Peeker’s Disadvantage

“Back smacked” with a ton of games and gameplay this past week, as we gotta talk about Forza Horizons 5’s awesomeness, GTA Trilogy Definitive Edition’s not-so-awesomeness, Halo Infinite shadow dropped, and maybe a touch of Watch Dogs Legion; so let’s just jump right into it.

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What I’m Playing

Halo Infinite

Halo Infinite multiplayer dropped on us this week, releasing early on the Xbox 20th Anniversary. This was just the Multiplayer component and not the campaign. And its basically the beta, only a full release where the developers are asking the players to treat it like a beta as they are still ironing out bugs and server load. They are expecting the player count to drastically increase around the proper launch date of Dec 8, but wanting to surprise players too. I’m sure EA is none-too-pleased to have the early competition to BF2042.

I guess because the game hasn’t officially launched, Xbox is like “no achievements for you!”. But also, sure, you can have achievements.

600G are included with the multiplayer component, 50 or so, so I’ve been burning through those as I can. A chunk are training/tutorial related, and then customization, and then gameplay.

From what I’ve read, a large chunk can actually be unlocked when playing on the bot list lobbies, making them significantly easier to acquire. I won’t argue that.

Impressions: It’s fine. It’s Halo. It’s what you’d expect.

Forza Horizons 5

As you’d expect, not reinventing the wheel here, Forza Horizons is great. Another meaningful step forward for the franchise but nothing new, aside from the locale. It is amusing to me, to see that they were able to finally pull off the “seamless multiplayer integration” which they touted for 4, but weren’t actually able to pull off.

Impressions: The game is beautiful and plays amazingly, performance mode or quality mode.

Grand Theft Auto Trilogy – The Definitive Edition

Definitely not definitive. But still fun. Still a nostalgic trip back in time. From my initial experience, aside form the awful rain effects (since fixed), it actually looks quite good. The lighting is impressive in the evenings, standing amongst the vehicle headlights. And the game is just as quirky and goofy as I recall. Currently playing through III.

I’m just going to tackle these as a campaign playthrough, and not going to go after 100% completion. Just focus on the bulk of the achievements, but I don’t need to find all the hidden packages or anything. Ain’t no one got time for that!

“What are you plans for the weekend?

Well, I have a family… so I don’t make plans.”

Watch Dogs Legion

Watch Dogs Legion? Really? Where did this come from? Well… see… I beat ME: Shadow Of War, and needed another open-world game to fill the void. I wasn’t ready to tackle Assassin’s Creed Valhalla yet. So… Watch Dogs? Right? But GTA is open world. Yeah I get it, but I started this before that came out and now I have two on-going and I don’t want to talk about it.

Watch Dogs Legion has been pretty fun. I’m not too sure how I feel about the “no main protagonist” angle, but it works with the whole DedSec movement; No leader, No Problem, etc.

They brought back Aidan Pierce as a paid-for, playable character, so I suppose I could just play the whole campaign with him, but he also has his own expansion, so we’ll leave him to that.

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It’s unfortunate that with the recent batch of releases, quite a few games on my list have fallen by the wayside. Far Cry New Dawn, The Ascent, Back 4 Blood, Surgeon Simulator 2. Wreckfest and Dirt 5. Hell, even GTA V was popular all over again amongst my group for all of twelve minutes.

This is why I don’t like starting too many things at once, as it’s so easy to just forget and move on. Sad, really.

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Achievement of the Week

Halo Infinite. You guessed it.

Working from home has its advantages.

You can drop everything at 12pm, nuke some food and load into some afternoon Halo.

It’s even better when your friends are also working form home. Talk about needy.

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Be Good
-iRogan

Unnatural Talent

I missed my weekend post, but I’m following through with my promised Wednesday, new comic, new art, post. And then bed before 10.

What I’m Reading

New comics, week of Nov 10th

  • Batman The Imposter #2
  • Justice League Last Ride #7
  • Ordinary Gods #5
  • A Righteous Thirst for Vengeance #2
  • Robin & Batman #1
  • Stillwater #11
  • Superman vs Lobo #2
  • Undiscovered Country #17

Undiscovered Country hit me with a surprised “to be concluded” tag on the final page, which is a huge shock that this comic is ending, if true. We’ll have to wait and see.

New comics, week of Nov 17th

  • Blue & Gold #4
  • King Spawn #4
  • The Nice House on the Lake #6
  • Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow #5
  • The Walking Dead Deluxe #27
  • Batman vs Bigby #3

What I’m Drawing

Gwen Lantern

So I don’t think I’ve posted any of my Gwen Stacy series here yet, so I’ll have to make an art section for that. The story is, in February earlier this year I started a month long drawing challenge dedicated to Gwen Stacy, or more specifically Spider-Gwen. I called it the Gweniverse. I took the idea of Spider-Gwen as an alternate universe version of Spider-Man and applied that to as many different characters as I could think of. Marvel, DC, didn’t matter.

