Nov 6 2016

Diablo III workthrough

Adel Gabot

5:41AM

Working my way through Act IV of Diablo III Ultimate Evil Edition. The last act.

And I’m only on my second day of playing.

I love this game.

 

EDIT: 9:05AM

My mistake.

There’s another Act after IV. Act V is after you defeat Diablo, encase him in the Black Soulstone, and have a bigger demon steal the stone and create more trouble.

Hm. The original game for PCs and Macs only had 4 acts. It seems the console versions got extended by one more act.

Looks like I got my work cut out for me.

Well, the more the merrier, I say.


Nov 4 2016

Take Two—on the PS4

Adel Gabot

51zzkdb4gl

7:53AM

I finally dumped the old game Diablo III I’ve long been struggling with on the iMac, and bought a PS4 version—and I’m loving it.

In a day of playing, I got my character, a monk named Marcus (after Father Marcus on The Exorcist TV show, a program I adore), to Act II (a pretty long haul), and I haven’t died once. Whereas on the iMac, it took me almost two weeks and many many deaths to get to that level.

I don’t really know why it took me forever to get going on the iMac. Probably the controls. Something about a keyboard and a mouse, a mouse I was forced to switch to from a much used trackpad just for the game. And still it proved a chore, and a big stumbling block to my enjoyment of the game. Eventually I just gave up on it.

Now, several years later, I decided to jump on the console bandwagon for the game. They released it almost two years ago, I think, and at first, I didn’t want to spend any more for an expensive Mac game I already had (for four years already!). But the dearth of anything new on the horizon for the PS4, coupled with my curiosity, got the better of me. Critics were of a mind praising the port to high heaven, and I wanted to see if they were right.

They were.

d3x_blizzcon_ps4_westmarch_ad_03

I don’t understand what Blizzard really did in the converting the game to the PS4, but they got it right. The controls feel natural and easy to get used to, and it just took me a few minutes to adjust. After that, it was just button mashing heaven.

I want to keep playing this game, and I think about it when I’m not. As a matter of fact, I started this post before 8 this morning, I took a quick break to play five minutes later, and now it’s almost two in the afternoon when I resumed typing. Six hours of being distracted, and I haven’t had enough.

So now I’m going to end this post, and resume playing. I expect to take a dinner break later, and then continue on into the night, so excuse me.

 


Oct 27 2016

The Division lives!

Adel Gabot

056591

5:17PM

Just wanted to take the time to praise Ubisoft for releasing the free update to Tom Clancy’s The Division, Update 1.4, and revitalizing a near-dead game.

I haven’t played it for nearly a year it seems, ever since I hit the game’s ceiling and maxed out all my stats. As a rule, I never really shell out for DLCs, so I never bought into The Underground or any of the other game extensions that have come out in the intervening months.

So the game has lain fallow ever since, while I moved on to newer games like Uncharted 4 or Overwatch or Rise of The Tomb Raider. As a matter of fact, I was actually selling it off at a giveaway price, and I would have, if the skinflints online wouldn’t haggle me down even further. But as it is, no takers yet, which was actually a good thing as it turns out.

Took a while to download, as it came at a time when my internet connection was going through a wonky phase, but it was worth it. The developer’s changes injected new life into the game, and now I’ve rapidly upped my stats even further, and am now sporting an all-green feature set and working my way up the ranks again.

I find myself forsaking my current fascination, Tomb Raider, and my other current standby, Overwatch, and have been playing The Division pretty much I get any time on the PS4.

Really lovely.


Oct 15 2016

Quick review: Rise of The Tomb Raider

Adel Gabot

Rise of the Tomb Raider

8:04PM

Ok, ok, I harangued the local game store for my copy of the PS4 version of Rise of The Tomb Raider. I admit it.

I harrassed them for nearly a week, because they didn’t have a pre-order option. It finally came on the expected date—the 11th, although the stock wasn’t delivered before the store opened at 10AM that day; I had to wait for a couple of hours more before it finally came from the warehouse.

It certainly took a long while to arrive. Almost a whole year, as a matter of fact.

It was released as an Xbox One-exclusive game what, 11 months ago?, and us PS4 users had to sit on our heels. As a matter of fact, the hype had already died down, and was only revived by Square Enix releasing it with a ton of extra content that wasn’t available before, as a 20th anniversary treat.

I had loved the first version of the new Lara Croft, Tomb Raider Remastered, that came out a couple of years ago. It first came out for the PS3 some months before the PS4 was even launched, and they released a special version for the new console, which I adored.

This new game exceeded even my expectations, and I’ve been playing it incessantly since Tuesday when I got it, to the point I forgot about my current obsession, Overwatch. Been taking it nice and slow, savoring each moment. But now, I’ve reached the midpoint of the game, and I guess it’s time to take a break and write down my first impressions.

Rise of the Tomb Raider

First off, the scope and open-world environment is larger than I was expecting, much larger than the previous iteration of the game. The gun battles and fights are great, but it’s really the exploration of the environs that’s actually the fun part, looking for hidden tombs and gathering resources and exploring ruins.

