Overwatch Meta Anxieties Header Mei.

Overwatch Meta Anxieties

Most players are quite familiar by now with this experience in the Overwatch Meta: someone picks an unconventional character, or one just out of the current meta, and is promptly asked to switch. Maybe you are the one playing attack Torbjorn. Or, maybe you are the one asking Symmetra to swap tank for Illios. These are rather rare occurrences, even for Quick Play. More commonly you might see someone asking for a Soldier 76 to switch to McCree, or a Mercy to switch to Lucio.

So how seriously should we really take these requests? Is playing characters in the meta really that important for success in Overwatch?

Do I have to play in the Overwatch meta to do well?

Short answer: absolutely not.

There are players who are incredibly successful with unconventional heroes. These people play at levels from high diamond to the top 500. Widowmaker, Hanzo, and Mercy players are examples of such successes. It is more important to be a good player than to play characters in the meta. Furthermore, playing a “good” hero does not compensate for poor map knowledge and lack of mechanical skill.

You aren’t even guaranteed to do well just because you are playing a character in the meta. If you are really good at an unconventional character, but decide to switch to someone you have less time with just because they are “good right now,” you may do worse than if you just stuck with what you know. You should certainly learn a new character if you would like to, and meta heroes are a good place to start, but you don’t have to in order to do well.

If you have ever played a KotH game against a team with a Mercy, Torbjorn, and/or Symmetra, you may have seen this happen. These characters are traditionally just bad for this game mode, and yet they can become unbeatable under the right circumstances. But, it is nice to avoid a salty team. So, perhaps it is best to switch off the unorthodox heroes when they are repeatedly not working.

When does meta matter?

To really understand this question, we have to think about where the meta is developed. The Overwatch meta is established at the pro level. Meta is determined by what professional teams are using in tournaments. These are practiced teams with analysts and loads of knowledge about the game, as well as all the technical skills necessary to play every character.

So, it’s starting to show why it would be a bit ridiculous to restrict the average player to characters in the meta. The average player will not have the skill or resources to use the characters quite like the pros who set the precedent. They will also not have a team that has practiced the strategies needed to “pull off” that team composition. Now, this is a little less influential. At a certain level of play, most people will be aware of these strategies. They will also know what they need to do in order to execute them. So at this point, meta starts to matter more.

If you are tired of losing to the same team composition every game, you may be getting to the point where meta begins to matter. It sucks to have your team repeatedly team wiped by a nano-boosted Reaper while your Genji and McCree are having a hard time getting picks. Maybe your Mercy can’t get a good Res off. But, the enemy always seems to have a Sound Barrier at the ready.


If you would like to look up the current meta and read a bit of analysis on why it is as it is, I like to use Overbuff. They compile data from professional events and analyze the usage of characters and how this is effected by game modes. It also will show you trends of what characters have been the most used since the game came out *cough, cough* Lucio *cough.*


So, who should I play?

Really, you should play whoever you like. This will, of course, depend on what you want to get out of the game.

If you like certain heroes, play those ones. Once you are familiar enough with them, perhaps you will be good enough with them to compensate for some of their weaknesses. If this is the case, you can potentially be quite successful. Learn your hero, how to use them, how to counter your counters, and have fun with it.

If you like winning, pick your heroes based on your ability to succeed with them. If you are just really, really bad with all the characters in the meta, pick someone you can win with. It seems that well-rounded players do very well on average, since they can adapt to many situations and fill for their team. They know how to play a few tanks, maybe a few supports and DPS, and perhaps even a defense character or two. Sometimes this adaptability translates to the ability to play a hero in every meta, as they evolve. But this can also mean the creativity and experience to use unconventional heroes to surprise and dominate competition.

Characters in the Overwatch meta are there for a reason. Knowing when and why to switch is better than blindly playing in the meta. Try to diagnose the match. See what works for the enemy and try to find holes there. This doesn’t always mean you switch heroes but maybe a counter-pick will get you a win. Having a lot of experience with different characters will help you do this. Not only will you understand their roles, but you will understand more of the game through them.

