What's Your Greatest Gaming Comeback?

Screenshot: N. Ho Sang, On Nintendo Switch

The final decision I made in Into the Breach cost me the life of one of my pilots, and almost cost me the entire game.

Into the Breach isn’t really a game of comebacks. As the game shows you enemies’ attacks before they play out, any bad decisions made are basically your fault. Sure, there’s a lot more nuance to Subset Games’ brilliant tactical game. But for the most part, carelessness gets you killed in this strategy title. You really have to weigh every viable outcome to your actions. And I made plenty of poor choices during my time with it.

I could not have an explicit comeback moment in how I played that last round. I had to change how I approached the game entirely to even get me to the final battle. Into the Breach gets progressively tougher—enemy types and attacks can account for this.

There are four distinct islands with different mission types and environmental factors to consider. Once players unlock islands, they’re allowed to visit them in any order they like in subsequent playthroughs before tackling the final location (clearing at least two of four islands is mandatory). I always opted to clear all four before challenging the last board but would consistently make it to the fourth where I’d fail.

I once made it all the way to the end of the game, and at my final decision, a miscalculation killed everything and I lost. It was awful, and I still don’t know how or where I went wrong. Not one to give up very easily (unless it’s Resident Evil 2 . Ha!), I kept noticing this pattern of getting really far but never making it again to the final battle.

So I changed my strategy. I decided to visit the island that I was best at, last, and used its terrain specific boards and missions to my advantage. It wasn’t the only change I made but it played a big role in how everything else just fell into place.

And wouldn’t you know it? I beat the game and I got the credits to roll. It was my greatest, well-earned victory in recent memory. I mean, it wasn’t too good for my poor pilot since I still managed to be screw things up when it mattered most ... Sorry, Isaac. Please forgive me in our next timeline.

But what about you - what are some of your best comebacks in a game?


Comments

    Everquest. The source of so many memories, including the greatest comeback I was ever a part of.

    Our guild was just starting to get its shit together, slowly rising through the ranks and beating more and more content. We were going through Temple of Veeshan, a zone filled with hundreds of dragons, and were taking on one of the bosses.

    Typically in EQ, raids were up around 70 or 80 players, sometimes more if your guild was big enough and the raid was in an open zone. Closed zones capped at 72 players. but this wasn't one of those. Point is, it took a lot of people to kill bosses.

    A bad AoE meant this fight went bad. We lost our main tank, lost our DPS, lost our healers, and were all slowly dieing one at a time. Raid leader called for us to just wipe and reset, but the survivors had their battlelust going and refused to go down. A paladin took over the tanking while another paladin resurrected a cleric.

    Then another, then another, and another. We recovered from being down to about 3 players, to fight back and win the fight. Not a small task at all, we should have been well beaten.

    I was just a corpse lieing there watching most of it. Right in the middle of things, but still just watching. Was such a great feeling to see them fight back, then take the ascendency, and slowly recover to the point we had a chance, then a possibility, then manage to win.

    It was a turning point for our guild as well, showing us and everyone else that we were a serious group of players, willing and able to try just about anything. And after that, we proved time and again that the limits others set were just guidelines to us.

      Haha. That reminds me of early days in WoW Warlords of Draenor, doing one of the earliest dungeons. I was lacking confidence because I was late to the party, low gearscore compared to everyone else - just barely scraping into the queue - and devs had nerfed the fuck out of my tank spec (on paper), so I just queued as DPS to take some of the pressure off, instead of my usual tanking.

      Turned out the nerfs were on paper only. Our tank pitched a bitch-fit just after pulling a boss and bailed. The other DPSers dropped pretty quickly, and I was hanging on with the help of the healer. Healer eventually bought the farm with the boss still on half health, so I solo-tanked the rest of the boss to a kill. (Blood DK.)

      I was pretty confident about queueing as a tank after that.

        Nice. Love the come from behind stories myself.

        I never really played a tank class until Legion, having focussed on a mage in vanilla. We were just getting into original Naxx when I left, but had pretty much everything else on farm status. Was fun balancing between DPS and avoiding agro. Was one or two fights I somehow managed to solo end a fight after the rest wiped on 1%. Last man standing was something I cheered about for ages :)

        When Legion sucked me back in I headed straight to the Demon Hunter, and loved every minute of it. Until I was asked to tank on a raid. That had one Warrior along...

        Having never tanked (pretty much every MMO I play support or DPS), it was an entertaining learning curve, but I got the hang of it fast enough. Bouncing between me and the other tank got into a rhythm that worked out well. Was fun. Surprised me how viable it was actually.

        So I can see how a blood DK could pull that off despite the paper nerfs. Nice story.

    World of Warcraft had a few huge comebacks that are amplified by the number of people online and stress of pvp or raiding.

