My plan to start Uncharted 4 yesterday foiled by the PS4’s sluggish download speed

I planned to start Uncharted 4 last night soon after finishing The Lost Legacy, however when I put the disk in the game required a 14GB update. No problem, nothing my 200mbps connection can’t handle right? On PC or Xbox this download would have taken a matter of minutes. I started the download and walked away, only to come back twenty minutes later to find that the progress bar had barely moved! The time remaining counter showed over four hours of download time left!

I’ve often heard people moan about slow download speeds on the PS4, but I must have never paid attention because I’ve never felt the pain until now (I’ve only had a PS4 for a few months). I’ve downloaded plenty of games (the only reason I have a disc copy of Uncharted 4 is that it was on sale at some point and I impulse purchased it) but I guess I’ve always started the download and walked away. Who knows how long it actually took to download Persona 5 (I don’t even want to know)!

Fortunately, the download should be done by now (I would certainly hope), so I’ll finally get around to starting Uncharted 4 after I get back from the gym. I’ll post first impressions sometime this weekend.

Advertisements

Reviewing Uncharted: The Lost Legacy as my first Uncharted game

Just a few moments ago I finished Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, the recently released standalone Uncharted adventure by Naughty Dog. As someone who is relatively new to the Playstation platform (I fooled around with a PS3 but didn’t end up owning one very long) I’ve never played an Uncharted game. I dabbled in the first and third games via Playstation Now, but neither caught me. I especially didn’t like the first game as I died a lot by falling off of stuff within the first hour or so which frustrated me enough to get me to quit. Shortly after getting my PS4 Pro I ended up acquiring a copy of Uncharted 4 on sale, but never felt the urge to put it in. I had heard nothing but good things about the game, I just never had the time to give it a try.

When The Lost Legacy got announced I didn’t think much of it, but I happened to see the game at Redbox this week and decided to rent it. Early on I was amazed at how good the game looked presented in 4K with HDR. The lighting in the game is incredible and the character models look great.

I was also impressed by the quality voice acting, facial expressions and how the characters moved around inside the world. Everything looked and sounded so lifelike, it was easy to get lost in the world. As I continued on in the game I found myself repeatedly in awe of the landscapes presented to me. I guess this is something Naughty Dog is known for, as I’ve heard people say they grew fatigued at just how often Uncharted 4 would effectively nudge the player almost saying to them “hey, look how great everything looks!”. The Lost Legacy even addresses this at one point where a character says something to the effect of “I’m running out of things to say at these” which was kind of amusing.

I played the game on the easiest difficulty setting (don’t hate me) and never found it overly frustrating. Some puzzles were a bit of a pain, but the game seems to know just when the player is starting to get frustrated and uses NPC’s to offer hints when things slow down. In some instances the NPC will even step in and complete a step of the puzzle themselves which I enjoyed. The combat was not hard at all, and I never once died during a combat sequence. The only thing that killed me repeatedly throughout the game was the climbing and jumping. The climbing for the most part is intuitive, but for some reason at random times my character would just plunge off a cliff even as I knew exactly where I was trying to get to. At other times Nadine would get in my way and I would bounce off of her to my death. This was annoying, but luckily the game has a really smart checkpoint system. In fact, after some deaths the game automatically restarted me past whatever obstacle had killed me. I’m not sure if this is a result of playing on the easiest difficulty system, or if it’s like that across the game, but I truly enjoyed it.

The story for the most part was unremarkable, though it picked up in pace and weight as it approached its rather thrilling conclusion. Even as I wasn’t enthralled by the story, I was invested in the characters mostly because of the excellent voice acting and interactions throughout the game. I enjoyed listening to their conversations and looked forward to seeing Chloe and Nadine’s relationship progress.

I was able to finish the game in just over five hours, which is shorter than the average completion time most likely because of my difficulty selection and the fact that I breezed through many of the combat sections unscathed. The production value of Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is superb, right down to the end credits (probably my favorite credits since Portal). I’m excited to check out Uncharted 4 after seeing this adventure through.

If I were into giving games numbered scores, I would probably rate Uncharted: The Lost Legacy a 5/5.

I wish Battleborn wasn’t dead

Yesterday I played Battleborn for the first time on PC (I had previously played it on Xbox around launch, but it’s sat in my Steam library for awhile from a Humble Bundle) and unfortunately it was pretty much dead. I played through the tutorial missions (the story one and the versus one) and then tried to hop into multiplayer and was met with an agonizing wait just to find five people for a bot match. Apparently you’re limited to just 5 vs bots early on to make the game a better experience for new players. When I did find players, most of them were higher levels, and from talking to some of them it seems they only play the bot mode because it’s the only place they can find a match. Sure enough, when I played enough to unlock 5v5 versus I couldn’t find a match. I waited and waited and waited…. you get the picture. The most I found was one other player, but it never queued up any more than that, so finding 8 additional players seemed hopeless.

