Dude’s Chronicles 11-23-2017: Come On Christmas

image via youtube.com

Thanksgiving is over and I’m done Christmas shopping. Time for the holiday to get here, right?

Entertainment

  • Trailer Park Boys: Out of the Park: USA – It was funny but just didn’t have the small world charm.
  • A Very Murray Christmas – This has become a Christmas staple for me. I’m not saying it is very good. As much as I enjoy it, I will admit it took me until about the third viewing until I got to that point. It still gives me some chuckles and it does have some heart to it.

Games

  • Titanfall 2 – Jumped back into some Frontier Defense for a change of pace. I really enjoy this game but it wreaks havoc with me when my Xbox One won’t play the disc because it has an HDCP problem with my monitor for some reason. The PS4 thinks nothing off it. For some reason if I hook the Xbox One to my tv then to my monitor it is fine but heaven forbid I just want to leave things hooked up the same way every time I use them. I must be some kind of madman to expect that. It wouldn’t be so bad if other disc games I owned worked, like The Division, without issue.
  • The Division – I pop this game in every now and then when I want to feel sad. This game has some great things but it just tripped over itself and never recovered. Almost two years into the game’s life they are still supporting it but every time I log in I see a dwindling player base and no new reason to play it. Sad.
  • Far Cry 4 – I needed to play something fresh, to me at least. Having only played the trick ending, I started to actually play the game. Upon reaching the end of the prologue I stopped. Not that I don’t want to play more, just not right now. Perhaps in the coming week.

News

  • Battlefront II Robot Players – People making rigs/robots to autoplay for them? It’s not a new idea but given all Battlefront II is going through this is just another kick in the shin. On some level I don’t blame these people. Why? I was trying to complete all of the arcade modes, the player versus AI games. After awhile I got a message at the end of the game stating ‘more credits available in 13hrs’. I didn’t think much of it at first as I had been playing some PVP earlier and just thought that there was a daily limit on credits. That seemed like a crappy thing to do but eh whatever, I was done for the day anyway. The next day is what got to me. I had two more modes on the easy level to do, without having played any games prior to those, after playing one level of the intermediate mode I got a message of ‘more credits available in 9hrs’. I was floored. This was yet another governor to earning rewards in this game.
  • Destiny 2 XP nerf – I wish I was surprised by this. I thought maybe, just maybe it was me when I thought I wasn’t getting much XP when doing solo events. Now I see that it wasn’t the conspiracy trait that I have feeding this. Don’t applaud Bungie for fixing it, scold them for having it in the first place. If you want people to play your game then reward them equally for however they want to play it, not for how you want them to play it.
  • PUBG mobile game – I don’t know what to say. I’ll just quote the quote from VG247.com – “More importantly, it describes the game as “Eating Chicken” game “Jedi Survival.”” Yeah, brilliant.

Closing Arguments

As we hit December and the end of the year it becomes a time to reflect and a time for family. Think of all they’ve done for you and you for them. Or… is it think of all they’ve done to you and all you’ve done to them? Um, maybe just don’t think about it.

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Paul Novak

Owner, Proprietor, Typer of Words, Gamer, Jester

A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.

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2017 Game of the Year!

2017 turned out to be a fine year for video games. At the beginning of the year I thought the year wasn’t going to have much at all but we got a surprising good crop of games. With that though came some duds and we have to talk about those as well.

Let’s look at the games of 2017…

Honorable Mention – PlayerUnkown’s BattleGrounds

This game makes my list despite breaking two of my cardinal rules for being on the list. 1. The game is not officially released and is still in early access. 2. I have not played the game. Even with those factors I wanted to mention the game since it has been so immensely popular. I’ve watched a lot of other people play this game and I see where the draw is. I plan on jumping into it when it comes to the Xbox One platform. The closest game I played is the Fornite Battle Royale that is likely the first of many clones. The game is supposed to get a full release on pc before the end of the year so I’m ok with having it on a 2017 game list.

Dishonorable Mention – Materfall

With Housemarque moving away from arcade shooters Matterfall is a sad end to a glorious run of games. This game fell short for me and I never even finished it. There were too many systems for my feeble mind to comprehend much less master. The graphics and sound were delightful but they didn’t outweigh my frustration with the gameplay and unforgiving checkpoints.

