Monday, February 25, 2019

Just 'cause?

The previous two Just Cause games were delightfully silly open world slide shows. Stuff blew up real good, so good in fact that the game engine couldn't keep up. I never found the performance issues unforgivable as the core game play, going from town to town and blowing up a list of objectives, was consistantly enjoyable.

So why in world would Just Cause 4, a sequel to games about blowing shit up, include significantly less shit to blow up and less reason to blow said shit up?

Discovered towns in Just Cause 4 no longer have a laundry list of things to level. You know me, I love my lists. Instead there are a number of pointless, unrelated stunts to perform, all of which boil down to getting yourself through a hoop, either quickly or in a specific vehicle. That's it. Some are creative, yes, but they are not nearly as much fun and taking the head of a dictator's statue with a rocket propelled grenade.

Even worse, after a mere twelve hours of play I have unlocked all of the upgrades associated with these stunt objectives. Some still unlock vehicles, and I will do those, but there no reason to do any of the others. Some though was put into these objectives, albeit misguided, and yet the game give no reason to complete them.

And none of that is what I want to do, anyway. I want to blow shit up. There is just not as much to blow up and enemies pour out of the god damn sky like locusts as soon as poor Rico starts making trouble. And they are incredibly persistent.

But the game has yet to crash on me and has impressively short load times. *side eyes Metro Exodus, which did neither*

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Two terrible tales

Artyom crouched behind the boulder, just out of sight of the slaves running the water pump. It was almost a relief to be underground again. The desert was hot and dry, two things that 20 years in the metro had left him ill prepared for. Several other spartans were already out of action thanks to dehydration. Artyon needed the water in this cave for both his comrades and their train. None of them were going anywhere without it.

The wheel turned and a slave stumbled. The tribal master turned to yell and Arytom made his move, along the edge of the cave, up the stairs and into a small radio shack. There was another tribal sitting, talking on the radio, just out of reach. Artyom crept forward. This had to be quiet.

In an instant he was behind the tribal. A quick hit to the back of the head was all it took. After a moment of satisfaction Artyom found that he could not stand. Moving to knock out the radio operator had placed him between a chair and a wall, a space so small that he had no right actually fitting into it. He didn't fit into it, but he could not move. Not forward, not backward. And the chair itself was impossibly heavy. He was stuck.

There was a voice in Artyom's head. 'Reload,' it said.


'Reload, you fool, before it's too late.'

Artyom, quite sure that years of radiation exposure had finally melted his brain, looked for the source of the voice. He saw no one, and then, out of the corner of his eye he saw the words 'CHECKPOINT SAVED.' Before he could react, the voice came back.

'You dumb fucker.'

There was a flash, Artyom blacked out and then was back almost before he noticed the change. He was still stuck between the immovable chair and wall of the shed. Looking at his watch he noticed that it was exactly one minute before he had heard the voice.

'Oh for fucks sake' came the voice. Artyom blacked out again.

He was back, shooting this time, trying to get attention, hoping that an errant shot from one of the slaves would knock him loose. They never made it into the radio shed but one of their attack dogs did. Artyom fired at it reflexively, killing it, and its corpse flopped on top of him. He still could not move and there was now a dead dog in his face.


'What, how, come the fuck on' came the voice.

In a flash it was two hours earlier. Artyom was back, not stuck, but standing where he was two hours before the incident in the cave. In his last moments he heard the voice one more time.

'Nope. Not doing this again.'

Artyom's world ceased to exist.

And Chamberlain was out $60.


Okay, Immortal Unchained. Stupid name.

I see a stamina bar. Not looking good. Dodging, running and melee attacks consume stamina. What's that smell?

Kill a few enemies. The controls function as advertised by the in game prompts. Use pillar to level up. Seriously, what is that smell, it's getting worse.

Hey, a mid boss type enemy. Jesus he hits hard. Killed him but used up all my health whatevers. I should head back to the pillar to recover. Why are all the enemies back, I just left the room two minutes ago. Holy shit, that smell, my eyes are watering. What is it?

Oh crap, I died. Where did all my credits go? Sitting there on the ground?


Friday, February 15, 2019

Next on versus

First, let be in known that I have nothing against covers. My favorite version of All Along the Watchtower is by Dave Matthews Band, for pete's sake. So here we go. The new:

And the old:

First reaction was position. For a few minutes. Then, well...

Ok, rap break is fine. It's fine. It just doesn't fit in the some, rhythmically or otherwise. The only reason I can think of it being there is that guitar guy from the new version is not Tom Morello and they had to do something to fill in the break.

...we really need Rage Against the Machine back, don't we?

Thursday, February 14, 2019

The greatest dick move

Remember that section of Battlefield 5 I complained about yesterday? I got past it, died, then quit. When I cam back to it instead of starting at the last check point I started at the last cut scene, before the psychic tank fight.

Dick move, game. Dick move.

Chamberlain and Chance - Can I go now?

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

The tank that can see through walls

Battlefield V suffers from the same 'fake open level' syndrome that many other Battlefield, and for that matter Call of Duty, titles. It presents the player with a large(ish) open area with multiple objectives and the illusion of choice. In reality there is one way to succeed.

For example, I needed to soften up a town's defenses before the rest of my battalion attacked. There were three targets: a tank and two big ass stationary guns. I tried sneaking around to the stationary guns first, hoping to use those on the tank, but no dice, neither had the tank in their field of fire. I then tried to sneak around behind the tank, which was the right idea in the end, but it took me a goddamn half hour of reloads to find the correct path. Being seen by one Nazi alerted them all, as Nazis have an indelible psychic link (or something like that), and then the tank blew my ass away.