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5 Indie Horror Games To Play This Halloween

Yes, we are back again this time with a top 5 indie horror games to play this coming Halloween. These are all games that have come out within the last month or so. And, quite honestly, are probably some of the better indie horrors that are available right now. Let’s jump in!

1. Breathing Fear – Pixel Horror

Of all the types of indie horror games out there, some of the best I have played are pixel horrors. And this one is no different. I was so happy to see a new indie horror like this. It came out earlier this month and looks great. You are trapped inside a creepy house in the woods and have to find what is going on. A typical horror trope but what makes this game interesting is the atmosphere. I used to believe that pixel horrors couldn’t be scary but I was sorely mistaken. Breathing Fear adds a whole new level of suspense. As you travel around the extremely dark house, all you have is your flashlight. But, the lack of lighting in this game makes it scary as hell. You never know if something is going to appear out of the darkness. Creepy, interesting and has some good scares in it. I definitely recommend for a spooky Hallows Eve play through.

Breathing Fear is available on Steam here

2. The Whisperer in the Darkness – Lovecraftian Tale

This one comes straight from good old Lovecraft himself. A visual novel about scary happenings in the hills of Vermont. You play a sceptic, Alex, who is investigating these mysterious events. You can never go wrong with a bit of Lovecraft especially for great and spooky story telling. If you enjoyed ‘The Terrible Old Man’ then this one is for you. Guaranteed to make you feel uncomfortably tense on a dark night alone.

The Whisperer in the Darkness is available on Steam here

3. Blameless – Dumb Architect Simulator

This one goes on the list for sheer creativeness. Personally, not overly terrifying but you may be unnerved at the thought of being home alone. Blameless puts you in the shoes of an architect who is lured out to a building site in the middle of the night. Most normal people would have noped the hell out of that situation. But, apparently this guy likes looking at half built houses late at night. Of course it isn’t long before it all goes wrong. You have to discover what is happening and escape, but you are definitely not alone. This indie horror is short but sweet and completely free. I’m expecting great things from this developer.

Blameless is available on Steam here

4. Trick & Treat – New JRPG Style

As I mentioned in my previous Top 5 Halloween games to play, JRPGs often get it right. The right amount of story, creeps and horror all wrapped up in one. So, when I saw this one available on Steam I was intrigued. And I was not disappointed. It is not perfect and I think the dialogue could use some work in places. But, the story is interesting and the setting is perfect for Halloween since the story revolves around Halloween evening. Hence the title. It’s cute and creepy and it works.

Trick & Treat is available from Steam here

5. True Fear: Forsaken Souls – Part 1

I wasn’t sure about this one to start with. However, it has a lot of potential in terms of scares and story telling. It is a point-and-click style game interspersed with fully animated cut scenes. It has some good graphics and being the first of the series it would be good to see where this goes. I don’t normally enjoy games that have the word ‘fear’ in the title. Mostly because I don’t like being told that I am going to be scared. But, this one seems genuinely creepy. I have yet to play it through myself but I may pick this up for my Halloween evening. Definitely one to keep an eye on.

True Fear: Forsaken Souls is available from Steam here

So, there you have it. Five more horror games that you can pick up this Halloween. None of them are particularly expensive so get on it! I guarantee that they will leave you feeling just that little bit on edge.

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Zampa Cubes Indie Shout Out

You know that exhilarating feeling of running around a floating n-dimensional cube as a white circle desperately trying to collect your blue squares when all the while dangerous black squares are coming at you. There really is nothing like it. What? You don’t know what I’m talking about? Then maybe you should take a look at Zampa Cubes by Cosmic Works Studios.

The premise of the game is exactly that. You play a white circle, stranded on a cube. Although we don’t quite know why this white circle is desperate to collect these squares, I assume it has something to do with an intense longing of corners, something he, as a circle knows nothing about. So you move your circle around the shape, collecting the blue squares and avoiding the deadly black circles.

It does sound easy enough but the real challenge is moving out of the way quick enough if there’s a black heading your way as you turn on to a new side. You don’t have energy, or shields so one hit and that’s it, you die, or at least you do the thing that shapes ultimately do when they expire.