Hot Mess – Star Wars: Battlefront II

For the vast majority of the year I was certain Mass Effect: Andromeda had a lock on this. Then Battlefront II gets released and the world gets an even bigger disaster from EA. How EA had two disasters of this magnitude in the same year still confounds me. The saga isn’t even over yet which makes it even more astounding. It should have been a simple formula to make this game a success. They needed two things: 1. Add a campaign, 2. Clean up the multiplayer system. Both of these actually made the game worse than the original. The fact that the campaign was short isn’t as big of deal as the fact that it was bad. The loot and card systems in the multiplayer are just atrocious and unfair. The controversy got the microtransactions turned off but EA will be turning them back on as soon as they can justifiably do so. The longer standing problem is the attention and ire the entire situation may have brought upon the industry. If countries do declare loot boxes to be gambling, which some have, and decide it must be regulated as such look for a huge change in how video games are monetized.

What A Let Down – Destiny 2

When I think of this game I think to myself “what could have been?”. Having played hundreds of hours of the original I just wanted Destiny 2 to be more of original Destiny with a few improvements. Maybe it’s me but much like Battlefront 2, Destiny 2 failed two key things: 1. Improve the story, 2. Improve the reward system. Bungie made the story longer and told it better but it still wasn’t a good story. It didn’t really tell much about the universe and by the end of it I probably understood less than when I began it. Then there is the reward system and the fact that they actually added different currencies rather than reducing the number from the original game. Add to that we find out that they were metering XP gain. I dropped off playing this game a few weeks after it released and I make no plans to return to it even with the DLC releasing soon.

Sigh…. Mass Effect: Andromeda

Again, what could have been. With the Shepard narrative over and the series going to a different part of the galaxy the slate was clear for Mass Effect: Andromeda to do great things. What we ended up with was a broken game with an incomplete story. It took too long to get interesting, made wild jumps at times, and ended awkwardly with too many loose ends. Said loose end may have been left that way for DLC but we’ll never get that since the series has been put on “hiatus” by Bioware. The game wasn’t as bad as it was panned for and it makes me sad that there will be no Mass Effect for years to come, if ever.

Good Times – Nex Machina

It was fun but short game that you could jump in and out of and have a good time with. I played through it several times and enjoyed each run through.

Longest Title – Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy The Telltale Series

Much like the movies it has great characters and an amazing sound track. Unlike the movies the narrative from this game is completely separate and handles some events and characters completely differently. That made it a bit hard to swallow but it mostly held up on its own.

More than a Side Story – Uncharted: The Lost Legacy

Naughty Dog may be done with Uncharted but if somebody else wants to do more of this I’m interested in it. This spin-off with two of the female characters was true to the Uncharted charm but also brought its own. There could be more in this series and I sincerely hope there is.

A Sequel with No Equal – South Park: The Fractured But Whole

Every time this game got delayed I worried. Much like The Stick of Truth, The Fractured But Whole had numerous development issues and delays. Then again, just like its predecessor this game turned out to be a gem. It was a fan service in many ways but never leaned on it too hard. The entire game was a blast to play and I’m not sure I want another sequel but I wasn’t sure I wanted this one.

Almost Number One – NieR Automata

A game that wasn’t even on my radar until well after its release made a strong case to be my game of the year for 2017.  The environment is not the most impressive you’ll see but it adds to the overall feel of the game. The ground doesn’t look very good and some of the character models are simplistic but the style it is all done in makes it work. The depth of the story and the strings that it pulls make the game something special. The characters draw you in and you’ll want to learn everything you can about them. What keeps the game at my secondary spot is the story and combat. As beautiful and moving as the story is at points it can be hard to follow. Multiple play-throughs help but there is always the sense that I don’t quite understand everything in the game. The combat was the biggest issue I had with the game. Almost immediately I dumbed it down to the easiest level because it was frustrating to not be able to advance in a game that I was playing purely for the story. Even after getting seven of the endings(ABCGHTW if you’re curious) I still think about going back to see more.

