Thor: Ragnarok Review

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[WARNING OF SPOILERS AHEAD. PLEASE DO NOT READ IF YOU ARE PLANNING ON WATCHING THE FILM. OTHERWISE, ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK. THANK YOU]

 

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Now, I’m a huge fan of Marvel films and follow many of the Avenger spin-offs, such as Iron Man and Captain America, but I never really followed the Thor movies. It’s not because I don’t like Thor, because I do (and Chris Hemsworth has nothing to do with it…well, not much…OK, about 75% of the reason why) but I think it more’s about the fact that I don’t find Thor…that interesting. Or maybe because I’m jaded due to Thor being loosely based on the Norse myth Thor.

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I’ll give a Synopsis of the Film; What I Did Like About the Film; What I Didn’t Like About the Film and then a Conclusion.


Synopsis

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Thor: Ragnarok follows 2 years after Avengers: Age of Ultron in which Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has been unsuccessful in searching for the Infinity Stones and has been captured by Surturn (voiced by Clancy Brown), a fire demon who commences Ragnarok (in Norse Mythology, Ragnarök is an event that involves a great battle; the deaths of many Gods and many natural disaster). Thor quickly defeats Surtur and returns to Asgard.

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Upon his return to Asgard, Thor notices something is different – especially a play his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins) commenced of how Loki sacrificed himself for Asgard (the play Thor was played by Chris’ brother Luke Hemsworth and the play Loki was played by none other than Matt Damon). Thor soon discovers Loki himself (Tom Hiddleston) had disguised himself as Odin and sent their father elsewhere. With the help of Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), they locate Odin in Norway. Odin reveals that he is dying and fears that his first borntheir sisterHela will be released.

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Hela (Cate Blanchett) once fought alongside Odin in his conquest of the Nine Realms but as they continued fighting, Odin grew more and more worried about her ambitious nature and eventually sealed her away. Odin rewrote history so she would be forgotten about. Odin dies, the magic he had used to seal her broke and she appears in Asgard after a ranged absence. She immediately claims her heir to the throne as the right of the first born, to which Thor and Loki disagree to. The three of them fight – in which Hela destroys Mjolnir – and forces the duo to flee via Bifrost Bridge. Hela chases after them and forces them to die in space. Hela takes over Asgard by killing rebels with the Warrior Three, resurrecting her previous warriors and Fenris (Hela’s giant wolf pet thing) and appoints Skurge (Karl Urban) as her executor. Thankfully, Heimdall (Idris Elba) takes the sword that controlled the bridge that Hela needed to expand Asgard.

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Thor finds himself on a planet called Sakarr – filled with wormholes and barbarians. Without Mjolnir, Thor is easily captured by cannibals who are killed by a mysterious woman (later revealed as Valkyrie and played by Tessa Thompson), recaptured and taken to The Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum). There, Thor is reunited with Loki and forced to participate in the Contest of Champions (not before having his hair cut by Stan Lee) against The Grandmaster’s current champion – the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo).

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After Thor and Hulk’s fight (which was a draw), Thor requests Hulk’s help, to which he disagrees. Thor finds the Quinjet, which he tricks Hulk by turning him back into Bruce Banner. With the (eventual) help with Valkyrie; Banner; Loki (despite his betrayal when stealing one of The Grandmaster’s ships); Korg (a gladiator Thor met at the Contest of Champions) and other rebellion gladiators. They fly back to Asgard, reunite with the surviving Asgardians that Heimdall saved and fight Hela. Thor loses his eye to Hela, but in Thor’s self-defeat, he receives a vision from Odin and discovers that only Ragnarok can stop Hela. Surtur’s Crown is placed in the Eternal Flame, bring him back and destroying Asgard, seemingly with Hela too. Thor becomes the new king of Asgard…well, I don’t want to the spoil the post-credit scene (or is it scenes?).

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What I Did Like About the Film

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With a Marvel classic, you expect a few things: great action; great humour; great names. This film was no exception – the action was good (I would still say that the fighting and stunts were better in Civil War and I don’t think it will ever be topped with that Captain America and Bucky vs Iron Man fighting scene).

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Chris Hemsworth definitely played Thor differently – Thor is known to be authoritative, a bit of a comedic point at times and strong; both in will and physicality. He’s a straight up character who is feared for being a God. But, Thor in this movie had a much better sense of humour and seemed more understanding and accepting of his failures – as the director Taika Waititi said that he wanted Thor to be stripped back to a refugee and Hemsworth took a Big Trouble in Little China‘s Jack Burton’s take on the comedy side on things.

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All gags hit the mark, but there was a particular scene that tickled my funny bone (let’s not forget the Matt Damon and Chris Hemsworth brother fake Thor and Loki scene) – when introducing Doctor Strange, there were a LOT of Sherlock Holmes references (in case you don’t know, Benedict Cumberbatch plays Sherlock Homles in a BBC series that is very good).

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Also, the inclusion of Cate Blanchett was somewhat unexpected but not unpleasant – she was a great addition to the film (and the Marvel Universe). She played Hela amazingly – many times, we’re used to seeing Blanchett playing a beautiful character (Galadriel, Gran Mamare, Elizabeth I) that it’s a surprise when she plays a horrible character, especially Hela (who is the Goddess of Death) who she can still play well and be likable.

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From the first showing of the trailer, it very much seemed to take a step back and kind of rewind itself back into the 80s with it’s neon lights, quick-paced fight scenes and awesome soundtrack.

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What I Didn’t Like About the Film

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One of the strengths of the film is it’s humour, but it’s also a downfall –  most of the humour was predictable. Yes, I did laugh when it happened – I mean who wouldn’t laugh when Thor threw a ball at the window and it bounces back to hit him – but it is slightly worrying. I fear that Marvel’s humour may become predictable (which it did for me when I watched this in the cinema), therefore losing that ‘Marvel’ magic. Hopefully, it will not go down the DC movie route *cough* Justice League *cough*.

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Another problem I had was the CGI with Hela – the CGI was totally fine everywhere else in the film, but during the fight of Hela, Thor and Loki on Asgard, the CGI on Hela was heavy and very noticeable. I know Cate is a bit of an older lady, but that doesn’t mean she can’t have some fight training/fighting choreography.

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Conclusion

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Overall, Thor: Ragnarok is a great film and an absolute must see, even if (like me) you’re not Thor’s biggest fan. But missing this film out will not bring you too much confusion when Avengers: Infinity War comes out. Like a Marvel film, it delivers great comedy and great action and improves each time.

Rating: 9/10


Thanks for reading, hope you enjoy! Let me know your thoughts!

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My Top Five Tips When Playing Lúcio in Overwatch

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Lúcio (Correia dos Santos) is a international musician that uses his music as a weapon as well as a force for good.

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Lúcio grew up in Rio de Janeiro, which was struck into poverty after the Omnic Crisis. In his sorrow for his country and community, he created music and became a street performer. Sure enough, Vishkar Corporation sought to become the world’s saviour, but instead exploited people into a cheap labour force, enforced curfews and used lawless behaviour. Lúcio soon had enough, broke into Vishkar and stole their technology. This soon became his tool to drive them out, making him an overnight star. He used his popularity as a positive social movement.

