Don’t bother with Truck Driver on consoles

As someone who loves the Truck Simulator games by SCS (mostly American Truck Simulator) I’ve been curious about Truck Driver on consoles. The game was released last Fall on the Xbox One and PS4 (Switch and Steam releases are coming this year) developed and published by SOEDESCO. I rented it via GameFly just to see what it would be like, and I’m glad I didn’t get suckered into buying it (it goes for $39.99 on Xbox).

Right off the bat the game looks and feels like a budget game. The interface isn’t great, and the menus give the impression that it’s a mobile game. The intro to the game was even worse. You’re greeted with a slow moving text conversation that’s meant to be a tutorial. This all would have been easy to look past if the driving turned out to be good. Spoiler alert, it’s terrible. There’s no weight to the driving at all. It feels very slippery and loose, almost like you’re controlling a camera floating above the road rather than a truck. In American Truck Simulator you can feel the weight of the trucks, and it takes time to get up to speed while hauling a trailer. In Truck Driver hauling a trailer feels no different than driving without one.

One of the things I like about the SCS games is observing the scenery while driving. While the games aren’t one to one representations of the real world, they feel close enough, especially as someone who lives in the Pacific Northwest.

The driving felt so bad right off the bat that I couldn’t bear to drive like I would in real life. I quickly found out there are no penalties for speeding (though I’m not even sure I saw a speed limit sign), driving on the wrong side of the road, or even barreling into other cars (though your truck can sustain damage).

I only managed to play for about twenty minutes before I couldn’t bear it any longer. It’s possible that my impressions of this game are tainted with the countless hours I’ve spent in the SCS games, but I can’t imagine that this game would feel great even as someone’s first truck simulator game. Heck, I’d bet if you’ve played any driving game in the last ten years you’d instantly be put off by how bad the driving feels in this game.

I’ve included a video of my first twenty minutes with Truck Simulator if you want to get an idea of what the experience is like. You’ll notice I drive poorly, but to be honest the game felt so bad I didn’t care to even try to play it as a simulation.

I had to cut the audio out of this, I was listening to a radio station while I streamed and YouTube hit me with about 15 content ID claims and blocked my video. I added a royalty free song from YouTube, but it only covers the first thirty minutes or so. Also the quality isn’t great, it’s very compressed from streaming to Facebook. I’ll try to get a better quality video up shortly.

For reference I’ve included video of me playing American Truck Simulator, a much more enjoyable game. If you only have consoles, then you really don’t have any other choices for a truck driving game, but for $40 I wouldn’t recommend this game even if you were desperate. I probably wouldn’t touch it even if it were under $10, it’s just a bad game. Do yourself a favor and stay far away from it!

My experience with Steam Link and PS4 Remote Play on iOS

When the Steam Link device was released I was pretty excited about what it promised. It allowed you to stream your Steam library from your PC to any TV in the house, which sounded great for someone who wasn’t a huge fan of always sitting in a computer chair at a desk. Once I got the hardware, however, I was disappointed from the start. I never had a great experience with it, even though I had a quality router. It’s highly recommended that both the PC and Steam Link are connected to the router via ethernet, but that wasn’t going to work for me.

While listening to a podcast a few days ago I was made aware that there’s now a Steam Link app for iOS. This discovery happened to coincide with the release of Persona 4 Golden on Steam, and I was thrilled to give it a try. Persona is a game that doesn’t suffer if a little bit of input lag or drops in video quality are introduced. I quickly got the app up and running, and plopped my iPad on a table in front of our porch swing to give it a go. It worked surprisingly well, even with my desktop only being connected via WiFi. I didn’t get any pixelation or hiccups during the hour I played on the iPad. From there I got Steam Link set up on my Apple TV in the living room and continued on for another hour or so, without any issues.

I then dug out my Steam Link hardware and set it up to see if I’d get the same experience, but unfortunately little had changed from the last time I tried to use it. It was a pixelated mess, hardly playable at all, despite it being set up closer to my router than the Apple TV or my iPad.

The only downside to using an Apple TV for Steam Link is that there’s no mouse support. I have another Apple TV in my office and wanted to play Command and Conquer Remastered on it, only to find out there’s not a way to use a bluetooth mouse through the Apple TV. I ended up connecting the mouse to my desktop and used a bluetooth keyboard connected to the Apple TV and it worked, however I’m not sure it would work well (if at all) from the living room.

I ended up spending some time running an ethernet cable into my office and setting up an ethernet switch to finally wire everything up, which did make the Steam Link usable. From there I decided to give PS4 Remote Play another try on my iPad and MacBook, and while it works, it’s a much lower quality experience compared to the Steam Link app.

I played some of The Last of Us Remastered on my MacBook in the living room as my wife was watching Netflix, and while it worked, it certainly wasn’t an ideal experience. During scenes with lots of action I experienced heavy pixelation and some lag, and I often had to pause to let the quality improve so that I wouldn’t die. I didn’t adjust the display settings on my PS4 Pro (I had it set to prioritize higher resolutions) so that may have played a part in my experience, but the best way to play The Last of Us is on a TV anyway, as the scenery is part of what makes the game special.