The Very Best of 2017 – Horizon Zero Dawn

Not only is this the best game I played this year it may likely be one of the best I’ve ever played. The environment is rich and alive everywhere you go. I spent hours exploring even taking the time to walk to points between missions rather than fast travel just so I could spend more time in the game. I won’t claim it is perfect though, there were a few boss fights that I may have approached wrong but they were frustrating just the same. Those few times did not hinder my adoration of this game due to its story and character. At first I didn’t care for Aloy but as they matured her character through the story I was hooked. If I can spare the time, I want to do game+ play through just so I can do it all over again.

That is it, no more games. Ever. Just kidding. With the year winding down I’m probably done playing any more releases from this year. Yakuza 0 was high on my list but I just don’t have enough interest in it to want to play it despite all the good things I hear about. Life is Strange: Before the Storm and Batman: The Enemy Within are on my radar but I’ll wait for all the episodes to be out before I play either of them.

Looking at my list and the order I’ve placed all these games I must admit I’m a bit surprised. Normally I go for shooters but they don’t dominate my list this year. In fact, the shooters were some of the biggest disappointments this year.

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Paul Novak

Owner, Proprietor, Typer of Words, Gamer, Jester

A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.

Dude’s Chronicles 11-23-2017: Undercharged Turkey

Image via simplebites.net

It’s turkey day, also known as Thanksgiving. Hope you all enjoy it.

Entertainment

  • The Punisher – I’m only about half way through the season but it is really good.

Games

  • Horizon: Zero Dawn – The Frozen Wilds – The main story is finished but there is still some side stuff that I want to do. Even after the main content is done I still enjoy playing this game.
  • Battlefront II – It’s bad. Even if you look at the game ignoring the loot box situation it is bad. This is a topic in and of itself.

News

  • Battlefront II – This clusterf*^% just amazes me. How it went through multiple levels of development and management at multiple companies blows my mind. Even more amazing is that it isn’t even over yet. EA only temporarily disabled the microtransactions so that means they still plan to reinstitute them. Lucasfilm coming out with a statement backing their removal seems like a joke because they most likely had a hand in approving them to begin with. I couldn’t even imagine that EA would have a bigger disaster than Mass Effect: Andromeda much less in the same year.
  • Loot boxes are gambling – At least that is what Australia and Belgium are saying. Hawaii is also evaluating the situation.  I don’t know that they are gambling but I can see the argument for it. It never bothered me if someone wanted to pay for these as long as they only rewarded cosmetics items or other things that didn’t break games. This situation is not over and could have a long lasting affect on games and how they are monetized. Yet again, another long topic.
  • Marvel Heroes shutdown – Brought this up last week but the game was supposed to live until the end of the year but it may not even last that long. Gazillion has laid off all employees and basically shutdown. Feel bad for those people affected, hurts even more during the holiday. I hope they all fair well.

Closing Arguments

With only one dinner to attend this year my schedule is weirdly light. I’m used to a crammed full day of … well… cramming myself full. Not sure how to handle this but I’ll do my best.

dudewantshisrug-profile
Paul Novak

Owner, Proprietor, Typer of Words, Gamer, Jester

A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.

Star Wars: Battlefront II – Review

Image via dualshockers.com

This is not the Star Wars game you are looking for.

Returning to the Star Wars universe with a new Battlefront game should have been a glorious occasion. However, that is by far not the case. The choices made by the developers and EA have tragically mired what could have been a great game into a state of failure that it is likely to never recover from. The talk will focus on the microtransactions but the problems are much deeper.

One of the main gripes of the previous game was the lack of a proper campaign. You can check that one off with this game but you can add a few strikes against the game for it as well. Some have called it “poorly written fan fiction” and I’m not sure that is inaccurate. The story starts out in a strange place and never steadies itself. In fact it becomes more confusing when not only does the main character switch alliances but you also end up playing as other characters several times. Even the task you are sent out to do in the story don’t fit together. There is the sense that the writing was split between groups that were not working together and nobody bothered to check the final product before shipping it. Then there is the last bit of the game that was like a fever dream and felt completely nonsensical. Not to mention the fact that where they left off on the story felt very incomplete and ripe for DLC that should have been part of the game to begin with and not an add on.

