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    • Shadow Reviews: Star Wars Battlefront II (2017, EA)

      2 months ago


      Star Wars Battlefront 2 2017: Death by a Million Small Problems

      I will admit that this is probably not a fair review, as some of you may know, I am very much in the “fuck EA” camp. Because of the utter disdain that they show to the things that they create and the people that play them at times I can’t help but want to see them fail in everything that they attempt to do. I imagine this has colored my perception of everything that I have experienced while playing through the campaign mode of this game quite a bit, so if you want a 100% unbiased review, then I must regretfully inform you that such things don’t exist.


      You might remember this game from the small bit of controversy that it had one time.


      We’re going to start off with the story this time. At the time I start writing this, I’ve not yet finished the game, but I’m about six three hours in. I thought I was much longer in than I actually have. That’s not really a great sign here. The story and gameplay really starts off with a bit of a whimper, something that many other games have done in the past to better or worse effect that is done here. You start off with captain Iden Versio captured and being held on board a Rebel ship as they make preparations for the attack on the second Death Star over Sullest. There’s a cutscene where a Rebel officer talks to her and she does the kind of “I’ll never tell you anything” type thing, but then the game starts out not with you breaking out and going on a rampage through the ship, but instead with you flying a droid around the airducts trying to avoid detection of the people on the ship with some jank-ass helicopter controls. Fun side note, it’s a bit of a meme that DICE has some big problems designing controls for aircraft, and despite having seventeen years of developing Battlefield, still haven’t managed to figure it out.

      So you fly the droid around until the game decides that it’s time to actually start the game and then you hack the door and go on a rampage through the ship. A problem that will likely be discussed several times because I will forget that I’ve already talked about it but something that was consistently annoying is the camera. I can’t tell if this game was designed to be played in first-person or third-person, because both are bad. In third-person, it’s hard to see things that are directly in front of you and far away, but you can look around walls and the sights on all the guns are awful so I also don’t want to play in first-person. Something about the way the camera feels wrong.

      As you’re running through these narrow corridors looking for the communication room to delete the encrypted transmission, the Rebel security forces feel the need to announce their presence if they’re about to walk out of a hallway or something behind you, just to make sure they have a zero percent chance of accidentally flanking the player. You arrive at the security room to delete the message that the rebels intercepted about the Imperial fleet regrouping at Endor in order to ambush them, luckily they just haven’t gotten around to listening to it yet. I think they mention that it might have been encrypted but Iden walks up to the console, presses one button and it starts playing. Maybe the Intelligence officer intercepted the mission right before lunch and figured he would get around to listening to it after he got back. Message deleted, ambush is safe. Whatever.

      Next we’re on to the forest moon of Endor where you walk around shooting Rebels that you stumble across (didn’t they bring like twenty people in the assault team in the movie? Why are there so many of them everywhere all of a sudden? I don’t think they bothered landing more troops as soon as they jumped out of hyperspace to secure the planet that no longer had anything of tactical value on it.) while you make your way to the already destroyed shield bunker when the Death Star blows up. Then you shoot more Rebels, get in some tie fighters, go in to space and shoot some X-wings until you jump to hyperspace to watch a cutscene of the Emperor giving orders from inside a red Tellytubby, telling you that Operation: Cinder is going to begin. I’m going to simply refer to this as ‘Cindy’ from now on because it comes up in every other sentence of cutscene dialogue for the next long time.

      To begin Cindy you go and pick up some satellites when suddenly a space-battle happens, but you destroy some corvettes and some fighters and do the things and the ship you’re protecting escapes, hooray. I don’t actually remember much specific about this point in the game so I’m just going to skip it by saying that there’s two or three missions here of you doing your commando thing as part of Cindy before we get to the Luke mission. Boy Matthew Mercer sounds absolutely nothing like Mark Hamill. The performance isn’t really bad, per say, but he just doesn’t sound like him at all. Anyway this mission is actually pretty boring. It’s a matter of walking towards the enemies while holding right-mouse until your little blue bar runs out, in which case you slash them or go hide behind a rock so you don’t die. Then you free an enemy special forces agent and decide not to kill him, and I’m serious, because he asked for help. So then Luke and the agent (Meeko, I think) go to find the Emperor’s secret Emperor thing where he’s storing things, Luke asks to take a compass and Meeko lets him and while all of this is happening you’re fighting bugs as they have a little heart-to-heart about good and evil. Clearly this whole mission is a contrived excuse to do two things: play as Luke Skywalker and give Meeko a reason to leave the Empire. He said that he was afraid of Jedi growing up on Coruscant but Luke is pretty nice so that means the Empire must be the baddies.

