First Person Shooter

Bastion, Should He Be Nerfed?

Should Bastion be nerfed in Blizzard’s Overwatch? Perhaps, but before we tackle this we got to ask ourselves if there is a problem. I’d say yes.

Turtling

 

Turtling

I’ve seen teams on defense get crushed and pushed back on payload missions just to get to the very end of the map and then the losing team “turtles up” and gets several players using Bastion. Bastion is a fine character but with their backs to the wall and near spawn points, Bastion is much more overpowered than normal. It’s not uncommon to see not only one or two players go as Bastion but I’ve seen 3 or 4 players do this, taking turtling to a whole new level.

 

Teams Stacked With Bastions

During most parts of the map teams full of Bastions can be dealt with easily enough, usually by flanking or with characters that can infiltrate such as Reaper with his teleport ability. But the problem is that at the end of the map the terrain favors defense, this makes sense as it makes games exciting to have that final push be all that much harder.  But having teams full of Bastions is way more difficult than it should be.

bastion highlight

Backs to the Wall

What makes this so hard is you can’t get behind the team that is stacked with Bastions at the end of a payload, their backs are literal against the wall. The map doesn’t go on, there is no path behind them. Also there are limited alternate routes to approach the target. There may be only one or two routes to the objective and they can easily have two Bastion characters watching both of these paths. With the amount of fire power Bastion brings to bear, two players can do most of the defense for a team, freeing up other players to go on the offensive.

 

The Expected Method

The usual method of countering them, aside from getting behind them, would be sniping them with Widowmaker  or Hanzo, or even a ranged attack from Pharah. The problem is that many of the end points of final maps don’t have lines of site for these sorts of tactics. The only way to get lined up with a turtling team of Bastions it to put yourself way too close to them. If you can see a Bastion in sentry mode, then he can see you and it’s a lot easier for him to spray bullets your way than you’d like.

350px-Pharah-portrait

 

Spray and Pray

The problem is worsened by having no damage fall off with distance such as with Team Fortress 2. Bastion can fire down a long corridor spraying bullets at a suspected sniper spot and all it takes is one or two lucky bullets to kill a squishy sniper. All a Bastion needs to do is “spray and pray” with his 200 round magazine. But it takes a lot more skill for a sniper to get a one shot kill. Skill should be rewarded not blind firing.

 

Skill vs Luck

The same with another skill based character Genji. Sure, Genji could reflect the fire back at the Bastion but that takes some good timing. All Bastion has to do is see Genji and stop firing for a couple of seconds, wait for the cool down timer for Genji’s reflect to start again and then Bastion resumes fire. It takes a real dumb Bastion to fall for it and it takes a skilled Genji to pull it off. Not to mention if the team has Bastion placements with fields of fire protecting each other this is an all but impossible tactic, not to mention if the Bastion has only the slightest bit of help.

genji overwatch

 

Bastion With Few Limitations

Compounding all of this is the short setup time with no limitations of resources. In Team Fortress 2 an equivalent sentry takes some time to build up, not to mention ammo. But Bastion can plant himself down very quickly and be ready to fire immediately after spawn. This is especially difficult at the end of the map where the defense doesn’t have to travel far to defend the point. Just spawn and plop down Bastion and you have the point covered, way too easy to defend.

TF2 Sentry

 

Squad Ratios

It’s true there are more advanced ways of handling a Bastion stacked team. I imagine as players get more experienced at team work then cooperation will happen naturally, but it’s not a good equation when you have something like Mercy and Pharah teaming up to take down one Bastion, a 2:1 ratio favoring defense. This is even worse with six-player teams where this unfavorable ratio gets more one-sided. Imagine a team that is half Bastions. Besides the high damage output of Bastion easily out paces both Mercy and Lucio’s ability to heal. Bastion just deals out way too much raw firepower. Defense is way too easy with Bastion.

 

No Adversary for Bastion

You never see this kinda problem in Team Fortress 2, as a class heavy team will have problems. For one thing, team size in Team Fortress 2 makes team staking harder, at about 20 players. Overwatch only has but 6 players per team. but more importantly both Heavys and Engineers and their sentry’s aren’t perfect; they have major weaknesses.  In some ways Bastion is similar to both of these TF2 classes. So why not consider some of the drawbacks of both the Heavy and the Engineers’ sentry?  The Heavy doesn’t really do all that great of damage at greater ranges and has limited ammo. His damage drop over range is considerable. So you have to get close to be effective, similar to D. Va in Overwatch. As for the Engineers’ sentry, it has a limited targeting range but more importantly there is always an angle to attack a sentry. There is no such thing as a perfect spot for a sentry because of how the maps are designed, that and natural counters to the Engineers’ sentry are Spies and Demomen. These adversarial classes are usually something the Engineer always has to worry about. Bastion on the other hand doesn’t really have a dedicated class that opposes him. Genji isn’t nearly as threatening as a Spy or Demoman.

junkrat overwatch

The equivalent class in Overwatch of the Demoman would be Junkrat and he does specialize in indirect fire like the Demoman, but because of current map layouts, it’s hard for him to get the job done all by himself. Where the map limits his options as far as angles to bounce explosive, the enemy team can way too easily harass him. There is no good angle for him to attack the point on most maps. I don’t know how many times I’d take out one or two Bastions just to have them re-spawn and turtle up before we even have a chance to move in and capitalize on the kills.

