Saturday, July 20, 2019

Chamberlain & Chance & Alex 178 - A Nerf By Any Other Name

Alex thisChamberlain thatpodcast on iTunespodcast on Google Play!

Chamberlain and Chance - A nerf by any other name

  • Blazing Chrome wants to be Contra, but it's no Contra.  
  • Alex defeats Diablo 3's design with nothing but his mighty brain.  
  • Chance watched like, a ton of movies!
  • And what's the deal with Roll Queue in Overwatch?
You'll have to tune in to find out!

Also I played an awesome game with a Winston last week who was just a beast.  Ever time I went for a target, wham, this monkey wold slam into the ground between me and my target, body blocking for me and ensuring I never even had to try to two-clip something.  I'd land a clip and he'd finish 'em or he'd beat them off their position and I'd be behind them to finish them off.

There was one moment when I was sneaking up on the enemy Widow, up on some high ground.  I creep up behind her and the moment I throw the Pulse Bomb at her back, the Winston is already high above us, ready to slam into her.  But he can see she's about to die so he pivots mid jump to transition to my next target - the McCree - and wham lands between us to add his DPS to mine to ensure it's just a quick one-clip.  It was beautiful - but the best part of the match was this.  This felt badass as all heck:

And now we're on each others' Friends list ^.^

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Clip Show 76 - Tainted Love

So someone over at the Penny Arcade forums was like "maaan I got all these Lucio clips.  One day I'll put 'em into a video set to Tainted Love by Soft Cell and I'm like "I can do that."

They were very happy with the result which made me very happy!  So that's cool!  But what's not cool? 

Overwatch's 2019 Summer Games event.  It's so not cool it's warm.  And not a good warm, but like a sticky, gross warm.  Summer Games 2019 comes with not six, not seven or eight or nine, but four new legendary skins for heroes. 

This is, far-and-away, the fewest new skins they've had for any event in Overwatch's history - and yeah, Hanzo and Torb's skins are more than welcome.

Hanjo continues to epitomize the sporty douchebro!  And I like the print on his shorts.

Torb has seashells in his beard!  The inflatable hammer makes a sqeak sound when you whack things with it!  That's cool - but let us not be distracted.  What we have here is a development crisis of the highest caliber! If we can't have dashing new It Girl Ashe in the hottest summer fashions, can one even call it an event? It is at best an occurrence, and a revolting one at that.

No, I say. This year's charming but decidedly one-sided sausage fest must never be repeated.

My God. We, the fans, love this game. We spend our working hours thinking about it and how awesome it could be. It's not unfair to expect its developers to share that enthusiasm and make more than 4 decent new skins.

And really it's 3 cause that Hammond. C'mon.

His mech is supposed to be a Lucioball, but the whole point of the skin is the cute little hat, to me, and that does not a Legendary skin make.  At least Genji's really messes with his character model.

But it bugs me that he's in Kendo sparring gear while wielding an actual blade and not a traditional wooden practice blade. 

I don't know why that bothers me, but it does bother me indeed.  G'night errybuddy.

Oh also I fought a mid-diamond 200-hr Genji main last night an won and got PotG and it felt baaaad asssss.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Overwatch Clip Show 74 - Kiss Bang

I have once again decided to purge off all the Overwatch captures on my PS4, and so I just quickly cobbled together a few nice plays I remembered and made a video with 'em!  Enjoy!

Oh also!  Someone over at the PA forums was like

and that made me feel pretty cool ^.^

Friday, July 12, 2019

Chamberlain & Chance & Alex 177 - Attention Spans May Vary

Alex thisChamberlain thatpodcast on iTunespodcast on Google Play!

Chamberlain and Chance - Attention spans may vary

  • A very special guest appears to talk Stranger Things season 3!  (SPOILERS!)
  • Alex returns to Sekiro, yet he still doesn't love it enough to not scandalize Chance!
  • Chamberlain is backstroking his way through some thoroughly mediocre shit!
  • And Chance has finally figured out the Replay feature in Overwatch!  What the heck does that let you do?  

And other stuff too ^.^

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Chamberlain & Chance & Alex 176 - You Can't Handle It

Alex thisChamberlain thatpodcast on iTunespodcast on Google Play!

Chamberlain and Chance - You can't handle it

  • Chamberlain has bad opinions on Sekiro and can be safely ignored! 
  • Alex got himself some sweet-ass gloves in Destiny 2!
  • Rage 2 is... y'know, it's okay!
  • And is Chance enjoying Overwatch?
You know he is.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

There's Still Good Stuff Comin' In 2019

First - an apology.  

I don't have the amount of time I once did for bloggery concerns, and if I were to do this post to my own standards, each and every game would have a representative screenshot.  But... I just don't have the time to find 'em all.  

