Dude’s Chronicles 9-21-2017: The Heat is Hot

Image via somehire.com

It is September and we are in the midst of a heatwave. In this month alone we have probably had more 80+ degree days than in July and August combined.

Entertainment

  • Football – Soooo many good games yet sooooo many bad teams.  Just like in real life, there are the haves and the have-nots. The distance between the two are immeasurable.
  • GiantBomb – Watched bunch of their shows but the most weird one was just seeing the Fortnite Battle Royale mode. It looked like parts of it were straight out lifted from BattleGrounds. The art style made the game mode just look strange after watching so much BattleGrounds and the mechanics only stretched that further.

Games

  • Destiny 2 – The review is up even though I haven’t done a raid or a Nightfall strike. There just isn’t that driving need to do either of those events. I waited some time until doing them in the original and I don’t know that I even want to do them at all. There is still a desire to play but just in short hour-ish chunks and those higher level activities will likely take longer than that.

News

  • Steam reviews now have a graph – In an attempt to weigh reviews when there are bombs Steam now shows a graph of the number of reviews over time. Now if only people will pay attention to it and mind what it means is yet to be seen.
  • Fortnite crossplay – It was “accidental” that Xbox and PS4 players were matched against each other.
  • RIP Battleborn – Combine a mediocre game and let it get confused with Overwatch to see a game that never had a chance. Apparently the game will still be playable but updates will soon cease.

Closing Arguments

My pal Brad was kind enough to mention my Destiny 2 review over on his site. Go check out his post and all of the other links he put in it. Thanks again Brad, you’re an alright guy.

Football and games are going to be a nice change of pace after busting hump all week at work.  Ten hour days every day all week suck, that’s all I’ll say.

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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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Destiny 2 – Review

Image via xbox.com

The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing people he didn’t exist. The greatest trick Destiny 2 will ever pull is convincing people it is a good game.

The last city on Earth is being attacked by a zealot Cabal known as Ghaul. He and his Red Legion have arrived to take The Traveler and its light from all of the Guardians. It is up to you, guardian, to fight the Cabal, free The Traveler, and return the Light to all of the Guardians.

The opening of this game is strong but the game quickly wanes. The first mission is familiar to anyone that played the beta and it used to setup the rest of the game. You’ll loose all of you abilities and gear that you and have to start over from scratch. The mission does well to setup the direness of the situation only to have it immediately trivialized by the rest of the game. The next thing you do is get your light back just like Stella got her groove back. Your tasked to go to where a piece of the Traveler is and commune with it to get your Light back. It is unclear how or why this part of the Traveler is here or what it does to restore your Light.

The story continues to unravel as it progresses. For whatever reason you receive your Light back, other Guardians do not. Why they can’t simple go to the Traveler shard like you did and get their Light back is unknown. Seems like they should be able to since you keep going back to it to unlock you other subclasses. The idea of you being the only Guardian with Light breaks the premise of much of the game. While all the characters in the story are now afraid of death, you and your fireteam are just fine. Yes, you are the only Guardian with Light and the ability to resurrect, that is until you join up with other players and then they are also somehow good with Light.

If part of the premise were the only problem with the story that would be fine but the game also doesn’t tell a good story nor does it do it well. Those that played the original Destiny will applaud at the story in Destiny 2. Step away from that and one can see that it is still a bad story. Bungie falters back to it prose of telling a story by not telling it. Ghaul comes out of nowhere and for no reason. There is little backstory given to him or his motivations. Near the end you get a touch of his story but not in a meaningful way. The addition of cutscenes and dialogue are an improvement over the original game but this sequel is still lacking a decisive narrative. By the end of the main story one is left to wonder why events transpired and what they mean to the overall world. There is less of the missions of running somewhere and scanning something but most if not all of the missions turn out to be go to a place and shoot all the bad guys.

