Star Trek Online Getting Patch – J&J Show (Ep. 6)

So, it appears STO is on PS4 and Xbox One is getting patched today, along with getting The Breach Event later on this week.

Couple of highlights:

  • Temporal Transponder will be fixed… really interested to see this!
  • Turn rate will be fixed (finally… again)
  • Bio-Neural Warhead will actually function properly
  • Get ability to turn off ship visuals (thank the space barbie gods!)
  • Temporary Hit Point meter has been added… curious about this
  • Swapping uniforms from command window added… let’s see if tailor has been fixed in anyways as well
  • Delphic Antiproton Weapons have been fixed concerning Beam Overload… wait… what?!?!?
  • Fixed Invincibility Trait to work with Continuity from Temporal Spec… wait… what again?!?!?!

Delphic AP weapons and Invincibility are not in game… Delphic AP comes from the Sphere Builder lock box and the Invincibility trait comes from the Lobi ship the Zahl… so does this mean, like the Temporal Transponder that these two things were broke BEFORE they were added to the game and this patch is going to fix that BECAUSE they are coming to the game? We don’t know, we can only speculate, however, it would not surprise me at all.

The Sphere Builder lock box includes some interesting things – particularly traits and the Denuos Dreadnought Carrier – which looks interesting (especially since I have been working on a Turret Build, Video 2). Of course the Zahl has one of the best traits for DPS when used properly. Obviously it is all speculation at this point, but I do find it interesting that these two things are being fixed in this patch and they are not even in the game yet.

We also go over Horizon Zero Dawn. My review can be found here, along with some videos of game play.

 

Horizon Zero Dawn – Review

It took me a total of 51 hours, 47 minutes and 22 seconds – but I got 100% completion in game. I got Platinum (all trophies / achievements) at just over 50 hours, and still lacked one side quest and one errand to do, which I found in Free Hope. Let me say this first, i enjoyed every second I played this game, and in the end, it has become one of my favorite games of all time – rivaling games such as The Witcher 3, but saying that, it doesn’t surpass TW3 in my book.

The first thing you notice as you begin playing is that the graphics and soundtrack are superb.

Graphically it beats games like The Witcher 3 simply because the FPS doesn’t drop and I found hardly any glitches whatsoever – except the occasional machine dino break dancing after death. The soundtrack only adds to the wonderful ambience, adding an element that both delights and terrifies as you trudge through the beautiful post-post apocalyptic landscape. This is simply the most beautiful game I have ever played, visually striking with a wonderful attention to detail.

Mechanically, the game borrows heavily from games such as TW3, Assassins Creed, Far Cry Primal and Tomb Raider – there is also elements of other games as well. What it does borrow it borrows really well. Everything, from climbing to shooting a bow feels natural. In fact, using the bow feels so natural that when switching to another weapon, it feels unnatural using it – but no less enjoyable. In combat, the game gives you many options – including just going all out, no stealth and blasting enemies, or the more subtle approach of setting traps and blast wires and leading machines and humans alike into a symphony of destruction as you whistle to get them to cone closer to you. Combat in this game FEELS natural – meaning it isn’t clunky or over complicated. At the same time, even being level 50 with the games end game power armor equipped, you can still easily die if you are not paying attention and dodging attacks on a regular basis.

The game is challenging enough on Normal that it provides a good experience. I have not tried it on any harder difficulty – Normal was good enough for me, providing a good balance between paying attention to the story and being challenging enough to not feel like I was rolling through enemies too fast.

Story wise, Horizon Zero Dawn tells the story of a civilization ultimately created by humanity to survive a man-made apocalypse. I’ll leave that there as the only true story spoiler – but I will say that the story was well thought out and very well told. Every element, every bit of information is important, and even though there are several side quests through out your journey, none feel like they are taking away from the main story, but in fact adding to its mystery. I will be honest, though I had an idea of how it was going to play out, the story did ultimately surprise me – and that is a good thing, with me not being able to guess all of the intricate details in the end.

Beyond the main story, we see a true human element in the side quests and little adventures that the game brings up – from finding people who are lost, helping people get revenge, clearing bandit camps and clearing dungeon like cauldrons – everything in this game feels right and again, ultimately adds to the end result, which is a well thought out and described story that brings us to the salvation of human kind.

