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The Weekly OT #21: Gears4, Nintendo Switch, and Wrestling Gifs

October 16, 2016
by

Spoiler free mini-review of Gears of War 4.  I had a great time playing Gears this weekend.  Teaming up and playing a few, very short rounds of MPvs was the only time I was miserable.  I couldn’t buy a kill and we got dominated.  Horde is cool and the campaign was excellent.  For play-through enjoyment, I probably rank it #2 after the original.  There was never a time when we were so frustrated, even on Hardcore, that we couldn’t move forward, or had to step back and take a breather.  Figuring out the strats to take down the bosses was just old school gaming (i.e., fun).  The difficulty was perfect for these veteran Gears players and the story and action were fun.  It really is a soft reboot of the previous three games, much like Star Wars 7 is to the original trilogy.  Literally, the enemies have changed appearance, but their behavior is the same (a new ticker, a new wretch).  Story elements and plot devices also were almost all parallels to the same in previous games, all mashed together.  For objective quality, graphics aside, I place Gears 4 at #4 after some absolutely incredible campaigns in the previous games.  I really enjoyed playing the short campaign with Cornie, but the scale and quality of the major set pieces/events was not up to those of Gears 2 and 3, nor was it as fresh as 1.  When I remember the set pieces in the previous games (facing off against the Beserker, inside the worm, the teeth!, the boat and sea monster, the Oil Derrick ride, riding the Brumack, didn’t we ride Reavers as well?, the multiple and varied center-of-the-earth caverns, the locust launching out of the earth, the train, taking down RAAM, etc.), I cannot say it was better than the previous games.  Still, Gears campaigns rank among the few that are interesting enough to hold my attention, and playing through it with Cornie, from beginning to end, entered my  hall of fame for favorite gaming experiences.  Two thumbs way up!

I will continue to dabble in MPvs, playing longer when I do well, and cutting my sessions short when I am off. It was smart of The Coalition to provide statistical information as to how much damage we do to the enemy when we fail to gib them, but they gib us.  We no longer have to ask in disbelief, “Did you take any damage at all?”  We know whether they did or not by the numbers on the screen.  Gears more than any other game, seems to create dubious moments in copious amounts.  I maintain that Dodgeball is one of the greatest innovations to the staple modes of vs gaming.  I just need to play better to make it more enjoyable.  I will also play some Horde when that is what everyone is doing.

Next on the platter is BF1, launching this Friday (Oct 21).  Kenai sent me a message telling me LevelCap gave “Operations” mode a great review, claiming it is better than RUSH.  High praise indeed!  Gamers win!

 

 

 

 

 

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46 Comments leave one →
  1. October 16, 2016 9:07 pm

    And there is this, War Pigeon Mode:

  2. October 16, 2016 9:25 pm

    Very excited for BF1!

    I am interested to see how act 4 and 5 unfold. So far I have been pretty impressed. For me, the OG GOW had my favorite campaign, some of the over the top and crazy set pieces in GOW2 and GOW3 were things I ended up enjoying less. The intimacy (and horror) of GOW1 made it my favorite. There were a lot of great elements in that game as well that aren’t present in 4.

    My biggest issue so far with campaign has just been the enemy types. Fighting DB’s (douche bags) was much less interesting to me than the swarm. And the swarm are less interesting to me (so far) than the locusts.

    I have really enjoyed the characters, the dialogue and the environments. Honestly, the fact that it is so pretty is also adds a huge element.

    I am going to roll through the other campaigns (slowly) with Steph once we beat Gears 4. It will be fun to compare directly after playing.

  3. Blankman permalink*
    October 16, 2016 9:52 pm

    Argh! I wrote a lot on my review for Gears 4, & now it’s gone. Screw this, I’m not re-writing it. Damn it!!! 😡

  4. October 16, 2016 10:03 pm

    Understood, and agreed, Zos.

    Too bad about your review, Kenny. That happens to me too, but lately I have discovered that if I click the back button on my browser, my text is sitting there nicely in the comment box, waiting to be posted. Surprise! Still, when I get a wall going, like I did today, I move it over into a proper text application (usually Word) and then I don’t have to worry about bumping the track pad or somehow closing the window with all my work unpublished. The shits!

  5. October 17, 2016 3:10 am

    Genuinely OT, why in the world do Pixar and Disney continue to pump out silly sequels while they leave Brad Bird’s The Incredibles untouched. I guess I should be grateful.

