Nov 24 2014

Defiance indeed

Adel Gabot

Goddamn it. I’ve been downloading this game for days, and it’s still not friggin finished.

First, it downloaded the main game, and I thought, Defiance, now free-to-play on the Xbox 360, nice. But it took two whole days to download.

For something barely 6GB big, that’s really something. It normally would take maybe a couple of hours at most. But the servers must be really bogged down, or maybe they only had the one server to service the entire planet.

So it’s finished, so I decided to play it… and then came across another downloading screen.

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It’s been like that for four days.

Patch after patch after patch. Dammit, how many patches are there?

I’m starting to think, is it worth it? They made it free, after all, and I know I shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

But it’s become an obsession. A long, trying, long-winded obsession.

It may be a horrible game, or the best thing since sliced bread. But I gotta find out. I have to.

So dammit, bring it on!


Nov 16 2014

Call of Resale

Adel Gabot

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Finished the single-player campaign of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare the other day, and as usual, I was surprised that it ended so soon.

I have a hard time finishing most games, but all of the Call of Duty games have been relatively easy, and relatively fast to complete. You wouldn’t have known it from the hype they gave the game. I went, that’s it? I could have gone on for several more missions still.

Yet, there I was, hanging half-off a balcony of the Atlas HQ, with evil mogul Kevin Spacey dangling from the prosthetic arm he gave me years ago, and me slicing my arm off with a knife so Spacey would fall to his fiery death, saying, “You gave me a second chance. I am giving it back.”

And just like that, the game was over.

Dang.

I tried playing multiplayer, but it really wasn’t for me.

During the week, in the middle of my playing the game, I got a message from a friend of mine from PhilMUG, and he had heard that I bought COD:AW from another PhilMUGger, and would I consider selling it to him when I was through with it? I said sure, but not realizing that I was on the brink of actually finishing it.

So I texted him last night and told him it was his if he still wanted it. I’m meeting up with him next weekend.

So what’s next? Far Cry 4, which is coming out on Tuesday? (I just saw a way to finish it in less than 15 minutes, and it sort of soured it for me.) Dragon Age: Inquisition? (Don’t normally go for RPGs, but the reviews are phenomenal and I’m willing to take the risk.) Grand Theft Auto V (which has a new first person POV which makes me reconsider my long-running aversion to GTA games)? Forget about the new Assassin’s Creed Unity game, I hate that junk. Or should I save my money and wait for a game I really like next year? Maybe The Order: 1886? Or Uncharted 4?

Gotta think about this hard.


Nov 9 2014

Traveling cross-country

Adel Gabot

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I really didn’t think much of the The Crew before.

I think driving games are like, you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all, and since I already had Need For Speed: Rivals, I really didn’t feel like getting another one.

I already tried out The Crew with its first beta some weeks ago, and I wasn’t really impressed. I found it simplistic and fairly limited. There were missions, but they were confusing and a trifle too hard. I tried traveling around, but the beta limitations always brought me back to Detroit when I strayed too far past the city limits.

With the second beta out this weekend, I tried it again, and it was much nicer this time.

I had to go through the same levels again, but I don’t know, they seemed easier this time. Then on the second day, I tried out what the creators were boasting about—that it had a big open world, so much so that you could literally drive from coast to coast.

So I tried that. I drove from Detroit, the first city in the game, to far out west, to San Francisco. Believe it or not, I made it. It took me nearly an hour and three cop stops (with fines), but I managed it. Of course, really driving from coast to coast would take you more than a day to do at top speed, but hey, this was just a game after all.

I went through the Ohio plains, through snow-capped mountain ranges, vast deserts and massive cities until I got to San Francisco. It was fantastic!

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Makes me think twice about not getting The Crew.

 


Nov 8 2014

Small PS4 avalanche

Adel Gabot

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From a weak week of PS4-related software, it suddenly becomes a virtual extravaganza! (Notwithstanding that wonky, funky no-show Evolve demo.)

First, on Monday came the Sony update/fix to their botched Update 2.0 last week with the borked Rest Mode settings—Update 2.01 came in early this week and repaired it. That was the first.

Then came PSN. It being the beginning of the month, the new free games came in Tuesday. The Binding of Isaac, Steamworld Dig and Singstar came in, and so did a demo of How To Survive: Storm Warning Edition.

Then on Wednesday came a Destiny update, and then an update to the Headset Companion App.

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Then on Thursday came one of the biggies: the second beta test of The Crew came in via an emailed invite, to which I responded immediately and downloaded it right away. The game worked immediately after downloading, I’m happy to say.

Then, during the week, I happened to find out that one of my PhilMUGGERs, a guy who goes by the name of bacchus_3 (Rolly Ceballos in real life), had gotten a copy of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare this Tuesday when it came out, and finished it within the same day. He didn’t even use the DLC. Now he was thinking about reselling it for cheap.

I bit.

I got it today.