After finishing the campaign there are a lot of things to do, unfortunately most of them are empty tasks. The open world is there to explore and patrols are provided for something to do. These feel like cookie-cutter rehashes of the original game just on new backdrops. Most players will spend their time in either the Strike or Crucible areas. Strikes are for the PVE players and this quickly becomes repetitive. With few Strikes to rotate through there is little to experience in this mode other than grinding for loot. The Crucible it the PVP area for those that want it. The biggest change is that teams are now four players instead of six as in the original game. The modes have changed a bit and that at least makes games play out differently.

One thing you can’t do after finishing the campaign is replay it. There are no markers on the map to go back to a story mission. There is no daily story mission to do as there was in the original game. The only way I’ve noticed to replay story missions within your character is to get them from Ikora as Meditations. Doing these will get you some rewards and increase your reputation with her. The strange issue is that she will only give you three of them and they do not reset on a daily basis. Likely this is a weekly reset and you’ll have to wait until then to replay any other story missions.

If you’ve ever heard it said “the grind is real” then this may be the realest grind you can get. The never-ending quest for better gear will have you chasing loot through all the activities. Along with these you’ll be getting reputation with NPC’s to get you even more loot. The power levels tend to taper off at a point and the gear you are getting will not be any better than some gear you already have. This can become a frustration when you don’t make any progress for all the time you can easily sink into the game.

The things the game does well it does extremely well. The first thing you may notice is the graphics. It is as if though removing the shackles of the previous generation console has allowed Bungie to create much richer and more detailed textures. Also, most if not all of the draw in animations are gone. With the absence of Paul McCartney and Marty O’Donnell the music has surprising improved. It sounds fantastic and helps to augment the visuals and moods. A major improvement to Destiny 2 over original Destiny are the maps. Not only are public events visible with countdown timers there are now fast travel points to different parts of maps. This drastically improves the playability of the open world part of the game.

Even with all of its improvements, Destiny 2 is still a shallow game. The story is barely more than surface deep and most of a player’s time will be spent replaying activities over and over. Not only are the activities a grind, Bungie also repeats missions and strikes over the same game space. Marked improvements over the original don’t fully justify the game if you didn’t play its predecessor. Players new to the game will likely recognize its flaws more readily than those returning from the original.

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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 9-14-2017: Off Again

Image via makeagif.com

More time off before the storm… of work. Not like the storms in the south. Hope all those people are safe. All my issues at work seem trivial to say the least.

Entertainment

  • Football – There are not enough hours in the day to watch as much football as I want.
  • Giant Bomb – Murder Island is still funny and I’ve gotten into their Exquisite Corps series. I don’t play PlayerUnknown’s BattleGround and I have no interest in Xcom but I love watching the Bomb crew play them.
  • Ghost in the Shell – Watched it and reviewed it. I know some people didn’t like it but I did. There may have been an attachment people had to the source material that I didn’t. It wasn’t great but I enjoyed it.

Games

  • Destiny 2 – Still playing it even though I think it is highly flawed. It has it’s good points. Feel like this game is still under scrutiny.

News

  • PewDiePie – I never followed this guy to begin with or watched his content. The fact that he has been involved in multiple controversies makes me less interested in him. Regardless of what people think of him I will continue not to follow his antics. Make your own choice.
  • Destiny 2 Raid Beaten – Congratulations to The Legend Himself and his crew.
  • Destiny 2 Solo Nightfalls – This was bound to happen. I think it is still funny that Bungie’s “top-level” challenge content is still solo-able. Maybe it is intentional but I doubt it.
  • NES Classic is coming back – Nintendo doing something that will make them money? Are they under new management?

Closing Arguments

I did not get ambitious enough last weekend to make lasagna. Having actually purchased everything I need to do so this week I’ve already shown more ambition. Maybe that is what I’ll do in between Destiny 2 and football.

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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.

Ghost in the Shell – Review

Image via imdb.com

For a ninety-nine cent rental it was worth every penny and more.