My only complaint is that even though the game is open world, and a large one at that, I did not feel the need to actually explore. Ultimately, if you buy the “special maps,” all of the collectibles will be placed on your map. Yes, it is a general location, and I confess, Google helped me a couple of times, but the need to actually run off in a general direction simply wasn’t there. Instead, I would run off towards a particular map icon – be it a metal flower, and ancient vessel or a long neck to get my prize or open up even more of the map. This made the discovery of collectibles more like another fetch quest versus something that i actually found during the journey throughout the world. That being said, I have not discovered all of the date points, but since those do not count towards the completion percentage or the achievements, I wasn’t too concerned.

In the end, I got platinum before I got 100% completion –

platinum
Platinum Trophy – 50 Hours In

And getting 100% completion was as simple as me finding the one location I had not yet gone to to get my last side quest and errand –

100percent
100% at 52 Hours In

Ultimately, the game felt a little short to me – though left open ended enough for DLC or a sequel, I felt like it could have been a little more there. Essentially, knowing what I know now, I feel like I could have done everything in about 45 hours or less – and with a guide, which isn’t out until tomorrow, probably even quicker. However, I did really like that for the most part, the trophies/achievements were gained for typically though normal operations – except for the 23 training dummies – and i really appreciated that.

Over all I give it a 9/10 – Excellent game play coupled with an amazing story topped off with amazing graphics and soundtrack that only felt a little short to me. I would have loved another 10-20 hours with Aloy in her machine infested world.

Final Fantasy XV – The Journey So Far

ff15I’m 12 hours in – of those 12 hours my oldest son has shared the experience with me for around 6 of those hours. We are both enjoying the whimsical moments brought on by the “bros,” as well as the graphics, fight sequences and story so far.

The experience, at least for me, goes far beyond the quests and side missions, goes past the new fighting, even goes beyond the graphics, story and the incredible homage the game does to it’s past. For me, it is the wonderful experience of having a Final Fantasy game to share with my children, much like my own father did with me and my siblings. Like my son in the picture above, I would sit and follow along in the strategy guide. Much like me, my son asks me questions that seem totally out of the blue – seemingly having nothing to do what is going on with the game at the moment, then suddenly making sense as I move along a little more. I wrote a post about how the experience of Final Fantasy with my own father was to me, and I hope that one day my sons will do the same.

So, 12 hours in, and so far the experience with my son wins the top prize. However, not everyone will be playing the game the same way as me, or have the cheerleaders that I have. There have been a ton of reviews so far, and they all pretty much say the same thing – don’t need to watch Kingsglaive, but if you do, the game makes more sense. The story is typical Final Fantasy, in that, it doesn’t make sense (even with the movie?). Graphically amazing for its time (again, typical of Final Fantasy). Game play, fighting, etc is amazing (typical). In other words, everything we truly expect a Final Fantasy game to be, this on embodies in some sense, yet because it is on the “next-gen,” soon to be the “old-gen” systems, the game is leaps and bounds beyond anything we have seen before.

I just got into chapter 3 – yep, taking my (our) time, setting a turtles pace to play the game. This is in part because my son likes to see what is “over there,” and also in part because I am a completionist. I’m only 12 hours in because my son commands me “not to get to far ahead” when he has to go to bed or take a nap, and as hard as it is to listen to him, I am trying to. For review purposes, I find that I have in reality finished the prologue to the game – which at 12 hours is a very nice prologue indeed for a Square Enix RPG, and very fitting to the Final Fantasy universe. I am not in “phase 2” of the game, where it truly becomes open world. Saying that, If there was some sort of ending in “phase 1” of the game – with around 11 hours in that phase, I would not have been disappointment. What I mean is – add several more main quests and double the side quests – make “phase 1” another 5-10 hours longer, and compared to a lot of games over the past couple of years, you would feel like you got your monies worth. There is enough to do in “phase 1” to keep you occupied – probably more then 12 hours if you are so inclined to grind level and what not. I also know there are places I have not seen in the area, as well as quests that are not completed yet – hunts, mystery maps, dungeons, etc.

Maybe it is because I have taken my time I feel a completeness in this part of the game, but I do feel that as a prologue type area, it goes above and beyond what is necessary… and I love this game for it. I spent another hour in Duscae just doing hunts, and everywhere I turn a new question mark pops up on my map – and the map itself stretches far and wide. Knowing how long it took me to get through the first phase, I can only imagine how long it will take me to get to “phase 3” – which is the more linear portion of the game.

I can’t say enough about the visuals of the game – they are simply amazing. How the world itself interacts, and of course your companions, is phenomenal. The only game I have played that reaches this type of greatness is The Witcher 3 – and that game had a lot of visual flaws and glitches. So far, for me, this game has been pretty seamless. Granted, I’m not a graphics expert – don’t expect me to tel lyou that it is 30 fps until point A then goes to 15, etc – I don’t care as long as it looks amazing to me, and it does.

Questing so far hasn’t been dull – though I get a sense of the fetch quests becoming so, it hasn’t happened yet. Maybe it is my own play style – switching it up with a hunt, then fetch quest, another hunt and so on. Maybe its because my son never seems to get bored and his amazement is contagious. I don’t know, but so far nothing has felt bland or blah. Again, for me, that’s an amazing thing to say for an RPG – again, comparing to The Witcher 3, though I wanted to do those quests, they eventually grew dry and dull. These so far have not (maybe its because I fill most of my time playing MMO games too).

Music – I can ride in a car and listen to the Final Fantasy VII soundtrack… enough said (or any other sound track from a Final Fantasy game). World music is amazing too, my kids get a kick out of the “country” music in the games early rest areas.

Combat – the big one!! I was unsure how I would like the new fighting mechanics – I’m old school. I put up with FFXIII because i thought the game was decent – but beyond that, I like the iterations before that. I like turn based in my Final Fantasy. It’s what I grew up on. Yet, from the very beginning, I find that I really like how combat flows in this game – I also think my dad, if he was still around, would have liked it as well – and from the look on my son’s face, I know he likes how it looks (if he could ever figure out how to use two joysticks at the same time, he’d be playing it). It flows very well – and it isn’t as complicated as I thought it would be. It can be simple, yet explosive, and so far, even with easy enemies, hasn’t gotten mundane. Also, the fact that you can use the Wait system (I haven’t yet), and put the game into Easy mode (I have for a night time hunt to get past the Daemons) on the fly, is a really good system for this game.

Overall, so far, I still would rate this game below The Witcher 3 – it’s hard to beat that game, especially with it’s two amazing DLC packs. However, it’s not far behind it at all, and if the DLC packs over the next, who knows, are really good, it can become it’s equal in my mind. However, unlike TW3, I can play this game with my son (as well as the rest of my children), and that, in itself, is awesome.

I’m pretty sure my oldest son would give this game a 10, and so far being able to share this game with him like my own dad did so many times with me is an A+.

Photo Credit – My Beautiful Wife

No Man’s Sky – Second Impressions

So it’s day three of playing No Man’s Sky on PS4 – yes, I am still on my first planet, and yes I am still discovering things. It may seem mundane, yet I find it hard to leave. Maybe that’s a personal problem, maybe I don’t particularly like change, but here I am (still). Day two saw me “grinding” resources to make money – it worked fairly well – spent a couple of hours making By-pass Chip things and selling them. Its pretty simple, you only need 10 Plutonium and 10 Iron, both of which are in decent supply on my original planet. It sure beat learning words, but just like with that exercise, i found myself wanting to keep going. It was a lot easier, and seemingly more legit then other money making schemes in games, such as the bottle cap glitch in Fallout 4. This isn’t a glitch at all, its a natural supply and demand thing. Like me, a lot of people who are streaming seem to have caught the credit making itch – farming items like gold, aluminum and such. Making a lot of credits and then realizing that ship that just landed is just out of monetary reach.

Just as in real life, money isn’t everything, yet it can be a driving force in this game. There is a part of me that wants to explore beyond my first planet, yet there is also something still holding me here. Maybe it is the green labeled question marks, maybe it is the monolith canyon I discovered – three monoliths right there together. Maybe it is the fact that I still haven’t “cleared” the planet 100% in discoveries. i think it is more I am scared to leave. Funny, I know, its a game, but I find myself wondering what if I leave and I miss something. This game is so vast that it will be impossible for me to clear every planet I find 100%, lest i never make it to the center of the galaxy, yet the RPG gamer in me wants to.

It is aggravating that my character doesn’t seem to have the ability or know how to make a map of my discoveries – I have found a lot of way points, but it seems to be impossible to find the dude I first met who taught me so many words. Yet, I keep discovering things and it keeps me going. I seem to have stumbled off of the Atlas path, and I can’t seem to find my way in that regard, albeit, I haven’t really attempted to too much.

