Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Combo broken

Well look at that, I survived my weekend. My pride may not have made it through but at the very least I am still breathing.

I think I will save me tournament recap one more day as it will be the primary discussion piece when Chance, Alex and I finally record last week's podcast tonight. Suffice it to say that, much like Murtaugh...


and I can't grow a decent moustache to save my life.

...

A few weeks ago a made some passing remarks of a somewhat disparaging nature regarding Justin Wong's relevance. They were quite wrong. He is the best Street Fighter V player in the United States, so good that he makes other players look foolish. 

Almost as foolish as I looked walking into hit with my ham handed Thunder. But I said I wasn't going to talk about that.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Pick a top tier (for entertainment purposes only)

Characters that I do not want to face in KI on Saturday:

Shadow Jago - man, fuck this guy. Good fireball game, teleports, Zero's (MvC3) pizza cutter. I don't think I have ever beaten this character.

Maya - season 2 character that I have fought very, very few times. She has Sadira's mobility but actually does damage.

Glacius - runaway Glacius is super effective, at least against Thunder. I can spend three quarters of a match chasing him, blocking his long range attacks, then miss one and eat 75% from a single combo.

There is a theme here: characters that can keep me away and still do damage. Omen could be added to the list but it seems that Omen players have dropped him for Shadow Jago. This is not me making excuses (or maybe it is) but they just feel like bad matchups for Thunder. Let's take a look at the Event Hubs tiers listing...

Well, what do you know, I am pretty close. Keeping in mind that tier listings are not actually very useful, Thunders worst matchup is Fulgore at a 4.2. Next is Maya, points for me, at 4.3. Omen is a 4.9 and my other picks are listed as even. They have Spinal listed as the best character, matchups wise, with one unfavorable match: Cinder.

Thunder is third from the bottom. So what do they know. Tier lists are for entertainment purposes only, right?

It should be noted that the KI tiers are pretty compressed. There is no one character that outright dominates another. Some notable bull shit matchups of the past include O. Sagat vs O. Zangief from Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo at a 7.9 and Evil Ryu vs Dan in Ultra SFIV at a 6.8. That is some unwinnable shit.

...I forgot Blanka vs T Hawk. That is a historically bad match for T Hawk. 7.2 on Event Hubs. I think it may be even worse than that.

I supposed I should explain what these number mean. That 7.2 means that, on average, Blanka should win 7.2 matches out of 10, assuming impossible things like equal skill and character knowledge on the part of both players. Like I said, for entertainment purposes only. What it can do, if nothing else, if give an idea of how well balanced the characters are by adding up all of the numbers of all of the matchups and comparing character's totals.

KI's top is Spinal with 114.2 and the bottom is Glacius (really?!) with 105.8. For a game with 23 characters that is a tiny range. Ultra Street Fighter IV starts at 237 with Yun and ends with 193.6 with Hugo (excluding Dan, because Dan is a joke character). That is also really good for a game with that large of a cast. Not all of the characters are tournament viable but they can at least be played at a competent level for fun.

MKX is incredibly tight, which I find very surprising.

You want a bad one? Super Street Fighter 2 runs, from O. Sagat to O. Cammy, 200.4 to 119.7. Street Fighter 3: 3rd Strike is worse, topping out with Yun at 118.9 and bottoming out at Sean with 61.8. Pick a top tier in those games.

Honestly, avoid my mistakes and always pick a top tier.

Monday, May 23, 2016

We're going to keep doing this until someone stops us

Since it is inevitable, you might as well listen.


Chamberlain and Chance - A long, long time ago

Missing pieces

As threatened, I finished Far Cry Primal. The beginning is good. The ending was also good, perhaps better than the binary choice endings of the last two games. But in between those two events, from around 50% to 90% completion, the game almost lost me. I was still running around the world, collecting doodads and conquering settlements, but it had been so long since the story had given me any reason to care that it felt like wasted effort.