In the future, robots live among us and serve us. Many believe that the next step of human evolution is to become them. To this end, the Hanka company is developing this hybrid by merging a human brain into a robotic body. The result is Major, the first of her kind. Neither truly robotic or human, she is assigned to Sector 9 as a weapon used to aid humanity in the fight against its detractors.  After several higher-ups within Hanka are murdered Major slowly begins to realize that her own existence and the world around her are not what she has been lead to believe. She must question everything she has been told and everyone she has known in order to find the real truth.

As a matter of full disclosure, I have no exposure to any of the source material used for this movie. The fact that it was originally anime is about all I know of it. My review and thoughts will be solely based upon my experience of watching the movie in question.

Whether by intent or not, this movie is stylistically and thematically reminiscent of a variety of movies. Comparisons to RoboCop can be made when considering a human brain being put in a robotic body and the struggle to find which identity is real. The are shades of Bladerunner when you see the city and consider that Major is essentially a cop just like Deckard was. Again we see robots that are trying to become more human-like whereas the humans are seeking the immortality of the robots. Some of the gun play and action scenes invoke the same imagery as the Matrix films and there is also the same idea of riding a ceaselessly endless network of consciousness.

The movie is visually stunning nearly to the point of distraction. The environment and characters are done in such a stunning a beautiful fashion as to match the beauty of Scarlett Johansson herself. Robots that can blend in and out of humans, neon signs reflecting in the water, or holograms the size of skyscrapers make the movie feel wondrous and vivid. It also lead to the feeling that the scenic rolls were being drawn out to give a false sense of wonder and taking time away from actually telling parts of the story. Clocking in at one hundred and seven minutes, the film probably could have been condensed by simply shortening these bits without loss of exposition.

The movie starts out slow but gains its own momentum. After a certain amount is revealed one may find themselves leaning in waiting on that next key piece of the story in a heightened state of anticipation. There is just enough foreshadowing that the plot feels believable but has not been given away at any point. One thing that did not feel as natural was the pace of the movie near the end. Something made it feel abrupt at the conclusion and whether the filmmaker’s intent was to leave things unsettled or open for a sequel.

With the movie being only ninety-nine cents via a PlayStation Store sale, there is no complaint on the price. Even if I had paid full price to own it there would be no disappointment. Others may disagree based on an attachment to the film’s source material but that is not this writer’s vantage point. Although not perfect, as no film is, the movie was entertaining and worth another watch.

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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 9-7-2017: Days of Daze

Image via giphy.com

I’m running a little late on this one but I’m still on the right day… I think. Every time I take time off of work I loose track of time and this week is no exception. It really started last week when I worked a midnight shift then has on-call for the holiday weekend. I think tomorrow if Friday since I’m watching Thursday Night Football.

Entertainment

  • Football – Watched as much of college games as I could over the weekend and loved it. The professionals start tonight but I’m less excited about that, always preferred the college level. Even my fantasy leagues haven’t enhanced my interest in the pro game. I think I screwed up both of my draft bad enough that it doesn’t matter.
  • The People vs. O.J. Simpson – Finished watching this series and thought it was good. They over-played the tragic figure of Robert Kardashian, I can’t buy the idea that he was so overwhelmed and innocent in the entire situation.
  • PAX West – I watched some of the panels what involved the Giant Bomb staff. Dave Lang’s stack rank panel was on my radar but alas I fell to sleep. Even when the PAX Rumble came on I got called into work but I watched it after the fact. I stood up and clapped at the end of the match when I saw who won.

Games

  • Batman: The Telltale Series – Finished the game and have a review almost finished. Genuinely enjoyed it and want to play The Enemy Within but I’ll likely wait until all the episodes are out.
  • Destiny 2 – I’ve finished the campaign and have been playing some of the side content. Not feeling it.

