Dude’s Chronicles 8-17-2017: Football And The Fantasy Of It

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Football season is nearly at hand and for me the season has already begun with the draft of one of two leagues I am in. Yes it seems a bit early but that is when we draft because of people’s schedules. Unfortunately with this comes some downsides. I started listening to fantasy football podcasts again and that means I have less time for other podcasts. This caused me to make some tough cuts. I was enjoying the ladies at What’s Good Games I wish them all the best but I don’t have the time and they are one of the more recent podcasts I started listening too. Along with them I had to cut my Discord mates from DZR and stop listening to Engage!. I’ll miss those chuckleheads with the funny accents from across the ponds. Hopefully after football season I can pick them back and listen to both of these podcasts again.

Entertainment

  • Guardians of Galaxy Vol. 2 – Action, adventure, humor and more. The movie was entertaining and energetic but it lacked something that the original had and I can’t quite figure out what. It also has a great soundtrack but it felt overused at times. Still a good movie that I look forward to watching again.

Games

  • The Division – The new patch, 1.7, dropped earlier in the week and I wanted to check it out. However, I find that I am so far removed from the game and have read nothing about it that I find myself somewhat lost. There a lot of things going on and it is a confused mess to me. Not sure how much I will get back into this.
  • Matterfall – I had already pre-ordered it, got it downloaded, didn’t play one second. I plan to get into it this weekend.

News

  • Crackdown 3 delayed, again – For a game that was announced in 2014 this is disturbing especially with Microsoft struggling on this generation to begin with.
  • PlayerUnknown’s Battleground is popular, obviously – There are number to back it up though, 7 million sold and with over 600,000 concurrent player is impressive.  Add to that the fact that more hours were spent watching this game on Twitch rather than the perennial top game League of Legends.
  • Battle.net is officially Battle.net again – I don’t even remember what the had renamed it to anyway.

Closing Arguments

More work this weekend, yippie. It’s only a partial day though. After that I plan to hit Matterfall and catch up on some other stuff.

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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.

The Last of Us: Remastered – Revisited

Image via blog.us.playstation.com

If you are faint of heart and don’t like people talking down The Last of Us then you may not want to read beyond this point. However, if you’re willing to hear me out I’ll tell you why I didn’t like the game when it first release but this edition has somewhat turned me around on the game as a whole. Spoilers….some?

Releasing in mid 2013, The Last of Us was one of the final hurrah’s of the PlayStation 3 era. Just a year later the game would be remastered to be sold to owners of the PlayStation 4. Sony knew well that there were plenty of people that had not played this game and with the PS4’s success this was their chance to get them to buy it. The timing worked out well since there wasn’t much coming out on the consoles given that summer is the normal slump in the gaming cycle and the current crop of games weren’t lighting up the new consoles. Naughty Dog took to the task in typical fashion by showing off their wares as best they could.

The problems I have with this game unknowingly started before I even played it. The excitement I had for this game was likely on parallel with many others. Given my affection of the Uncharted series, the idea of playing a zombie game from Naughty Dog was enticing. Yes, I knew it was not exactly a zombie game but that is what it most got compared to. Turns out that was not a good comparison. This game is truly more a survivalist narrative. Eking out an existence by scavenging for resources while fending off foes is not exactly what I anticipated. Maybe I expected it to be a little more like Left 4 Dead and that was wrong but I tend to think that that was a marketing problem. This game was easier to sell as a “different zombie” game than the story driven struggle that it is.

Exposition is generally tough to pull of in a video game and this game seemed to avoid it at times. For example, when the outbreak first happens and even after the story picks up twenty years later there is no explanation as to what really happened. This can be taken as a story device to say that it is still unknown but it feels more like it was treated as a passing thought just so that the concentration could be on the characters being presented. There were also times where jumps in the timeline left much to wonder. ***Spoiler*** Far into the game when Joel is gravely injured there is a jump cut to some weeks(?) later where he wakes up in a garage to find Ellie missing. Players had just played as her and know her situation but what happened to get to this point is missing. In the remastered edition, buyers get the Left Behind DLC that somewhat fills it in.  Even that doesn’t answer all questions, particularly how Joel get patched up. ***Spoiler***

Game mechanics are a large part of any game and they can greatly influence a player’s experience. Not only do you have to scavenge constantly and consistently to get the resources you need, you then have to craft them into items. This can be a bit frustrating when you can’t find the parts you need for the item you need to craft. Can’t find that one rag you need for a health kit? Too bad, keep looking. Getting in and out of the crafting might have been one of the most frustrating points just because you had to do it so many times. You could carry a decent amount of materials but you could carry so few crafted items. Maybe this was part of the survivalist mechanics of the game but it felt somewhat punishing and not fun for the player.