I'm sorry.  Please enjoy!

You’re forgiven for thinkin’ the remains of 2019 are pretty sparse, after this year’s E3.  It feels like anything worth thinkin’ about isn’t due out until “early 2020.”  First of all, rest assured that over two-thirds of the games slated for “early 2020” will be delayed months or years beyond that window.  Second, there is a pretty decent crop of games coming in the next half of 2019.  Yeah, there’s no earthshaking, hype-frothing launch like a Grand Theft Auto or an Elder Scrolls – but there are more than a few that look interesting if not great, some that looks very promising, and one or two potential Game of the Year contenders. 
So let’s break it down… in chronological order.  
July 26 – Kill la Kill The Game: IF
Kill la Kill may be the last great anime of my life.  That’s not to say Once Punch Man or whatever isn’t worth watchin’ – it’s just that I care about anime a lot less than I did, these days, and the last one I really loved was Kill la Kill.  Well, it’s getting a tie-in video game that looks… not terrible?  And for an anime tie-in that’s usually the best you can hope for. 
It’s okay, I… I probably won’t buy it either. 
July 26 – Wolfenstein: Youngblood.
God bless Bethesda for keepin’ on keepin’ on with traditional shooters – even as Youngblood offers up a co-op linear campaign.  It can still be played as your run-of-the-mill single-player FPS, so it remains up my alley, and after all these years it still feels like a fine and righteous time to shoot a Nazi in the face.
July 26 – Fire Emblem: Three Houses (Switch)
I have no experience with or affection for Nintendo’s Fire Emblem series – merely a smidge of jealousy whenever a new one comes out and my social media feed becomes swamped with affectionate celebration of the titles’ waifus and husbandos – but I do have experience with and affection for turn-based tactics games.  Like all Nintendo properties, I’m a bit apprehensive about giving it a taste test.  Nine out of ten times I buy a first-party Nintendo game and I’ll barely put five hours into it – Mario Odyssey and Mario Kart 8 being the notable exceptions – so Three Houses is a risky proposition for yours truly…
…I should probably just actually play Valkyria Chronicles 4.  That might be cool and I’ve already got a copy.  
August 6 – Darksiders 2 (Switch)
There is no perfect Darksiders title.  1 was pret-ty good and 3 was pret-ty bad (by most accounts), and while 2 has its problems (uninspiring boss fights, a budget that gave out around the time they were working on Act III), it also has the slickest combat in the series, the best melding of stylish brawling and buttery smooth platforming, and the biggest world to explore. 
Of the three Darksiders, 2 is the best, in my opinion – and I’m definitely snaggin’ it for Switch. 
August 20 – RAD (Switch)
Double Fine haven’t released a purely awesome game in either a long, long time or ever, depending on who you ask – but their titles are never short on creativity or charm.  A post-apocalyptic action-RPG with roguelike mutations from Double Fine sounds great on paper, and if nothing else this may well be the last new Double Fine joint you’ll ever be able to play on your PS4, now that the studio’s been acquired by Microsoft. 
August 30 – Astral Chain (Switch)
Takahisa Taura – lead game designer of Nier: Automata, under supervision from Devil May Cry and Bayonetta creator Hideki Kamiya – is making a cell-shaded sci-fi action-RPG for Switch.  If Darksiders 2 doesn’t satisfy my need for stylish video game brawls, Astral Chain just may.
Summer 2019 – Children of Morta
I can’t remember the last indie I purely, truly loved – perhaps Hollow Knight is actually the most recent example – and Children of Morta has been on stove for a long, long time.  Kickstarted back in 2015, it’s a lovingly animated pixel-art action-RPG with Roguelike elements.  You play as members of a family who’ve tended to a sacred mountain for generations – but the mountain is now beset by untold evils, so you choose your family member and strike out into the ever-changing dungeons, returning home to spend time with your peeps as more and more goodies get unlocked. 
Alex assures me the action is on point.  This may be the Next Great Indie. 
Fall 2019 – Link’s Awakening
Ninty’s first-party efforts often leave me pretty bored, from Kirby to even Breath of the Wild, but the remake of Link’s Awakening has me more hyped than I’ve been for any Nintendo game since Super Mario World back in the day.  I’ve always loved the top-down Zeldas – even Spirit Tracks on the 3DS was a charmer, to me – and given that I’ve never played Link’s Awakening and given that these supercute graphics had me squealing with joy at first sight, this is just a bunch of good things in one place.
Day one.
September 3 – Torchlight II (Switch)
Torchlight 2 is the crown jewel in the catalog of now-defunct developer Runic Games – the best thing they ever made.  A cheerfully cartoony riff on the Diablo formula, Torchlight has been held up for years as the Diablo-like that actually pulled it off and managed to be excellent on its own terms – and it’ll be available on my handheld on September 3rd.
Early 2019  – Indivisible?
Indivisible – a sweet, gorgeous hand-drawn, blisteringly fast-paced 2D action-RPG from Lab Zero (of Skullgirls fame) – was due out last fall and then pushed to “early 2019.”  Well, we’re halfway through 2019 and it’s not on my Switch yet, so here’s hopin’ this drops by the end of the year. 
Day one, whenever it comes. 
October 25 – The Outer Worlds
The last truly indie game from legendary RPG house Obsidian Entertainment (Fallout: New Vegas, Pillars of Eternity), The Outer Worlds looks to offer the richly detailed, choice-driven sci-fi weirdness that Fallout has been kind of stepping back from lately.  Don’t expect triple-A – it’ll be double-A at best – but like RADThe Outer Worlds is the last game from this developer that’ll be available on your PS4.   After this, they’re pure Xbox. 
November 8 – Death Stranding
I don’t like horror movies, but I watched Us at my earliest opportunity because it’s the next thing from Jordan Peele.   I’m going to go see Once Upon A Time In Hollywood because it’s the next thing from Quentin Tarantino, and I’m going to day-one Death Stranding because it’s the next thing from Hideo Kojima – a practical deity of game design. 
What’s it about?  Will it be any good?  Dude, I have no clue.  It’s the next Hideo Kojima joint, and that’s enough to make me so curious I’m gonna’ have to blow ninety bucks on it this November. 
November 15 – Jedi: Fallen Order
It has taken a long, long time for Electronic Arts to give us a single-player action game after they acquiring the Star Warslicense from Disney, and Stars Wars Jedi: Fallen Order was revealed with a deafening thud at this year’s E3.  It appeared to be a mechanically lightweight, linear brawler with no real heft to the action and no real draw for the audience. 
It just looked completely meh. 
In the following weeks, games journalists let us know that Fallen Order is actually a Metroidvania, with a ship and crew at your disposal, a galaxy to explore in non-linear fashion and very tactical combat.  That sounds pretty fucking awesome, so Fallen Order remains on my radar – but not without a reasonable dose of suspicion
November 15 – Pokemon Sword & Shield
Pokemon: Let’s Go Pikachu/Evee! is a boring-ass game.  And I kinda’ hate it.  It was meant to be a solid introduction to the series for new gamers, but for my money it was an absolute waste of seventy dollars.  And yet I still feel like the kid on the far side of the fence, watching others have fun with their Poke-things.  I want to understand why they love it so much, and perhaps even love it myself, but I doubt I’ll be able to bring myself to invest in another Nintendo game I’m not a hundred percent on. 
Watch it get a bunch of 9/10 reviews, too…
November 22 – DOOM Eternal
DOOM Eternal is, in all honesty, the only title on this list I can wholeheartedly endorse and assure you will probably be a heavy contender for Game of the Year.  2016’s DOOM reboot is a glorious game with huge, intricate levels that are a pleasure to explore, absolutely choked with white-knuckle, lightning-fast FPS action and an attitude that absolutely revels in the violent, lurid badassery of it all. 
It’s gonna’ be awesome. 

