It only took two years, but Overwatch’s lean, mean esports queen D.Va — easily one of the game’s most popular characters — is finally getting some time in the spotlight. Alongside her CG short about being the world’s coolest workaholic who also happens to have PTSD, there’s also a new map set in the South Korean city of Busan. Its design lends itself well to fast-paced, nail-biting teamfights, but it’s also marred by a few odd design decisions.
Busan is a control point map (think king of the hill) that is broken up into three sections: a mecha hangar, a gorgeous garden, and a sleek, tightly packed cityscape. Each area has its own feel, and each has a layout designed to funnel players onto the point, which keeps the action feeling frenzied. Already, I’ve encountered some of my longest, most pitched point capture battles ever on Busan, with one overtime in the garden section feeling like an eternity of last-second saves and momentum shifts. None of Busan’s areas are particularly large, but that keeps the pace breezy. If you die, you’re just a hop, a skip, and a hamster roll away from getting back on the point.
The hangar is especially cool. The point that players need to capture is a launch bay with a lethal drop that you can boop people into, and it’s surrounded by a series of short walls that periodically emerge and retract, changing the composition of battle in an instant. The walls’ emergence is telegraphed by a consistently timed alarm, so you can strategise around them, timing your dives such that enemy players get cut off from allies or staggered on their way back to the point.
There’s also a raised platform that you can use for a ranged advantage, or if you’re Hammond, as a diving board for a bunch of cheeky piledriver attacks. A series of cramped industrial corridors surround the point, forcing flankers into combat in the closest of quarters. If you’re not paying attention like me (an idiot), you could get knocked into a pit by a Reinhardt who comes charging down the same ramp you’re walking back to the point on, right after a respawn.
The city area’s point has a similar structure to the hangar. It has its own raised platform and a lethal drop (this time into a moving train — fun!), but there’s more vertical space to play with thanks to a series of skybox-scraping buildings. The whole level also slopes downward towards the point, which creates some tactically interesting sightlines. There are plenty of nooks and cover spots around the point that open up flank opportunities.
This area, however, has some odd quirks. Players have pointed out that team spawn points are asymmetrical. One side sports a sign that can be seen and shot through, and the other has a big inflatable cow in a similar rooftop spot that blocks vision, but — unlike real-life inflatable cows — it cannot be shot through. Building roofs also have weird properties that might come up if you’re, say, a Pharah player. There’s a handful of perches that seem accessible, but are blocked off by invisible walls. Overall, this element of the map feels jarring and unintuitive, especially compared to the tight flow of the rest of it.
The garden area is the most straightforward of the three, with two largely symmetrical bases positioned a short distance away from the point, which takes the form of a shrine with giant drum in the centre. The drum provides cover as teams play murderous games of ring-around-the-rosie and use side pathways to flank. Because spawn points are an especially short distance from the point, action almost never stops, and overtime can go on and on and on. So far, I’ve really enjoyed the rounds I’ve played there, though I could imagine lengthy overtimes becoming tedious if they happened too often.
Overall, Busan’s a fun take on the control point formula with some subtle innovations, like walls that rise and retract. It’s one heck of a looker, to boot. Also, and most importantly, there is a karaoke room in one of the spawn points, and Reinhardt, being the beautiful soul that he is, can sing. Forget about those asymmetrical spawn points and the impenetrable inflatable cow; this room alone makes Busan the best Overwatch map. Or at least the most Nathan-friendly one.