Updates and Changes – forever more

It’s been a couple minutes hasn’t it? Where did I leave you? I guess a few things have transpired since we last talked. Let us catch up.

I’ve been fine. I’ve been heavily invested in a few different activities over the past few months. I completed Shadow of the Colossus. Still a great game; as good as I remember it being back when I played it on the PS2. Controls just as clunky, but still a fun ride.

I picked up the Last Guardian on the PS4 and I’ve been spending a little bit of time in that – not as much as I’d like as I’ve been suffering from what feels like motion sickness while playing it. I don’t know if this has to do with frame rate or the colours and brightness, but at certain points in the game it just feels off. This has restricted me to only playing roughly 30 minutes per sitting and then forcing me to take a break. I’ve heard that the game does play smoother on the PS4 Pro, so it may well just be a weird frame-rate issue that my brain has a hard time processing. I’ll also be picking up Horizon: Zero Dawn soon, as I would love to dive into that game.

I picked up Watch Dogs 2, and thoroughly completed that game. And I mean thoroughly. Every side mission, 99% of the achievements – I didn’t dabble too much in the online functions so there is still one more locked away. I have the season pass too, so I’m waiting on some upcoming story content which is around the corner.

I picked up some smaller games as well recently, in Feist and Candleman. Feist was just OK; it is similar to Limbo but with a more vibrant colour palette. You play a little furry monster and have to scramble and jump across the levels, avoiding traps and other monsters trying to kill you. You can pick up sticks and rocks to defend yourself. I found the controls to be a little slow on the response, and the game overall was fairly short. The bulk of the achievements involve completing each level without dying, and completing the level under a specific par time. Candleman is a puzzle-platformer where you play as a candle in dark lit levels, and you need to find your way to the end of each room, lighting other candles along way, while ensuring your wax does not run out. It is a gorgeous game with beautiful lighting effects. Easy, fun game, with easy, generous achievements.

In the co-op land, with Illestrader, we’ve wrapped up Gears of War 4 and are currently plugging away in Astroneer (Early Preview) and Borderlands The Pre-Sequel. We’ll be picking up Ghost Recon Wildlands in the next few weeks. I do occasionally stream on Twitch, so you can catch me there/here: www.twitch.com/irogans.

I’m currently playing Deus Ex Mankind Divided, and after that I have Mafia III, Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, Quantum Break and Far Cry Primal queued up.


On a completely non-gaming front, after Christmas, as an investment in my art, I purchased a Huion 22″ graphics pen monitor. I’ve always been interested in the Wacom Cintiq monitors, but could never justify the price point. So I went searching for alternatives, and came across the Huion. I love it so far, and it works well with all the applications I use, and for a fraction of the price. I even started up my long-desired webcomic – Stranger Than Friendship.

Its a comic about myself, and my best friend Illestrader, the games we play, and life in general. It’s been fun to do so far. Still in its infancy, however, I am trying to go for a once-per-week update schedule. I haven’t invested a whole lot of time into the website yet. I’m waiting till I have a little bit more of an archive before I start pushing it, and creating a domain. All things for this year.

I’ve added some photos of my recent work to the Arts gallery, and thats listed under the Stranger Than Friendship menu item now. I also started re-working on my Large Borderlands piece. Re-inking and re-colouring. Should be fun on my new tablet monitor.

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I drew this for #Camuary, in January

I think that pretty much sums up everything over the past few months. With the webcomic now, some of my time each week is dedicated that that, but I do wish to keep this side separate, and talk about games. Just gotta find the time to do everything.

-iRogan

 

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BLURB: Shadow of the Colossus 

In anticipation of The Last Guardian, I sat down to play through Shadow of the Colossus. Which is still, even after 11 years, a great game. The controls are a bit clunky, and the horse, Agro, tends to act like a horse sometimes, but I still felt the sheer awesome sight and size of the colossus, each time they appeared.

Agro is funny to watch sometimes:

 


Be good.

-iRogan

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BLURB: On Dragon Age: Inquisition

So because I’ve been playing Dragon Age steady for a few days and not switching between games, I haven’t technically “quit” DA. Just turn off the Xbox. And then turn it back on and continue where I leave off. 

Now. Because of this, the game counter still continues. So as far as the game is concerned I’ve already put in 65hrs 😛. 

-IROGAN 

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Homefront: The Revolution – Final Thoughts

I won’t be doing a full review for Homefront, as I’ve been recording my thoughts as I progress through the game. You can find the previous entries here:

Homefront The Revolution First Impressions
Homefront – The Revolution: Further Impressions

This will be my final piece though. Final Thoughts, as it were.

This title has been such a divisive experience for me. On one side, as a sequel to Homefront, which had set the bar high, I was excited for the prospect of more story to dive into. However, with The Revolution, the game is so different, it would be hard to argue that they are related.

