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JFo

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Everything posted by JFo

  1. I just finished Yoshi’s Island tonight. I completed all the levels, earned 100 points on each, opened all six Extra levels, beat those, and got 100 points on them too. I basically 100% completed the game. It’s probably the first time I’ve played it from beginning to end in over 20 years. Overall, it still holds up. The level design is fantastic, the controls are tight and precise without being too stiff, and it has an aesthetic that is incomparable to any other SNES game. Plus, it has some great music from Mr. Koji Kondo. I am thankful, however, to have had the ability to use save states and rewind gameplay. This is a tough game, and these features saved me lots time and frustration. Though there are checkpoints throughout each level, they are spaced pretty far apart, and it is possible to lose several minutes worth of gameplay with one simple mistake. Being able to stop the game, rewind a few seconds and try a tough jump again made the experience more fun and satisfying. This is particularly true when trying to get 100 points on all the levels. Sometimes something you need to collect — like a red coin — will appear for a few seconds and disappear for good if you don’t collect it fast enough. The only thing you can do then is die and start over (hopefully from a checkpoint), but the rewind feature means you can just step back a few seconds and try again. At first part of me felt bad about this — like I was cheating. But I ultimately decided to hell with it. I don’t have to prove anything to anyone, and I’m playing this game to have fun more than anything. And I did have fun. I waited in vain for years for Yoshi’s Island to come to the Virtual Console — first on Wii, then Wii U — and I finally got to play it again. I couldn’t be happier.
  2. It looks like we’re getting another three years of South Park. ‘South Park’ Renewed Through Season 26 at Comedy Central Season 23 premiers on September 25.
  3. Speaking of the laptops, did you guys see this? Apple identifies cause of MacBook keyboard problems John Moltz for Crazy Apple Rumors: Reached for comment, Apple Senior Vice President of Hardware Engineering Dan Riccio was unequivocal. “We investigated each and every case where a complaint was filed about MacBook keyboards and found that in each one the user was a dirty nose-picker.” Gotta love Moltz.
  4. Yeah, I’m hoping this is like my experience with the Mass Effect trilogy — slog through the first one so that I better appreciate the more polished sequels. my current plan is to play through Gears 5 on Xbox One and Yoshi's Island on Switch first, then delve into The Witcher 2 shortly thereafter. These are all really long games, and I don’t want to burn out on them by playing them all back-to-back.
  5. I saw that the other day. Good stuff. I like seeing how the level evolves based on feedback from the other allies. I may have to break down and finally get this game soon. My oldest boy was begging me to buy it over the weekend because he wanted to try and make his own levels. Meanwhile I watch a video like this... ...and think, "God, that looks like fun!" so it because harder and harder to resist. If I do, I'll get the digital edition that includes the 1-year of Switch Online so that I can access the online features.
  6. All right, I finished The Witcher over the weekend. As promised, here are my thoughts on it: Hardware and Technical Stuff I think the best place to start with this “review” would be to talk about my hardware setup. I played The Witcher on a 5K iMac, 27-inch, late-2015 model. Its specs can be found here. Mine is the base configuration with the two important upgrades: I installed 32GB of third-party RAM and a 512GB SSD from Apple. The latter made the huge difference in that it significantly reduced the load times throughout my play through. From what I gathered from old reviews, these could be extremely lengthy on a standard HDD. While not a top-of-the-line gaming machine by any means, I was able to run The Witcher at high settings at 1920x1080. The frame rate, while not a locked 60fps, ran smooth enough most of the time to be acceptable. During a few sections performance dipped into the 20s and below (particularly toward the end of Chapter V), but this isn’t a game that requires super-fast reflexes to play, so it didn’t bother me that much. Screen tearing was also noticeable throughout. This wasn’t a deal-breaker by any means, but it was distracting. As far as technical issues go, the worst I faced was that the game frequently crashed. As a result, I had to replay several areas more than once. The game does auto-save but only when a quest is started, progressed to the next step, or completed. Of