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Hoo hah. Lots of games to occupy my time now.


Nov 4 2014

It finally works, but then again… it doesn’t

Adel Gabot

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After a couple of days (for a weekend-only playing window, they sure were damned slow), Evolve finally got fixed… or did it?

I found a message on Twitter yesterday that Evolve’s problems with the PS4 were finally solved, so I went to my console and started it up. There was an update I needed to download first, but after that, it was ready.

Or not. The game proceeded up to a point, whereupon it just hangs or pops me back out with an error message. I kept trying all through the day and getting up in the early morning to see if it finally got its act together, but still the same banana.

So… bleh. Still can’t play.

And it’s Tuesday, and it’s all over.

Oh, well.


Nov 2 2014

The legendary tactile keyboard is finally mine!

Adel Gabot

Bought the damn thing.

After waiting nearly two weeks, it’s finally mine.

The guy, to his credit, came early. Coming from Pangasinan, that was a feat.

I actually arrived earlier, and I killed time and texted him I was there twenty minutes before the appointed time, and he arrived five minutes later (fifteen minutes ahead of schedule). You don’t get that every day.

The thing is a heavy sucker. It was nearly five pounds, and was dirty as hell. Well, not really, but it was damned unkempt.

I tried it out on my computer table when I got home, and it didn’t fit! I’ll have to use it on the upper shelf.

It being dirty, I got out my tools and got ready to clean it. A toothbrush, some soap and water, a pair of tweezers, a dry paintbrush, some rags and my precision screwdriver kit, and I was ready.

It took me three friggin’ hours.

The damn thing was dusty and dirty on the inside as well. I pulled out lots of tiny dust bunnies with the tweezers and the smallest screwdriver. I scrubbed the outside with the toothbrush, and took apart all the keys and scrubbed them one by one.

This is how it looked like when I first got it:

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And this is what it looked like after three hours:

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Sheesh.

You can’t really see much difference, but trust me, it’s way damn cleaner now.

Next on the agenda: buying that SDL-USB cable!


Nov 1 2014

What the hell, Sony?

Adel Gabot

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I’ve been trying to get the Evolve Alpha test running since midnight, but all I’ve been getting is this screen. I couldn’t figure out what was going on.

On another topic, I came across a posting on Facebook putting forward an unofficial solution to that pesky problem that popped up with the recent PS4 System Update 2.0. The PS4 can’t recover from “Rest Mode”—the newly renamed Sleep Mode—and you have to unplug and replug the thing to get it to start up again.

This temporary solution had me setting the “Supply Power to USB Ports” to “Always”, under the “Set Functions Available in Rest Mode” under “Power Save Settings”, and the PS4 worked like before. It doesn’t work for everyone, but it worked for me.

People have been reporting lots of other problems with the update, ranging from not being able to upload videos to not being able to log in to the PS Network.

Then later today, the people behind Evolve wrote an email to me apologizing for not being able to start up Evolve for PS4 users, because the PS4 Update messed things up, and that they were working on it.

The PS4 Update messed things up?

Tsk, tsk. Sony, what have you done with this update?


Oct 31 2014

Dammit—I sold them?

Adel Gabot

I’ve been playing Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor for over a week now, and while I’ve gotten deep into the game, I’ve been looking for a variation on the old kill-‘em-and-move-up-the-rungs play mechanic.

It was just so repetitive—a lot of sneaking behind Orcs and Uruks and stealth-killing them, or fighting groups of them and slicing off their heads, or dropping on them from a ledge for a quick execution. I got pretty tired of it; day after day of nothing but the same grind, and it wore thin.

So yesterday I decided I was going to re-sell it at the same price I got it for, and maybe buy a new game with the cash. So I posted it, and last night, I finally got a deal going. There were a lot (a LOT) of offers, but for far lower than I was asking for. Then this guy texts and asks for it at list price, and while he was at it, asked me if I was selling any other games.

Huh?

I quickly looked at my stash, and settled on two of them: Tomb Raider and Infamous: Second Son.

They were just sitting on my shelf. Hadn’t played them for weeks, having had my fill of them within a week of purchase. But I was saving these games for sentimental reasons: even though I finished them some time ago, I cherished those times and wanted to keep them for the memories. But memories are just sentimental drivel—I could use the cash, so I decided to sell the two.

I texted the guy an initial price, and he haggled a bit, but eventually said yes to the two additional games. He asked me to meet his messenger at AlphaLand Magallanes early today, so I went and sold the three games.

Getting home and looking at my PS4 game stash, I was shocked to find just three left: Destiny, Need For Speed: Rivals and The Last Of Us Remastered.

Dammit.

I’d sold many of my games since I got my PS4, and was just keeping the ones I loved. Apparently I just really loved three of them.

Destiny I keep because I like it, and although I’ve played the hell out of it, it never seemed completely finished.

NFS:R I keep because I like to race.

TLOUR I keep because I really really like it. It’s a classic, and it should keep well in the coming years.