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Lúcio is a 2 star Support Hero.

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Tip #1 – Boop!

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Lúcio’s main weapon is the Sonic Amplifier – this allows the player to either heal or boost the speed of any teammates within a raidus highlighted (either yellow/gold or green, depending of what buff he is using).

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And – as mentioned on many of this Character Tip Guides – the Sonic Amplifier has two different types of fire. The first being Sonic Projectiles – they deal little damage (4 – 20 damage, max of 80 with a bodyshot) but is good to finish off withered down enemies.The secondary fire – Soundwave – produces a shot of soundwave energy that can knock enemies back. This, naturally, is a huge advantage on corners, chokepoints and ledges that insta-kill enemies by making them fall off. Maps that this advantage should be used on are:

  • Ilois‘s Lighthouse
  • Ilois’s Well
  • Nepal‘s Sanctum
  • Lijiang Tower‘s Night Market
  • Lijiang Tower’s Garden
  • Oasis‘s Gardens
  • Eichenwalde‘s bridge
  • Route 66 (before the last checkpoint)

Tip #2 – Crossfade: Speed Boost

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As mentioned previously, Lúcio’s Sonic Amplifier has 2 buffs – healing and speed. The Speed Boost increases teammates speed by 30% within a 10 m radius for less than 1 second (0.5 to be precise).

The Speed Boost the default mode whenever playing Lúcio for the first time during the match and/or respawning. This is essential for Control Maps (but also good for Defense and Attack) as Lúcio can speed up all teammates (so long as they are in his radius) to get back to the point quickly, especially teamed up with Amp It Up (we’ll talk about that in a minute). Naturally, this is also good to help escape enemies.


Tip #3 – Crossfade: Heal Up

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Lúcio’s other buff is a radius of healing (16.25 HP per second on teammates while 13 HP per second on self). While his healing is not as good as Mercy‘s or Zenyatta‘s, he can heal more teammates at one time than other supports.

Healing radius is better for Defense maps, making Lúcio an all-around hero. Switching between healing and speed allows for a fast, on-pace healing radius that can benefit all teammates.


Tip #4 – Amp it Up!

Another one of Lúcio’s abilities is Amp It Up – this gives a boost to either Lúcio’s healing or speed boost. Unlike either of these abilities, it does have a cooldown (12 seconds) and lasts for 3 seconds, meaning it should be used wisely.

If you choose the speed boost, it increases speed movement by 70%, meaning it is best used after respawning (and waiting for teammates if most have died) to get back to the fight faster than usual (mainly benefiting Control and Attack points).

If you choose healing, it heals 46. 8 HP per second (and 35 HP on self) meaning it is best not to waste it on just one teammate but rather most (or all if possible), benefiting Defense points.


Tip #5 – Let’s Break it Down!

Lúcio’s Ultimate ability is the Sound Barrier – within a 30 m radius, Lúcio can provide a personal shield to a teammate, giving them a +500 temporary shield. This works best when all teammates are with you either pushing to escort the payload on Attack, or protecting the point in Defense. It can protect most heroes from most Ultimates, such as Junkrat‘s RIP-Tire or Soldier: 76‘s Tactial Visor, but not all that deal heavy damage at one time, such as D.Va‘s Self-Destruct.

Another good tactic is to pair healing with Amp it Up either before or after (depending on how damaged your team is) to make it harder for the enemy team.


  • You can watch Lúcio’s introduction video here.
  • You can watch an overview of Lúcio’s abilities here.
  • You can click here and here to listen to 2 tracks from Lúcio’s album (that are also used for the healing and boosting song, respectively).

My set up for Lúcio

My Top Five Tips When Playing Junkrat in Overwatch

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Junkrat – AKA Jamison Fawkes – is a explosive-obsessed criminal paired with Roadhog who suffers from ‘a touch of madness’.

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After the Omnic Crisis, the Australian government hoped to restore peace by building a race track (yes, really). However, some residents rebelled and attacked the omnium’s fusion core, destroying the Outback into a post-apocalyptic scrapheap. Those who survived called themselves the Junkers and made their living by scavenging for what metal parts remained, and passing the time with mech battles.

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Junkrat discovered a vast amount of treasure, leading him to be hunted by other criminals, bounty hunters and gangs. After running and hiding for so long, he came across Roadhog (who had also been on the rebels to the omnium being built) who he hired as a body guard (and partner in crime). They left the Outback, never looking back at the trial of mayhem they left behind.

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Junkrat is a 2 star Defense Hero.


Tip #1 – Bouncing Off the Walls

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Junkrat’s primary weapon is his Frag Launcher – somewhat looking like a rocket launcher, it hurls grenades in whichever direction they are fired in, in a arch like projection that explode upon impact of an enemy (or the ground). Granted, there is only 5 grenades per ‘clip’ but each can do a high amount of damage (up to 120 damage if a direct hit). It cannot head shot, inflict self harm but can knock Junkrat back.

These grenades can bounce around, making them perfect when having an enemy trapped in a small space and on corners. It’s also worth noting that the Frag Launcher can used a sort of ‘spy check‘ to see if enemies are hiding around corners (which is why you often see Junkrat’s just unnecessarily shooting at the beginning of rounds).

However, Junkrat is not very good against ‘mobile’ heroes, such as Pharah or Genji (Junkrat actually has a hard time reaching targets above him), so it better against stationary enemies, such as Bastion or Reinhardt.


Tip #2 – Get Concussed, Son!

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Another one of Junkrat’s abilities is his Concussion Mine that is pretty self-explanatory – it’s a mine that he can place and trigger. Junkrat can now hold up to 2 mines (instead of 1) which do 120 damage within a 3 m radius.

A popular tactic is to place the Steel Trap, then a mine ontop of it so enemies cannot move and get killed quickly. Another tactic – similar to Soldier: 76’s Helix Rockets – is to use the Mine as a final blow – lob a few grenades at the enemy, then the Mine. The Mine does knock Junkrat back if he is close to it (but does not inflict self damage), which is an advantage to reposition yourself in mid-air.


Tip #3 – It’s Made of Steel

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As mentioned previously, another one of Junkrat’s abilities is his Steel Trap – he will throw out a metal-toothed trap that clamps onto an enemy when triggered, keeping them in place for 3 seconds while inflicting some damage too (up to 80).

This ability is all about placement –  a good place for Defense is actually on the point incase one stray decides to get the point early, such as Genji, Tracer or Sombra. It’s also good if an enemy is chasing you – lead them to a small, enclosed space that is far away from teammates.


Tip #4 – In Death, Still Make it Funny

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The last of Junkrat’s abilities is Total Mayhem – when Junkrat dies, a cluster of grenades will fall and inflict any damage on enemies within a 2m radius. This is great for kills when dead and many players forget that it happens – the amount of times I’ve died to this when killing a Junkrat is frustrating.

