Dude’s Chronicles 7-20-2017: Split Week

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I rarely take time off of work but when I do it is to take my mother’s dog to the veterinarian. Just wish I could split the week from five days on with two days off into two days on with five days off. Dare to dream.

Entertainment

  • Arrow: Season 5 – I’ve made multiple attempts to finish this season to no avail. I can’t figure out why but I just don’t care for this season. My stubbornness will get me through eventually….even if it takes months.
  • Rogue One – This showed up on Netflix as a welcomed surprise.  Many throw shade on this movie because it does not fall in the direct line of Star Wars films but I like it because of it. It tells a fantastic back story of a pivotal event in the universe and does it by stepping outside of the formulaic pattern of the other films. I’ll stand on the premise that it is a better movie than The Force Awakens. Come at me.
  • Giant Bomb – Their Murder Island series continues to be gold. I have no interest in playing the game until it comes to consoles but I love watching these folk play it. Then there is Unprofessional Fridays. I almost never watch them live but truly enjoy the archive. The east coast crew just finished Beast in the East and I want to watch all twenty-three episodes of it, that might be my next watch-athon show.

Games

  • Overwatch – I played enough to get the weekly loot boxes then I stopped. It comes as a harsh realization that the loot boxes are such a driving factor to playing the game. Once I got the weekly loot boxes from arcade play I tried playing quick play just for fun but it quickly waned and I quit. Not sure what to think of myself.
  • The Division – Jumping back into the game after an absence was fun to see what had changed. The daily story missions were fine and I played along but something felt wrong in Last Stand. As long as I went up against AI/NPC’s it seemed okay but as soon as I faced an actual player it went bad. The vast majority of times I was smoked within half a clip of an SMG. Is there a meta I don’t understand? Is my build not optimized? I don’t know.
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider – Enjoying every moment of the second replay on a second console. I hope to finish this game and Far Cry 4 before the Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is released. Not sure if I will make it though. At thirty something percent complete it seems unlikely. Far Cry 4 may have to wait since I really don’t want to mix games and my gaming time has become questionable and erratic.

News

  • Ataribox – Atari has been vague, to say the least, as to what this box will actually do. After the initial hardware reveal it came to light that it will be crowd -sourced, which seems somewhat cagey. Will it be like the Ouya? I don’t know why but I think it would be hilarious if were a Steam Machine.
  • Doomfist – The character will be playable on 7/27. I don’t know that I will care for this character but I am excited to see Blizzard adding to this game to keep it fresh.
  • Casey Hudson Hawk – I wish this were an announcement of a sequel to the “classic” movie but it is not. Former Mass Effect director Casey Hudson will be returning the to the Bioware Edmonton studies as General Manager. It is important not to read too much into this. He likely will not be course correcting/saving Mass Effect.  He may save or resurrect Bioware productions on other games but Mass Effect may have to lay in wait. He’ll have superiors that will determine that. Plus he is now GM and not directing so he won’t have that hands on feel to Mass Effect or any other game. Also keep in mind that a  homecoming is not always a good thing. Time will tell how Hudson’s return is received.
  • Dr Disrespect banned – Top PUBG streamer was hit with a ban for violation of the games terms of service by killing a teammate. That would have been fine if he had not virtually attacked the game’s creator. The “attack” was not received well given the creator’s past and it is unclear how long Dr Disrepect’s ban will last after all. To me it just emphasizes that if you won’t say something to someone face to face don’t say it online or at all. Humor is easily lost on the Internet and it is a fine line that needs to be walked.
  • Cheap VR – Oculus Rift with touch controllers is currently $400 and will be $500 after the summer sale is over. This is well less than the Vive and on par with PSVR. I have a PC that will support this platform but I still can’t buy into it. $400 is nice but then I need to invest in games which I don’t feel are valuable. Tough choice for anybody.

Closing Arguments

The Destiny 2 Open beta is to be happening this weekend. I want to try it out on at least the PS4 if not on both consoles. I’ve been on the fence as to which platform I’ll purchase the game on, if at all. In all likelihood I will buy the game but I am struggling as to which platform I will buy it and when. Hopefully this open beta will give me some guidance. Having played Destiny since the PS4 alpha, I can’t help but feel somewhat burned and burned out by the game. The hope is that they have addressed the problems ***coughs story*** and added something to it with keeping the best parts of the game intact.

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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.

Game of Thrones: A Telltale Games Series – Review

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Of course it’s not as good as the show.

In Westeros nobody is ever safe nor is there time to rest. Follow the plight of the Forrester family as they try to save themselves and their kingdom. The story parallels that of the television show starting at the events of the Red Wedding.  From there the focus is on several members of House Forrester. The brothers are tasked with trying to rule their land while their sister tries to barter alliances in King’s Landing. There is also an arc that finds one of the house’s squires as he is sent to The Wall only to find that it is no safer.

