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Can’t Bring Myself To Play The Evil Within

I made a similarly titled post a few days ago about Alien: Isolation and how the intensity and stress caused by being stalked made it difficult to play. I don’t have that problem with The Evil Within because so far it just isn’t scary. Even while being chased by guys with chainsaws and wading through pools of human gore all I manage to think about is how the protagonist is going to end up surviving this entire ordeal just to die from the hepatitis he is sure to contract. What makes playing the game difficult is how the game is presented and how poorly optimized it is.

My computer isn’t great but I think it’s at least mid-high. I don’t know anything about specs anymore but it can run Alien: Isolation great on max settings but with The Evil Within I’m getting FPS bouncing around the low 20’s. That is pretty bad but I’m oddly used to it having played games on crappy computers for years. What makes the entire experience something rather difficult to stomach (it’s actually the first game that has ever made me feel ill) is a combination of several factors:

The Game Seems Super Zoomed In - I think this is referred to as “field of view” and I’m sure somebody will correct me if it isn’t. Anyway, the camera is extremely close to the character even to the point where he almost completely disappears from the screen when you aim to fire your weapon.This kind of view is something I find extremely disorienting and when you run around there is a lot of camera bobbing and turning the camera creates this swooping feeling that makes my stomach drop out. After only playing for 20 minutes or so I’ll get a headache and feel nauseated.

The Black Bars – There are horizontal black bars on the top and bottom of the screen. I really have no idea why this is. Supposedly for some kind of cinematic experience or something but I just don’t understand it. The field of view is already incredibly low and now you cut off a significant portion of the top and bottom screen? Why? Why would you do this?

Low FPS – By default the game is locked at 30 FPS unless you change that with a console command. That doesn’t really help me though since my performance is pretty horrible anyway. I did say that I’m not too bothered by low FPS but when you combine it with the other factors I mentioned it creates a visual nightmare.

I probably should have avoided the PC version of the game but I’m not always one to listen to warnings, even if there are a lot of them. Even so I can’t imagine I would get any better of an experience with the console version. At least on PC you can get field of view fixes and remove the black bars. I tried doing so but it only made my performance worse. Also oddly enough I didn’t get any sort of better performance when setting the graphics options to their lowest and on a lower resolution. That’s just weird, right? I get the same performance no matter what the settings are.

Anyway, buy at your own risk but I couldn’t recommend it. Some people really do like it, though. I’m just not really one of them. Maybe I’ll revisit it later on with better hardware.

Being a raid leader was just practice

I used to think that running a raiding guild back in the Molten Core and Black Wing Lair days took a lot of preparation and coordination. We would have to crank out all kinds of food and potions, coordinate arrival times, make contingency plans, adapt to changes in attendees, figure out who to invite and not invite, and deal with all sorts of drama. I would spend hours and hours making sure everything went just right.  Turns out I was simply practicing for planning a wedding.

I’ve still managed to squeeze in some gaming time despite having my days filled with work, venues, and excel spreadsheets out my ears for everything from food to invitees. I got into the Heroes of the Storm Technical Alpha! I’ve played only a handful of matches but I’m really enjoying the gameplay. It’s simplified DOTA. Heroes of the Storm reminds me of those Hero Arena games I used to play back in the custom games for Warcraft 3. Lots of fun and I look forward to playing it more this weekend before giving even more thoughts on the game.

My Barbarian in Diablo 3 Season 1 is still coming along quite nicely too. Something about spreading my playtime very thin with D3 gives me a renewed sense of love for being able to log in, get loot, and kill lots of monsters. In one morning I went from not being able to do Torment 1 to being able to clear Torment 4 with ease. All it took was a few runs in rifts and I got 3 set Ik, 3 earth, a Bovine bardiche, and Lut socks. Now I’m leap quaking everything to pieces.

Graev picked up Civ Beyond Eearth. I’m going to watch him play it for a bit today (tomorrow?) and decide if I want to get myself a copy. If you’ve tried it by the time you read this post feel free to give your impressions. I’m eager to hear if dropping the $49.99 is worth it. Graev actually saved a bit by using some deal Green Man Gaming has going for 25% off. We’ll get our impressions up soon — Graev seems to be reviewing games like crazy these days.

I’m just glad all of the MMOs out right now suck. If something like Camelot Unchained or EverQuest Next was out I’d be really hurting. I remember every year I’d go back up to college after a nice summer break and a new MMO would launch right in the first week of classes. This is good karma coming back to me now. Best drought ever.

Greetings from Mordor!

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Thinking of where to spend your next vacation? Well look no further! Visit these exciting and wild lands  and experience the rich culture and wonders that can only be found in the land of Mordor, where not only shadows lie but you can as well!

Exiting Activites for All

– Make sure to keep your sword sharp! The locals love to spar with the guests and you might find yourself taking on dozens at a time!

– Enjoy archery? Well good news! There are lots of things to shoot and Uruks love playing “catch the arrow.”

– Is Hide and Seek your game? Well keep your dagger handy ’cause the local Uruks take their sport very seriously.

– Try your hand(s) at climbing one of the various structures littered about he landscape.

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Make Friends with the Locals

– The local Uruks are very social and super excited to meet you! Do be put off by their enthusiasm if you see them charging. They just want to be friends!

– Witness the fascinating Uruk military heirarchy and see normal Uruks make their way through the ranks of Captain and even on to Warchief.

– Join in on the festivities between Captains as they feast, test their might, and duel each other. They love outsider influence.

