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

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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!

My Top 5 Tips When Playing Reaper in Overwatch

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Reaper is a Offensive character who uses 2 shotguns at his primary weapons with the abilities to disappear and reappear in a location as well as being able to become a shadow that no longer receives damage, increase movement speed and pass through enemies.

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Reaper has a 1 star difficulty, meaning if you’re a new player, he is one of the easiest characters to master.

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Reaper is a known member of the group Talon – a terrorist organization who appeared on the scene after Overwatch disbanded. Reaper’s real identity is Gabriel Reyes –  a US soldier who eventually became the head of Blackwatch (a covert operations arm of Overwatch) who worked with Jack Morrison (Soldier: 76); Ana Amari; Reinhardt Wilhelm; Torbjorn Lindholm; Lena Oxton (Tracer); Angela Ziegler (Mercy); Jesse McCree and Genji Shimanda. Reyes grew jealous of Morrison – despite their close bond – due to his credit and formed a rebellion. This led a conflict at the Swiss Overwatch HQ, leading to the deaths of Reyes and Morrison.

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Tip #1 – Guns of Fire

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Reaper’s dual shotguns – the Hellfire Shotguns – are most effective against Tanks. Shotguns are know for their close range ability so this combined with the amount of damage the Hellfire Shotguns cause (there are 20 pellets per shot, which deal 2 -7 damage per pellet and have a maximum of 140 damage). Because Tanks are the bigger heroes, they are easier to hit, so Reaper is good against Tanks, as well as low-health enemies. Get in close (with Wraith Form, which I will explain further in this article) and use the 8 shots effective to kill Tanks on the point!


Tip #2 – It’s all about Control

Due to Reaper’s flanking nature, Reaper is best to use on Control maps. These maps include:

  • Ilois
  • Lijang Tower
  • Nepal
  • Oasis

Be careful on these maps, however – Reaper is not good at long range. Make sure you’re the first one on the point to deal close and heavy damage. Thankfully, most of these maps’s points are in enclosed spaces under a roof, so an enemy escaping is less than likely.


Tip #3 – Step…into the Shadows

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One of Reaper’s abilities is Shadow Step – this allows him to travel at a 35 m range within 2 seconds (after picking a location) without anyone seeing or allowing him to take damage. This is good to cut across large gaps in maps – especially if you’re in a hurry; escape certain death (if you’re quick) and ambush opponents. A good example of this is against Mei – if she uses Ice Wall, Reaper can (depending on your reflexes) Shadow Step behind her and ambush. It’s even better if the whole enemy team is also behind the Ice Wall and you have his Ultimate ability ready.

Also if properly timed, Shadow Step can avoid attacks, but not Ultimate abilities. It also will not complete if Reaper takes damage.


Tip #4 – You Can’t Chain a Wraith

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Reaper’s other ability is Wraith Form – this turns him into a shadow for 3 seconds that speed him up and not take damage. Unfortunately, Reaper is unable to use his weapons during this or escape some enemies’ abilities, such as Junkrat’s Steel Trap or Widowmaker’s Venom Mine (if already triggered).

This gives Reaper the opportunity to escape if he is being hit hard (as noted, the buff only lasts a little while – even in Mayhem Mode – so don’t stay in one area if you are low on health) as well reload. It is better to use when ambushing a Bastion or getting round a Torbjorn’s Turret.


Tip #5 – DIE, DIE, DIE!

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Reaper’s Ultimate ability is Death Blossom, which fires as many shotgun bullets at high speed in multiple directions as possible. This can deal more than double max damage (510 damage per enemy) in a 8 m radius for 3 seconds. It may be short, but it is deadly (and pretty much a sure kill against low-health enemies, such as Supports). Despite it’s damage, it cannot headshot (unlike the Hellfire Shotguns).

Some of the best Play of the Games (POTG) I’ve seen with Reaper is using Wraith Form and/or Shadow Step to a good point on a map that leads to most or all enemy players and using Death Blossom to take out everyone. Again, this is good on Control maps – especially if you want the point back!

