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Overwatch

Review – DX-9 K1 Freeman (Overwatch Bastion)

So, even before Goodsmile announced they were doing Overwatch figures of any kind, a company known for 3rd party Transformers, DX-9 put out a transforming 3rd Party Bastion.  Or as it’s officially know, K1 Freeman.  So, a little background, “3rd Party” is a term used often in the Transformers community to refer to a slew of toys and companies that produce unofficial, unlicensed Transformers figures.  There are, I believe, similar operations in other toylines, but Transformers is definitely the biggest market for these toys.  They aren’t straight bootlegs, like you might find at a flee market, where some company produces a replica of of an official toy and sells it for cheap.  These are heavily engineered and often expensive figures, released without the official sanction of the company holding the IP.  They also often get goofy names like “K1 Freeman”.  Bastion, being sort of a Transformer, got the 3rd Party treatment.

I waited on picking this one up for a while, until the official Figma figures were announced.  I seriously doubt Figma ever puts out any of the larger characters, though I’d be happy to be wrong.  I have even less faith that Figma will ever put out a transforming Bastion.  So Freeman is the next best thing.  The main thing that feels off about him is the default skin, which I had honestly forgot what it even looked like, because no one uses it in game.

He does the job pretty dang well.  There is some limitation on the articulation, especially on the gun arm, but it’s mostly pretty good.  Bastion isn’t exactly a ninja or anything, he’s a big heavy military robot that turns into a tank.  Being the product of a 3rd Party Transformers company, he also has all three of Bastion’s modes.  Granted, none of Bastion’s transformations are particularly complex.  For the turret, he pretty much drops to his knees, fold up the arms, and extend the barrel on the back.

The tank involves some parts swapping, though there isn’t really any other way to handle those giant treads.  The Gatling turret swaps for a tank barrel and the legs slide off and get replaced by the tank treads.  The treads are actually functional, which is cool, but rubber on toys tends to not really last, so I imagine over time, they will likely end up falling apart.  The parts forming kind of sucks, but it’s slick and easy so it works.

The best part, Freeman scales very nicely with the official Figma characters.  He might be a tad oversized, but it works, and it’s not a lot if he is.  He also includes a little version of Ganymede, his little parrot friend.  Ganymede has a little peg that lets him peg onto a fee places on the figure.

Overall, Freeman is a pretty nice representation of Bastion.  He’s gotten pretty affordable on eBay as well.  The whole thing is very solidly built and has some nice heft to it as well, nothing flimsy here.  The real X factor is what Hasbro does with it’s recently announced Overwatch line.  They are more likely to release Bastion than Figma, but who knows if it will transform at all.  I suspect it would at best turn into a turret and not a tank.

Review – Figma – Tracer

I have this incredible love/hate relationship with Overwatch.  I do enjoy the game and the characters, but I kind of hate a lot of aspects of the game play.  There are a lot of annoying balance issues going on right now.  I also feel like the lack of community servers still really hurts the game and the ability to get over a lot of it’s flaws by at least playing with fun people regularly.  This isn’t really supposed to be a rant about Overwatch though, it’s about Figma Tracer.

Good Smile Company has two main lines and a bunch of other sub lines, they are producing Overwatch figures for the two primary lines, Nindoroid and Figma.  Both lines offered Tracer as their initial offering, though so far the Nendoroid line is far outpacing the Figma line in terms of releases.  Where Nendoroid Tracer is a stylized Chibi version of the face of Overwatch, the Figma is much closer to the likeness you’d see in game.

Unfortunately it’s not a perfect likeness.  The worst offense on this toy is the face.  It’s just… off… all over.  It’s almost like it’s a sort of bizarre bishoujo version of Tracer.  There is definitely too much “anime” in the sculpt.  I mean, Overwatch is pretty heavily cartoon in it’s stylization, but it’s not manga styled.  It’s kind of funny because the Nendoroid version almost looks more like Tracer in the face, despite the goofy proportions.

