It’s been nine months since we saw the last Overwatch animated short. At long last, we finally got the next one and the focus was on everyone’s favorite MEKA Pilot: Hana Song, otherwise known as D.VA. For so long, fans wanted to see a short of her using her MEKA to fight off the Omnic threats against Korea and after two years of waiting, it finally happened! Then I scratched my head in confusion and wasn’t sure how to feel about this short. I don’t think it’s the worst one, but it feels like there were a few things missing when you compare it to previous shorts. I enjoyed it and found a lot of things I would say showcase D.Va and why she is a great character. Could there have been more to it. Here are some of the Highlights of the short alongside with some lowlights.
High: Could More MEKA Pilots Coming to Overwatch?
We knew D.Va was a part of a team that fights off the robotic threat against Korea when they would pop up. We, however, did not know the full extent of the Mobile Exo-Force of the Korean Army until now with D.Va’s other companions appearing. The thing to note is that the MEKA team really seems to be Sentai-based as each of the five pilots have their own color schemes and specially designed MEKAs.
To run down the list, Casino in green being like a speedster, D.Mon in red being a tank with a shield, King in yellow having shoulder missiles and Overlord in blue not having legs as much as it can hover around. Five neat designs and should one get in, you could easily see how they could fit right in with the other heroes.
Now, why have we not heard of these guys yet? It seems that during one of their last fights, almost all the other MEKAs and pilots took significant hits where most of the MEKAs are out of commission and the pilots recovering from injuries. We know D.Va recovered from her injuries, but what the rest of her team? The other MEKAs are chilling at the MEKA base seemingly getting repairs. And while we don’t know the range of injuries of the other pilots, you could say that they have had a head start on recovery compared to D.Va at the end. If this is the start of teasing a new MEKA pilot, then we are in for a special treat. Chances are though that they are likely in the back of the line compared to the Junkertown Queen, Maximilien, Sanjay, a few other folks, and Omnics.
Kind of Low: Self-Destruct wasn’t a built-in feature?
If you have fought against D.Va, you are probably familiar with her catchphrase, “Nerf This,” as she quickly follows it up with a MEKA dropping out of the sky and exploding in your face. It is one surefire way to clear enemies out of an area if they aren’t paying attention and you can use it multiple times throughout a match. During the short though, the concept of the self-destruct less a built-in feature and more of a desperation act.
Depending on how you look at that sequence, you could argue that it could be a highlight or a lowlight depending on how you saw Self-Destruct before this short. I personally say kind of low since it isn’t really a bad thing, but it does leave a few plot holes such as why the invader didn’t try and disengage when it probably knew it was about to blow up if it held on.
She came up with the brilliant plan to take the enemy down by setting her MEKA to overload and blow up. She had help from her mechanic friend to set that up, but that only leaves me wondering if blowing up her MEKA caused her to have a revelation. While recovering, did she suddenly think to herself, “Huh… That self-destruction was powerful. I should ask Dae-Hyun to set that up as a standard feature and have spare MEKAs on standby so I can do it more often!” in a spark of brilliance? Now that’s a question I love to know the answer to. As I said, this isn’t really a bad thing overall, but this pales in comparison to other issues I had with the short.
High: An Unseen Side of D.Va
If there were any takeaways from the animated short, it would be that that D.Va isn’t as carefree as we might think. Up to this point, the D.Va that we know has been the one who works gaming jargon into what she says while being one of the most upbeat members of the cast. The short though painted D.Va in a color we have not seen from her before as it felt like we were watching someone entirely different. Yeah, she was still enjoying her off-brand Doritos and Mountain Dew that talks to you, but her “Public image” differs vastly from her actual self.
Not that she shrugs off her responsibilities as a MEKA pilot. In fact, you can say she is probably one of the most determined considering she is performing maintenance and tests when everyone thought there would be no attacks against them. She may appear as someone who is doing all of this for fame and glory, but she knows of the heavy responsibility that comes with being a pilot. You could say that there is newfound respect for Hana since she has a “No Days Off” attitude. like a certain other character. Say what you will about “Daddy 76” but if this is D.Va’s true nature, she truly could be the daughter of Soldier 76.
Now for how this applies to the short, it is your standard “I don’t ask for help, but I’ll finally do it,” storyline. It wasn’t bad but compared to other hero shorts, there wasn’t much of a growth in comparison. Still, it is nice to see that behind all the “Love D.Va,” we have someone who really is driven by duty.
Low: A feeling of “The End” rather than “To Be Continued”
Each of the animated shorts shares a common theme: to highlight a character and their state of being before the game started. Some of the best examples of this were things like Winston sends out the recall to bring back Overwatch operatives, Bastion going against his programming to not be another killing machine and the importance of why Reinhardt fights and why he can’t abandon the call to action. These heroes give you the feeling they will do bigger and better (or perhaps eviler) things and that would carry over to the main game.
With D.Va though, it doesn’t feel like we got that same payoff. Part of me was hoping at the end of the short, they discover one shot down Omnic gave a clue where exactly they were coming from, and thus D.Va sets out to find the factory and destroy it. It would give her a reason she sets out into the world of Overwatch while establishing how along the way, she may meet up with other Overwatch operatives and works with them to bring the threat against Korea to an end.
Instead, the fight ends, and there is no payoff other than D.Va friend-zoning her mechanic. It is especially ironic considering how D.Va’s short is like how she herself is with the story; separate and apart from all other heroes in the game. D.Va could have been the next Reinhardt and now her fight has begun, but since she got injured might as well end it there and she’ll contact Overwatch another time.
Overall: Did the Animated Short Help Establish D.Va into the World of Overwatch?
While I believe everyone in the hero roster deserves to be in the game, there are characters that feel more tact on in terms of story. Lucio (and in some regards Symmetra) have their ties in through Vishkar and Sanjay who work with Talon. Zenyatta at least has the title of “Genji’s Master” and a friend that took a headshot.
For D.Va, it still feels like she has nothing. Granted that because of the Omnic War, each country had their own means to fight them. The US had genetically enhanced soldiers, Germans had giant metal armor and giant hammers and Korea made mini mechs. It’s all fine and good, but at least we had standout characters that came out of those countries that represent the best form Overwatch. The MEKA Program, however, went underway after Overwatch closed up shop.
I guess my overall point is that when we look at D.Va, why is she there? She is almost like a Korean Batman in the sense of always being ready for the next fight to protect Bushan from the Gwishin. If that’s the case, why would she be traveling the world? If there was more initiative shown in the short of D.Va not wanting to wait for the next attack and have her find where these monsters are coming from, that could have been the golden ticket to connect her into the plot. She needs a higher purpose to give her that drive to do more than just wait out another attack. Even if it ended with her team coming back and assuring her that “They can protect Korea,” while she would go track down the source, that could have been enough.
So, what do you think?
Did you enjoy the D.Va short? Could there have been things done to make it better? Or was it as flawless as the rest? Leave your thoughts down below and be sure to follow us here at Culture of Gaming for more Editorials on Overwatch and other video games.