A moment to appreciate tech

I just wanted to take the time and space to appreciate technology. VR is finally here, even in limited quantities, and it feels pretty amazing. I mean who would have known back in 1990 that something this huge would be hitting the market in 2016. So appreciative of things that humankind can create.

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Are people still playing Battleborn and Helldivers?

I’m a simple guy. I don’t play too many games, mainly because I do not have the time for them like I used to since picking up this new job and internship at different companies. I also do not have the most money so spending so much on video games I don’t even have time for makes little sense.

Because of that, I only play a few games. I have mentioned a couple on my blog here: Battleborn and Helldivers. Those are two of my favorite console games so far and I just wanted to update on whether people still play them.

Helldivers, I have kind of shied away from. It was a PS Plus game back in March, but now being November, one of the premium months for holiday AAA game releases, I think I have had enough of HD for now. Plus, there really are not that many active players on the game anymore.

Battleborn is a different story, though still similar in a sense. I play it from time to time and the servers are usually popping with people. But I did pick up a few games and have played the game much less frequently than before. Still, it is worth noting that people are still on the servers and the game is not dead like many predicted at its launch.

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Helldivers Update: Retaliatory Strikes are the Worst

Helldivers has been my PC game of choice lately, so I would love to get the opportunity to write more on it on my blog. I will try to create posts that will highlight the games I play and some issues or really anything interesting I come across in these sessions. Maybe you guys can help me out or roll in the great gaming memories with me too, who knows.

In Helldivers, you are a soldier tasked with killing different enemy types. There are different missions, but the main ones consist of exploring unique worlds, weapons and stratagems all set up. You can find samples in these worlds. But another mission type is the famous retaliatory strike, where there is no in-game environment to explore and no samples to pick up; it is just a relatively small arena where you and up to 3 other players have to survive and kill as many enemies as you possibly can, limited to just your weapons and stratagems, with no ammunition drops placed for you.

What makes this extremely hard is really the spacing. For the first 100 or so kills (the objective is usually to kill up to 250 or 275 enemies), it seems relatively easy. You kill the weakest of that enemy type and in most cases, are really survivable. From that point on, though, it gets much harder, as the tanks like the Brood Commander for the Bugs start spawning. More medium-range infantry start showing up as well, and in numbers, these guys are hard to knock out. What frustrates me the most is how overwhelming it can all be to fight them. The medium and armored enemies really take some firepower and usually calling in stratagems to defeat them. Meanwhile, even that is hard to do because you have the smaller enemy types swarming your every direction.

My strategy

What I try to do works for the most part. I have a “crowd-control” setup where my character’s stratagems are piled up with devices that will either slow down enemies or take a lot of them out at the same time so my killing isn’t based solely on my firepower. Some things I include (note you can only choose 4 of these):

  • Slowing specs: I don’t know exactly what these are called, but basically you can call it in and it spawns in an radius of slowing material so enemies aren’t swarming you so quickly. Plus there are unlimited uses so there’s that.
  • Fire stratagem: This one is just as useful, but there are no slowing capabilities. It damages a lot of enemies, though.
  • Tesla tower: The Tesla was extremely hard to get, but it’s worth it. Basically, it shocks anyone within its relatively large circle to help with crowd control.
  • Any of the bombs: You can use basically any one of them here, as they are all similar. Look for some that are armor-piercing though, as that is what I usually use to get rid of tanks.
  • Guard Dog: This is a paid DLC but I think it’s worth it when it’s fully upgraded. It’s especially useful if you are reloading or calling in a stratagem, as it will fire without your command.

Those are basically all I use. The Trident shotgun weapon is really useful too. Still, I hate these strikes because they become so chaotic by the end of the round.

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I have a huge problem. I will admit that I haven’t been paying attention to the hype surrounding Star Wars: Battlefront’s release, but that’s because I have been playing a whole world of other games, mainly older games that I haven’t played yet. The thing with me is that I’m what people would call a “patient gamer“, basically when I wait for games to get on sale or for other newer games to come out. That is when I pounce on games. Some may call it being cheap, others may call it a lack of attention to new games. I just prefer this way because I can get games for much cheaper, and I don’t really involve myself in the hype before new games are released anyway so there would be no point in preordering. To add, my computer isn’t necessarily strong enough to play modern games, so I just wait for the older games that it can run and upgrade my tech when I need to.

But as I was browsing the web, I came across a video and then researched more. I found my computer can’t run Battlefront, which is a game I recently became so heavily interested in. I almost always check the requirements for PCs to run it before I can play, because if I didn’t that just wouldn’t be smart of me. Have a look below. Yes, my desktop is that bad. Yes, I will eventually upgrade. No, you can’t keep mocking me.