 

Bringing Down the Nerf Hammer

It’s never a good idea to bring down the “Nerf Hammer” too soon, especially with everyone is still getting used to the game, but I’m getting tired of easily pushing back an entire team and having half of the team suddenly go all Bastion when the going gets tough. Just as when the offense is about to win they turn it around because they have their backs to the wall with limited approaches angles to be attacked. A simple thing may be to increase Bastion’s reload times or his clip size, or limiting the damage over range to Bastion would eliminate the “spray and pray” tactic that people use. This has been done before with McCree, adjusting his damage over range so he doesn’t just spam out the shots at clusters of people from across the map. I believe the best way of correcting this is altering the maps to give more approaches to final points. Sure, the defense should have the advantage at the end of a map but Bastion heavy teams are nailing down limited paths way too easily. Another option, though very blunt, is to limit how many people can go Bastion. Maybe even having one Bastion per team but this may be a little to harsh but seeing teams go 3 or 4 Bastions at the end and having losing teams become unbeatable makes the game significantly less enjoyable.

Nerf

What are your thoughts on the Bastion Overwatch character? Should he be nerfed? Sound off below!

Bastion, Should He Be Nerfed?

Halo: Rankings Evolved

The Xbox division of Microsoft might not be here today if it wasn’t for their original console exclusive hit, Halo: Combat Evolved from Bungie. The first-person shooter revolutionized the genre that GoldenEye had set the standard for in the console generation before. Over the years, we’ve had several sequels and even a prequel to the Halo franchise, each one attempting to build on the lore, following the paths of Master Chief and Cortana and even expanding on the surrounding universe. It is easily one of the most successful video game franchises of this century.

With that in mind, I am providing my ranking of the games. I am not including the Halo: Wars RTS or any of the digital only games. With that in mind, we are looking at seven different games. Additionally, I am only going off of the original versions of these games and not the Anniversary or Master Chief Collection versions. For those who don’t know, that means I’m going on their original releases. That means Bungie’s work is in play here. The remakes of the games do change things, especially since Bungie was not directly involved in the remastering of their games. So, here we go.

#7. Halo: ReachHalo Reach Box Art

So, we got a prequel. It’s not a prequel about Master Chief, it’s about Cortana and where she came from. While her origins are important and they provide some interesting insight into her creation, the game just doesn’t fit in well with the rest of the universe. The team you play with are decent enough NPCs and the graphics are good but being a prequel, you know where things are headed. You are going to die. There is nothing you can do. It’s going to happen. In fact, it’s going to happen in a fairly lame way and I’m going to spoil it. You should someone needs to stay behind so your ship with Cortana can escape. So you do it. You stay behind and fight off an endless wave of Covenant troops until you eventually die. There is no score. No time keeper. No ranking list. You just die and the credits roll. Talk about a waste of time.

#6. Halo 3

Halo 3 Box Art

It’s a good game, not great. It recycles a lot of the first game with the addition of a super intelligent Flood enemy that, for a reason that is still unclear to me, has stolen Cortana. The game doesn’t do much to add to the franchise and the gameplay is fairly simple. I find it mostly a forgettable game in the franchise but there isn’t really anything wrong with it. It does provide some emotional support for the relationship between Cortana and Master Chief which becomes very important in the later games.

#5. Halo 2

 

Halo 2 Box Art

The story in this one is pretty convoluted. I think the dual storyline was handled much better in Halo 5 but they tried. As someone who is color blind, I found the Covenant storyline particularly frustrating because I never knew who was an ally and who was an enemy. I constantly attacked my own people and it got old real fast. This game does deserve some credit because it introduced the dual-wield of weapons and online multiplayer. Both concepts were huge advancements for console gaming and are still leveraged today. I blame the game a bit for pushing campaigns to the back burner because of the interest in online multiplayer

#4. Halo: Combat Evolved

Halo Combat Evolved Logo

Yes, this game launched the franchise but it is not without its faults. It’s a solid game with a decent story. The graphics were good for their day but I found the Anniversary edition to be an improvement on the game. In short, this game opened the door for the genre and each game after it was able to build on the universe in a positive way. I found the higher ranked games to be enhancements and better games overall but this is certainly not one to miss.

#3. Halo 3: ODST

Halo 3 ODST

You are not Master Chief. In fact, you’re not even a Spartan Solider. You have no over shield. You are not a super human. You are a Marine, just a man\woman. In fact, you’re several of them. The story takes place from several different perspectives that you get to play over the course of the game, each individual adding to the overall picture of the plot. The re-addition of med-packs made the game more challenging and felt more like the original. The story, taking place on Earth, allowed for street combat and just a more relatable experience. I loved the story. I loved the game play and I loved feeling more human during it.