Friday, June 28, 2019

Chamberlain & Chance & Alex 175 - A Collection of Emotions

Alex thisChamberlain thatpodcast on iTunespodcast on Google Play!

Chamberlain and Chance - A collection of emotions

  • Chamberlain has scaled the nostalgic heights of Bloodstained!
  • Alex is throwin' down over Gwent games in Witcher III!
  • Chance really isn't all that close with his friend Pedro
  • And how much more expensive are your video game consoles gonna' be?
You'll have to tune in to find out!

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

A Short Review - My Friend Pedro

My Friend Pedro is simultaneously some good stylin’ fun and a kinda’ wonky exercise in player patience.  Sold as an over-the-top orgy of stylish acrobatic gunplay action at the behest of a talking banana, it both achieves its ambition and leaves a great, yawning chasms of room for improvement. 

It fits neatly in the whole Hotline Miami, Ape Out milieu – slightly-fumbly, unintuitive yet twitchy, arcadey games that are generally more style than substance, worthy of a single playthrough but rarely a second – but Pedro is more immediately-interesting than both thanks to the fact that playing it requires more than two buttons.  It’s a complicated little jam, and that works both for and against it.

L1 permits a dodge, sending your little hero into a stylish pirouette as bullets fly by.  L3 activates bullet time – which you can use for ninety percent of a level, as each kill fills the meter – and L2 splits your aim between one locked target and one manual-aim target for akimbo aerial gunplay.  Which looks awesome.  You’re like slow-motion flipping above two guys, one gun in each hand blasting bullets into targets on opposite sides of a room – awesome!  You have to hold L2 as you do, so it’s near-impossible to split your aim and dodge at the same time and I regularly hit L3 by accident, speeding up time with lethal consequence on the regular. 