From there I jumped back into a few bot matches, in which I could actually find four other players. The bot matches are fun to play, but we won every single one 100-0 so it wasn’t very rewarding. It’s disappointing that the player base is so barren, because I think the game is quite enjoyable. I like it more now that I played it on PC than I did on the Xbox, and I especially enjoy the visual style and the way the music gets more intense toward the end of a match. It was a lot of fun playing, but there doesn’t seem to be much future for the game. I’m left wishing Overwatch would add a MOBA mode.

Trying to learn things about DOTA 2…again

Every year around the time of The International I try to start playing DOTA 2 again, and this year has been no different. I’ve played a few online matches since TI7, and for the most part my performance has been terrible. With the way they’ve changed the game to engage new players I’m only allowed to pick from 20 heroes, and the two I’ve played the most as, Doom and Chaos Knight are off limits. So I’ve been playing as Juggernaut, and although I feel like I’ve started getting the hang of him, I haven’t been able to contribute much to my teams. I pretty much play really conservatively and try to keep my lane pushed, but I don’t like engaging with enemy players.

I’ve played around with a few solo bot matches as I’ve tried to get a better grip on Juggernaut’s abilities, and the game I finished up a few minutes ago has been my best one to date. I got more kills than I think I ever have during a DOTA match, and even got my first killing spree. To be fair, I’m playing against easy bots, but it still felt good to win a match where I think I contributed something. I’m sure I still played poorly, but maybe I’ll get better before I lose interest again. Maybe.

Another look at Agents of Mayhem

I ended up returning the game to Redbox as I had seen enough, but if you’re interested in seeing a more detailed look at the game check out Dan Ryckert’s impressions in this Giant Bomb Quick Look.

Watching the video almost made me want to play the game a bit more, but I think I’m going to stick to my guns and leave it alone for awhile. I still have plenty of other things I can be playing that will make better use of my time. If you’ve played the game let me know what you think of it so far.

Mass Effect: Andromeda is currently the same price as Mass Effect 3 (PC) – $19.99

The Origin store is having a sale, and I found it interesting that Mass Effect: Andromeda is currently on sale for $19.99 which is the same price as 2012’s Mass Effect 3. It’s certainly been a troubled year for Andromeda, and I imagine it’s reputation is beyond repair at this point. Although I was incredibly excited for the game leading up to its release, I was quickly disappointed with it. I felt pretty much done with the game about four or five hours in, but forced myself to finish out the main story hoping that there would be something positive about it. The concluding mission was somewhat enjoyable, but most of the game was an absolute bore (I didn’t enjoy Dragon Age: Inquisition much either).

If you haven’t played the game yet maybe you’ll find it worth the $20 price tag, but I can’t recommend it to you. I still think it’s better to steer clear and hope for another reboot someday, however unlikely that is.

Agents of Mayhem: Pretty mediocre so far

I’ve played a few hours of Volition’s new game, Agents of Mayhem, this evening and my feelings so far are pretty “MEH”. I was never blown away by the Saints Row games, but they certainly had style and some pretty good voice acting for what they were. From my time with Agents of Mayhem so far I can’t say much of anything has stood out. If anything, I’ve felt like the dialogue and voice acting so far has been entirely generic and at some points the lines feel outright forced. It seems like there’s cursing just for the sake of cursing, and I can’t tell whether the characters are supposed to come across as funny or serious most of the time. It would seem they’re going for a Saints Row kind of attitude, but everything so far has missed the mark.

As for the missions, again I feel like I’m running through things I’ve done hundreds of times before. You run (or drive) to a point, hack some stuff, defend it, and move to the next point. It feels like something I’ve already done in Saints Row IV. I’m not even two hours in and there’s already been a capture an outpost mission which is as dry as missions come in my book, and they mention there will be more outposts to capture as the game progresses (oh goody!).

The actual gameplay leaves much to be desired as well. Something just feels off about the shooting and abilities. They almost seem like they were just slapped into the game without a lot of love. I haven’t gotten any satisfaction from taking out enemies, firing weapons or using abilities. Rama’s bow seemed like it would be fun to use at first, but it became frustrating before I even finished her mission. To make matters worse, her dialogue during her mission has been some of the worst yet. Maybe it’s not necessarily bad, but it feels like there’s no purpose to it, it’s so generic you could ignore it altogether and not be missing anything.

The progression between missions doesn’t feel good either. You go back to a central hub and can initiate a new mission from there, or visit a few different shops, but it all feels so already done. The open world so far hasn’t done anything for me, and even recklessly mowing down civilians has no impact at all. Nothing feels alive, and there doesn’t seem to be much reason for it to be an open world game at this point.

I’m left not sure that I even want to launch the game again. Maybe it gets better, but so far it seems so generic that I think I’d be better off moving on to something else.