Dude’s Chronicles 8-24-2017: I Don’t Want to Call

Image via forbes.com

I haven’t watched a single down of football yet. The idea of calling Comcast about adding tv service back to my plan makes me nauseous. After trying to do it online for days but having the site tell me it is unavailable and I need to actually call just makes me sicker. It would be acceptable to have to call if their entire system is down but if you go through their site pretending to be a new customer you can go through their order system without issue. This tells me they are trying to up-sell to their current customers in order to wring more money out of them. As much as I love the cable Internet service I get from them, their greed infuriates me.

Entertainment

  • The Defenders – Not bad, not good…mediocre? It just didn’t do much for me and with only eight episodes it felt rushed.
  • The People v. O.J. Simpson – Watched the first few shows and want to finish, just having a problem finding time to do so.
  • Giant Bomb – They make too much content that I enjoy watching, that’s my biggest complaint. This is what is taking most of my time.

Games

  • The Division – I played for a good spell going through most of the game modes. I still suck at Survival but really enjoy the mood of it. I like Last Stand but I get mowed down by other players with better builds. Mostly I like roaming the open world but it doesn’t reap many rewards versus the time it takes.
  • Matterfall – Unfortunately I am not liking this game. Much like Nex Machina, the screen gets very bust and the difficulty doesn’t scale well. There is much interest on my behalf to even keep playing the game much less finish it. Note: I only made it through the first level.
  • Uncharted: The Lost Legacy – Having played the first three chapters and part of the fourth, I am excited to keep playing this. It feels like an Uncharted game but feels like it has its own identity.
  • End of the Vita – Yes, I traded in my Vita. It helped to pay about half of the pre-orders I made(Destiny 2, South Park : The Fractured But Whole, and Battlefront 2 in case you’re curious).

News

  • No DLC for Andromeda – This was a forgone conclusion but many were holding out hope. The plan to tell some further story via novels and comics is bit of a stab in the back for those of us who only engage with the Mass Effect universe with the games. Guess I’ll never know what happened to that other ark. ūüė¶ If the franchise isn’t dead, then why not save the story for the next game? It is possible the franchise will live on but the Andromeda story will be ignored.
  • Xbox One X pre-orders!!! – Yea, I’m not getting one. Until my original Xbox One dies I’m sticking with it.
  • YouTube – I won’t claim to know the full story much less understand it but the current campaign to demonetize content is causing a lot of heartache. Whatever algorithm is being used is inconsistent and YouTube’s biggest betrayal is its silence on the matter. Not only is this bad for those getting paid, it is also bad for those paying for advertising on YouTube. Once they start seeing their views and exposure going down they’ll likely look to other sources.
  • Call of Duty beta for Comcast customers – This is one of the most bizarre exclusives I’ve seen. If you don’t want to pre-order the game to get into the beta and you are a Comcast customer you can get it. This is just strange for Activision to partner with Comcast in this manner.

Closing Arguments

College football starts next week. F’n’A!!! At some point in time I will breakdown and call Comcast. In the meantime I will also be looking at other options like PlayStation Vue, Sling TV and YouTube TV. If anyone has recommendations I love to hear them.

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.

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The Defenders – Review

Image via netflix.com

Is Harlem that big that these people have never run into each other before??? Other than Jessica and Luke hooking up??? Oh wait, the nurse knows at least three of them. Damn, this is a mess.

When The Hand threatens New York City it will take not just one but many heroes to save it. The joining of Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Daredevil and The Iron Fist will be the city’s only chance. The five prongs of The Hand have brought about the ultimate weapon, the Black Sky, to aid them and take down the city. These heroes will reluctantly join together as The Defenders to save the city that they love and live in.

If you’ve watched all of the series involved in this show, Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and The Iron Fist, you’ll be up to speed on what is happening. If you have not you will be utterly lost. This is the first flaw in this show. Having watched all of the involved shows, even I had to scratch my head at times and use my recall to ascertain why things are as they are. I can only imagine how lost this show will be with people that have not watched all four series. This paints the show into a corner that limits it enjoyability.