On a technical level the game has issues. The art style is fine and seems to fit the period it is portraying. Where the game breaks is when characters don’t line up in cutscenes. This appears to happen sporadically based on the dialogue choices you have made and how they effect future conversation. It is not game breaking but it is noticeable. The worst part of the game is when you have to actually control a character. Hitting buttons for dialogue choices is fine but the engine breaks a little bit when you have to act for a character. Times when you have to move a joystick in a certain direction doesn’t feel natural and at times feels opposed to what you should be doing. If you think you should dodge left to avoid danger you may be tasked to dodge left to pass the event.

The story itself is intriguing and true to Game of Thrones. There is back stabbing, building alliances, shady characters, everything you should expect from Game of Thrones. The only bad part of the story is the dialogue choices. There were many times where the choice I made did not have the consequence I expected it to. When I thought I was showing empathy for one character I actually told them off quite harshly and ruined any alliance with them. Perhaps I misunderstood some of the choices but I don’t think I misunderstood as many as I found that did not match.

True to being a Telltale game, this game has its highs and lows. There are lulls in the game, especially towards the beginning that make dull enough that some may want to walk away from the game. Sticking through to the end is fulfilling to a point but it was left so obviously at a point which another season of the game can be made. Having played only two episode of The Walking Dead Game but all of the Borderlands game, I would have to say this game is closer to the former than the later but still more worthwhile.

It probably wasn’t much of a coincidence that this game was a PS Plus freebie just before season seven of the the show premiered. I powered through this game across four days. Playing only on episode each of the first three days but once the game got going I played the final three episodes in a day.

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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 7-13-2017: Life After Knack

Image via godinanutshell.com

I’m planning a “no-work-weekend”. There won’t be anything done for my job nor any work around the apartment. You know, the exact opposite of last weekend where I took on-call for work and cleaned every single part of my apartment.

Entertainment

  • Arrow: Season 5 – I don’t know about this one. The show up to this point have been enjoyable but watching this season has been a struggle. The tie-ins with Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow are making it a bit of a mess. On top of that I don’t really care for the shows story arc in this season.
  • Castlevania: Season 1 – It was good but it was too short. At only four episodes it was more of a tease than anything. Looking forward to more but I have no idea when they will release anymore.

Games

  • Knack – The game is finished, reviewed and will never be spoken of again. I am only left to ponder why the $*@% they are making a sequel.
  • Overwatch – Just to get that bad Knack taste out of my mouth.

News

  • Valve ban hammer – About 40,000 people where banned for cheating. I both commend and condemn Valve for doing this. Cheaters should never prosper but Valve did by letting these people buy games during the Summer Sale only to lock them out of their games by enforcing the ban after the sale was over. I want to feel bad for these people but I can’t if they were truly cheating or stealing. This still feels like a dodgy move by Valve to take money and then lock them out when they could have done it before the sale. Pretty backhanded way to get people’s money.
  • It was a slow week and I haven’t been paying much attention, sorry.

Closing Arguments

I’m planning on playing some more of Rise of the Tomb Raider on PS4. Having already played it on Xbox One there are not surprises coming but I did like the game greatly and wanted to go through it again. Other than that though, I want to do as little as possible.

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.

Knack – Review

Image via playstation.com

Get The Knack, just not this Knack.

In a world of humans, goblins, and ancient treasure, Knack is on the human’s side. He himself is a relic found in a cave and brought to life by a scientist named Dr. Vargas. They are working together to fight the goblins who have turned their hostilities towards the humans after fighting each other for years. In this quest they find a traitor in their midst. Turns out that this person is looking to gain ultimate power for himself. Knack is now tasked with stopping this threat and saving the world.

It is with great reservation that I use the word bad to describe a game, or much else for that matter. Yet I find that that is the only way I can describe this game… bad. That term is harsh and I dislike using it because I know people worked very hard on this and are very proud of their contributions. What earns this game the moniker is the sum total of all the parts and the overall product, not any individual contribution thereof.

What little of this game that deserves praise is in the graphics. Even for an early PlayStation 4 game it looks very good. The art and colors are vibrant and inviting. The character models are cartoony but it works for the game’s aesthetic. The stand out is the particle effects used through out the game. Whether it be Knack picking up relics or an enemy turning to vapor it does it with style and detail. Unfortunately, this is where the positives end for this game.

Almost from the very beginning the game goes wrong. Knack feels like it should be a care-free good-time kind of a game but it has issues that jar the player away from that tone. Knack himself the most evident. He is somewhat grotesque and revolting. This only gets more exaggerated when he takes on his larger forms. For what should be an inviting, friendly voice there is instead a growling voice that can only be compared to the main bad guy in the original Highlander film. This is a shame because all of the other characters fit the part of the set but that doesn’t make up for the story itself.

