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Nerf Rival ‘Overwatch’ blasters offer form over function

Nerf's 'Overwatch' Blasters won't get you Play of the Game, but they look cool

Back at BlizzCon 2018, we learned about Hasbro’s line of Nerf Rival Overwatch blasters made to replicate the look and feel of some of the heroes’ most popular weapons. They’re scheduled to be released as timed exclusives for GameStop and EB Games in January, but Hasbro sent them over to Digital Trends for free so we could bounce a few rounds off the wall and see which would prevail.

Related to Overwatch

The first three blaster sets currently available through the Nerf Rival Overwatch line are for Reaper, D.Va, and McCree, and all of them fire the Rival line’s ball-shaped foam rounds instead of standard Nerf darts.

It’s a line of toys aimed at a slightly older crowd, as they can hit a little bit harder. Seriously, getting struck with one from close range genuinely stings for a second or two. While the Nerf Rival Overwatch line is a great accessory for your cosplay set, we discovered during our hands-on that they vary wildly in terms of functionality.

The McCree Nerf Rival Blaster

If you’re using McCree’s Nerf Rival blaster, you can be certain that you won’t be getting Play of the Game. The blaster is designed to look identical to his weapon, the Peacekeeper, but it can only fire one round before it has to be reloaded. Yes, this “revolver” can only fire a single shot before you have to open it up, shove another round in, and fire it.

If you don’t care about damaging the blaster, you can technically put about three rounds in at once and then fire them all simultaneously, but that doesn’t help with the blaster’s other problem. Despite being enormous, McCree’s blaster was unable to hit anything accurately from more than 15 feet away. In the words of Jesse McCree himself, “Justice ain’t gonna dispense itself,” and unfortunately, this blaster doesn’t do a very good job of it.

McCree’s revolver does fare better cosmetically, however. There’s a spinning spur located at the base of the grip and it comes with a metal badge, so you can show your Overwatch friends that you’re a genuine deadeye sharpshooter.

A single-action hammer on the back moves forward when you pull the trigger. The blaster’s cylinder can only be moved by pulling back the breech at the front, so you can’t do any cool tricks or pretend to play Russian Roulette. But we’re guessing Hasbro probably doesn’t want you doing that, anyway.

The D.Va Nerf Rival Blaster

Despite being a secondary (but damn good) weapon for D.Va in Overwatch, the D.Va Nerf Rival blaster sports a much better design than McCree’s. It can hold three rounds at a time, which is still quite low, but they fire significantly farther and with more kick. The shots are fairly accurate when fired, and include a small recoil mechanism that moves back and forth at the rear.

D.Va’s nerf blaster looks remarkably like her in-game gun, as well. The pink color is spot on, and it even has her name printed across each side. There are little bunny ears by the barrel and a matching charm that hangs from the grip. We aren’t sure if Hasbro has any plans to design a mech to go with the gun, but that’s all that’s missing from the package.

Reaper Nerf Rival Blaster

The most functional set of the three, by a significant margin, is Reaper’s Collector Pack. It includes two of his shotgun-style blasters in the “Wight” skin, each of which can hold eight rounds. They fire with more power than the other two blasters, which makes sense since it’s meant to emulate a shotgun.

Both guns have black smudge designs on the receiver and the barrel, as well as western-inspired molding on the grip and above the trigger. They look pretty close to perfect, and if younger fans want to have a Nerf battle, there’s no reason why they can’t share the blasters and go to town.

The Nerf Rival Reaper Collector Pack also includes a full-sized mask. It has adjustable straps on the back that fit most head types, and two layers of goggles inside to ensure that others won’t be able to see your eyes. Despite the goggles, you can still see out of the mask fairly well, and makes it a great choice for anyone looking to wear a costume to a low-light event.

You get what you pay for

The Nerf Rival Overwatch blasters differ drastically in price, with the McCree and D.Va sets costing $40 and $30, respectively, while the Reaper set costs $130. Those looking for a less expensive option can also pick up the $10 MicroShots blasters. They fire one standard dart, which is loaded into the front, and don’t fire particularly hard, but they’re colored to look like the game’s characters.

Currently, blasters for Torbjörn, Tracer, and D.Va are available, but they’re functionally identical. If you don’t particularly care about the Overwatch colors, however, the standard Nerf MicroShots are also available for $7 at most stores.

Hasbro nailed the look of the three Nerf Rival Overwatch blasters, but they just aren’t particularly functional compared to some of the company’s other blasters, which are often less expensive. The Overwatch blasters only come with a few rounds, as well – in the case of D.Va, only three are included – so you’re going to have to spend even more cash after you inevitably lose them. To hang on your wall or to hold with a cosplay, you can do a lot worse than the Nerf Rival Overwatch line, but there are better options for those who want to actually fire them.

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Gabe Gurwin
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Gabe Gurwin has been playing games since 1997, beginning with the N64 and the Super Nintendo. He began his journalism career…
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