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.

Game of the Year 2016 Day 3 of 3

Game of the Year 2016 Day 3 of 3

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2016 was a hell of a year for games. Long awaited games like The Last Guardian and Final Fantasy XV finally made their debuts. First person shooters received a massive jolt in the arm with the fantastic Doom and invigorating Overwatch. Even long running franchises showed that their respective fourth iterations can be amazing. It was a good year, indeed.

Best Old Game of 2016

Winner: Picross 3D

I had finagle a way to acknowledge the majesty that is Picross 3D. Picross is fine but blow it out into 3D dimensions was a mind expanding moment for me. I wanted to buy Picross 3D Round 2 but seeing how it was $40+ CAD and I didn’t even play the original, I went on Amazon.ca and bought a cart. It’s charming, weird and addictive to boot. The difficulty curve is a bit erratic at times but I feel it’s been fair. I’m playing for the perfect run so I restart any time I make a mistake and chip off the wrong piece.

While I’m technically not done with this game, I feel it’s easily one of the best games I’ve played this year.

 

Best Game of 2016

Winner: Overwatch

It’s my most played game the year but that alone doesn’t warrant the number one spot. It’s also incredibly well designed from top to bottom with its unbelievable ability to entice me into trying new things. Blizzard managed to get me to play a ranked Competitive mode and even convinced me to use online voice chat with strangers on the internet which in itself is a small miracle. 

With a timeless aesthetic and strong free support including seasonal events, costumes, characters and maps, I see myself coming back to Overwatch over and over again.

Runner-ups:

2. Doom – It invokes the Doom games of the past but doesn’t use it as a crutch. The campaign was so tightly designed with systems feeding off other systems, music, story and gorgeous fluid visuals designed for the sole purpose of making me feel like a total badass. 

3. TitanFall 2 – Likely the most complete package of 2016 with both a surprisingly great campaign that invokes Super Mario Galaxy and a multiplayer mode that I thought was a write off after the less than stellar Tech Test. Respawn Entertainment will be supporting the game with free content as well which is a trend that I would love to see continue.

4. The Last Guardian – I love Trico. I wish I could have one as a pet. I don’t own a pet but my patience with Trico is highlighting the fact that I do have the mentality to be a decent owner. All I need is to pet them regularly right?

5. Uncharted 4 – The perfect ending to the adventures of Nathan Drake. If there was a single game that made me feel old and reflect on what I was doing with my life, it was this.

6. Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past – Some of the most depressing stories ever told in an JRPG were found in this epic. You can say it was needlessly long at times and they could have trimmed the fat but the long winding journey was essential to create attachment to characters.

7. Inside – It may not have been as impactful as Limbo but Playdead still knows how to unsettle people with the simple gestures and actions.

8. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided– Iffy performance in the hub world didn’t prevent me from rummaging through other people’s personal belongings, read their e-mails and hack their wall safes. It’s more of Human Revolution than I expected but more of a good thing isn’t bad. 

9. The Division – End game issues stopped my brother and I from returning to The Division but for a very brief couple of months, The Division’s loot driven brand of third person shooting kept my brother and I coming back everyday to do our “dailies”.

10. Gears of War 4 – It’s been years since Gears of War 3 – both in-game and out of it. Creating a likeable cast of new comers isn’t easy but The Coalition managed to package them and the classic Gears of War formula into a game that still plays in 2016. I look forward to the “dark middle” chapter and hope they’ve learned to run around like normal people by then.

Checkpoint: Uncharted Retrospective Edition

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Brad sat down with Naughty Dog’s John “Cowboy” Bellomy to talk Uncharted tech and how far this series as come since Drake’s Fortune. I’m about 1:15 in and so far it’s wonderful. I love hearing development stories and just how proud they are of what they’ve accomplished.

Much of the technical details flew over my head but I love the passion and reverence Cowboy shares for it. Moving from key set piece to key set piece and highlighting the challenges and solutions they came up with to tackle them. I loved hearing the proxy boat trick in Uncharted 3 for example.

After watching this video, I just want to go back and replay the Uncharted games. It’s easily become one of my favorite franchises ever.

Besides fawning over Uncharted, I’ve been chipping away at Odin Sphere. it doesn’t seem to ever want to end which is not a great thing.

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