With the “explanation” by Sean Murray as to why the two gamers couldn’t see each other, Link to IGN’s article. I have a renewed hope that one day I may stumble across a friend, or at least a stranger, and that makes my eventual journey to the center of the galaxy a little more exciting. Also, know that i haven’t even scratched the surface yet still makes this game daunting in its scale, and makes me look forward to what discoveries are to come. i know some people have complained that it is always more of the same, but as a scientist at heart, seriously, what did you expect? Every planet will be different, but at the same time, because of the way nature is, they will all be similar. In a simple sentence, I like it so far, and I don’t expect that to change.

I have now upgraded my score to an A- (90), partly due to the fact that Mr. Murray had a very plausible explanation concerning the two people who could not see each other. I understand that “true multiplayer” is not part of this game, the hope that I can see someone else is refreshing. There are still things I’d like to see… mapping anyone? Yet the scale of this game still continues to amaze me. My hope is that they only continue to move forward with whatever they have planned, and not take two steps back.

As a scoring note, I listed it as a B- before because I don’t like feeling betrayed – this seems to happen a lot now of days with video games, promise one thing, deliver another. With the explanation of why the two people didn’t see each other, I am once again filled with hope that in my lonely drive to the center of the galaxy, i might run into a real person.

No Man’s Sky – First Impressions

Not many video games have been more anticipated then No Man’s Sky. I remembered when I first heard about it years ago and I was instantly intrigued. As an old veteran of games like EvE Online, I longed for a space sim of some sort – whether it was single player or multi player, it didn’t matter, and with the surge in survival games, I had a feeling back then this game would be a hit. Blending space sim with survival just bleeds epic. Obviously, what we thought this game would be back then is not what we now know it to be – yes, other people can find my discoveries, see that I named my first planet after my deceased father – but if we are both on that planet, at the same location, we will not see each other. However, as a space survival sim, it feels like it should.

When you begin, you find yourself on a generated planet that now becomes part of the galaxy at large. Your ship is broken, your gear isn’t at full charge, and you are thrust into scavenger mode without really knowing what you are doing. I felt like I must have crashed on this planet and hit my head – really hard – remembering only that I am a human being who can fly through space. Eventually, I gathered that i could harvest material nodes, find outposts and such, and even talk to an alien who I found. I didn’t know his language, but after giving hime 6000 carbon and spending roughly two hours, i had learned 150 alien words and gained a bronze, silver and gold trophy for my efforts. I still have no idea what the heck he is trying to tell me, though I know he is a warrior, he keeps talking about an interloper (me?) and such. I stayed on the first planet for most of my time – I did repair my ship, leave the planet, then I came back down. I wanted to discover all of the way points, which I did. I did eventually leave – found a cold planet with tons of gold, and then eventually landed on a space station, where I gained reputation with the aliens in the galaxy as well as learned another word (I still have no idea what they are trying to tell me).

All in all I really liked the feel for the game – I can play it how I want in the sense that I can spend two hours gathering carbon and learning words. The learning curve was short – once I discovered what I needed to charge my stuff, etc, but I know the galaxy is vast. When I think of the fact that I haven’t even left my own star system, it is a little overwhelming. I feel like I could stay in this system and be content for a while.

Pros:
1) Game play is easy to pick up, awkward at first, but once understood, simple.
2) The game is beautiful so far
3) I can lose myself in each world (or even more simply, in a task, such as learning a language
4) I can play the game how I want to – I can remain in system, I can choose to learn a language if I want, or harvest to my hearts content (or at least until my inventory is full
5) The game feels truly endless, with billions of possibilities – of course, I am only 2 planets, 1 space station and 5 hours in.

Cons:
1) Maybe I’m stupid – but how do you exit the game without closing the application?
2) lack of multiplayer…

I want to hit on the lack of multiplayer a bit. We all knew going in that no one would be close to each other – or if we were, it would be a far fetched thing. However, the fact that it puts us all in separate instances came as a shock. Here is a link to the Kotaku article. I know multiplayer isn’t everything – just look at The Witcher 3, etc, however, in today’s day and age, mmo / multiplayer games are where we are at. It is nice to be able to take a breather from other people, however, how fun would it be to explore the galaxy with a friend – how fun would it be for friend A to say to friend B, I am here, you are there, lets set a goal to find each other, meet up and go to the center of the galaxy together – or at least meet up. We now know that is entirely impossible, and in a word, that totally sucks. Is it make or break? I don’t know – there is a ton of stuff to keep me busy by myself with my alien friends. However, I can guarantee the option to join up with a buddy would make this game “Game of the Year.” I do know that it will not take me away from my Neverwinter duties and play time, simply because I need my multiplayer fix.

Current Score: B- (75 – mostly due to the multiplayer lack)