      I’m pretty sure the next mission after this brings you to Iden’s home planet of Vardos, which the empire is planning to destroy using satellites that cause really bad lightning storms across the planet. Iden has an argument with her dad (who is her CO, by the way) about whether or not what they’re doing is “right” since Vardos is a planet loyal to the Empire so surely they should kill everyone on the planet, but he says something along the lines of “THE EMPIRE IS OUR HOME NOW, THIS IS FOR THE GREATER GOOD AND YOU WILL FOLLOW MY ORDERS.” She’s not thrilled with this response and angrily stalks off, so her dad contacts Hask, the other third of Inferno Squad after Iden and Meeko. Presumably to tell him to kill Iden if she tries to disobey his orders, since so far Hask seems like the most gungo-ho Empire dude around. Basically he’s the most like a Nazi of the three of them.

      On the planet you’re supposed to pick up and extract one person, and the Stormtroopers have blocked off the roads and everything while citizens are begging for them to open the gates so they can get offworld/go get their kids/whatever. Stereotypical humanitarian crisis is pretty much it, all of this while lightning is falling out of the sky. When they arrive to the person they’re supposed to be extracting she has like ten or so other people there, only one of which she wants to bring with her. They all try to follow, Hask punches one, Meeko picks him up and tells everyone where their ship is and to go there and they’ll be safe, but that’s against their orders so Hask whips out his gun and points it at the civvies then at his CO, Iden. All the while ranting about orders and loyalty. They argue about chain of command, Iden shoots him in the leg, they take the civvies and run, while Hask calls her dad to inform him that his daughter is now a traitor to the Empire so he happily orders she be shot on sight. You escape and join the Alliance. I knew since they announced the game and that the campaign mode would be following an Imperial that it was going to be a short lived adventure before you ended up going to the Rebels, but it literally goes from “Heh, we’ll wipe that Rebel scum from the galaxy” to “If this is the New Empire, then I want no part of it” in a whopping five minutes with almost nothing having actually happened in between. It’s pretty poor writing. Meeko almost has a compelling reason to do so but Iden does so because “Muh home” and that’s that.

      Then we talk to Lando, who’s a general now. Lando offers to let them leave or to help them stop Cinder Fall before she can use the Maiden’s powers to destroy Naboo. Billy Dee Williams reprises his role of Lando and boy does he sound nothing like Lando. I guess in regards to the voicing of the iconic characters it was a kind of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” thing, because the young voice actors don’t sound like the people they’re playing, and the old actors sound too old to be the young characters. Anyway you blow up the lightning machine in space and then go to play as Princess Leia to defend Theed. Last time I checked, Leia wasn’t royalty on Naboo but everyone there still calls her “Princess” or “Your Highness” so maybe there was some Hapsburg thing going on between Naboo and Alderaan royalty. Also Leia sounds weird.

      Then you play as Han, who is visiting Maz in her Mayan pyramid bar on whatever planet that is, and boy does Han not really sound like Han. And he has a beard that makes him look a lot like Jim Henson. In fact, the first thing that I said when I saw Han Solo was “Why the fuck is Steve Hanson here?” A cursory Google search later revealed that I had the name wrong and it was actually Jim Henson, but I knew what I meant. Maz actually sounds okay. It’s not the same person that voiced her in the movies for some reason, but the woman that voiced her here sounds pretty similar. Cheewie sounded okay too. You don’t actually see him though.

      There’s a time skip and Iden calls up Leia like they’re best friends now or some shit, oh by the way I think I forgot to mention that Iden and Meeko officially joined the Alliance despite being directly responsible for the deaths of literally thousands of Rebel soldiers, but they looked really sorry about it and seem like good people so we’ll just let by-gones be by-gones. Water and corpses under the bridge, yeah?

      Anyway, I kind of just want to finish this summary of the plot now because it’s boring me about as much as I was bored during the original playthrough of it, and I’m starting to forget a lot of things at this point. So they join the Alliance and save Alderaan and there’s some things that happen, you play as Han to get some information on how to get past the Empire’s blockade over Kashyyyk to free the wookies. I’m kind of trying to walk my way back through it to remember. Oh yeah, then you have to play as Lando for some reason to go destroy a secret Imperial factory that’s pumping out weapons and vehicles on Sullest. Billy Dee Williams is just not a good voice actor, I’m sorry. The lines he was given aren’t fantastic, but the delivery is pretty awful. The guy playing Shriv is way better from a performance standpoint, and I’m not really expecting BDW to be a fantastic voice actor, but it makes me wonder why they went out to get him to reprise his role and not anyone else. I guess of the original cast, he stills sounds the most similar to how he sounded forty years ago, but it’s not that close either.

