Dude’s Chronicles 10-11-2018: Surviving the Game?

Image via ultimateactionmovies.com

I survived IUP homecoming, mostly by laying on the couch sick all weekend. I sure do know how to live.

Entertainment

  • Destination Wedding – You can read my take on it here.
  • Ghostbusters: Answer the Call – The movie may have been more enjoyable if it had not been a reboot. The idea of throwing out the lore of the original films just didn’t sit well with me. If this movie had been set that these four ladies are taking over or picking up the work of the Ghostbusters I would have been ok with it. That might be a nostalgia problem for me though. I will say that Chris Hemsworth was worth watching and decidedly my favorite part of the film.
  • It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia – I’m caught up to the current season and it doesn’t feel as strong. I want to watch the first couple episodes again but I feel like they are trying too hard to be funny in the way they started out.

Games

  • Marvel’s Spider-Man – I got to that magically 100% completion and feel good about it with one exception. After finishing the my final Taskmaster, most of which I did not enjoy, I was dreading the Taskmaster fight but may have been the biggest let down of the game. When I fought Taskmaster earlier in the game he gave me a lot of problems and I failed multiple times. This why I was so dreadful of having to fight him again. However, this time he shows up, I stun and beat him up about three times, then a sequence starts where Spider-Man webs him to the ground and the fight is over. That played out in less than two minutes. It was like one of those game show moments where the contestant does all the work to get a chance to pick a door, the dramatic music plays, the contestant picks the door, the door opens and there is nothing there so they play that wah-wah fail music.
  • PUBG – I jumped back in for a few games on Xbox and it is noticeably better than last I played. The graphics look better and the controls are more responsive. I didn’t notice any frame drops which was great. I got to the top ten twice with 7th and 3rd place finishes.
  • Red Dead Redemption – I tried playing this on my PS3 some time ago but it kept crashing. The game was recently on sale via the Xbox Store for $10 so I bought it. With just over an hour of in-game time I am still very early in the game. So far, so good.

News

  • Borderlands 2 on PSVR – As curious as I am about VR and as much as I like Borderlands 1 & 2 this still doesn’t make me want to buy a VR kit.
  • Telltale – After cutting more staff they’ve made a deal with another studio to finish the last season of The Walking Dead game. I just cringe at how this has played out.
  • BLOPS 4 50GB Day One Patch – Remember when the PS4 launched and people thought it was crazy that a game on disc still installed 50GB to the hard drive? Ah, those were the days.
  • PSN Name Changes – Although I have no plans to change mine, it is good to see that Sony really has been listening but not communicating. The program will be in beta soon and launch in 2019. That means that they’ve probably been working on this for quite some time. Now that they’ve addressed name changes and cross-play can we get them to look into backwards compatibility? PS Now downloads for PS2 and PS4 are a good start but the fact that PS3 games are still streaming only is somewhat of an incomplete solution. The remasters are nice I’d like to play the games I already own.

Closing Arguments

No big plans other than football and games. Hoping to get into more Red Dead Redemption but we’ll see.

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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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Destination Wedding – Review

Image via imdb.com

Normally I don’t get into rom-com’s but I just wanted to watch something a little light-hearted and maybe this wasn’t what I should have or intended to watch but somehow, some way I enjoyed this.

The breakdown of this film is two people go to a wedding and hook up. Keanu Reeves plays the half-brother of the groom and Winona Ryder is the ex-fiancee of said brother. These two first run into each at the airport and the meeting is anything but romantic. The tension between the two is borderline annoying. They trade insults and judgements with each other ad nauseam. The characters play to each other almost to the point I wanted to turn off the movie.

However, Ryder and Reeves had an interesting chemistry that kept me watching. Why? I don’t know for sure because both characters came off as people that if I met them in real life I would put great distances between them and myself.  The conversations the two participate in are in the lines of the most absurd and pompous I’ve seen or heard in film. Yet, they are what kept me watching. Perhaps it was the play of the actors that made it worth watching rather than anything the film tried to do.

The end of the film felt predictable but rewarding in some manner. Not that the film was great in any way but it wasn’t bad either. The plot wasn’t the lead of the film, rather Ryder and Reeves worked well together and made the film enjoyable. It was good to see two actors that were able to compliment each other and make something dumb enjoyable.

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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.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider – Review

Image via xbox.com

Unsurprising, that is about the best I can say for this game.

Lara Croft is once again on the trail of adventure. Trinity is still at large and trying to take over the world, again. This adventure takes Lara to South America to meet up with old and new friends and foes alike.

