Archive for the Blog Category

Nex Machina Beta: Wow

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Games on May 27, 2017 by slateman

My first hour with Nex Machina was underwhelming. It’s brutal, incessant and requires a frantic finesse that even their prior titles do not. But then it clicked. A replay of the first level for a high score showed the epic beauty of its insanity. This game is not easy, but like any good shmup, which this essentially is, when things fall into place, it is as if time slows. Failing to die is rewarded tenfold and the game became a magestic song of weaving enemies, saving humans, finding hidden exits and destroying everything in sight. I fear the game will be too hardcore for the masses. But for those of us who appreciate this type of game, it’s a gorgeous-looking and finely-tuned masterpiece. I’ll be sad when the beta ends and I actually have to wait for the final release. Bring it on!!!

Upcoming Release Dates

Posted in Blog, Games, Movies, Music, Uncharted on May 25, 2017 by slateman

The usual “for my reference only” posting. Looks to be a promising second half of 2017!

Videogames
Jun 02 – Tekken 7
Jul 11 – Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age
Aug 22 – Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
Aug 22 – Middle-Earth: Shadow Of War
Sep 19 – Marvel Vs. Capcom Infinite
Nov 14 – Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2
Dec ?? – God Of War

Music
May 26 – Alestorm: No Grave But The Sea
Jun 09 – Anathema: The Optimist
Jun 30 – Vintersorg: Till Fjälls Del II
Jul 07 – Blind Guardian: Live Beyond The Spheres
Aug 11 – The Lurking Fear: Out Of The Voiceless Grave
Aug 25 – The Haunted: Strength In Numbers
Sep 08 – Arch Enemy: Will To Power
Sep 22 – Satyricon: TBA
??? ?? – Wintersun: The Forest Seasons
??? ?? – Dimmu Borgir: TBA
??? ?? – The Black Dahlia Murder: TBA

Live Shows
Jun 23 – Emperor/Slayer – Norway
Oct 20 – Satyricon – Pustervik

Television
May 26 – Bloodline (Season 3/Final)
May 30 – House Of Cards (Season 4)
Jul 07 – Castlevania (Netflix)
Jul 16 – Game Of Thrones (Season 7)
Sep ?? – How To Get Away With Murder (Season 4)
Oct 31 – Stranger Things (Season 2)
??? ?? – Taboo (Season 2)
??? ?? – Westworld (Season 2)
??? ?? – The OA (Season 2)

New 3×3 Record! First Sub-30! OMFG!

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Cubing, Cubing Records, High Scores / Accomplishments on May 7, 2017 by slateman

I’ve been waiting for this moment for six years. I had a session yesterday where everything was clicking. My average of 5 was 34.06. Average of 12 was 35.11. Average of 50 was 37.29. I could just see the entire solve more clearly than ever.

And today was the day. A quick cross. Three corners and three second-layer inserts were so fast. I had the yellow cross and corners permuted. Two lightning fast sune algs and a standard three-cycle to finish off and I knew it was coming. Just didn’t know if I could break 30. Let’s face it… 30.00 wouldn’t have been nearly as good. This was utterly thrilling. And while the record could be broken again, I think the greatest success here is the change in average time. I’ll never get too much faster… Not without F2L. But for now I can officially say I’m under 30 seconds. At 41 yrs old, I’ve been waiting since I was 35 to say that. :) \m/

100 Solves. New 3×3 Record!

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Cubing, Cubing Records on April 28, 2017 by slateman

I don’t cube like I used to. My collection continues to grow, recently an Eitan’s Twist and a 2x2x4 entered the fold, but I don’t go for speed like the old days. (five years ago, heh) After seeing some people using an app called Twisty Timer which tracks your times and charts them, I figured I’d just see how I stood. 100 solves later and my average was just over 41 seconds. My old Average Of 5 record has remained unbroken for over four years, mainly because I don’t really ever challenge it. I was about half a second too slow to challenge that one but…what’s this? Oh right, a new personal best!!! I missed the elusive sub-30 claim by a mere quarter-second, but I’ll take it. 30.25 is my new 3×3 record. Maybe 100 more solves will give me the opportunity to shave off that elusive chunk of a second?

SFV: Giving Up Hope On Single-Player Content

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Street Fighter on April 22, 2017 by slateman

Had SFV launched with the full Story Mode, it likely would’ve gotten slightly better review scores. That would’ve led to better sales…but the game’s rush for CPT has been well-documented. It’s also known that Capcom underestimated the percentage of people who actually want an arcade mode/any single-player content. A majority of folks who own SFV would say that any developer time dedicated to single-player content is an utter waste.

So here we are with a few basic facts.