    ::shakes head::

    • October 17, 2016 10:19 am

      The Incredibles 2 is set to release June 21, 2019. Brad Bird is one of my favorite film makers ever.

  6. October 17, 2016 8:25 am

    Ark is now in hibernation to me. Yes, this time it’s true….. Gears looks great, and I will finish the campaign with small sips. I’m not pulled into Gears headfirst, but happy I bought it, if only to play with The Stranded.

    I bought the full Battlefield package, including the EA preview. Played campaign prolog yesterday on hard. Difficulty is perfect. I really like how when you die, you don’t restart back to a checkpoint, but pick up with another soldier, and press on. Much more immersive than typical campaigns. All of it (music, story, graphics, sound) creates a movie like environment like I’ve never played before. Co-op is missing, but I can live with that cause playing alone is how this is meant to be played.

    Multiplayer (Operations) feels like an extension of campaign. With narrative setting up what is happening, what is at stake.

    Multiplayer is Amazing. I am hooked on Operations. Perfect blend of conquest and rush. The only drawback (or win) is the length of each game. Want to play one match for an hour? If yes, then this is it. If not, well… There are all the other modes. The game is so long, I had 53 kills. 53! But that isn’t saying much cause so many things happened.

    I’m hooked (and finally pulled from the world of Ark). Gears and Battlefied are here. Gamers rejoice!

    • Blankman permalink*
      October 17, 2016 1:08 pm

      Hibernation? You’re not fooling anyone, Jimmy. Remember, denial is the first symptom of addiction. You’re an ARK addict! 😜

    • October 17, 2016 8:33 pm

      Jimmy, can’t wait to try it for myself. I am really excited about the single player now. I have actually enjoyed my experiences with previous BF single player campaigns, they just couldn’t hold my attention over the long haul, with the MPvs calling my name. There is something special about the SP for this one, though. I watched that prologue playthrough a while back, and it is a very creative, appropriate take on the Great War itself (if one is going to make a “fun” game out of it).

  7. Blankman permalink*
    October 17, 2016 12:30 pm

    Alright, I’m going to try re-typing my thoughts about Gears 4 again.

    I’m with Zos as in regards to the combat. I prefer more intimate close combat “bowls” than huge set pieces that were in Gears 2 with the exception of piloting the Brumak. I feel that Gears 4 ranks somewhere in third place after Gears 3 with the original Gears as the top banana.

    I hear you guys about the lack of personality with the DeeBees enemies type. The Swarm doesn’t necessarily have much character either. The new enemies just serve as simple cannon fodder. Even though the Locusts communicated through grunts and rudimentary English, they invoked fear in the player. Each Locust enemy type raised the level of tension that was missing in Gears 4. Remember when the Boomer class (two of them walk into the hallway holding massive cannons and squish a rat) was introduced followed with the rest of the roster: General Raam, Berserker, Corpser, Reavers, and Kryll? That was what was missing in this game; the escalation of danger. The introduction of the Pouncer, Carrier, Snatcher, and Scion types didn’t quite capture the “oh shit” moment that the other games had. I completely understand that The Coalition didn’t just want to rehash the old enemies by simply re-skinning them. The introduction of the Juvies was pretty successful because it generated chaos even though it’s a rehash of the Wretches, but with quicker and more erratic movement. TC has to be more creative with their creatures/enemies in the future sequels.

    Gears 4 ranks third behind Gears 3 because of the Dom sacrifice moment which was expertly done. The music, vocap, and slow motion cutscene of the moment really tugged at the heart strings. The dialogue between the new characters in Gears 4 was humorous and shied away from the “dude bro” dialogue of its predecessors, and that’s a good thing. The conversations seem natural except for that lame line by Del, “They just came in…like a…Swarm.”(boo)😬 We have to remember that Gears 4’s story takes place within a 24-hour period just like the OG Gears. It’s essentially a soft reboot of the franchise.

    The pacing of Gears 4 was good with the exception of two combat sequences. I won’t go into them because not everyone has finished the campaign yet. Trust me, you’ll know what I’m talking about when you confront them. rED and I were frustrated on how hitting those two “walls” completely took us out of the game’s immersion. Fortunately, it was just those two set pieces that slowed our enjoyment of the campaign.

