AboutThe Overwatch Soldier is an infantryman that generally works in squads and has a variety of attack methods. While Civil Protection officers have jurisdiction over the relatively minor affairs of policing the cities and enforcing compliance, Overwatch Soldiers can be found everywhere, and form the backbone of the Combine military occupation force on Earth. They are the most common Overwatch soldier variant.
Overwatch Soldiers usually travel in APCs or Dropships. Dropships are generally used for larger scale attacks.
Overwatch Soldiers are one of the games' most common foes. They are frequently encountered throughout most of Half-Life 2, Episode One, and, to a lesser extent, Episode Two.
Overwatch soldiers wear advanced body armor, which protects their torso, groin, arms, and thighs. The armor is typically colored blue and gray (shotgun-wielding units wear straight military gray with red Elite cracked-skull armbands) and has a simple urban camouflage design. They wear advanced helmets and masks with glowing blue or red goggles that cover the soldier's face. They also wear an Overwatch insignia on one of the arm pads.
Overwatch soldiers are usually equipped with sub-machine guns, shotguns, or pulse rifles (though they do not use the weapon's secondary fire), as well as a few grenades.
Overwatch soldiers typically work in squads of four to six, each squad having at least one soldier armed with a shotgun and another armed with the AR2 Pulse Rifle. Soldiers make use of squad tactics and will attempt to flank its enemies and cover each other.
An Overwatch soldier with clothing removed.Overwatch soldiers are initially encountered in the coastal wasteland outside the city, patrolling the highways for resistance activity and staffing Combine outposts. They can, however, be found anywhere the Combine requires direct military action, as soldiers can be quickly transported to a desired area via dropships. Overwatch soldiers are also tasked with guarding high-security areas, monitoring stalkers in the Citadel and serving as staff in the Nova Prospekt. In addition, they also serve as pilots and gunners of the Combine hunter-choppers.
Overwatch soldiers are confirmed to be humans that have undergone extensive modifications including, but not limited to, brain and chest surgery, removal of genitalia, and implantation of various mechanical devices in the throat and around the abdomen, and are likely to have their memories replaced. This procedure is carried out at Nova Prospekt and the Citadel. It is notable that in the B2 cell block of Nova Prospekt, after a few switches in a security monitor, a "naked" soldier can be seen lying on a table between two control panels. His eyes are open, indicating the soldier is not asleep, and is obviously being prepared for clothing. Some players like to think of Overwatch soldiers as human synths; Dr. Kleiner describes them in Episode One as "post-human" in reference to their enforced enhancements.
Despite the extensive surgery and modifications they receive, Overwatch soldiers still appear to have certain human characteristics - for instance, they still feel pain, and during the Nova Prospekt chapter, Doctor Breen is giving what appears to be a morale-boosting speech to them, and they sometimes can be heard shouting expletives in the heat of battle, indicating that they still have human emotions to a certain extent (after throwing a grenade at certain Overwatch units, one can hear them say, "Oh, s**t!" before the grenade explodes). They also communicate over radios, but unlike Civil Protection officers, are not addressed or controlled by dispatchers, but instead use them to update military situations, such as saying, "Overwatch, sector's not controlled.". Based on announcements made over the public address system of Nova Prospekt, punishments for failing to achieve objectives include "permanent off-world assignment". It may also be possible that the Combine are testing humanity's combat usefulness in the form of the Trans-Human Overwatch (Combine Soldiers). This is hinted at during Dr. Breen's speech which can be heard in Nova Prospekt. Judging from Dr. Breen's speech, it can be inferred that the Combine may assimilate humanity into the Combine to use as "human synths" in future conquests if the Trans-Human Overwatch proves successful, or exterminate humanity if the Trans-Human forces prove ineffective.
In combat, soldiers fire their weapons with decent accuracy. The amount of damage soldiers can take before dying is determined by the difficulty level the game is being played on. If a hostile target is at point blank range, a soldier will perform a melee attack with the butt of his weapon.