  • Capcom said they won’t repackage a Super SFV or anything. (I think it would be a good idea to refresh reviews and let people feel it’s a new start, but that’s a different discussion.)
  • Developer time is going to CFN, S2 re-balancing and four more S2 characters as well as another twelve Chun-Li costumes. Note that characters & costumes make Capcom money.
  • After that will hopefully come season 3 characters. And another dozen Cammy costumes.

Thus, I don’t see why Capcom would waste any more dev time on the small percentage of current owners who want single-player content. Without a repackaged SFV to draw in new buyers, I think it’s time to give up.

Time to give up on a basic arcade mode. Time to stop wishing they’d do anything with the dolls they already have mostly developed. Time to give up on anything but the Vs. CPU “feature” they gave us. There will be no Extra Battle. No Dramatic Battle. Nothing.

I get that I’m in the minority and I guess that’s what’s frustrating. I spent the same $120 as many of other gamers. But my import of Street Fighter Zero 3 for half the price almost 20 yrs ago gave me more replay value. (That’s unfair, I realize. The online component and continual development cannot be compared). But this is just the final acceptance that we won’t likely get any single-player content because it doesn’t make much sense financially for Capcom to work on it.

Horizon: Zero Dawn – Wow

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Games with tags , on April 2, 2017 by slateman

I’m having troubles in Zelda: Breath Of The Wild. It’s not the game’s difficulty. It’s that I simply don’t care. The game looks dreadful. The entire world is fog and I haven’t a clue where to go. Despite wanting to like the game, I simply cannot.

After saving some pennies, I snatched up Horizon: Zero Dawn and OMFG it looks incredible! The gameplay is right up my alley, so that’s no surprise there. However, the lighting, the landscapes, the facial animations: all are top-notch and incredibly-detailed. I’m only a few hours in, likely already farther than I was in Zelda, but I cannot wait to play more…yet another thing Zelda fails to instill in me. Certainly it’s not fair to compare, but when Nintendo’s title wins GotY from every gaming outlet, compare they will. And for me, right now, it’s a no-brainer. I’m utterly impressed so far. Let’s hope this trend continues!!!

How Nintendo Fucked Up

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Games, Hardware, Resident Evil with tags , on March 5, 2017 by slateman

Just four years after launching the Wii U, the system is effectively dead and Nintendo has shipped its last title for the platform. My Wii U collection now includes the free game I got with the system, a pair of Mario games and its swansong, the new Zelda game. The system was a gift given to me several years ago and beside the plumber’s usual excellent games, (already catalogued here) the only game I wanted was Zelda. It was scheduled for 2015.

Its delay was due to new hardware, there is simply no doubt. And that hardware has arrived. But I’m not spending $300 for a system to play Zelda when the last system was supposed to do so. But that’s OK. I have the option to play on my Wii U. So let’s.

But oh! my Wii U has decided to stop outputting audio. Now that’s not Nintendo’s direct fault. I mean, I didn’t really use the system that much, but hardware fails. I get it. But hey, I have this second screen. I could turn the volume up on the controller and maybe use it for a map or inventory screen. But oh no. Despite the second screen being about the only selling point on the console in its four miserable years, Nintendo opted not to utilize it at all for Zelda. Why? The Switch, surely. Can’t have the old system doing something the new system can’t, right? Screw you, fans! Buy the new hardware! And to answer the inevitable question, yes, I can play the game on the Wii U controller because that’s precisely why I bought a 55″ TV.

So, whatever, the Wii U is dead. Let’s look at the Switch. The future of gaming, certainly! Wait…did I hear that version of Zelda runs more smoothly when in handheld mode? You buy a new piece of hardware that only outputs the latest-and-greatest in 900P and it can’t do so smoothly? In the year 2017? Yup…so the best experience of Zelda is to play it on a handheld, 6.2″ screen running in 720P? What the fuck?

Now, the console itself is reasonably-priced. For a system that only outputs in 1080P and as a portable only has maybe 3-4 hours of battery life, $300 is the max price, really But the pricing on everything else is ludicrous. $70 for a pro controller? It was difficult to swallow when the 360 and PS3 introduced wireless controllers and they cost as much as a game…but $70? And what about another set of Joycon controllers? $80??? And what is this news of the controllers losing sync? So, if I want another set of controllers, my bill just went up nearly 1/3 of the price. And if I don’t want to hold them like miniature chopsticks, it’s another $30 for the grip? $110? Prices will come down, certainly, right?