The environment is probably the star of the game. When the game released on the PS3 I felt like anybody would be hard pressed to make any game look better even on a PS4. Not only did it look great, but every environment had a fantastic feel to it. ***Spoiler*** I live nearby to Pittsburgh and when I got to that point in the game I was amazed not only at how they captured certain landmarks of the city but just how they captured the sense of the city and added the level of decay the events of the game have caused. ***Spoiler*** Then playing it again on the PS4 showed me just how much better it could be, even early on in the PS4 life cycle Naughty Dog was able to press the edges into something great.

Then there is the overall story. With the previously mentioned time skips already interrupting the game, the game constantly pushed forward the fact that people are the real monsters. Through dialogue and combat you are constantly inundated with the idea that the infected aren’t the real threat, rather it is the other humans. Going completely against the idea that the best of people will come out in a crisis is not a new idea but it felt almost beat into the ground throughout this game. Combat became particularly miserable when you fought humans more than infected, especially when you were expecting the opposite.

When the game initially released I played through it once and never wanted to go back. What possessed me to buy the remastered edition I do not know. However, I think it was for the best and tempered my view of the game. The second play through of the story has revealed several small things that I missed. ***Spoiler*** One particular moment in the game that I saw in the second play through that I totally missed in the first one was when you come across a grave near a river with a teddy bear on it. There was a dialogue exchange that I had never heard before. ***Spoiler*** Little things like this showed me some of the nuances that made the game what it was. It wasn’t completely about the entire story but rather it was just as much about the small moments within it.

After it is all said and done, I’ve gone from disliking the game to being ok with it. If you had to put it on a five star scale, I would have had this game as a two star but now see it as a three star. To me that means it has its problems but it was still a good game and worthwhile playing. I still do not think that it was the game of the generation for the console it was released on. There is the thought of playing it again just to see if there were more of those little things that I missed. I almost wish there was a wanderer’s mode that took out all of the enemies of the game and had fast travel to points just so I could walk around and explore the environments. There doesn’t need to be anything to get or do, just let me walk around and use photo mode.

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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 8-10-2017: The Exact Opposite of Vacation

Image via ocvisitor.com

Short weeks at work are worse than full weeks. Everybody expects the same amount of work as a full week. Really works out nice when I have to cover somebody else’s job while they are on vacation. But anyway…

Entertainment

  • Alien Covenant – This was a hilarious. I know it wasn’t a comedy but it made me laugh. This is my general reaction to horror/suspense films mostly because I find many of the scenarios to be ridiculous and much of the gore to be silly. Even with that, I enjoyed the film with the exception of nuances that just didn’t make sense.
  • The LEGO Batman Movie – This one was supposed to be funny and it delivered. I worry when Will Arnett is the lead in anything but this movie was highly entertaining and somewhat heart warming. Well done in many aspects and has catapulted Will Arnett in to the spot as my second favorite Batman(1. Micheal Keaton, 3. Kevin Conroy, 4. Adam West, 5. Diedrich Bader, 6. Christian Bale, 7. George Clooney, 8. Val Kilmer, for the record).
  • Giant Bomb – 3000 Miles to Murder Island, I wonder how many people got the reference.
  • Game of Thrones(sans spoilers) – Best one yet? I think they are setting it up for Daenerys to be the villain. I also see where they could play it off as a desperation move.

Games

  • The Last of Us: Remastered – Finished it. Still reprocessing. Maybe I dislike it less than I did before. Looking to finish the Left Behind DLC this weekend.
  • Titanfall 2 – Still loving the Frontier Defense mode.