    The funniest was a boss calked Thaddius in Naxxramas that cursed you with electric charges if you stood near anyone with the opposite charge you electrocute everyone... the strategy was run right when the UI tells you you have the incompatible charge for your side of the room... after too many wipes from people going left and killing everyone our raid leader snapped and asked how people using a computer cant tell left from right. He asked how if your right handed your mouse is right hand... move to your mouse... put a post it note on your screen "RIGHT" people still complained so he snapped and and yelled "If thats too difficult Which hand do you tug yourself with? Which hand do you cup your balls? Figure it out, its your body, 20 minute break"... after some shocks and laughs, and what turned out to be a 30 minute break a really relax raid leader lead us to a perfect kill with zero deaths. It was a shocking come back hahaha.

    Last night in Dota Auto Chess. I'm in last place, down to 7% hp, 4 other players left in the game. I've been on a losing streak but I'd refused to panic, playing the economy game and letting my gold accrue interest.

    Knowing I was 1 round from losing I spent my gold, leveled courier up to 8, rolled some units and got some upgrades onto the board. Combat rolls in and I staved off defeat, better yet I beat someone else on their board too. So far so good.

    What followed were the most intense rounds of Auto Chess I've ever played. I spent gold to keep my units upgrading but didn't go "all in". I thought ahead and decided I didn't just want to stave of defeat, I wanted to win. I took a gamble, watched my units closely and decided I could survive one more round.....and then one more round....now one more round...yep, just one more round.

    I continued that way, riding the knife's edge for the next 12 rounds, I went into an impressive late game streak with "10 win streak" popping up for the players ahead of me to see. I kept playing the economy game, spending the extra gold I had above 50 to upgrade courier and re-roll units. It saw me hit level 10 courier with around 40 gold to spare...and I re-rolled aggressively, trying to get my build finished.

    While I was focused on my board the opposing players had been dwindling one by one until there was just me and 1 guy left, he was on 16% hp but my team was beating him every time. Then disaster struck, neutral creep Troll round (round 40 i think?). Those Trolls are tough, they've finished off many players before and my units were unable to take them out...2 remained. Those 2 Trolls dealt 6 damage to me, leaving me with 1hp left!

    Final round rolls in, it was me or him. I said "gg" and waited on the edge of my seat to see if the upgrades he'd just got would take my units out...nope, I slaughtered him with 8 units still alive. I exhaled the pent up breath I didn't realise I was holding and finally relaxed, appreciating my hard won victory against all odds.

    Looking back I'm still surprised I managed to do it, survived something like 12-15 rounds on 7% hp, didn't lose a single match up to any of the other players when they'd been taking me apart easily up to that point. Makes me love the game even more.

    Counter-Strike. Italy. Several minutes in, and the Ts have wiped out ALL of my fellow CTs and still hold all the hostages. I've taken a couple hits running up the Eastern tunnel from spawn, my carbine trading fire had taken a couple out but I was in a pretty bad place ammo-wise - on my last clip after suppressing the Ts on balcony and doorway to make it up the tunnel.

    They still had five guys left. My team had made a particularly poor showing, this round. Hoping to make a dash to at least get some next-round cash from tagging the hostages.

    I rushed headlong into the house, dodging fire from the courtyard and balcony, and it was a twitch-fight as I startled a T downstairs who had Benelli. Sheer reaction time won the day for me, but he winged me and I'd emptied my mag. Tossed my gun and picked up his only to find it only had 3 rounds left in it. A T with an AK had dropped down from the ledge outside to come in behind me - I was already turning when we saw each other; I won again, but he winged me again. Benelli now empty, I grabbed his AK. Still only half a mag left. I turned around again, to see courtyard T coming in for another flank - too slow. We trade fire and I win again... barely. 5 HP left. No ammo. I toss my empty and grab courtyard T's AK. Half a mag left. Ts still upstairs shitting themselves start to run down, panic-firing. I don't even know what's happening at this point, there's no thinking, just reacting. I get one on the stairs, toss my empty weapon to pick up his almost-empty weapon. The other backs up to retreat, but I keep firing and get him through the floor/walls.

    It's over. Counter-Terrorists win. This all took place in the space of about ten seconds. I've gone through five guns and am scramblig to find my carbine before the match ends.

    There are a handful of dorm-mates behind me who have been watching over my shoulder now exploding into roars of disbelief. The post-game chat is full of expletives.

    World of tanks my whole team dead and I'm left with 10 players on the enemy team on a desert map.

    Silly muppets kept attacking one at a time. I won with 11 kills :)

      Hopefully at T5+ for the Kolobanovs to go with that rofl stomp.

      Every single time I see this one at a time mentality in WoT I just have to shake my head in disbelief.

        I've gotten 2 of those medals because of teams doing exactly that :D

    That time when I lost to an enemy and then save scummed and beat them because I knew how the RNG was going to play out.

    Do games like RimWorld count?

    During the setup of one game, I kept hitting random and ended up crashing into a frozen tundra with a very small window for growing crops and virtually no wildlife bigger than rats. Due to the poor starting conditions I was woefully unprepared for my first winter.

    I had no supplies to make new clothes with and the occasional pieces of clothing I was able to take from dead raiders were barely useful... so it wasn't long before the first of my 5 colonists froze to death in the process of returning to camp with a dead rat I sent him to hunt.

