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What's better: ground pound attacks or reloads dumping unspent ammo?

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Last time, you decided that Quake 2's railgun is better than the currency 'Gold'. I take this as a solid sign that we can trust in the process, that we know we are on the right path, that we will find our way to the single best thing in video games. This week, I ask you to choose between dropping things in very different ways. What's better: ground pound attacks or reloads dumping unspent ammo?

Ground pound attacks

Punch or stamp on the ground in real life, and you'll end up with sore digits and little more. In a video game, you'll unleash a devestating showcase shoving and smashing everyone around you. Ground pound attacks, you are ridiculous and I adore you.

They're practical. A little area-of-effect damage, and often a handy knockback or stun to buy you breathing space. They also look cool, especially if you're slamming down from a great height.

Ground pounds are a staple of hack 'n' slash games, and always great. Anything with a whiff of superhero surely has one too (thank you, Saints Row 4), sometimes even with a little aftertouch of slow-motion to make sure you saw that you just did something cool. I do appreciate ground-pounds assaulting strategy games with the jetpacking Assault Marines in the Dawn Of War games (and other Warhammer 40K games, and non-strategy 40K games). Ah, I could list games all day but: I've never met a ground-pound I didn't like.

Katharine chats about Marvel's Midnight Suns, a game with some great Spidey ground-poundingWatch on YouTube

Reloads dumping unspent ammo

It is a common bit of video game magic: reload a gun with the magazine or cylinder half-full and those remaining bullets will magically be added to your reserves. Do you catch the bullets mid-air after shaking them out your revolver, pocket those half-empty mags to refill them in idle moments? Don't worry about it. But some games (surprisingly few of them) notice that you've dropped a half-full mag and you will lose that unspent ammo if you reload whenever you please.

If realism and simulation is your bag, hey, this is more realistic, so good for you! I've little interest in video game 'realism' myself, especially as even the most serious sim cannot come close to the experiences of a body, but I still enjoy this. It's another little challenge and calculation of risk versus reward: reload now and I'll be ready for a sustained gunfight but lose resources; reload later and I'll conserve resources but if a big fight breaks out I'll soon need to stop to reload, hoping I'm not caught out. I usually lean towards conservation, especially if ammo is a rare or expensive resource, and it often bites me in the bum.

I also quite enjoy fighting against the idle fidget of my fingers yearning to reload in any remotely quiet moment. Fingers, no! You dumped a mag after only two shots! Forget battling to master a game's systems or match wits with other players, do I have what it takes to conquer the challenge my own body?

Some games get fancy with this. Insurgency: Sandstorm has a fast reload option which dumps unspent ammo, or a slower reload which carefully stashes the partially used magazine in a pocket, ready for you to retrieve and resume once you're out of full mags. What spiffy tactical options!

But which is better?

As much as I appreciate the style and splash of ground-pound attacks, building the little habit of ammo conservation is so satisfying to me. It's one of the few disciplines I have in life. But what do you think?

Pick your winner, vote in the poll below, and make your case in the comments to convince others. We'll reconvene next week to see which thing stands triumphant—and continue the great contest.

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