News

  • Horizon Zero Dawn DLC release date – The Frozen Wild will release on November 7th. Already pre-ordered. Done.
  • Valve has a new game! – It’s not Half-Life 3, it’s not Portal 3, it’s not Let 4 Dead 3 but it is a card game. React accordingly. If you love DOTA you’ll love the card game based on it… I guess.
  • Gearbox’s Project 1v1 – This was “announced” and I got an invite but I don’t think I’ll play it. From what I can tell, it is nothing more than variation of a one versus one area shooter. Not that interesting to me, plus the closed technical test is on PC which I typically don’t game on.
  • Super Meat Boy on Switch – I didn’t care for the game and I don’t own a Switch but this seems perfect.

Closing Arguments

So… no plans for the weekend. Probably work. Yeah.

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.

Upcoming Games for 2017

There has already been a good crop of games this year, and bad ones for that matter. Even though we are over half way done with the calendar year, we may just be getting started with the games. We are getting into a massive amount of releases and I took the time to look forward at the games that will be assaulting my wallet.

Lawbreakers– 8/8 – I’m curious about this game but I don’t know if I’ll drop $30 on it. Hard to believe that it snuck up like it did and it releases today. Hard choice to try out Cliffy B’s new game but I may need to conserve the money give some of the other games on this list.

Agents of Mayhem – 8/15 – Unfortunately this one will probably hit the cutting room floor. As much as I love Saints Row, and how much this looks like it, I’ll likely not put $60 into EPIC Games’ latest release. I may  change my mind depending on how the reviews start showing.

Matterfall – 8/15 – Housemarque next game looks great but that should come as no surprise. The things they do they have always been done well and I’m sure this game will be no different. Chalk up $20, already spent.

Uncharted: Lost Legacy – 8/22 – A definite purchase. I’ve loved every entry, to varying degrees, in the Uncharted series and there is no reason for me not to play this game. Chalk up $40.

Destiny 2 – 9/8 – Even though I have not decided on a platform yet, I’lll be buying this game. Why deny it? I spent hundreds of hours in the original game with all the things I loved and loathed about it. Chalk up at least $60, maybe $100.

South Park: The Fractured But Whole – 10/17 – The Stick of Truth was an unexpected joy. Given all of its problems it turned out to be a blast. The Fractured But Whole has had similar problems and I’ve not been watching the show like I used but I still want this game. Chalk up $60.

Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds – 11/7 – Absolutely loved this game and want more of it. $15 already spent.

Star Wars Battlefront 2 – 11/17 –  Despite the issues the first game had, I still want to play the new game. They’ve added a story mode, which was sorely missing from the first one. Chalk up $60.

Days Gone – TBD – I’m on the fence about this one. It looks like it has great potential but they need to make it clearer what the game is really about. My fear is that it will be a survival game like The Last of Us and I didn’t care for that game. It all depends what more they show of this game. I expect more information around PAX West.

Detroit: Become Human – TBD –  This is another game that needs to show its identity before I commit to buying it. Every time they show more detail on this game it seems to contradict the previous reveal. Just not sure where this game is coming from.

There are other games that I want to want but just don’t. Call of Duty will have its annual release but I feel no need to pay much attention that game. Maybe I’ll rent it but I won’t buy it. Then there are all the games for the Switch that I won’t buy, because I don’t have a Switch.

The plus side here is that I don’t think my wallet is going to get assaulted as badly as I originally imagined. Also, after an initial burst, the purchases are paced out.

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 8-3-2017: Veni, Vidi, Vita

I packed up my Vita for sale or trade in. If only I could trade it in on a Switch. Honestly, I would probably not play the Switch as much as I don’t play my Vita. I’ve come to admit that it is not a problem of either platform, rather it is a problem with me. Mobile gaming or even small screen gaming is not for me. Sure I can hook the Switch to my tv but I have no affinity for Nintendo games at this point. Wanting them to do well just so that they are the third leg in a race doesn’t make me want to buy their console. Then there is the Vita, so much promise, so little pay off but again I admit that is more on me than the device.

Entertainment

  • Rogue One – I keep falling asleep while watching this movie. What is wrong with me?
  • Giant Bomb – More Murder Island, fantastic.
  • Game of Thrones(sans spoilers) – Lot’s of reveals, lot’s of set up, plenty of surprises. When is the next one?

