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.

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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.

Arena Soccer in Boise (USA vs Brazil)

ABoiseLife

US National Arena Soccer Team Boise The teams warm up

Last Friday the U.S. National Arena Soccer Team came to CenturyLink Arena in downtown Boise to play a friendly against the Brazil national team. Until last week, I didn’t even know that arena soccer was a thing, so I was excited to check it out. Soccer is one of my favorite sports to watch, especially in person, although I’ve only ever attended two matches: DC United vs LA Galaxy and Seattle Sounders vs Portland Timbers. The energy coming from the crowd at this events has been unmatched by any other sporting event I’ve attended.

It’s exciting to see a soccer event come to Boise, especially with talk of a minor league team coming to a new downtown baseball stadium (expected to begin construction next summer). The match Friday night sold out CenturyLink Arena which hopefully further shows that Boise is indeed interested in soccer.

US National Arena Soccer Team Boise

We arrived…

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Tacoma isn’t working for many Xbox One gamers

I was excited for the release of Tacoma on the Xbox One, especially after how much I enjoyed playing through Gone Home a few months ago, but when I tried to launch the game today I was met with disappointment.

For some reason I’m unable to progress past the ‘Press A to start’ screen. I tried restarting the Xbox but had no luck, so I went to Twitter and tweeted out to the game’s Twitter account. To their credit, they were quick to reply with some suggestions (do a hard reset and clear local 360 saved games), but neither of those worked. I also tried moving the game from internal storage to an external hard drive, but I still have been unable to get the game to start. It seems like this has been happening for many other Xbox users as others have reached out on Twitter, and there are a series of 1 star reviews on the game’s store page.

Currently I’m left debating whether to wait it out and hope for an update, or to attempt to get a refund and purchase it on Steam where there doesn’t seem to be any issue.

If I find a way to get the game working I’ll be sure to update this post. If you’ve found a workaround please share it in the comments.

Hopefully they get the issue ironed out soon!

My first time watching UFC: I think I’m on board

Just about every month I notice a poster in a bar or restaurant advertising their UFC nights, yet I never once felt the urge to attend one. I got caught up in the hype surrounding the Mayweather – Pacquiao fight last year and ended up ordering it on PPV (all the bars were way too packed) which ended up being a major let down. The last time I had watched any sort of fighting PPV before that was a VHS tape of the 97 Tyson – Holyfield fight my dad brought home from work.

As my wife and I were trying to find something to do yesterday I started noticing a lot of buzz surrounding UFC 214 on social media. Those who were into it seemed way into it, and I started to get curious. We thought about trying to head to Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner and to see the fight, however we ultimately decided that we would probably spend more money on dinner and drinks if we stayed to watch it than we would to eat at home and order the PPV ($60).

The first fight on the card was over before I had managed to crack open a beer, which had me wondering if I had just paid $60 to watch a series of minute long fights. Fortunately, however, as the night went on the fights got better and I started to get more and more into it. I had never heard of any of the fighters, but we basically just started picking favorites and cheered them on. It was more fun than I expected it to be, and certainly more action packed than the Mayweather fight (even as the Woodley match drew boos from the crowd).

The main event lived up to the hype (even if the hype for me started about an hour before the PPV) and ended spectacularly! Jones showed great class after the fight, and I’m genuinely interested in seeing where his career will go from here. I do think that the fight should’ve ended three or four punches sooner, however.  It was painful to watch Cormier take so many unprotected blows to the head as he laid on the mat, especially with all the attention CTE has garnered lately.

In the end I’m glad I went out on a whim and watched UFC 214. I’ll be sure to pay more attention to the sport in the future, even as I still don’t know who any of the fighters are.

Nier’s second playthrough is kind of a slog

I’m not one who enjoys playing the same sequence in a game multiple times. In fact, if I’ve had to play the same sequence in a game too many times (usually due to me dying / failing) I’ve walked away from games and have never gone back (the first Uncharted game for example). I simply don’t find repetitiveness enjoyable. When I first heard that you have to “replay” Nier more than once to get the most out of the story, I was a little put off, but after finishing the A ending last week I decided to jump back in.