course it could never crash immediately after an auto save. I remind myself often to manually save so that I wouldn’t find myself having to repeat everything I did the previous 20-30 minutes. There were many other technical glitches throughout the game, which I won't take the time to detail here. Suffice it to say, this is not the most polished game I ever played. An interesting note — as of this writing, my iMac runs on macOS Mojave. In a few weeks, we’ll probably see the release of the next version, Catalina. Had I waited a little longer to start playing this, I may have been unable to do so. Catalina removes support for 32-bit apps, and The Witcher is a 32-bit app. I suspect a lot of Mac gamers are going to be pretty pissed off in a few weeks when they discover that many of their games no longer work. The Game Here’s the thing: I’m not a PC gamer, and I’m not a big fan of RPGs. The Witcher is an RPG that plays on PC (or Mac in my case). Right away, that’s two strikes against it. I’ll admit it was hard to get excited about playing the game because of this. My plan was to give it at least 10 hours to hook me. If it didn’t by then, I would step away and jump into The Witcher 2. That first 10 hours, which lead me up to the beginning of Chapter II, were rough. The toughest part was just getting my bearings and figuring out who everyone was, what I was doing, and most importantly, how to play the damn game. The user interface is a mess, and it was very difficult figuring out how to do certain things like, meditate (oh, I have to click this hour glass icon in the middle of this circle), mix potions, or change battle stances on the fly. Everything seemed why more complicated than it needed to be. The game does try to ease you in with tutorials, but when you're fed a dozen of them in the first couple hours, it's easy to forget or miss something. Once I settled into the game and started completing quests, things got better. I found myself compelled to keep going. I wasn't necessarily in love with the game or this world, but it was interesting at each step. One thing I didn't like was that once I started a new chapter and entered a new location, I couldn't go back to places I already had been and complete side quests I hadn't finished (the one exception being the transition from Chapter II to III). The reasons for this are explained well enough in-game, but it would have been nice to know that entering the city walls of Vizma would have cut me off from the outskirts. I also enjoyed how the story unfolded naturally. Usually in games like this, where the story changes depending on decisions you make, you know exactly when you’re making one of those decisions. In The Witcher, I never felt like that was the case. Okay, maybe I did when I had to choose between giving Alvin to Triss or Shani, but that was it (SPOILER ALERT: I chose Triss). The end result is a story I know could have gone very differently, but it doesn’t feel to me like it could have gone any other way. I like that. In an earlier post, Magness said that the combat was complex. I agree to a point. There's a lot to keep in mind during combat -- which weapon to use, which stance to pick, what magic works best, and which potions should be taken first, and so on -- but it's also relatively easy to execute. Just point your mouse cursor on the bad guy and click when you see the sword icon. Wait a little longer and click again when you see the flaming sword icon. Keep doing this until all the bad guys are dead. Granted, I was playing the game on Easy difficulty, so maybe I missed out on some of the depth of the combat, but given how much I did not enjoy this part of the game to begin with, I don't really care. I could go on, but I said more than enough already. I'm glad I played The Witcher, mostly because I have a familiarity with this world that will help me get into the second and third games a little easier. I'm not super-impressed of far, but I didn't expect to be. If I don't take to the sequels more, then I will be disappointed. Let's hope that doesn't happen.
  7. A new Apple monitor that does not cost $7,000 would be nice.
  8. I suspect that this is enough for most people. Unlike when Apple stuck people with 16GB or 32GB for the base models, it doesn't feel like there's a big outcry from users (or Apple pundits) to raise the base capacity of these phones -- at least not yet.
  9. It looks like all three of these collections will be 50% off on PSN starting tomorrow: https://blog.us.playstation.com/2019/09/09/ps-stores-big-in-japan-sale-offers-savings-up-to-60/ For those keeping track, that's $9.99 for each collection. Not a bad price considering what you get in each.
  10. It looks like I can finally log in, but I’m too damned tired to start playing. Maybe tomorrow night after the kids are in bed...