      So you sink the weapons factory in lava and then there might be another completely forgettable mission or two in there before we arrive at the final battle – both in terms of the campaign and the universe – the Battle of Jakku. This is at least pretty cool to get to play through the most pivotal battle in the Galactic Civil War, and to see the scale of things going on, but of course that scale is completely fake. There’s a bunch of ships flying around not really doing anything, just being there to set the stage, and if you don’t look closely at the edges of the frames it looks fine, but this is something that the old Battlefront 2 did that annoyed me as a kid too.

      Of course, I didn’t really have any concept of the technical load that it would have to actually have ships fighting all over the sky just for realism and aesthetics, but I wanted it. With the power of the modern gaming device, I think we should have been able to upgrade from having swarms of X-Wings and Tie Fighters flying around aimlessly, clipping through each other, and not even firing. Once again, this isn’t really something you’re going to notice unless your brain is actually still running while you’re playing though this last level.

      The premise of this final mission is that Del (Meeko) is in charge of the Corvus (Oh, right. Your flagship in this game is called the Corvus.) while Iden and Shriv  (Oh, right. Shriv is a side character, he’s part of the Rebel Alliance.) launch from there in their X-Wings to go provide close air support for the forces in the air and the landing forces attempting to capture strategic objectives on the ground.

      However you don’t really do close air support at all – and let me tell you – I’m something of an expert in providing close air support. What you’re actually doing is flying to an objective marker, destroying the five to ten Tie Fighters that it marks as targets, landing, and then doing some kind of task on the ground before taking off again. First you destroy a hanger full of bombers in a downed Star Destroyer which requires you to shoot some guys, then you have to help defend some Rebel soldiers that are waiting for extraction after their transport was shot down. This one strikes me as being particularly dumb, why the hell did I have to land and fight on the ground with them? Why couldn’t I shoot the Stormtroopers from the sky in an X-Wing? Anyway, after that the Corvus gets hit by some bombers so you have to go defend it where you fight Hask. Hask gets shot down (and we all know that bad guys being shot down has literally a 0.0% fatality rate, despite the fact that parachutes and ejection systems have not been invented in the Star Wars.) and then you inexplicable have to go land on the Eviscerater to rescue Iden’s father.

      This I really don’t understand. 

      The twice we see Iden’s father in the story he’s a complete fucking dickhead. Then, might I remind you, HE ORDERED HIS OWN DAUGHTER TO BE EXECUTED ON SIGHT. Despite this, as his ship goes down in flames, his crew frantically trying to escape, and his empire crumbles around him, Iden decides that now is a good time to go and make up to try and convince him to leave the Empire and join the Light Side. Why. Just why. He literally tried to kill you. He literally ordered Hask to come kill you not five minutes ago, and yet here you are, Iden, trying to save him. Then they have a little bit of a moment where he seems to admit the error of the Empire’s ways and that he’s fought for the wrong side this entire time, but I guess he decides that he’s in too deep and this point, and so the captain goes down with his ship. I can respect that. Iden bails out of the crippled ship in an escape pod, which don’t have parachutes by the way. They just hit the ground at terminal velocity and rely on the Force to stop their cargo from liquefying. Queue Han saying “That’s not how the Force works.”

      Here’s my actual thoughts about the campaign now:

      Everything above was a bit of a confused summary/rant/review of it, but here I’m actually going to try to evaluate the story based on a few things: How true to the universe is it? How is the writing and plot? Is it entertaining?

      So in that order: Fine, I guess. Mediocre at best, pretty bad at its worst. Not really.

                  In regards to the first point, it’s not like there was some wild divergence form canon where Luke and Han were involved in an “intense, sexual relationship” or anything. Everything seems perfectly believable within the context of the canon and the universe, except for the few things that I pointed out, like the Rebels apparently landing additional ground troops on the Forest Moon of Endor while the assault on the Death Star 2 was still underway, which really doesn’t make a ton of sense. Maybe if there were Imperial airbases there or something that they were worried would be able to provide reinforcements to the moon-sized battle station or some kind of surface-to-orbit weapon systems, but there is no indication that this is the case in either the films or the game, so they’re really just there to give the characters a reason to be on the ground to watch the Death Star explode because it made for a good moment in the trailer.