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Despite the devastating effects of Death Blossom, Reaper is very vulnerable during his Ultimate as he cannot use either Wraith Form or Shadow Step and he cannot interrupt his own Ultimate. Effective methods to stop Death Blossom is:

  • McCree’s Flashbang
  • Roadhog’s Chain Hook
  • Pharah’s Concussive Blast (but this may move Reaper closer to enemies by mistake)
  •  Junkrat Concussive Mine
  • Ana’s Sleep Dart
  • Mei’s Ice Wall (this may block or move Reaper upwards and out of reach)

And that’s it for this week’s article – hope you enjoyed! Until next time, take care!

My set up for Reaper

My Top 5 Tips When Playing Winston in Overwatch

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Winston is seen as the ‘head’ of Overwatch – after all, he is the first character you encounter when booting up the game for the first time.

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Winston is a Tank class hero, however he has a two-star difficulty rating, meaning you can hap-hazardously waltz in, jump around, place your shield wherever you want and use your Ultimate as a distraction. Here are some tips to help Winston be an actual threat whenever on the battlefield.

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Tip #1 – That’s Enough, Bighead…

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Winston a intelligent, genetically engineered gorilla, meaning he’s pretty large. This makes him a easy target, especially to heroes who can headshot. Be wary of snipers!

Granted, Winston has a large amount of health (500 HP) which can easily be reduced if Winston is simply on his own. He is not a standard ‘stand and plant’ type of Tank – it is easier to move around (unpredictably) so Hanzo cannot kill him with 2 arrow shots (yep, that’s all it takes for a skilled Hanzo player).


Tip #2 – This Will Protect Us

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As mentioned above, Winston is better played to move around. This is aided by his ability – his Barrier Projector. It has 600 HP and domes in a 5m radius, giving plenty of coverage. It can also be used in the air – a good combination is Winston’s Jump Pack followed by the Barrier to protect teammates; block enemy shots and cut across small gaps.

It is also worth noting that the Barrier Projector blocks shots inside of it as well as outside. This is useful for limiting range between enemies and for containing turrets and the like. You can even contain D.Va’s Self-Destruct Ultimate if timed well!


Tip #3 – Winston, Away!

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Winston’s Jump Pack is useful as an escape goat when on low health and closing gaps, but can be used to other advantages.

For example, say you are playing Winston on the Attack Team on the Eichewalde Map – you can plan your jump and land straight in the area to unlock the payload. If you’re lucky, enemies will be defending the point. The Jump Pack, once landed, will knock enemies back. This is good to get them off the point or even used in maps such as Route 66 to knock enemies off ledges. This is good for those environmental kills.


Tip #4 – It’s Not a Glass Cannon – it’s a Telsa Cannon!

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Winston’s primary weapon is very similar to Symmetra’s Photon Projector – it emit’s a lightning beam that effects all enemies infront of it. OK, so it doesn’t latch onto enemies but it does deliver quite a nasty shock!

It can deliver up to 60 damage per second with a 6 m radius but isn’t every ranged – it can only reach 8 m. It only takes 1.5 seconds to reload and has a charge of 100.

It is good at latching on, but only it the enemy is infront of Winston, so you may have to do a bit of chasing – just don’t go after fellow Tanks, as they can very easily eliminate him. Target low-health enemies or those going after the point.


Tip #5 – Don’t Make Him Angry!

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Winston’s Ultimate is Primal Rage – this allows him self-buff and go full melee. He can use his Jump Pack still and much more frequently than usual. It only lasts around 10 seconds but allows him to swing at 40 damage within a 4 m range and increased his movement speed up to 7 m/s.