The story still tells of a resistance group fighting against the Korean invasion. It’s still a first-person shooter, but the rest has changed. It’s not a linear game, but a segregated open-world area. The city has been split into 6 different zones, and the only way to transfer to each zone is through the resistance’s underground tunnels. They’ve added bases and outposts that need to be captured to advance, a-la the Far Cry series.

Capturing the bases and radio towers differs quite a bit as you progress through the game, and there’s not a lot of instruction in how to advance in certain parts. The game focuses a lot on exploration, and traversal of the buildings, clambering up vehicles or platforms, out windows and along exterior vents. In some instances, doors or platforms require power, which comes from a generator. The generator requires a motorcycle to rev the engine. However, to get the motorcycle to that area, you’ll have to jump it off a ramp, or drive it up a series of stairs in the adjacent building, then weave it along the catwalk or makeshift platforms that connect the two buildings. All the while, this farce is taking place in the middle of a enemy populated area. Try avoiding the scouting groups or drone fly-by.

That’s just one example. Later on, some doors require the hack tool to open, or worse yet, a stronghold will have a little ramp hidden outside of plain view, that will allow your Remote RC-Bomb to drive in, and blow open the door. That’s hoping you’ve even unlocked the RC Explosive perk. Which happens to be the final Explosive upgrade. And this Stronghold was only in the 3rd area of the game. Try explaining that to my past-self, who scoured the building for an hour trying to look for a way in.

Even after the very large patch that came out a few months back, the game is still buggy. From time to time, you’ll see objects or weapon caches just floating in the air. The initial game loading, like, when you start the game, and press “Continue from last checkpoint”. Yeah, this load screen actually wears through its own loading music before the game starts. Luckily the auto-save stalls at checkpoints are all but gone. The frame rate tanks to about 3 fps for a couple seconds, but that’s forgivable compared to what it used to play like.

I’m finally nearing the end of the campaign, and I can’t say it’s been fun. I can’t recommend it to anyone. It has its good moments, and it does tell a dire tale, one of despair and loss, of resistance against unbeatable odds – which is its only saving grace. But I shouldn’t come up against so much resistance to enjoy the game itself.

-iRogan

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Extra-Life 2016

And another Extra-Life 24 hour video game marathon is complete.

On November 5th, along side many many gamers across North America, I took part in my 3rd annual Extra-Life marathon to raise money for the Children’s Hospital Network. Starting at 8am and playing straight for 24 hours.

This year, Nichole an I decided to race each other in God of War to start the day. Me with my old fat PS3 (the backwards compatible model) and her with a 2nd hand PS2 we bought from the local retro video game store ($60 for the PS2, controller, and PS2). Everything started out fine, but as the morning, and day went on, the poor PS2 started to hang, freeze and drop any progress Nichole was making. This ended up ruining our race, as to be fair, I would pause and wait for her to catch up to where her game froze. By the end of the day, it became unplayable, and we needed to give up, and move on. I was able to finish the playthrough, and see Aries dead. With shaky hands, and a deep sigh of relief, I placed the controller down. I had defeated Aries for both of us.

Throughout the day and into the early morning hours I had a large handful of people stop by and hang out to play some games. We played some Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3, Halo Master Chief Collection, some Rocket League and Castle Crashers too.

The first year I participated, i was able to raise $450, which was well above my $200 goal. Year 2, my goal was $500, and I was able to push just under $700. This year I sent my sights high, with a lofty goal of $1000. Before game day itself, I had already surpassed my Year 2 total raised, which was amazing. By the end of the 24 hour, I had landed on exactly $1001.

I thank everyone that participated and hung out, donated, and sent their encouragements. The money goes to a good cause, and I am happy to participate every year, making sure the event gets more attention and participation. Our donated went to the BC Childrens Hospital, and this year, local gamers were able to raise $136,000 and counting. The event still goes till the end of the year for donation, but the big event, and my part, is done.

I’ll hopefully find some time to go through the footage and pull out some worth gameplay clips.

-iRogan

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Drawtober 2016

So Drawtober is complete. I was able to complete 16 drawings, which is not as many as I had hoped or planned, but as always, life gets in the way. At least it was half a month’s worth. All the drawings were completed in one sitting, each day, and primarily in Ink.

For Ink, I normally just use PITT pens, or brush pens. A few times this year I used a proper brush and ink well. And the last drawing of the month (Mary-Jane) was Ink wash for shading, which was fun. I’ll definitely have to draw more like that.

I also used Copic markers for a few of the colour pieces, and one done entirely in pencil (Ripley). You can see below for the full month’s gallery. And I’ll upload my time lapse videos to Youtube and post them here too.

