Checkpoint: Resurgence Edition

Checkpoint: Resurgence Edition

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The Game Awards have improved dramatically. So much so that I am considering watching more of it next year. I caught a very brief glimpse of it and I was impressed with presentation and production; it actually resembled a normal awards show. Congratulations to Geoff Keighley.

The two announcements that were of note to me SoulCalibur VI and Bayonetta 3. I hear SCVI is channeling the original Dreamcast release which is something that tickles my fancy. As far as Namco fighters are concerned, I have a stronger affinity towards this sword swinging fighter than the King of Iron Fist Tournament. Bayonetta 3 is coming out exclusively for the Nintendo Switch. It’s truly amazing to see Nintendo go out and just grab this former multiplatform character action game and treat it like one of their own.

I will undoubtedly pick up the third installment but what about the upcoming Switch re-releases? I very much enjoy the idea of having the entire trilogy on one platform – especially if they all run at a near faultless 60 FPS. If I end up picking up Bayonetta 1+2 again, this would be the third copy of Bayonetta 1 that I own and the second copy of 2. Who am I kidding? If Bayonetta 2 ends up being a superior version of the Wii U exclusive, I think I’ll just pull the trigger and pick both up.

Capcom is on the upswing with a handful of announcements that’s slowly restoring my faith in the company. They’re making Mega Man 11 and it doesn’t look like a pure nostalgia grab like the 9 and 10. It looks a bit weird at first glance but I am warming up to the chosen art style. They’re also re-releasing all the Mega Man X titles on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Switch. I love the idea of owning all the X games on the Switch. If it’s a quality port, I might just pick it up there.

The same can be said for the 30th Anniversary Collection of Street Fighter which includes arcade ports of 12 Street Fighter games excluding IV and V. I understand not including Street Fighter V but what about IV? I would even pay closer to $79.99 for a version with that game included.

And finally, Street Fighter V actually piqued my interest this past Sunday with the reveal of the third season’s cinematic opener. Sakura, Blanka, Cody, and Sagat make their return and Capcom looks to be injecting some serious effort into the single player portion of the game. I don’t know if I would go as far as to buy this game again but I’m happy to see Capcom still trying with it.

I am still marching towards full completion of Super Mario Odyssey. By and large, I am enjoying the hell out of Super Mario Odyssey; there’s a lot to love but I am losing steam collecting Moons. Huge swathes of the moons feel like tedious collectibles like feathers in Assassin’s Creed. But for every frivoulous Moon, there’s a charming or clever one that makes it worthwhile. I think I’m ready to write up my review of it.

I started Uncharted: The Lost Legacy last week and it’s a bit of an eye opener. Going from playing Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild to playing Uncharted highlights some glaring communication issues with Naughty Dog’s otherwise excellent game. Uncharted (and games in general) speak their own languages and despite years of playing Uncharted, I still mess up and drop to my death on occasion. My girlfriend asked: “How do you know where to go?” and I had to explain the subtle cues and other signposts that a hyper detailed game like Uncharted uses to her. It takes time to learn and adjust to the way games like this communicate but once you do, games like this become a cake walk.

Checkpoint: Odyssey Into Christmas Edition

Checkpoint: Odyssey Into Christmas Edition

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It’s been a busy couple of weeks around here. Christmas injected itself into my house in the form of a fancy tree. Learned how to change tires. Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales came and went. And plenty of Super Mario Odyssey was played.

Changing Tires

I decided to learn how to change my tires. It seemed like an easy and useful skill to learn and it yields a couple of benefits including saving time and money. I bought the tools and equipment several months ago and finally put them all to use earlier this month. It was surprisingly easy! I’m not nearly as fast as other people but with enough time and practice, I’m sure I can swap out tires in no time.

Here’s a list of the equipment and notes that I found useful.

The Jack

  • I purchased a 2 ton hydraulic jack and while it works, I would buy a 3 ton one if I had to do it all over again. I’m told a 3 ton jack is a bit more stable and even easier to lift a vehicle with.
  • Convert everything to kilograms to make sure your jack can support your vehicle. Or just buy a 3 ton one that should support it.

Impact Driver & Bits

  • Only used to remove bolts. It’s a nice luxury to have but not really necessary. It’s recommended that I tighten bolts with a torque wrench.
  • The bits can also be helpful when hand screwing the nuts in.

Breaker Bar

  • I bought one for $10 but I didn’t need it because all my bolts came out without a fuss.

Torque Wrench

  • I thought I didn’t need one because of the impact driver but now I have to pick one up for myself.
  • Screw in nuts and bolts in a star pattern!

Work Gloves

  • I need some nice gloves to keep my delicate digits from getting dirty.

Black Friday & Cyber Monday Sales

My haul this year is rather light and a bit weird:

  • Torque wrench
  • Vitamix 750
  • Horizon: Zero Dawn
  • Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
  • Electric toothbrush

The big takeaway from Black Friday & Cyber Monday was what my girlfriend did for me. She went into my Google Sheets that I used and included a handful of extremely useful automation formulas. It impressed the hell out of me! I had considered looking into automating more of it but I just never got around to sitting down and spending the time on that part of the deal posting process. It was greatly appreciated!