It is worth noting that if Junkrat dies in mid-air, his body and grenades could land if different places.


Tip #5 – Fire in the Hole!

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Junkrat’s Ultimate is the RIP-Tire – a bomb that is controlled by the player (while Junkrat stands mobile, so it is possible to die when using it, but the RIP-Tire will still be usable) that can deal up to 600 damage within a 10 m radius. It’s good to find a hiding spot first before using it.

Needless to say, this is best used on a cluster of enemies to take them out in one swift move, however it only lasts for 10 seconds, so if you’re not quick, it will be wasted. It would also be a wasted opportunity if used on just one enemy. The RIP-Tire does have health (100 HP), so it can be destroyed before denotation.


  • You can read the comic “Going Legit” here, which involves Junkrat and Roadhog.
  • You can watch one the animated shorts, “A Moment in Crime” here.
  • You can also watch another animated short, “Junkertown: The Plan” here.
  • You can watch an overview of Junkrat’s abilities here.

Thanks for reading – hope you enjoyed! Let me know if I missed any vital tactics. Until next time, take care!

My set up for Junkrat

My Top Five Tips When Playing Hanzo in Overwatch

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Hanzo Shimada is the eldest son of the Shimada clan – a family empire built on assassination, power and crime. Hanzo, as his duty, worked under his father to lead the business, which did sadly come true when Sojiro died suddenly. Hanzo is also the brother of Genji, who did not take his families’ business seriously and instead, lived a leisurely lifestyle. Genji refused to play any part in the business when their father died, leading them to fight where Genji was nearly killed. The Shimada Empire fell apart and Hanzo disappeared without a trace, always believing he had killed his brother.

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Hanzo – similarly to his brother – is a 3 star Defence Hero.

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Tip #1 – Scramble to the Top

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As mentioned in the Genji Character Guide, Hanzo has the ability to climb walls, but unlikely his brother, he cannot jump mid-air. This ability allows him to reach places that neither sniper heroes Widowmaker or Ana can make. Neither does it have a cool down.

It is also worth noting that high positions are an advantage (especially when defending) but at long range, it is worth firing an arrow slightly above the target’s head, as the arrow travels in an arc.


Tip #2 – No Spam Allowed

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Hanzo is one of the very few heroes who has unlimited ammo. Understandably, it takes little time for him to reload or charge an arrow to full power (less than 1 second for the arrow to be fully charged). Spamming arrows will not be successful, as a good Hanzo player needs to be patient and estimate where targets will move in order to defend.

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It is also worth noting that using the middle dot on Hanzo’s reticle will give more consistent shots at both short and long range. Again, with targeting, shot an arrow slightly ahead of an enemy rather than aim exactly as shots will not work (and be a bit frustrating).


Tip #3 – See Through the Dragon’s Eyes

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One of Hanzo’s abilities is the Sonic Arrow – this, similar to Widow’s Ult – allows targets to be seen through red heat signatures within a radius (10 m), even through walls. It is always good to use at the beginning of the round (either Defending or Attacking) and before you wish to use Hanzo’s Ult. It only lasts 10 seconds, so be sparing when you use it.

Unlike Widow’s Infra-Sight however, enemies do not know when it is being used by a voice line (Widow usually states “No one can hide from my sight” which is heard by everyone, whereas Hanzo may use a voice line only heard by teammates nearby).


Tip #4 – Scatter Across the Floor

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Another one of Hanzo’s abilities is his Scatter Arrow – this is an fragmented arrow (around 6 fragments) that can ricochet off walls and other objects, allowing him to damage (and/or kill) multiple targets at one time. The arrow can headshot, but the fragments cannot. They can still deal a hefty amount of damage (22 – 75 per fragment, whereas the initial arrow can deal up to 125 damage, which is the same as a regular arrow).

The Scatter Arrow is used shot at the floor infront of an enemy to inflict high damage but a flat surface means no other obstacles can curve or bump the arrow, changing its movement. These arrows can also kill tanks like Zarya or Orisa and are Hanzo’s only effective tool at close range.


Tip #5 – The Dragon is Sated

Hanzo’s Ultimate Ability is Dragonstrike – Hanzo shots an arrow that releases 2 spirit dragons (or wolves, depending on what skin you have enabled) that travels through the air in a straight line. The arrow itself can inflict 125 damage but the dragons themselves can cause 200 damage per second, making it a devastating Ult (especially when you avoid it, only to walk in the dragons/wolves path).

This Ult is best used when defending and the enemies are capturing the point, even if they are on the other side of a wall. Teammates can easily pass through the dragons, allowing some sort of camouflage for a surprise attack if they are not killed by the initial attack. It is also worth noting that the Ult is slow, so where the Ult travels is vital.


  • You can watch a overview of Hanzo’s abilities here.
  • You can watch a preview of early Hanzo gameplay here.
  • You can watch the animated short that gives the story behind Hanzo and Genji called “Dragons” here.

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed! Let me know if I missed any tips that you use. Until next time, take care!

My set up for Hanzo

My Top 5 Tips When Playing Bastion in Overwatch

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Bastion is best known as a omnic robot with a bird called Ganymede.

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Bastion comes from a line of robots used in the Omnic Crisis – a decade long battle that took place near Eichenwalde where Reinhardt himself participated in – known as the SST Laboratories Siege Automaton B73. This Bastion is the last surviving of it’s kind after being left from the aftermath of the Omnic Crisis and walking up in the Black Forest. After being discovered by Torbjörn, it was upgraded and seen as a unique model – fascinated by nature but wary of humanity.

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Bastion is a Defense Hero (despite his size) with a 1 star difficulty, and is probably one of the easiest of characters to use.

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Tip #1 – Mission Configuration: Recon

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As mentioned with last week’s article on McCree, most heroes in Overwatch have 2 firing modes on their primary weapons, which does include Bastion. Bastion’s Configuration: Recon is a submachine gun on his right arm. While it is not as powerful as the other mode, it is good taking out ‘squishy’ heroes such as Supports at close to medium range (it has 25 rounds that can deal up to 20 damage per shot) and can head shot. Don’t forget about it – it’s useful for final blows and attacking as Bastion transforms (see next tip).


Tip #2 – Walking in the Bullet Rain

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Bastion’s secondary ability is Configuration: Sentry – this transforms him into a ‘powerhouse’ with a gatling gun but is stationary (with Recon, Bastion can move freely). This mode does have more ammo (300 rounds) it doesn’t deal as much damage (up to 15 damage per bullet), it does fire at a rapid speed (35 bullets per second, meaning it can deal up to 525 damage within a second, but Bastion would be OP if all shots were 100% and all opponents stood still like gingerbread men). While it is powerful (and fun to mow down your opponents with ease) it cannot headshot and, as mentioned, Bastion is stationary, making him a prime target for snipers.

Sentry is the main reason why Bastion is a Defense hero rather than a Tank – it allows him to hold a point for a long period of time. It is also good to set up around tight corners or behind objects so it is hard for enemies to stop you. But like snipers, don’t stay in one place for too long.