Here’s the full month breakdown:

Day 27 – Mary Jane (Spider-Man)
Day 26 – break
Day 25 – Tomb Raider Lara Croft
Day 24 – break
Day 23 – Moxxi (Borderlands)
Day 22 – Catwoman & Black Cat
Day 21 – day off
Day 20 – day off
Day 19 – day off
Day 18 – day off
Day 17 – day off
Day 16 – Harley Quinn (reference)
Day 15 – Jessica Rabbit
Day 14 – games
Day 13 – Wonder Woman
Day 12 – games
Day 11 – Widowmaker (Overwatch)
Day 10 – Sally (Nightmare Before Christmas)
Day 9 – sleep
Day 8 – sleep
Day 7 – Samara (The Ring)
Day 6 – Rey (Star Wars)
Day 5 – X-23
Day 4 – Supergirl
Day 3 – Cortana (Halo)
Day 2 – Ripley (Alien)
Day 1 – Spider-Gwen

 

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iReview – MX VS ATV REFLEX

MX Vs ATV REFLEX (2009)

Publisher: THQ
Developer: Rainbow Studios
Platform: Xbox One Backwards Compatibility
Availability: Xbox 360, PS3, PC

mx_vs-_atv_reflex_cover
Released probably eons ago (actually 2009) by Rainbow Studios and THQ, MX vs ATV Reflex is the 3rd game in the MX vs ATV series.

The game has been made backwards compatible on the Xbox 360 and was recently made the Xbox Live Games With Gold free game. So I picked it up, and have been playing it a lot. A surprisingly amount actually, considering I have Forza Horizons 3 available, and I’d rather play this.


 

The game features Motocross Bikes, ATVs, Buggies, and Super Trucks, and you race out in the wilderness, over dirt, mud, water, and snow, or in an arena with jumps and obstacles. Throughout the campaign there are a few different modes. Waypoint, Nationals, Supercross, Freestyle, Omnicross, and then the Chmpionship races. Each series supports different classes of vehicles, whether they be, MX Bokes, ATVs, Buggies, or Super Trucks. The Omnicross mode which features all four types of vehicles, in my opinion, has got to be the most dangerous of all sports conceived – from the Bike’s perspective. You’re sharing the path with ATVs, Buggies, and Super Trucks. I think it would almost be impossible not to get killed. The trucks, in these latter modes seems to have a clear advantage over the smaller vehicles. They’re more stable, faster, and larger.

Each mode has a set of races that make up a series, and there are 3 series for each mode. They start easy, only 3 races, and then 5, and then 8. Each series more difficult, and longer, with the championship series having the longest races, and the most laps.

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There are also bonus races at the end of each mode’s series. These are either elimination style, or a solo time based checkpoint race, or races where you start as the person in last place, and try to win. The MX bikes also have a free style mode in an arena, or open area, with jumps and ramps, where you get scored on your tricks.

The big change this year is the handling mechanics. The left thumbstick will control your bike or vehicle, and the right stick controls the player’s body and balance. You can lean your body into the turns or jumps to get more momentum, or to right yourself if you lose balance. The right stick also allows you to pull off tricks while flying through the air.

From a course perspective, one of the notable key additions to the series is the real-time deforming ground. As more vehicles race around a track or path, the ground and mud will show the tire tracks, and the ruts will get deeper and more torn up, as the race continues. This can throw off the player’s balance when landing or cornering.

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The main issue I have with the title is the difficulty curve – specifically with the bikes. On Rookie or Moderate, the game is quite easy, and at times I found myself finishing a race 30-50 seconds ahead of the 2nd place racer. This is when I can get out ahead of the pack. If you get stuck behind, it can get very difficult to gain any placement, as the tracks and corners can be quite tight, and it is easy to knock into another racer, and fall off your bike. After a couple bails you’ll be at the back of the pack, and it will be difficult to fight your way through, to complete the race with a solid placement. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd advance, and only the championship series have multiple point rounds. This is especially notable in races where ATV’s and Buggies are racing beside you. They have no care for your well-being and will side-swipe you or knock you off the course as if you’re not there.

The game is easy on the achievements, and will tie up a lot of your time to complete all the races. As you get later in the series and championship races, they take about 10-15 minutes each to complete. The game is, however, surprisingly a lot of fun, and it feels really good when you can hit the jumps and land solidly on the other side, maintaining your rhythm and momentum. For the series that allow them, I would suggest you use the super trucks, instead of attempting the MX Bike or ATV, as you’ll be less frustrated in the end trying to compete against them.

One downside is that the game is old now, so the Xbox Live functionality has been disabled. Possibly one of the victims of THQ going bankrupts a few years ago.


Notable Achievements:
Coming on Strong (Lap an opponent in a race) – 15GLong Jumper (Land a jump of 300 feet or greater) – 15G

-iRogan

 

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