Friday, December 29, 2017

I live!

Maui was nice.



Super Mario Odyssey was good but will be better on a television with a big boy controller.

Now I will sleep for three days,

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The Force Awakens second viewing

It's still a bad movie.

Finn goes from terrified, incompetent storm trooper who refuses to kill to ace tie fighter gunner who kills dozens (in spite of never having done that before) to terrified, whiny bastard who runs away only to run back when the thing he is running away from actually shows up to being able to use a light saber (in spite of never having done that before) well enough to hold his own, for a while, against whiny, emo-vader. He is comic relief in a movie that already had it, albeit clumsily, with other characters, and his existence is entirely superfluous. Truly, he is the Jar Jar of the new trilogy.

Rey goes from scavenger to competent pilot of the Millennium Falcon (in spite of never having done that before) to running away from scary force dreams to fending off mind intrusions from whiny, emo-vader and then mind controlling a moonlighting Daniel Craig before defeating whiny, emo-vader in a light saber dual (in spite of ever having done any of that before). She had no force training, no mentor, and literally used the force to win the fight only after whiny, emo-vader mentioned the force to her and she thought 'oh yeah, that thing that I didn't know was real until a few days ago, I'll use that no problem.' She is not as bad as Finn but she is still a terrible character.

Kylo Ren at least had a master and was convincing as a barely in control, incredibly powerful neophyte who did not know what to do with all of the evil inside. He does not make a good villain as he is about as intimidating as the lead singer from The Cure but lop off a few limbs and he may get there yet.

Han Solo dies and Harrison Ford gets to say 'Fuck all of you, I got paid.'

Poe Dameron is cool. It's still a bad movie.

I will probably hate The Last Jedi, too, whenever I get around to seeing it. Rogue One was so much better.


Monday, December 18, 2017

No, I will not play it your way

My time with Destiny 2 ended just as I assume it would: all of the single player content was done and I had not reached a power level high enough to open whatever Leviathan is. There were three options: grind, play strikes and/or PvP, stop playing. I chose to stop playing but I will not complain about a shooter with around 24 hours of solid content. Destiny 2, the part I can play by myself, was very good. I am not equipped to react to the rest of it as the multiplayer function may as well not exist, as far as I am concerned.

...

Gran Turismo Sport is the most self important, obtuse, over designed game that I have ever seen. The racing may have been good, I wouldn't know, as I never got to play it. The license tests from previous Gran Turismo games are there and are just as boring as they have ever been. They are not required, thankfully, so I did a few and then went looking for a campaign or career mode. There isn't one. There is a training exercise that will take you through each course, which is useful and also boring, but all racing actually takes place online. Against other people.

Before you can do that you are forced to watch two videos on how they would like you to behave online. I am serious. They think that two videos will keep people from driving like a dick head. I drive like a dick head, not by choice, mind you, but because I am not very good at video games, therefore I never race online in Forza. It is what is best for all parties involved: I do have to put up with losing and no one else has to put up with my shitty driving. Two videos on 'not doing things that make you look bad' will certainly fix that.

I watched the videos. I tried to get online. Before I could do that I had to provide an email address for spam/updates. That was the last straw. Of course I have a burner email address that I rarely check for just this kind of thing but the level of arrogance on display was nauseating. No, there is no single player, why would anyone want that, now watch these videos, behave, and by the way bend over and spread them as we have bills to pay and are going to sell your email address.

Fuck you, Polyphony Digital. Fuck you. Every second of time I spent on your game would have been better spent on Forza 7, which is itself only mediocre beyond it initial gorgeousness. So that's what I did.

Yes, I am aware that there is a single player update coming out sometime in December that will include GT League, a traditional campaign. It's too late for that. I am not coming back.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Best of 2017 podcast!

To no one's surprise, buying Strafe was a mistake. It's not funny bad or frustrating bad. It's just bad.

I'll tell what's the opposite of bad: The Best of 2017!


Chamberlain and Chance - Best of the year 2017

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Can't stop. Won't stop.