This time around, Lara’s on the search for something called the Divine Source, something that gives eternal life to whoever wields it. Rise of The Tomb Raider starts with exciting scenes in Syria, and graduates into climbing the mountains of Siberia and exploring its valleys and underground mines and takes the gamer to all sorts of various locales in the area.

I won’t go into the details of the plot (mainly because I haven’t completed it yet), but suffice it to say it’s vintage Tomb Raider, which is to say it’s complicated, convoluted and completely a hoot to play. Lots of running around, climbing mountains and tall structures, jumping across chasms, crawling under things, zip-lining down cliffs, as well as plenty of puzzle-solving, stealth and fierce combat involved.

Rise of the Tomb Raider

The controls, while fairly intricate, are well laid-out and thought through. As are the menus, which are a bit complex, but after an hour or two you get the hang of quite easily. Quicktime events are seamlessly integrated into the narrative, and the sections and chapters are clear and easy to understand. And gameplay is suitably long—20 to 30 hours or more, depending on how much of a completionist you are.

I have a few niggles that bother me though:

  • It might be my handling of the controls, but Lara seems too jerky and too quick to respond to the controls, so much so that she sometimes appears cartoony in her movements.
  • The writers insert “read-outs” (my term), or short documents that are read out by the characters involved, in terribly awkward moments. Sometimes, Lara is involved in a frantic, frenetic action sequence when there is a read-out inserted in the middle of it. It sort of kills the mood.
  • There is inappropriate shaking of the environment in a scene, as if there was an earthquake occurring, but this goes on for the entire time. Like in an underground mine sequence in the middle of the game where everything is shaking—it’s difficult to believe the scenery is that unstable.
  • Aiming is pretty difficult, and you sometimes miss your target when you thought it was a sure thing. This is a carryover from the first game, and you’d think the developers would have taken the time to fix it. But no, it’s still there.

But on the whole, the game is an achievement, almost matching the complexity and fluidness of Uncharted 4, which is saying something. The animation and the graphical detail are unparalleled, and the story sufficiently complex and involving. Games don’t come any better than this,.

Rise of The Tomb Raider is one of the best to come out for the current generation of consoles, and comes with my highest recommendations.


Oct 1 2016

GOW 4

Adel Gabot

9:45AM

In this current generation of console boxes, I’ve sided with the Playstation 4, and left Xbox One out in the cold. (Mostly because my TV can only accept 2 HDMI inputs, and I’ve already got the Apple TV plugged into the other—otherwise I think I would have gotten an Xbox One a long time ago—but hey.)

I sold off my old PS3 and my old Xbox 360, as well as their respective games, and put every centavo into my choice of new console. And so far, I’m at peace with it. I love my PS4, its games and simple interface, and while I’ve looked at the Xbox One with envy sometimes, particularly when they have some nice console-exclusive game, I’ve been kinda ok with my choice.

But lately, I’ve been thinking of diving into Microsoft‘s gaming world, mainly because of one game: Gears of War 4.

Not Forza. Not Quantum Break. Not Sunset Overdrive. Not even Halo. (Well, maybe Halo, come to think of it.)

But Gears of War!

I’ve played all of the previous iterations of GOW on the previous Xbox consoles and enjoyed the games greatly, but this is the first time a new version of GOW’s come out that I don’t have an Xbox handy.xbox-one-s-gow-ed-leak_07-13-16_001

I try to rationalize my desire on the fact that there’s actually a new Xbox model out now, the S version (not to mention the upcoming Scorpio), that Microsoft‘s finally dropped their ridiculous home entertainment center campaign, and that they’ve also dropped their insistence on always adding that horrid Kinect to the package, and now’s the time to buy in, but actually it’s just my love for Gears of War that’s fueling my desire for a new Xbox.

I bought into the first version when it first came out years ago, and haven’t looked back since. I love Gears of War. Marcus Fenix, Dom Santiago and the gang against all those horrible alien invaders. Those Gears with their chainsaw-equipped guns and cover-based game mechanic. True, it’s a Third-Person Shooter as opposed to being a First-Person One, my favorite genre, but I got used to it quickly.

Now there is a new GOW about to come out, and I’m SOL. I saw the 20-minute prologue released on YouTube yesterday, and got all excited again.

I’m now actually, seriously considering buying the Gears of War 4/Xbox One S game bundle. And while I’m at it, finally get to try out the new Halo, which I’ve missed playing, and the new Forzas. But that means I gotta figure out how to plug the Xbox One S into my system; probably have to buy myself a multi-HDMI adapter.

But it’s a big decision, something I shouldn’t take lightly. Ah well. Something to think about. Seriously think about.

Meantime, Rise of The Tomb Raider‘s finally coming out in under two weeks for the PS4, after a year-long exclusivity delay with the Xbox One. Tell you the truth, the excitement would have faded and I would have waited for a cheaper, used version later on, but the 20th Anniversary perks got me all worked up again.

But one at a time, Del. One at a time.