Christmas Is Here

It wasn’t even American Thanksgiving yet and the girlfriend already had us putting up a tree. She loves Christmas and all its trappings whereas I enjoy this time of year for the time off. It’s a very nice tree and she did a marvelous job picking out the ornaments and lights. It’s just unfortunate that she won’t be around for most of December to enjoy it.

Half Way Through The Odyssey

I watched the credits roll on Super Mario Odyssey but as with other Mario games, it’s not really the end yet. There’s just so many more Moons to uncover and collect. I think this is where the game truly begins as the challenges and other tricks unfurl.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Switch Review

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Switch Review

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It took me over four months to finish it but I finally reached the end of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I’m not 100% done with the game — there are so many shrines, side quests and a true ending to see – but I’ve played more than enough to render a verdict. There was so much to love and a handful of design decisions that assaulted my patience but in the end I ended up enjoying my time with Breath of the Wild and intend to return to Hyrule. 
  
There’s a level of expectation that comes with Nintendo first party efforts with regards to polish; everything needs to work well. Cramming a bunch of systems into the game and having them all interact with each other seamlessly may seem like a simple expectation but when I see the likes of Skyrim, Fallout, The Witcher 3, and other open world games mill about with its share of “jank”, I know it’s not so easy. 
  
The very fact that Link can climb anywhere and nearly anything was a mind blowing addition. He’s only restricted by his stamina gauge and if I decided that I didn’t want to wait until I leveled up my stamina gauge to climb a tower, I could cook cup a bunch of stamina food or potions and brute force my way up tower or mountain. It may seem like I’m pulling a fast one on the designers, but they really did fabricate a game where Link and I can go or do anything we want however we want.  
  
The unfortunate side effect to this open ended approach was the less than optimal experience for me early on. I ignored the Kakariko Village objective and bumbled my way through the most punishing Divine Beast who dwelled in Gerudo. I didn’t have any meaningful armor, didn’t realize I could parry attacks, didn’t get the camera, missed the ability to unlock additional inventory spaces, missed out on armor enhancements, and missed out on easy shrines to bolster my health and stamina. I may have made it more difficult for myself by ignoring the main objective for so long but I’m so glad Nintendo allowed me to make the journey so arduous for myself.  
  
Setting things on fire is fun and it’s about time Nintendo embraced that past time. I don’t think setting wooden weapons or arrows on fire and subsequently using them against Bokoblins ever got old for me. I also loved the fact that if I equipped a fire sword, it would keep me warm in the frigid lands of Hyrule. Systems like those kept me on my toes. What did wear out its welcome quickly was the weapon breakage and cooking.  
  
I felt weapons shouldn’t have broken so easily on the flesh of Moblins or other fleshy enemies. If I were striking rocks, shields, or the undead, I can see why my swords and spears would shatter in time. Thankfully as I unlocked more and more weapon slots, I was no longer fumbling around for weapons as frequently.  
  
Unfortunately there wasn’t much of a reprieve from cooking. I understood the need to combine different ingredients to create a dish or potion for Link to consume but it wasn’t necessary to force me to do that each and every time. If I discovered the recipe once, I should be able to select it from cookbook and be able to create whatever dish I had ingredients for with a press of a button. I wasn’t being more creative with my cooking as time wore on; I was becoming lazy and just tossing in the same ingredients over and over again.  
  
I cannot say I had a consistently enjoyable time with Breath of the Wild but such is life in the real world or Hyrule. For every piece of meat that I had to roast there was an awesome moment of floating through the sky or shield surfing down some slopes in Hedra. For every broken sword, there was a brilliant little puzzle shrine to be found and unravel. These aren’t the gives and takes that I’m used to encountering in a Legend of Zelda game and that alone makes it very special.  
 
Verdict: 
I like it 

Ratings Guide
 
 

Checkpoint: Weekend Movies Edition

Checkpoint: Weekend Movies Edition

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We started watching Blade Runner on Friday. I watched the movie for the first time a few years ago but I watched it on DVD. I thought the movie was good but watching it on a 55″ HDTV was a bit too much for the 480p movie. 

I enjoyed the movie but the grimy and unclear image of DVD left me wanting. This Blu-ray remaster of the Director’s Cut is very impressive. The CG hasn’t aged particularly well but I’m still impressed with how clear everything comes through. We’ve only watched half the movie (GF got sleepy) but I’m finding it a more enjoyable watch this go around. I’m hoping we wrap it up sooner rather than later. 

The girlfriend’s enthusiasm for the Marvel Cinematic Universe™ resulted in us watching Thor: Ragnarok on Sunday. I found it entertaining but it will likely fade into memory as “just another” Marvel movie in my mind. My problem with the Marvel movies (and most superhero movies) is the lack of weight for many of the actions. They seem to treat death in a very Disney manner which is to say: they give it screen time and quickly move on. They don’t seem to care about who lives or dies (except for the faceless innocent masses) so why should I care? I know Thor isn’t going to die; he doesn’t even seemed to be phased by the loss of an eye.  

Speaking of eye: I don’t know if I grew a more discerning one for computer generated imagery or whatever but I found much of it in Ragnarok to be poor. Any time the CG interacts with humans, it stood out. I’m very curious to see how all of these movies stand the test of time.  

I finally saw the credits roll for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. There’s still more to do and I didn’t see the true ending yet but I’m currently satisfied with what I’ve played. I’ll be summing up my thoughts with a review shortly. Up next? Super Mario Odyssey. 

 

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