    Horde and MP versus offer endless replayability. Outside of one King of the Hill Core (ranked) match where we were completely decimated, MP versus has been enjoyable. Popshotting is the key to the Gnasher duels. rED has been destroying opponents with that technique. The dude’s dialed in. I think he got close to fifteen head shots with the shottie in one TDM match while playing with RoBBins, Zender, and me. With the excitement and speed (60 fps) of the MP, it makes you want to dive in there with reckless abandonment. I need to know my role and play as more of a support player. Let the slayers on my team do their thing. That’s going to take getting used to because I simply don’t possess the quick twitch skills of my teammates. I do like how TC incorporated how much damage you inflicted when you die. It takes some of the “shenanigans” factor out of your rage.

    Overall, I’m really digging this Gears offering. I think that it’s a step in the right direction for its sequels. I’m really happy to see that TC turned it around from the abysmal beta that they had. Gears 4 has been a very pleasant surprise both in campaign and the MP components. “Who wants toast?!?”

    BTW: I, too, am excited about BF1. It’s a great time when we have several games that will satisfy our tastes: Gears 4, BF1, & RL. Woot!

  8. Herandar permalink
    October 17, 2016 7:49 pm

    Short story version: Been playing BF1 on my brother’s profile. I’ve been sharing the clips with captions on my profile. Tried playing Operations last night, but it kept putting us in an empty server. So we played Conquest. Everything seems to be running well. You can go to the menu without crashing the game, and we’ve had no issues getting into servers at all. You can even see the scoreboard at the end of every game. In other words, all of the egregious Beta issues seem to be history.

    Game issues: Well, this is probably due to the very low player count on EA Access, but the servers don’t restock with players if the player count drops below critical mass. There were only two full NA Conquest servers when we were playing, and games got to be very unbalanced most times. Won’t be an issue when it gets a full release.

    Maps: Haven’t played ’em all. Played Sinai Desert, and they have changed the flag designations so everything feels backwards from the Beta. We ended up stomping the other team, so I ended up as a gunner in a bomber (see clips) and not paying much attention to the changes on the ground.

    My immediate new favorite map is Argonne Forest. It reminds me most of Hill 137 (the lush parts, not the area that had been napalmed) but with a bunker and trenches, and railroad tracks that run down the middle (c flag is on a stone bridge for the train) and the behemoth is the armored train going right down those tracks.

    This soft full release seems to be pretty smart to me. Just sad they are still selling map packs.

  9. October 17, 2016 8:06 pm

    It is a surprise to hear you singing the praises of MPvs, Blank! Good stuff! I can (and usually do) better than I did the other night. Broke my heart.

    Thanks for the impressions/heads-up, Herandar. Looking forward to trying it out for myself on the weekend.

    • Blankman permalink*
      October 17, 2016 8:18 pm

      No worries, Suns. That team completely stomped us. We just kept going in one at a time to try and break the hill. Shooting fish in a barrel; only we were the fish. 😕 When our top three slayers: Cornie, rED, & Zender were getting demolished, that doesn’t bode well for our team, in general. It was no one’s fault. That’s just how competitive and brutal Core (ranked) is.

    • October 17, 2016 8:30 pm

      Thanks for the kind words, Kenny. Whew. That stuff can be hard on the ego.

    • October 17, 2016 10:51 pm

      Once the grandmaster has arrived to MP, this should no longer be an issue. Just gotta finish campaign.

    • Blankman permalink*
      October 17, 2016 11:36 pm

      Please teach me your ways, Seifu. 👊🏼

    • October 18, 2016 1:13 am

    • October 18, 2016 1:20 am

      Ok, how long did it take to find that one? LMAO!

    • October 18, 2016 6:17 pm

      That ish has been bookmarked. Just waiting for the right moment.

  10. October 18, 2016 12:30 am

    • Blankman permalink*
      October 18, 2016 12:36 am

      I don’t even have any words for that. 😂😝😂

  11. October 18, 2016 12:44 am

    Me, neither. But somehow it speaks to my experience on Saturday.

  12. October 18, 2016 10:39 am

    This should be absolutely fantastic:

    http://www.ign.com/articles/2016/10/18/rockstars-new-game-is-red-dead-redemption-2-and-its-out-next-year

    OT: Phil Spencer recently reiterated that “play anywhere games” will not be limited to first party and that we should see a larger number of releases.

    Also, DICE confirmed that BF1 will be fully optimized and reworked for Scorpio.

    • Blankman permalink*
      October 18, 2016 3:56 pm

      Nice! It’s good to know that MS/Xbox is pushing the ‘play anywhere’ intiative beyond just their own published games. Can’t wait to see how it looks like next year when the Scorpio finally drops.

