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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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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.

South Park: The Fractured But Whole – Review

Image via ubisoft.com

Of course I want more South Park.

Picking up where The Stick of Truth left off we find the lads of South Park still adventuring. This time they are playing super heroes and they must find the source of evil that is causing crime in their beloved town.

The Stick of Truth was a huge homage to the South Park universe and The Fractured But Whole is no different. Even though I haven’t seen much of the show over the last few years there are still familiar call-outs and references. There is a strong chance that I missed some of the humor since I haven’t watched the show in some time. That didn’t diminish my enjoyment of this game in any way.

From technical stand point the game is good but problematic. The graphics look just like the show and probably could easily be mistaken for an episode at any given point. Any sight or sound could have been straight out of the show. Problems with battles and actions popped up throughout the game however. At one point in the game I was trying to do an encounter versus a group of sixth graders but as soon as one of them went into a micro-aggression the battle broke. I would interrupt the micro-aggression so that I could get some free damage but after doing so the battle just stopped. Literally just stopped. I could take no turns with any of my characters nor would any of the sixth graders attack me. After quitting and reloading a save twice with the same results my only resolution was to go do something else then come back to this particular encounter. Later in the game when you have to use Fartkour, basically a jumping maneuver, it would not work at all. No matter when I pressed the button I was prompted for the event would fail and I would die. This then had to reload the game only to have it not work again. My fix for this was to quit the game, actually close it on my PS4, and reload it completely. First time it loaded back in I successfully completed the sequence.

The combat in the game is similar to the original game but slightly reworked. The turn based mechanic returns as well as a mix of near and ranged attacks to be used. The first change a player will notice is the introduction of lanes. You can move your character, within a certain amount of space, to direct your attacks or to avoid incoming attacks. This can also help you maximize the effectiveness of your team but you’ll need to be mindful of the capabilities of your chosen teammates. The other big change is the addition of artifacts, changeable items that add to your overall fighting power. You can craft of find these but be sure to keep your best equipped so that you are keeping up with the level of enemies you will be facing.

There are things, like crafting, that were added into the game that I’m not sure they were a good addition. It adds a level of complexity and management that is likely welcome to those that are familiar with these systems in other games but for players like myself it feels like a layer of confusing busy work that keeps me from enjoying the game more. This may just be a matter of personal preference.

As much as I enjoyed going down to South Park to have myself a time, again, I’m good with where this game left off. The predictability of the plot didn’t diminish my enjoyment of the game but at the end of it I just didn’t want any more of it.  Everything I got from my one play through was all I felt I needed. Most likely I will not be picking up any of the DLC for the game unless there is some reveal that shows a major reason to do so.

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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 11-2-2017: Post Halloween

Image via quickmeme.com

I’m not a big Halloween person to begin with but I super don’t enjoy the gangs of drunken idiots prowling around in my apartment building from 2am to 7am. Thanks.

Entertainment

  • Football – Penn State versus Ohio State. Frankly, Penn State deserved to lose that game. My respect goes to Ohio State for hanging in and eventually being the better team that day. This makes the Big 10 race very interesting.
  • Gangs of New York – I had watched about the first hour or so of this on cable but I felt like I was missing something with the way it was cut for broadcast. Was I ever right. This movie was much different uncut and it was fantastic. Great performances and the sets were astounding.
  • Jerry Before Seinfeld – One of the most respected comics of his time shows how self-aware he really is. Owning his own success as much as his failures. It was an interesting mix of comedy and behind the scenes style stuff.
  • Voltron – I hadn’t kept up with this after watching the first two seasons. Watching seasons three and four were awesome. This series really goes places and does things that I would have never expected from it. Bravo.

Games

  • South Park: The Fractured But Whole – Finished the game and looking to write a short review soon.
  • Warframe – As much as I enjoy playing this game I just don’t understand it. I’ve gotten to the point in a quest where I need a resource and I’ve looked up how to get it but it isn’t dropping for me. A bit frustrating but I’ll keep at it for a bit longer.
  • XCOM – With all the new games out, I bought XCOM on a Steam sale.

News

  • Black Friday Deals – Really? In the first days of November we need to start talking holiday sales already? Really? It’s this retail mentality that had Halloween stuff in stores before Labor Day. Tell you what, have the liquor store put booze on sale for New Year’s this week and then I’ll get excited.
  • Fortnite Battle Royale 800,000 concurrent players – That sounds impressive but it’s available on four platforms. If only that cross-play would still link them all. I’m looking at you Sony.
  • Battlefront II changes – Wait, they changed the loot system because people complained? This is an EA game right? Overall I’m a bit confused with how EA is handling the Star Wars property. The angst of the beta likely helped change this system but what would have happened if there were no beta? Then look at EA shutting down Visceral and their Star Wars game. Makes me feel very uneasy.
  • PUBG Xbox release date! – 12/12 mark it down. Early access but on the console nonetheless. No solid date for the 1.0 PC release but they say it will be in December.
  • PUBG getting banned in China? – I have so many thoughts on this but I don’t know how to express them. It’s a big market to lose but that to me is not the fundamental issue.
  • Destiny 2 DLC – I don’t care. As much as I loved the original and all the hours I put into it I just don’t have any interest in the sequel. Having pulled the disc out of my system weeks ago and feeling no draw back to the game makes this news ring hallow.

Closing Arguments

I’ve got some things I’m working on and some things I’d like to be working on. Then there are some things that I throw my hands up in the air and walk away from. You know, same old same old.

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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.

Video – Fortnite Battle Royale: The Path to #1 Volume 01

Image via epicgames.com

Sometimes I do better than others.

30 isn’t the best but it’s ok.

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.