News

  • PlayerUnknown’s BattleGround – Keeping with the phenomenon that it is, the creator is via to have the same number of players as League of Legends and part of that plan is to not raise the price. That’s right, he thinks $30 is a good price point and he may well be right. I’ve not played this game yet since it is PC only but I am super curious about it. Hopefully the full release drops this year and the Xbox version a few months after(not expecting the Xbox version in 2017 based on what I hear and see, could be wrong though).
  • L.A. Noire – Ports for the current consoles and VR? Ok, that seems weird but ok.
  • Sonic Mania DRM cracked – 8 days later… makes you wonder why they bother. All they are doing is making it more difficult for legit buyers as those that want to steal the game will if they are motivated enough. I get that they have to protect their property but I work in I.T. and even I admit that after a certain point security is futile.

Closing Arguments

The plan is to play some more Destiny 2 and watch more football. Other than that I don’t have any real plans for my time off other than not to do any real work.  If, and I mean if, I get really ambitious I might make a lasagna.

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.

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy – Review

Image via naughtydog.com

You know you want more Uncharted, even without Nathan Drake.

The quest for fortune can make strange bedfellows. Case in point Chloe Frazer and Nadine Ross. Chloe a former flame of Nathan Drake is seeking one of the world’s greatest unfound treasures, one that was her father’s obsession. Nadine is in a bit of a slump, she lost her private army backing a group that ultimately got taken down by the Drakes. Both want the money that the treasure will bring them but both are looking for something more than material wealth, a redemption of sorts. These ladies go through the highs and lows of pursuing their fortune as well as becoming tenuous friends. The adventure ahead holds their dreams but also some of their nightmares.

Originally announced as DLC to Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, it becomes clear to see why this became a standalone game. Clocking in at around ten hours, depending on how much time to take to explore or look for collectibles, the game is very substantial for its $40 price tag. Most of the game is true to the Uncharted series but at times it feels wholly different.

Gone are Nathan and Sully but here are Chloe and Nadine. The later are well tailored replacements for the series former stars but they take their places without being carbon copies. Chloe and Nadine have characteristics of Nathan and Sully but are also very distinct personalities on their own. Those familiar with Chloe will feel comfortable with her as the wise cracker to Nadine’s gruff but wise ways. Even though both characters had appeared in previous games the story of The Lost Legacy slowly reveals more about each of them. This story is about both of them moving on from their past and accepting their future, be it apart or together.

Naughty Dog takes a hard swing with this game’s narrative and nails it. The game uses all the established aesthetics and environments of the Uncharted franchise. Although the game is set in India alone it looks like it could have been a chapter in almost any previous game. At times the location is as much a character in the story as another, whether it exploring for treasure or solving puzzle to progress, and it is an active part of the game. One thing that was quite unique compared to other games was the open world aspect employed in one of the chapters. Uncharted is known for its linear gameplay but this chapter allows players to explore and progress at their own pace. It is the player’s choice to go straight through the story or explore all the nooks and crannies they can get to.

As the story plays out, the tale of Chloe and Nadine is an equal part of the narrative as their joint quest is. There is a cycle of the two earning and losing each other’s trust and friendship that makes the game have weight. The human element of trying to understand each other is a key part of this relationship. There is no shortage of both heartbreaking and joyful moments.

Building on the prowess of their previous effect Naughty Dog has made a very gorgeous game. Even with the limitations of an original PS4 the scenery was awe-inspiring enough to make regular use of the game’s photo mode. There were times that not only the view but the game play were reminiscent of not only the titular Uncharted series but games like the modern Tomb Raider and Horizon: Zero Dawn.

Every rose has its thorn and this game’s biggest issue is its most familiar – combat. Always the bane of any Uncharted game, the combat is clumsy and clunky at times. One can get infuriated when you want to take cover but end up vaulting or jumping to your death instead. Not only are the mechanics not ideal, it sometimes looks like the character is jumping to try to break a brick Mario style. Perhaps all the motion-capturing budget was used on the cinemantics.