It gives Winston an extra 500 HP, so it is good to use if you ever have low health as well as crowd controlling (such as pushing a Dead-Eye readied McCree into a space where he cannot see); scattering the enemy team (good for either Attacking or Defending); stalling a objective (better for a Defending team when some or all teammates have died and coming back) or simply trapping an enemy against a wall (knocking them repeatedly against the wall will make it hard for them to escape but also take extra damage). Oh, and let’s not forget those environmental kills.


There we are – thanks for reading. Hope you enjoyed!

Don’t forget that the 2nd Summer Games Event is currently happening until the 28th on OverwatchLucioball is back and has new skins, emotes, voice lines, victory poses and highlight intros.

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Blizzard has also announced a new mode coming – Deathmatch. It is currently available on the PTR server (for PC only and available to all regions apart from China – sorry) that also gives a little bit more background into Widowmaker before she joined Talon.

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Until next time, take care!

My set up for Winston

Why Attack on Titan and Seraph of the End are SIMILAR but Not the SAME

[WARNING OF SPOILERS AHEAD. PLEASE DO NOT READ IF YOU ARE PLANNING ON WATCHING THE ANIMES AND/OR READ THE MANGAS. OTHERWISE, ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK. PLEASE REMEMBER THAT ALL OPINIONS ARE MY OWN – THEY ARE NOT CORRECT, THEY ARE JUST MY OWN. THANK YOU]

So, after the anticipated second season of Attack on Titan finishing not too long ago, I didn’t really have any other anime to watch. Not until I went through my pile of DVDs my friends had bought me of recommended anime I should watch. One of them was Seraph of the End – this wasn’t recommended, but it was something I wanted to watch after I had seen a cosplay (that won the competition) at Hyper Japan last year, and was intrigued. My friend had actually bought it for me as a birthday present so with nothing new to watch, I decided to give it a go with not really knowing much of the story.

After watching the first two episodes, I updated my MyAnimeList page and scrolled through the reviews – they were mostly OK, but one really struck me. One review commented on how the first episode of Seraph of the End was a copy of the first episode of Attack on Titan. I immediately disagreed – they were similar, yes, but not the same. So, after watching both seasons of both animes and watching additional content, I’ve decided on something: I think Seraph and AOT are similar, but not the same.

Granted, they are made by the same studio (Wit Studio, who produced Koutetsujou no Kabaneri (Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress, which is another anime that is said to be a wannabe of AOT) and will be producing the new Laughing under the Clouds movie due out in December) but that’s because studios like to produce similar things – take book publishers for example, as they often publish books in the same or similar genre, but they’re done by different authors, meaning there may be similar ideas and such, but it does not necessarily mean that they are the same.

I will say this before we go any further – I really enjoyed both animes, however I do prefer AOT over Seraph, and I will explain those reasons in the following way:

Story, Characters, Art/Animation, Sound and Themes. 

Both animes do a lot of things right, and a lot of another things wrong but it’s certain other elements that makes make AOT stand out for me. Hopefully I can explain it more throughout this article.


Story

Let’s start with Attack on Titan first, because it was the anime that was released first AOT: 2013; Seraph: 2015) and the one I watched first.

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Attack on Titan follows Eren Yeager – the son of a doctor who is stuck inside high walls to keep out the Titans – large humanoid creatures who eat people. Why they do this is unknown, but they nearly wiped out the entire human race. One day, a titan with armored skin knocks down the wall and kills a lot of Eren’s village – including his mother. Eren escapes with his adopted sister Mikasa and best friend Armin further into the walls. The trio join the Survey Corps – a group of military men and women who dedicate their lives to defeating the titans. The series follows them and other characters as they take on titans, witness death and deal with many hard situations.

