Dude’s Chronicles 1-17-2019: In Coming

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We are anticipating our first significant snowfall of the season. This has lead to people complaining. Unto which I respond with “Get over it”.

Entertainment

  • Sam Kinison: Breaking the Rules – More then a quarter of a century after his death this guy is still hilarious to me. He is one of the most timeless comics and I recommend checking him out if you are not familiar with him. (Warning: not family friendly comedy)
  • Hellboy – I just needed something to watch and chill out to. I’ve seen this movies enough times that I don’t have to pay attention to it and can just enjoy seeing it.
  • Anthem – There has been a lot of press about the game lately so I took to watching some trailers to get a feel for it. So far I feel unimpressed. It looks like a combination of Destiny and Warframe but with some art style from Mass Effect: Andromeda. What struck me most was the sound effects that sound identical to Mass Effect: Andromeda. I think this game will probably sell well but I don’t plan on buying it. Possibly the demo or beta will change my mind but I just don’t think this is a game I need or want to play and it may take quite a bit to change my mind about it.

Games

  • Red Dead Redemption – I’ve put a lot of hours into and it feels like a task to get through it. I don’t know if the main story is moving or not because I don’t know which if any of the missions I’m doing are main missions or side missions. The only thing I’m sure of at this point is that I liked Arthur Morgan in RDR2 more than I like John Marston in RDR.
  • The Division – I’m always popping in and out of this game but they are doing one of their Global Events so I’ve been putting more time than usual in to it.

News

  • EA Cancels Another Star Wars Game – At this point it will be bigger new when they announce one is still on track or has a release date. This leaves the project at Respawn still going and I don’t know what else. EA and Disney have shown a complete ineptitude with using the Star Wars franchise in games.
  • The Division 2 Private Beta Date Announced – From February 7th thru the 10th those that have pre-ordered the game can play the closed beta. I think they did something similar for the first game and then had a public beta either directly or shortly after. Either way, I’m excited for this game.
  • The Pinkertons are Suing over Red Dead Redemption 2 – How much chance this suit has I don’t know, I’m not a lawyer. What gets me is that the Pinkerton name has been used in plenty of other games that the company has never pursued legal action again. How or why their claim that they use of specific names of Pinkerton’s is the issue confuses me even more.
  • Rocker League cross-platform – Another positive step but it still feels like a baby step.

Closing Arguments

It’s supposed to be cold and snowy so I plan on hunkering down in my apartment for the most part over the next few days. More time to play video games and watch movies is alright with me.

Any objections?

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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 1-10-2019: Leaning In

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How’s your 2019 going? Better than 2018? I hope so.

Entertainment

  • Solo – It was about what I expected. Nothing great but not bad. It fell into that category of I’m glad I finally saw it but I may never watch it again.
  • The Bill Murray Stories: Life Lessons Learned From a Mythical Man – It would have been better if Bill Murray was actively in it rather passively talked about. It was interesting to hear people’s stories about Mr. Murray but ultimately I should have just watched one of his movies instead.
  • Ron White: If You Quit Listening, I’ll Shut Up – He’s one of my favorite comics because he is unapologetically an asshole. I cracked up laughing throughout the entire show.
  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel: Season 2 – My opinion of this show hasn’t gotten any better. As much as I want to like this show I just don’t. I think what bothers me is that it is set in the 1950’s but it seems like they are trying to apply more modern themes and ignoring some themes more relevant to the time period.

Games

  • Red Dead Redemption – I had started playing this prior to Red Dead Redemption 2 being released but I didn’t finish it. In fact, I had only played and handful of hours which wasn’t enough to keep my interest. After playing RDR 2, however, I wanted to play RDR as a continuation of the story. I’ve passed the point I got to on my original play through and look forward to continuing the game.
  • Path of Exile – I tried playing it on PC but I didn’t care for the controls. Then I tried playing it on Xbox One and hated the controls even worse. I went back to playing on PC but I just can’t get into the game.