I started first with the ones that were already canon, SpiderGwen, Gwenom, Gwen Poole, and then just ran with it:

  • Gwencrawler (Night Crawler)
  • Gwenclops (Cyclops)
  • Gwentanna Gwentara (Zantanna)
  • Gwenbit (Gambit)
  • Harley Gwen (Harley Quinn)
  • Gwennernaut (Juggernaut)
  • InGwencible (Invincible)
  • Rogue-wen (Rogue)
  • Gwen 2099 (Spider-Man 2099)
  • Gwen Lantern (Green Lantern)

In February I was able to do the first 9, and then throughout the year I’ve been adding to the collection when I find some inspiration. I’ll post the gallery for next week.

#Drawtober – Wonder Woman

Still slowly making progress on last month’s Wonder Woman drawing. I’ve now inked my background, and now we are finally ready for colour.

This is, by far, the most work I’ve ever dedicated to a background on any piece I’ve done. And it was one of my goals last month when I decided to do fully realized, rendered pieces; to push myself to do backgrounds more consistently. It is one of my weaker skills and it’s something I’ll need to be able to do more when I return to working on my creator-owned comic.

I should be able to put in some real time colouring this, leading into the weekend as I still hope to get a new Stranger Than Friendship comic posted by the end of November.

As I mentioned at the top, I missed this past week’s post, but I’ll have a significant update after this coming weekend. I’ll have a lot of things to discuss. On the docket we have:

  • Grand Theft Auto Definitive Trilogy
  • Forza Horizons 5
  • and Halo Infinite Multiplayer

And bed before 10.

-iRogan

Stalemate is Victory

Games

I finished Middle-Earth: Shadow of War and I have a few things to say.

  1. I hated the ending(s?)
  2. Two of the achievements made me very angry.
  3. I hesitate to return to the game for the DLC story expansion.

Lets start with the ending(s?). It ended with a stalemate of sorts, for me. At the end of the Eltariel campaign, there is a disagreement between you and Calebrimbor. Your ghostly host stabs you in the back, which for me was a true surprise moment, and joins forces with Eltariel. She takes the ring and together they go on to confront Sauron. Shelob saves you, luckily, from dying, and you become Undead. You raise an Undead army of your own, to confront the Witch-King in Minas Morgul.

Then, you switch, unexpectedly, and now you’re playing as Calebrimbor. You fight, defeat, and then betray Eltariel and merge with Sauron.

So there is like a stalemate, with Calebrimbor merged with Sauron in one tower, and the undead ranger at the other tower. All for the sake of balance. I understand that there’s more to the game with DLC, and the Siege Missions, but the two final boss fights just felt really sudden and un-original.

That also brings me to the two final achievements I got in the game. Both of which would have you think you would unlock through progression.

Forged By War – Unlock all Player Skills.

I had unlocked all the skills, and each skill also has 2-3 alts that you can unlock and assign or switch. I figured I’d have unlocked the achievement as soon as I unlocked the main sets of skills but it never did. Then I figured probably all the alts had to be unlocked as well, but that was a HUGE grind. But at the end of the game, this actually unlocked once I became Undead. With no real explanation.

The Stuff of Legend – Equip a full Legendary Gear set as Talion.

I unlocked this as soon as I got to play as Calebrimbor, in the final boss battle. The gear sets are locked behind collectibles and challenged, and boss frights. There’s 9 different gear sets, and 6 items per set. I had unlocked an assortment across all the sets, but as soon as I played as Calebrimbor, in the final boss fight, it unlocked automatically. So not only did I not have to work to unlock/find a full gear set throughout the game, but I didn’t even equip it as Talion. The game just did it for me as Calebrimbor.

I’ve decided to just leave the game as is. At least for now.

Will I come back to it some day to clean up some achievements and play the story expansions. Maybe.

Did I do that for the first one? No.

This week Forza Horizons 5 releases, so get ready to see lots of car photos. Ha. No Seriously. Also It Takes Two is available on the gamepass, and I’d like to play through that with the Wife.

Art

I’ve made a bit more progress with my final Drawtober piece. Flats/base colours. Super slow going, as I’ve been struggling with the background.

I have one idea which has her in the foreground on the top of some cliffs, and the background, cliffs and ocean. Open, airy, scenic. This would require quite a bit of work and rendering, and I’m not really sure I have it in me.

Another idea is simpler, black background with a light source in the center, and just a textured, reflective floor. Like inside a temple or something

What I’m Reading

So I’ve been thinking more about what I wanted to do for a comic section, and one thing I will start showcasing is my weekly pull list. I read a combination of Image, DC, and Marvel. In that order. Primarily single issues, and a few trades, if that was how my collection started with that book. I used to collect exclusively trades for years, but my shelves became very full, so going back to single issues, and boxes. Plus its adds more variety to me week, and they’re easier to consume weekly.

This week’s pull list:

Batman Reptilian #5
Crossover #9
The Me You Love in the Dark #4
Radiant Black #9
Spawn #323
The Walking Dead Deluxe #26
Mirka Andolfo’s Sweet Paprika #4
Wonder Girl #4
(not pictured) Dark Knights of Steel #1
(not pictured) The Human Target #1

Going forward, this section will be dedicated to Wednesdays, as that’s comic book day, and will help break up the week.