                  The story really isn’t good. If you told me to write the most generic action game story that I could possibly think of and give it a Star Wars skin, I would have come back with something pretty similar to this. Main character starts out on the bad side, but then realizes they should actually be on the good side, so they jump ship at the last possible second to turn the tide of the war, while their squad is split in half leaving behind one character who we’re going to not kill later on. The story is everything that two decade’s experience not watching movies told me that it was going to be, and I knew the plot beat-for-beat as it was happening. I swear to God that I have seen this exact movie three times before, and played the game twice. It’s just such a cliché all the way through that there’s nothing particularly engaging about it. I don’t care about any of the characters because I already know what’s going to happen. I already know that Iden and Meeko are going to kiss right after one of them almost dies in the final battle but doesn’t as the Rebels come out victorious in the face of overwhelming odds, and I could have told you all of that after reading the summary of the story provided by EA in the game’s marketing material.

                  One strong point for video games however is their ability to engage the person that is consuming the content, more so than movies or TV shows can manage, since nothing really happens unless the player makes it so. This is a blessing and a curse, as this new dimension of engagement can make some more bland stories that would flop completely in the box office or be cancelled after their first season a halfway decent experience, but it is not a miracle worker. In this case, we have a bad story, told badly, that plays badly, making for an overall tedious and draining slog to play. I swear to God I have played this game for ten hours, but when I check my playtime in Origin, it was only four. Everything felt like it was dragging on for such a long time, and I just wanted it to end.

                  Honestly, it’s far from the worst story I’ve ever seen executed. That said, the multiple minute long cutscenes interspersed throughout the experience make the story feel like it wants center stage so badly that it’s dreadfully unfortunate that the story has stage fright.


                  Now if you’re one of the five people that read my recent Titanfall 2 review, you would now that I didn’t have much praise for the story and the writing, finding it to be a bit generic and cliché as well, but the gameplay and the story were so seamlessly integrated and the thing I was playing was always so much fun, that the story didn’t need to be fantastic. Battlefront 2’s rather weak offering in the story department means that it needs its gameplay to really carry it along to round out the experience.

                  The gameplay is an unmitigated disaster. Shit frosting on a moldy cupcake.

                  I would honestly prefer a game that just completely crashed on the menu to this. Now that might sound just a wee bit inflammatory, but let me explain. Playing this game is constant frustration. I did not go sixty consecutive seconds without experiencing some kind of issue. And no, I’m not exaggerating here. There is some kind of small bug, or some error, or some inconsistent behavior all of the time, to the point where I would rather just not be playing the game since playing it feels like a legitimately worse experience than just not.

                  I experienced so many bugs in my first five minutes with the game, that I decided to start keeping a list of every problem that I encountered that I felt was worth mentioning, so I did. This is part of the reason that I considered this review to be unfair, since until now this is not something I have done, but I will be continuing this practice in the future if I decide to review more games. We’ll just hit some highlights real quick here.

                  When I first tried to launch the game, the Discord overlay was invisibly launching, making it impossible to move my mouse or use my keyboard. I’m told other games have this issue, but this was first reported online the week the game came out. Fucking fix it.

                  If you thought Anthem’s loading screens were bad, you’d be right. And these ones suck too. Getting into the game can take up to an entire pick/ban phase from a professional League of Legends game, which is about twelve minutes. From clicking “play” to in the game, twelve minutes. Between the mission and cutscene, it’s about five to six minutes. On either side. If you die – Oh you can bet that’s a loadin’ screen. These ones were inconsistent, ranging from forty seconds to seven minutes per death. If you kept dying in the same place it would drop down to about fifteen seconds, but that required at least five attempts.

                  Some of the cutscenes have some of the most spectacular screen tearing that I have ever seen.

                  The entire screen goes black when you try to drag the mouse sensitivity slider, so you just have to guess.

                  The keybindings were designed for a lizardperson with eleven fingers per hand and a prehensile phallus.

                  The game pauses for a few seconds when you open a crate or get sucked into an in-engine cutscene, during which time you can still take damage, and still be killed, without being able to move or do anything at all. This happened more than once. Four times, in fact.

                  Your gun can clip through objects and shoot out the other side in third-person mode.

                  Enemy bullets can clip through objects and kill you.

                  Enemies walking through walls.

                  Enemies turning invisible.

                  Enemies suddenly becoming invincible.

                  Enemies teleporting.

                  Scripted events not triggering.

                  Scripted events triggering and then mission flags not updating.

                  Enemies can’t crouch behind cover properly.

                  And I tried to keep it there to just the things that I could tell were not intentional, there are a number of incredibly frustrating intentional gameplay issues too, like Luke being able to swing his lightsaber for all of six seconds before he gets tired and can’t raise his arms anymore to stop himself from being shot to death. Even though the shitting thing is called a LIGHTsaber, it must be pretty heavy.

                  That list might not look that long, but that covers one hundred percent of the gameplay. All of these issues are constant. I could not tell you the number of times I saw the last one in particular, where the enemies would attempt to crouch behind a box, but then rapidly start teabagging, or clipping into the sky and turning invincible, or starting to slide across the world in their crouch animation. I’m not exaggerating when I say one of these happened AT LEAST 75% of the time an enemy tried to take cover.

                  Besides all of the game issues that make the gameplay bad, it’s just bad. It’s so hard to see anything in the third-person mode and the sights on the guns in first-person are so awful that I don’t want to use those either, plus during the hero missions (which are ULTRA MEGA ASS, by the way) you can’t switch perspective at all.

                  Speaking of the hero missions, it’s a Star Wars game. You’re almost contractually required to play as Luke Skywalker, too bad this mission made me wish I was playing as literally anything else. Remember before when I mentioned that thing about only being able to actually do anything for about five consecutive seconds before you have to go take cover behind a rock so the Stormtroopers don’t murder the shit out of you? Yeah. Remember when Luke did that in the movies?

                  Remember when Luke fought a bunch of cockroaches with his laser sword? I’m sure that will make for riveting gameplay. There’s a lot of skill in surviving an onslaught of bugs with only thirteen well placed swings of your weapon. It’s just bad. It’s not fun, the dialogue is bad, and the story reason for being there also sucks. It should have been cut, but it’s a Star Wars game and you’re contractually obligated to play as Luke Skywalker, so it wasn’t. There’s one where you have to play as Kylo Ren basically chasing Del through a super low-budget and poorly done Far Cry fever dream nightmare sequence, and that one is even worse. Remember when Kylo Ren was killed multiple times because THE PEOPLE THAT HE WAS CUTTING WITH HIS FUCKING LIGHTSABER TURNED INVINCIBLE AND STARTED CLIPPING THROUGH THE FUCKING FLOOR. YEAH? ME TOO. THAT WAS A WEIRD THING FOR RIAN JOHNSON TO INCLUDE IN THE MOVIE.

                  Boy you should have seen my face the second time it happened. I just kicked myself back from my desk and threw my hands up in a “What the fuck was that?!” gesture. The third time I just wanted to hurt something. 2005’s Battlefront 2 wasn’t flashy. It didn’t really have a story mode. It didn’t have tremendous detail or hyper-realistic performance captured cutscenes. What it did have was polished, fun gameplay that actually worked. Here we get all of those creature comforts of the modern video game, like a 76 GB install size, without any of the things that make you want to actually play a game.


                  The only real strength of this game. Once again, DICE delivers probably the most visually stunning game that I have ever seen in my life. Even on a relatively cheap, 1080p 60Hz monitor, it looks incredible. It is one of the few games that somehow manages to look so real that it actually looks better than reality. I’ve seen trees in the real world before, and they don’t look as good as these ones.


                  Is it over? Oh, thank God, it’s finally over. I could talk more, about the cliffhanger ending to presumably be wrapped up in the story DLC that was released that I started playing and just said “Fuck it” and closed the game after five minutes, so of course this review always could be longer. I just don’t care anymore. This game was a slog to play and I don’t want to do it anymore.

                  So should you buy this game?


      Star Wars Battlefront 2 (2017, EA): 2.5/10

    • Shadow Reviews: Titanfall 2

      2 months ago


      Spoilers, probably.


      Yes, this game came out three years ago.


      Arguably the strongest point of the campaign here, they took their whole wallrunning gimmick and really... Well, ran with it. The campaign was designed in a way that took full advantage of the capabilities of the jump-pack in some pretty cool ways. The shooting bits are pretty Call of Duty, but on a lower difficulty you could definitely be jumping off walls and kicking dudes in the head if you wanted to. I was playing on hard, which is the second hardest difficulty so it was still necessary to stay behind cover and peak out to take potshots sometimes, but I was able to pretty freely run around without too much difficulty in most cases throughout the game. 

      Some people will complain about the lengths of campaigns in these big-budget, multiplayer focused FPS games, as they usually just barely manage to scrape themselves over the apparently industry standard bare-minimum of six hours, but normally I would rather they end prematurely than drag on forever without anything different or significant to add, but in this case I was actually disappointed by the length of the campaign. 

      But in a good way. Each level of the campaign felt unique and different from each other level. In the first you're climbing through the wreckage of some spaceships and running along cliffs, then you're in a massive underground cavern that's been converted into a factory pumping out houses, apparently, where you're dodging lasers and crushing machines in order to get to the other side, ending in an Inception nightmare where I actually got really turned around for a solid minute and could not figure out which way was up and which way was down. Then you're onto what is perhaps the single coolest level that has ever been put in an FPS campaign -- Effect and Cause. In this mission you find a device that moves you between two distinct timelines as you move around a research facility, the past timeline where the facility was operational and manned by military people, and the modern timeline, where the facility is super not operational and manned by rotted corpses, plants, malfunctioning security robots, fires, and carnivorous animals. The thing that really sold me on this concept is when I realized that I could teleport around my enemies at will to shoot them in the back of the head or bash their skulls in. 

      Another nice touch is the dialogue, even in Titanfall (OG) the dialogue of the enemy NPCs was pretty interesting, in this mission you hear soldiers frantically describing the "erratic" movements of the enemy pilot that has infiltrated the base, which is just you seemingly teleporting around them, slaughtering them without effort. Then when you switch back to the other timeline, you're standing over their old, rotted, moldy corpses. To balance this massive power out, you have enemies to deal with in both timelines, but you can generally ignore the ones in the ruined facility since they're mostly based on melee combat, so you can jump over them. This mission is really, really fucking cool. I was very disappointed when the cutscene at the end of the mission was over and we took off the broken time splitting machine and tossed it on the ground. I want to play an entire game like this. It creates a lot of potential for some great action and cool puzzles to solve, which I feel like they were only able to begin to scratch the surface of here.

      But the rest of the campaign still has its interesting moments, like when you get the ability to control cranes to move panels around to create pathways for yourself to wallrun around on, and storming the castle in titans and everything. Each level does feel different, unlike CoD where no matter how hard they try, most of the levels feel pretty much the same. 

      Another high-point is right towards the end where you get the smart-pistol. Getting to run through a ship full of enemies with a pistol that almost instantly locks on for perfect, one-hit-kill headshot is a great time. This is another part of the campaign where I wouldn't have minded seeing more of it.


      Alright, so here is where Titanfall 2 pretty much loses its ability to circumvent the typical expectations of its genre. The story is not great. The writing is decent, the characters are okay, and the dialogue between them can be interesting at times, but ultimately the story takes a hard backseat to the wild set-pieces and gameplay elements around it. To be fair, the Call of Duty series (apparently that's going to be our benchmark for single-player first-person-shooter experiences) doesn't always excel in this category either, but there has been cases in which it has done better in my opinion. 

      There's a person and there's a robot. We've all seen the critically acclaimed 1999 film The Iron Giant starring Vin Diesel, we all know exactly where this is going. And it ends the exact same way. Kind of. 

      I'm not sure where else to put this, but the animations that play in the background while the credits are rolling are shockingly awful. I haven't seen such lifeless, plastic, robotic faces since Mass Effect: Andromeda (which came out a year later but whatever). The animation is choppy, laggy, horrifically unnatural, and filled with weird popping issues and janky textures. Not to mention the music that one hundred percent does not fit at all with what is being shown. It's really fucking bad. I've watched YouTube videos and these issues weren't just on my computer, it's how it actually looks. It's bad. I mean really bad. So that's just something to mention. The animation for everything else is more or less fine, so I'm not sure what happened there. 


      I dunno. Didn't play it and I've already uninstalled the game so.... Ya' know.


      Titanfall 2 is not a perfect game. It's not even the best big budget multiplayer focused FPS game campaign that I played, but for the $5.40 that I spent to play it which also includes a bunch of other EA titles, I'm glad that I did. Despite its shortcomings, it still made me want to continue playing it instead of immediately running straight back to Factorio, despite the fact that EA insisted that gamers simply don't want singleplayer experiences anymore. It was definitely a worthwhile game and a good time to play through, with a few massive bright-spots that if they had been expanded upon could have lead to a truly fantastic game. 

      I'm currently downloading Star Wars Battlefront II (2017, EA) to review its campaign next. I imagine it's not going to be quite as favorable. 

      Titanfall 2 (single-player only): 6.75/10

    • Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown

      7 months ago



      For the last three years Ace Combat 7 has been nothing more than a dream. I was waiting for it without ever truly realizing that it would one day be real and something that I could actually play. This is by far the longest I’ve waited for something to happen and the most anticipation for that something that I’ve ever had.

      As some of you may or may not know, I happen to be a bit of a fan of the Ace Combat franchise, which is probably the largest understatement that I could possibly make here. That is perhaps why you are here reading now this review, because you might be curious on my thoughts on the game. Who am I kidding? There’s no way anyone is actually interested enough to read this far.

      So here we go.


      We’re going to start with the gameplay, because that’s what I said.

      So someone at IGN (presumably) played the game and (definitely) wrote a review, because that’s kind of their thing over there. They’re also infamous for writing really shit reviews, so it should come as no surprise that their review for Ace Combat 7 is not great. I’m assuming that whoever wrote it has never played a game in the series before because when I skimmed it I don’t remember him ever mentioning it, and I would go check but their website is so laggy and awful and terrible that I really can’t be bothered right now. The review essentially boiled down to “Game is too hard. Doesn’t ‘innovate’. Too much flying and explosions. 7/10.” Brilliant, thank you, IGN.

      Alright, so let’s take a look at the first part. He specifically mentioned how there is no tutorial in the game, which I would both concede as a point and refute. There is in fact no tutorial. They do, however, tell you how to control the plane. Throughout the first mission there would be yellow text at the top of the screen saying “press right-bumper to accelerate”, “use the left stick to turn”, “perform a high-G turn by holding both bumpers”, etc. They teach you how to control the plane, but not how to fly the plane, if that makes any sense. I assume Project Aces figured out that controlling a plane is intuitive enough, or you’ll figure it out quickly enough. Either way, I don’t think that the lack of a tutorial would be a hurdle for new players. Here’s all the buttons, now go kill things. What else do you need?

      Now onto the difficulty – this game is hard. Like actually difficult at times. I’ve always wished Ace Combat games were hard, because even on ‘Ace’ difficulty I felt as though I barely had to think in order to carve a path of suffering through my enemies. Ace Combat 4 featured a certain number of missions where you would have a designated score that you would have to reach in the time limit, those missions disappeared in 5 and made a comeback twice in Zero, now showing up again in 7. I would regularly get double, triple, or more of the score that I needed within the time given, and usually the difficulty came from trying not to slam into the ground after finishing the objective because I was trying to fly upside-down between buildings, but in AC7 I actually had to do a bit of thunking in order to achieve the objective score.

      There’s also the hardest “fly through a ravine” mission the series has ever had since in every other the ravine is so wide that you really can’t hit anything unless you’re not paying attention or really screw up, but this time not only did you have to navigate a ravine that was at times just wider than your plane, you had to do that while also dodging moving search-lights. It’s an interesting additional challenge, but maybe doesn’t make narrative sense since you’re trying to avoid detection while flying several feet away from an occupied watch tower going several hundred miles an hour. I’m guessing that guy probably heard you. So yeah, it’s hard. It’s glorious.

      Lastly, the stupidest point – “innovation.” Sorry, IGN guy, but you’re dead fucking wrong on this one. “Innovation” is how we end up with the eldritch horror that is Ace Combat: Assault Horizon. An Ace Combat game is an Ace Combat game, and while it is true that games that rely too much on a core formula can get stale over-time, there is more to a game than the gameplay, but moreover – they actually did “innovate” and change the core formula in big ways that have a massive effect on gameplay. The biggest example being the clouds. There are clouds in AC6, and they don’t actually do anything. They’re not very big, and they’re white. That’s it. In AC7 the clouds are massive, change your view out the cockpit, change the sounds you’re hearing, and make it both easier to lose enemies and harder to lock on. The clouds are kind of a big deal here. You might go blindly crashing into a cliff because you couldn’t see it, or start icing up and stall out, or eat a bolt of lightning and lose your HUD, forcing you to try and dog-fight without any idea where the enemy actually is around you.

      There’s also the missions that happen after Battle for Farbanti where you have no IFF, so all targets on the map appear as yellow ‘Unknowns’. You can lock onto the unknowns as soon as you’re in range, but you have to get close and maintain line of sight with them for a few seconds before you know whether or not they’re friendly or an enemy, so yes, you could absolutely kill the shit out of some friendlies on the ground. That’s also different.

      Oh, and there’s ya’ know. The VR mode. Boom, innovation.


      I could sit here and talk about each individual plot point and do all these things, but I can’t really be bothered. Some have said that it’s better than 6, but not as good as the Holy Trinity. I disagree, I love it. 9/10. Modders add a mission to save Brownie please thanks.


      Some people said that the music wasn’t good, or that it wasn’t as good as other games in the Holy Trinity. I don’t know what to say other than you’re wrong.



      Uh… what else…


      Yeah the Xbox is a pretty not great console so it runs at 720ish-p at 40ish FPS. That’s kind of not PA’s fault though because well… The Xbox just isn’t very powerful. On PC it will be nice and crispy and buttery-smooth.