Ah, the story. You start against goblins, then against humans, then against ancient warriors and the jumps between those moments are anything but fluid. You’ll criss-cross the world for parts of the adventure for no other purpose than to change environments. If you bear down into the details you’ll find nuances of things that just don’t fit together that will give you times where you scratch your head wondering if you missed something. Counter that with plots lines that are so telegraphed that it takes away the illusion that anything else could happen.

The game would be more enjoyable if it were fun to play. The mechanics and structure of the game work against this every happening, however. Knack has a basic jump, attack and jump-attack but no ranged attack. The closest you have a ranged attack is the jump-attack but it is substantially less power full than the basic attack. Essentially this forces you to use brawler methods in order to quickly dispatch enemies. Even when you get to play as Knack in his larger forms it is not much better. Sure you are more powerful but then they only ramp up the antics that the enemies can use against you. Then when you are having some fun as larger Knack they manufacture some reason to take it away from you. Such as when an elevator needs activated Knack has to sacrifice the relics he is powering himself with.

A fundamental problem of this game is its lack of identity. Not the characters within the game but rather what kind of game it is. There is a strange mix of game types ranging from adventure game to brawler to puzzle to platformer. All these types are mixed up in an ineffective manner and on top of that the game doesn’t seem to do any one of them very well. While playing through it felt as if though the creators wanted to bring back old mechanics of games but didn’t know how to do it properly. One of the bad things they incorporated was camera and perspective changes. Not that these can’t used but they were overly used and poorly so. There were times when they would change just so the character could make a turn, ruining the flow of play.

Games should be fun and rewarding, this game is not. The issues with not only the set of controls but the flow of controls will leave the player frustrated. Many times you’ll feel that you perfectly executed a maneuver only to have it end in failure. This comes at a high cost as there is no manual save feature and the auto-save are quite unforgiving setting you back large treks for your failure. Even on easy mode(which I played) there is an alarming number of ways to die instantly with one hit. Those looking to play casually or with youthful players will want to pass on this title.

It’s bad and I feel bad about calling it bad. There have been $5 dollar investments that I enjoyed more, for example Bulletstorm. Having played this game leaves me to wonder how Sony can justify a sequel.

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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 7-6-2017: The Year Is Half Over

Hope you all enjoyed the holiday. I managed to sleep as little as possible then take call for work and then go back to work with just as little sleep. To make it even better, still on-call for the weekend. Please reserve and control your jealousy.

Entertainment

  • The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou – It is best described as Jacques Cousteau mixed with Inspector Clouseau. As with most Billy Murray adventures it is a bit zany and just beyond reality but in an entertaining way. It felt like it was trying to be more existential and deep than it really should have by trying to be funny and poignant but missing the mark when trying to balance the two.  The movie runs a bit longer than maybe it should have but I enjoyed it regardless. Also, great soundtrack(Hint: Bowie).
  • Supergirl: Season 2 – I was going to do a full post on this but I’m not going to get to it. Go watch this is if you haven’t. Despite that it hits all the problems of comic book adaptations it probably has the most heart of them. There were points in the season where you can feel genuine empathy for the characters despite the outlandish nature of their circumstances.
  • Norm Macdonald: Hitler’s Dog, Gossip, and Trickery – Still a funny guy after all these years delivering his signature dry but jaded humor. In classic style the special begins mid-set and feels like it ends in the same way.
  • David Bowie: The Man Who Changed the World – The depressing part of this was realizing that he passed away over a year and a half ago. The inspiring part of it is that his story and his work still hold up, likely for a long time. Hearing him speak of himself, through past interviews, and more recent material of those around him paints a fuzzy picture of a complicated and brilliant talent. There are conflicts in stories and information that make it look like Bowie was more of a master of marketing and molding himself than any of us will ever be aware of. At one point he speaks of how he doesn’t like his singing voice but one of his associate immediately discounts it. (Side note: He probably really did like his singing voice. Based on an interview in a different special there is testimony that his famous “Little Drummer Boy” duet with Bing Crosby was expanded from the original song because Bowie wanted to showcase his vocal prowess/range better. No, I can’t remember the name of the special that information was in. Send corrections.) The side effect of watching this is that I now want to play Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain again. I loved flying my copter into battle with The Man Who Sold the World blaring.

Games

  • Knack – I am trying hard to finish this game but it is bad. That is something I try not to directly attach to games and I can’t find away to not do it to this game. Looking at the trophies there is about 11 or 12 chapters and I just started 7. The good news, I’m about halfway through the game. The bad news, I’m only halfway through the game.
  • Overwatch – My drunk-time-join-ins are probably the bane of my teammates existence. In my defense: A.) I’m drunk B.) I make bad decision regardless C.) I still hit a few epic plays D.) Still got a few play of the game moments. Maybe I’m playing against people drunker than me???