Oh and as of this writing, save games are tied to the system, so you can’t back them up or transfer them? WAT? Only 32Gb of internal memory? Voice chat has to be done via an app on your phone? The list of WTF just grows inexplicably. No virtual store yet either. Wait, you can’t get new games or old games up and running properly for your launch? I love new HW, but I am not enthusiastic about this at all. It just feels like an awful lot of money for another system that’ll just have 5 games on the shelf. Barring some wonderful third-party exclusive, a thing Nintendo hasn’t hooked me on since Resident Evil 4 over a decade ago, give me one reason (whose name isn’t Mario) to get this system. Metroid? I’ll believe it when I see it.

Just a little disgusted on how they’ve handled the demise of the Wii U, the entirety of Zelda and the hardware of the Switch. I don’t doubt it’s some sexy-ass tech. But they screwed over Wii U owners and Zelda fans alike. Guess I’ll go play Breath Of The Wild on my 854 x 480 controller. Whatever.

Breath Of The Wild: Let Us Begin

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Games, Lists with tags on March 3, 2017 by slateman

Despite the entire world thinking Zelda is the best thing ever, I only ranked it #7 of the best gaming series ever. That’s still impressive, no doubt, but that leaves a lot of room to grow. And the reasoning behind it being so low on the list? Let’s look at the history, shall we? Moving backwards, the main entries:

2013: A Link Between Worlds: Brilliant and wonderful
2011: Skyward Sword: OK – Never beat it.
2009: Spirit Tracks: Trains?
2007: Phantom Hourglass: Never touched it
2006: Twilight Princess: Got stuck in the middle. Lost interest.
2004: The Minish Cap: Spectacularrrrrr
2002: The Wind Waker: Got to the end, didn’t love it.
2001: Oracles Games: Always wanted to play
2000: Majora’s Mask: Never had interest, I know, I’m missing out.
1998: Ocarina Of Time: Remember the day I got that game. Classic.
1991: A Link To The Past: Legen…dary.
1987: The Adventure Of Link: It was bad then, it’s worse now.
1985: The Legend Of Zelda: My favorite back then. I knew it all.

That’s an awful lot of games and an awful lot of…”so-so”. I don’t care if it’s blasphemy to say so, but I only truly loved a handful of Zelda games. But the good were outrageously good. And that’s why I’m giving Breath Of The Wild a chance. It looks enormous, but nowadays, that’s not always a great thing. I’m just hoping that’s a perk and not a detriment.

So, wish me luck as I embark upon yet another Hyrule adventure. I can only hope it’s one I complete and maybe moves Zelda up on the list. That’s a tough one though.

Release Dates: 2017 Edition

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Books, Games, Lists, Movies, Music, Street Fighter, Tolkien, Uncharted on March 3, 2017 by slateman

The usual ‘post so I can check back and remember’ release-date listing! This is for my interests only, really. I should mention it’s been a good start, with a great Kreator record and a solid outing for Overkill. RE7 was a spectacular game as well. However, I’ll be honest, I don’t see 2017 as being a tremendous year. There’s no major music on the horizon and movies??? That’s kind of frustrating. Surely something will be announced at E3, right?

Today: The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild
07 Mar: The Americans (Season 5)
29 Mar: Proof Set 2017
14 Apr: Dimmu Borgir – Forces Of The Northern Night
16 Apr: The Leftovers (Season 3 – Final Season)
26 May: Bloodline (Season 3)
30 May: House Of Cards (Season 5)
01 Jun: J.R.R. Tolkien – The Tale Of Beren And Lúthien
23 Jun: Emperor/Slayer in Norway
30 Jun: Vintersorg – Till Fjälls Del II
xx Jul: Wintersun – The Forest Seasons
22 Aug: Uncharted 4: The Lost Legacy
19 Sep: Marvel Vs. Capcom Infinite
31 Oct: Stranger Things
15 Dec: Star Wars: Episode 8 – The Last Jedi

Other Records
–A Perfect Circle
–Arch Enemy
–The Black Dahlia Murder
–Dimmu Borgir
–The Haunted
–Satyricon
–Skeletonwitch?

Other Shows?
–Taboo (Season 2?)
–Westworld (Season 2 – 2018)
–The OA (Season 2 ordered)

Emperor: Anthems In Norway!

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Music with tags on February 15, 2017 by slateman

A ticket has been secured. I am going to see Emperor reunite to perform one of the best albums ever in its entirety…In Norway! Its only a few hours north of me and I haven’t a clue how I’m actually getting to the place, but who cares? The show will be held in Frederiksten Fortress, a 17th-century fortress which was the site of no fewer than a half-dozen Swedish invasions! Oh, and I suppose it’s worth mentioning that SLAYER will be playing as well. (listens for someone yelling the band name in the distance.) It will be my 10th time seeing them, but let’s be honest: Emperor. Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk. I cannot explain this excitement. I hope to get a shirt this time around. :) So psyched!