News

  • Destiny Publishing Rights – Activision will no longer be publishing Destiny, Bungie will. Not sure what this means for Activision but it would seem that Bungie is planning on Destiny being a big part of, if not the whole, its future.
  • The Division 2 to release on the Epic Games Store – I had expected smaller games to release on the platform rather then Steam but I didn’t foresee such a large game from a huge publisher to jump to the platform so soon.

Closing Arguments

The new year is under way and it has already lost that new car smell. There seems to be a lot of rollover from last year but I remain hopeful that things will be better this year.

I took a little time to go over the games scheduled to release this year and I have some concern. There is only one game with a release date that I am looking forward to and that is The Division 2. I’m not saying there aren’t a lot of games coming, just that I’m not excited about many of them. Hopefully that will change as well.

On a personal note, I found that I was slouching in my office chair in my apartment which was making my back hurt. I took the arms off so that I have nothing to lean on and I highly recommend it. I think I’ll take the arms off my office chair at work as well. Now I just need to figure out how to attach them as a second set of arms to somebody else’s chair just to mess with them.

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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 1-3-2019: Leaving Behind, Looking Forward

With 2018 over, we find ourselves resolute to make 2019 better. Well, better get started…

Entertainment

  • Springteen on Broadway – I grew up when Springteen was big, nay… huge. It’s interesting how he tells his story in such a Forest Gump-like manner. If you like his music more than him talking you may want to skip this. He talks a lot and I don’t know how much of what he says is true versus how much is storytelling.
  • Bird Box – Contrary to what many think, this is not a good movie. The pieces it lays out don’t fit together, it leaves things unresolved, and it jumps back-and-forth between timelines. I watched this with several members of my family and they all thought it was bad. I recognized that it sounds like we are in the minority.

Games

  • Red Dead Redemption 2 – Finished it. Reviewed it. Still thinking about it.
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man DLC – I played all three of them and they were all bad.  Poor storytelling and pacing that lead to cliffhanger ending cobbled together with the monotony of senseless combat. As much as I loved the base game I would recommend to anybody not buying this DLC.

News

  • With the holidays it has been slow, so not much here.

Closing Arguments

The picture of the lamp in this post is what sums 2018 up for me. That room served as a command center for the hospital I work at as we went live on our new records systems. For weeks on end the phones rang non-stop with people needing help on the other end. Everyday I saw the same faces sitting there for twelve hour shifts but doing their jobs while holding their complaints. For a long time, it was chaos. People coming in and out of the room. Voices carrying up and down the hall behind it. All the time the phone kept ringing. After a while, the wave passed. The phones rang less.

It was time to tear down the command center that I had helped build. We built it in an empty office space and that is what it would return to. The lamp wasn’t even ours, it was already there but it was fitting that it outlasted all of us.

The year of 2018 was a year of places I had to be. Just like that lamp I was stuck being at places I had an obligation to be at and missing time at the places I wanted to be. This year I hope to be more present at the places and times with the people I want to be around.

And don’t forget…

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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.

 

Red Dead Redemption 2 – Review

Image via cnet.com

Let’s be honest, a lot of other people liked this game better than I did.

The sequel that is a prequel, Red Dead Redemption 2 takes place in the time line before the story of the much revered Red Dead Redemption. The main story is based around the adventures of Arthur Morgan as we works as the second hand man of Dutch van der Linde. The Van der Linde gang finds itself on hard times and running from an attempted score in the town of Blackwater that went awry. Living much as nomads, the gang must keep moving to avoid the law and Pinkertons. As they move they must also try to make a living by either doing good or bad things.

Having only played less than five hours of the original Red Dead Redemption and without a nostalgia for that game this game was a new experience to me for the most part. There were things about this game that I really loved and enjoyed. Conversely, the things I dislike about the game I came to loathe and those things truly tainted my thoughts and feelings about the overall game.

