I’m no stranger to competitive gaming. I’ve played Call of Duty, Halo, Super Smash Brothers, Dead or Alive, Soul Calibur, League of Legends, the list goes on and on. But one thing that has always seemed to permeate every competitive game is the word “overpowered.” Traditionally it has been used to denote something, be it a character or weapon, that gives the user a discernible advantage over the other players. Perhaps some of the most famous examples in FPS are the Halo weapons. Halo multiplayer involved players starting with relatively the same weapons; while much better weapons and vehicles were placed around the map in specific locations. A player with knowledge of where to obtain these weapons had a considerable advantage over a player who did not. Case in point: the rocket launcher (pictured above). This weapon was an instant kill to both vehicles and foot soldiers alike, and with 4 shots it essentially guaranteed 4 kills. In later versions it even featured a tracking feature against vehicles to facilitate easier destruction. What could be more overpowered than a weapon which required little skill to aim (large blast radius), and guided itself to enemy vehicles? Perhaps you are quietly dismissing my point with thoughts like: “pssh, it’s just because they knew the map better, that’s why they deserve to get the rocket launcher.” Exactly! Let me introduce you to something my friends and I have coined: cheap.
A “cheap” thing is either a weapon, skill, or character which requires low skill to use, but is basically a one-trick pony. While the rocket launcher mentioned above may seem overpowered to some, because of the effort and knowledge required to get it, as well as the fact that the missile moves so slow that anyone at medium to long distance (the ideal range of the starting weapons) can dodge it, means that this weapon can easily be defeated by simply keeping your distance and whittling the opponent down with accurate fire. Ergo, cheap, not overpowered; although it does give a considerable advantage against vehicles, which in themselves give an advantage against infantry, and so on. It’s like a big rock-paper-scissors of death. It kinda straddles the line between cheap and overpowered. Also don’t ask me how a rocket launcher fires missiles. Let me introduce to you, although largely unknown, the prime example of cheap. This is the bastard that actually forced my associates and I to coin the term:
Yup, a Naruto character. Our buddy Sasuke Uchiha here hails from the GameCube title Naruto Clash of Ninja 2. This is a 3D fighting game which allows 4 players to brawl it up in a small arena, either as teams or free-for-all. While it has a limited character roster, and mostly appeals to Naruto fans, this game has a unique, well-balanced fighting system which handles 4 players just as well as 2. Something you don’t see in modern fighting games. It also has two sequels for the Wii, Clash of Ninja Revolution and Revolution 2. Both of which improve upon the mechanics of the previous games and beef up the roster, despite horrid camera controls. Try it out if you still own a GameCube or Wii (or buy them on Ebay for $20). Anyway… enough product pushing,
So, why would Sasuke be considered cheap? Well, he has two characters in this game. The first one is regular old Sasuke, the second is titled “Sharingan Sasuke.” As the name would imply, it’s the little bugger in his black outfit with the awakened Sharingan as he appears during the Chunin exams in the anime (if you are familiar with it). What makes him cheap is his teleport attack. You see, in this game you block by simply standing still. While taking no action you are “guarding” from the front only. But Queer-eye over here thinks that he is above all that. By simply pressing up+B you can teleport behind your opponent and deliver a kick which knocks down and does decent damage. Suddenly you can get the best of your opponent no matter where they are. If they attempt to charge, or combo, or throw kunai or whatever, just press up+B and bam, instant hit. I know, I know, you are screaming: “But how is that NOT overpowered!?!?” Let me tell you. There is a small delay between when the button is pressed, and when Sasuke actually teleports. He jumps ever so slightly making a unique stance, then teleports, making it very easy to predict. If a would-be loser were to press the L or R bumper at the moment Sasuke leaps, they will dodge left or right, and Sasuke will harmless teleport to where they just were. See, to a novice (and apparently all my friends) this attack was unbeatable. But, once you determine the right time to dodge, it basically leaves poor Queer-eye open for a beatdown. Suddenly his “overpowered” attack is worthless; all of your friends can dodge it, and you realize that you spent the entire game using that attack so you now have no idea what to do. My friends, enemies, and secret admirers; this is what defines “cheap.” It only works in very specific scenarios against specific opponents, but has a weakness that can be easily exploited. More than likely if you see something that seems overpowered, it is merely cheap, and there is a simple way to turn the tables on whoever is using it.
Now that we’ve defined cheap, I think it’s time we talk about overpowered. Yes, it does exist. I can think of no better example than this A-hole:
Custom Robo is a great GameCube game. It has custom mechs which you use to battle up to 3 other opponents in an arena. The story is pretty typical of a Japanese robo game, but the mechanics are unique (we need a Wii U remake plz). However, oh boy, there is one character you can pick if you are the king asshat of all asshats: Rahu III. This mofo (pictured above) is the final boss of the game. He is a challenging fight, but with 3 on 1 he loses pretty easily. That’s not the problem, you see. Through a series of secrets in the campaign, you can unlock him as a multiplayer character, as well as all his weapons. In multiplayer Rahu III has somewhere between 90% and 95% damage mitigation. This means he takes 10 times more shots to kill than every other robo you can use. If that’s not enough, he is entirely immune to stun, knock back, and any form of crowd control. This walking death machine can also be a flying death machine. He has the flying capability that is usually reserved for the much squishier air-robos. Oh ho ho, it gets better. His weapons also excel at close, medium, and long range combat. As well as have a huge bullet splash. In fact, one burst from his main gun will instant-kill most robos if not for the invincibility seconds you get after being knocked down. And to top it all off: his melee attack makes him invincible and has fairly decent range for a melee move. You cannot lose in this guy, no matter how hard the other 3 are trying. The only way a Rahu III would lose a multiplayer match, is if he literally did nothing. Standing still and pressing B to shoot only your main gun will usually net a win, because the bullets block enemy shells while still shooting out and hitting the surprised enemies. This, my gaming buddies, is the definition of “overpowered.” No amount of skill, teamwork, or sheer bravery can overcome the wall of death that is: Rahu III. If you pick him in character select, you can bet your ass is gonna get teamed by all 3 other players. And when you win, you can bet that all 3 of them will either throw their controllers down in dismay, or kick your ass IRL. Why is he in the game? Who knows… the Japanese do love sick and twisted things, right? And before those smarty-smarts out there say anything, a match consisting of 4 Rahu IIIs beating on each other is as boring as watching 4 whales wrestling. Someone wins only because the other 3 get bored and leave.
So, we now know what is overpowered and what is cheap. “Cheap” is something easily used that can be easily countered if enough skill or knowledge is gained, while “overpowered” is, well, unstoppable.
What are some characters, weapons, or skills you think are cheap? Maybe they are just straight overpowered. Let us know in the comments! Til next time, I leave you with this: