PS4 Games so far

Out of the three PS4 games that I have so far bought (the rest have been free or not really for the PS4) I have to say that my favourite is actually inFAMOUS: Second Son. Which was unexpected. I was actually expecting it to be Ground Zeroes or Watch_Dogs. Buuuut; Ground Zeroes has the problem of being a stealth game where you’re timed in missions and you’re expected to repeatedly do the missions.

I have realised over time that when I want to play a stealth game it’s because I want to take my time and take out a bunch of people and sneak to the target. Like in Dishonoured or MGS4. Instead I’m basically running everywhere in the hopes that people don’t see me after playing the game slowly and carefully to memorise enemy patterns, which isn’t how stealth games should work in my opinion. Also the subject matter is kinda vile. Yeah, listen to this tape which is supposed to be a young boy forced to rape a barely legal woman; that’ll be an enjoyable experience (hint: please stop). I really hope the full game is less like Ground Zeroes and more like MGS3 and MGS4.

Then there’s Watch_Dogs. Watch_Dogs is like if you took Assassin’s Creed, Grand Theft Auto, Ghost in the Shell, and Deus Ex and mixed them all together, but with everything you found fun surgically altered to be hard to control and barely present. Playing Watch_dogs is not even remotely as enjoyable as it looks. You feel very restricted, the character moves wrong, the vehicles control wrong. You very certainly don’t feel like a cool hacker, you feel like you have bought a magical phone from a cool hacker. It combines several obnoxious elements about modern gaming and 4chan culture, from the billboards you hack (and by hack I mean you press square) to say hilarious phrases like “Never gonna give you up” and “Over 9000!” to the other-people-can-invade-your-game crap (which thankfully can and has been turned off – although doing so loses all multiplayer progress because … oh who knows) to the throat-cancer barely alive main character. It isn’t bad per se, it just isn’t very good, but it does have a massive detailed world and tons to do. I just wish it was enjoyable to do them.

If I had to summarise I would say that Watch_Dogs is definitely more entertaining than not playing Watch_Dogs.

inFAMOUS on the other hand I was expecting to dislike, for a couple of reasons that I was anticipating before starting the game and a couple new ones I wasn’t expecting. I loved the first game, and didn’t like the second game (note: Second Son is the third game) for a variety of reasons mostly involving a backbending effort to appeal to youth and the horrible things they did to the cool powers from the first game. After hearing that the main character was Troy Baker pretty much playing himself with a side-serving of Laura Bailey pretty much playing herself I was ready for the genericising of the involvement of those two generally foretells. If you haven’t heard them by name, you may recognise them as Snow and Serah, or Silent Hill HD’s James and Angela. Basically, you’ve heard them before, and you will instantly recognise their voices. Troy provides the anticipated “Aw Hell yeahs”, “Haters!”, and “Awesome!”.

However, the game is incredibly enjoyable with only a few irritations, for example, despite the fact that you’re dressed in the obligatory five layers of untidy that are the hallmark of today’s young hipster everyone still manages to think you’re trying to put them in prison for some reason. And the plot has several holes and cartoonishly evil stuff occasionally happens. The controls have also been inexplicably changed for the worse (hover is the same button as jump?!). But who cares? It is incredibly enjoyable, the powers are fun (despite being weird stuff; smoke, neon, video, concrete?), the city looks absolutely amazing, and navigating around the place is such fun, and so are all the little gameplay elements. It really is the opposite of Watch_Dogs where everything you do feels chore-ish with the slight saving grace that it looks a bit cool, whereas inFAMOUS everything is fun.

Surround sound and Youtube

The conventional wisdom is that you cannot get surround sound out of Youtube.

This is not strictly true.

Pro Logic is a method of matrixing surround sound into a stereo signal for later fetching out into the surround field by a Pro logic decoder. The easiest way to do this is with a game already in Pro Logic, such is the case with our Eternal Darkness Let’s Play. However, you can also create a Pro Logic downmix from a 5.1 discrete signal with fantastic results, which is how we did our Silent Hill 2: Born from a Wish Let’s Play.

However, recently, I found an interesting snippet on Google Support. To me that looks an awful lot like they have the ability to store and probably play back proper discrete 5.1

I’m uploading tests to determine, and perhaps it may only work on the rather experimental HTML5 version of Youtube, but this is still quite exciting for me.

I could, if this is possible, provide the best of both worlds. Pro Logic surround for the stereo channel which sounds equally fantastic in stereo or decoded into surround, and a discrete 5.1 surround for whatever that will work for.

Just when you thought it was safe to read Joystiq again

It was hard enough to think of Joystiq as journalists after they described advertising-saturated, Bethesda juggernaut-made Dishonored as an underdog.

It’s been nearly a decade since Microsoft and Sony brought new gear to E3

So long as new gear means only new main console generation and nearly a decade means almost seven years.

Playstation Store

When the Playstation Store updated from the older version with the blue panels to the new version with the surround sound and huge touchscreen buttons, I and many others were noticeably nonplussed. Replacing a usable interface no matter how its used with a touchscreen abomination is a feckless and moronic decision at the best of times, but this is doubly true when on a device that doesn’t have a touchscreen interface available.

Well, that was then and this is now, and I can finally see why they’ve done it.
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Skyrim DLC

Well, shockingly, the release of Skyrim DLC was actually closer to eight months than six.

What is to be done about Bethesda though?

Is it time for a boycott of their products, shall I vote with my wallet? Shall I encourage others to do so?

No, for one, I want to play the games, but that’s not a very good reason.

The main problems with a vote with your wallet mentality are that:

Those with the biggest wallets get the most votes.

Which is important, but more convincingly:

Voting with your wallet may not send the message you really intend to send. All not buying a game shows is that you haven’t bought a game. It doesn’t tell anyone why you haven’t bought it. For example, if Bethesda find out that PS3 owners haven’t purchased any DLC they could assume with no other information available that PS3 users aren’t hugely interested in DLC. If the next Bethesda game fails on one platform, or even if all console and PCs owners join together in cause against arbitrary paid-for platform exclusivity (it could well be the other way around next gen after-all) and refuse to purchase their next game; it may only register as a general lack of interest in the sort of game they make.

What instead? Well, that’s pretty simple. Complain. Complain loudly and in the appropriate places. On your own space, or on theirs where they’re likely to see it. You can withhold money if you like or not, but the important thing is to write it down.

Idea

Replace the public voice of Silent Hill with someone who doesn’t want to rewrite classic Silent Hill games and doesn’t use YouTube-level arguments like “The sad part is the people saying Downpour sucked never even played it.”

How about that?

I find Tomm to be neither the good natured saviour of Silent Hill, the powerless figure-head who just wanted to do the right thing, or even the straight villain people have … accused … other people of … accusing them of … its complicated … anyway.

He is a terrible public speaker who says very silly things. He shouldn’t be the public voice of anything.

Goodbye Tomm, its been … interesting I guess?

Yes, that is an actual quote.

Steam on Linux

Well, I’ve been saying for a while that with Steam on Mac it would only be a matter of time before it would appear on Linux, and so it has. It works almost flawlessly. In fact, they’ve just fixed the one really irritating bug where your desktops cursor was changed to Steam’s. The experience with Steam is very much just like Windows and presumably Mac. All the games I own that have Linux versions work absolutely great right away, the only thing that was a slight bother was getting it installed in the first place since I’m on Gentoo, but the overlay works fine. I think the only slight disappointment is that I was kinda expecting the Mac versions of the Grand Theft Auto games to have been made available on Linux too.

The future, however, is bright.

Although I do find it odd that Steam has managed to bring more games so quickly. I figured it would be Android’s mega popularity that would have finally been the event that brought gaming to Linux in a profound way and it kinda didn’t.

Trying Out Ubuntu

So I thought I’d try out Ubuntu 12.10 and then Ubuntu Studio.

First Ubuntu 12.10.

I’ve heard mostly good things, but I’m weary of any GNOME 3 silliness when it comes to the desktop.

The Ubuntu installer worked well enough, even though I wanted to awkwardly install it to the blank space at the end of drive, it did this quite well. I was getting prepared to have to re-do my boot partition, but Ubuntu uses the up-to-date GRUB2 which is a wonder to get going. Unlike GRUB or LILO, GRUB2 is largely automatic and picks up the installed OS’s on my system perfectly.
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