These remote play experiences has made me wish that the experience were better for the Xbox. As far as I’m aware there’s not currently a way to stream an Xbox to an iOS device or MacBook (outside of the Xcloud beta or running Bootcamp), and even trying Xbox’s remote play on my desktop has been a poor experience. I have yet to try since running ethernet to everything, but my desktop is in the same room as my Xbox, so there’s little reason to try. I did try streaming to the Xbox app via BootCamp on my Mac and it was unplayable.

I think I figured out how to speed up PS4 downloads

So after posting about trying to install an update for Uncharted 4 recently (that took all night despite my 200mbps connection), I came across a tip that seems to work for me. A lot of people have said to try to pause and restart downloads, but that didn’t seem to have any effect. What did work, however, was to close all open apps and games. Before doing so the time remaining for the update file for Everybody’s Golf crept upward of 4 hours! After closing Twitch and a game I had running the download finished in less than ten minutes! I had similar success while downloading Destiny 2, so it seems like this is a solid fix for the problem.

Hope this helps!

First night of Destiny 2

I played Destiny on the Xbox One and often had mixed feelings about it. That was until I completed my first raid, with the help of some strangers found through the Destiny app. It was a crazy experience that lasted hours but was never frustrating, and at that point I was hooked. A week later I did the next raid with another group and had just as much fun. Unfortunately, I ultimately fell away from Destiny. It became too time consuming to try to arrange groups through an external app, and I really wished there was some sort of in game matchmaking for raids, though I often wondered how many people would actually communicate (I’ve never heard a single voice during strike matchmaking). As for the “singleplayer” content, or story missions, I often found them frustrating to complete solo, and again there was no matchmaking to easily create groups. I could try using the LFG features on Xbox to group up for story missions, but it was a royal pain.

I think the difficulty of finding groups partially led to my decision to play Destiny 2 on the PS4. That and the idea that it should look better (it’d be in some form of 4K at least) and run smoother on the PS4 Pro. The Sony exclusive content would just be a bonus.

Last night I started playing Destiny 2 on PS4 and enjoyed the opening hours. I played through a few missions and public events before calling it quits at level 6 at around 2AM. So far I’ve enjoyed it, but I still wish there was an easier way to group up for story missions. I died seven or eight times during the early missions and it started to become frustrating. Maybe I’m just terrible at the game, but playing as a group with the ability to revive would have certainly made the process more enjoyable. It seems the only way to group up for story missions is again by posting a LFG message in the app and hoping it doesn’t take half an hour for a few other people to express interest. I’ll try to find a group for some story missions later today and see how it goes.

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.

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.

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.

Finished NieR: Automata (kinda)

Last night I finished the initial playthrough of NieR: Automata after about nine and a half hours of gameplay, most of which was enjoyable. I usually don’t like action games, but the beautiful environments and music in NieR kept me wanting to come back. I especially enjoyed a lot of the dialogue, some of which managed to creep me out. I’m not sure I understand much of what happened, but I’m hoping the subsequent playthroughs shed some light on the story (from what I understand there are five different experiences / endings).

One thing I really enjoyed about NieR was the option to insert auto-evade and auto-fire chips into 2B’s operating system. Sure, this effectively put the game on auto pilot by automatically evading enemy attacks and firing ranged attacks, but I still had a good time carrying out the melee attacks without having to worry about dying. I’m sure some people feel like this should ruin the experience, but I still enjoyed it.

The video below is about midway through the playthrough, and may contain spoilers (it shows one of the bigger boss fight sequences that I really enjoyed).

Jazzpunk is great, silly fun

I started playing Jazzpunk on the PS4 not long ago, and I have to say it’s a great palette cleanser of a game. It’s relaxing to run around and poke anything and everything just to see what happens, and often enough the most meaningless thing you come across can turn into an insanely absurd situation. It takes the habit of wanting to touch anything in sight and turns it into a rewarding experience, even if the entire thing is nonsensical. I’ve enjoyed the writing and look forward to exploring the world even more. It’s a great game to pick up for a few minutes either to calm down after a more tense experience, or if you just have some time to kill. I’d recommend checking it out if you haven’t already, either on PC or PS4.

My continuing adventures in NieR: Automata

I was able to play about another hour of NieR: Automata last night, and I’m still having a great time with it. I ran my first errands (fetch quests) which at first worried me, but they turned out to be quick and painless and at least the quest givers were interesting. 


I really enjoyed the music in the resistance camp and desert areas. I found it to be relaxing, and I didn’t want to stop listening to it. I didn’t get too far story wise, but I ended up beating the next boss fight (which takes place shortly after the video below). I’m looking forward to continuing my adventure in NieR: Auotomata tomorrow night.