Tip #3 – Always Work Together

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While Bastion is a great hero to be independent, he is a absolute machine (ha ha, get it?) when paired with synergies and the like. The most common combo is Reinhardt & Bastion (even though they’re enemies…?) – Bastion can be stationary with Sentry while Reinhardt can shield him and attack anyone who gets close. Orisa is another good hero to pair up with for both a shield and boost, as well as Mercy, as she can switch between buffing and healing. Basically, the dream team is Bastion-Reinhardt-Mercy. Ana is a good hero to get the Nano Boost from, as well as Torbjörn and his Turret.

Another way of being continuously undefeated (and somewhat annoying) is by placing yourself very close (or actually on) a health pack. Bastion’s Self Repair comes in handy while waiting for it to respawn (unless you have a Sombra).


Tip #4 – Every Machine has a Weak Spot

While Bastion is a truly great and useful player to have on your team, he does have a long list of counters. The biggest one is his weak spot is a blue cube that can be assumed to be a power core or supply of some sort. Not only is Bastion weak if a enemy attacks him from behind in Configuration: Sentry but if the blue cube is attacked, it will register as a head shot (despite it not being one) and deal damage damage:

  • In Recon, the cube inside Bastion’s chest.
  • In Sentry, the cube is located on his back.

Understandably, these need to be protected in order for Bastion to be a great help on the battlefield.


Tip #5 – Cannons Ahoy!

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Bastion’s Ultimate Ability, Configuration: Tank, transforms him into a tank and allows him to move a bit faster. A direct hit of a cannon shell can inflict 205 damage (immediately killing low health heroes) and can fire 1 shell per second (meaning you can fire up to 8 shells in it’s duration). However, it can inflict self damage (up to 28 points) and knock you back slightly.

The best to use the Ult is when your team is pressurized, it can ultimately stop an enemy push. Self Repair is still usable during Configuration: Tank, and it best used by tapping the button (not holding, like you would usually) right after firing, then firing again to maximize durability while still dealing damage.

Also, beware of Genji – he is a great counter against Bastion, but if using Configuration: Tank on Genji, he can easily deflect it back and deal more damage (Bastion no longer receives a health boost either while in this mode, so be wary).


  •  You can watch a video of Bastion’s abilities here.
  • You can watch a video of Bastion’s gameplay here.
  • You can watch the animated short “The Last Bastion” here (warning, it did make me cry the first time I watched it).

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed! Don’t forget, the 2nd Halloween Terror Event has begun in Overwatch and we’ve only got it for 3 weeks – previous skins are cheaper too!

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Until next time, take care!

My set up for Bastion

My Top 5 Tips When Playing McCree in Overwatch

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Jesse McCree is best known as an ex member of the Deadlock Gang as well as Blackwatch, who was under the operation of Gabriel Reyes.

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The Deadlock Gang where a group of outlaws who specialised in trafficking weapons and other military hardware throughout the southwest of the USA. Under a sting operation at Route 66, the Deadlock Gang were captured by Overwatch, and McCree was given a choice – either rot in jail or join Blackwatch. The others were thrown into jail but McCree agreed to the latter.

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During his time with Blackwatch, McCree made amends by bringing down criminals and justice to the world. But when Overwatch disbanded, McCree cut himself off from the others and became a bounty hunter and vigilante, dealing justice on his own terms.

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McCree is an Offense Hero with a 2 star rating.


Tip #1 – Track and Flick

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McCree’s primary weapon is his Peacekeeper – a colt revolver with 6 rounds. And like most guns in Overwatch, it has 2 firing modes. The first lets you fire a single shot (20 – 70 damage per shot) with a 20 – 45 m falloff range and can headshot. Despite being able to headshot, it is not the greatest weapon to be a pseudo sniper with – against an enemy player with 200 HP, it can take 3 shots (and that’s if all of them are headshots), so it will be hard to headshot a Tank.

The secondary fire mode is Fan the Hammer – this is more of a burst where McCree fires all bullets left (even if some have been used already) in a fan like manner. Understandably, this is harder to control and deals less damage (22 – 45 per bullet) but is good finishing off low health enemies.

And great technique to use with McCree’s Peacekeeper is Tracking and Flicking. Tracking is self-explanatory: you track your enemy and shoot them when they are in prime position. Flicking, however, is different – you ‘flick’ your wrist to the enemy’s position and fire in a wildly fashion. While tracking is more accurate, flicking is helpful in a sticky situation, and damn satisfying when pulled off well.


Tip #2 – Fan the Blow

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On the subject of Fan the Hammer, it is a popular ability to use in combination with McCree’s Flashbang – Flashbang first, then Fan the Hammer. It works best with a full clip to make up for any shots missed (which is very probable) but still dealing plenty of damage. It is not to be used on Tanks like D.Va or Roadhog who deal a large amount of damage at close range but it better used for ‘squishy’ heroes (i.e. heroes who have 200 HP).


Tip #3 – Do a Combat Roll!

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Another one of McCree’s abilities is the Combat Roll – he will perform a roll in the direction he is facing (up to 6 m) while simultaneously reloading his Peacekeeper. This doesn’t quite act like Reaper’s Shadow Step or Tracer’s Recall as the player can still take damage while dodging. However, it can be used to keep a string of combo attacks, especially with the Flash-Fan combo. Much like Widowmaker’s Ult, it needs to be timed well and used under the right circumstances (i.e not to get out of the way of a Ult, like D.Va’s Self Destruct or Tracer’s Pulse Bomb).


Tip #4 – Boom Goes the Flashbang

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As perviously mentioned, McCree’s last ability is the Flashbang – a projectile that will explode and stun any enemies with a 2m radius (with an extra 25 damage). You would think that the Flashbang would be very similar to Ana’s Biotic Grenade, but it does not travel far enough (up to 5m range) nor does it denote once it’s in contact with the ground (but it will if it hits an enemy or after a set amount of time), so do not use it at long range as it may not work and be a wasted opportunity. The Flashbang followed by the Combat Roll is also a good method of escaping.


Tip #5 – Focus. Mark. Draw

McCree’s Ultimate is probably the most well know (mostly from the line, “It’s high noon,”) and probably most feared (I always hide from it if I’m playing Mercy). It is a rapid fire hitscan that marks all enemies within McCree’s sight and fires at them, no matter what direction they’re in (similar to Soldier: 76’s Ult) that can deal up to 250 damage (which is why it’s one of the most hated ults for Supports, along with Junkrat’s Rip-Tire). This Ult is not to be wasted on just 1 player (even if they do piss you off and you decide to make them your rival for the rest of the match) but to be used in a wide, open space with not many hiding places, otherwise either 1 of 2 things will happen – an enemy will knock you back so you can longer mark them or they will hide themselves. Again this is an Ult that can be paired with other Ults (crowd control ones like Blizzard or Gravitional Surge) and can actually be cancelled if need be. Just don’t let your fellow teammates gun-block your shots!


