What I’ve been playing

Again, I have to apologize for not posting much lately as I’ve been busy, and the crappy weather hasn’t helped to motivate me.

Recently I’ve still been playing a lot of Battlefield 1 and enjoying the heck out of it. Other than that, I started Oxenfree and was impressed with the opening moments. I’m looking forward to digging more into Oxenfree this weekend if I have a chance. I progressed a little more in Firewatch and have to say that game has me on edge. I can’t wait to finish it out and try to figure out what the heck is going on. Lastly, I played a few hours of Watch Dogs 2 and enjoyed it much more than the first game. It has a fun, goofy style to it that just makes me smile. The post mission graphics and sound effects are just dumb in such a good way, in a way that reminds me of Amped 3. The gameplay has been enjoyable, although I’ve been frustrated with the combat a few times already.

It’ll be kind of a short weekend for me as I’m working late tonight (like getting home at 4 or 5 Saturday morning late) and then switching to day shift Monday, but if I have time I’d like to write something more significant. Until then, thanks again for not forgetting about me.

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In a great year for shooters, Infinite Warfare disappoints.

It’s been one of the most exciting years for fans of first person shooters in the history of video games. So many great AAA shooters have released this year, and for the most part they’ve all been hits. We’ve had Overwatch, DOOM, Gears of War 4, Battlefield 1, Titanfall 2 and now Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. The last 30 days alone have seen the rapid fire releases of Gears (Oct 11), Battlefield (Oct 21), Titanfall (Oct 28) and Call of Duty (Nov 4).

It’s been an unbelievably good year for those who enjoy first person shooters. There’s an incredible amount of variety in the games released this year, and there’s something for everyone.

I’ve been trying to check out all of the shooters that have released recently, however I think the ones that I’ll continue to play over the next year will certainly be Overwatch, Battlefield and Titanfall. That said, last night I rented Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare from Redbox and played for a few hours and wanted to share my experience so far.

Infinite Warfare screenshot xbox

One of the first things I noticed once I started the campaign was that Infinite Warfare is certainly unlike any Call of Duty that came before it. The view of Jupiter above was not something I expected to see less than five minutes into a Call of Duty game, but it was certainly refreshing.

I had a good time picking up a variety of guns during the first few missions, and found the variety of enemies to be refreshing as well. Most of the guys are just random soldiers, but it’s interesting to see robots thrown into the mix, and even some larger bots that take a little more effort to bring down. I also enjoyed the hacking mechanic a great deal once it was introduced. Basically you can take control of an enemy robot while you’re tucked away safely in cover, and use it to take out as many bad guys as you can and even initiate a self destruct mechanism (it’s fun to run into a group of enemies and explode D.Va style) before you lose the signal during the hack.

Infinite Warfare space combat

The space combat featured in Infinite Warfare was certainly interesting. The first time you ascend from a planet and transition into space I got an eerie No Man’s Sky vibe, but you certainly have less control over your spaceship. You’re sort of guided along a set path as you ascend, and in all reality you don’t have that much control, which isn’t necessarily a complaint, it just felt weird. The same goes for landing sequences. I could basically land my ship with hardly any input, as the game guides you along a highlighted path onto the carrier. Besides all that, the space combat was a nice diversion, but I felt that it dragged on a little longer than I would’ve liked.

Infinite Warfare hair

Some of the cutscenes look really nice in Infinite Warfare, and one of the things that stood out was the quality of the character’s hair. It looks quite realistic, especially as you can see individual strands, but unfortunately once the cutscene ends it transitions back to being more of a blob than realistic looking hair. Someday video games will give us good looking hair! Again, this isn’t a complaint and it’s something I wouldn’t have even noticed had I not been blown away by just how good it looked during the cutscene above and had it contrasted with the gameplay sequence to follow.

Overall I’ve mostly enjoyed the campaign (I have a handful of missions left), but I did have some difficulty with it at times which made it more frustrating than it should be. After breezing through much of the campaigns of Battlefield 1 and Titanfall 2, I’ve died more than I have in both games combined during Infinite Warfare. During some sections I died as many as six times before reaching a checkpoint and getting past a particularly hairy section. I tried turning the difficulty down, but even that didn’t help and it became annoying to replay the same section over and over again just to avoid dying by a grenade or exploding car I didn’t happen to see quick enough.

