Tales From the Borderlands – Review

Image via telltale.com

Everything that is Borderlands but without the looting and shooting.

In the post-Handsome Jack era, everybody at Hyperion is trying to get their piece of the action and climb the corporate ladder. Rhys is no exception, he and his friends finally think they have made their big break. As per the usual back-stabbing of Hyperion, Rhys finds himself on the short end with his boss being killed and Rhys’s nemesis taking his place. Rather than taking the demotion to janitor, Rhys and friends decide to stab back at their back stabber by highjacking a deal he is making. This is the start of a path that will take the team to Pandora where they will meet people and situations that they never dared to imagine. Luckily they meet up with Fiona and her sister Sasha whom become allies, unwillingly at first, in their quest for revenge and fortune.

Having not liked The Walking Dead games from TellTale, I was hesitant, to say the least, to even play this game. However, the price was right(free from my PS Plus subscription) and a friend(Mr. CheapBossAttack himself) gave it a high recommendation.  My fears were unfounded and I quickly came to enjoy this game.

This game gets right many of the things it needed, not only in the sense of being a Borderlands game but just being an enjoyable game in general. A lot of people still don’t consider this game a “Borderlands” game because it is not in the action-shooter genre that the series is known for. I will give it that distinction because not being an action-shooter is the only thing it lacks for being included the Borderlands universe. It does a great job to tell a story that fits perfectly to the universe along with bringing back familiar characters while mixing in new ones. To further prove that this game belongs, consider the humor and art. The witty/smart-ass banter is in true tone with Borderlands when giving the choice of telling someone off or telling them how it is. The most obvious attribute of the game is the graphical style and it is done in true Borderlands style with a subtle but distinct flavor of TellTale.

Watch where you put that hand!!!

Of course I won’t say the game is perfect. There are a few continuity errors, some more minor than others. The worst ones came near the end of the game when I was given choices of characters that I clearly shouldn’t have, whereas I didn’t have characters available and had no idea why. There were little things like parts of dialogues scenes not matching because of the choices you had made. Through out the game characters would slightly jump from one place to another because the scene was rendered differently based on different choices. It may be a minor complaint and one some would never see, when using sub-titles there was an annoying little thing they do when they type out above a choice wheel then completely disappear when you make your choice only to start typing completely over. This sometimes lead to the scene being out of sync with the sub-titles themselves.

The game is fun to play for numerous reasons. Fans of Borderlands will love the humor, characters and story, even without the gunplay and loot. Those that don’t want action and want more story will easily be appeased by this title. It is also not too long and not too short. Total play time is about ten hours and it makes that most of that.One part of the game that I will praise is their use of music. The blending of sight and sound in this game reaches back to that of the original game and exceeds that of the sequels. The last episode is likely the weakest of the five entries but it does do well to tie everything together and give closure to 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.

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Dude’s Chronicles 5-25-2017: RIP For Another Legend

It’s bad enough to see another legend pass but that’s not even the worst news of the week. Roger Moore was the epitome of class during my childhood when he was making his now classic 007 movies. As much many will morn for him, many of us will morn the tragic events in Manchester that claimed the lives of at least twenty-two people even more. My thoughts and prayers go out to all of those affected.

Entertainment

  • Breaking Bad – I’m somewhere in the third season, likely to finish this week…hopefully.
  • Destiny 2 – I watched a bunch of the reveal information that I didn’t talk about last week only to find myself still undecided. After watching the gameplay reveal I can only describe it as unimpressive. It is probably good that the gun play isn’t changing much but I was hoping to see some improvements in mission structure and delivery. The fact that console versions will be capped at 30fps bothers me less than the fact that PVP still won’t have dedicated servers.

Games

  • Destiny – Just a couple of strikes here and there to fill some time, again.
  • NieR: Automata – Finished my third play through and enjoyed the game overall. There were things I did not care for but it was a game that I normally would not have even played and found that I had an appreciation.

News

  • IO Interactive layoffs – This makes the future for Hitman look more bleak.
  • Red Dead Redemption 2 delayed into 2018 – This isn’t much of a surprise. When it was announced this year to be released this year sounded overly ambitious.
  • Leading into E3 there seems to be a lot of little news and not much on a bigger scale.