Unfortunately, replaying the same sequences from the first playthrough as 9S has not been enjoyable so far. I wasn’t a huge fan of the combat the first time around, and it’s even worse as 9S (his most powerful attack is hacking which forces you into a repetitive mini-game that I got tired of after the third time seeing it. What’s worse is not enough feels different. You’re slogging through the same areas, fighting the same enemies and bosses for very little payoff. You’ll get some unique cut scenes and flashbacks that further fill in the story, but I’m already contemplating putting the game down for good. I wish they would have found a better way to fill in the story than running through the same thing twice.

I understand that the third playthrough is entirely different than the first two, but at this point it feels like a laborious grind stands in the way of something more rewarding. Why am I doing the same thing again when I could be working my way through Persona 5 instead? I’m still undecided whether I’m going to see it through or just look everything up on YouTube. I feel like the latter would be a wiser use of my time.

Last month I broke my Galaxy S8+ in a really embarrassing way

I’ve been an outspoken critic of phone cases for as long as I’ve owned a smartphone. I used an OtterBox for awhile on my first iPhone, but I never liked how bulky it made the phone. As phones got larger and more sleek looking I became even less of a fan of phone cases. They feel wrong in my pockets, and make phones harder to take out or put away. I’ve tried slimmer cases, but it still has never felt right. So starting with my Galaxy S5 I decided to never use a phone case again. People would often say to me “what a stupid thing to do”, yet I loved the naked phone feel. It felt better to hold a naked phone in my hands, it felt better in my pocket and best of all I always found a naked phone to look better. Designers spend so much time coming up with sexy designs for phones, why cover them in plastic and rubber?

Maybe I was just lucky, but I never seemed to drop my phone. It actually seemed like I dropped phones more often with cases on them because they were bulkier and never felt right trying to shove them back in my pocket. Then came early June, about a week before I was set to go on vacation this year. I was using my phone to read some articles on the internet, while….on the toilet (as people do), and when I was…..finished, I put my phone back in my pocket and began to stand up. I had barely even moved when the phone slipped out of the pocket and landed face down on the tile floor. There was hardly an impact, and I left it lying on the floor for a moment. After I washed my hands and picked it back up I felt a sinking feeling in my stomach as I saw the entire top left hand side of the screen was cracked. It spread all across the top of the screen, seemingly originating from the curved edge of the phone. I was astonished that such a low impact fall could do so much damage.

I normally don’t sign up for cell phone insurance, but for whatever reason when I upgraded from the S7E to the S8+ I opted in, despite the cost. Unfortunately, it would still cost $250 to exchange the phone, which was not a pleasant expense the week before a vacation. In retrospect I could have probably waited until after vacation to replace it, but with every passing moment the cracked screen bugged me even more so I bought the bullet and filed a claim with AT&T (Asurion). The process was surprisingly painless as the replacement phone arrived on my doorstep the very next day and I sent the broken phone back in the same box.

Unfortunately, a few days into my vacation I found out that the replacement phone they sent me had touch screen issues. It’s hard to describe, but basically the bottom half of the touch screen was defective. If I were trying to scroll through my Facebook feed with my thumb it would randomly stop registering the swiping motion and instead register “clicks”, resulting in me constantly clicking on links or the like button unwillingly. I called Asurion and described my issue, and they promply sent me another replacement, no questions asked (I really expected it to be a struggle to get anyone to believe me) and so far the replacement has been doing fine.

You’d think after that experience and the dent it made in my bank account I’d finally see the value of having a case on my phone, but you’d be wrong. When I got the replacement I did go out and buy a case, but it only stayed on my phone for about a week. I couldn’t stand how it made it more difficult to get the phone in and out of my pocket, and the extra weight it added. I also love the way the S8+ looks lying on a table. It’s a sexy looking phone, and I’d rather look at that than a chunk of rubber or plastic.

It’s possible that another accident will happen (I’d say it’s probable), but I’ll continue taking that risk in favor of an aesthetically pleasing device. Of all the smart phones I’ve owned I’ve only managed to break one, so maybe I’m due for another six years without dropping one. Let’s hope.