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Saturday, June 27, 2015

Arkham knight: Patch one. It's... better. There be miles to go, however.

The PS4 has better textures than this. The PS4 is a glorified 6 year old gaming PC. Sorry Chance, but it is.

The regularly scheduled freezing hitches are gone, but gliding and dive bombing still tank the FPS on a GTX 780. Which without high textures (which still don't exist yet) is goddamn ridiculous. WB was right to pull it, the thing isn't finished yet. Though those fancy smoke and flying paper effects look great and are stable at 30 FPS. But I'm a 60 fps man and that's just not good enough yet. Oh and apparently the rain effects never worked  so now I get to enjoy watching water slide off bat's helmet for the fist time. *Checks* yes... that's lovely.

So I've been treating it like an early accesses and it's been more good than bad. I seem to be in the minority that actually like the batmobile. I love Riddler's races and the stealth sequences (yes, stealth batmobile sequences) are both tense and tactical. I've already gobbled up the main story and I have only a few quibbles. The identity of the Arkham Knight is telegraphed harder than Peter's denial of Jesus. Of Nazareth? You know the guy.

But Scarecrow's ultimate plan to destroy Batman's mystique and reputation is wonderful. John Noble just owns it, you guys. His milky eyes and facial necrosis never gets old. Though the more and more I think about it, the sillier and sillier the idea of a mercenary army EVER agreeing to attack an American city is. What the hell is their end game, exactly? How are they ever going to see the outside of a CIA black site after the army takes them out? At least they sure are fun to punch.

So while they should have suspended the PC release for at least a couple weeks, I am glad I got to play it. In spite of all the vitriol 10,000 people are doing so  on PC right now. That's ten times the people playing Beyond Earth! It was a botched launch, but clearly a ton of people are still having a good time. Myself included. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Tales from the Borderlands, still the most enjoyable game this year.

There's an argument to be made that Telltale doesn't actually make games anymore. There are no puzzles to solve or objectives to complete. But there are narratives to subtly direct. But the simple fact is I've had more fun picking dialogue choices for Rhys and Fiona's increasingly bloody and hilarious caper across the Borderlands than any other game this year.

Every character has gotten a laugh out of me, twists have genuinely shocked me, and I'm DYING to know what the Atlas corporation was up to before Hyperion snuffed them out. Die hard Borderlands fans (YO) are going to get the most mileage out of these episodes, but the acting and writing is so sharp I'd recommend it to people who actively hate video games.

Welcome to the Wayne-Tec help desk.

"All customer service representatives are currently busy, please stay on the line for slightly longer than 2 hours... we will be with you shortly."

But seriously, Once I got over the frame rate dips, it's spectacular game. Doesn't excuse the blatant QA smokescreen before launch, however. PC gamers are the most financially invested and we go nuts over trivial sh*t. We actually have a case now! Do you know what this means for your twitter page?

Patch, Ladies and Gentlemen, patch like your livelihoods depend on it.

Arkham Knight does not like the PC. AT ALL.

See that speed limit? I'm gonna pretend that was intentional.
From the heights of The Witcher 3 ( my personal best out of the box performance of a bleeding edge game EVER) Rocksteady has brought me to this. They raised the minimum specs in online store fronts 12 hours before launch and forced a 30 fps cap in-game. You can pull an ini. tweak and remove it, but the benchmark program straight up lies to you. It shows you the game running at the coveted 60 FPS then shrugs when it's sawed in half during the actual thing that you paid $60 for. Classy as hell guys, I'm dying to know your endgame. You're going to call it a feature on twitter aren't you?

Snark aside, I can run it and I really liked my time with it. But gliding 20 feet cuts my frames down to half and the "shmancy" Nvidia light shaft and physx rain are virtually invisible and shred my already mediocre FPS to ribbons.

There have been worse launches, I'm sure... but Rocksteady had all the time in the world to nail it. If a 200 person team in Poland can do it, what's going on here? Plus it's worth noting that they did not let ANY PC review copies out to the press ahead of launch. Strike 2 guys. Patch this nonsense up and all will be forgiven. At least by me, anyway.

People STILL won't shut up about New Vegas's launch troubles and that's a masterpiece. Even Honest Trailers says so!


Saturday, June 20, 2015

Woke up Angry.

Has your subconscious ever screamed at you to quit your job? Because the other day mine handed over the reins in a huff. Within seconds of consciousnesses I was fuming over the gulf of how much I loved my job when I started to how shafted and rejected I feel now. That's never happened to me before and it concerns me for a couple reasons.

One, sleep's never come easy to me in the first place and it seems my nocturnal side may be presenting a sort of ultimatum. Because I wake up exhausted every single day now. It's not... depression, I've been down that road and I remember what it looks like. So what the hell is this?

Two... I ain't exactly hauling in marlins when it comes to the job hunt. This is good money for the hours and I genuinely like all my co-workers. Though I haven't been much for conversation the last week or two. A lot of my friends jumped ship as well and I guess I should take the hint. 

2 years at some restaurant isn't worth loosing sleep over. I need to hunker down and see if my measly English degree can get me a real job. Jesus god I'm tired.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Naughty Dog is still killing it.

I thought F4 broke my excit-o-meter, because nothing after that even moved the needle. Sure, stuff looked rad as hell, namely that new Ratchet and clank business. But nothing jumped out at me.

But then I was all "I got time for Naughty Dog. they made my first video game and they've nary let me down since."

That was the best driving sequence I'd ever seen! It wasn't a game of chase the way point, you had to figure out how to strategically avoid that truck and even though the player had all the answers he still broke every fencepost and fruit stand in that city and won my physics heart.

These muthers are just incapable of phoning it in!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Fallout is Minecraft! Minecraft is Fallout!

If he'd ask nicely... I'd kiss that man and so would you.
I'm uhh... I'm indisposed. I expected F4 to be good, this is so much more. Putting Borderland's piecemeal gun parts into the guiding hands of the player is one thing. Being able to tear the raw material out of the game's walls and make "Your Town, USA" is another thing. Making power armor not just a piece of armor, but it's own gameplay element complete with a motherf**king jet pack is another thing.

Also, V.A.T.S. is back... you can play as a woman... 11-10-15... dogs are cool.

I'm gonna lie down.

The Witcher 3 is like... really long, you guys.

I planned on finishing it up and reviewing it days ago. But this is an absolutely massive game in ways I'd not expected. It puts Inquisition to shame in just about every respect and I quite liked that game. I've played the main quest line almost exclusively, I even failed a bunch of missions just because I wanted to power through what I thought would be the end game.

But it turns out the final act is exactly that. An ACT. Not a single dungeon crawl, not a half-assed finale battle, but a solid 10 hour ACT. When most games are passing out on the finish line, Witcher 3 is gearing up for another mile.

An extra mile, you might say.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Oh... HELLO Tales from the Borderlands. Nice of you to start to begin to join us.

June 23? I'm trying to understand. I know you live all the way out in California and it takes alot for you to make time for me. I just wish you'd talk to me first, though. You keep saying you can make it out every 2 months. But the last time it took 4 and this time it'll be an even 3. I don't mind waiting. But it would have been nice to hear something, hell, ANYTHING about this a month ago.

I love our time together, seriously, you've been incredible. I'm starting to think... there's someone else.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Avellone has left the building.

Chris Avellone, chief creative officer, and head writer of my favorite game ever made... has left Obsidian. This dashes my hopes for a true successor to New Vegas to ever exist and that stings really hard.

He's the best writer in the business and his work at Obsidian was tremendous. Between NV, South Park, and Pillars of Eternity his reign was truly supreme. My bet is he'll probably end up with his buds at inXile, as he co-wrote their next game. Maybe that was cause for termination? Maybe.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Hannibal, Antipasto: Review

This, unlike any other show that's ever aired, doesn't give a single f**k about what you think. It's going to do what it wants, when it wants to. It's going to blare an out of tune pipe organ in your ear while a woman passes out after pulling the entire length of her arm from a dead man's throat.

This is a bizarre, violent, show that follows more of a nightmare dream logic than a real story structure. This season it's decided to completely reinvent itself after last season's "get out of contract free" cliffhanger that left nearly every single main character bleeding out in Hannibal's mansion. Hannibal has coerced Bedelia (his former therapist and now "wife") into being his European camouflage. As he murders his way into a respectable position curating an Italian art exhibit. He straight up sits in his competition's office feasting on the man's liver so he can give that man's wife a cute little shock.

There hasn't been a horror film in years with this kind goofy, yet enthralling, kind of sadism. This is the one-of-a-kind folded steel carving knife to SAW's blunted cleaver. It makes sumptuous visual high art out of a mumble core penny dreadful script. And thankfully, IMDB tells me everyone's contract renewed, so the core cast will show up... eventually.

Not before Hannibal showed us that they totally could have built a show around just the two of them and part of me wishes they had. Settling into life with a possessive monster has a lot to do with bath tub based dream sequences and trips to unsettling, and fancy, Italian butcher shops. How come our butcher shops don't have rabbits and game hens hung up to bleed? Thanks, FDA.

Antipasto is a day in the life. All story threads that seem to lead to further intrigue are surgically dealt with by Hannibal's indiscriminate and defensive hand. It's a short film rather than an episode, capped off with Bedelia staring longingly at a train station security camera. Screaming for help on the inside. There's even a film within a film and it's some of the best character work in the series to date. Did you think Hannibal made Eddie Izzard just eat his own leg and then killed him? No. No he didn't. It's the greatest character send off I think I've ever seen. It's slow, horrific, and hypnotizing.

Apparently the Red Dragon is going to feature this season too, but to be honest... I'm already stuffed.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

I can buy Fallout 4... and I'm really thinking about it.

Goddammit, OPEN ALREADY!!!!

Sure, it's possible that this game comes out in January 2017. Any number of setbacks could happen. But the fact they've had more than a reasonable amount of time to make the thing, and because of Todd Howard's famous "when it's ready" approach to marketing, and because I can plop down $60 to reserve the thing on Steam right now even though it doesn't even have power armor as box art... points strongly to a  Fall or December release.

This is happening. Sure The Witcher 3 was delayed almost a full year, which is why I'm not taking my hand off my wallet... even though my heart and my soul scream "YES!" As if $59.99 could make my hopes and dreams real. No, even though that in engine trailer was glorious and I'd happily slog through it if it was one of the greatest disappointments in gaming history, I do have more restraint than that.

I can wait. But not forever.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Monday, June 1, 2015

X-COM 2? Solid copy, big sky.

Guess what's not about aliens invading... again? Why, it's X-COM 2! With extraterrestrial occupation, genetic splicing, and a VTOL mobile command center, X2 looks like it's taking all the right steps to a great sequel.

Though I will have to be sold a little harder on that literal cobra commander. That's a little much. Let's go, November 2015! Get here as fast as you can. Or don't. Pull a Witcher 3 and take all the time you need. No rush.