Closing Arguments

I’ll be spending most of my holiday being on-call for work so I hope all of you get to enjoy yours. Be sure to remember why we have this holiday, thank you to all of the veterans past and present for your service and sacrifice.

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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.

NieR: Automata – Review

It had its moments, some better than others.

In the distant future, humanity doesn’t live on Earth. It was lost long ago when aliens attacked and humanity fled to the moon. For centuries humanity has been trying to reclaim their home by sending androids to fight the machines that rule the Earth. In this never ending struggle 2B is paired with 9S. Their task is the same as all other androids, to defeat the machines so the Earth is safe for humanity once again. This task sounds simple but it has never come to pass.  2B and 9S will do everything they can to be successful but they are going to find some surprises along the way.

This game is both awe inspiring and awful in so many ways. The things that it does well are brilliant and fantastic, whereas what it does poorly is absolutely dreadful.  This game is very different from games I normally play and that was taken into great consideration before writing this review. It was a welcome step out of my gaming comfort zone. The consensus on the internet is that three play throughs of the game gives you the most complete version and that is where I likely will leave off. In those three play throughs, I’ve seen so many nuances that it is hard to know if I even caught all of them. Here are some of them that I did: family, obsession, unrequited love, sexuality, self realization, depression, self loathing, creationism, being a recluse, establishing a monarchy, religion, isolationism, culturalism, humanity, self image, pacifism, cannibalism, suicide, self sacrifice, and loyalty.

On the surface, the game starts out being about a robot samurai lady and her partner. How this game does the story and the characters is where it really stands out. The main characters quickly go from shallow robots to deep, nearly human people. Some of the inner growth of the characters seems oddly paced, as if it is happening to quickly or unnaturally, but the pay off it gives is well done on almost all counts. How quickly the two androids become attached to each other seems awkward but the relationship becomes a pivotal point of the game. How the game is built is even part of its unique nature. When you save the game you are actually uploading your conscience and when you change abilities you are actually changing chips in your character.

Stylistically the game is all over the place but in the best of ways. Jumping from third-person slasher to 2-D runner keeps the game moving and somehow invigorating. Some of the parts I enjoyed most were the 2-D shooter sequences. From a story aspect, it goes from saving humanity to falling in love and everything else possible as I’ve mentioned earlier. I don’t know how else to say it but this is a very Japanese game. It makes me feel like I spent almost forty hours playing an anime but loved every minute of it. Admittedly, the third play through was my least favorite of them. The story was intriguing but constantly jumping in between characters broke down the continuity of the game.

Then there are some bad things. Graphically it is somewhat less than what can be expected on the PS4. Granted that some of the environment and characters are made they way the are from a stylistic choice but seeing grass and other parts of the environment render makes the game less enjoyable. As far as the upgrade systems, well…, not knowing where to get materials and then having to grind for them isn’t much fun to say the least. Maybe there are systems built in to aid in this but I did not find them. The worst part of the game, for me anyway, was the combat. I couldn’t get a handle on the range of weapons nor could I get the timing of the evades right. Early in the game I switched the difficulty down to easy, this removed a lot of my frustrations and allowed me to just enjoy the story.

What exactly it is about this game I liked is hard to put my finger on. I know I liked the characters and the story but I’m not sure why I like the overall game as much as I did. Given that I did not like the combat takes the game down a bit for me. Although it is still high in the running of the best games of 2017 so far. One step behind Horizon Zero Dawn but miles ahead of Mass Effect: Andromeda.

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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 5-18-2017: RIP For A Legend

Image via nbcnews.com

I was having a pretty damn good day until I saw the news.  Chris Cornell was to me, and many others, a god-like entity in the world of music in my adolescence.  Damn shame to hear of his passing.

Entertainment

  • Giant Bomb – If you are a premium member, the Murder Island series is a must. Their attempts at strategy are even hilarious much less when they end up shooting each other. I may never play PlayerUnknown’s Battleground but I appreciate just for having created content like this.
  • Dana Carvey: Straight White Male, 60 – I’m a long time fan of this guy and highly enjoy seeing him in action.