  • Watch a overview of McCree’s abilities here.
  • Watch a video of McCree gameplay here.
  • McCree also starred in his own comic called “Train Hopper” that you can read here.

Thanks for reading, let me know if you have any of your own tips that I may have missed! Until next time, take care!

My set up for McCree

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Much obliged!

My Top 5 Tips When Playing Doomfist in Overwatch

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Doomfist is the latest hero to be added to the roster of Overwatch and a leader of Talon.

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Doomfist – real name Akande Ogunimu – was the heir to a powerful prosthetic-technology business in Nigeria. While expanding it, he trained in various martial arts, such as Dambe, Gidibo and wrestling. He became involved with the Omnic Crisis, but lost his arm in the process. Thankfully, his families’ empire allowed him to recover and became stronger. He caught Talons’ eye, and trained under the guidance of Akinjide Adeyemi – the ‘Scourage’ of Numbani and wielder of the Doomfist gauntlet. Ogunimu killed Adeyemi and took the role of the third Doomfist. During his years, he rained terror in his path, but was eventually captured by Overwatch agents (Tracer, Winston and Genji) and imprisoned. Years went by, until Talon broke him out

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Doomfist is an Offensive Hero with a 3 star rating.


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Tip #1 – Never Stop Moving

Doomfist is an extremely mobile character with his abilities that allow him to reach high places or escape. This makes him a difficult target, so do not stand still. Overwatch itself gives the tip to move unpredictably so it makes it harder for enemies to hit you, but this should be used the most with Doomfist.

Knowing your enemies locations is helpful too – Doomfists’ mobility allows him to attack at odd angles and catch enemies off guard. Sticking with your team is also a good move so that you are protected and can pick off strangles if they come for the objective.


Tip #2 – Come On and Slam

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One of Doomfists’ abilities is the Seismic Slam, which allows him to travel 7.5 m in one direction, meaning  he can close distances and also impact some damage (10 – 125 damage). It’s best used when attacking a stand-still sniper from behind or on an enemy who has surprised you.

Once Doomfist lands on the ground, he is also able to use his other abilities, meaning he can string a good combo to potentially kill lower-health players.


Tip #3 – One Punch Man

Doomfist probably most used ability is his Rocket Punch – with the gauntlet, he can charge up an attack (around 3 seconds) that inflicts damage when connected (49 – 100 damage with a straight hit but up to 250 damage if you can hit a player into a wall) but also stuns the enemy and knocks them back. This is good if you have an enemy close to the edge of the map and also helps Doomfist travel up to 20 m, so it makes it hard if an enemy spots you and tries to run away. Just be careful not to charge off a cliff!


Tip #4 – Take an Uppercut to the Chin

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Doomfists’ Rising Uppercut is a no brainer – it rises Doomfist into the air while punching (up to 50 damage) along with his enemy. It is a good attack to use if an enemy has surprised you, knock enemies off a cliff (again) or attack enemies with a height advantage, such as Pharah. After using the uppercut, Doomfist does float, allowing the player to adjust and be more accurate with his other abilities.

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A good combo is Rocket Punch – Rising Uppercut – Seismic Slam. This allows enemies to be quickly stunned, moved around and give Doomfist a self-generated shield (up to 150 temporary shield). It’s also worth noting that Doomfist does have a Hand Cannon that allows him to fire 4 shotgun rounds (up to 66 damage with all 4 rounds) and a melee attack (like all heroes). You can fire the shotgun rounds, melee attack and have the shotgun reloaded as it only takes 3 seconds, which is the same amount of time to cast a melee attack. This is worth mixing into the combo.


Tip #5 – Get Cratered

Doomfist’s ultimate ability is the Meteor Strike – Doomfist leaps into the sky, secures a place to land then crashes down, dealing a shockwave of damage (up to 300 damage). It increases Doomfists’ speed, allowing to cut across the map and is best used on a cluster of enemies (perhaps with the aid of Gravational Surge (Zarya) or Earthshatter (Reinhardt)). It can also be used quickly to catch enemies off guard (Doomfist does have a voice line when he uses it and his target recital can be seen until he chooses a place to land).


  • Watch Doomfist’s origin story here.
  • Watch a preview here.
  • Watch some test footage here.

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed! Let me if you have any of your own Doomfist strategies that are useful (I really suck as DF). Until next time, take care!

My Top 5 Tips When Playing Sombra in Overwatch

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Sombra is another member of Talon – the terrorist organisation that seems to be highly against Overwatch. Sombra has incredible hacking skills and often uses information that she gathers as a way of blackmail.

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As a child, Sombra (real name unknown) was orphaned during the Omnic Crisis (a ten year war between robots and humans) and nearly destroyed her country. Thankfully, her natural abilities with computing and hacking saved her and she became a member of the Los Muertos gang. During her many conquests with Los Muertos, she stumbled across a global conspiracy which got her noticed – leading her to wipe all trace of herself and go into hiding. After a number of years, she became investigating the conspiracy once more, gaining the admiration of Talon.

 

Sombra is an Offensive hero with a 3 star difficulty.

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Tip #1 – Hack the Players

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As mentioned, Sombra has a powerful hacking ability which she can use on the field, meaning she can hack other players. Hacking enemies means blocking their abilities, which is extremely effective against:

  • Genji (he loses Swift Strike and Deflect)
  • Pharah (she can be hard to reach due to her airborne abilities, but you can debuff this ability)
  • Reaper (he will no longer be able to use Wraith Form, meaning he cannot make easy escapes)
  • Soldier: 76 (this can block his Biotic Field, but not as soon as it’s place down, so make sure you time it well)
  • Tracer (she loses Recall and Blink, making her a much easier target)
  • Bastion (he will no longer be able to use his Sentry, which takes out targets easily)
  • Orisa (disables her Fortify and Protective Barrier)
  • Doomfist (loses all of his abilities)
  • Mei (shuts down Ice Wall and Cyro-Freeze, meaning she will not be able to block or heal)
  • Reinhardt (he will no longer be able to use his shield)
  • D.Va (disables her Defence Matrix, meaning she no longer has any protection)
  • Roadhog (he will not be able to Hook or restore lost health)
  • Zarya (the Hack can disable shields, so it can halve her health)
  • An enemy Sombra
  • Hanzo (it only disables his Scatter Arrow, so only use it when he is in a good position to use it)
  • Junkrat (does not work if he has already placed a Concussion Mine or Steel Trap)
  • Winston (better used when he is defending the point or escorting the payload)
  • Mercy (if can cut off her Resurrect Ultimate, so is good to use after a large death of the enemy team, as well as her Guardian Angel ability, meaning she cannot escape easily)
  • Zenyatta (he will no longer be able to switch targets with his Orbs)
  • Ana (disables her Biotic Grenade and Sleep Dart, making it harder to heal her teammates and make an easy escape)
  • It can also be used against Torbjorn’s Turret and Symmetra’s Sentry Turrets

 

The rest of the heroes (McCree, Widowmaker and Lucio) will not be quite as affected by Sombra’s Hack but does shut off Ultimates, even if they are fully charged.