There is no need to finish the campaign before hitting the multiplayer but for those that venture in will find more frustration. The gameplay itself is not the issue but rather every system around it. Not only are you leveling your account you will be leveling each class, independently, as well as leveling cards that you assign to those classes. Even with removing the paid loot boxes this system is a mess. Credits can be earned to buy boxes or rewards are earned by hitting  certain marks such as number of kills or the like. Even after you get cards for a character you may not be able to equip them if the class you are playing as is not leveled up enough. Frequently you will see that other players that are doing well in a match are higher ranked than you may be and have three cards equipped. This is nothing less than a design flaw with the game to allow the gameplay balance to be ruined by add-on items that were originally to be sold for real world money.

What makes me sad about this game is that it could have and should have been better. The idea of a proper campaign was a big selling point to me. The fact that it is only a few hours long is not an issue but the fact that the story is bad is. I didn’t connect with any of the characters and jumping to other characters mid-story made it even less of an investment. The best thing that can be said for the game is the technical pieces of it but that is not enough to account for the bad parts. Graphically this is an awesome looking game. The PS4 version that I played is frankly one of the best looking games I’ve seen on my original PS4. Everything from the environments to faces have great detail and look realistic. Add to the looks the authentic sounds of Star Wars and this game had the potential to be immersive yet it fell short. The only complaint I had on the technical level was the rolling while using a starship. For whatever reason it really bothered me to the point of becoming nauseous and keeps me from playing much less enjoying those modes.

The saga that is this game is not over. I fully expect EA to comeback with the microtransactions. They didn’t build all the systems to support it just to abandon it and it is likely part of their financial reports so… yeah, plenty of motivation to put those back in. Not that people are going to be pleased with any manner of these but we will have to accept them nonetheless. With that said, the microtransactions are not the biggest problem in the game. To me, the biggest problem is the progression systems and how the cards can unbalance the game. Those issues are not likely to be patched in any manner and will probably keep me, and maybe others, from enjoying the game.

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Paul Novak

Owner, Proprietor, Typer of Words, Gamer, Jester

A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.

Dude’s Chronicles 11-16-2017: Winter Is Here?

Image via chicagonow.com

It is barely in the 40’s and it has been as dark as dusk since 10am. Winter? Almost?

Entertainment

  • Football – Penn State won but I’m not sure what that means at this point. They’ll be in a bowl game but they are by far out of the playoff discussion. There were other upsets and losses that just keep the college football scene in turmoil, you know… just like every other year.
  • The Doors: When You’re Strange – The Doors have been my favorite band for a long time running and I enjoyed seeing their story yet again. Much more real than the awful movie by Oliver Stone.
  • Chappie – Not bad, not great, not really good either. I think people wanted RoboCop meets District 9 and got Short Circuit meets Forrest Gump.

Games

  • Warframe – Even with the new update coming to console I’ve somewhat lost my interest. I don’t want to give up on it but I just don’t feel drawn to it.
  • Horizon: Zero Dawn – The Frozen Wilds – I am several hours into it and it is just as good as the original game. I’m hoping to finish it up so that I can play Battlefront II but… well, that’s another story. I want to finish the main story but I keep getting drawn in by the side quest and the desire to hit that new max level of 60.
  • Fortnite Battle Royale – I pop in from time to time for a game or two. A few top ten finishes but no wins. Spectating is still the most interesting part for me.

News

  • Battlefront II – There is so much buzz about this game… all bad. Apparently the campaign, which should have been a spotlight is not very good. The angst against the loot system has already caused EA to rework its scales but they still don’t seem fair. I still want to play this game but I am seriously questioning it.
  • EA buys Respawn – I don’t like this idea, not at all. They shutdown Visceral after cutting it to bits and then do this? Who’s to say they don’t do the same again?
  • Marvel Heroes shutdown – Barely a year after coming to consoles the game is being shuttered. I played the PC version then the console version and there was always the feeling that it just didn’t have any support. It was fun for a bit but ultimately never felt like it went anywhere. Still sad to see it get shutdown.

Closing Arguments

I have somethings to do other than video games this weekend but I hope to play more Horizon Zero Dawn and Battlefront II. How much of that I accomplish remains to be seen.

dudewantshisrug-profile
Paul Novak

Owner, Proprietor, Typer of Words, Gamer, Jester

A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.