If you’ve had a fantastic game and managed to rack up a fantastically high score you can share it on Facebook. If you’ve had an absolutely terrible game you can still upload it to Facebook but people will be a lot less impressed.

If you’re interested in giving Zampa Cubes a try then you can download it for your mobile divide from Google Play or the apple store. It’s free and the kind of thing that you can lose a whole bus journey on.

If you’re an Indie developer and want your game featured on Indie Shout-Out just drop us a line on the Contact page and we’ll see what we can do.

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Mafia III PS4 Review

An Oscar-Winning Story Let Down by Tedious Gameplay

Mafia III is an open world, third person action adventure game with an Oscar-winning story let down by boring and often tedious gameplay. Set in the 1960’s in Hangar 13 version of New Orleans called New Bordeaux.  Hangar 13 takes us to a turbulent time and place in history, especially for the half black Vietnam vet who you take control of. In this tale of revenge you will face corrupt cops, racist group leaders and members of the Italian mob as you drive, run and shoot your way around New Bordeaux.


The story, characters and voice acting in the mafia is probably the best I have seen this generation. The layout of the story in the style of a true crime documentary is inspired. The supporting cast is fully fleshed out with an interesting back story and their own unique desires and agenda. If it was a movie it could become an instant classic said in the same breath as Scarface or The Godfather.

In Mafia III you play as Lincoln Clay, a half black Vietnam veteran who is connected to the black mob. As Layton you take up a mission of revenge against the Italian mob after they kill your adoptive family. Along the way you meet your 3 lieutenants, Cassandra, Burke and Vito ( the protagonist from Mafia 2). Each of your lieutenants have their own gang and territory which you assign in between completing the main story.

The main story missions are great set pieces that give you the opportunity to choose how you tackle them and lead to truly memorable moments, such as murdering a rally full of the southern union (this games KKK) or a Scarface-esque moment where I was walking down a staircase in a hotel lobby with a Tommy gun mowing down enemies as I try to escape. The problems start in all the moments in-between these story missions.
Mafia III City Drive



The minute to minute gameplay consists of taking down rackets in enemy territory by slowly whittling down the income generated by them. This usually involves going to point B and killing someone or destroying supplies and inventory that the racket owns. After you cause enough damage to the income of the racket you will receive a mission to take the racket over. This is done by either killing or recruiting the racket leader to your side depending on your choice of play. That is basically all this game has to offer, overall there are about 5 or 6 missions types including the side missions. Making these missions even worse is the basic combat and cover system.

While the combat systems are not bad, they are not good either. The stealth gameplay consists of using cover and whistles to pull the basic A.I enemies into range of your one touch button presses that triggers one of the very few kill animations of you ramming a combat knife into the chest or throat of the idiot unlucky enough to be in your way. Meanwhile the gun mechanics feel sluggish and unpredictable unless you are using a pistol which to be honest is all you need to complete the game. If you end up using a silence pistol obtained from one of your lieutenants the game becomes unbearably easy to the point where you know longer have to think to complete any of the missions.

The lieutenants system is an exceptional piece of design that adds a layer of resource management and diplomacy to the game. After taking over a district you decide which of your lieutenants will run it for you, each offering different incentives for you to give the district to them. If you end up favoring certain lieutenants and neglecting others it can cause them to turn against you. This results in some of the best moments of the game, where you go on a mission to take out the disgruntled lieutenant. These missions gave me real pause due to the fact I had to kill a character that I became attached to and where the best part of this game outside of the main story.

Mafia III Office Take Down

Graphics and Sound

The graphics in Mafia III leave something to be desired. While the graphics look good at first, as you start driving around the city and playing the game in general you start to notice the flaws. The pop in and textures as you drive often make it look like you flying in the air and not driving on a road. Other problems include cover disappearing in the middle of a firefight and clipping through the world as you walk along the street. The biggest graphical problem however is the lighting, which is probably the worst lighting in a game I have seen since early PS3 days. When it gets to dusk or dawn the lighting often either whitewashed the screen or blacks it out completely, often resulting the an inability to see anything on the screen.

