There’s an uncomfortably good point being made in this video. The literal entirety of the future of the human race is riding on Aloy. She knows this. Her friends know this. It should be imperative to all concerned that she should be kept from danger. Everyone should have helped to shoulder her burden, and forced her to accept their help, if need be, instead of allowing themselves to be sidelined, and letting her trot off into the wilderness alone.
This second game could have allowed you to play as Aloy’s friends. You could have cleared the way for her to come in, unlock this, and upload that, and generally be the DNA-gated hero she is. As her ally, maybe you could have died, and been replaced by another ally for a different chapter of the game. Maybe you could have unlocked different allies — you accumulate a whole bunch in the home base by the end — each with different abilities, and chosen who would perform each mission. Each “herald” could have had access to a subset of the skill trees, forcing you into whole new play styles throughout.
That would have been amazing!
I hate realizations like this.
I’ve been stuck finishing the game, because I’ve just gotten bored with it. It’s just not… fun. You know? You remember, Guerrilla Games? The whole point of a video game? I want to unlock the upgrades on the few pieces of legendary-level gear I’ve managed to score, and the process is just ridiculous. Even with the difficulty turned down, and with “easy loot” turned on, trying to farm enough parts to upgrade everything turns the game into an MMO-level grind.
I’ve put the game aside, and been playing through Skyrim Anniversary Edition (the one with all the Creation Club content), and it’s been awesome. There’s enough new content mixed into the game that there are little surprises all along the way. Most of all, it’s fun. The first time I fired it up, I was grinning from ear to ear. After you start getting into the higher levels, you can have several different play styles available to you, and they all have their utility. It’s just fun to play. I guess that’s why Bethesda is still rereleasing the game after 10 years.
So I recently refreshed my RetroPi “gaming rig.” I wanted to mark the occasion by listing some of my favorite games from each of the generations. I’m not saying that I’m a connoisseur, and have played thousands of games, and can speak definitively about which games from each platform are the best. These are just the ones I’ve come across which I thought were good.
The Legend of Zelda
The Legend of Zelda 2, The Adventure of Link
U.S. Championship V’Ball (trust me)
Legend of Zelda, A Link to the Past
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Turtles in Time
Street Fighter 2
Donkey Kong Country
It is important to note that A Link to the Past may be one of the greatest video games ever made. And I mean right up there with The Witcher 3.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Captain America and The Avengers
The Bard’s Tale I, II, & III
Duke Nukem 3D
Command & Conquer 2, Red Alert
You may notice that there is no Mario-related content on these lists. That’s intentional.
We’re upgrading all the main service production computers at my church. As part of this effort, I bought 3 M1-based Mac mini’s. As an experiment, I installed Elder Scrolls Online on one of them, to see how well it would run. I expected it to be at least passable. Oh how wrong I was. It ran, and at 60 fps, but I couldn’t run it at any decent resolution. The best the game offered was 1367×768 or something. Of course, this looked like pixelated garbage on a 4K monitor. So, I consider the whole thing an abysmal failure. I’m actually glad. It’s a relief to know that a stock M1-based Mac does not, in fact, run the game amazingly, and that I’m not really missing out on this single data point with my Intel-based Mac.
Lawn mowing — I prefer to call it “LARPing Qix” — has its own video game.
I was going to post some super-snarky comment about how much I hate yard work, and therefore not being able to imagine either the desire to make a game about it, or the desire to play it, but then I remembered that I’ve been doing some fishing in ESO, despite hating it in real life, and I guess that would make me a hypocrite. In my defense, fishing in ESO is the only way to farm one of the most valuable commodities in the game, and, done in particular ways, can get you achievements, and any time there’s a two-for-one deal in a video game, I’m in.
Or maybe Newell was suggesting that Valve plans to revive its Steam Machines program, getting behind a line of SteamOS-powered living room consoles once more. Given the quick market death of that effort, though, this is probably the least likely bit of speculation at the moment.
I think that Valve will, indeed, make a serious go at a console, running SteamOS (née, Linux), and I think the launch will coincide with the reveal of Half-Life Episode 3. I think they’ve been sitting on that pent-up demand to launch their console. I just think they had no idea they’d be sitting on it for 13 years and counting, now.
UPDATE: I just stumbled across a recent talk by Linus Torvalds, where he points out that he is already on record that Valve might be the one organization that could make “Linux on the desktop” a reality, because they will be obstinate about making a distribution that doesn’t make ABI-breaking package updates every few months. It looks like SteamOS is being updated — about once a year, but that sounds suspiciously as if plans to produce a proper SteamOS-based device has been discussed with him. Maybe that’s just wishful thinking. I’m very happy with my PS5, but I would love to see a Valve console come to market, for a lot of reasons.