In Far Cry 4 Pagan Min didn't show up on screen very often but he did call the player up on the radio to give him (hilarious) shit and egg him on. As an antagonist he was effective in spite of his absence of screen time. Primal has two antagonist: Ull, the leader of the Udam, and the fire woman, leader of the fire people, whose name I have forgotten because, compared to the Udam, there were rather dull.

Ull, he had some depth. His people had been shit on by evolution and the environment to the point where cannibalism was the only way they could survive. They suffered from an unexplained disease they called 'head fire' that either killed them or drove them mad. Ull was not a bad guy, he was doing the best he could for a species that nature had selected for extinction, and if that meant eating the early homos (as in homo erectus, homo sapiens, etc) so be it.

The problem in Primal is that Ull shows up about twice. He is introduced very near the beginning and then as a boss fight at the end. There was no way for him to stay in contact with the player because, well, no radios, so the game being true to its setting doomed him to obscurity and the game itself to a rather boring stretch where the player forgets the point of all the exploring.

Perhaps the point was that the Wenja v Environment was the real fight. Saber toothed tigers kicking my ass every time they showed up supports this idea. But interest is held by characters, their interactions and how they grow, not just the world itself trying to kill me at every turn.

Primal was good but 4 was better. Now on to other things.

...

This may be boring week, blogging wise. It is four days to Combobreaker and I really should play nothing but SFV, KI and *shudder* USFIV. Why the hell did I sign up for that tournament. The USFIV pool is at 10:00 AM on Saturday which is a bit on the early side when an all night venue is factored in.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Last minute sloth

Chamberlain, at work, goes through a checklist in his head.

This project is done, that project is done, another project doesn't need to be done until next week Thursday, a fourth is in limbo waiting for the customer to make up his mind.

Hmmm.

Fuck working, I declare an afternoon of loafing. The boss is gone anyway so I have the office to myself.

*phone rings*

Goddamnit.

...

I will finish Far Cry Primal tonight, regardless of how late I need to stay up. It wore out its welcome right about the time 'XP cap' was flashed on the screen.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

One out of many

Rage quitting is, apparently, still a thing that happens in Street Fighter V. Capcom has taken a few steps to dissuade it, like banning a person from ranked for a short amount of time when they disconnect from too many matches, but that doesn't seem to have done much. The person who disconnects should have to hold that L and lose twice the requisite points and the victim of said pansy should get twice the points.

A story...

Last night was not a good night for Chamberlain in SFV. I lost everything for about two hours. Everything. I lost to gold ranked players and to bronze players alike. It did not matter. Every button I pressed was either the wrong one or at the wrong time. SFV is just about the saltiest game there is. It can go poorly so fast that all one can do is get pissed and try again.

Try again I did. Over and over. Then Mr. Gold Ranked Bison showed up.

He crushed me in the first game and was benevolent enough to grant me the run back. While it was loading I remembered: Bison has no wake up game. Knock him down and sit on his goddamned face. There was a moment of zen... and I still lost the first round.

Fuck zen, I'm going in.

When a round goes Necalli's way it is ugly for the other player. Two combos, even without meter, equals dizzy and three quarters health gone. I had one of those rounds. An evening worth of poor play evaporated and I sat on his goddamned face. He panicked.

Round three goes down to the wire. A lot of bouncing back and forth, a lot of whiffed normals, a lot of sloppy play on both parts. I sneak in the jankiest jumping medium kick that has ever been thrown for the last hit and POOF he disconnected.

I like to think that he threw his arcade stick at his PS4, crushing it, or that he ripped his PC's power cord from the wall in a rage, blowing several breakers in his house. Whoever you are, wherever you are, I won that match, mother fucker. Suck it.


Monday, May 16, 2016

Podcast of Doom

I haven't played it yet but Chance has...


Chamberlain and Chance - Doom and things like it

Perfect, and not

A wild blog entry appears!

Without going into the boring, overtly personal details, my attention last week was monopolized by a rather unpleasant event (though not  nearly as bad as some, you know who you are). It is my function in most of my adult relationships to be the one that either does not react or at most reacts in a very subdued manner. I am the shoulder that others cry on and therefore show little emotion, negative or otherwise.