The Nendoroid also has some accessories that the larger version really should have included as well, even if they were straight up the same pieces.  Aside from the obvious blink streak included with the Nendo, the Nendo also has the little flippy hair piece on it’s head, which was a nice little fun touch.  The pegs on the stands aren’t the same size at all, so there isn’t even a way to use the blink effect piece with the Figma.  Also notable, is that the guns are not the same between the two figures, though they are pretty close to being the same size. Aside from the guns, Tracer includes some alternate faces and a decent selection of hands and her pulse bomb.

I also have a bit of an issue with the poseability of the figure.  It’s pretty good, except for the hips, which are extremely limited by the design and the belt straps.  I’m not sure what could have been changed but the knees also don’t bend as far as they could.  Basically, a little more bend all around in the legs could have really helped Tracer pull off some of her signature poses better.  The “real” straps are nice, but I can’t help but think sculpted straps might have allowed a bit more range of motion.

Tracer is decent, overall, though I honestly think I like the Nendoroid more.  At the moment it’s the best Tracer figure available, but Hasbro has recently announced a new line of Overwatch based figures coming, and you can bet it will include Tracer.  Figma Tracer isn’t a bad figure, but it could have been better without that totally off face sculpt.

Review – Nendoroid – Tracer

Good Smile Company makes two lines, primarily, Figma, and Nendoroid.  Both likes primarily deal with anime and video game characters.  Figma is more of a traditional style scale figure, they are generally around 1/12th scale.  Nendoroids are all “Super Deformed” Chibi designs.  Bigs heads and small bodies, sort of similar in style to something like Pop Vinyls in the US, except a zillion times better with articulation and interchangeable parts.

Nendoroid Tracer

I’m not super big on the style, and there are a lot more anime characters I don’t care about int he Nendo line than the Figma line.  That said, the first official figure from Overwatch was Nendoroid Tracer.  I like Overwatch, I play Tracer more than any character, seemed like a good figure to test out the waters on the Nendoroid line.  There’s a Figma Tracer being released later this year and Nendoroid versions of Mei and Mercy are coming up as well.

I had my doubts going into this line.  A lot of those worries were pushed away upon actually getting the figure.  She’s pretty awesome.  I can fully admit, that this style of figure isn’t going to be for everyone, but this little Tracer is pretty adorable and a lot more versatile for poses and action that I expected her to be.  Not every Nendoroid has as many joints as Tracer, only some characters get elbows, many just get swapable arms.  She also pretty much requires the stand due to the size of her head, but it’s low profile and with some work she can be posed without it.

Nendoroid Tracer

I was also worried that she was going to be smaller than she actually is.  She isn’t huge, but she fits in pretty well with some smaller Figma and Figuarts figures.  Really, given her style and related silly factor, she kind of works alright with some larger figures as well.  She would definitely fit with other Nendos since they are all roughly the same size.  She isn’t meant to be a perfect scale representation of Tracer, but she does a pretty good job of being a silly super deformed version.  She has all of the most noteworthy details like her chest piece, glasses and arm fins.  The center bit of her hair is articulated as well, so it can be adjusted a bit or to recreate her “blowing her hair” bit she does in the game.

For acessories she includes her stand, 3 faces, and several sets of hands.  She also includes a pulse bomb, and her two pistols.  The hands are made for gripping her pistols, open palms for throwing the pulse bomb or pegging the pistols on for her spin pose, and a set of closed fists.  There isn’t anyway for her to hold the pulse bomb sadly, though in game she pretty much just tosses it out and runs anyway.

She also includes a little blue plastic piece that can attach tot he stand to represent when she Blinks.  The end effect works pretty well at showing off her overall gimmick of speed and time shifting.  I kind of wish there was a second piece of the Recall Glow but I’m happy with what she came with.

Overall, I really like Nendoroid Tracer.  I’m looking forward to the upcoming Mei to go with her.  The style definitely won’t be to everyone’s taste and she is probably a little pricey for her size, but she is fun to pose and mess with and is a neat representation of the popular character.