  11. Same. I guess I’ll just play Yoshi's Island on Switch tonight instead.
  12. Hello, and Farewell Matt Throson, director of Celeste, with two announcements: First, the company behind Celeste (and TowerFall) — Matt Makes Games Inc. — is rebranding and will now be called Extremely OK Games Ltd. or EXOK for short. Second, and more importantly, the free DLC that was announced a while back will arrive on September 9. It sounds like there is a lot of new content in this chapter. I wonder what the gameplay hook will be for this level. The good news for me is that I have already beaten level 8, on Switch so I should be able to start playing this new chapter as soon as it’s available. Plus, I recently climbed to the summit again — this time on Xbox One, which I got as a freebie through Games with Gold. My skills should hopefully be sharpened to take on this new challenge.
  13. ...and done! 39 hours total playtime clocked in according to Steam. It could have been less had I not had the game not crashed so many times though. I’ll offer some thoughts on the experience in the next day or two. Suffice it to say, I mostly enjoyed it, but it is very rough around the edges.
  14. Yeah, I have a feeling that this game is going to hook me when I finally get around to playing it and I will be trying to do everything there is to do. Thanks for the impressions, Romier. I'll be sure to post my own when I finally get around to playing this.
  15. I'm playing the shit out of Yoshi's Island tomorrow night. I've been waiting patiently for it to come to the Virtual Console for years now to no avail. Finally, I will have it again and can play it on a modern console. I agree, that starting lineup looks pretty good. I think SNES games are much higher quality overall compared to NES titles, so their inclusion with the Nintendo Online subscription is more exciting for me. All they need to do is get the Donkey Kong Trilogy on there, and I will be good to go.
  16. Thanks for the impressions, Romier. I can’t wait to get my hands on this and start playing when I have the time for it. Here's Digital Foundry's video on resolution and performance for those interested: Basically, it's what I assumed it would be. The Xbox One X seems to be the way to go for console as it has the highest resolution and the best performance of all the platforms. It's not perfect on any of them, but it appears to be best on Microsoft's high-end machine. That said, the performance on the base consoles...
  17. I'm about 19 hours in now and just started Chapter III. I like enough of what I've played to keep going. I don't love the game per se. At times it feels slow and tedious. Other times I can't stop playing because I want to finish a quest or move the story along a little bit more. I presume at this point I will see it through to the end. I hope to be done with it sometime in early September.
  18. So, this comes out tomorrow and it's getting some decent reviews. It's currently sitting on a Metacritic score in the low- to mid-80s, depending on your platform. I watched the Easy Allies review this morning, and it sounds like the biggest issue — at least on the PS4 Pro — was some severe frame rate drops when there's a lot of action on screen at once. And I mean severe. Honestly, I haven't seen frame rate drops like that since the N64 days. It doesn't sound like it happens often, so that's good. My first instinct is to pick this up on Xbox One X, but I'd like to see a Digital Foundry analysis first. Given that this is a Remedy game, I expect there to be some interesting tech that's discussed. I am eager to see how the game looks and performs on the different platforms.
  19. Maybe Palpatine isn't alive. Maybe it's just Kylo Ren playing with an Emperor action figure, fooling everyone into thinking that the Emperor is still alive.
  20. Even worse, they dropped that shot in during the montage of clips from Empire. Blasphemy!
  21. Another option — wait until all the episodes of that season are released and then binge. Problem solved. JTello can now buy Disney+ and Iger can rest easy tonight knowing his company is saved.
  22. I wasn't interested in this game either until said micro-transactions were removed. It sounds like it is much better now because of it. I still have to play Shadow of Mordor at some point — hopefully sometime in the next 6 months — and if I enjoy it enough, I'll play Shadow of War through Game Pass.
  23. Richard at Digital Foundry takes a look at the new Switch revision: It sounds like not much as changed other than battery life and perhaps the quality of the screen (for the worse). There may be a slight improvement in performance, but it's so small as to be imperceptible to the human eye. Still, it's interesting to see how much better this new unit is in terms of power consumption. It will be interesting to see what Switch Lite is like when it's released.
  24. Yeah, it looks like you can only preorder the game on the PSN store right now on console. There's a standard edition available for $59.99, and a Deluxe Edition for $79.99. If you're a PS Plus member, you can get a 10% ($8.00) discount on that version.
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