And that shit gets tiring.

My loss is very small compared to that of others so I will make no complaints in the real world. Here, as that guy, I will admit that it would be nice to be allowed to be sad once in a while.

...

Since I am already in a bit of a mood it is time to unfairly nitpick an excellent game. Far Cry Primal, my most cynical sights are set on you.

Primal is a big game, real estate wise, and just like the previous games all that land is filled with little things to do, most of which net either experience or ability points to spend on skills. When played slowly, cleaning out areas as they come, it is possible to unlock all of the abilities long before the game is complete. These removes the reward for exploration. All of the tantalizing question marks are still present on the map but there is no longer an incentive to visit them all.

This is just like Far Crys 3 and 4. Hell, it is the same fore most Ubisoft open world games: they do not have the content to back up all the side quests packed into said open worlds. Unless you care about achievement points or have a subtle, nagging need to clear the map there is no reason to find them all.

I fall under both of those categories so I am right fucked.

Second, and more damning because it a problem unique to Primal, is there is no antagonist. Vash and Pagan Min are difficult to follow and Primal doesn't even try. The leader of the cannibals shows up once at the beginning and the leader of the people of the sun does the same. I supposed it could be this way to drive home that the environment is the real enemy. Every encounter with a saber tooth tiger ending in death certainly points to this. Still, it would be a nice to have a face to put in the end game.

Now if you'll excuse me I need to go finish the excellent game I have just been bitching about.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Some good things - podcast

It's been an interesting two days that I do not feel compelled to go into detail about. Suffice it to say that sitting down last night and laying a beating on people in Killer Instinct had an almost medicinal effect. The PC release has diluted the skill base, at least at the Gold level. I cannot speak for the top ladder rank but, if the next few days go as well as yesterday did, I may be able to do so soon.

I actually had one person complain that the way I beat him was boring. It was, but only because he did not force me to do anything else. It's like the time someone complained that all I was doing was blocking and punishing. Well, yeah, if you are going to hand me damage on a plate I am not going to turn my nose up at it. If you are going to fall for the same mix up over and over then I will gladly take your points.

Also, here is the podcast. It is a good podcast. You should listen to it when you have the time.


Chamberlain and Chance - Putting things in order

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Why I don't play Souls games in gif form


Down to really old business

I am in trouble. Far Cry Primal, just like the last two games, is exactly what I am looking for in an open world shooter. It has a big world filled with little things to do that are incrementally helpful. The action is both emergent and tight. It is possible to wander off in any direction and find plenty to do if the current story mission is not of interest at the moment.

This time around no one speaks english and everyone is wearing animal skins which somehow has pulled me into the world more quickly. I feel like I am watching a kick ass boring documentary and am in control of all the best parts. All that is missing is David Attenborough making dry comments about the vicious efficiency of my long distance head shots.

There is not much else to say. The game has been out for quite a while and its quality has been widely documented. It's going to be a while before I play anything else. This will run right over the upcoming gigantic releases of the new Uncharted and Doom games. I'm not worried. They'll keep.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

A swing and two misses

I seem to be putting of starting Far Cry Primal.

Alienation was an excellent game for the first nineteen levels. There was a smooth difficulty curve after I got over the jump from level nine to ten, one that the grind of level ten resolved itself. The enemies were tougher and there were more of them so they dropped better loot. That in conjunction with logically placed checkpoints made what could have been a very frustrating section quite hard but fair. There was no cheating it, no getting around it, in fact dying reset all of the monsters, but nothing was lost with each failure.

Level twenty is a dynamically created three part mission with no checkpoints, no supply boxes for health and three boss battles. The player is at the mercy of enemy drops for health and the drops feel much more stingy than the rest of the game, though I have no way to prove that. The level generation can create almost impossible sections and break rules that were in place for everything that came before. For example, there are mortar cannons that can fire at you from off screen. This is not really a problem as the impact zone is shown is just enough time to dodge it.