With the joining of four different series, there is also the joining of four different styles. The second flaw this show has is the constant jumping between styles. When Luke Cage is the focus of a scene you get the “Luke Cage” visuals and music, when Daredevil is the focus you get the “Daredevil” visuals and music, etc… This makes The Defenders jump all over the place in terms of style and identity in a bad way. If there were plans to bring all of these show together then there should have been a plan from the beginning to use a common style but that didn’t happen apparently.

Overall I have to say that this show suffers from the same tragic issue that DC has with The Legends of Tomorrow. The fact that if you don’t follow or watch one of the series involved with it you lose the context of the entire series. Not only is this a problem for The Legends of Tomorrow and The Defenders it is just as much a problem for Luke Cage, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, The Iron Fist, The Arrow, The Flash, and The ¬†Supergirl. Don’t get me wrong, I like the cross-overs but I feel that they need to be a standalone event and the shows should be able to stand on their own. If a person should choose to not watch The Defenders then they should still be able to follow Daredevil or Luke Cage but given this scenario I don’t see how that will be possible. Viewers are likely to tune into and watch a show with situations they don’t have all the information for, example being ¬†***Spoiler*** Luke Cage viewers will have the ‘problem’ of Misty Knight only having one arm and going ‘when the f@#! did she lose an arm?’. ***Spoiler***.

The show was fun to watch and enjoyable despite it’s flaws. I will point out one small but important moment that the director/writers missed. ***Spoiler*** When Danny is talking to Colleen and says they need to ‘protect’ this city, that was the perfect time to have one of the main characters invoke The Defenders ideal by saying “we need to defend this city”. ***Spoiler*** ¬†It is the little things like that that could make this show so much better.

The Defenders is only worth the investment if you have watched the amalgamation of show leading into it. The tragic part of this series is that it may break all of the four shows involved within it going forward. As previously stated, there are things that happened that will effect the storylines of the individual shows in a potentially detrimental way. ¬†As much as I enjoyed watching the series, which was too short at only eight episodes, I almost wish they had not even bothered to do it. I will give props to some great appearance and performance from Sigourney Weaver. ***Spoiler*** She didn’t make it through the length of the show but she delivered some fantastic performances to carry it forward, bravo. ***Spoiler***

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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 8-17-2017: Football And The Fantasy Of It

Image via maxim.com

Football season is nearly at hand and for me the season has already begun with the draft of one of two leagues I am in. Yes it seems a bit early but that is when we draft because of people’s schedules. Unfortunately with this comes some downsides. I started listening to fantasy football podcasts again and that means I have less time for other podcasts. This caused me to make some tough cuts. I was enjoying the ladies at What’s Good Games I wish them all the best but I don’t have the time and they are one of the more recent podcasts I started listening too. Along with them I had to cut my Discord mates from DZR and stop listening to Engage!. I’ll miss those chuckleheads with the funny accents from across the ponds. Hopefully after football season I can pick them back and listen to both of these podcasts again.

Entertainment

  • Guardians of Galaxy Vol. 2 – Action, adventure, humor and more. The movie was entertaining and energetic but it lacked something that the original had and I can’t quite figure out what. It also has a great soundtrack but it felt overused at times. Still a good movie that I look forward to watching again.

Games

  • The Division – The new patch, 1.7, dropped earlier in the week and I wanted to check it out. However, I find that I am so far removed from the game and have read nothing about it that I find myself somewhat lost. There a lot of things going on and it is a confused mess to me. Not sure how much I will get back into this.
  • Matterfall – I had already pre-ordered it, got it downloaded, didn’t play one second. I plan to get into it this weekend.

News

  • Crackdown 3 delayed, again – For a game that was announced in 2014 this is disturbing especially with Microsoft struggling on this generation to begin with.
  • PlayerUnknown’s Battleground is popular, obviously – There are number to back it up though, 7 million sold and with over 600,000 concurrent player is impressive. ¬†Add to that the fact that more hours were spent watching this game on Twitch rather than the perennial top game League of Legends.
  • Battle.net is officially Battle.net again – I don’t even remember what the had renamed it to anyway.

Closing Arguments

More work this weekend, yippie. It’s only a partial day though. After that I plan to hit Matterfall and catch up on some other stuff.

