Never liked racist characters. But as long as they have a pretty good, acceptable reasons for ending up like that, I usually bites in. That was the case with Zarya… and so’s Torbjorn.
Let’s start with the gameplay. Playing as Torbjorn gets the job done, if a bit boring. Your job is to build up your turret in a good position that can cover a lot of range and in the same time, a bit harder to hit. Don’t worry about getting into the frontline, that’s your friends’ job, though if someone gets close enough, sometimes Torbjorn can get good shots with his normal gun, the alternate fire in particular is pretty good up close. And of course, support your friends with extra armors you find and spread.
The good thing about this is that you can roleplay a bit with Torbjorn. See, he loves his turrets very much, getting real upset if they’re destroyed (“MY BABY!”). So if your turret is under heavy fire? Rather than just fixing them behind it… fix it from the front, be a shield to your turret as you fix them. Imagine that, you’re being a protective dad to your babies who will give your life to their survival. If you die, but your enemies die from your turrets and friends… congratulations. Mission accomplished. At the moment.
Playing as Torbjorn is kind of like that. Playing AGAINST Torbjorn… oh boy, this is why I get annoyed. A well-placed turret will make your life hell when you’re on Attack phase, seriously, you sneak on them, they turn 360 and fire at you, and the rate of fire was slow enough that you cannot take advantage of it like a Bastion turret. And just when you thought you may be finishing up, there comes the Molten Core to undo all that. Honestly, it just. gets. annoying.
But I think I’ve talked enough about gameplay, how’s Torbjorn as a character in-story? Technically, he might be a bit too racist for his own good, but you can see where it’s coming. He never really trusted sentient machines at first, but hadn’t gone that far in the past before the Omnic Crisis. He was called a madman and paranoid dude but then his worst fears came true, and no matter how you say it, the Omnic Crisis costed the lives of many. If he’s bitter and mistrusting on Omnics, he’s got his reasons, he’s got years of horror experience that doesn’t go away in instant.
Thankfully, however, Blizzard managed to give a good sense of ‘lightheartedness’ in the racism. Excepting his comment on King’s Row, most of his racism things do sound hilarious. I do especially like picking him at Numbani, just to have him start with “No no no! N-O NO!” It helps that he does have good spots to place his turrets in that place.
But of course, what truly saved him is that while he is kind of racist and most Omnics weren’t shown to be evil, his heart is at least in the right place. He’s dedicated for public safety and does his best to ensure lasting peace. Though probably he could use some work with that racist attitude when there are some good Omnics, just as there are bad Omnics too… I think it could work in the long run and even if he has the age, Torbjorn can get over that phase.