On the mother ship, level twenty, they can fire through doors. You can't fire through doors. Can you see how this is a problem?

I may never finish the game. It feels like it wants me to go back and replay all of the previous levels or, worse yet, play with random people. Fuck both of those things. The closest I have come was killing two of the bosses and then being overrun by enemies hidden behind a closed door. The rest of the game is still good but this endgame is all I am going to remember.

...

Remember when I called Layers of Fear a scary walking simulation? I meant it is a good way for that game. It remained engaging and unnerving even though the player was doing little more than walking from room to room in a fun house tripping scary traps. The Park tries to do the same thing but is neither engaging nor at all frightening. The best thing is can muster up is a PT style loop that may have raised the hairs on the back of my neck once. A baby cooking in an oven while people dangel from the ceiling will do that.

The Park tasks the player with guiding the protagonist (whose name I have forgotten already) with finding her lost sun in an amusement park. As soon as she clears the entrance escalator the park switches from open and clean to closed and dilapidated. It steals the best scenery from Stalker, which itself stole it from Pripyat.

Nuclear melt downs are scary. Stalker was scary. This game is not.
The is not exploration nor is there any searching for the lost boy. The protagonist simply wanders from attraction to attraction, riding each one for the sole reason of triggering a spooky cutscene. Why does she get on a ferris wheel that is missing at least one gondola? No reason at all, other than to make time for uncomfortable exposition.

By the second half if the game, in the horror house (of course) it becomes clear that the protagonist is not really in the park. What we are seeing are stages of her relapse into depression and drug use. This is where the PT loop comes in. For around fifteen minutes the player loops through a few hallways of her house as it gets worse and worse. Notes scattered around the environment chronicle her reacting to things in less and less sane ways, culminating in a letter from her therapist declaring her 'fucking crazy' and that 'she should take as many drugs as possible.'

It's not very effective. PT did the loop better and Layers of Fear did the non-interactive haunted house better. The Park is trying to say, well, something, but I am not quite sure what. Of course being a single parent is hard and dealing with mental illness when you are dirt poor is next to impossible, but I did not need a game to teach me this. The subplot of the park itself being constructed as a way to collect and focus negative emotion was much more interesting.

Seriously, tell me about how the roller coaster was just a little more scary than fun and how the bumper cars were just a little too fast. Tell me about the Ivo Shandor type who built the whole thing to try to make himself immortal and the Five Nights and Freddys refugee who killed several annoying teenagers with an ice pick.

These things may very well have been in the protagonist's head but they would have made a better game than what this was.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Podcast - All the hard things

Once the three of us are famous I will publish the outtakes from this episode.

Juicy.


Chamberlain and Chance - All hard things

Not a wuss, just picky

There was a wicked difficulty spike in Alienation between missions nine and ten. The game did warn me about this, tactily suggesting that I go back through previous missions because even already completed areas had been filled with bigger and badder (and more numerous) enemies. Grinding via repetition is nothing something that I do, especially in already completed areas, so I ignored the game's warning and pushed on ahead.

The price for this hubris was an hour of grinding in the next level, being killed over and over while trying to navigate a several block long gauntlet of death while being harassed by surprisingly accurate mortar fire. But Chamberlain, you say, I thought you hated difficult games? No, I hate draconian and unnecessary death penalties. There was no penalty for dying over and over in level ten of Alienation. In fact, each death netted me experience and items that I put towards actually finishing the level. There is a difference between what this game does and what that other game that shall remain nameless inflicts.

Alienation kills you, laughs at you, then offers you a hand up in the form of retained experience and equipment. No making a desperate run back to your corpse, hoping you don't die again on the way lest you lose everything, just a condescending hair tussle and pat on the ass before being tossed back into the fray. Souls games kill you, mock your ineptitude, and if you do perform their silly dance of soul retrieval the condescending tussle is replaced with a big FUCK YOU GIT GOOD.

One of these if quite enjoyable for me. The other prevents me from seeing anything in a game that would do well to include an easy mode.

...

Remember when I said that Desk wasn't human? Behold, proof: