Gaming Life Update
  • POSTED BY Joel Castro on Jul 10, 2016

    Well, I haven’t been on in a while. Big reason why that was though, and that was moving to a different town. Smaller than what I’m used to, but it’s quaint and peaceful.

     

    That also means I haven’t been posting like I used to, which will get fixed as soon as I find a space for my laptop. I have a few review drafts I’m working on, including:

     

    – Life is Strange

    – Metal Gear Solid (retro)

    – Diablo 3

    – Deus Ex: Human Revolution

     

    These will be released in that order, so keep an eye out. As for games I’ve been playing recently, I’m still playing Destiny, The Witcher 3, Bloodborne, and Uncharted 4’s multiplayer. Hopefully I can even start my livestreaming events soon.

     

    Well, that’s everything for now. If you have any review requests, let me know. I have a wickedly huge library, so don’t hesitate to ask for one.

    POSTED BY elheber on Jul 11, 2016

    I was working on an editorial for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but after writing most of it, was wasn’t happy with it anymore. I don’t want to be known as the guy who has a negative opinion of every beloved upcoming game. I had already said Nintendo was ashamed of Star Fox, I’ve been down on the System Shock remake, and to come out as the only person in the world that is deeply worried about Breath of the Wild would make me look like a real ass.

    I’m not playing anything right now, sadly. It pisses me off how little time for games I have.

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 1 month ago by elheber.

    "A closet intellectual, he acts dumb to impress women."

    "A closet intellectual, he acts dumb to impress women."

    POSTED BY Joel Castro on Jul 11, 2016

    I always feel like being a negative nancy doesn’t work out in the long run. I try to remain positive while being constructive about the flaws. It’s hard sometimes, but there’s actually a lot you can do with constructive feedback.

     

    On a related note, I’ve always wanted to do a debate with someone who has a differing opinion than me on a game. Never had a chance to, and previous forums always had one unreasonable idiot whom wouldn’t give arguments that weren’t steeped in ridiculous biases.

    POSTED BY xsuicidesn0wmanx on Jul 11, 2016

    I believe I mentioned this in the Error Reporting section last week, but I am hopefully on the way to getting over my health issues that have plagued me for the past 6 months. I had a severe Vit D deficiency that left me feeling completely drained almost the entire day while also battling insomnia. I’m not entirely over it but I feel a lot better and plan to get back to work on the site now that we’ve moved to a more stable host. I’ve got a few things to fix, and I want to address the poor spacing on the mobile menu and the links in that menu that lead to half-finished pages.

    I just finished Homefront: The Revolution last night and played a few rounds of Resistance Mode afterwards. I’ll probably be scoring the game in the 65-70 range for my review if I can find a way to write enough about it before I’ve forgotten what I wanted to say. I think the game could have been a 75-80 if it didn’t have some rather annoying bugs & glitches. There are some severe initial load time issues that get worse the farther you get into the game, plus the game freezes every time it auto-saves. Other than that it wasn’t bad and the story was average to above average, it had a strong beginning and ending but the rest was just filler. I think if they give Dambuster another shot at Homefront with no interruptions they will create something on par with Call of Duty and Battlefront. Though to be honest I’d rather see them make TimeSplitters 4.

    My plan for the near future is to revisit Red Dead Redemption on my X1, and finish off Mad Max finally.

    elheber: I don’t think there is anything wrong with having another article with a negative tone to it as long as it is constructive like master suggested. Try to offer ideas you feel would work better for the game compared to the ideas you’re unsure of.

    mastermetal777: We already disagree on The Order: 1886 and Half-Life 2 though I’m not so sure we’d make for a good debate. I don’t think I’m a normal gamer based on how many ‘bad games’ I tend to enjoy. And I don’t mean this in a sense of my liking games you don’t, rather how often I find a way to enjoy a game the general consensus deems bad.

    You're all zombie thigh-fat people brought into animation by some evil force of forceful evil!!! - Happy Noodle Boy.

    You're all zombie thigh-fat people brought into animation by some evil force of forceful evil!!! - Happy Noodle Boy.

    POSTED BY Joel Castro on Jul 11, 2016

    See, even that would be a good debate though, as you can usually rationalize what you enjoyed. That’s all that really matters in a debate.

    POSTED BY elheber on Jul 11, 2016

    Let’s do Uncharted 4 then. I didn’t get to see your overall score, but you gave it 97 for gameplay and 99 for everything else so I’m guessing you’d give it a 97 or 98/100 overall. I myself gave it an 89/100, just under the 90% threshold. Let’s debate that 8% margin.

    I thought the pacing for U4 was all over the place. Sometimes it was really good and sometimes it was really awful. The very beginning and the very end of the game stand out as the worst parts in terms of pacing. In terms of narrative, the opening in media res of them on the boat was completely out of place. In Uncharted 2, Nate woke up surprised to see himself shot and dangling over a cliff… same as the player felt. In U4, Nate knows whats going on but you, the player, doesn’t. It starts without a setup and it ends without a setup. It’s like the opening in Among Thieves was planned from the start while the opening in A Thief’s End was a last-minute mad scramble to find something, anything, to put at the start to not bore the player.

    And then the end… it never ramped up to a climax. In Zelda games for example, last few rooms before the final boss isn’t a series of slow puzzles, but a gauntlet of previously beaten bosses one after another until you reach the massive final door. At the end of U4, you’re taking a leisurely trek through the scenic mountain region and swiming in calm waters with nary an enemy for almost an hour. And then you’re suddenly at the final boss fight. Surprise. Oh, and here’s a new way of fighting you’ve never done before.

    For narrative/game design sins, those are not massive fuck-ups or anything, but they stood out like a sore thumb.

    I have a laundry list of minor complains from the game, that I was surprised didn’t affect anyone else’s enjoyment. The AI often knew where I was without being able to see me: I recorded myself moving along the back of a wall to try to flank the last guy, and the guy just re-positioned himself and started firing at the place I had yet to pop out of. When you make them suspicious, instead of investigating they just stare in your direction for a few seconds and claim there was nothing there. “You didn’t even properly look, you lazy bum,” I think to myself.

    Climbing can be extremely finicky if you don’t turn the camera just right. When you have your camera sideways… oh, 5pm. I took too long. Gotta go. I will finish later.

    "A closet intellectual, he acts dumb to impress women."

    "A closet intellectual, he acts dumb to impress women."

    POSTED BY xsuicidesn0wmanx on Jul 11, 2016

    Yeah, 97 was my overall score, and I gave the game a 95 for game play. I think when it comes to giving these games a score I tend to think back to my youth reading classic magazine GamePro. Back then it wasn’t really a matter of what arbitrary number did the game receive but rather was it fun! I view my score as a numerical representation of how much fun I had, with 99 being the absolute most fun I feel I could have enjoyed. I really enjoyed Uncharted 4 from the very start all the way into the final chapters of the game.

    When it comes to a game like Uncharted, and I’ll throw Tomb Raider in there too, the npcs are not the only enemies imo. The level itself, the platforming, can be just as much of a challenge as taking on a gaggle of ak wielding npcs. So going for long stretches without shooting anyone isn’t really a pacing issue to me because the games alternate between shooter and platformer, and rarely do both at once. I can understand an argument where it doesn’t make sense that the enemies show up in certain places(i.e. the cliff-side right before you find the lost city) that they had no ‘easy access’ to.

    For me the scoring as based on the fact Uncharted 4 was pretty much the most fun I have had playing a game in a very long time, and the amount of flaws that got in the way of that fun were very few. Running away from a truck near the end of the game was really the only thing that made me stop and wish the game would just end, but that was mostly a product of how bad Uncharted 3 turned out by comparison. The story really sat well with me too, pure adventure from start to finish, no goofy act 3 with 1200 year old immortals. Just a good old fashioned treasure hunt filled with a lot of exploration, searching for clues, and solving puzzles while taking out the enemy trying to get there first and his giant army. Like an Indiana Jones movie, or my personal favorite, The Goonies. I also really got into the characters, everyone really worked well together and all of the voice actors had great chemistry, as far as a video game performance goes this was as good as I’ve seen in a long time.

    I really did not notice any issues with the AI, I wasn’t really attempting to hide from them at all during the game, I played very aggressively, usually sniping them as soon as I saw them. Any other ‘minor’ issue I probably overlooked. As long as something doesn’t hinder me having fun I don’t consider it worth lowering the score all that much. To me, that is the reason why I don’t allow games to be scored above 99, those little things exist in every game. Especially the common complaints like ‘too repetitive’, ‘linear’, and bunch of others. You can use those to describe just about every game ever made.

    You're all zombie thigh-fat people brought into animation by some evil force of forceful evil!!! - Happy Noodle Boy.

    You're all zombie thigh-fat people brought into animation by some evil force of forceful evil!!! - Happy Noodle Boy.

    POSTED BY elheber on Jul 12, 2016

    …when you have the camera sideways, Nate all of a sudden doesn’t know in which direction to climb. At times like this, games either have it so pointing in the direction of the wall makes you climb up it, away from a wall makes you climb down it. For Uncharted 4, when you point the analog up the game doesn’t know if you mean you want to climb up the wall or sideways along the wall, so you get those moments where you think your inputs make total sense but Nate is just humping the wall like a madman until you put the camera on his back.

    My largest gripe with the game is how late they introduced the climbing piton and how little it was used. It’s another pacing issue as well. You get it right before finding Sam at the end of chapter 13 (?) and entering Libertalia at the start of the next chapter. Do you remember ever using the climbing piton in the abandoned town? In fact, I don’t think we used it once in the entire city, including the palace, the ambush, the fight with Nadine, all the way to getting separated from Sam and joining Elena. How bass-ackwards is it to introduce a new game mechanic and promptly forget about it for several chapters.

    I loved using that thing. It gave rock climbing a more urgent and rhythmic feel. What the Batman Arkham games did with freeflow/counters for fighting is what the climbing piton did for climbing. Now you had to alternate and time button presses. It was like you were stringing together combos as you climbed. It was almost a sin how little it was used. Such a thing should have been introduced as early as the chapter stealing the crucifix or at least right after when looking for Avery’s grave.

    The only excuse I can think of is that it was only conceived late into development when most areas were already in near completion, so they could only add the mechanic to the routes between those crucial areas. Admittedly, that’s a fantastic excuse. I couldn’t blame them if that was the case. But that s*** pissed me off while I played the game. I could only be thankful for what little I did get of the piton.

    "A closet intellectual, he acts dumb to impress women."

    "A closet intellectual, he acts dumb to impress women."

    POSTED BY xsuicidesn0wmanx on Jul 12, 2016

    To be honest I kind of frowned on them adding that late in the game too. But not just because the game is 75% over already, but because I saw it as a clear attempt to mimic what Square Enix did in Rise of the Tomb Raider(I’m guessing it is also in the first TR but I didn’t play that one yet). It’s basically the same as Laras pickaxe tool, which is used throughout RotR. To me, it felt out of place. I did not feel that it had a positive or negative effect on the game though, so I really didn’t consider marking down a few points for that.

    You're all zombie thigh-fat people brought into animation by some evil force of forceful evil!!! - Happy Noodle Boy.

    You're all zombie thigh-fat people brought into animation by some evil force of forceful evil!!! - Happy Noodle Boy.

    POSTED BY elheber on Jul 12, 2016

    Oh, I didn’t know RotTR had something similar. I supposed they were both in development at the same time, but if it was in the first Tomb Raider then I’d certainly call it unoriginal. It’s like when Resident Evil 4 and God of War both came out at about the same time with quick time events (it was lauded as a cool feature at the time) but you couldn’t say either of them copied the other.

    But you could say they copied Shenmue.

    "A closet intellectual, he acts dumb to impress women."

    "A closet intellectual, he acts dumb to impress women."

    POSTED BY xsuicidesn0wmanx on Jul 12, 2016

    I just checked it out on YouTube, it was in the Tomb Raider reboot from 2013, called the ‘Climbing Axe’.

    You're all zombie thigh-fat people brought into animation by some evil force of forceful evil!!! - Happy Noodle Boy.

    You're all zombie thigh-fat people brought into animation by some evil force of forceful evil!!! - Happy Noodle Boy.

    POSTED BY Joel Castro on Jul 14, 2016

    Ehh, that climbing pick was a take or leave it kind of deal, and the snowman says, it wasn’t a thing that added or removed from the experience. It was a cool little late game gimmick that was appreciated where it was used. And I felt the final part of the game was paced in such a way that it didn’t feel like I didn’t get to use it for too little at a time. That’s one thing I will disagree with elheber on, is that I found the game’s pacing to be superb. It was a slow burn at the start, which had a steady but sure rise in action and consequences. Only thing I wanted to have changed was for the intro to have been where Nate was washed up on the beach after the boat sequence. At least there it could feel like Uncharted 2 all over again, but then again, it was still well done in that you didn’t have to completely repeat the section over again like in 2 (though the second time was shortened, it still felt a little bit lazy to just make you do the intro sequence all over again.) This time, it just showed glimpses in a cinematic, and that was it, so that was appreciated as well.