And speaking of trades, I currently have 130!!! unread trade paperback/graphic novels on my shelf. Plus about 20 large format collections, like omnibuses/collected versions. So I’m going to challenge myself to start picking away at this huge backlog. Like a weekly challenge to read 7 in a week. Sunday – Saturday. And at the end of the week, maybe include it in my Wednesday post, my read list, and if I succeeded or not :p.

See you then.

Be Good.
iRogan
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GTA V Came Out 8 Years Ago

That’s not a question. That’s just a observation. And for some reason, people are still playing it. Including… well, me. And I am not happy with myself. I almost bought a Shark Card. Our multiplayer group recently got back into the game, playing the online multiplayer. Doing jobs. Pulling heists. That game still holds up 8 years later, and there’s another upgrade in the pipe for March 2022.

I’d argue that it’s time for Rockstar to let it go and focus on GTA VI. But I can only imagine how much money that game still brings in. Hell, Nintendo just re-released the N64 controller for the Nintendo Switch. And the Nintendo 64 came out 25 years ago. So what do I know?

Games:

I will give GTA credit though. It still holds up. Its still fun, albeit difficult. I’d forgotten how hard some of the missions / heists are. And you only have two lives to share amongst your teammates, and then game over.

Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition and More Coming Soon  - Rockstar Games


Speaking of GTA, the announcement of the remastered definitive trilogy has me excited. I played all of these games on the PS2 and would love to go through them again on the Xbox. Again, achievements, but also they were all great.

GTA III changed gaming. Period.

Vice City was just plain fun.

And San Andreas was, well, good…? Bloated. Had too many different mechanics that sucked some of the fun out, but still good.

I hope they’re able to retain all the original music too.

Besides my depression into the GTA depths again – ha, a water joke.

Because I unlocked the shark achievement. 4 years after the last time I played the game. There’s my Achievement of the Week. Segway.

As I was saying, besides GTA, I’ve just about wrapped the main storyline in Middle-Earth: Shadow of War. I have the final mission thread unlocked, but I’m wrapping up a few of the side quest lines first, as I won’t want to go back.

I have the 3 DLCs as well. But…I dunno. I’ll maybe read a review or two of those to see if its worth it. I can’t even argue that it would be for the achievements at this point. I’m pretty much over the game. I can say that it was not a worthy successor of the original. The base conquering was fun, but the mission structure was a pain to deal with. And the multiple areas was just tedious. I’m ready to move on.

We didn’t even play anything else this past week. But I am excited about the news that It Takes Two is coming to GamePass. I really liked his previous game, A Way Out, and this one looks fun in its own way.

I also didn’t work on my final #drawtober piece, so I don’t have any updates on that front. Nor did I read any comics. All work and no play, makes me a dull boy.

Be Good.
iRogan
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Aliens, Orcs, and Zombies Oh My!

Games:

Back 4 Blood has been the reliable venture in our latest coop game nights, but its hard to say if I like it or not. Its fun, and the card/desk system adds a needed variable to the game-play, but we haven’t made much progress really. I can say for certain that I have played through the first 4 levels of Act 1 a handful of times, and started the 2nd set, level 1. And that’s it. It seems like every time we’ve sat down to play it, we’re introducing a new team member to the party and it would be unfair to them to jump into the middle of it. But the game is also setup in a way that you can kind of jump into any level and you don’t really need much story explanation. But the levels are harder without your stacked deck building up, so its almost worth playing from the start again as a new run to see how far you can get.

Aliens: Fireteam Elite we beat. I don’t think we’ll be looking back either. The last 3 levels are probably the best but the ending is so underwhelming. Spoiler: you see the queen and you run away. The End. The game-play is fun and hectic at times, fighting off waves and waves of aliens, big and small. But after the story there’s a horde mode, and then replay the story again and again? To unlocked emotes, and cosmetics. And level up your guns. Maybe try a different class? My game time is so limited, I’d rather just uninstall and move on. Maybe there’ll be DLC expansions down the road.

Shadow of War: I’m still plugging away at Middle-Earth: Shadow of War. About half way through. Just fought off the Balrog. Its a nice change of pace from the other coop games. I am looking forward to its completion though as I’m eager to try Watch Dogs 3 – Legion next. A proper new-gen game to finally play on the Series X. Assassins Creed Valhalla is lurking in the sidelines as well.

Art:

My original plan from #drawtober was 5 completed pieces. It will actually be 3.

Magik, Supergirl, and now Wonder Woman. Just a few days ago was a Wonder Woman celebration day, so I’m posting just the line art, and then next week I’ll add the full colour/background piece.

Comic Shout-out:

CROWDED. Picked up Vol 1 and 2 of this series.

“Ten minutes in the future, the world runs on an economy of job shares and apps, including Reapr: a crowdfunding platform to fund assassinations. Charlie Ellison leads a quiet, normal life until she’s suddenly targeted by a million-dollar Reapr campaign. Hunted by all of Los Angeles, Charlie hires Vita, the lowest-rated bodyguard on the Dfend app. As the campaign picks up speed, they’ll have to figure out who wants Charlie dead before the campaign’s 30 days—or their lives—are over.” Seemed like a fun read. 🙂

Be Good.

iRogan