It’s not perfect but don’t buy the haters argument’s – Battlefront

In light of the recent Battlefront 2 trailer release I decided it would be good to re-hash Battlefront(2015). The TL;DR is that people are blinded by their nostalgia from Battlefront 2 in particular. I replayed Battlefront 2 on stream leading up to the release of this game. Battlefront 2 had no story to speak of. The entire campaign is a set of cut scenes amounting to essentially “Remember that battle they didn’t show in the movie? We were there!” followed by playing a bot match with the occasional objective. There was no story to speak of in Battlefront 2. The following is a review I wrote on Amazon’s feedback page in support of the game. I probably should have posted it here initially but I thought it would be most effective on Amazon. Here it is, unedited.

Battlefront Logo

Posted: December 9, 2015

Don’t buy the anti-game hype from most of the other reviews. Many people are mad because the game didn’t meet their unrealistic expectations due to all the hype. Also make sure you are comparing launch numbers to launch numbers when comparing this with other games.

Continue reading “It’s not perfect but don’t buy the haters argument’s – Battlefront”

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Defiance Update – Bait and Switch

Defiance-GameplayFor those who read the blog you’ve seen I’ve been checking out Defiance. An MMO in the universe of SyFy’s new show coming out soon. You’ll see that my time with Defiance hasn’t been very intriguing or interesting. I just got an additional piece of information that may or may not play in to your view and decision to play Deviance so I wanted to share it to give you a complete view of the situation.  In an e-mail sent out on 28 March Defiance VP of Development let slip that, as I mentioned in a previous post found here http://brockh.at/YRdxNd, that what they gave console gamer’s was in fact old code. That means that what you saw is not representative of the game at that time. You can have a look at the message that went out over e-mail.  http://brockh.at/YRfvx9. Take away from this what you will.

Defiance Beta Playstation 3 Extended Look

As promised I spent some more time with the Defiance beta on PlayStation 3. For those who may not know Defiance is a Third Person Shooter MMO on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The game is part of some form of over arching story/universe being constructed to go along with Syfy’s (pronounced “sifee”?) television show of the same name.

In my last post on the subject I hadn’t had a very good experience with the game. This time around it’s gotten a bit better. You eventually work your way out in to the open world as you tend to do with most MMOs. This helped the situation greatly. Several quest lines opened up, some items like an ATV were handed over and the game got a bit more entertaining. Sadly the voice acting and facial animations through out extend not a hint of humanity or serve to draw you in emotionally. The game is not terrible but it’s not great. It’s what most would call mediocre. The shooting mechanics are pretty solid and there seem to be plenty of challenges, objectives and creatures dotting the landscape to keep you busy. Thats really about the extent of it. If there weren’t better MMOs available this game would be just fine. But as it is it has to contend with the likes of WoW, Guild Wars 2 and PlanetSide 2. I don’t see this game going any where unless they manage to slap a thick layer of polish on whats in this beta or the TV show is able to draw people deeply in to the universe it’s trying to create.

I think this video sums up the experience nicely.

My 10 Minutes With The Defiance Beta

Defiance BetaI might be breaking some kind of embargo by talking about this. If there was something telling me I couldn’t talk about this I apparently dropped it in the TL;DR bucket and clicked right past it. So if I have to take this down at some point, to my readers, I apologize in advance.

Take this whole thing with a grain of salt. I only made it about 10 minutes before deciding to quit playing. Now don’t read to far in to this. It was late and I had been unloading a pretty large quantity of housing goods at my new place so I was extremely tired. Even so the initial experience wasn’t one of wanting to stay up, despite being tired, to keep playing. First impressions are important. Thank goodness it’s a beta. So lets hit the key points.

The story pics up on a giant ship flying over the golden gate bridge. A fairly generic military, very UN peace keeper looking, officer barks some orders.  There are words exchanged, a brief reason for your non-military presence is given and then BAM! True to Sci-Fi, or should I say SyFy, we start the story in the same way as almost every other science fiction story ever. Waking in a flaming wreck with little idea where we’re at or what the state of things are.  That is probably the first fault I saw and sadly probably not one that can be remedied since it’s story and not a technical problem. I was bored right off the bat.

The first technical problem I noticed was the character animation. Mouths moved like poorly timed muppets and expression was no where to be found. It felt like something from the mid 90s. I have high hopes that this is just some polish that needs to be done and by launch we’ll have some characters to at least begin to care about.

Building your character is simplistic with only a very few number of options and there doesn’t seem to be enough options  to let you make a truly distinguishable character. Hopefully quickly in the game you’ll get some unique armor options and/or the ability to color and customize things to give your character a unique look. Obviously I didn’t make it far enough to see if this is the route they went.

Once you’re on the ground the game looks pretty good over all. You don’t get close up on faces like the initial cut scene so character interactions aren’t nearly as grating. There were some issues with the subtitling that was on by default. The text provided is white and one of the characters is also white and large in the foreground. That’s easy enough to fix so I presume we’ll see that corrected.

The final thing was just how dark some of the areas were and the enemies were and how tall the grass was. I found myself frequently just looking for the enemy title to pop up above where the enemy was and then aiming until the reticle turned red and firing. I wasn’t seeing enemies much unless I was almost on top of them. While it’s playable it’s certainly analogis to using a fly by instruments situation only in a first person shooter and it’s not very fun.