Things I Liked…

The game is beautiful on a technical level. I played on a launch edition of the Xbox One and there were issues of draw-in of objects but all-in-all the game is still gorgeous. Everywhere you look there is something detailed and amazing. Look up to the sky and you could see the sun shining bright through the clouds or the twinkle of stars through a night-time drizzly haze. The draw-in issues were so minimal that it barely mattered to me but that was because everything else looked fantastic. The level of detail that the characters and environment had was astounding. Looking at a character and seeing their freckles or looking at a banister and seeing the grain of the wood gave the game a weight of realism. Then there are all the sounds. The clop of the horses, patter of the rain, clack of a gun’s hammer… all made the game more immersive. Then layer the music on top of it all, marvelous.

Cinematic camera???

Things I Disliked…

Of all the things the game did, I’m left with feeling that it just didn’t respect my time. The game is wide and deep in that there are many things to do and are robustly built. That turns out to be a blessing and a curse. When I was trying to get through the story, I felt constantly inundated by side story material that I didn’t necessarily want to do. I’d be trying to get to a town to do what I thought was a story mission only to get interrupted by riders approaching me then opening fire for reasons I never understand. What I did to trigger this, other than being at a place at a certain time, still eludes me. It felt as though there were just too many things to do and manage. Hunting, which I did little of… trapping(?) which I did none of(not sure this was a thing you can do or not)… strangers, there were so many I just lost interest… robberies, that I avoided doing… and the list goes on. It is great that they had all these in the game and did them well but it became overwhelming and frustrating while just trying to progress in the game. The limited fast travel system meant ride your horse most of the time to go anywhere which felt like a further misuse of time. Then there is the gun play that is horrible, frankly. It had what I can only describe as a wonk and wobble that I could find no control adjustment to make it feel much better than barely playable much less ok.

When It’s All Said and Done…

If I were asked to rate this game… three out of five stars. Let me explain. The environment and story of this game made me want to keep playing. I loved seeing the world and going through it. There were times I wish I had the time just to go around and look. I wanted to explore but I just don’t have the time. That’s not a problem with the game but it became a problem with my experience with it. As well as they developed everything you can do in this game it felt like a burden at times just to move forward and disappointing to not be able to play out scenarios they present you.

What makes the game for me is the story. Again, I didn’t play the first game significantly and don’t have that as an attachment. I found Arthur Morgan to be one of the most empathetic characters I have ever played. Going through the game, I found myself making decisions based on the thought in my head of ‘I just want things to work out for this guy and it be good’. All the time knowing it would not because of the foreshadowing presented I knew what his outcome would be.

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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.

2018 Game of the Year!

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2018 was a solid year for those of us that play video games. Looking back at 2017, however, I didn’t play as many new releases. There were some major releases that I had no interest in, like Black Ops 4, Battlefield V, Fallout 76, and many others, so I didn’t play them. I also spent a good part of the year playing older games, mostly XCOM and XCOM 2.

Most of the games I played this year I enjoyed. When I did enjoyed them I spent a good amount of time playing them. When I didn’t care for them I was done with them as soon as I hit a point of contentment. For those that I just didn’t like at all, their time was short lived in my gaming queue.

Let’s look at the games of 2018…

Missing: Life is Strange 2

Image via steampowered.com

The prelude, The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit released back in June. Then the first episode of Life is Strange 2 released in September. Having played both of these and enjoying them I would love to put Life is Strange 2 on my GOTY list but I can’t. We don’t even have a release date for the second episode, much less episodes 3, 4, and 5. My hope is that they are polishing these episodes up but my fears are that they are making major changes because of the feedback from the first episode.

Hot Mess – Metal Gear: Survive

Image via xbox.com

Not only a bad Metal Gear game but also a bad survival game. I don’t play many, if any, survival games but this one just felt like there was always one too many mechanics punishing you and not allowing you to have any fun with the game. The fact that it uses the Metal Gear name and assets makes it feel incredulous. Konami seems to want to make money on people’s nostalgia with things like this game and pachinko machines rather than continuing the franchise properly. The most positive thing I can say about this game is that I only wasted $3 dollars renting it rather than buying it at full price.