Details on what that would actually entail are slim, and Sony’s announcement just says that the two companies are “hard at work connecting Discord with your social and gaming experience on PlayStation Network.” Whether that means a full-fledged Discord app coming to PlayStation consoles or a more limited integration (like connecting PSN and Discord accounts to more easily chat with friends off platform) has yet to be announced.
Sounds like the first shoe to drop in the disastrous situation I described in the last couple of paragraphs in this rant. Maybe they are going to get serious about integrating the system with more and more-interesting services…
So I just learned that ASUS makes a ROG-branded phone, which means that it’s marketed at highest-end gamers. Their web site boasts that the phone sports a “world-beating 2.96GHz speed-binned Qualcomm SDM845” CPU. For comparison, I checked the benchmarks. According to this website, the iPhone 12’s A14 chip is literally more than twice as fast. Apple’s lead in silicon is astounding, and will be insurmountable for years.
If you want to play games on a phone, there is no Android phone that can even hold a candle to an iPhone. Given the relatively few Android-exclusive games of note, I can’t figure why this would appeal to enough people to be profitable. (To be fair, the list of iOS-exclusive games is even less impressive, though.)
Control is a game that came free with Playstation Plus. I had heard relatively good things about it, but I know that PS+ games are the B- games that have run their course commercially, so I took this move with a grain of salt. Turns out that, like Red Dead Redemption 2, Control has a great game buried in there, underneath all the really terrible parts.
Control has a great X-Files-like vibe. Very atmospheric and moody. Very surreal and mysterious. It’s a great new intellectual property space. Or, at least, it will be, if Remedy ever makes another game based on the franchise. The story is great.
Control has an interesting gun play system. There’s no reloading, but there’s a pause while the gun reloads itself, so it’s all the same thing. Plus, the button that most games would use for reloading swaps between the 2 active weapon morphs in play, and muscle memory frequently leaves me hanging with the wrong weapon effect at the worst time.
That’s… about all the good I can say about it. I’m sure other people have done enough actual reviews, but I’ll give it a short run down:
The “control” points where you can start over if you die are far apart, and you have to walk a long way to get back to the point where you died.
The gun does NOT snap (by default), and the aim is unforgiving for a game like this.
There’s no crouching behind cover. Which is bizarre, because the enemies do it.
Optional missions come up at opportune moments, but you only get one shot at them. You have no idea what you’re facing, and if you die, and you simply lose out.
Finally, the map and the level design is horrendous, and there’s no pathing to help you navigate it.
I could chalk all the shooting mechanics up to taste, and put up with it for the story, but the last point just does the game in. I just tried the game again, and the ONLY way I can find to go forward to my objective is to go through an area that’s just too tough for me. I’ve failed to get through it twice, and there just didn’t seem to be a way to get it done. But I wandered around for 15 minutes, and concluded that this is, in fact, where I should be going, so I tried — and failed — for a third time, with literally no idea how I could deal with it.
I looked for a difficulty setting, and found that it has cheats. Well, that makes sense. So I activated them, and tried again. Despite aim snap, I was about to die for the 4th time, so I just went ahead and activated god mode. I got through the area, and found another control point, but there’s no where to go. Here’s what I see:
And here’s what the map is showing me at that point:
I don’t know where to go. I have an optional mission selected, and there’s no indication where that is. If I activate the “main” mission, the map indicator is in the ??? area to the northeast of my position. I cannot interpret what this is telling me, there’s no indication on how I can get where I need to go, and I can’t find any way through this section. I’m quite literally stuck, and I’m really tired of putting up with video games that force me to do a search and read some article to get past every other difficult part. At this point, I’m just going to delete the game, and hope that Sony gives Remedy access to the fact that this player quit playing the game at 18% completion, and uninstalled it, even though the game was free. That’s how big of a fail it is.
Tangentially, while trying to get the screenshots off the console, I found that it takes 4 non-obvious clicks to get to the media library, and there’s only one option for a service to upload the images with: Twitter. Really, Sony? Really? There must be a dozen prominent image sharing sites, and the only option is Twitter? Screw Twitter. Especially for sharing screenshots! And screw Sony for making that the only option. I had to resort to a USB stick. Ew.
Additionally, you can only share recorded video to YouTube or Twitter. You can only livestream to Twitch. Nothing about these options makes sense. Sony must expand these options with an update. I’m sure it’s all about the Benjamins. Sony was probably looking for kickbacks to include other services here, and no one donated, so they were forced to give us one option. Sony needs to suck it up, now that the console has launched, and move on. There’s no excuse for a lack of options for any of these ways of sharing. They need to make it like an iPhone, were you can connect your console to a service, and it becomes a “destination” to which you can share anything. (Well, I mean, they do, but they need to give us a lot more options.)