A strange thing happened while playing Destiny 2 last night, a shooter as mechanically sound as any other shooter that has come out this year (yes, that includes Wolfenstein 2): I killed the big bad guy, ostensibly bringing the single player portion of the game to a close, and I was not ready to stop playing. I walked through the new hub area, picked up a few rewards, then jetted back off to Titan to look for more adventures.

The game smartly does not throw the player into the PvP or Strike game modes immediately. New single player activities have popped up, a few adventures and a few quests, and I think that I want to do them. I want to spend a little more time wallowing around in Bungie shooting goodness in spite of it being almost completely void of any cohesive narrative. Yes, there was a bit about the leader of the Cabal trying to earn the light from the Traveler, failing, stealing it and then getting his just deserts, but that had no impact on the moment to moment action.

Killing aliens and slowing increasing my power level has been amusing for just over twenty hours and there is still more to do. I can see the grind coming, searching for hidden caches or replaying old missions just to get to 290 and unlock whatever the hell Leviathan is, and I will not put up with that shit, but that does not mean that I am ready to discard this game as I would any other trollop of an FPS. It's better than that.

Mechanically, graphically, this game is better than Wolfenstein 2. It has no characters I care about, no BJ to root for or Anja to be a bad ass. If Bungie hired some writers they could make a classic shooter out of the Destiny bones. It's not like that haven't done that before.

Obligations

Earlier this year I promised to purchase Strafe at a discounted price. I then waffled at $11.99. It is now $9.99.

Damnit. I know that the game is going to make me mad. Marvel mad. Perhaps even Bloodborne mad. But a deal is a deal.


Monday, December 11, 2017

The ballad of Tokido, part 2

Capcom Cup was great, storyline wise. I am talking full blown, professional wrestling angles with revenge and comeuppance. The FGC has always stolen liberally from WWE, there is even a major tournament fashioned after a pay per view event, ring and all, but Capcom Cup proved that the best drama cannot be manufactured. It just happens organically when the best in the world at something are thrown into a confined space and told to have at it.

As of Friday there were 31 entrants in the Capcom Cup, some qualified by accumulating points and others by winning majors. The 32nd spot was reserved for the Last Chance Qualifier, a tournament before the tournament whose winner gets into the big show. It is run from beginning to end on Friday, a true marathon of an event. The victor this year was Nemo, an extraordinary  Urien player who took on Infiltration three separate times. The first time Nemo sent Infiltration to losers, beating his Menat like a used drum. Infiltration switched to Juri and reset the bracket but it did not matter. Nemo was on a mission and took his place as the 32nd seed.

The 32nd seed has the 'honor' of being fed to the number one seed. Remember Punk, of second place at Evo, just beat by Tokido fame? He took that second place at Evo and ran with it, winning majors and accumulating more than enough points for the top spot. He over a thousand more points than Tokido, something that I am sure he was quite proud of. The match did not go as Punk would have liked.



Punk was later excused from the tournament by Moke. By the time the top 8 were decided all of the Americans were gone, one of which threw more than a little shade at the announcers for highlighting his 'spotty' Capcom Cup record. (We love you Justin, suck it up). This does not mean that it was an all Japan top 8, as Problem X from the UK and MenaRD from the Dominican Republic, a place most Americans would not be able to find on a large print map, threatened their total dominance.

One problem: Tokido.

Tokido had not been entirely dominant, he had several close calls, including this one:



Full disclosure, I did not know who MenaRD was before Sunday night, much less that the DR had a fighting game scene. He, just like Punk, represented the new wave of Street Fighter players. Tokido has been playing fighting games for longer than MenaRD has been alive. When Tokido send him to losers it appeared to be all over. Even if he made through the loser's bracket and back to grand finals Tokido already had his number. There was no coming back.

It was MenaRD who finally ended Nemo's run. From not being in the tournament to third place was no small feat, but the best was yet to come. MenaRD had to reset the bracket. Against Tokido. Cue the Rocky music.



Drama, motherfuckers. That is how you do it. Tokido gets his comeuppance. Not revenge, as it was not Punk who did him in, but there was something almost Shakespearean in his defeat by a much younger man. The torch was not passed at Capcom Cup. It was taken by force.

...

And then Blanka was announced for Season 3 and I am happier than I have been in a long, long time.