Games

  • Destiny – Just a couple of strikes here and there to fill some time.
  • NieR: Automata – Into my third play through and still enjoying it. Other than the first phase of the third play through that is. That part almost had me throwing the controller.

News

  • Fry Cry 5 and The Crew 2 confirmed – Haven’t played Far Cry since 3. Never played The Crew. Good for those that want more of those games though.
  • Phantom Dust is available for free – I never played this game but given that it is free I’ll at least give it a go.
  • Goodbye Alan Wake – The game was pulled both physically and digitally from shops due to music licensing that is expired. If you wanted to play the game you best look hard for that off-brand shop that still has a copy.
  • Pirates pirated by pirates – Apparently Internet pirates have acquired the next Pirates of the Caribbean, Dead Men Tell No Tales, and are holding it for ransom. I doubt the studio will ever pay said ransom as it sets a bad president for the industry and there is always that thought that even after it is paid the pirates will release it on the Internet anyway. That is a net lose-lose situation.
  • Destiny 2 – I know there was a big reveal and stream today but I haven’t had time to look into that. I want to be more thorough before saying anything about it.
  • South Park: The Fractured But Whole release date – October 17th it is…..

Closing Arguments

A friend of mine started his own blog. Check it out, he’s an interesting fella.

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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.

Dana Carvey: Straight White Male, 60 – Review

Image via newonnetflix.info

This guy still makes me laugh.

Dana Carvey hasn’t done much stage work over the years and that is sad. This Netflix special is a fantastic display of the comic’s talent. Time has not dulled Carvey’s sense of humor or his ability to deliver it. If anything it has given him more insight and material. The comic already had an impressive reservoir  to work with and this special only shows that it has deepened.

There are few styles or topics Carvey will not employ in order entertain. Anything from telling a joke about the Apple store, singing a mock Italian song about space travel, or an impersonation of Barack Obama explaining the Middle East. Much of the humor is politically oriented but equal in that he makes fun of both Democrats and Republicans. For me, the special’s best parts were when he talked about his own life.  It may be that the stories are exaggerated but it is hilarious to hear about his travel experiences and past gigs he has done. The part when he discusses his Millennial children is perhaps my favorite. Hearing his experiences with them were funny on their own but they made me think of people I know and that made me laugh even harder.

Watching Dana Carvey’s special was both nostalgic and fresh.  Other than a reference to making the original Wayne’s World movie and reviving The Church Lady for a corporate gig he doesn’t speak about his past material. The vast majority of the special is based around his life after his heyday and Saturday Night Live work. Given that he is now sixty, it could be that having raised his children is what has kept him in tune and on the pulse of what is going on.

Being old enough to have seen Carvey as a regular on Saturday Night Live gives me an appreciation for seeing him again. His absence probably wasn’t very noticeable given that things change and people have access to comedy, and other entertainment, outside of television and movies, for which Carvey is most known for. Doing a Netflix special may have been the best move for him at this point since it is a newer delivery method and one that is readily accessible to both new and old audiences.

On a personal note, Dana Carvey is a long time favorite of mine. I even enjoyed some of those movies that he did that weren’t so good but I tried to enjoy his performance more than the overall movie. He was an early idol to me and I always wanted to be able to do impersonations like him. I don’t know if he plans on doing any more of these specials but I sure hope so.

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 5-11-2017: Not Doing So Many Things

Image via sualci.com

This week wasn’t as productive as last week for getting things done. Work has been taxing and I fear it may only be ramping up. Time will tell, regardless I need to manage my time better and stay on top of things.

Entertainment

  • Giant Bomb – Since there was a sale, I broke down and subscribed. The first thing I watched was the crew playing PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. They called the stream Return to Murder Island and it lived up to the name with the guys getting killed constantly but hilariously.
  • Dave Chappelle Collection 1 – This guy is still funny.

Games

  • Destiny – My time here was minimal and uneventful. It mostly filled what little time I did have to play games if that time were too short to get into NieR: Automata.
  • NieR: Automata – After completing my first play through I immediately started my second one. Followed by me not having much time since to play it again.