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.

The Last of Us: Remastered – Revisited

Image via blog.us.playstation.com

If you are faint of heart and don’t like people talking down The Last of Us then you may not want to read beyond this point. However, if you’re willing to hear me out I’ll tell you why I didn’t like the game when it first release but this edition has somewhat turned me around on the game as a whole. Spoilers….some?

Releasing in mid 2013, The Last of Us was one of the final hurrah’s of the PlayStation 3 era. Just a year later the game would be remastered to be sold to owners of the PlayStation 4. Sony knew well that there were plenty of people that had not played this game and with the PS4’s success this was their chance to get them to buy it. The timing worked out well since there wasn’t much coming out on the consoles given that summer is the normal slump in the gaming cycle and the current crop of games weren’t lighting up the new consoles. Naughty Dog took to the task in typical fashion by showing off their wares as best they could.

The problems I have with this game unknowingly started before I even played it. The excitement I had for this game was likely on parallel with many others. Given my affection of the Uncharted series, the idea of playing a zombie game from Naughty Dog was enticing. Yes, I knew it was not exactly a zombie game but that is what it most got compared to. Turns out that was not a good comparison. This game is truly more a survivalist narrative. Eking out an existence by scavenging for resources while fending off foes is not exactly what I anticipated. Maybe I expected it to be a little more like Left 4 Dead and that was wrong but I tend to think that that was a marketing problem. This game was easier to sell as a “different zombie” game than the story driven struggle that it is.

Exposition is generally tough to pull of in a video game and this game seemed to avoid it at times. For example, when the outbreak first happens and even after the story picks up twenty years later there is no explanation as to what really happened. This can be taken as a story device to say that it is still unknown but it feels more like it was treated as a passing thought just so that the concentration could be on the characters being presented. There were also times where jumps in the timeline left much to wonder. ***Spoiler*** Far into the game when Joel is gravely injured there is a jump cut to some weeks(?) later where he wakes up in a garage to find Ellie missing. Players had just played as her and know her situation but what happened to get to this point is missing. In the remastered edition, buyers get the Left Behind DLC that somewhat fills it in. ¬†Even that doesn’t answer all questions, particularly how Joel get patched up. ***Spoiler***

Game mechanics are a large part of any game and they can greatly influence a player’s experience. Not only do you have to scavenge constantly and consistently to get the resources you need, you then have to craft them into items. This can be a bit frustrating when you can’t find the parts you need for the item you need to craft. Can’t find that one rag you need for a health kit? Too bad, keep looking. Getting in and out of the crafting might have been one of the most frustrating points just because you had to do it so many times. You could carry a decent amount of materials but you could carry so few crafted items. Maybe this was part of the survivalist mechanics of the game but it felt somewhat punishing and not fun for the player.

The environment is probably the star of the game. When the game released on the PS3 I felt like anybody would be hard pressed to make any game look better even on a PS4. Not only did it look great, but every environment had a fantastic feel to it. ***Spoiler*** I live nearby to Pittsburgh and when I got to that point in the game I was amazed not only at how they captured certain landmarks of the city but just how they captured the sense of the city and added the level of decay the events of the game have caused. ***Spoiler*** Then playing it again on the PS4 showed me just how much better it could be, even early on in the PS4 life cycle Naughty Dog was able to press the edges into something great.

Then there is the overall story. With the previously mentioned time skips already interrupting the game, the game constantly pushed forward the fact that people are the real monsters. Through dialogue and combat you are constantly inundated with the idea that the infected aren’t the real threat, rather it is the other humans. Going completely against the idea that the best of people will come out in a crisis is not a new idea but it felt almost beat into the ground throughout this game. Combat became particularly miserable when you fought humans more than infected, especially when you were expecting the opposite.

When the game initially released I played through it once and never wanted to go back. What possessed me to buy the remastered edition I do not know. However, I think it was for the best and tempered my view of the game. The second play through of the story has revealed several small things that I missed. ***Spoiler*** One particular moment in the game that I saw in the second play through that I totally missed in the first one was when you come across a grave near a river with a teddy bear on it. There was a dialogue exchange that I had never heard before. ***Spoiler*** Little things like this showed me some of the nuances that made the game what it was. It wasn’t completely about the entire story but rather it was just as much about the small moments within it.

After it is all said and done, I’ve gone from disliking the game to being ok with it. If you had to put it on a five star scale, I would have had this game as a two star but now see it as a three star. To me that means it has its problems but it was still a good game and worthwhile playing. I still do not think that it was the game of the generation for the console it was released on. There is the thought of playing it again just to see if there were more of those little things that I missed. I almost wish there was a wanderer’s mode that took out all of the enemies of the game and had fast travel to points just so I could walk around and explore the environments. There doesn’t need to be anything to get or do, just let me walk around and use photo mode.

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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 8-10-2017: The Exact Opposite of Vacation

Image via ocvisitor.com

Short weeks at work are worse than full weeks. Everybody expects the same amount of work as a full week. Really works out nice when I have to cover somebody else’s job while they are on vacation. But anyway…

Entertainment

  • Alien Covenant – This was a hilarious. I know it wasn’t a comedy but it made me laugh. This is my general reaction to horror/suspense films mostly because I find many of the scenarios to be ridiculous and much of the gore to be silly. Even with that, I enjoyed the film with the exception of nuances that just didn’t make sense.
  • The LEGO Batman Movie – This one was supposed to be funny and it delivered. I worry when Will Arnett is the lead in anything but this movie was highly entertaining and somewhat heart warming. Well done in many aspects and has catapulted Will Arnett in to the spot as my second favorite Batman(1. Micheal Keaton, 3. Kevin Conroy, 4. Adam West, 5. Diedrich Bader, 6. Christian Bale, 7. George Clooney, 8. Val Kilmer, for the record).
  • Giant Bomb – 3000 Miles to Murder Island, I wonder how many people got the reference.
  • Game of Thrones(sans spoilers) – Best one yet? I think they are setting it up for Daenerys to be the villain. I also see where they could play it off as a desperation move.

Games

  • The Last of Us: Remastered – Finished it. Still reprocessing. Maybe I dislike it less than I did before. Looking to finish the Left Behind DLC this weekend.
  • Titanfall 2 – Still loving the Frontier Defense mode.

News

  • Horizon Zero Dawn DLC release date – The Frozen Wild will release on November 7th. Already pre-ordered. Done.
  • Valve has a new game! – It’s not Half-Life 3, it’s not Portal 3, it’s not Let 4 Dead 3 but it is a card game. React accordingly. If you love DOTA you’ll love the card game based on it… I guess.
  • Gearbox’s Project 1v1 – This was “announced” and I got an invite but I don’t think I’ll play it. From what I can tell, it is nothing more than variation of a one versus one area shooter. Not that interesting to me, plus the closed technical test is on PC which I typically don’t game on.
  • Super Meat Boy on Switch – I didn’t care for the game and I don’t own a Switch but this seems perfect.

Closing Arguments

So… no plans for the weekend. Probably work. Yeah.

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.

Upcoming Games for 2017

There has already been a good crop of games this year, and bad ones for that matter. Even though we are over half way done with the calendar year, we may just be getting started with the games. We are getting into a massive amount of releases and I took the time to look forward at the games that will be assaulting my wallet.

Lawbreakers– 8/8 – I’m curious about this game but I don’t know if I’ll drop $30 on it. Hard to believe that it snuck up like it did and it releases today. Hard choice to try out Cliffy B’s new game but I may need to conserve the money give some of the other games on this list.

Agents of Mayhem – 8/15 – Unfortunately this one will probably hit the cutting room floor. As much as I love Saints Row, and how much this looks like it, I’ll likely not put $60 into EPIC Games’ latest release. I may ¬†change my mind depending on how the reviews start showing.

Matterfall – 8/15 – Housemarque next game looks great but that should come as no surprise. The things they do they have always been done well and I’m sure this game will be no different. Chalk up $20, already spent.

Uncharted: Lost Legacy – 8/22 – A definite purchase. I’ve loved every entry, to varying degrees, in the Uncharted series and there is no reason for me not to play this game. Chalk up $40.