Friday, December 8, 2017

The good before the terrible

First things first: the Xbox One X update has arrived for Destiny 2 and it brings all the pretties. It looked pretty good before the patch. Now? Now it looks better than Doom or Wolfenstein 2. Bethesda has some work to do.

Upon starting Destiny 2, knowing what kind of nonsense I was getting into, I resolved to play until it either forced me to play well with others or just stopped being fun. Neither has happened yet and I am pleasantly surprised. There are random co-op events that pop up in the world and you can either join in and get a share of the loot or just walk past, wishing the other guardians good luck. I have taken both paths and, while I am loath to admit it, the pick up co-op worked. All the fun of shooting bad guys together with none of the baggage. No looking for groups, no milling around afterward splitting up the drops, the event ends and everyone walks away.

Sci fi FPS one night stands.

It does get annoying when a community event pops up in front of my quest location but they resolve quickly enough that it hasn't been too much of a problem. Sometime just being in the vicinity when it resolves gets you a (small) share of the rewards.

The action has more than made up for the threadbare plot. I may not really care about the the guardians or the invading army intent on 'stealing the light' before blowing up the sun but moving through the environments and killing their inhabitants is a good time. Loot drops are regular enough that I do not get tired of my weapons. New skills unlock more slowly but I have not used anything from my first subclass anyway so that hasn't bothered me.

Destiny 2 is a good shooter that I know is going to turn on a dime when the solo portion of the game is complete. It is going to go from 'this is fun' to 'fuck this noise and the grindy horse it rode in on' so fast that the servers will wonder why there is dust cloud where why level 20 titan used to be. At least Activision threw me a few scraps to enjoy before locking the rest behind game play walls that I do not have the patience or social skills to surpass.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

No, I am not hearing voices

Way, way back in the mid aughts, when I was foolishly maintaining a gaming PC on a shoestring budget and intentionally not play World of Warcraft because I cannot mentally enjoy anything that everyone else does, I picked up Guild Wars on a whim and was pleasantly surprised. It looked quite good on my meager rig, had a very low level cap, choosing to focus more on equipment and skills than grinding levels, and most importantly it functioned as a single player game. Quests that were a bit too much for one person or that required a specific skill, like a tank or a healer, were still possible for the lonely man: NPCs could be hired in most towns and they did an admirable job of filling out a party of one to a party of one plus a few nobodies.

Most quest areas were instances, pocket universes for the player and his real or artificial friends. Cities were the massive part of this psuedo MMORPG; terrible, laggy places that I avoided at all costs. It was an MMO that let me play the way I wanted to. Play I did until I got bored of it, stuck my toe into the four on four PvP arena, got killed and logged off forever. Oh, and it was free after the initial purchase with paid expansions every few months.

Take Guild Wars out of the first paragraph. I just described Destiny and Destiny 2, didn't I?

To be fair, Destiny, and to a greater extent Destiny 2, have that sweet sauce of Bungie's first person shooting. Something in the movement, the momentum, the weapons and general chaos of battle is instantly recognizable. Everything else in the game was done by NCSoft 12 years ago, up to and including by gripe of the day: not being able to pause the game.

I have no one in my party and I am in an instanced zone. Let me pause the game and grab a handful of chips, you godless motherfuckers! No, every attempted grab of generic jalapeno goodness is fraught with danger. Heaven forbid I try to get a drink of beer and get shanked from behind by the flood the hive.

Destiny 2 is a front for Alcoholics Anonymous and Weight Watchers! Bring me my tinfoil hat and deep fried cheese curds!

Update: to prove I am being consistent, a hot take from three years ago.

http://www.infinitebacklog.com/2014/09/yes-mr-burns-works-there.html

Monday, December 4, 2017

The smuttiest spoilers

In case the title was not clear, I am going to talk about the ending(s) of Nights of Azure 2. No one should play this game because it is not very good (not just because it is several buckets full of cringe) but if you happen to enjoy mediocre JRPGs and this is on your list, consider yourself warned.