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It is also worth noting that Sombra has the ability to hack Health Packs, meaning they spawn faster and are also useless for the enemy team to use. Naturally, these are best used against the most used Health Packs (i.e. the large ones that can heal up to 250 HP).


Tip #2 – Stealth it Out

Another of Sombra’s abilities is Stealth – this allows her to be invisible for a short period of time (around 5 seconds, unless it is interrupted by taking damage or being detected by an enemy player) and increases her movement speed (8.8 m/s). This can help reach objectives without being seen; escape if she is low on health or (as I’ve seen in the community with high skilled players) push the payload to its final destination (so long as you’re on the payload itself).

During Stealth, she can use her Translocator and reload her gun.


Tip #3 – Light the Beacon

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Another one of Sombra’s abilities is the Translocator – it acts every similarly to Tracer’s Chronal Accelerator (the device that allows her to use Blink and Recall) in that she can transport herself to wherever it is placed. It is limited on time however – once placed, it will be ‘live’ for around 15 seconds, meaning that Sombra can only teleport to the beacon within the space of 15 seconds. Fortunately, it does not have a limit on range (i.e. if possible, you can travel to one side of the map, even if the beacon is on the other side of the map).

One advantage is that Sombra can teleport mid-flight, i.e. the beacon does not have to hit the ground after being thrown in order to use it. This can be used to confuse enemies by throwing it upwards, then use Stealth to escape.

Beware of campers (especially Junkrats) as the beacon can be seen and heard, therefore enemies can lay in wait if they find it.


Tip #4 – Once a Scout, Always a Scout

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A combination (or using one or the other, it’s player preference) of Stealth and the Translocator means that Sombra can act as a scout, which is partially useful going against a Defensive team or simply running into enemy fire. Remember, characters automatically announce events such as snipers, turrets and teleporters so you won’t have to type it out!

Sending out Sombra first will also enable her to hack enemies to cut off abilities, but note that if she is using Stealth, she will come out of it when hacking and therefore be revealed to enemy players. To make sure you don’t get seen (you will be heard as there will be a sound affect and/or a quip from Sombra herself), make sure you are outside of the enemies view (like behind them) as three visible lines appear on the enemies UI when they are being hacked.


Tip #5 – Lights Out!

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Sombra’s Ultimate is her EMP – she disperses a debuff within a 15 m radius that hacks all opponents within it for 6 seconds. By hacking a mass of enemies in one fell swoop, this destroys all barriers and shields, making targets much easier (and getting a long assist list!).

The EMP is good against other Ultimates, such as:

  • Blizzard (Mei)
  • Earthshatter (Reinhardt)
  • Gravtional Surge (Zarya)
  • Sound Barrier (Lucio)

This Ultimate is all about timing, so make sure you have a lot (or all) of the enemy team within your perimeter and that you’re not alone – Sombra can’t do that much damage by herself (up to 8 damage per bullet) without the necessity to escape if need be. This Ultimate may not afflict any damage, much like Widowmaker’s Ultimate, it can be pretty useful when played at the right time!


  • Watch Sombra’s Origin story here.
  • Watch a showcase of her abilities here.
  • Watch her animated short Infiltration here.

My set up for Sombra


Thanks for readiong, hope you enjoyed! Let me know if I missed out on any of your pro strats for Sombra. ¡Adios Amigos!

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My Top 5 Tips When Playing Widowmaker in Overwatch

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Widowmaker, otherwise known as Amélie Lacroix (née Guillard), is a known Talon operative and former ballet dancer.

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Her husband, Gérard Lacroix, was a member of Overwatch and due to his position in leading missions, Talon targeted him many times. After many failures, they decided to target his wife and kidnapped her. She was found by Overwatch again and returned to her normal life. Two weeks later, she killed her husband in his sleep. In turns out that while she was kidnapped, Talon reconditioned Amélie to become an assassin.

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Widowmaker is a Defensive hero with a 2 star difficulty.

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Tip #1: One Shot, One Kill…or Guns Blazing

Widowmaker is primarily known as a sniper, but does have a secondary fire on her gun – Widow’s Kiss – that acts like an assault rifle. Naturally, snipers for good for (at least) one thing: long range. This is why Widow works best on open maps on a Defence team for headshots (insta-kill) or body shots (so players run away from the point). She can also charge her shots (this is seen on her UI in the image below) which only takes around 2 seconds and deals up to 120 damage. With a headshot, it does up to 2.5 more damage (compared to a bodyshot), meaning low health enemies such as Supports are a good target for Widow.

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The secondary fire works best against enemies at short range. Widow is most vulnerable on a one-to-one basis, so her submachine gun can be used to kill low-health enemies or as a quick distraction before getting away with her Grappling Hook if she is discovered.


Tip #2:  I Like it Open, but Not Too Open…

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As mentioned previously, Widow’s speciality is distance – meaning she needs to be in map with high places and good cover. However, make sure that if you are in an open area as Widow, that you are not alone. Widow is an easy target for Pharah or a fellow sniper.

It is also worth pointing out that even if you are well hidden as Widow, you can still be traced – whenever Widow fires a shot (at whatever distance or power), each bullet leaves a visible line that can be traced (it only stays in the air for a few seconds but with a character such as Winston or Pharah who can use height to their advantage, she can be easily traced). It is good not to stay in one spot for too long.


Tip #3: Let Them Eat Venom

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One of Widow’s other abilities is to drop a Venom Mine. It is a small mine in the shape of a spider that, when triggered, it explodes and delivers a poisonous gas to any enemies nearby (please note, this is not similar to Junkrat’s Concussion Mine that can be triggered by the player – enemies have to physically trigger it by walking into its range). This mine is good to hide (I tend to hide it on the back of the payload if I’m defending on an Escort map) as it can deal up to 75 damage. It can also be used well if placed in a group of enemies (it is an arching projectile and can travel a far distance) to kill low health enemies and/or ‘soften’ fellow enemies to kill them.


Tip #4: Spiders are Good at Pulling Strings

Widow’s last ability is her Grappling Hook – a small, wrist mechanism that shoots out a hook that can be used on any solid surface. This is good to get to high places (perfect vantage points for sniping) but also making getaways from enemies who have discovered your position.

The Grappling Hook can also be used as a high jump – using the momentum after Widow has hooked onto something, she can use it after pulling herself. This is good to snipe mid-air (if you’re skilled enough and want the achievement) or get to higher places that are harder to reach (or be reached).

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Tip #5: No-One can Hide from the Assassin

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Widowmaker’s Ultimate Ability is Infra-Sight – this allows not only Widow herself but everyone on her team to see the enemy team through heat signatures. You can see enemies even through walls, which works well, but only if used in the right situation. It is only temporary, so must be used sparingly.