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Seraph of the End follows Yuichirou Hyakuya – a young boy who witnessed his father kill his mother and put into an orphanage, where he meets Mikaela and others who become his new family. One day, a deadly virus spreads across the globe, killing all humans above the age of 13. Vampires appear, and in turn for protecting the children who survived against the virus and monsters who have appeared, take them to a underground civilization and become livestock for the vampires. Yu and Mika live with the rest of the survivors of the orphanage – including a girl called Akane – until Mika is able to retrieve a gun and a map, thanks to his connection to a vampire noble named Ferid Bathory. The family attempt to escape, until Ferid shows up and slaughters everyone but Yu. Yu manages to escape into the human world and is taken in by Guren Ichinose – a lietuant in the Japanese Imperial Demon Army. Yu joins them in hoping to extract revenge for the death of his family.

As you can see, both stories are similar – both have terrible events that push the main character on a quest of revenge in a post-apocalyptic world with powerful enemies as a threat, as well as others, such as monsters and corrupted humans.

After first watching Seraph, I believe that their world is not quite as dangerous – I’ve always believed that zombies (titans) are much harder to deal with than vampires, simply because vampires can have a stake driven through their heart; are allergic to sunlight (unless you count Twilight vampires, who just sparkle – which I don’t count them as vampires) and don’t like garlic. Sadly, vampires in Seraph are different – thought it is never discussed, these vampires can do out in sunlight and even things like beheading don’t kill them – only weapons possessed by a demon can. These vampires do have superhuman strength, do drink blood and can turn humans into vampires, but they are not the typical vampires we are used to, making them a little bit scarier. But I would still be more frightened by a titan than a Seraph vampire if both were suddenly stood in front of me.


Characters

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Eren and Yu are very similar characters – headstrong; driven by emotions and can be a little one dimensional (which is not a bad thing). They both have had bad experiences that driven them through their life and goals: Eren wants to kill all the titans; Yu wants to kill all the vampires. Both also have underlying powers that neither of them knew about that are the result of experiments (or at least can be assumed for Eren) and use them for good, even if they are seen as a possible enemy (and both lost control when using their powers). However, I would say I prefer Yu over Eren (until the second half of the second season for Yu) as he can be comedic at certain points and even logical, whereas Eren can be quite annoying in certain episodes. Both care for their friends a lot, but I feel this is more evident with Yu, especially in the episode where we first meet Shihou Kimizuki and Yu punches him for not being with his sister Mirai when she takes a turn for the worst). Plus, Yu is way cuter.

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Mika in Seraph is easily the character I feel the most sorry for – after Yu escapes, Mika is turned into a vampire by Krul Tepes (the queen vampire of Japan) but chooses to drink only vampire blood (until episode 10 of season 2) so he does not become a full fledged vampire. Throughout season 2, Mika is shown to be lost control of his vampire side – the point where he captures a few humans but does not feed on them, yet is in terrible pain because he needs blood. Mika had no choice in becoming a vampire and all he wants to do is be with Yu – he is neither on the human side or the vampire side. In a way, he is very similar to Mikasa of AOT – both have a somewhat ‘obsession’ with the main character (you could argue for both because they are the last surviving member of their family, but for Mikasa it’s also because she has possible romantic feelings for Eren. In regards to Yu and Mika, many fans speculate a possible romantic relationship between the two) and have physical strength that they use to protect their friends.

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During Yu’s time in the Japanese Imperial Demon Army, he befriends Yoichi Saotome – a boy with a strong desire to avenge his sister who sacrificed herself so he could live but is somewhat a bit of a coward. He is not strong and hates conflict (in the beginning, but he doesn’t exactly like it either when he puts his duty first). In a sense, he is very similar to Armin – Eren and Mikasa often come to his rescue (even in season 2) and does not have physical strength like his friends do. However, Armin’s intelligence makes him a vital character in AOT – he has shown that his mind is his most powerful weapon and is more of a supporter than a fighter. Yoichi does become more useful further in the story of Seraph thanks to his ranged bow weapon and doesn’t simply stand there and wait to get attacked – not that I’m saying Armin does all the time, but in episode 5 of season 1, he does simply witness his friends get killed and does nothing about it. I guess they are both the stereotypical coward, however they have other talents that come in useful in aiding their friends and comrades. I promise I’m not hating on Armin – I do really like Armin, but because of Yoichi’s weapon, he is potential more useful. Both have endangered their friends lives due to their weakness, but redeem themselves further down the line.