There are two endings to Nights of Azure 2, one that makes sense and one that does not. It is difficult to determine which of these is the 'canon' ending, and I cannot believe that I just implied that Nights of Azure 2 has a definitive canon, but I am going to assume the that ending I got, the sad one that makes sense, is not the true ending as it was not difficult to get. I am not sure how to get the other one. Thanks to YouTube I will never have to find this out.

Aluche dies during the opening of the game. She is resurrected with Arnice's (from the first) blue blood turning her into a half-fiend (not a demi-fiend, that is a character from a much older, better game). Her heart has also been replaced with that or her creator, as it was damaged irreparably by a big ass sword going through it. This is foreshadowing, a reasonable hint as to what is going to happen later.

As Aluche gains power she begins to worry about going mad and turning into a full blown baby killing demon. She turns to one of her friends, Ruenhein, and asks her to kill her if this happens. Ruenhein tearfully agrees but doubts that she has the power to actually kill Aluche if the worst occurs. Again, decent foreshadowing.

Prior to the final battle Camilla, the doctor who created Aluche and whose heart beats in her chest, pulls Ruenhein aside and confesses to installing a failsafe when she brought Aluche back from the dead. There is a macguffin on Aluche's heart that will turn her to crystal, killing her, with the flick of a switch. She then hands Ruenhein the remote and tells her to do what must be done.

Everything make sense so far? This is pretty straightforward for a JRPG.

Aluche defeats the Moon Queen, the big bad who killed her in the first place, but ends up possessed by the Moon Queen's spirit and turns into a baby killing demon. She is about to absorb Liliana, the titular (no pun intended) Bride of the New Moon, and obtain absolute power when Ruenhein flips the switch and she turns to crystal. Big explosions, Aluche dies, bittersweet ending, Chamberlain is satisfied because it at least makes sense and he can now play something else.

But I had to know: what was the 'good' ending? Strap in.

Liliana (the Bride of the New Moon) was with Aluche when the Moon Queen killed her at the beginning of the game. Liliana regained consciousness as the world was ending. The Moon Queen had already won and was in the process of destroying the world. Liliana had a power that was briefly teased that allowed her to greatly slow time in a specific area. She used this power to lock the growing 'end of the world' wave in place and waited for Aluche to find her.

The Liliana that Aluche had been chasing, found, and then adventuring with was not real. The fight between Aluche and the Moon Queen did not happen. Everything was just a projection, Liliana's dream, and it led up to Liliana not being able to maintain the time stop any longer. Aluche joins her and the power of their love allowed them to maintain the time stop at the cost of never being seen again.

USDA Grade A certified bullshit. Very little if any foreshadowing, terrible explanation, stupid twist, might as well have been directed by M. Night Shyamalan. At least the game was short.

...

I watched a new Simpson's episode for the first time in I don't know how long as I was trapped on the couch under sleeping cat and sleeping wife. It was terrible. I need to make sure that it doesn't happen again.

Yeah, that's the stuff



Could Cuphead be on a very special upcoming list? Who knows....

Friday, December 1, 2017

A winner, I suppose

Nights of Azure 2 assumes that the player is going to run through the game several times to wring every last bit of smut from its supple recesses. The chapter time limit all but guarantees that the player will not be able to get to all of the side quests and relationship building nonsense for every character and I am not going to play this thing more than once so I had to pick one to focus on. This was done based on two criteria: combat effectives and being at least physically plausible in a lower gravity environment. There was only one choice: Veruschka.


Veruschka is a half-fiend like Aluche, only her transformation did not got as well and she is doomed to die young. She was also stolen from an orphanage at a very young age and, as she is little more than a weapon, never learned any emotion. She has both big hitting attacks for single enemies and good crowd control. And she is almost fully clothed. 

Not much is happening in the game, story wise. Nights of Azure had an honest romance subplot between the protagonists and this game plays out more like Porkies written by the comic book guy from The Simpsons. There are no actual relationships here, just winking innuendo and wacky misunderstandings. Arnice, the hero from the first game, showed up as a boss fight (she has amnesia because of course she has amnesia) and even that did little to raise my interest.

I am not sure who the target audience is, but I am not it, and I have more fun making up excuses as to not tell anyone what I am playing that I am actually playing the game.