LONDON SPITFIRE will be looking to go one step further than England’s football team when the Overwatch League semi-finals get underway this week.
The Spitfire looked to be on their way out at the quarter-final stage when they lost the first of three best-of-five matches 3-0 to the Los Angeles Gladiators.
Given that the Spitfire had never beaten the Gladiators, things didn’t look good but they bounced back to score back-to-back 3-0 wins and secure a place in the last four.
Okay, so it doesn’t quite have the same worldwide appeal as football’s World Cup, but with the winners of the Grand Finals picking up a cool $1million, there is a lot riding on these knockout games.
London will next take on the other Los Angeles team – the Valiant – with a spot in the finals up for grabs.
The first best-of-five match with the Gladiators will begin at 3am in the early hours of Thursday morning (July 19), with a second best-of-five series taking place on Friday night.
A potentially decisive third best-of-five map series will follow the second if needed, with the winners advancing to final on Saturday, July 28.
Having won the Stage 1 finals back in February, the Spitfire announced themselves as early contenders for the Grand Finals crown but have since lost momentum and limped rather than stormed into the end-of-campaign Playoffs.
But the team of six South Koreans have won big support in the UK after showing a willingness to wave the Union Jack before big games and to sample English delicacies like Marmite and EastEnders.
So if you want to follow them in the playoffs, be sure to tune in on Overwatch’s Twitch channel.
IN OTHER Overwatch news, the 28th hero has been announced this month.
There is always plenty of speculation as to the identity of a new hero and this one was no different.
Will it be the oft-rumoured cat with a jetpack? An axe-wielding space warrior? A stealthy, SAS style operative?
Not many people were guessing it would be a tiny hamster called Hammond piloting a weaponised ball.
Going by the official title of Wrecking Ball, the hamster of doom is currently being trialled on the game’s test servers and will be available to everyone on Tuesday, July 24.
Animal lovers may be delighted with a cute, furry pet to choose as a hero – but they will probably change their tune when they have to listen to the heart-breaking squeak Hammond emits as his hamster ball is destroyed or sent hurtling off a cliff.
AS well as being the favourite game of England’s World Cup football squad, Fortnite has been making a big impact on the real world in the past couple of weeks.
A recent in-game rocket launch got players in the game to stop fighting and watch the event as if it was a real-world NASA project.
And since the launch, items from the game have started popping up in real world locations, much to people’s bemusement. A giant Durr Burger head from Fortnite was found in California.
And, more recently, genuine loot llamas have been found in European cities, including two in our very own London.
It’s obviously all part of good PR on game developers Epic’s part and is keeping their product in the news as much as Fortnite goal celebration dances from the likes of Jesse Lingard and Antoine Griezmann, who did the game’s loser dance after scoring a penalty in the final.
SUMMER is a fairly quiet time in the world of video games, with scorching weather and sporting events giving people plenty of alternatives to sitting in a darkened room and shooting aliens.
There isn’t much on my must-buy list until early next month, when EA’s Madden 19 comes out.
As an American football fan, this series is always one I pick up but I have extra incentive this year for two reasons.
The first one is that my team, the Los Angeles Rams, is highly competitive for the first time in over a decade – and I look forward to playing as them online without putting myself at a massive disadvantage.
And the second reason is the return of the story mode Longshot, which is back after its debut in Madden 18.
The first Longshot saw you take control of Devin Wade as he battled to confront this demons and get drafted for the NFL.
Now, Longshot: Homecomings will see Wade begin the tale as a Dallas Cowboys player, with in-game flashbacks to his time as a High School quarterback.
Longshot added much-needed variety to a series which was in danger of becoming stale. With a talented team of writers and some quality voice actors, the mode could well attract people who wouldn’t normally give American football games a second glance.
Madden 19 is out on August 10 on Xbox One, PS4 and PC – but not, sadly, Nintendo Switch.