The final solution was to sneak along a very specific path, kill two very specific guards, then attach three pieces of dynamite to the tank before alerting it. That's not free form that's linear as shit. It was interesting when I alerted the enemies because the fight that followed was always chaotic and different but it ended in my death, every time. The only solution was also the most boring one.

I do need to acknowledge that the game does have building destruction down to a science. The first time I alerted the tank I ran inside of a building. Surely, I though, I will be safe in here.


A whole wall is gone. Then I died.

Next attempt I hid behind the building. No boom. Instead the tank drove through the building and flattened by ass. It was amusing the first few times, before the psychic Nazis got old, and I just wanted to quit.


Tetris Effect was pretty good. Not mind altering. It's no Rez. But it's pretty good. I did not play it in VR yet, as the final level is hard enough without a wearing a helmet, but I will get around to it eventually.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Something doesn't fit

Lego DC Super Villains was fine. It was fine. It was a Lego game, what more could it be? I stand by complaint about the voice. Only Lex and Batman were correct, as they either got the actual performers or some really damn good impressionists. Joker and Harley were bad.

Yes, I am complaining about the voice acting in a Lego game. This is what my life has come to.

Speaking of difficult revelations, the opening of DC Super Villains forces the player to create a new super villain. This new character is not always in the active party but he or she does gain powers as the game progresses, acting as a catch all solution for puzzles. There is also a nifty 'choose you side' moment at the end. The Justice League is back and are willing to forgive 'the rookie' but of course the villains want him to stay nice and evil.

I chose evil. Because fuck Superman, he's a bore.

Anyway. it took me an embarrassingly long time to settle on a design for this throw away character. I went back and forth between models, powers, walking animations, etc. Literally paralyzed by choice to settled on one of the premade options, naming him Handkerchief McBeardFace. This is why I played the default male Shepherd in Mass Effect - when forced to create my own character I freeze. Too many choices equals no choice equals default option.


Battlefield V is surprisingly ugly. I was not expecting anything more than a serviceable shooter, and I suppose it works, but textures are strangely muddy up close and you can see them pop between resolutions in the distance. Character models and death animations are not at all impressive. This does not feel like a AAA tent pole release. Perhaps Call of Duty was right to jetisson the single player portion in favor of another battle royale mode.

My shooter of choice comes out in a few days and there might, just might, be a new Doom this year so I am not hurting for single player FPPs. It is just strange to see one of the big two falter so hard. Battlefield 1 was actually pretty good. This? Not so much.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

That's all I can stands, I can't stands no more

The final boss in 'Warhammer 40,000 Inquisitor Martyr - Oh lord, help me, I need an editor' was stupid. He was a bullet sponge who summoned other bullet sponges. It was an attrition based fight that I could not lose as dying dumped me back into the same room, over and over, until the damn thing died.

There was a brief piece of resolution regarding the plot that I had lost track of fifteen hours ago, credits, and then I was dumped back to the central hub. With a new mission.

That was 200 points higher than my current power level. Just for grins I ran through a random side mission. It was boring and I upped my power lever by about 5 points. In order for this last series of missions to be feasible I would need to grind for equipment for hours. Lots of hours. More hours than I wanted to give the game.

Did I finish the game? No, I suppose not, but I saw enough of it. I forced my way though the campaign until the big bad died, the maguffin disappeared, and I was hit with adds for DLC. More than enough.

If forced to make comparisons, Shadows Awakening did not wear out it welcome. It was not good but it was not good for just long enough. Warhammer 40,000 Inquisitor Martyr was tiresome before I got done reading the title.

...Warhammer 40,000 Inquisitor Martyr make sure to over pronounce every syllable and add a bad British accent.

...Warhammer 40,000 Inquisitor Martyr Part of an incredibly dense and huge mythos that only the neck beardiest of neck beards can understand.

Yeah, that's enough.

Monday, February 4, 2019

When did I get so nice

First, I neglected to post a link to my own podcast week. Please see nifty ShoutEngine player at the bottom of this post. Not that there is anyone who frequents this blog that is not actually in the podcast. Still, sorry boys, my bad.

Second, I fear that I was a bit too kind to Warhammer 40,000 Inquisitor Martyr totally not based on Event Horizon the game of the miniatures. Levels are based on about three different templates and blend together. Disparate weapons all feel remarkably similar. Crafting remains baffling and oddly ineffectual. And the leveling system...

I mentioned before that each mission has an arbitrary number attached to it - arbitrary as it the next is always more than the last. The number is compared to the player's power level and if they come in about or below additional penalties are bonuses are applied. It's monumentally stupid and serves only to force the player to grind sub-missions for identical but slightly more powerful equipment in order to attempt the next story mission.

A 10% increase doesn't sound like much, but where there are a dozen things shooting at you, that shit adds up fast.

Odd difficulty spikes add the frustration. One leader type enemy has the power to heal itself over time. It does not have this active at all times but when the skill is kicked off the best the player can do is maintain fire and wait it out. This keeps the enemy from healing. Too much. Fighting two of these at the same time was total bullshit.

At least there are no lives in story missions. Death has no penalty other than lost time. I am only playing this because Metro isn't out yet.


Chamberlain and Chance - Baby it's cold outside