Video – Fortnite Battle Royale: The Path to #1 Volume 02

Image via epicgames.com

Not my best, not my worst.

63 leaves room for improvement.

dudewantshisrug-profile

Paul Novak

Owner, Proprietor, Typer of Words, Gamer, Jester

A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.

Dude’s Chronicles 11-9-2017: Winter Is Coming

Image via winteriscoming.net

Having lived in Pennsylvania my entire life I have but one thought when people start complaining about snow… “what the $#@% do you expect!”.

Entertainment

  • Football – Penn State and Ohio State lost. The Big 10 is a big mess.
  • Extra Life – Great cause and some great content. I have followed the Giant Bomb casts for the last few years but this time I actually donated. Took me long enough and maybe that ‘trying to be a better person’ thing finally kicked in. Alex Navarro did another amazing job playing Rock Band for 16 hours, which completely boggles my mind and I hope he is ok. Dave Lang’s 24 hour stream is always a favorite of mine and he delivered yet again. As much as I love football I probably watched him more on Sunday than I did professional football. Extra Life isn’t done and neither is Giant Bomb’s support of it. I’ll likely tune in as the cast and community continue their efforts. If you don’t want to donate under the Giant Bomb banner then donate under another banner but donate nonetheless. It’s for the kids.

Games

  • Warframe – I got the resource I was hunting for last week but now I am stuck on a puzzle. The solution to the puzzle isn’t the problem it is the interface preventing me from solving it in time that I am struggling with. The puzzle needs to have tiles aligned to complete a pattern for a circuit and layout is fine for the PC version but trying to do it on a controller is a hellish task that I just don’t have the coordination for. Really kind of sad that this is the kind of thing that will make me stop playing the game.
  • XCOM – Ughhhhh, I’m stuck on this game too. I got to the mission where you assault and alien ship and I just keep getting destroyed. I’ve looked it up and apparently this is not an easy mission but it is not impossible. Taking a step back is my approach at this time and after a few days absence I will try it again.

News

  • New NieR? – Likely any new game isn’t near…(get it?) but any news that it might becoming is promising. NieR Automata was a game that wasn’t even on my radar until Giant Bomb’s Alex Navarro raved about and several acquaintances did the same. Still I waited it out until I could get it for about $35 and it was worth every penny. Makes me think about another play through.
  • Housemarque arcade no more – The studio has announced they will shift away from arcade games. I loved Dead Nation, Resogun is classic, Alienation was interesting but flawed, Nex Machina was good, but I caved on Matterfall. They may have been doing these games well but eventually a studio may just need to move forward from what they are best at. See Bungie getting out of Halo to do Destiny, ok… maybe not the best example but there are mixed results there.
  • PlayStation Trophies have a payback  – The rates on these are somewhat hilarious but its a nice kind of “well, if you’re doing this anyway here is an extra bonus”.
  • PUBG claims 20 million sold – Math lesson… 20million X $30 = $600 million. This is all before it ever hits a console or a final release on PC.
  • Warcraft Classic – The fact that Blizzard shutdown vanilla server and then did this may seem unscrupulous but business is business. Blizzard likely knows and recognizes that some player prefer the older Warcraft experience. This solutions meets them on two folds: 1. Blizzard can control and charge for it: 2. They legally protect their intellectual property.
  • New Overwatch hero – Makes me realize how far I fell off of this game. This character looks interesting but I don’t know that I will tune in for it. Ah, I probably will but maybe not for long.

Closing Arguments

For some reason I still have not stared The Frozen Wilds DLC of Horizon Zero Dawn. My justification is that I want to play it when I have time to devote a few solid hours to it and I just haven’t had that this week.

As the year draws to an end with the holiday season creeping in, I start the mental process of Game of the Year. This is something that varies greatly between many of us and is a fiery topic of discussion at times. My list isn’t very long and it seems like the distance between the haves and have nots is significant. Either I really like a game or I thought it was garbage.

dudewantshisrug-profile
Paul Novak

Owner, Proprietor, Typer of Words, Gamer, Jester

A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.