    Because the rat wasn't going to feed my colonists for long, I decided to add a "special ingredient" (the dead hunter) to the nutrient paste I was making in an effort to stretch my supplies as far as possible... but that didn't last very long, so instead of risking more people freezing to death I decided to raid my graveyard instead and turned up 3 or 4 relatively fresh, frozen, dead raiders. Unfortunately I had only just started butchering the first one when I lost another colonist to starvation. Thinking the raiders would be enough, and not wanting to eat another colonist, I buried her in one of the recently vacated graves.

    So the dead raiders became nutrient paste and fed my survivors for a few days. But then the food ran out. Again. I knew where to find one more corpse... so I dug up my recently starved, frozen colonist and turned her into paste as well. This was the last straw for one of my 3 surviving colonists who had a mental break and wandered off naked into the frozen wastes. Needless to say, he didn't survive.

    Fortunately, with now only 2 mouths left to feed I had enough paste to last until it was safe to hunt again. I retrieved my unfortunate colonist who went nuts and froze to death and buried him.

    The weather warmed and I planted some crops. Some newcomers joined my colony and we researched hydroponics and erected large, indoor farms which would grow ample food all year round. We thrived.

    The only evidence left of that terrible winter was a rather unsettling pile of human leather in my store room and some rather vague statues carved by one of the survivors, apparently depicting a "great famine".

      Haha, that absolutely counts as a comeback. I've... NOT come back from similar moments .

      Everybody died.

      Yup, definitely counts. Comebacks don't have to be filled with glory, they just need to get the job done. Which your brutal cannibalism did.

        Brutal and memorable... probably one of the most memorable gaming experiences I've had. I almost quit several times but I'm glad I pressed on.

    In a game of Warcraft 2 (yes, nearly 25 years ago), I was attacked and nearly wiped out...except for one peon I managed to get out and send to a far corner of the map. I had just enough gold to build another great hall and eventually claw myself back from the brink of ruin. When victory finally arrived, it was very, very sweet :-)

    Ret Alert 2, penultimate mission in Soviet Campaign: the weird psychic-powered advisor to Soviet leadership, Yuri, betrays the main Soviet forces and you have to face him in a (gameplay sense) Soviet vs Soviet battle as you are tasked to assault Yuri's stronghold.

    Well, being a kid and all, I was just casually playing and making my forces... Until BAM, a huge attacking force arrives and utterly destroys all of my base and units.

    Except for one Kirov Airship, that is. One Kirov somehow survived the fight and gained a bit of Veterancy (Leveling system, improves stats).
    I debated what to do, whether just to restart or not and in the end decided to see what I can do with that one Kirov.

    Extremely slowly and surely, nice and steady, I traversed the map with the Kirov: First, taking out defenseless targets that don't have anti-air in order to get the Max/Level 3 Veterancy, making it have increased damage and very slow HP regen (maybe also increased defensive stats?). Then, I could actually send it to attack smaller/weaker concentrations of AA Troops, with it being able to heal-up after each confrontation.

    Obviously, this was indeed a slow and tedious process: Should I go here? Let's see wh- oh boy, 3 flak cannons and a bunch of flak troopers. Yeah, turn it around and go back, quickly... Oh no, it lost two 3rds of its HP, I gotta wait for it to heal back up - which is, like, 3-4 minutes in real time (this saw me standing up and walking around the room, being impatient and all). After situations like that, I'd slowly scout the map and sail through the Fog of War hoping not to run into more AA positions...

    Eventually, through luck, skill and patience, I got close enough to the Primary Objective: a large building (supposedly, in storyline senses) hidding Yuri and his command. It was heavily guarded, AA included, meaning that I couldn't get close without the Kirov getting damaged.
    I hesitated for a bit, trying to find the best angle to attack, but eventually decided to say screw it - and went in. Nothing to lose.

    Lo and behold, I succeeded in beating the Mission! Needless to say that was obvious from me posting here. The Kirov took a bunch of damage and was moments away from death but its empowered attack was enough to destroy Yuri's building, ending the mission even if the Kirov was to otherwise certainly die seconds later.

    I was so damn happy and proud of myself! I couldn't believe I did that and it kinda remains both my favorite and most impressive singleplayer gaming feat.

    Funnily enough, I have not since played the Campaign. One day, especially if RA2 gets remastered!

    Maybe not much of a tactical comeback, but the one which sticks out to me the most is the first time I played Borderlands 1. I was on a mission through an early interior area you can't leave without completing, I was under-levelled and under-prepared and I just kept dying and being revived back at the start, to the point where I had no money for ammunition or anything else other than what I spawned with. I had to fight through the entire area and kill the boss at the end relying on nothing but skill and trial & error. It was supremely satisfying when I succeeded, nothing else really felt like a challenge after that.

    I'd also include the time I had to complete the final boss fight in Fable (standard, not Lost Chapters) back in the day for my younger brother. Usually you would have fully upgraded lightning, and simply zap him to death as it interrupts his animations and you can refill your mana with potions without stopping. He had come into the fight somehow with level 1 lightning, only a couple health potions and otherwise unprepared. I had to spend 30 minutes ducking behind pillars and taking off tiny slivers of health to take the boss down.

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