News

  • Mass Effect: Andromeda patch – Good on Bioware to keep fixing this game but I’m still not ready to go back to it. I imposed a two week ban that is now into extra weeks. Maybe, and that is a loose maybe, I’ll play it after I’m done with NieR: Automata.
  • Vanquish coming to PC – I remember playing this on PS3 and thinking it was alright. Not alright enough to purchase it on PC but enough to recommend people give it a shot.
  • Bioware delays their new IP – Instantly the Internet assumes it has to do with Andromeda’s poor reception. I tend to think the two are not necessarily related but worry that the new IP may have issues of its own.
  • Square Enix selling Hitman developer – IO Interactive will no longer be part of Square Enix as they have informed investors of the move. This should not be indicative of the developer themselves, since Hitman was successful, but rather an effort at Square Enix to consolidate. I don’t play the Hitman games, however I did enjoy videos and stream of other playing this last game. Hopefully something goes well in this case and the studio finds a way to keep working on the game.
  • Speedrunner beats Prey in about ten minutes – It is mostly glitches but it is impressive nonetheless. The video has almost zero story in it so don’t worry about spoiler too much.

Closing Arguments

Some would think that chaos is the lack order. It may be more accurately considered the misuse of order. Those that see an end goal, make a plan but then change both the plan and the goal as they go. There is the perception and even the belief of order but it is only applied in short burst and at times countermands itself.

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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.

For the Maggies

Recently Ryan McCaffrey from IGN publicly shared a personal loss. His beloved Maggie the Boxer was at her end.  Even though it had been years since I was in a similar situation, this news struck a cord with me.

It was back in 2012 when my Maggie was laid to rest. Yes, her name was also Maggie, Maggie May to be exact. She became part of the family in 1995, which was a tumultuous year for many reasons. The name Maggie May was my suggestion based on  my mother’s liking of the Rod Stewart song. Mother agreed it was an appropriate name for the purebred cocker spaniel and that was that. Maggie May was with all of us through the good and the bad for just shy of 17 years and it was a heavy day at the end.

Maggie was “technically” my mother’s but we were always best buddies. Even after I moved out of my mother’s house, I made it a point to visit on a regular basis. I would show up and take her for walks or just play with her. In the later years it was less of those things and just the two of us sitting there while I petted her. Regardless, each time before I left I would get down on the floor, say goodbye, and she would kiss me.

At the end, the decision was not mine but I was supportive. My sister told me of the plan and when it all would happen.  The day before her last ride, I went to see her. It tore me apart in more ways than I can describe but it was important for me to see her one last time. I got to my mother’s house and Maggie was the only one there. How long I was there is unclear. When it was time to say goodbye, I got down on the floor with her, said my goodbyes but no kiss. Maggie seemed to have lost her spark and she knew the end was near. Her eyes turned towards me as she lifted her head, gave a sigh, and moaned as she laid her head down. My buddy just didn’t have it in her any more.

That moment essentially destroyed me and I’m not sure how I even made it home. Seeing McCaffrey’s post flooded me with those memories in an uncontrollable fashion. For days I could not rest my mind or focus on other things. Thinking about how I felt back then just made me feel terrible for what he was going through. There were few if any words I could offer him. I’ve never met the man but I hope he is doing as well as he can in these circumstances. Remember the good times.

What I would like to offer is a sense of hope. It was a year or so after Maggie’s passing that my sister took the lead and brought someone home. I won’t lie, my mother, brother and I were all mad when she did this. That feeling quickly went away. I happened to be at my mother’s the day my sister brought home our new family member. This time I didn’t get to pick the name, rather that duty fell to my niece. The choice was Phoebe. Why Phoebe? I don’t know. For reasons unknown, Phoebe took a liking to me and vice versa. We’ve been buddies ever since her arrival and I now make regular trips to see her.

It is not my suggestion that McCaffrey go out and try to replace Maggie. It is rather the idea that although Maggie will never be replaced, there will be a place for another. Please know that this is but the end of one journey and the start of a new one. All those memories will always be yours and new ones are yet to come. Mine and many other hearts are with McCaffrey, be strong and know that we are with you.

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.