– Any friends you make with the Uruks during your stay may pop up again from time to time. They love to repay the hospitality you show them!

– Watch the local human population toil away mining rocks or performing other mundane tasks but don’t stick around too long or you might just get invited to join the fun!

 

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The Wilder Side of Mordor

– Enjoy a ride on the unique and wondrous creatures that inhabit the region. Explore the countryside on the back of a wild Caragor or if you are feeling particularly adventures try hopping on the back of the majestic and gargantuan Graug!

– Journey out in the twilight hours and if you are lucky you may just encounter some local Ghuls! Careful now, these guys sure know how to party and bring lots of friends.

– Enjoy collecting exotic flora? Well Mordor is for you! We are host to several distinct variety for you to collect and pretty much all of them are good for curing what ails you!

– For the sportsman in you we also offer unique hunting experiences. Mordor plays host to many sport animals such as rats, spiders, bats, and hell-hawks!

All You Ever Dreamed of and More!

Stop by, grab a mug of grog (Just make sure none of those rascals have poisoned it!) and enjoy all that Mordor has to offer you and your family. We’d love to have you for dinner!

DISCLAIMER: Mordor, the Lands of Mordor, and all affiliate partners are not responsible for any loss of life or limb, emotional trauma, feelings of vengeance, wraith possession, property damage, or incurred wrath.

Can’t bring myself to play Alien: Isolation

I’m only two hours into Alien: Isolation. TWO HOURS. That’s like nothing at all, really. The game is just incredibly intense to play and the Alien just showed up. Seriously, it just showed up around the two hour mark and I’m already losing it. This usually does not happen to me with games. I hear people say “Oh this game was so scary” or “that part was the scariest ever” all the time over the years and when I actually play those games it usually results in a feeling of “Really? This is it? What’s the big deal?” I’m not trying to come off as some kind of tough guy because really I am not. I get scared of things that go bump in the night. Quite literally, too. My cat will run around at night doing who knows what and I startle at every sound. It’s just that video games have never really bothered me that much.

Alien: Isolation isn’t really a scary game, though. I don’t find the Alien (Or Xenomorph, whatever) to actually be that terrifying. Actually they are pretty dang cool and I’m a fan of the movies and some of the games. What really gets me is that feeling of being hunted or stalked relentlessly. In past horror games the only parts that legitimately made my heart pound were the parts where something chases after you that you can’t take out. I think there are a couple of Resident Evil games that have regenerator bad guys like that who will chase you for a while until you can find a way to take them out. Dead Space also did a really good job with this and those parts are really the only reasons why I feel hesitant about replaying the games. And to think that almost all of Alien: Isolation is going to be like that? It stresses me out just thinking about it. [Read more...]

Skylanders Trap Team

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Another year has gone by and we are already at the annual Skylanders release. Time really does fly because it feels like we were playing Swap Force not too long ago. Again we were fortunate to get a review copy from Activision for the newest release — Skylanders Trap Team — and I’ve been checking it out ever since it got here. I wont bother going into too great of detail about what Skylanders are, but if you are curious we have several articles from the past games. Basically it’s light action RPG where you place figures on a tiny portal and see them come to life in the game. What I will go into detail about is all of the new stuff in Skylanders Trap Team.

skylanders-trap-team-fire-trapTrap Masters & Traps

The new hook this year are the traps and the whole concept of trapping villains and turning them to fight for you. The specialty figures in Trap Team are known as Trap Masters and they are each equipped with weapons made out of “Traptanium.” From what I can tell they don’t seem to be really any different than normal Skylanders and have the same amount of abilities and so on. The thing that makes them unique is their ability to destroy Traptanium deposits which usually lead to bonus side areas. Trap Masters are also the only Skylanders that can access the elemental doors that also lead to bonus areas. In past games you would be able to open these with any figure of the respective element, but in Trap Team the doors are made out of Traptanium and can only be opened by Trap Masters.

The traps are actually a pretty cool idea. Each element has its own trap and they can hold one villain from that element. There are around 50 villains that you can trap and initially I was concerned that you would need multiples of each trap in order to catch them all, but thankfully that is not the case. When you do encounter a trappable enemy and defeat him you are given the option of putting him in a trap our not. Regardless of whether or not you decline the trapping, or just don’t have that elemental trap, the villains will be locked away in a vault back at the Skylanders Academy. If you want to put a villain inside a trap, or switch it out with another, all you have to do is go to the vault. So this means you really only need one of each elemental trap rather than 40 traps. You could have multiple traps of an element if you wanted, for taking multiple villains of that element out with you, but it really isn’t necessary.

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Villains & The New Portal

Tskylanders-villainhe Villain characters are all very interesting and the whole concept of trapping them and using them is easily one of the best ideas added to the series. Some of the Villain characters are just specialty versions of normal monsters that you encounter but some are actually the bosses that you encounter in the game. In order to call out your villain all you need to do is press the left trigger and you “tag-out” with your current Skylander. The villain character can stay out and fight for short amount of time before having to recharge. The timer bar acts as its health as well so taking damage will decrease the amount of time they can be out. I was bothered at first by the time limit but it actually recharges fairly fast. Villains don’t level up or gain new abilities like Skylanders but each one has a special side quest where they can be redeemed. Some of them are fun little missions or minigames but there are a few that amount to just a short conversation. Once the side quest is done the villain turns into his evolved form which usually means some cosmetic changes and making his attacks stronger. Not only that but it seems to greatly slow down the trap timer and make them buffer. [Read more...]