Obviously, Infra-Sight is good finding enemies who are hiding (and can somewhat enhance the ability to headshot) and set up ambushes against high powered enemies, such as Tanks (like Bastion, who should also be used in a hidden spot, but I’ll go into more detail about that in my Bastion article). While it has little direct power and seems somewhat useless, it can be a great advantage if used in the right situation at the right time. It can also be used to avoid flankers (such as Genji) and fellow snipers.


  • You can watch an overview of Widowmaker’s abilities here.
  • You can watch some (very early) gameplay of her here.
  • You can watch Widow’s animated short “Alive” here.

That’s it, thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed. Let me know if you have any of your own Widowmaker strats! Au revior!

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My set up for Widowmaker

Hellblade: Seuna’s Sacrifice Review

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[WARNING OF SPOILERS AHEAD. PLEASE DO NOT READ IF YOU ARE PLANNING ON PLAYING THE GAME. OTHERWISE, ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK. THANK YOU]

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Hellblade: Seuna’s Sacrifice is video game produced by Ninja Theory (the creators behind Heaven Sword and the Devil May Cry rebooted series) for PC and PS4. Entwined with Norse and Celtic Mythology, it follows the warrior Seuna as she embarks on a journey to Hellheim to bring back her dead lover, Dillion, and struggling through her psychosis of reality and her mind. I actually touched on the game very briefly a few years ago when discussing Heaven Sword 2 here.

 

As always with my reviews, they will be divided by the following section – StoryPresentationGameplaySoundtrack and Conclusion.


Story

As briefly mentioned before, this game focuses on a young woman called Seuna (Melina Juergens), who suffers from psychosis (I would say she suffers from schizophrenia, but it’s never been confirmed nor am I a medical professional) who travels to Helheim (Hell) to save her dead lover Dillion (Oliver Walker), who was slaughtered by the Northmen. There are around 3 – 5 female voices in her head (the narrator who is also a voice is Chipo Chung) that help her (to a certain extend) along with others, such as Druth (Nicholas Boulton) – a dead scholar; her dead mother Galena (Ellie Piercy); her father Zynbel (Steven Hartley); the Darkness and Dillion himself. It is said to loosely based on the Picts tribes – people who lived in the Late Iron Age and Early Medieval periods in the Scotland area.

 

Some examples of the Picts’ many trinkets and customs

The story begins as Seuna travels a long river to Helheim as the voices explain a bit about her past, along with her insecurities and fears. When she finds land, kicks the boat away (as she knows there is no way back) and travels to the River of Knives, which leads to Hela’s Gate. Hela (a giantess and daughter of Loki) is the one who holds the souls of the dead and once Seuna meets her at the (locked) gate, she is attacked and given ‘the rot’ (a mechanic the game that I will go into more detail about in the Gameplay section). She fights off some more enemies where Druth (who returned to her at the River of Knives) informs her that she must fight two gods in order to get their marks to open Hela’s gate. These two gods are Surt – the fire giant – and Valravn – the god of illusions. Seuna defeats both of them after overcoming their puzzles and travels through the gate.

After fighting more enemies and solving more puzzles, Seuna crosses the bridge over the River of Knvies, where she encounters Hela once more and is sent into a spiral of her own psychosis. This section of the game gives more backstory to Seuna – she suffered from the same ‘sight’ as her priestess mother Galena did, so her father Zynbel keeps her locked away so her ‘darkness’ will not affect others. Seuna does venture outside, only to see a boy who trains to be a warrior. She too begins to train like him and when they meet, Dillion invites her to watch him at the Trials. Seuna argues with her father and leaves him to be with Dillion.

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Seuna then undergoes the Trials herself to get the sword Gramr that can kill a god (her original sword was broken by Hela). With the help of Dillion and Druth, Seuna completes the four trials and gets the sword. She is transported to the Sea of Corpses, where her mother lies. She fights her way out and comes to a temple inside a mountain that houses the Darkness. After completing more puzzles and defeating the Beast that lies within it, the Darkness tells Seuna that she had to face her fear that she could be ready to face Hela.

Seuna suffers from more psychosis, revealing that a plague affected her tribe and many blame her for it due to her ‘darkness’ that her father had convinced everyone about (which killed Dillion’s father, the blind chief of the tribe). She fixes the bridge and finally faces Hela. Sadly, Seuna cannot defeat her after facing hordes of enemies but accepts that she cannot bring Dillion back.

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Now, when watching the ending of the game, I didn’t really understand it (but that doesn’t mean I didn’t get any unsatisfactions from it) but throughout the game, I had a feeling it was going to end badly – very similarly to Heavenly Sword where Nariko (the protagonist and one of the characters you play as) died due to the condition of which she wielded the Heavenly Sword (but not before defeating the main antagonist, King Bohan). This article explains it in great detail, but I’ll explain it in my own words (I also didn’t get the extra scene with Druth, so I won’t touch upon it, but you can read it in the twinfinite article I’ve linked). After all the fighting and struggles Seuna went through, it seems as though this journey was all in her head (although, I do not believe that any of the characters – apart from Druth, the Darkness and the voice – were made up) and that Hela is really Seuna. She embarked on her own personal journey to her own personal hell with a goal – to save the one person who believed her and loved her for she was, no matter what others said. This was about triumphing herself – something that people who suffer from psychosis have to do (which I can confirm as I do suffer from a mental illness). Everything she suffered – the truth behind her mother’s death (she died when Seuna was young but could not remember how she died (a possibility of her mind protecting herself which does sometimes happen if you suffer from psychosis)) of how she was burnt alive like a witch; her father’s abuse; Dillion’s death – these are all things that shaped Seuna into who she is and gave her the emotional scars that needed to be overcome. And even though she did overcome her demons, Seuna still has the voices and the rot as she begins a new journey, it shows that not everything can be ‘cured’ magically – people who suffer from depression will always have depression but they adapt to it and live a life where it no longer controls their lives.

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The story – for one so simple – is great and truly emotional (I was very close to tears at the end). You may not have been with Seuna since the beginning, but to witness and struggle through her psychosis with her is a great way to show someone who doesn’t suffer from a psychosis how people who do have a psychosis how difficult it can be. And for people – such as myself – who suffer from psychosis that no matter what, we can overcome it.

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Presentation

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I’m going to say something that will probably shock you: this game was made by a team of 20 people.

How can a game that so fricking gorgeous be made by only 20 people?!

This game certainly sets the dark, brooding and somewhat horrifying atmosphere you inspect to be portrayed in a psychosis-driven world. Of course, there are some truly beautiful scenery, such as the mountains at Surt’s Gate and the scene of when you uncover the tree that houses Gramr of past Seuna and Dillion. Of course, there were scenes that really scared me or made me uneasy – one the trials is to go through a house in complete darkness (with only Dillion helping you) and weird, blobby monsters pretty much everywhere. The game’s beauty is in your face pretty much as soon as the game begins with Seuna travelling across the river to Helheim as the credits are rolling.