Jump, reload and kick are all on face buttons – you can never achieve one of these moves without first removing your thumb from the right stick, and you can kick foes or objects for a projectile kill – but kicking objects is almost never worth the hassle. 

Let me assure you, it feels super, super-cool to bust through the door of a mafia den and roundhouse kick a knife that just-so-happened to be stuck into a table so hard it sails across the room and catches a dude in the throat.  That feels cool.  And it looks cool.  But try to do it again – try to do it completely intentionally and My Friend Pedro’s seams begin to show.  Just the act of stopping to aim that kick trajectory, if your target isn’t directly in front of you, is an exercise in patience as you stop moving, stand next to the object you wanna’ kick (an aiming arc will appear, showing where the object will travel once kicked), adjust the right analog stick so the arc is just where you want it, take your finger off the right analog stick and hit the face button to kick – and hope you haven’t been shot to shit in the interim. 

Imagine needing to pull that off when The Object is an explosive gas can and you’ve got a bunch of dudes shooting at you.  It’s this beautiful action moment you can perceive – you can desire because Hell’s bells it’s gonna’ be cool just like when Jean Claude Van Damme kicked the oil can in Hard Target and then shot it out of the air with a shotgun and it went like ka-bam and all the bad guys were all blaaaaa we’re deeead.  That was awesome!  Well, My Friend Pedro has ensured it’s just not-quite clear and not-quite simple to pull off and while you’re trying, those bad guys will just shoot the gas can. 

I’m not looking for easy, of course – but consistent.  Snappy.  Clean.  Reliable.  Yes.  These are very good things for a video game, and My Friend Pedro does not really suffer them. 

Take wall jumping, for example.  We have wall-jumped our way through countless games.  It’s been a staple of 2D platformers dating back to the NES, and even 3D titles have managed to make wall jumping sharp and intuitive for years – frickin’ Sekiro had perfect, snappy wall-jumps. 

My Friend Pedro, on the other hand, is rather physics-driven – from the inertia your hero has to the kinda-floppy procedural animations that occur when his limbs impact the game geometry.  As such, the moment you hit a wall never feels precise and clean, and if you try to jump just before you hit the wall you’ll end up not hitting the wall at all and just kinda’ screwing it all up and falling.   It works ninety five percent of the time, and I don’t understand why that last five percent is acceptable to its devs.

Kinda’ floppy.  Not crisp, not clean.  Like Nico Bellic stumbling around drunk in Grand Theft Auto IV

The idea of the action in Pedro is generally way cooler than its execution.  It’s more interesting and I’d even agree entertaining to play than the predecessors of its indie genre, but it’s really quite complicated without the benefit of being reliable.   Pedro’s ambition would be far better served by the clear, sharp rules of a sprite-based action game – Shank 2, Mark of the Ninja and Hollow Knight spring to mind – and a simpler control scheme. 

Still, I motored my way through it.  You give me slow-motion gunplay and I’m generally pretty pleased with things, but once you hit the tippy-top of Pedro’s complexity and creativity, the game becomes bored with throwing progressively-larger numbers of ever-more-dangerous human foes at you, gets rid of them and just turns into a rather challenging pure platformer.  Which would be a lot more enjoyable if the entire game weren’t based around gunplay and if the platforming mechanics were as consistent as say, Little Big Planet – the joke being evident only if you’ve played LBP

And then I got to the end boss.  Or the boss just before the end boss, I suspect.  Unlike every other enemy in the game she had a massive life bar – and Pedro’s mechanics are not designed for you to chill in one room, exhausting your resources on a single enemy – it’s designed to flow through countless foes as you collect more bullet time and weapons, so this boss felt like a complete u-turn from the rest of the game, and somehow far less fun because of it.   I fought her a few more times and said fuck it – this isn’t fun and I don’t feel the game actually prepared me for the mechanics this fight seems to require. 

I didn’t uninstall Pedro.  I just restarted it, because its ambition is laudable and its execution is okay.  It’s okay.  It’s decent.  It’s like Hotline Miami or Ape Out.  It ain’t perfect and it’s not going to absorb you for more than a day or so – but it still lets me fly through the air in slow-motion, my legs twisted around a rope, swinging upside down with two guns pointed in opposite directions at some evil thugs.   And that’s pretty cool. 

But Bloodstained is out on Switch today, so I’ll seeya in the rearview, Pedro.  6/10.  [update] Eh let's call it a 7. [/update]

Wait, wait.  Hang on... 

Okay maybe I'll hold off on Bloodstained for a bit.