What I expected was a cookie cutter edgelord petty bland villain in the same vein of a certain green haired imp. What I got… was an actually pretty fun with some good depth in character and decent reasons in what he did in villainy. Reaper in a nutshell, folks.
So let me get this straight. If people say that Reaper’s design might be a little too much of a tryhard in trying to be edgy… I see their point. And I don’t even play Shadow the Hedgehog either. Skull and death motif, check. What did he call his weapon? Hellfire Shotguns. Does he constantly talk about pain and death? Check. He also consumes the soul of anyone dead nearby because… ok we’ll get to that later, but even from looks alone, it’s no surprise that Reaper is called ‘Edgelord’ affectionally.
But regardless, he’s not someone you want to get close with. With good aim and sneaking, Reaper can be a nightmare against his foes. Shotguns usually get more effective when they’re shot from close range. And if the target’s hitbox is big enough, they’ll take full-brunt of his damage. This is why they call Reaper the ‘tank-buster’. Additionally, he can turn into a black mist that goes through everything, practically making him invulnerable while still able to move. If the enemy’s attack does not disable him, he can just make them waste their attack. Or if Reaper is, by any chance, running for safety — Shut up, retreat is sometimes an important part in strategy — this skill can probably buy him some time or just… mess around with their aim.
So Reaper is an offensive character that does good with stealth. Why, this is because he can teleport to a distance. It’s a telegraphed move that takes a good chunk of time so best use it when he’s not in the middle of combat to get a good position quicker. Because why ride on an elevator when you can just teleport. Just don’t use it when there’s enemies near your target landing because for some reason Reaper just has to announce himself and it alerts your enemy. I mean, seriously, Reaper, if you’re more of those guys that sneak, perhaps you’ll be more subtle?
But of course, that’s set off with his Ultimate Death Blossom, which, shall I say, rank up as one of my favorite ultimates. While spinning, Reaper shoots in all directions, dealing heavy damage everywhere. Everyone should start running if they don’t want to die… or just find Reaper and interrupt and kill him. But landing one to an unsuspecting group of enemies via improbable means usually tends to be one of the most satisfying part in playing as Reaper. I dunno how, sneak with a teleportation with none knowing the wiser? (Yes, it’s possible, just very high risk) Or jump from heights and then spin around deathly? Either way it’s a GREAT thing.
It also helps that his ultimate yell voice is one of the best ones… A bit too edgelord-ly but the delivery is just PERFECT.
Regardless, if there’s also another thing I really like about Reaper, it’s that while he presents himself like an obvious evil villain, his backstory makes us understand how he came to be that way. So he used to be one of the main players of the old Overwatch Gabriel Reyes. He was not a people person, but he still risked his ass to protect mankind from the rampaging Omnics. But for all his efforts and life-risking, he was not properly rewarded and all efforts go to his best friend Jack Morrison, who was more of a people-person than him. Now I understand that dealing with people is one of the big factors of a leader, but let’s just give it: Gabriel gave his all for mankind in all matters he did, and he was just rewarded to go take care of Blackwatch, the group that did very dirty work that goes against the Overwatch’s public image.
If you ask me, that felt like getting assigned to do some nasty janitor things.
Naturally, Gabriel was bitter about it. And hell, even Jack seemed to answer to the higher ups more, and Gabriel called him his best friend before. This eventually culminates into Gabriel just revealing the dirty work of Blackwatch to public, causing people to lose trust on Overwatch and then he attacked Jack in Switzerland base, before the two got caught in an explosion that seemingly killed them. Gabriel actually survived… but underwent a freak accident by Mercy trying to save him. But whatever it is, it results his body becoming a constantly decaying corpse where his cells rot and regenerate in quick moments and every steps were painful for him and the only way to alleviate the pain is to kill others and absorb their essence. And so, that was how he embraced his being a super villain and then took the moniker of Reaper, becoming a terrorist.
Not exactly a ‘good’ choice of career, but after all he’s through, I think it’s no wonder that Reaper ends up that way, embracing his bad attitude. But on the other hand, you can understand how he turned out like that. People call it ‘Oh, he’s just being a petty guy’, but if you read his story, he can actually look pretty tragic. Even moreso that as more lore were revealed… we get to know that… I think the information was exaggerated about him not being a people-person. Sure he might not be able to lead better, but bless him, Gabriel still tried to act like a good friend with the old Overwatch members… genuinely. No strings attached.
All in all, it makes him actually close enough to be a tragic figure while not diminishing the fact that he’s now a remorseless murderer/terrorist.
Honestly though, I think I am kind of lacking about how I play Reaper since I tend to fail to sneak properly as him, but… when I do succeed with him, it is usually filling me with joy and he’s a blast to play as. No puns intended for his shotgun blasts. Furthermore, his story is exceptionally great for a purported ‘super simple diabolical villain who’ll more likely go “MUHAHAHAHA” in your face’, he has quite a lot of depths to go, and that makes him probably one of my favored villains amongst Blizzard works so far.