I would argue that Kimizuki in Seraph is a mixture of characters from AOT – he has strength like Mikasa does, however his relationship with Yu is similar to Eren and Jean‘s relationship. They have a rivalry with eachother than eventually develops into a bond of friendship (with that rivalry underlying and making itself known a few times, but I would argue this is more evident with Kimizuki and Yu’s relationship than Eren and Jean’s as Eren and Jean do eventually care about eachother with no real rivalry still showing).

While there is a large cast of characters in both series, Seraph‘s character are much more boring. A lot of the time, it feels like they are there to fill space then die to elicit some emotion from the viewer – this is especially evident with Yayoi Endo and Taro Kagiyama. But in AOT, the anime has a good knack for introducing characters, making us care for them, then killing them in the most unexpected way. In Seraph, there was one character I will they hadn’t killed – Shusaku Iwasaki – another member of Makoto Narumi‘s squad who seemed to be more willing to give Shinoa‘s squad a chance than the others, and he seemed like a much more cool character. That, and his death didn’t have a full explanation, leaving me sad because I wanted him to die (if he had to, which he did) for a good reason (morbid, I know). Other than that, I didn’t really care much for other characters in Seraph (apart from Mito Jujo, who I think is badass and would really like to see more of). This is the polar opposite in AOT – there are a lot of characters I care about, often get scared that they will dead, and of course get sad when they do die. This is evident (for me) with around four characters. My overall favourite character is Sasha Blouse, who had some screen time in the first season, but was further explored in season 2. I think had she died in season 2 (that point in the manga she was actually supposed to, however one of Hajime Isayama‘s editors cried when they saw the scene and decided to reverse it), I would be much more upset than had she died in season 1 (she did have a few close calls), but upset nonetheless. The same goes for many minor characters – Marco Bott, Petra Ral and Nanaba (season 2). I don’t think there has been a single death in AOT that I haven’t felt something for – whether it be sadness or shock – which I cannot say for Seraph. Even with the episode where Yu ‘dies’, I knew he wouldn’t stay dead for long (for various reasons that I will explain later on), which is not the feeling I had when Eren ‘died’. Seraph creates a lot of characters that just don’t hold a bond with the viewer, which is the complete opposite of AOT (for me, at least). Although, I do have a love-hate relationship with Guren, but let’s not get into that.


Art/Animation

I’ll just say this straight out – the art and animation for AOT is way better than Seraph.

Granted, many people criticized on Isayama’s drawing skills in the first few issues of the AOT manga, but it was developed very well for the anime adaption. But it can be said differently for Seraph – the art style of the manga is very different to the anime, but the anime version isn’t great either. You know when anime fans post pictures taken from the show – usually of characters in the background – that look derpy and weird? Yeah, Seraph sadly is one of those animes.

However, one thing can be said for both anime adaptions – the season season’s art and animation is better compared to the previous season. There are particular examples of each – in AOT, the animation in episodes 7 and 8 of season 2 of Mikasa using her 3DMG gear is much clearer and agile compared to the previous season. In Seraph, the final fight in episode 12 of season 2 is much more detailed and the combat flows much better.

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With my DVDs of the first season of Seraph, I got the Collector’s Edition, meaning I also got the artbook. Many of the settings, such as the ruined city of Tokyo, are beautifully illustrated and used well in the anime – maybe not as much as I would have liked.

For both animes, the art and animation is OK and has improved, but it isn’t the best I’ve seen. Probably because of my Studio Ghibli stained eyes.


