Monday, May 21, 2018

A Brief Game Diary

Well, we'll see how brief it ends up.  I anticipated I'd be playing a lot of Battle Chasers or Banner Saga on my Switch this weekend, but that didn't work out.  I still have nothing but good things to say about Battle Chasers, but Banner Saga...

I've played Banner Saga before.  I started it up when it first came to PS4, years ago, but decided I would rather play it on the (then announced) Vita version (which never came to be).  When I returned to it this week on Switch, I found I'd recalled something else about that brief stint on the PS4.

The Banner Saga really, really doesn't explain itself very well.  The combat seems simple enough - you have an HP pool, and the damage you deal is dictated by how big that pool is.  As your heroes' HP gets reduced they deal less damage and vice-versa for your enemies.  But there are things called Willpower points and I'm not sure how I get them, I'm not sure how I spend them, and I have no idea why this guy with 16 HP is hitting enemies for 1 each, but maybe it has something to do with that?

Either way, I've been through two or three battles in Banner Saga, and it feels like... being buffeted and swept around by a storm.  I don't feel much control over what happens in this strategy RPG, and I'm not entirely sure it's the game's fault.  There was indeed a tutorial fight that told me what Willpower is and what it does, but the game doesn't make itself the least bit intuitive.

And when a game tells you that your choices really matter and things will have long-term consequences, feeling like you're constantly fucking it up doesn't make it very rewarding, or compel one to continue.

So it's been a lot of Overwatch. 

Which is disappointing, because Banner Saga, on paper, is everything I want.  Turn-based, tactical combat, gorgeous - gorrrgeous, hand-drawn - presentation, and a rich, sad, affecting world.  And I've heard nothing but good things!  I wish I could find that game, but maybe I'm not giving it enough time.  Probably.

So it's been Overwatch.

I finished my placements, landing just under plat at 2458.  My brother and I got into a game of throwers last night that dropped me to 2429.  It was super-bad.  Nobody would go healer on Hanamura attack (including myself - I'll go healer on attack when we have at least two tanks, with one I believe can actually take the Hanamura choke - I appreciate the hypocrisy), and while I got some decent work done, getting picks and landing on the point, we just couldn't make it move.

Then we went into Quick Play and did okay. says we won our share last night, but I don't remember many wins.  I remember very few healers on our teams, but I had a helluva good time.  These were almost all very close games - real tooth-and-nail, doing-my-very-best games, and while I couldn't get a Play of the Game to save my life, I got some nice Pulse Bomb cards and one or two for getting a bunch of gold medals.

I also got some beautiful picks and duels.  I mean blink-in-and-one-clip-a-squishy picks.  Did a wonderful troll where I blinked around and through a team and baited the enemy Tracer into chasing me away from the teamfight, only to get one-clipped by me when she came around the last corner.  Had a Zarya on Oasis terrified of me because whenever the teamfight started, I'd show up and wreck her.

There was a spectacular loss on Horizon where we were holding point B beautifully because I would start every teamfight by getting a pick on their Carry Widow or forcing her to back off.  Three fights in a row started with me dropping her and helping my team clean up the rest.

On the final fight, just as the clock is ticking down, I'm in a bad spot.  I've already burned Rewind, the Widow's 20 yards away, she's got a perfect line on me and she's prioritizing me because of the last few times I picked her, and I've got half a team on my left shooting at me.  I have two blinks.

I burn both to get right up on her as she lets a round off at me, land the stick, bail out and wave as the bomb detonates - it was awesome - just as her team takes the point, and we lose the game.  Sent 'em a GG.  They wrote back "GG Tracer."

It was a good loss.  That was last night - a lotta' good losses.

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