In it, Soldier 76 goes through great lengths to punish some glow-in-the-dark gang members in Mexico. There was some rumors that an unannounced Overwatch character, Sombra, would make an appearance in the short, but that wasn’t the case.
Most of the short revolves around a young girl, and Soldier 76 doesn’t show up until about the halfway mark, but when he does he’s an absolute badass. It’s easy to draw a lot of parallels between him and The Punisher. They’re both brutal vigilante who’ll do whatever it takes to see justice done. Only instead of murder a gang member with a bottle of whiskey, Soldier 76 merely tickles him with a pinata. That’s a concession with the teen rating, though, but Blizzard does get a lot more freedom in showing violence to Omnics since they’re not human as is depicted in the short.
“Hero” doesn’t focus entirely on developing Soldier 76 as a character, although we do see him hesitate when deciding whether to save the girl, or pursue the gang, so we do get a glimpse of how his moral compass has degraded. He’s still a hero at heart, though. What the short also focuses on is the state of the current world and why Overwatch needs to be revived. Gangs like Los Muertos are running amok. Omnics are beaten freely on a street. Young girls can’t run to get flour for their mom without stumbling into the dangerous pinata trade.
It’s a little disappointing not to see Soldier 76 play off of another hero, like it the previous shorts. That’s what fueled a lot of the Sombra rumors last week, but I guess Blizzard felt that with the young girl and Soldier 76 as the focus, adding a third face to the mix might’ve overwhelmed the short since they’re all about 6 minutes long. They could’ve incorporated another character as leader of the gang, or someone the gang is doing business with, but that would’ve drawn out the runtime to 8-10 mins, or taken focus off the interactions between Soldier 76 and the young girl.
Overall, “Alive” and “Dragons” still take the cake as the best shorts, but this one isn’t too far behind. I feel like Dragons would’ve been a much better climax, and that Hero wouldn’ve been better suited as the first or second short.
Like always, though, the animation is top notch.