Dishonorable Mention – Battletech

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Having not played a Battletech game for some years, I was happy to see this game come out… that was until I played it. The game play is solid and I even got in to the story somewhat. However, I could not get over the fact of the game’s inability to explain itself. After playing over 12 hours I could not get a grasp on what I was doing or how I was supposed to do it. For example, I would equip my mech with a machine gun but I never got a chance to use it. I know I had equipped ammo but was there something I was missing? Wrong chassis? Wrong power source? Was I too far from the target? Was I too close to the target? I don’t know. If there would have been a tutorial or some other in-game explanation of how everything worked I think I would have not only liked this game better but stuck with it longer.

What A Let Down – Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Image via xbox.com

The problem was not that the game was bad. In fact, I quite enjoyed it. The problem is that it felt like more of the first two games. The graphics were about the same and mechanically the game wasn’t much different than its predecessors. My biggest issue with the game was the story. Lara Croft continues to be a character that it is hard, if not impossible to empathize with. The player is supposed to feel bad that Lara is in such desperate times but when she becomes an all out blazing murderer it is hard to feel bad. With this being the third game of the series, it is even more of a mystery how you still can’t feel bad for Lara and she still isn’t a Tomb Raider.

Too Much, Cowboy – Red Dead Redemption 2

Image via cnet.com

The game is good but suffers under the weight of its own density. I loved the characters and environment. There a number of characters to meet and conversations to be had. At first it was great but then it felt overwhelming. Trying to manage what each of them were saying and where it fell into the world became daunting. When you add in all the inventory, crafting, and health systems, it quickly became a management-sim rather than a cowboy game. What got to me most was all the side missions and how they interrupted the main story. I would be trying to play through the story only to have a side mission come up and I could do nothing but complete it just to try to get back to the task at hand of playing the story. Don’t get me started on the gun play, it’s horrible. The things I liked about the game I really liked, the things I hated I really hated.

Fun with Holes – Donut County

Image via theverge.com

Short. Sweet. Fun as hell. It took only a few hours to play the entire game but I loved every minute of it. I even went back to replay a few of the chapters and chase some of the challenges. The humor was off mark intentionally but always funny and kept me laughing while I played.

Nearly the Best – Marvel’s Spider-Man

Image via playstation.com

This game does whatever a spider can. It looks great, even on an original PS4. It plays great, tons of fun just to swing around.  On top of all that the story holds up. I’m not saying it is an all time great story but for a video adaptation of comic it is good. Where Red Dead Redemption 2 drew me relentlessly to side content, this game allowed me to play it when or if I wanted. I found times I would mainline story quests and other times I would go from side quests to side quests but at my discretion, not the game’s.

The Very Best of 2018 – God of War

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I said it when I reviewed the game but I’ll say it again, I never thought that a God of War game would even be in a discussion of games in 2018 much less be great. Not only is it great, it’s my top game of 2018. Congratulations!

When this game was first announced I kind of wrote it off. I had played a few of the original games and wasn’t too impressed. The idea of bringing the series back had no appeal to me. However, as various outlets starting showing the game and talking about it I became interested. It looked much different than the previous games and boy is it ever! This game is a continuation of the story line but the environment and game play feel completely new. At first the game felt like the same button-smashy type of game God of War games always were but once I learned a few techniques, like dodging, blocking, and parrying, combat felt completely different. Add to that the depth of story this game hit. The blend of Greek and Norse mythology was not only clever but well composed. By the end of the story not only did I love this game I wanted a sequel.

In Closing…

There you have it, the game I never knew I wanted became the game I loved the best. I will say that it seems as though I missed a lot of games this year(Detroit: Become Human, Far Cry 5, Hitman 2, to name a few)  but there aren’t any  on this list that I feel compelled to play at this point and I’m comfortable making this list without them. Many others will probably have a different list than mine and I’m fine with that. I’m certain a lot of other people liked Red Dead Redemption 2 better than I did but that’s ok.

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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 11-15-2018: Nice Weather

Image via wtvq.com

We get our first taste of winter weather and people are already complaining. They seem to feel I’m not sympathetic when I remind them of our geographic location and current time of year.

Entertainment

  • Better Call Saul: Season 2 and 3 – Very funny show and I just like watching how things play out for Jimmy and how he takes to them.