How does the campaign compare to Battlefield 1 and Titanfall 2? I don’t think it’s on the same level. Call of Duty campaigns have gotten more and more stale over the years, while its competitors have really stepped up their game. Titanfall 2 features easily the most enjoyable FPS campaign since Halo: Reach. The writing is excellent (mostly the dialogue of BT), the platforming in-between shooting sections has a Portal level of polish and the shooting feels great, whether on foot or in a titan. Infinite Warfare definitely tries to do things a bit differently, and at times it felt like I was playing more of a sci-fi shooter, but during its most routine moments it feels like everything we’ve done again and again during Call of Duty campaigns. I feel no drive to finish off the last four missions, and if I do it’ll only be for the achievements, not because I’m necessarily enjoying the game.

The multiplayer doesn’t fare much better. I haven’t enjoyed Call of Duty multiplayer since Black Ops II (MW3 is still my favorite) and Infinite Warfare feels like more of the same. It’s eerily similar to Black Ops III, and most of the time it’s just felt like a skin and some new maps over that gameplay. It just hasn’t been enjoyable for me at all. I just want to go back and play some more Battlefield or Titanfall. In fact, if you tend to enjoy the futuristic combat of Black Ops III but haven’t checked out Titanfall, I would highly recommend Titanfall 2 over Infinite Warfare. Even Jeff Gerstmann, a long time Call of Duty enthusiast over at Giant Bomb, has seemed to have drifted away from Call of Duty. Instead, he has been overly enthusiastic about Titanfall 2, which he scored a perfect 5 in his review.

What made the Infinite Warfare experience even worse for me yesterday, was its community. I experienced behavior that I haven’t experienced since the Xbox 360 days during my time with the game yesterday. During one of my first matches I happened to die a lot (I didn’t play a lot of Black Ops III or Advanced Warfare and needed to get used to it), and mid match I got an all caps message instructing me to “STOP DYING!!!!!!111!!”. I took the time to respond that I certainly wasn’t dying on purpose, to which I received a series of insults and a note saying they recorded my gameplay and will be reporting me for dying too much. Good to know.

But it didn’t stop there. It seems like so much of the Call of Duty community is so concerned about their K/D and winning that they’ll get violently angry at anyone who isn’t playing to their standards. I never experience this with Battlefield or Titanfall. Maybe it’s just the day one players who are the most hardcore, but I played Battlefield 1 and Titanfall 2 a lot on day one and everyone I encountered was all about having fun.

Overall, I don’t think I can recommend Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare to anyone but the most hardcore of Call of Duty fans. To even those fans I would recommend checking out Titanfall 2 if you haven’t. It’ll provide a similar experience with a much better and more refreshing execution, and I think the games industry would benefit from the increased success of the other shooters on the market.

Recently streamed: Battlefield 1 and Morrowind

Hey there, just sharing a couple of recent Twitch streams I’ve done recently. I’m trying to get back into streaming more often so I can have more video content to share. I don’t yet have a Kinect adapter for my Xbox One S, so the Battlefield stream is gameplay only (I tried running it through my Hauppauge HD PVR 2, but couldn’t get it set up the way I wanted it). The Morrowind stream was sort of a test stream for my future streams, to include the Skyrim Special Edition stream I intend to do tomorrow morning (around 11AM MST). For some reason there’s no game audio in the Morrowind stream, so I still have to iron out the kinks before I stream tomorrow.

Battlefield 1 is one of the most fun games I’ve played this year!

I’ve been having an absolute blast with Battlefield 1 so far. For starters, the intro to the campaign is mind blowing. The production value is amazing, and the way they start things off showing that not everyone is going to survive is incredible. So far I’ve played through the first few sections of the tank campaign and I can’t wait to play the rest! I’ve never played more than two missions of any Battlefield game (except for Bad Company of course) but Battlefield 1 has me begging for more after each mission.

The only thing keeping me from finishing the campaign is the amazing multiplayer. They’ve nailed just about everything with the multiplayer in Battlefield 1. The guns feel amazing to shoot and I love the way they sound. I love the all out chaos of war, with planes flying above, machine guns echoing in the distance and sniper fire flying over my head as I run for cover. I’ve only played a few matches so far, but every single one has been so much fun. I can’t wait to play more!

It’s an exciting time for video games

This morning Nintendo posted their NX reveal trailer, offering the first look at their home console / handheld combo due out in March 2017, the Nintendo Switch. Like many have assumed over the last year or so, it’s a tablet that you can hook up to your TV via a dock and play with a controller while at home, and then pop out and attach a controller to while on the go.