This is the third game in this reboot of the the series and unfortunately the story is just as mailed in as the first two. The setting may have changed but it is more of the same half-hearted and short-sheeted emotional misses that plagued the other games. Every attempt to make Lara empathetical falls short especially when she is then put into a scenario that the she must directly murder all in site.  Case in point, in the story a character close to Lara is reported dead and she then goes on a murderous rampage to avenge this person. Then when the person turns up alive the moment is summed up with a brief sigh and the game goes on. The emotional weight that should have been in this moment is poured onto the floor like water and trampled on giving no way to make Lara more relatable.

It is a shame that the story falls short when the game works well on a technical level. The environments are lush and beautiful even on an original PS4. Whether you are in the depths of the jungle or swimming underwater there is great detail in everything around you. The only issue on a technical level was that sometimes when trying to interact with an object as prompted it didn’t always work correctly. If you walk around a little bit and try again things would work.

The fact that this is the third entry of the series is what makes it disappointing. It seems that the first two games weren’t the building blocks they should have been. Shadow of the Tomb Raider comes off as a carbon copy of all the same issues that the first two games had. The aesthetics of the game do little to make up for the shortcomings of the characters. It’s fun to run around in the jungle and solve puzzles but in the end Lara Croft comes off a character that there is no reason to care about.  The attempts make a connection to Lara’s plight are poorly balanced against the moments when she mows down foes at will.

It’s an ok game but could have been much more. It was good enough that I got to over 80% completion but I also don’t feel any desire to replay this game again. This would be one of those games that if asked I would tell people it is worth playing but not buying, a great game to rent not to buy.

 

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tPaul 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 10-4-2018: The Homecoming

Image via thehawkeyeonlinenews.wordpress.com

Lock the door, it’s IUP Homecoming weekend.

Entertainment

  • College Football – There were some damn good games. Penn State had a chance to win but couldn’t pull it in. These Saturday games are much better than the professional games on Sunday, I don’t even want to talk about those games.
  • It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia – Into season eleven and enjoying it. The only times I don’t care for are when they redo previous episodes almost verbatim.

Games

  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider – Went back and cleaned up some of the side stuff and got over 80% completion but I feel no need to play any more of this game…ever.

News

  • No PSX in 2018 – Sony won’t hold it’s showcase event because, well…, they have nothing to show. Weird that Microsoft decided to have it’s public event after years of not.
  • Anthem to have match-making for raids – I know Bungie gets gruff for not having this in Destiny but I can speak from experience in The Division that it doesn’t necessarily work well. I tried on several occasions to match-make for an Incursion but was never able to complete one with the team that assembled. It’s a good option to have but beware.
  • Cyberpunk 2077 in 2019? – If you can believe a deleted Tweet from the Turkish publisher but this seems too ambitious.
  • Telltale – It seems that the skeleton crew got let go as well. This story just keeps getting worse.

Closing Arguments

Chuck and I did have a discussion this week. We talked about Telltale but apparently we may have to talk about them again.

With it being homecoming weekend I plan on leaving my apartment. The town becomes a stupid mess Friday night and doesn’t stop until Sunday.

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 9-27-2018: Sleepy Time

Image via pinterest.com

Tired as a dog but no relief in sight. Fantastic!

Entertainment

  • College Football – Hitting that time of the season where the match-ups get more meaningful. Looking forward to more of these.
  • It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia – I’ve picked back up on my rewatch and I’m still in episodes that I am familiar with. Apparently I watched more seasons than I figure originally.

Games

  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider – Meh, it’s about what I expected. That is fine but I had some hope they would surprise me and do something interesting. Not sure I’ll review this game but I probably will.

News

  • Telltale Games layoff – First and foremost, best wishes to those let go and hopes that they can recover quickly. But WTF Telltale? This story just kept getting more disgusting as more information came out.
  • Sony vs Cross-platform play – Stick a win for the people with cross-platform play going into beta for Fortnite. Don’t give Sony too much credit since they are the last to the game here. There is also the tacit admission with the quote “we have completed a thorough analysis of the business mechanics required” that is was never a technical issue(which was well known) nor was it a safety issue as they tried to say it was. In the end it was always about the money. Next they’ll get credit for allowing users to change their gamertags…. for a price of course.
  • PlayStation Now downloads – This makes the service far more attractive especially with those that don’t have great Internet connectivity. The only caveat is that it still doesn’t include PS3 titles, only PS2 and PS4 titles can be downloaded.
  • Twitch blocked in China – No game streams for you! It was only a matter time seeings how YouTube has been blocked for years.

Closing Arguments

I’m really tired but I’m staring down being on-call at work for the weekend. That will sure help me rest and relax!

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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.

 

Marvel’s Spider-Man – Review

Image via playstation.com

Like swinging? No, not the kind that involves other people. The kind that has you tethering yourself to buildings and flying through the air. Then there is a game you should play.