News

  • Agents of Mayhem Magnum P.I. costume – As much I love this, I can’t help but think that there will be a lot of people this is lost on. I am of an age that I watched this show when it was new. Once I even dressed up as this for an 80’s night at the bar. Even with that this feels like they are trying to drive up nostalgia to drive up sales. I hope I’m wrong.
  • Overwatch gets Doomfist, or not , or do – After tweeting a tease is was deleted and then when someone asked for clarification it was trolled. Then they added Doomfist to the PTS. Bad form Overwatch, bad form.
  • Overwatch esport woes – Evil Genius is the latest competitive community to shudder its team from play. The reasons may vary but the results are the same. Maybe Overwatch isn’t the next big thing in esports given its struggles in the genre. It is still a popular game to play, admittedly I still jump into it from time to time.
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda – and the mess continues… Bioware basically came out and said they don’t know what they are doing with the game in reference to DLC. A season pass was ruled out before the game released but I for one assumed that there would be some story based DLC based on the history of the franchise. All we are getting are some general patches and changes to multiplayer. Those changes look like they are limited to an increased difficulty and adding in the batarians. I would feel better about this if they were giving a quick backstory to play through that would explain the batarians showing up but I really would have rather seen a new race and their story. I guess that is what happens when you assume(please don’t make me explain that joke).
  • Destiny 2 won’t have random weapon rolls – I am both for and against this, mostly for. I hated that the same weapon could have such a range of talents and even vary with the effect of that talent. Personally, I would rather have the model the exotic weapons had where the rolls are always the same so that every player is equal based on having the same weapon. With that said, they will need to address the issue of weapon variety but I’m not sure how they will do it and by reading what Bungie has said they are not sure either. One answer is to make more names of weapons that are of the same type with different talents but I guess we’ll wait and see how Bungie ultimately handles it.

Closing Arguments

Given my on-call status for the weekend I don’t know how much I’ll be playing. Every time I try to play games while on-call I keep getting interrupted by work and it takes away from the enjoyment and continuity of gaming. Most of the times I’m on-call I end up doing a lot of cleaning and menial task that I normally don’t get to and don’t care if they get interrupted. Do me a favor, go out there and live!

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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.

It’s the Freakin’ Weekend! What are You Playing?

Brad is out of town enjoying a well deserved vacation, so I’ll cover this for him.

It’s a long weekend for me, took Friday off work since I’m on-call for work on the Fourth of July. To me that is a good excuse to stay home and play video games. To that point I bought The Last of Us: Left Behind, Knack, and Arcade Series from the PS Store sale. All that set me back was about $13. For some reason Knack was the most expensive at $5. I started playing it and boy oh boy is that game bad. Makes me wonder how they justify a second game of this. But I’ll keep playing it, maybe it gets better… maybe it gets worse.

I wasn’t done buying games for some reason. After waking up around noon, I drove to the local GameStop to buy more. That trip got me  Rise of the Tomb Raider 20 Year Collection, Far Cry 4, and The Last of Us Remastered. I played Rise of the Tomb Raider on Xbox One, so I didn’t really need to play it but I really enjoyed it so some how in my maniac sense of a mind it was justified. The Last of Us is one of those games that I disagree with people on how good it actually is because I think it’s bad. After all these years I’ll give it another chance. Somehow having bought the DLC, Left Behind, justifies buying the full game even though I already own it and played through it on the PS3. That means that the only game I bought at the store that I haven’t already played is Far Cry 4. I don’t even try to justify this one since I got burned out on Far Cry 3 and haven’t touched the game since.

O’well… I’ll have time on my hands on the holiday and next weekend. That gives me plenty of reason, or excuse depending on how you look at it, to spend lots of time on these games.

What will you be playing???

 

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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 6-30-2017: Yep, It’s Late

You are correct, this post is a day late. The reason being that I didn’t do it yesterday.

Entertainment

  • House of Cards: Season 5 – I need to rewatch the last two episodes, again, because I think I missed something since it just didn’t come together for me.
  • Giant Bomb – Watching the GBE Playdate as I type this, hysterical.

Games

  • Here is the big mess part… So there is a PS Store sale right? Was $5 the righ price for Knack? Probably not but I bought it anyway. I also bough The Last of Us: Left Behind and Acade Games Series that incluce PacMan, Galaga and Dig Dug. Then when I woke up really late I went GameStop to get more games. That trip got me Rise of the Tomb Raider 20 Celebration, Far Cry 4, and The Last of Us Remastered, all for PS4. I’ll just go ahead and cancel all my other plans for awhile.

News

  • I have no idea, haven’t read anything this week.

Closing Arguments

Enjoy the holiday, I’ll be on-call for work, yippie! That is just a good excuse to not go anywhere, stay home and play games, nice.

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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.