     

    The AI wasn’t always that intelligent when I played, and whenever I found myself getting caught during a stealth run, I realized that it was an enemy that I forgot to keep track of, which happens to me a lot. If enemies actually decided to go hunting for you, it would have to include different mechanics altogether and make the game play more like The Last of Us, which I didn’t want for Uncharted, to be completely honest. It’s just one of those compromises I’ve come to accept from Uncharted, where you’re supposed to feel like a bit of a badass mowing down grunts instead of constantly fearing for your life around every corner like in The Last of Us.

     

    As for climbing…have you played the previous titles? The climbing in some form or another has always been a little finicky. I managed to work around it though, by realizing that there are many spots that just require you to move your arm in the direction of the next step, and having Nate automatically grabbing it as soon as it was within reach. It’s not necessary to have him leap towards every point of articulation, and solves that problem of jumping and missing if you’re going too fast for the camera to catch up with you. At least that’s how I felt about it.

    POSTED BY xsuicidesn0wmanx on Jul 15, 2016

    Yeah, I think I touched on the controls of the previous games in my review a bit. I really felt that Uncharted 3 was very loose, very imprecise. I noticed how Naughty Dog had tightened up the controls on Uncharted 4 right away. I’ll be honest though, I don’t think that I ever had the camera fully rotated to one side or the other, you really don’t need to do that very often to see the path you need to take. Though thinking back, I probably made sure to have the camera placed just right most of the time because of how loose the controls were in the previous games. Regardless, I normally feel like a large amount of my deaths in game are out of my control, I didn’t feel that way this time. Maybe once or twice outside of the car chase scene, that’s about it.

    Controls are a big part of my review process, though somewhat sub-consciously. If I am having trouble with the controls, it has a huge impact on the fun factor I previously mentioned. A good example is the Mad Max review I’m going to be writing pretty soon. I’m probably going to give the game a 75, even though it does a lot of things really well. A lot of my struggles with the game have been due to the very high input lag. You’ll go to jump and Max doesn’t jump. Press Y to counter, and get smacked in the face. It really kills your momentum when you’re starting to get into the game, get into a fight with 3 enemies, and miss 6 or 7 counters in a row when the only button you’ve been pressing is Y(or triangle on PS4). I probably dropped the score a good 10 points just because of this one problem because it happens all the time!

    You're all zombie thigh-fat people brought into animation by some evil force of forceful evil!!! - Happy Noodle Boy.

    You're all zombie thigh-fat people brought into animation by some evil force of forceful evil!!! - Happy Noodle Boy.

    POSTED BY elheber on Jul 15, 2016

    The pacing was superb in some spots, and downright abysmal in others. I had mentioned it somewhere around here that the first chapter taking control of Nate’s humdrum normie life was expertly crafted. Nate was underwater finding treasure and I was afraid of a shark attack or the cargo crate falling on top of me; and it was brilliant use of gaming the player’s expectations to show just how boring his life is now compared to the past games. That was a great slow burn and form of pacing that would only work if the player had played the previous games (which I did) or if U4 had had epic intro sequence (which the boat scene was not).

    And the ending is indefensible. There was absolutely no build-up.

    As for the controls, I actively avoided reviews and gameplay videos until I had finished mine (which is why I hadn’t visited both of your reviews at the time BTW). But once I finished my review, the floodgates to let’s play videos from my favorite personalities opened, and you can clearly see other people were at points struggling with the controls too. I definitely wasn’t imagining the clunk. For the most part it was fluid and intuitive, but too often you’re reminded that you have a controller in your hands.

    On a scale from Wand of Gamelon to Super Meat Boy, U4’s controls were just below Batman: Arkham City. Which is still very good I must admit.

    "A closet intellectual, he acts dumb to impress women."

    "A closet intellectual, he acts dumb to impress women."