  13. RoBBins permalink*
    October 18, 2016 11:25 am

    I am completely hooked on MP. Now that I have the shotgun completely figured out, aside from hipfiring being a steaming pile of poop half the time, it is a very enjoyable experience online. Also, King of The Hill gets you an INSANE amount of XP compared to all other game modes. Dropped 83 kills the other night (screenshot didnt save correctly) and I had over 18k XP, which ended up being 36k since it was double XP this past weekend. We need to get a squad of 5 together and run through people in ranked!

  14. October 18, 2016 6:07 pm

    Awesome, RoBBins. I am just concerned that we actually find better matches, with better connections when we play in small numbers or alone. I don’t know if this is true, but I wonder.

    As for the Scorpio and BF1, I wonder if EA is going to charge a fee (or even full price) for the Scorpio edition even if we already own the Xbox One edition. They shouldn’t, but I wouldn’t put it past them.

    If the Scorpio offers a robust web surfing experience (I am assuming M/KB will be available for their console OS by then), then I would be very tempted to pick it up at launch. Nowadays, there is just about nothing I do on the computer outside of a web browser. With state of the art browsing, it could be a second computer in the house. The One browsing is so awful, I cringe every time I accidentally start up “Edge”.

    • October 18, 2016 6:16 pm

      I am pretty sure it has already been confirmed as a “requirement” that the game license be the same between XB1 and Scorpio. That is, if you own BF1, it will run on all Xbox platforms. The Scorpio version of the game will just run at higher fidelity OR frame rate.

      In terms of browser, there is a mail client coming to Xbox One. The number of universal apps is beginning to snowball. The universal app of “edge” should run the same on XB once they include a mouse and keyboard support. That is a very interesting detail I am waiting to see what they announce.

    • October 18, 2016 10:18 pm

      Good news about the BF1 license. Making these consoles Internet friendly, that is, as comfortable and flexible as a PC in that specific regard, is entirely in their best interest. I really hope it happens. Thanks for being on top of that news and sharing.

  15. October 18, 2016 10:37 pm

    No need for anyone to pick up Battlefield 1. Seth, RedHalo and I, single handedly won the war tonight.

    Shit got real. Shit got deep. But we were on top of said shit heap.

    What a great game. Guns are so tight. Animations are spectacular.

    Can’t wait till we run a couple squads together.

    • October 19, 2016 1:12 am

      LMAO!

      Outstanding!!! Love it!

      (‘nother one of those favorite comments!)

      Can’t wait!

      Clearin’ servers since 1914!

    • Blankman permalink*
      October 19, 2016 2:28 am

    • October 19, 2016 10:35 pm

      Sesame Street is right. Nintendo isn’t challenging anyone. Grandmas, uncles, parents, and children all have Wiis sitting around collecting dust. It is going to be difficult to dip into that well again. Their games are great, but one is lucky if they develop even one per mascot, per system. That is simply too discouraging for this gamer. So many times I have anticipated a great title, and then it got delayed to be released on their upcoming system. No thanks. I may buy some of their systems used, years later because Disney-on-a-disc, but new? Not a chance. The only thing they will challenge for is the spit buckets when Sony and Microsoft continue their mano-a-mano.

    • Blankman permalink*
      October 19, 2016 11:13 pm

      Agreed, Suns. Nintendo made a killing with the Wii. Those that bought it (grandparents, elderly, non-gaming regulars) won’t buy the NX for themselves. Not a chance. Nintendo will get their fanboys that love their games & franchises to buy the console; good luck on those that aren’t as committed. MS & Sony are going to remain as the major players.

    • October 19, 2016 11:19 pm

      I totally agree with what you guys are saying. That being said, nobody really knows what this console is yet. Biggest rumors are some kind of handheld that can dock into a console at home… it all seems really strange. I do think Nintendo will continue to go by the beat of their own drum.

      BUT I also have Ethan now and getting the regular cycle of nintendo games may be a good introduction to gaming. Xbox/PS4 just don’t have the breadth of kid/couch friendly experiences these days it seems.

    • October 20, 2016 12:02 am

      Right! A “handheld” mini-console. I remember now. That actually does have appeal, but as an addition, not substitute.

      Nintendo rules in the realm of children’s software. No doubt about it. You don’t need to buy the latest and greatest to teach Ethan a love for gaming though. Start him on the Super Nintendo, or the much more forgiving N64 Super Mario. Save yourself some bucks. …or, spend the bucks and enjoy playing something new with him, while introducing him to the joy of Nintendo mascots.