Sound 

I think it can be argued that the first opening of season 1 of AOT was the most hyped anime opening I have ever watched and/or listened to. The other opening and ending songs grew on me eventually and I know have all 4 of them on my iPod (I am not ashamed). However, for season 2, the opening was OK and eventually grow on me, but I really didn’t (and still don’t) like the ending song – it doesn’t feel like it fits in with it’s happy music and cathedral singing. But the rest of the song track is really good (proud to say that I do own it, and not illegally) – especially Call Your Name by mpi & CASG with haunting music and emotional lyrics (I actually plan of using the lyrics as an opening to one of my chapters for my upcoming Tekken fanfiction).

Seraph’s soundtrack is pretty good – I like both openings for both seasons, but the ending for season 2 is amazing. I really love the beginning part of the track that has no music and just hauntingly beautiful church-like singing with lyrics I don’t understand (and I don’t care that I don’t understand). The rest of the soundtrack is epic with guitars, weird sounds, pianos – everything that makes up a soundtrack for something that gets you pumped up for battle but can be emotional too – apart from one track (which I sadly can’t find the name of) that is more often than not used at the beginning of a comedic scene.

But soundtracks are great and I think it’s fair to say they are level-pegging, but for the song Call Your Name alone, AOT is better.


Themes

Both animes have the same themes – apocalypse world within walls; power; traitors; death; friends and family – the list could go on. But they display theme in different ways.

With AOT, it focuses on death, fear, treachery, friendship and power. It also relies on mystery and unexpected plot twists – some of which we would never think of. I could easily write a article on the amount of questions I have after season 2 of AOT due to suspense, cliffhangers and needing to know things like a character’s well being.

Seraph does this too, but I would argue that cliffhangers and such are much more prominent after season 2 – again, I would right an article on the amount of questions I have while waiting for the next season.

But, AOT does it better – I think this may be down to the characters and situations, as I mentioned previously. I care about more characters in AOT than I do in Seraph, which is probably the most frustrating part of being a fan of AOT (and yes, I do read the manga but only to certain points so I don’t spoil it for myself). With Seraph, it is much more predictable and doesn’t focus on characters the same way, meaning the many themes of the anime doesn’t have the same affect on me as AOT does.


Overall Conclusion 

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As I said in the beginning of this article – I am much more favourable to Attack on Titan than I am with Seraph of the End, and I stick by that decision. I’m not saying that either anime is bad, because they’re not – I’ve enjoyed both of them, and I lot more than I thought I would.

Both series do a great job of setting the scene, creating great characters, developing plot twists and so on. But, AOT does a better job of being unpredictable and making us care about the characters.

That’s not to say Seraph doesn’t do this – it does to a certain extent, however due to anime spoiling itself a few times and being a bit predictable (apart from using Mirai as Seraph of the End at the end of season 2 – I really wasn’t expecting that), I wouldn’t put it up there with AOT.

Both series are similar – as I have stated many times during this article – but not the same. Yes, they both have big, unhuman threats; have to use special gear to defeat the threat; many characters get killed; their worlds are on the brink of extinction and both main characters have a power that can aid them in annihilating the threat and living in peace. But – for me at least – Seraph of the End is not on the same level as Attack on Titan. Maybe it’s because I watched AOT first and therefore a bit jaded, but I will say that AOT impacted me in such a way that Seraph didn’t – AOT even helped me to change my style of writing fiction and made me cry on several occasions, which no other movie, book or anime has done (apart from a few).

There is nothing wrong with two things being similar – as a creature of habit, when I enjoy something, I often reread or rewatch it for a while until I get tired of it. Then I want something that’s similar but not the same – I think this is way I enjoyed Seraph more than other people. I recommend both animes, especially if you’re open-minded when it comes to two things being similar.

I will argue another difference – for me, I enjoyed the first season of AOT than I did with season 2. This is most likely because I had never experienced anything like AOT – I was not used to so much death (especially of such important characters) and backstabbing. But I enjoyed season 2 of Seraph more than season 1 – most likely because a lot of my questions from the end of season 1 were answered, but there were certain points that I didn’t expect to happen (like when Shinoa protected Mika from the Demon Army so he could kidnap Yu).