Games

  • Rise of the Tomb Raider – Finished the main story. I started into some of the side stuff but quickly moved on. It wasn’t that it was enjoyable I just wanted to move on to other games.
  • Titanfall 2 – They reintroduced the Frontier Defense mode that originally debuted in the first game. Its absence when the second game released was confusing but they have finally rectified that problem. There is a lot I have forgotten about playing this game. I couldn’t remember much less use most of the titans. Time to relearn everything and enjoy doing it.
  • The Last of Us: Remastered – I still don’t like this game. I didn’t like it when it first released and what possessed to think I would like it better now I have no idea. I fully recognize that I am in the minority on this opinion but I stand by it. Not sure how long I will stick with this since I have other games to play.
  • The Division – Every time I jump back into the game I play about two games of Last Stand and hit that “I’m good” point then quit.

News

  • Bioware folds studios – Combing the Montreal studios may be the final unspoken nail in Mass Effect: Andromeda’s coffin since studios don’t typically have multiple projects and the larger studio will probably be focused on Anthem.
  • SNES Classic pre-orders – Wal-Mart “mistakingly” had pre-orders available. I say “mistakingly” because it just doesn’t feel like it was a mistake but maybe that is more me than anything because I don’t much believe in Internet leaks of any kind. They always seem to have been done intentionally and Nintendo sure did conveniently get a bunch of data about what the demand for this console will be.
  • Overwatch Summer Games Returns – I didn’t play the first round of this event since I didn’t by the game until late December. It is always good when a game does something to drum up support. I’ll likely jump into this but even I don’t know how much I will play.

Closing Arguments

I took a long weekend because HR was mad I had too much vacation time accrued. I guess that means there is no reason not to finish The Last of Us, other than I would rather do something else.

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 – Nex Machina

This is a video of a full play-through of Nex Machina. It really isn’t very long but I wanted to work with a different video editor and I already had this recorded.

There are things I missed and will do better next time.

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 7-27-2017: Weather or Whether???

Image via memegerator.net

It is near the end of July, we have had more days of rain than days over 85 degrees. Global warming can suck it. But seriously, whether you believe in global warming or not this year’s weather has been a bit odd.

Entertainment

  • Rogue One – I keep falling asleep while watching this movie. What is wrong with me?
  • Giant Bomb – Who Framed Murder Island was great. Dan Ryckert telling how his dog was waiting to go poop while he was still playing was hilarious. Poop is funny.
  • Game of Thrones(sans spoilers) – Another great episode. Starting to think that Euron is my second favorite character in a close race with Tyrion for first.

Games

  • Rise of the Tomb Raider – Put a few more hours into this game trying to get it completed. Still enjoying the second play-through. Maybe, just maybe, I can finish it this weekend and get to another game on my hit list. Doubt it just because my plans rarely work out.
  • Destiny 2 beta – I can’t say more than I already have. I’ve been questioning as to which platform I will buy it on if I buy it at all. This beta did nothing to sway me. It looked slightly better and ran immeasurably better on the PS4 and that is where is played over ninety-five percent of my time in the original Destiny. In the end I will lay odds that I buy it on PS4 but I just don’t have any excitement for the game at this point.

News

  • PUBG Invitational International at gamescon – Maybe people like this game??? I like watching it but I don’t think I will play until it comes to console. The closest thing I have played to this is Survival in The Division but the two seem different in many ways.
  • Legacy server shutdown – Yet another World of Warcraft legacy server shutdown. Amazingly only after five hours from its launch. I understand Blizzard “protecting its property” but this is a mixed message since other such servers have been allowed to run. Maybe I misunderstand the situation but it feels like Blizzard is going against those that don’t pay the monthly subscription. If they know people want to play the older flavors of WoW, why don’t they just offer it themselves? I know the answer is so that the game can move forward but look at the demand and be accepting of it.
  • Anthem corn maze – I’m not even sure this is real or just an Internet video. Either way it doesn’t tell me anything about the game and is just another empty marketing tool. Dang shame for a game that shows promise even though we know nothing about it.
  • Xbox One X pre-orders – The wait to wait is almost over….we think. Phil Spencer gave an open-ended Twitter reply stating that “Our plan is set for this.  All approvals are done so now just landing the announce with all the info, won’t be too much longer.” Non-committal much? I get that they are being very careful and the should seeing how they boggled the Xbox One launch and have been suffering ever since.

Closing Arguments

One more day of work and then the weekend. Really wish I could just skip that day.

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.