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Battleborn PC – Average Gamer Review

Everyone, I would just like to keep a side note briefly before getting started. I am not going to be doing reviews often. I find that there are enough outlets doing reviews that you probably do not need mine. That is totally cool with me. However, for some games that I find really intriguing, I might do an average gamer review, where I (an average gamer) check out games in precise detail and give my opinions on whether the average consumer should also be giving it a try. I am not funded by any publishing company, I am not a big reviewer. I am not a professional at this sort of thing. Perhaps all of those previous things make me qualified to give my insight on video games because I am literally just like you.

Battleborn on the PC

Another thing to get out of the way: this review pertains to the PC version. I pretty much exclusively game on my desktop computer  because 1) I bought and upgraded a whole rig that cost me quite a bit of money and 2) it is quite explicitly the best medium to experience games on because of the graphic and frame rate capabilities.

Art style

I want to refrain from using the word “graphics” here since it hardly says much to talk about graphics. Most every game runs on high resolution and the textures are typically nice. But since this is Gearbox Software that made Battleborn, also the creators of epic artsy games like Borderlands 1, 2, and Pre-Sequel, I figured their art style is worth mentioning in this review.

Battleborn steps away from the good old cel-shaded formula of Borderlands past, and exchanges it with a rather cute, cartoon style. The characters are weird people and are drawn to be so. There is an overly large guy, a mushroom character, and a swordsman, just to clarify what I mean by cartoony.

The environments are really colorful as well. Plants, turrets, and the ground all make up the wonderful scenery and it keeps the game livid sometimes just because of all the bright colors. There is not a dull bone in Gearbox’s dev team.

Characters

There are a load of characters in the game. I can’t be bothered to count how many but I remember hearing somewhere that it launched with roughly 25 to unlock and play as. That is a good number to start and I hear that Gearbox will be releasing new characters for free in DLC pacakges.

The starting characters are enough of a variety to keep you wanting more. You start off with different types of people to be. You can be the hunk of muscle that is Montana, who has an extremely large frame but also deals a ton of damage with his machine gun and ground smash. He reminds of the Heavy from Team Fortress 2. You can kick back as a sniper if that is your game, with Marquis, who also reminds me of the Sniper from TF2. Other support characters include Miko, a medic, or Rath, who is a slashing-type initiator.

marquis battleborn gameplay

The character diversity is good and I love the different ways you can customize them too, giving even more power to the player to choose their own playstyle. Customization of characters go from cosmetic items in the main menu, or in-game when you are choosing what kind of perks you want (eg. would you rather have a larger radius for your slowing orb as Marquis or do you want a stronger slowing effect?)

Game analysis

The game works like this: in the main mode, two teams go at each other, trying to take the other team’s sentries down. These sentries are protected by the likes of turrets, minions, and of course the opposing characters. It is a 5 on 5 brawl and much like a MOBA game like League of Legends, minions, lane management, and in game upgrades make a difference to winning the fight. In essence, the game is a first person MOBA game with lots of character upgrades and chaotic firefights.

Other modes exist too, like Capture the Objective. I usually just play the main lane management game, though. I also wish they had more game modes rather than just three. The game does tend to get stale and playing on PC does not help since I have a wealth of other games I could be playing online. Still, Battleborn is truly a fun game that has lots of fun factors in it.

Game performance

The game ran incredibly well in the first weeks of launch. I expected a lot of players to be bumping up the servers and making the game lag, given the history of 2K’s faulty online server work with games like NBA 2k16 and their sports games. If you are unaware, those games always launch with server issues.

One thing that does still bother me is the matchmaking. It would take up to 5 or 10 minutes just to get a game going. Sometimes, I get paired up with really low level players and we are up against a team of experienced Battleborn veterans. There have been widespread complaints about it and there are news that Gearbox is working on it. Still, it is a huge issue.lane management Battleborn Incursion

Other than these things, the game does run smoothly. Inside the game, I am running with a smooth 70 frames per average, never dipping much due to the online connection. For a game that looks this vibrant, it is good that the whole gameplay is smooth.

My Verdict

I am not going to put a score on the game because I don’t think that is what helps average consumers like you and I decide what game to purchase. So instead I will leave you with my final verdict:

The game has a lot of enjoyment to be had. There have been several sales on PC that drop the price of the game significantly compared to its $60 launch and it has only been a month (as of now). I expect to be filling more than 100 hours of game time inside of Gearbox’s multiplayer title. The game runs really smooth but matchmaking is terrible and I hope GBS fixes it soon. If you like frantic combat alongside a very unique design with a mix up in MOBAs, Battleborn is a great game.