It’s a pretty neat looking idea, and if it works as seamlessly as it seems to in the trailer it’ll certainly be an exciting device. They showed off some third party support in the trailer, to include Skyrim and NBA 2k, so hopefully the Switch will continue to get third party support. That will ultimately determine whether or not I buy into the Switch. I’m not the hugest Nintendo fan, I’ve never been too big into Zelda or Mario, but I ended up buying a Wii U last year soon after Super Mario Maker launched. It probably wasn’t my wisest decision, because after the first few weeks the console has done nothing but collect dust. I tried to get into Mario Kart 8, but never had as much fun as I did with local multiplayer on Mario Kart 7.

 

Battlefield 1 release tomorrow (unless you bought the $80 early adopter edition which allowed you to start playing Tuesday), and I’m pretty excited to check it out. I don’t think I’m going to buy it right away, but I’ll try hard to reserve it at Redbox while I’m at work tonight and pick it up in the morning. As much as I’d love to play it on PC in 4K, most of the people I would ultimately play with only have consoles. We’ll see how much I enjoy playing this weekend before I make any purchasing decisions. The campaign certainly looks great, and I can’t wait to try my hand at the multiplayer.

 

I’ve been having a great time with Gears of War 4 on PC over the past week, however I’m still very early in the campaign (less than an hour into it). It runs pretty well on my GTX 1060, averaging around 33FPS on high to ultra settings in 4K and it looks great! I’m still getting used to playing it with a mouse and keyboard, and I might actually go back to playing it with an Xbox controller.

 

I’m also still enjoying Forza Horizon 3, but with so many games coming out recently I’ve found it difficult to put more time into it!

There’s a lot I want to play this weekend, but as usual I’ll probably end up getting very little done. I feel like 2016 is shaping up to be one of the best years for video games in recent memory, and as exciting as that is, it makes it incredibly difficult to play everything with such little free time. Either way, I’m enjoying every minute of it!

What platform will you get Battlefield 1 on?

So EA released the first trailer revealing their next Battlefield game yesterday, and the internet exploded with excitement. The video shot to the top of the list of YouTube trending videos, and already has over 9 million views and 600,000 likes. This positive reaction interestingly contrasts with the overwhelmingly negative reaction to Activision’s Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare trailerĀ (the five day old trailer has 10 million views and over 700,000 dislikes which led to Activision’s CEO having to address the negativity with a statement ).

EA’s Battlefield 1 trailer is a home run by many accounts, and I’m one of the millions awe struck by the incredible trailer. I practically got chills while watching it over and over yesterday! So the decision is notĀ whether I’m going to pre-order Battlefield 1 (I most certainly am), but for which platform.

I recently got my first gaming PC, and I’ve been enjoying the better graphics and performance that comes along with joining the infamous “PC master race” (a silly term I don’t necessarily enjoy seeing), however I’m not certain if I can get used to Battlefield on PC. I signed up for EA’s Origin Access yesterday (I’ve been an EA Access subscriber on the Xbox One since its start) so that I could get access to Battlefield 4 and all of its DLC on PC for just $5 a month (it also includes access to a ton of other games I’ll enjoy playing).

origin access

 

I’ve tried playing a few matches of Battlefield 4 on PC, and although it looks great running on high settings, I can’t quite get used to the gameplay. I find trying to play with a mouse and keyboard a bit overwhelming. There’s just too much going on, and I’m not figuring it out as easily as I did the first time I picked up a controller. The mouse certainly feels good for aiming, however I’m finding it difficult to perform multiple actions at once, such as trying to tag enemies while lining up my shots. I’m sure I could get used to it if I keep playing, but I’m finding it’s just driving me to want to switch over to my Xbox One and play Battlefield 4 on there.

B4 battlelog

It’s also worth considering which platform my friends will be getting Battlefield 1 on. I have more friends that are console gamers, however a few of my friends have also built their first gaming PC’s as well. It would be nice if cross platform play would progress by the time the game releases, but I’m not confident that that will happen. It’s nice to play Rocket League cross platform, but without any sort of party system in which I can join my friends in matchmaking it’s not really useful.

It’ll probably be a few months before I ultimately decide on either the PC or Xbox version, but I’m curious, which platform will you be playing on? Which would you recommend to me, or others in my situation?