    POSTED BY Joel Castro on Jul 15, 2016

    The ending? Really? I thought it was the perfect way to end the series. The only thing I’d say about the final act is that it dragged on a bit longer than it needed to. Otherwise, from a narrative perspective, I felt it was well-handled. No need for things to end on a heavy note in a naturally lighthearted adventure. It ended on a high note for Nate, where every other game had more of a bittersweet note to them. Not to mention no supernatural nonsense involved here. If anything, that was the greatest weakness of the plots of the previous entries.

    POSTED BY elheber on Jul 15, 2016

    The epilogue was fine. But before that, chapter leading to the final showdown was mostly uneventful platforming. You found a body with a diary that basically spelled out the moral of the story for you, “woe is me, I died for coveting treasure over everything else. I sure hope nobody named Drake or Sam falls into the same trap.” There was no sense of dread or build-up to the final confrontation. It was beautiful vistas and delicious morning dew all the way to the cavern with the pirate ship.

    That’s what I mean about the end being indefensible. Peaceful climbing, peaceful climbing, a refreshing dip in the water, OH THE FINAL BOSS, all right we’re done here’s a lollypop.

    The game didn’t have to end on a sour note, but it sure gave the impression that it would touch on dark material. It’s the fault of the game’s story going in one direction with Amy Hennig (remember the reveal trailer? It was dark as fuck) and then switching over to a couple of writers who were too self-conscious about having made The Last of Us so dark that they went the opposite direction… but they forgot to change the title. sn0w can attest to how mad I was at the way this game was marketed. The spoiler was that there were no spoilers.

    "A closet intellectual, he acts dumb to impress women."

    "A closet intellectual, he acts dumb to impress women."

    POSTED BY Joel Castro on Jul 15, 2016

    Well, it was a bit abrupt, I will give you that. But, at the same time, the title still makes sense, giving that Nate goes straight at the end. It’s just a different context.

    POSTED BY xsuicidesn0wmanx on Jul 15, 2016

    Yeah, he wasn’t very happy how they insinuated that Nate would die, or someone close to him.

    When Nate and Elena fell after the exploding mummies, and Elena played dead, I thought that was the moment. I was just waiting for something bad to happen.

    But I was glad it didn’t. The hint that something bad would happen created some extra tension. It added more of an emotional attachment to the characters in the game. This is why I actually loved how it turned out. They pulled at the strings of my heart and made me care about the characters in the game. Very few games manage to pull this off, and I applaud them for it.

     

    You're all zombie thigh-fat people brought into animation by some evil force of forceful evil!!! - Happy Noodle Boy.

    You're all zombie thigh-fat people brought into animation by some evil force of forceful evil!!! - Happy Noodle Boy.

    POSTED BY Joel Castro on Jul 16, 2016

    Yeah, I knew they wouldn’t do that, honestly, considering we already had two previous fakeouts before. And that’s why I never listen to early marketing, especially if a game isn’t getting released within the same year. Things all too frequently change. Go in without expectations, and you’ll find yourself less inclined to compare promotional content to the finished product. It’s why I enjoyed games like Destiny, Watch Dogs, and many other games that took a long ride on the hype train that disappointed everyone else.

    POSTED BY elheber on Jul 16, 2016

    On that is where we stand on different sides. You two make critical reviews of a product, while I make buyer recommendations. You can separate a game’s overall quality from its marketing, but I have to manage the expectations of the potential consumers. If a game advertised that it had big booty hoes, I have to mention in my review that there are no big booty hoes, lest someone buy it with false expectations of exorbitant booty. In several years your review will continue to make perfect sense, while my review will make people think, “why is he talking about big booty hoes?”

    It’s a trade-off.

    I am NOT saying my 89% score is inaccurate or less timeless. The game is IMHO an 89% game without any relation to how the game was marketed. The sometimes jank pacing, the sometimes jank controls, the disconnect between game & narrative, and a slew of other minor problems that I didn’t mention (because my review was only a buyer’s guide) is what made it not be a near perfect game. The way the game was marketed was a separate thing.

    PS. Ludonarrative disconnect is what made you slow down to hunt for hidden treasures when the story had Nate supposedly be in a hurry to save someone… in a story with morals about the avarice for treasure leading to downfall, no less.

    "A closet intellectual, he acts dumb to impress women."

    "A closet intellectual, he acts dumb to impress women."
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