    • Blankman permalink*
      October 20, 2016 1:30 am

      Suns, you fail to recognize that Zos is using Ethan as a Trojan horse to get the NX. 😜 He’s trying to justify purchasing one for his “kid.” In actuality, that “kid” is him. His love for the Zelda franchise is too strong to resist. By claiming the NX is for Ethan, it validates spending unnecessary coin for it. Mind you, he’ll already be a day one adopter of the Scorpio. Zos, you’re so transparent, but I have to give you props for trying. 😂🤓😂

    • October 20, 2016 10:23 am

      LMAO @ Blank!

      Here it is, the Nintendo Switch:

      Looks like the big push is for “Wii U” graphics on a handheld (large) tablet. Interesting to see NBA 2K17 and Skyrim running on it. It’s obvious they are pushing for 3rd party support as well. New Mario footage too.

      Price is the important thing. I think the large mobile gaming device with proper console analog controls will be quite appealing to kids and people who take really long dumps.

      UPDATE: Yep, this image is included in the primary group of promotional images:

    • Blankman permalink*
      October 20, 2016 6:30 pm

      Don’t worry, that list of third party supporters will surely jump ship after Nintendo withholds technology updates and knowledge like they did with all of their previous systems. That’s Nintendo’s modus operandi. Remember when Nintendo refused to divulge that the Wii remote sensor+ was coming out when Ubisoft was developing Red Steel 2? You can’t burn the devs & publishers that support your console. Withholding info that can benefit games on your platform shouldn’t be a pissing contest. For unexplainable reasons, Nintendo treats third party games as competition to their own titles. They fail to realize that supporting games helps expand the library which, in turn, convinces consumers to buy their console.

    • October 20, 2016 6:57 pm

      I think that Nintendo realizes they have to openly promote 3rd party or that platform won’t succeed. This is the Nintendo that also recently began green lighting Nintendo “phone apps” which used to compete with their handheld business.

  16. October 20, 2016 11:39 am

    Looks epic!

  17. October 20, 2016 8:10 pm

    Agreed with Blank about the Third Party developers. Every single console Nintendo has paraded a list of developers, and every single time, they provided maybe one or two titles and then jumped ship. The fact is, even when they do produce games for the system, people don’t buy them. Customers want the N Mascots, of which they only get one title per character, max. When you buy Nintendo hardware, you have do so knowing full well that there will probably be less than 10 games for the system that you want.

    Watching the ad reminds me that Nintendo is really the only company with a gaming console in the market. What Sony and Microsoft have, would more accurately be called a gaming machine because it does so much more than just serve up games, and indeed, I would think that many people use it for the other services like Netflix, more than they use it for gaming. When you look at the Switch (not a bad name, by the way), all it does is play their games. One wonders if it even has WiFi, which certainly makes no appearance in the 3+ minute video.

    Other impressions, every time they disconnected one piece or another, I found myself thinking, how long will those pieces snap tight. How long before it is all broken apart. The good news is that Nintendo is about the only company out there that still takes quality control seriously. Throw it in a land fill for ten years, dig it up, and probably, you will still be able to play it. When it comes to durability, Sony and Microsoft serve up women’s clothing, while Nintendo offers Dungarees.

    I really wish they had shown someone take it with them into the crapper. That would have been a hoot, and it would have been the most realistic and desirable use for the function.

    As for RDR2, I have to avert my eyes. Rockstar worlds are always SO compelling, appealing. And then all you get is a bunch of racing missions, even on horses. Let me rephrase that. They offer incredible experiences, peppered with awful racing missions. However, playing alone just isn’t in my gaming DNA, no matter how incredible it looks.

  18. October 20, 2016 8:41 pm

    This is, apparently, all the rage!

    https://www.pvzheroes.com/

    EDIT: From Cracked
    http://www.cracked.com/blog/a-plea-to-makers-red-dead-redemption-2/

  19. Blankman permalink*
    October 21, 2016 2:04 am

    Wooo! Terry Tate “Office Linebacker”/ The Cole Train is in da house! 😂

  20. October 21, 2016 2:15 am

    Gears of War Secret Scene – SPOILERS!!!!

    YouTube (Cannot embed because of spoilers – not a rick roll)

    • RoBBins permalink*
      October 21, 2016 10:53 am

      I stumbled upon that during my first playthrough of the campaign. Didnt realize it was a secret scene!

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