If the question posed is “can there be an Uncharted without Nathan Drake?” then The Lost Legacy is a resounding “yes” for an answer. Not only did it stay true to the feel and formula of the series it helped it move forward in meaningful ways. It would be more surprising to not see more of Chloe and Nadine. The only concern is that it may not come from Naughty Dog due to their other commitments but then again they seem to have a commitment to quality rather than turn-around time on games.

 

Enjoy some more pictures….

I like pizza.

 

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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 8-31-2017: Even More Disguisting

Image via locallemons.com

Last week I was grossed out by having to call Comcast(more on that later). Today I heard an add on the radio for MacDonalds Delivery. This may not be a new thing but this is the first I heard of it being real. Apparently you can order via the Uber Eats app or the MacDonalds website. It drums my imagination how the already revolting food they serve will suffer as it is driven around for an unknown time before reaching its destination. Sure you can think of it like getting drive through and taking it home but there is the chance your meal gets made and just sits there waiting for the next delivery run. Then it may stew longer while said delivery run goes to other destinations before yours. It makes me want to vomit in my mouth just a bit.

Entertainment

  • Game of Thrones – The season had a strong start but overall I think it kind of failed. Not that it wasn’t any good but since it was so short everything got condensed and hurried. This removed the chance for exposition and that was always one of the best parts of the show. Still looking forward to next season but I sincerely hope that they use the longer episode to flush out storylines better.
  • Rogue One – Yet again, I fell asleep trying to watch it.
  • Football – Even bad college football is good football to watch.

Games

  • The Division – With Destiny 2 launching next week I am likely done with this game. Unless Destiny 2 is a total flop.
  • Uncharted: The Lost Legacy – Its finished and my review is 99% written.
  • Batman: The Telltale Series – This is the original, not The Enemy Within. I am really liking the game so far. Since I’ve made it through episode three it has hooked me and I plan to finish it. After I’m done with it I’ll decide if I want to play The Enemy Within.
  • Destiny 2 PC beta – After playing the previous beta on both Xbox One and PS4 this version feels completely different. It is not the graphical upgrade that is so striking though, it is more so the adjustments they made to cool-downs and weapon damage. Still isn’t convincing me to buy it on PC since I already pre-ordered it on PS4.

News

  • Microsoft promises new UI with Xbox One X launch – Really??? What’s wrong with the old one?…
  • The Division getting free content – It’s sad that I don’t really care about this. I’ll likely try out the new modes when they arrive but I doubt I’ll be very interested.
  • Cheaper VR – PSVR and Oculus Rift are both getting price cuts. This may be indicative of VR on taking off the way industry experts were hoping. A price cut is one way to help but in my opinion it would be more helpful if there were better content for the platform.
  • Lawbreakers poor performance – Less than 500 players on Steam? Yikes!
  • Overwatch patch 1.14 – Man, I feel like I should care about this one more as well. With the add of Doomfist I wasn’t drawn back. The balances and changes in this patch are interesting but not enough to draw me back. I’ll jump in to a game from time to time however I just don’t feel as attached to the game like I used be even though I still enjoy it every time I play it.

Closing Arguments

So… when I called Comcast I could tell I was talking to a trainee. The constant pauses, overt use of the word ‘um’, and the general sense that the guy didn’t quite know what he was doing gave it away. It was an easy enough call for him since I was adding service, not removing or arguing a bill. Even with that I knew in my heart something would get screwed up and sure enough I was right. With that feeling I took to check that I still had HBO hours before the finale. Good thing I did because despite what I was told I did not. Through the online chat I engaged a Comcast representative and kind of got the docile admission that things weren’t conveyed properly. Rather than either side arguing I eventually just told the person “look, I only care to have HBO till the end of the month”, to which there was a noticeable pause and then the message “ok, I will add HBO back to your account. Is this what you want?”. My only reply was “yes, thank you”. I applaud this person for not drawing out the conversation even with the full knowledge that I would be canceling HBO with in the next few days – which I did. It was a nice change of pace to not have the representative try to up sell me or convince me that I screwed up. Now I can enjoy football.

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.