The story in Marvel’s Spider-Man is set in a stage where Spider-Man is already Spider-Man. The story doesn’t cover how or when he got his powers. In fact it is set in a time when he has already defeated several foes and incarcerated them in The Raft. It also picks up after Peter Parker and MJ Watson were a thing and they are currently separated. Parker finds himself in the employ of Otto Octavius and they a poised upon a true breakthrough in their research. Of course, as all hero stories go, things don’t go well.

The story portrayed in this game is possibly one of the best in a comic based video game or movie. Even if you are not familiar with the Spider-Man or DC comic lore, this story can be followed and enjoyed. There are the comic-like moments when you are fighting a twenty-foot mask but there are also the real-life moments when you have to make a terrible choice. Both of these moments had weight even though in different ways. The weave of heart, mayhem and resolution are well done. The struggle that Parker has with being himself, whether that be Peter or Spider-Man, is ever present but never over bearing.

Some of the best parts in the game, on a technical level, are the sights and sounds. Even running on an original PS4 this game plays and looks great. As you swing through the environment it never seems to lose detail. The game perhaps had frame rate issues less than five time throughout the entire play-through and most if not all of the drops came while transitioning into or out of a cut-scene. The sounds work both to compliment and add the game. When Spider-Man shoots a web it sounds good but on top of that all his quips have enough variety they don’t get old or over-used.

What doesn’t feel good in the game are some of the systems, mostly the combat and upgrade systems. The game borrows a lot from the Batman Arkham games but the combat doesn’t feel as good or precise. Batman is a bigger physically so his punches and kicks should have more weight but with Spider-Man’s enhanced strength it still felt like he was a light hitter. On top of that, punching and dodging felt to have a slip where they didn’t always work as intended. Perhaps more egregious is the fact that the equipment and suit upgrades are locked behind completing in world activities. What makes it so punishing is that certain upgrades require currency earned from different events, for example R&D quests reward Research Tokens but TaskMaster challenges  award Challenge Tokens. If the R&D quests have been completed but you want an upgrade that requires Challenge Tokens you simply don’t have access to them until you complete those challenges.

The game is very good but held back from being great. For myself the upgrade system being tied to activities was a huge negative. Many of the TaskMaster challenges were just ways to push the player’s skill at challenge that just aren’t useful in playing the game. Other tasks just felt like busy-time activities to stretch the game out. Add in the fact that many of the encounters lack any variance. It comes down to go to a place, beat up a bunch of guys, then beat a few more waves of guys. Enemy variety becomes cosmetic at times, for example a man in a business suit with blue whips versus a convict in a jump suit with red whips.

Even with that said, I did reach over 90% completion of this game just because it is so fun to play. My feeling is that the story and game play make the game but the systems and combat slips took away from enjoying the game more. Highly recommend the game but caution that it could have been better.

dudewantshisrug-profile

tPaul 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 9-20-2018: About Time

image via desktopnexus.com

In true summer fashion, it is the first time in about a month that we’ve had eighty degree weather for days in a row. Perfect time for summer to end.

Entertainment

  • College Football – Clearly I’m enjoying college football much better than professional. The only thing I’m not happy about is Penn State playing at 9pm on a Friday. What’s up with that?
  • Giant Bomb – Watching Alex Navarro play Mass Effect really makes me want to play the game again but I must resist.

Games

  • Marvel’s Spider-Man – Mopped some side stuff up I don’t feel the need to get 100% completion. I’ve probably gotten to the +90% but I just have zero desire to do the TaskMaster challenges.
  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider – It’s ok. That is about all I have to say about this game. It is much like its predecessors but so far it isn’t doing much, if anything, to impress me. I’ll likely finish the campaign and move on.

News

  • Warframe on Switch – This makes sense except for the fact that it is an always online game and this game can have a ton of stuff on the screen at any moment. I would be worried that you have to be always on wifi and that they bring down the resolution or framerate to make it run.
  • Goodbye YouTube Gaming – The service was meant to compete with Twitch but never has taken off. The ability to stream and find game stream will still be there but the YouTube Gaming is no longer a branding. I always thought this was a strange off-shoot and nobody really paid attention to it, I know I didn’t.
  • PlayStation Classic – How about backward compatibility instead? That would sure be nice.
  • The end is nigh for the Vita – Production in Japan will end in 2019. This likely means it will going away from everywhere with no successor planned. The Vita has been dead to me for some time this just feels like confirmation it is going away.
  • THQ Nordic buys more IP’s – Adding Alone in the Dark and Act of War to their catalog I want to know two things: A. What are they planing to do with these and the other IP’s they bought? B. Where are they getting the money to do this?

Closing Arguments

Chuck and I did speak last week. I forgot to mention the podcast’s latest episode. We did also speak with Brad and hopefully Chuck will have that episode up soon as well.

This week is the end of summer so soak it in while you can. I have no plans but watching football and playing more Tomb Raider.

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.