As you can see Defiance can still use some work. True to what a beta is it’s pretty rough but it looks like a ton of work still to be done for what is supposed to be an April 2nd release. Lets hope they are just toying with us by feeding us an old build so that when the full game hits we’ll all be surprised and impressed with what a giant leap they made in such a short period of time.

Rest assured this is just a first glimpse or a brief taste. I plan to put a good amount more time in to this in the hopes that the epic battle scenes depicted in the screen shots and promo material are enough to overcome the immediately apparent issues mentioned above. Keep an eye out for a more extensive look at the beta some time in the near future!

PlayStation 4’s Backward Compatibility

PS4 Press ConferenceAs I’m sure most of you who searched this post out have heard the backwards compatibility for PlayStation 4 is in question. While I don’t have any inside information I do have some observations based on my long time experience with technology. First is the fact that the PlayStation 4 is going to be x86 based. The PlayStation 3 is cell processor based so backwards compatibility must be impossible! To that I would say, sort of. One thing to keep in mind is that many of the 3rd party games were actually cross platform. That means despite there being a PS3 version there’s also an x86 PC version hanging out out there. This means it should be, mostly, trivial for developers to port their game back to the PS4 from their PC code. So it’s not likely we’ll see Sony first party games coming back on to the PS4 but we’ll almost certainly see third party titles coming back.

The other piece to the puzzle is that Sony now owns Gaikai. Certain podcasters and media have made comments to the effect that it’s impossible for Sony to run PS3 games over Gaikai citing things similar to the above processor difference but in order to support the Gaikai components that would be needed to make it happen. I’d like to remind those folks that Sony originally supported Linux on the PS3 and those PS3’s were used in things like super computer clusters. Much like the ones used on the back end of cloud services. I have a feeling part of the reason for that is that the PS3 is Linux based at it’s core and that it’s actually going to be quite easy for Sony to extend PlayStation 3 games into that sort of online cloud delivery environment.

I guess what I’m getting at is that even though you might not be able to play those PlayStation 3 games off your old disc’s on day one those games will come back around and make an appearance on the new console in some form.

The Gaming Appendix Episode 3 – Ratchet & Clank HD Collection and Crusader Kings 2

The Gaming Appendix has released Episode 3. This time around we re-visit the Call of Duty Black Ops 2 single player campaign. We talk about the gorgeous textures available in the Ratchet & Clank HD Collection. Finally Crusader Kings 2 goes real time and seems to be an epic play. Watch the video or go to The Gaming Appendix website for the audio version and RSS feed.

The Gaming Appendix – Episode 1

This week marks a potentially historic day for the internet. Today I’m releasing the very first episode of “The Gaming Appendix” podcast who’s aim it is to talk about games past and what they turned out to be post patches, DLC and general reception. The first episode is actually covering more recent games Call of Duty Black Ops 2 and Halo 4 along with board games Settlers of Catan and Small World. Hit up the libsyn.com page for now to subscribe to the podcast. I plan to do it bi-monthly currently and will post when I work out the exact schedule.

The Gaming Appendix LibSyn Website

In case you want to give it a listen before subscribing here is a direct link to the mp3.

Listen Now!

Call of Duty: Black Ops II Video Editor and YouTube Upload

Wanted to follow up my videos from today with some additional comments and info about the COD Black Ops 2 video editor. While it’s not the first game to have a built in machinima editor it is the first, to my knowledge, with direct export to YouTube and that makes it kind of a big deal here in the land of Google.

First, it’s kind of limited. Two key things seem to be missing. First is that you can’t properly scrub through a film in the proper sense of the idea. You can fast forward up to 6x speed. If you pass the point you want you can’t scrub back you can simply jump back to the last “Event” point(usually a kill) that was registered and then fast or slow forward to the point you want. Once you’re at the point you want you don’t “cut” the film in the traditional sense you simply start recording. This means if you aren’t quick on the play button or quick on the record button while the film is playing then you get a pause or delay at the start of your clip. Think back to the days where you would try to edit two VHS tapes together. It’s like that.

Second, speaking of clips…Clips are smaller units of a Film. A Film is basically a single game or round of play. Now that you understand that I’m gong to tell you something sad. You can not combine clips from different films in the editor. This effectively prevents you from creating a montage from multiple films. This seems like a pretty big miss step on the part of Treyarch and Activision. It makes it difficult for those of us who are not always good at the game 100% of the time from being able to assemble our exploits for the world to see. It also seems like it would make things considerably more difficult for those who might want to create real machinima from the game with out the outlay of additional hardware.

Protip: Clips are uploaded to YouTube immediately and after rendering. If you keep a laptop or tablet handy you can upload individual clips from different films and immediately set them to private or unlisted and then use YouTube’s own built in video editor to assemble them in to a single movie montage. That’s how I got Shotgun Highlights video put together.

While it has some glaring issues there are some neat things it does do. One of those things is an automated highlight real creator that looks at the registration of kills in a film and sort of auto cuts them for you and then presents a timeline of clips that you can arrange to make a highlight real from a single film.

It also succeeds at a one click to upload to YouTube which, between the auto highlight maker and that could make it really easy for a great player to put their exploits online.

Over all it’s not a bad first attempt for the folks at Treyarch to create a full featured in game machinima/video editor in the style of Bungie.net services.

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