And I guess that was it, outside of the ones I’ve bought digitally, and the free ones coming from my PSN subscription.

I got money again, but reconsidering my decision, I’m having second thoughts now.

Did I do the right thing?

Dammit.


Oct 29 2014

Got the update!

Adel Gabot

The PS4 System Update 2.0 went live yesterday at 5:00PM, and I was right there to get it on the spot.

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It took a few minutes to download (218MB), but I was soon installing it and finding out what was new.

The desktop looked a bit neater; only the top fifteen items showed up, and the rest was tucked away in the Library folder at the end of the row. Some of the details in the various icons were rearranged to look neater as well. I discovered a blue dot and number appearing on the top of the friends icon, and as I suspect, it told me the number of friends online at the time.

Going to check on the new SharePlay features seemed like too much work, so I put that aside for the time being.

I went for the Themes in Settings, but they were still unavailable as of yesterday afternoon, and I just had to settle for changing the color of my desktop.

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I chose yellow for the Flow Desktop, but later on changed it to gray.

The other new features were buried deep in there. I enabled YouTube as another of my services (now three; FaceBook and Twitter are the other two) but YouTube as an app was still absent from the PlayStation Store. Maybe it would be available later in the day. There were also two new menu themes in ShareFactory, although I really had no use for them; one was a generic horror theme, and the other was based on The Evil Within.

I made a USB music stick from iTunes, and the icon for USB Music Player popped up immediately on the desktop when I inserted it. The music and the graphics played and appeared flawlessly, but it was playing stuff I normally played on my iMac and iPod, so that novelty was gone as quickly as it arrived.

When I woke up this morning at 6, I went and checked, and sure enough the Themes were there in the store, free. There were five of them, two were based on games (Destiny and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare), and three new generic ones: Rectangular, Paper Sculpture and Spiral (which is shown below).

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The themes were nice; they even had specific icons to replace the standard ones, and they had nice new sound effects. Tried them all out, and eventually settle for Rectangular, which appealed to my minimalist bent.

The YouTube app was also there in the store, and I downloaded it right away, along with a new free game called Battle Islands.

Strangely enough, now that it’s here, Update 2.0 was actually underwhelming on the whole. I was expecting more, and was thinking I’d spend a whole day exploring its nooks and crannies. But I was done in less than an hour.

Erm. Back to the old grind.


Oct 25 2014

PS4 vs. Xbox One

Adel Gabot

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I’ve long wondered whether or not I made the right decision about getting one of the two new consoles.

I decided on the PlayStation 4 instead of the Xbox One.

So far, I’m happy with it.

The PS4 is a robust system.

While it doesn’t have the bells and whistles of the Xbox (much of it is cosmetic drivel, really), I’m happy with the simple dynamic menu and games the PS4 has to offer. The PS4 doesn’t have as many media apps, and doesn’t have the HDMI pass-through port that enables the media components of the Xbox, but it’s fine the way it is.

Sony hasn’t saddled the PS4 with the (unnecessary) PS Camera like the Xbox One did with the Kinect. Microsoft said, nay, insisted, that the gamer needed one in order to operate it properly, and added $100 to the console’s price. Their fairly-recent rescinding the inclusion of the Kinect in the package (and thus lowering the price by $100), seemed to indicate Microsoft’s sobering up and being realistic, but it was too late. Reports put the PS4 at a 40% worldwide lead over the Xbox One.

Microsoft is more rigorous with beefing up and improving their system though, coming out with regular monthly updates, and now they’ve got the lead on Sony as far as that is concerned: external drive connectivity, video and audio file playback and themes, for example. Although they still haven’t found a convenient way to give users the relatively simple gameplay screenshot and video capture function (they say sometime next year).

With Sony coming up with System Update 2.0 on Tuesday, we’re seeing the two finally becoming a match as far as features are concerned. Share Play‘s pretty nice, as well as the token reorganization of the main menu (really, Sony? Putting least-used games in a folder is the best you can do?), the ability to play music from a USB stick and finally providing desktop themes. But we’re still waiting for the ability to use the PS4 as a media server, as well as getting the ability to use external USB drives to extend storage.

The PS4 is a great console, and aside from the fact that it’s still in the title doldrums this early in the game (hey, it’s been a year, but who’s counting?), I’m pretty happy with it.

So why the hell do I have this incredible desire to get an Xbox One?

Is it just because of techno lust? Wanting to have the latest and the (ahem) greatest?

I’ve put my Xbox 360 on the selling block, with a vague intention of putting the proceeds towards the price of a new Xbox One.

Of course that would merely open a whole new can of worms: I have to buy games and gear for it. It’s nothing without some titles.

So what exclusive games are there for the X1? Sunset Overdrive? Forza Horizon 2? Dead Rising 3? The Halo Master Chief Collection? The new Gears of War? The forthcoming Quantum Break?

Christ.

I gotta think about this really hard.