Destiny 2 – 9/8 – Even though I have not decided on a platform yet, I’lll be buying this game. Why deny it? I spent hundreds of hours in the original game with all the things I loved and loathed about it. Chalk up at least $60, maybe $100.

South Park: The Fractured But Whole – 10/17 – The Stick of Truth was an unexpected joy. Given all of its problems it turned out to be a blast. The Fractured But Whole has had similar problems and I’ve not been watching the show like I used but I still want this game. Chalk up $60.

Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds – 11/7 – Absolutely loved this game and want more of it. $15 already spent.

Star Wars Battlefront 2 – 11/17 – ¬†Despite the issues the first game had, I still want to play the new game. They’ve added a story mode, which was sorely missing from the first one. Chalk up $60.

Days Gone – TBD – I’m on the fence about this one. It looks like it has great potential but they need to make it clearer what the game is really about. My fear is that it will be a survival game like The Last of Us and I didn’t care for that game. It all depends what more they show of this game. I expect more information around PAX West.

Detroit: Become Human РTBD Р This is another game that needs to show its identity before I commit to buying it. Every time they show more detail on this game it seems to contradict the previous reveal. Just not sure where this game is coming from.

There are other games that I want to want but just don’t. Call of Duty will have its annual release but I feel no need to pay much attention that game. Maybe I’ll rent it but I won’t buy it. Then there are all the games for the Switch that I won’t buy, because I don’t have a Switch.

The plus side here is that I don’t think my wallet is going to get assaulted as badly as I originally imagined. Also, after an initial burst, the purchases are paced out.

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 8-3-2017: Veni, Vidi, Vita

I packed up my Vita for sale or trade in. If only I could trade it in on a Switch. Honestly, I would probably not play the Switch as much as I don’t play my Vita. I’ve come to admit that it is not a problem of either platform, rather it is a problem with me. Mobile gaming or even small screen gaming is not for me. Sure I can hook the Switch to my tv but I have no affinity for Nintendo games at this point. Wanting them to do well just so that they are the third leg in a race doesn’t make me want to buy their console. Then there is the Vita, so much promise, so little pay off but again I admit that is more on me than the device.

Entertainment

  • Rogue One – I keep falling asleep while watching this movie. What is wrong with me?
  • Giant Bomb – More Murder Island, fantastic.
  • Game of Thrones(sans spoilers) – Lot’s of reveals, lot’s of set up, plenty of surprises. When is the next one?

Games

  • Rise of the Tomb Raider – Finished the main story. I started into some of the side stuff but quickly moved on. It wasn’t that it was enjoyable I just wanted to move on to other games.
  • Titanfall 2 – They reintroduced the Frontier Defense mode that originally debuted in the first game. Its absence when the second game released was confusing but they have finally rectified that problem. There is a lot I have forgotten about playing this game. I couldn’t remember much less use most of the titans. Time to relearn everything and enjoy doing it.
  • The Last of Us: Remastered – I still don’t like this game. I didn’t like it when it first released and what possessed to think I would like it better now I have no idea. I fully recognize that I am in the minority on this opinion but I stand by it. Not sure how long I will stick with this since I have other games to play.
  • The Division – Every time I jump back into the game I play about two games of Last Stand and hit that “I’m good” point then quit.

News

  • Bioware folds studios – Combing the Montreal studios may be the final unspoken nail in Mass Effect: Andromeda’s coffin since studios don’t typically have multiple projects and the larger studio will probably be focused on Anthem.
  • SNES Classic pre-orders – Wal-Mart “mistakingly” had pre-orders available. I say “mistakingly” because it just doesn’t feel like it was a mistake but maybe that is more me than anything because I don’t much believe in Internet leaks of any kind. They always seem to have been done intentionally and Nintendo sure did conveniently get a bunch of data about what the demand for this console will be.
  • Overwatch Summer Games Returns – I didn’t play the first round of this event since I didn’t by the game until late December. It is always good when a game does something to drum up support. I’ll likely jump into this but even I don’t know how much I will play.

Closing Arguments

I took a long weekend because HR was mad I had too much vacation time accrued. I guess that means there is no reason not to finish The Last of Us, other than I would rather do something else.

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.