I have to congratulate Hanger 13 on one thing though, the city they believe is stunning. As you travel around the city you will be treated to some extremely beautiful vistas, from the iconic french ward to the lush greens in the bayou. Each of the district have their own unique feel, character and police response time. For example; the hallow is basically and run down ghetto where the police often ignore calls and crimes, in contrast downtown is full of beautiful tall buildings and the police response is almost instant.

The sound design of Mafia III is amazing. Everything from the sounds of a car’s engine to the ambient noises of each district all helps build on the 1960’s setting that Mafia III captures so well. By far the best part of Mafia 3 sound design is the voice acting. Alex Hernandez was amazing in his portrayal of Lincoln Clay, and where most games often drop the ball with their supporting cast Mafia gets it perfect. Overall Mafia 3 sound is some of the best you will find this generation.

Mafia III Bourbon St


The difficulty level Mafia III offers is a little on the easy side in my opinion. Like Mafia 2 even when I had the game on the hardest difficulty setting I found that the set up and A.I made the game rather simple and easy to tackle. If you are a player that is looking for a challenge this game might disappoint. Most players should be able to enjoy the game on any difficulty.


The trophies and achievements encourages you to replay the game numerous times, in fact to platinum the game you have too. Unfortunately I found the gameplay makes this rather boring and takes all the enjoyment out of playing the game. I have resigned myself to the fact this is one games I’m not going to 100% and I won’t see all the endings by my own work. If you want to see all the endings you may find it more enjoyable to look them up on YouTube.


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Haunting Starring Polterguy Retro Review

It’s time to look back at another gaming classic from my childhood, and with Halloween spooking its way closer and closer, I’m choosing Haunting Starring Polterguy on the Sega Genesis.


You star as Polterguy, a punk teenager who is accidentally killed by his defective skateboard. Now rather than cursing his luck, or blaming the government for not providing adequate health warnings on the skateboard, Polterguy decides to take his afterlife revenge on Vito Sardini, the owner of the skateboard company and his family.

This revenge comes in the form of scaring them out of all four of their homes. This can be done in all the ways you’d expect a poltergeist to do it, by possessing items and making the Sardini’s fear for their very lives.


Haunting Starring Polterguy is a scare fest that takes place on an isometric view of the house. You as an ethereal poltergeist are free to float around the house, completely unseen by the Sardini family (Mum, Dad and their two children) but are able to jump into nearly every object lying around the house in order to make it move or transform into something hideous.

There is a fantastically dark sense of humour around some of the objects and ther ‘Fright ‘ems’ as they’re called. For example, jumping into a toilet will have a poo monster jump out and start throwing poo around the place. Jumping into a dishwasher can make it growl and snap like a monster. Blood can flow out of sinks, and oil patches can make oil monsters grab for their ankles

Each of the family members has a fear level and when it gets too high they run away. So, all you need to do is scare every family member out of the house and you win.

However, it’s not all easy-going and plain-scaring. Polterguy has an amount of ectoplasm that you need to keep scaring. It gradually ticks away though. Using fright ‘ems uses ectoplasm but successfully scaring family members drops ecto that you can pick up to replenish. Eventually though, you’ll run out and that’s when you’ll find yourself in the Underworld, a place dripping with ectoplasm to collect but also undead monsters that can actually kill you (again). Collect the ecto without dying and you’ll find yourself back in the house.

Oh, and there’s also the family dog a Chihuahua, a dog that not only can see you but also actively calms down any family members in the same room. Bad dog!

Graphics & Sound

haunting starring polterguy screenshot sega genesis

Image Courtesy of emuparadise.me

This is still a beautiful game. Everything is bold, bright and the graphical style carries the game along with a dark childish comedy to it. Wonderful.


Controls are easy. Move Polterguy around the house with the d-pad, and jump into objects with any of the buttons.


The game starts off a little too easy, with you having no trouble scaring the Sardini family out of the house but it’s not long before your ecto runs out too quickly, that damn dog won’t stay away and the monsters in the Underworld are just trickier to avoid.


I can still go back and play Haunting Starring Polterguy today. There are so many ways to complete a level and the unique and often hilarious methods you use to scare the family are always a joy to behold. What more do you need.