I’m very much looking forward to third season of both animes, but I’ll probably have to wait a while for Seraph.


I hope that I have argued my case well and that you can see both sides of the argument. Or, maybe I didn’t explain myself well enough. Neither way, let me know – this is the first time I’ve written something like this, so I would really appreciate some feedback!

Until next time, take care!

My Top 5 Tips When Playing Tracer in Overwatch

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Tracer, AKA Lena Oxton, is a British member of the disbanded Overwatch group who has the ability to warp time.

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She is a Offensive hero with a 2 star difficulty rating, meaning she is not impossible to master but will take some time.

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Tracer is the mascot of Overwatch of some sort – she was the first character to be designed and completed for the game and also has the most skins compared to any other character (if that doesn’t say anything about the developers not favoring her, I don’t know what will).


Tip #1 – Blink, and You’ll Miss Her!

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As mentioned before, Tracer has the ability to warp through time – meaning she can fastforward or reverse her personal timeline thanks to her Chronal Accelerator. This can be used to a player’s advantage to dart around the map erratically so enemies cannot pinpoint where she will be.

Tracer’s Blink ability also allows her to cross large gaps, such as in Eichenwalde and Hanamura. They are also not affected by Mei’s freezing/slowing damage and will actually reset the counter when used. The same goes for Mei’s Blizzard, however it must be timed properly, otherwise Tracer will be frozen completely if left too late.


Tip #2 – Recall Yourself Out of There!

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Tracer has another similar ability to Blink – Recall. This allows her to return to a certain point on the map where she was a few seconds ago, returning her health and ammo to precise what it was. This gives Tracer the ability to self heal and get herself out of tight spots.

Recall can save Tracer from hard-hitting enemy attacks, such as Reaper’s Death Blossom and Roadhog’s Whole Hog or his Hook (if timed at the right moment). It can also remove buffs, such as Zenyatta’s Orb of Discord, Ana’s Biotic Grenade and Widowmaker’s Venom Mine.

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It can also save you from certain death.

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Tip #3 – Bursting with…Bullets?

Tracer’s primary weapons are her Pulse Pistols – twin guns that fire up to 40 ammunition before needing to be reloaded (which only takes 1 second). They can do up to 6 amount of damage per shot (up to 240 damage if all ammo is used).

The Pulse Pistols can head shot but also be subject to falloff damage – deterioration of damage depending on the distant of the target. The furthest the target can be for Tracer to guarantee to inflict damage is 30 meters, and only then can do around 1.5 points of damage.


Tip #4 – Flank to the Left, then Flank to the Right

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With a combination of Blink, Recall and the Pulse Pistols, Tracer is good as a flanker. She can move erratically with Blink, hit fast with her Pulse Pistols and if need be, Recall back to a previous position. Her Pulse Pistols deal more damage at close range, so it’s better to be up close and personal rather than picking off enemies from far away. Blink and Recall give Tracer that guarantee she can escape when low on health and recover some health too or get to a support player.


Tip #5 – Bomb’s Away!

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Tracer’s ultimate is the Pulse Bomb. It has a 3 meter radius and can deal up to 400 points of damage, so it is good to be used on a cluster of enemies. It is a good combination with Zarya’s Gravity Surge or (potentially) Mei’s Blizzard to deal a lot of damage or eliminate enemy players.

The Pulse Bomb can also be stuck to players, so do not throw it out wildly as this gives enemies the opportunity to see the bomb and run away (it takes a few seconds to donate once it has been thrown. There is also a sound trigger). It is good for a combined attacked on a high-health player or a finisher to destroy D.Va’s Mech, leaving her vulnerable until she can call her next Mech.

Be careful on how close you are to the enemy or enemies when you throw the Bomb as it can inflict self damage.


And that’s it, hope you enjoyed! Until next time, take care!

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My set up for Tracer