Games

  • Red Dead Redemption 2 – Still playing, still not loving it.

News

  • Microsoft buys Obsidian and inXile – The former had been a long standing rumor and it looks as though Microsoft is continuing to buy up studios. This is Microsoft seeing some writing on the wall that the next generation of consoles won’t be won on the hardware.
  • PUBG – With a release date announced for PS4 and the game being added to Game Pass on Xbox things should be looking up. However, it feels like this game has been passed by and these two announcement ring hollow for the game. Having played the Xbox version of the game, I must say it’s come along way but still isn’t great.  There are plenty of other games out there right now and I doubt PUBG will get much traction.
  • Spider-Man DLC – Not too sure how excited I am about this since I felt like the first DLC was a let down. I’ll still check it out but my expectations are near zero.
  • RIP Stan Lee – The man will remain a legend for a very long time.

Closing Arguments

The capture card has been working when it wants. I’m still fighting with that but it doesn’t much matter at this point. It’s about to get very busy at work and the holidays are coming. I’ll likely not have much time to do anything with it any way,

On that note, I may not be posting much of anything here for a few weeks. I may or may not do this weekly post. I may or may not do a Game of the Year post. It will all depend on how much time I get to do stuff like this.

If nothing else, Happy Holidays.

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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 11-8-2018: No Signal

Image via sellerengine.com

Since I was feeling better, I decided to work a bunch of weird hours at work. Somehow I wish I was sick again.

Entertainment

  • Queen: Mercury Rising – A short documentary about Queen. I just needed something to watch and I saw this on Amazon Video so I watched it.
  • Starship Troopers – This is really one of those so-bad-it’s-good movies for me.  Age hasn’t hurt it at all since it was so bad to begin with.
  • Extra Life – I mostly watched the Giant Bomb broadcasts for the Game Day weekend but I popped into a few others. The most impressive was Alex Navarro’s 24 hour Rock Band drumming marathon. There were over $50,000 in donations in his segment and he earned all of it.

Games

  • Red Dead Redemption 2 – I keep playing but I still have the same issues with the game I mentioned last week and as I keep going I think the story is getting worse. Maybe I hate myself more than I’ll admit because I’m going to keep playing this game. I keep thinking the game is good but not as great as people make it out to be.

News

  • FFXV DLC canceled – I’m not a big Final Fantasy fan but I thought the series was in a good place with this game and the other remasters but apparently not. Three out of four DLC packages have been canceled and the director has left. That kind of sucks and hopefully it doesn’t mean further problems for the franchise.
  • Destiny 2 free on PC – This was announced at Blizzcon and is available until November 18. The game is not great but free is a great price. If you have a PC that will run it you should go pick it up. I feel as though they are trying to drum up interest in this game with the less than expected success of the last expansion. I’m curious what the future of this game is since the Activision and Bungie deal is nearing it’s end.
  • Diablo Immortal – Look, if you don’t want to play a mobile Diablo game you don’t have to. There is no reason to go about spreading a bunch of hate about it like a lot of people have taken to doing. If you think this game is halting a full version sequel, the talk from Blizzard indicates otherwise. Just relax. Diablo is still hugely popular and I think Blizzard wants to treat it right. Personally, I don’t care for any mobile games. Likely, I’ll check Diablo Immortal out just to see what it is like but won’t spend significant time with it but I’m not going write or say much against it otherwise.

Closing Arguments

After watching a bunch of Extra Life I had the same thought I do every year. “I should really participate in this.” It would be a good deed on my part and give me something to focus on. To that point I feel like I should record and stream more. I started back down this path only to find my capture device wasn’t working. Fast forward a few hours through reboots, cable swaps, and opening my PC. I’ll tell you how to fix a problem with your Elgato HD60 Pro giving the dreaded “No Signal” message…. update the drivers for your NVIDIA GPU. How in the hell these are related I’m not sure. How this became the problem after doing no update to either my GPU or the Elgato makes even less sense. Regardless, the problem is fixed and I can proceed. I have yet to decide how to proceed.

(Update: The capture card stopped working again. I hate technology.)

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.