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My Thoughts on the PS4.5 “Neo”

So I got an email from a fan asking my thoughts on the recently leaked PS4.5, codenamed by Sony the “Neo”. Instead of just emailing him back my answer, I figured I should create a post here since I do have some pretty bold opinions on the whole new project. Read them below.


The NEO console is basically the PS4, but with upgraded RAM, a better processor, and an upgraded graphics processing unit. All of these sound like upgrades that could leave the PS4 in the dark, probably making it even the next Playstation console. But, many sources have debunked these rumors and claim that they are just minor improvements to make the PS4 a more efficient machine in terms of maximizing its already-existing hardware.

Playstation Neo That-guy netThe good news here is that this new gaming device, according to GameSpot, restricts game developers from making anything exclusive to it, as well as allowing any Playstation 4 owner, from old to new, to play their game. That gives a massive breath of release to early Playstation adopters, as they don’t have to worry about being separated just because a developer chooses a newer console over theirs.

Despite this, I still think it is a huge mistake. I see no big positive side out of this. People flock to the gaming consoles because of their ease of use and to avoid the worry of having to upgrade their hardware. Sony is ruining this by having them make another decision: whether or not the PS4.5 is a worthy upgrade. It separates the user base, even in a minor fashion.

What do you all think? Email or tweet me!

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Battleborn: Quick Impressions

Battleborn released very, very recently. Earlier this month, May 3rd to be exact, it launched on consoles as well as on Steam so PC players can play. I got the chance to get it early, but I like to take my time on a game rather than rush a review or impressions video or blog post. This allows for me to get as much gameplay time as necessary to deem how valuable a game is to me.

The first thing you may notice in when playing the game is definitely the colorful display of graphics. This is Gearbox Software that made the game, creators of the epic Borderlands series which is just as artistic. There is something unique about the graphic designers over there, as they all have a great sense of flavor with every pixel they touch. I definitely do admire the colorful and chaotic environment.

The gameplay is tight (just like Helldivers’ awesome gameplay) and I love the concept of a first person MOBA. They do it well with tons of extra characters, too, so it never really feels like you run out of content since each one is pretty deep. So far my playing time has been enjoyable, and I do like the leveling system.

I am not going to rate the game just yet, as I have only put in roughly a week or so into it, which never warrants a complete rating in my opinion (I mean look at the people at IGN trying so hard to get the review in a day after launch; their articles never ever mention longevity or consistency of a game, but are instead a first impression of a video game…). I feel like you have to be playing the game for at least 3 weeks to a month to truly gather its worth. This is because there are people out there that are only able to purchase like two or three games a year, and so each game they buy, they need to be able to play it for months on end without getting bored or running out of things to do. That is just my philosophy at least.

I truly think the game is fun. I will give it a while before I get a rating though. Do ask questions about it if you have any.

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Helldivers is the Best Damn Top-Down Shooter of All Time

I don’t make statements often that include “the best” and end with “of all time”. But seriously, Helldivers is the best top-down shooter game of all time.

Yes, maybe that is an easy statement to make because there aren’t a lot of good top-down games to begin with (seriously, look at these top-down games on Steam) so there isn’t a lot of competition. But still, the statement holds value because Helldivers is actually a fun game to play.

What is Helldivers?

It is a PC game, though it launched on PS4 earlier this year, that has a focus around a character and his battle buddies to spread democracy around a planet. The gameplay is fairly complex, but they are easy to pick up. Basically, you have these weapons, a main gun and a pistol. You shoot with those and can alternate. What really gets interesting is the use of Strategems, basically call-in objects that help you on your quest. These can range from an airstrike, to a temporary new weapon like a machine gun or flamethrower, to a full sized tank. These are going to be your main arsenal because your success truly depends on which Strategems you choose to start the game with.

Other areas that change up the gameplay include the Perks, which basically allow you certain abilities like being able to call your Strategem in quicker or being able to walk faster on terrain like snow.

Why is it so damn good?

Simple: the cooperation required to complete the missions. You are able to do online co-op with up to 4 players and you complete missions in order to get new items and level up. It is so addicting because the character variations, from Strategems and weapon choice, can change up your whole game.Helldivers gameplay level 50 computer

The DLC is mad good too. All of the weapons seem very fun to use and once purchased, they don’t actually make you overpowered. Overall, there is a very good, clean balance in all the weapon, perk, and Strategem types.

This game is one of the best I have played this year on my desktop. I also own it for PS4 simply because it allows for local co-op on there as well as online co-op, giving it one of the best integration features I have seen on a multiplayer game.

Seriously, try it out. The gameplay is so unique and cleverly done that you will easily sink more than 10 hours in this game. I personally have 30 right now and I am still enjoying every bit of it. Let me know what you think in my email or on Twitter. Cheers

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