Pharah and Junkrat.

Blizzard

Reinhardt
With Reinhardt your job is to stand in front of your team and shield your friends from the brunt of enemy attacks. You spend a lot of time walking around with a giant energy shield that enemies can't penetrate but your own teammates can shoot through from behind you. If enemies get too close you have a giant hammer to swing wildly to take out enemies at close range.

Mercy
Support heroes are always a good option for starter players. Mercy adds the fact her healing ability stays locked on an ally without needing to keep your aim steady. She can also swiftly zip across the battlefield to aid people, making it easier to help and also get out of trouble. Other support heroes worth trying early on are Lucio and Zenyatta.

Bastion
This cute robot is a lot of fun and has some serious firepower. The smartest play with Bastion is to find a good place to convert into a gun turret and then mow down your enemies with a high-powered gatling gun. He can also heal himself now and then to stay in the fight longer. And his ultimate power turns him into a literal tank.

Pharah
When you're not that great at aiming, firing explosive rockets is always a plus. Add Pharah's ability to fly in short bursts to get up high above the fight and you're both safe and lethal. Add the fact her flight capabilities give you a bird's eye view of the maps -- a big help when learning your way around -- and she's definitely worth a test drive.

Junkrat
This post-apocalyptic psycho is proof anyone can have an aggressive hero without the need for perfect aim. Junkrat's primary weapon is a grenade launcher, with ammunition that bounces off walls before exploding. You can lock down doorways or take out enemies hiding around corners, just point in the general direction and start blasting. He also has traps and bombs you can leave on the ground to stun or just blow up your enemies.

Five heroes you might want to avoid

Left to right: Widowmaker, Genji, Hanzo, McCree and Tracer.

Blizzard

Widowmaker
The quintessential sniper, Widowmaker is designed for those with steady hands and perfect aim. You also need to know all the secret sniping positions on the maps to use her to her full potential.

Genji
A cyber-ninja whose abilities are all about throwing carefully aimed shuriken at people's heads and diving accurately into battle with a sword.

Hanzo
In the game's story this is Genji's brother, and while he's a ranged attacker he's as tough to get right. With a bow and arrow you'll definitely need excellent aim skills plus his extra abilities are perfect for someone who knows the ins and outs of maps and battle tactics.

McCree
This Western pistol shooter is all about dead eye aim. Even his ultimate ability, which shoots everyone in sight automatically, requires careful timing to use well.

Tracer
The hero gracing all the Overwatch promo materials is fun to check out but very difficult to master. She's very fast which means twitchy control abilities are essential and her abilities are all about zipping around the map. You can use her time rewind function to get out of trouble, so she's probably a good character to try out when you're ready for a new, harder challenge.