Weekly Wednesday Haul – Cheers Luv, Sixshot Has Arrived Edition

The thing I hate most about Pre Orders is the wait.  I ordered Nendoroid Tracer back when she was first announced in February.  And now, here she is, 6+ months later.  Nendoroid is put out by Goodsmile who also makes the Figma line.  I’ve never had a Nendoroid before.  Tracer here I believe has more articulation than a standard Nendo, but the line is basically super deformed versions of various anime and video game characters.  Tracer is pretty neat, I was a little on the fence with the concept but I’m really looking forward to Mei now.

I also managed to luck into FINALLY finding Jessica Jones from the Netflix Marvel Legends Wave.  She’s pretty much as nice as I had hoped.  Too bad we’ll probably never get Killgrave.  I imagine the next Netflix Wave will give us Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and probably Kingpin, plus some other random comic dudes.

Speaking of luck, I also found several Transformers I had assumed I’d completely missed out on with Titans Returns Sixshot and Octane.  There was also a Blitzwing but my wallet can only take so much at once and frankly, while Titans Return Blitzwing looks nice, I am alright with my Combiner Wars Blitzwing.  The old Classics Octane though, that thing is a huge pile of garbage in almost every way, he seriously needs and update.

Then there’s Sixshot.  Sixshot is a character that I’ve really wanted a good figure of for a long time.  One, I like the idea and design, even if all of his modes are mediocre “modes”.  More importantly, he kills Ultra Magnus in the Japanese show, and since Ultra Magnus is one of my favorite Autobots, it seems appropriate to have a kick ass toy of his killer.  Or something.  I also just really like his overall design.  The transformation is about as expected for all of the modes, Slightly different positions for his arms and legs for the most part.

I’ve seen a lot of complaints with this guy as well but he’s decent.  I have not had any real issues aside from his submarine mode keeps wanting to flip itself over for some reason.

 

Review – Overwatch (PC, PS4, X-Box One)

The Good

  • Fun Team based Gameplay
  • Loot system that never feels like you need to buy anything (though you can)
  • Large variety in game modes

The Bad

  • No way to trade duplicate item drops with other people
  • Game can feel a little repetitive after a while, several maps feel like facelift copies of each other
  • Social aspects could use some work

In Depth

It’s really hard not to compare Overwatch to Team Fortress 2.  They have vaguely similar art styles, the game play is the same sort of class based team shooter game, and the whole attitude in design is sort of “fantastical cartoon” without seeming overly kiddified.  Having played more TF2 than probably any other title except possibly World of Warcraft, I will say they are definitely similar and definitely gunning for the same audience.  Overwatch takes some different queues though in how it works things, which help to differentiate itself a lot from TF2, which leaves some space for both titles.

If you enjoy Team Fortress 2, you will very likely enjoy Overwatch, especially if you’re like me and got driven away from TF2 once the whole economy thing became the focus of the game more than playing the game.  This touches a bit on both a good and bad aspect of Overwatch.  Item drops come in the form of loot crates, which each contain 4 items, skins, sprays, emotes, voice lines, etc.  Nothing that drops is game affecting in any way, it’s all cosmetic.  The things that you’re likely going to care about the most, ie skins, are more rare than things that are kind of useless like sprays.  As of this time, there isn’t anyway to trade items with other players.  Extra items are converted into in game currency that can be used to buy different items.  This is a good thing and a bad thing.  It’s kind of bad because I’d much rather trade an extra rare skin for a different skin I want rather than converting it into a tiny pile of coins.  It’s good be because it helps keep Overwatch from developing an economy, which personally, kind of ruined Team Fortress 2.

You can also buy Loot Boxes, they aren’t a super great price, but they aren’t overly expensive.  Unlike Battlefield 1, you get a lot of them just by playing the game, and each contains 4 items.  You get a free box for every level you gain on your account, and you can get an additional 3 boxes each week for 9 wins in Arcade Mode.  There are also seasonal ranked matches which I believe give some kind of reward in the form of loot.  There is also the currency you collect in game through drops and duplicate items, so you can simply save up and buy the specific cosmetic item that you are after for your favorite character.  The point is, you can more than get away with getting plenty of items just by playing the game.

