Checkpoint: A Better Witcher Edition

The people who played and finished The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt within the first month would have had a significantly different experience compared to those who started it today. Since release, CD Projekt RED continued to patch and improve the game noticeable ways. Version 1.10 finally fixed most of the performance issues plaguing the PlayStation 4 version. They also tweaked the menus and made quality of life issues along the way. With 1.10, I’m able to easily switch between four potions which is a game changer because going into the inventory menu proper is still a sluggish chore. And last but not least, they introduced a more responsive movement system.

What’s the impact of these patches onThe Witcher 3’s ranking in my top 10? It was my game of the year early on but the more I played the more apparent the issues became. And as I was playing the silky smooth Metal Gear Solid V, I felt I had to knock it down from the top spot because I shouldn’t dread playing a game because of performance issues. Fortunately for CD Projekt RED, patch 1.10 may have sealed the deal for their RPG epic.

Aside from The Witcher 3, I’ve also been picking at FTL on iOS and Theatrhythm: Curtain Call. My fondness for the latter grows every time I play it. It’s full of nostalgic warm fuzziness.

Checkpoint: Fighting Game Basics Edition

I don’t know how to play fighting games. I’ve been playing fighting games since Street Fighter II Turbo on the Super Nintendo but I don’t know how to play fighting games. I know how perform special movies and some basic combos but I don’t know the tactical and strategic side of the game. I know of “footsies”, “pokes” and “zoning” but I don’t know how to use those ideas effectively with even the most basic characters like Ryu.

So with Street Fighter V, I decided to put in the effort to learn how to play fighting games. I started with a trio of videos featuring fighting game gurus Gootecks, Mike Ross and special guest WWE Superstar Xavier Woods:

These three videos are great for breaking down the fundamentals and how to apply basic fighting game techniques. It also shows a relatively new fighting game player (Xavier Woods) apply those lessons in live Street Fighter V beta matches and the gurus breaking down the matches.

Hungry for more information, I found Gootecks’ video on Ryu fundamentals which re-iterated much of what was taught in the Xavier Woods videos but it was still useful to hear him elaborate and repeat the basics. I highly recommend watching them.

The videos shows me how to practice and so I have been putting in the work in the Street Fighter V beta while waiting for matches to appear. I’m faring better but the inconsistent quality in connections and matchmaking makes it difficult to improve. In one match, I’m playing a “Grandmaster” ranked player and the next I’m playing a similarly ranked player with poor connectivity. It’s a beta after all.

Besides Street Fighter V, I’ve been playing Rocket League and chipping away at The Witcher 3. On the side, it’s been quite a bit of Hitman: Sniper and Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy: Curtain Call.

I’m surprised by Hitman: Sniper but I shouldn’t be. It’s by the fine folks at Square Enix Montreal who made the delightful Hitman GO. As soon as I’m done with Sniper, I’m going to pick up Lara Croft GO which I hear is equally fantastic.

 

 

 

Checkpoint: Premier League 2015-16 Edition

This is my second season with soccer and it’s weird. Unlike American football or any other sport, there was essentially only a two month gap where there was no club soccer was played. La Liga and Bundesliga start later this month but the Premier League kicked off the new club soccer season. It’s weird because I got into soccer after the World Cup which delayed the start of the 2014-15 season until late August and early September which I associate with “getting back to work” for everyone.

It’s been a rather lukewarm start for the big clubs with Manchester United being the big winner thus far by way of an own goal by a Tottenham Hotspurs’ defender. Chelsea tied and Arsenal lost. Liverpool are playing their opener at the time of writing and Manchester City will start their match tomorrow.

The bottom feeders have had more promising starts with the likes of Leicester City and newly promoted Watford making splashes against more established clubs. It’s inspiring to watch smaller teams rise up and take on bigger clubs and holding their own.

I don’t know who’s going to win this year’s Premier League championship. The pundits have pegged Chelsea to repeat with Arsenal in striking distance. If I were forced to choose, I’d pick the Blues as well but in the end the Premier League is second fiddle to the likes of La Liga for me. Big boys like Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid are ultimately more talented.

The opening weekend wasn’t the high flying start that I was expecting but I’m sure things will start clicking for some clubs by the end of the month.

I wrapped up Wolfenstein: The Old Blood with a neat bow in the form of a Platinum Trophy. I loved it as someone who loved Wolfenstein: The New Order so if you’re in the same boat as me, you should have picked it up for $12 a couple of weeks ago.

My love for Rocket League continues to grow by the day. The more I improve, the more I enjoy it and that’s a mark of a great game.

I feel the same with Galak-Z which is one of the more demoralizing games in recent memory. Bloodborne and the Souls games result in tough losses but they pale in comparison to losing great upgrades and items and starting at the beginning of a season. I suppose I should count my lucky stars that this isn’t a true rogue-like and I’m not starting at the beginning of the game.

Lastly, with the release of patch 1.08 and some performance improvements over patch 1.07, I decided to head back into world of The Witcher 3. I was immediately greeted with a gruesome murder attempt. This game is grim and it got its claws back into me because of it.

Checkpoint: The Patch Dilemma

I decided to put down The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and wait for the big 1.07 patch after scrolling through the change log. The patch promised new movement options, bug fixes, UI changes and performance improvements. Unfortunately, the performance improvements did not pan out; it may have made things worse.

Now what?

Should I continue delaying my return to Witchin’ and tackle other titles? I finished Batman: Arkham Knight. I’m almost done with Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker and I’ve started my Rocket League career. I could keep going down this path and wait for another patch but eventually I may lose all recollection of Geralt’s last adventure.

The Witcher 3 isn’t an unplayable mess on the PlayStation 4 but the performance leaves a lot to be desired. Dipping to 20FPS is gross and because of that any hope of relief to the performance issues keeps me hopeful for the next patch. I don’t want to wait forever to play finish the game but I also don’t want to be caught finishing the game when a new patch is just around the corner.

Now what?

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