#2. Halo 4

Halo 4

This game brought the franchise to a new level. The graphics, enhanced by the new Xbox One, were impressive. We finally got to see the Forerunners and use their technology throughout an entire game. The addition of the new technology, weapons, and enemies made for an exciting and fresh experience for a franchise that had been primarily bogged down in fighting the Flood. The Cortana story was brought in new depth to both her and Master Chief. If you finished this game and did not feel a connection to both of them, then I don’t know what to tell you.

#1. Halo 5: Guardians

Halo 5: Guardians

While note quite a direct sequel to Halo 4, we find Master Chief in a hunt for his long lost friend, Cortana but things are definitely not what they seem. The game built on the new style and graphics developed for the previous game but added additional elements. It brought back the dual-pronged story Halo 2 leveraged but did it better. The voice acting, with the help of some star power like Nathan Fillion, was brought to a new level. The enemies were tougher, the story more complex and the game not only ends on an epic cliffhanger, making me want more, but launches a whole new story path for the franchise that had been far too focused on aspects from the first game. I consider this game an improvement on everything done in the franchise, keeping it alive and well.

Halo 5 Guardians

What do you think of my ranking? Is yours different? Comment below with you thoughts!

Halo: Rankings Evolved

Call of Duty 2 – Retro Review

The following review was written in December 2010. It has only been modified in the way of format.

Overview:
Call of Duty 2 was one of the last World War II first person shooters. A launch title for the Xbox 360, the game alternates between three major fronts in the war. In the first section, you play as a Russian in Stalingrad. In the second, you play as a British soldier in North Africa. In the third, you play as an American storming the shores of Normandy. As far as a story goes, that about sums it up.

The Good:
call-of-duty-2-131. The game features a lot of varied level design (once you get past Russia) and gameplay. For example, in North Africa, you will fight and take over a village. Once you have the village, you have to climb to the top of one of the buildings and call in mortar strikes on advancing tanks. This helps keep the game interesting enough so you don’t get bored of just gunning down Nazis (which is still pretty fun).

2. The Nazis do not stop coming until you have reached the position you are supposed to take. Remember when you could just sit back and take out the enemy one by one with the sniper rifle? Well, this is not the case in Call of Duty 2. The game forces you to advance and fight the Nazis close and personal. If you do not do this, then the Nazis will continually spawn until you get the nerve to go after them.

capitan_price_call_of_duty_by_march3lo3. In Modern Warfare, we are introduced to one of the most memorable characters in the game: Captain Price. It turns out Price has been around for a long time because he makes an appearance in the game. Of course, the natural conclusion could still be that he’s a descendant of this World War II veteran. Still…

The Bad:
1. This game has absolutely no story and no character development. I do not remember any of the names of the characters you play. The basic premise of each level goes along the lines of “Take this town!” or “Destroy those guns!”

2. Modern Warfare gave us the perfect control scheme; however, this control scheme went through quite a few stages of evolution before being refined in that game. In Call of Duty 2, the sprint button is replaced with some pretty worthless binoculars. Sure, they are kind of cool; however, I rarely used them and found them to be more of a nuisance rather than an aid in combat. The melee also leaves much to be desired since it is not always responsive when you press it. There is no knife.

cod23. Your squad is very unhelpful. They mostly tell you what to do and watch while you go out and get shot. I could overlook your squad’s utter uselessness if it was not for the fact that they also get in your way when you are moving to cover. This often results in your death and makes you want to shoot and kill all of your squad members.

4. My biggest complaint with this game is a glitch that kept me from finishing the game. Call of Duty 2 skips the last British mission and moves you straight into the American campaign; however, upon completion of the British mission, the game moves into the first American mission again. I attempted to replay the first American mission again, but, even then, the game would not let me progress.

Conclusion:
Call of Duty 2 was very nostalgic for me. I got my start in first person shooters with the Medal of Honor series. Overall, I enjoyed Call of Duty 2; however, the game relies too much on chaos to keep going. The whole game is fighting past one chaotic thing after another. It ends up being mostly about explosions and not much else.

COD2_Screen_06For some people, this fact would not hinder the game’s enjoyment. For me, part of what keeps me hooked on a game is the story. Part of the reason I finished Modern Warfare 2 so quickly was because I really wanted to know how it was going to end. This is not the case with Call of Duty 2. After walking down another street and seeing yet another tank waiting to be destroyed by my rocket launcher, I got bored.

Thankfully, developer Infinity Ward solved this problem by leaving the World War II genre altogether and giving us Modern Warfare. If one looks at Call of Duty 2 as a bridge between the World War II games of old and what we have today, then one can appreciate its place.

Call of Duty 2 – Retro Review