But enough about loot, it needed mentioning, but it’s also kind of an aside to the game.

The real core of the game is of course, gameplay, and with it, the roster of characters.  It’s also where Overwatch and Team Fortress 2 really differ.  Team Fortress 2 has 9 classes, though each of these classes can be set up through different loadouts to have different play styles.  Demoman for example, plays differently than Demoknight.  Overwatch instead simply has, more characters, 23 of them, with more being added over time to add more variety.  For example, both Sombra and Ana were added after the game’s launch.  Each character is surprisingly unique in play style and design and for the most part the game is pretty well balanced.

For the most part.  Some characters are definitely more played and more powerful than others.  That isn’t to say that you won’t see every character at some point while playing.  However you’ll see way more D.Va and Roadhog than Zaraya for the Tanks.  Also, each character gets an Ultimate Ability which can be unleashed after filling a meter by dealing and taking damage and even just over time.  Ultimates such as D.Va’s exploding mechsuit are super useful at wiping out an entire team, while other’s such as Sombra’s EMP or Tracer’s lame little grenade are kind of less useful.

There is definitely enough character variety to suit any preferred play style.  Also, except in certain game modes, characters are limited to one per team, so no need to worry about having a dozen snipers hanging around in the back ala Team Fortress 2.  There’s only one real sniper, (two but one is a healer), so you’ll only have one useless player hanging around 500 miles back.

Speaking of game modes, there’s the regular Quick Play, and Arcade.  Quick Play works as you might expect, select a character, then play in one of several pretty standard play modes, control points, push a cart, king of the hill, etc.  There’s also Arcade Mode, where things get a little more varied.  Most of the maps work the same, but there are elimination modes, where you die and don’t revive, unlimited mode where there aren’t limits on how many heroes can be on a team, 1v1 matches, or even specialized holiday maps.

That said, some of the maps can get a little repetitive.  The basic designs tend to be pretty different but many of them feel like there was a punch list of features to be added, main path, side path to the right, one upper platform.  It’s kind of subtle but there’s several that feel like at a base level, they are the same map.  Like if you took out the buildings and just made everything squared out walls, you’d have identical layouts.

Things like the arcade mode really help to break this repetition up a lot though.  There are several modes available and they cycle occasionally on what’s available.  Things like Mystery Heroes, where you get a random hero each death, or All Brawls, where all sorts of crazy rules come into play.  Some of the All Brawls limit teams to certain types of heroes such as all offense only.  Some let you pick only Genji and Hanzo, the two brothers.  One of the craziest is This is Illios mode, where Roadhogs and Lucio’s battle it out over  giant pit, the goal is more to throw your opponent in the pit than kill them.

Possibly my chief real complaint is that the social system seems kind of crappy, especially coming off of Team Fortress 2.  Granted, I was admin on a Team Fortress 2 server with a forum and a community and a clan, but Blizzard as a whole just has a pretty mediocre social set up next to Steam and Valve.  This is more of a complaint with Battlenet of course than Overwatch.  For example, I can’t just friend someone by saying I am “RamenJunkie”, because Battlenet adds these lame numbers so I’m “RamenJunkie#1476”.  There also just feels like there is less of a community in Overwatch vs Team Fortress 2.  No one uses voice either, which makes things feel a little lonely.

The bottom line is, Overwatch is a lot of fun and a great game.  If you’re not into FPS games you may not like it, if you prefer some gritty “realism” FPS games you may not like it, of course, but it is a good game.  I picked up Battlefield 1 and Overwatch around the same time period, and while Battlefield 1 started out as my preferred of the two, it grew really stale, while Overwatch has grown on me as being a lot more fun, and feels like it’s going to ultimately have more staying power of these two FPS titles.