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Motion capture was used for this game – all voice actors also acted for their characters. Here’s something that may surprise you: Melina Juergens is actually a video editor for Ninja Theory, so when they began the read through of the story, Melina nominated herself. The director Tameem Antoniades was so impressed, they hired her to do all of Seuna’s capture – and she’s never acted before! I’m not sure what motion capture device(s) they used, but I’ll link the playlist of Ninja Theory’s Development Diaries so you get to see some amazing stuff (subscribe to them while you’re at it too).

This game was made with Unreal Engine 4 (and becoming my favourite engine in video games the more it’s used).

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One of the features the game includes is the Photo Mode – this allows you to take photos within the game using various filters, colour grading, panning, rolling and more. For an already hauntingly beautiful game, the presentation of this game is truly incredible.

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Most of this game is dark, but the light is presented heavily – for example, when you defeat Valravn and Surt in the early stages of the game, the sun begins to shine compared to rain, drear and drab. A perfect example of what this game has told me what it’s about – with light, there is also darkness and one cannot live without the other.


Gameplay

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If you have not played the game yet (sorry for the spoilers, but I did warn you) that I’ll also warn you that the controls are not given to you in a hand-holdly way – I think it’s fair to say at this point, we’re pretty accustomed to video games so we know basic controls such a walk, run, jump, interact, etc., etc. Thankfully, the pause menu (as seen above) gives you a list of controls – how to walk, run, interact, focus, deal attacks, dodge and block.

The Focus mechanic is very good – think Tomb Raider’s Survival Mode or Batman’s Detective Mode, only it doesn’t tell you where everything is as it only reacts in certain parts of the game, such as runes (which give you history lessons from Druth) and doors (to start the puzzle to open them).

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With doors, they have symbols on them that Seuna must match within the environment – thankfully it’s not too hard because if Seuna gets close to one, you’ll know from all the smaller versions of the symbol that swarm everywhere. These symbols can be anything, so you need a good eye (and possibly a controller as it vibrates when you’re near it too). You can later use the Focus when you obtain Gramr to slow time against enemies and just attack them with everything you’ve got in a small window of time.

The fighting mechanics are good too – very similar to Heavenly Sword, Seuna can deal light attacks (Fast Strike) and heavy attacks (Heavy Strike) along with melee and dodging. Light attacks are quick by deal low damage whereas heavy attacks deal a hefty amount of damage but take longer to execute. You can also combine attacks with Seuna’s speed (just by holding the run button while attacking) to perform good combos that defeat enemies quickly. Depending on what you’re comfortable with, you can adapt certain fighting styles – for me, I was happy to dodge and block then attack the small enemies but when it came to bosses, the still dodged and blocked but dealt heavier attacks. Again, it depends on the player.

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There’s also a strategy you can develop when fighting these guys with shields

The blocking mechanic was my saving grace (after I found out you could it when fighting against Valravn) but the dodge could be…well, a bit dodgy. Sometimes, there would be a small delay from me pushing a button to Seuna actually doing the move (not like Street Fighter V delay) so I may have dodged too late or in the wrong direction, but it’s not like it was the cause when I died (that was just my own unskilled ways). I also discovered later on in the game that when Seuna gets down, you can repeatedly tap any button to get back up (albeit much weaker but still able to block until Seuna’s health is regained) – this is something I would have liked to have known early on when facing Valravn so I wouldn’t have gotten as frustrated as I did (it’s not mentioned in the pause menu or anything like that).

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 The rot mechanic is cool – until you release it’s a lie. Basically, when Seuna gets the rot, the player is told that if they die enough times, the rot will spread. If it spreads to Seuna’s head, it’s game over and you’ll have to start from the beginning. Because of this, I actually got scared to get past a certain point in the game (during the Trials, I had died quite a few times at this point) and even though I thankfully got through it (on my first retry nonetheless), there did come a point where I died, but the rot simply reset itself (I reviewed my footage and took pictures just to measure the amount of rot just to make sure). Granted, I had this game on medium difficulty setting, so maybe the hard difficulty is where this is true? I honestly don’t know. I would have liked it to be true (somewhat) as it is a punishing game mechanic, compared to those who hold your hand or give you infinite start overs.


Soundtrack

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The soundtrack (which you can listen to here) is a perfect fit with the atmosphere – dark and strange, mixed with chanting to give you that Norse mythology feel or epic drums to get your blood pumping for battle. There are some soothing tracks and others make your hairs stand on end with anticipation that flows with Seuna’s emotions.

There are 2 licensed songs included in the soundtrack which are both played towards the end of the game. The first is Just Like Sleep by Passarella Death Squad which really reminds me of The Yawgh‘s soundtrack (especially the song that plays if you get a bad ending and you discover what happens to your village). It plays during the final fight and adds to the feeling on knowing that Seuna’s determination is what is keeping her fighting, but knowing that she has to let go. While I can make out some words form the lyrics, I don’t care that it doesn’t make sense – it’s such a perfect fit.

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The second licensed song is Illusion by VNV Nation which is played as the credits roll. It’s first line of lyrics (“I know it’s hard to tell how mixed up you feel”) summed up my feelings about the ending perfectly – while I was glad Seuna had survived, I was sad for everything she had gone through and not being able to bring Dillion back. I actual looked at the comments of the YouTube video link I’ve given – while lots of people had been brought there for the Hellblade trailer and/or game, many others had been brought there as a recommendation to listen to while suffering as a form of hope. And the lyrics reflect that – many of the lyrics I agreed to feeling while suffering from a mental illness and sends a powerful message that you shouldn’t give up. Again, this fits perfectly with the message I got from playing this game.

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This soundtrack is perfect – there is nothing else I can say.


Conclusion

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Overall, Hellblade is a fantastic cinematic, horror-ridden, emotional-filled journey about a woman and her struggles. Struggles that 1 in 4 people suffer with. I know Ninja Theory worked very closely with people who suffer from psychosis along with professionals within the industry which I think aided them in hitting the nail on the head. Some parts can be disturbing, some parts can be uncomfortable, some parts can be a straight up struggle. The game is short, but gives such a great example of what people who suffer from psychosis go through on a daily basis. Seuna is a strong and likable character, along with the other supporting characters, even if they only have a small part to play (apart from Zynbel, but then again he must have been written well for me to hate him so much).

While I did uncover a glitch or two and the sound/subtitling was not great, it did not ruin the experience for me.

While some video games have delved into the world of mental illness, I can say hand-on-heart that Hellblade is the best portrayal of it with the best message – you can overcome your own darkness. I highly recommend this game to anyone.

Rating: 9/10


That’s it, thank you for reading! Hope you enjoyed it. Here’s a link to the playlist of my Hellblade playthrough on my YouTube channel. Let me know if I missed anything, if you agree or disagree with anything I’ve said or just want to discuss something.

If you are suffering from anything that is present in Hellblade, please visit this page Ninja Theory has set up for helplines and such for various countries around the world.

If you’re also UK based (like me and Ninja Theory), please consider donating to Wellcome, who worked closely with Ninja Theory during this process.

Thanks again and see you next time!