      Oh no, wait.


      It has a multiplayer mode. I started playing worried my confidence would be shattered and I would discover that I wasn’t very good at the game at all.

      Hahaha, that didn’t happen. I’m not very good at the free-for-all ‘battle royal’ mode, but that’s because I actually dodge missiles, so while I don’t get many kills, I also don’t get shot down. I’ve played team death-match four times and scored number one on my team all four times, winning exactly one of those games because the other three I had at least one teammate who did not score. I literally cannot carry any harder. On PC I’m changing my Steam username to Mister X and I’m going to put on a Sol Squadron skin. I assume there is a Sol Squadron skin.

      I wish it had a co-op multiplayer mode a-la Ace Combat: Infinity. I despised AC:I for several reasons, but the gameplay was decent. They’ve said there will be DLC for this game so… 

      Hopefully… Kono-san please.


      I’ve thought about AC7 a lot on the past three years. In fact, I have searched for news on it at least once a day, every day, since five days before it was officially announced. During that time, I’ve many times wondered how it was going to turn out. If I was going to be absolutely overjoyed, or if I was setting myself up for the largest disappointment in all of human history.

      There were a few times that I dreamed what if…?

      What if it surpassed my wildest hopes? What if it was a game capable of standing as an equal with the Holy Trinity themselves?

      Well guess what.

      I do so hereby declare the Holy Trinity to be dissolved, and from its ashes shall rise in its place: The Holy Quadrinity.

      This review is in memory of dog.png, the best dog that ever did live. May the skies wherever he is flying be peaceful.

      Ace Combat 8 when though, yeah?

    • OCC Anime and Manga Discussion

      in Forums > OCC Anime and Manga Discussion | Follow this topic


      This is where people can come and talk about their waifus and their Chinese cartoons and all that other kind of weeb shit. 

      Every post is highly encouraged to include at least one picture of waifu and/or gif. 


      17 replies

    • Shadow's Adventures in Tracking Down a Cyber-Criminal: Part I

      1 year ago


      So some time ago my mom's credit card was stolen. There were numerous different charges made, some for Lyft, some for some online Chinese store and also one in Australia for some reason, but there was only one that really caught my attention.

      It was a charge from the Detroit Property Tax Office. Huh. Apparently you can pay property tax in Detroit with a credit card. We all had a good laugh about that and how that person was almost surely going to be arrested once the charges were refuted. 

      Well apparently some time ago we also received a package that I didn't know about which my father promptly returned to the post office worker who was filling the mailboxes, and she assured us they would look into it.

      Today we got that package back, with our address on it, with someone else's name. From some online retailer in Chengdu. Well, now that's interesting. It also has a phone number on it. A phone number with an area code for Macomb County, Michigan, which is just north of Detroit. 

      Now that's interesting. Looks like our little property-tax paying friend tried to order something and somehow fucked it up, because instead of putting in his own address, he put in ours. Tomorrow I'm going to contact our bank's fraud department and see if they pressed any charges against the person who used our card to pay their taxes.

      Then I'll contact the Detroit Property Tax Office and the Macomb County Sheriff's Office, just seeing how much information I can get and if I can pin this guy down without needing a court order.

      Now, Mr. Antonio Sanders, I don't know who you are, or what you've been through in life. I don't know why you're desperate enough to resort to buying stolen credit cards and identities to get by, and I'm sorry that you feel this is the only way you can make ends meet. You picked the wrong person, though. You picked the one with a son who is okay with a computer and currently very bored, and he's coming for you. 

    • OCC Star Wars

      in Forums > OCC Star Wars | Follow this topic


      Star Wars is an American epic space opera media franchise, centered on a film series created by George Lucas. It depicts the adventures of various characters "a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away".

      And here's where we'll talk about that. Books, movies, comics, shows, other movies, spin-offs, games, non-canonical stuff. You name it, if there's a Jar Jar in it we'll talk about it. 

      Fuck EA.

      650 replies

    • OCC E3 2017 Watching and Discussing

      in Forums > OCC E3 2017 Watching and Discussing | Follow this topic


      Hey! Are you watching all the E3 press conferences? Whoa! Me too! We should totally talk about that here! 

      Hey! Are you not watching all the E3 press conferences? That's okay, I'll be live watching and telling you what is happening and who is announcing what and how nobody talks about Ace Combat 7 as much as they need to. Whoa dude! Crazy! E3!!! 

      I'll edit this post to include a brief summary of each presser after it happens. Except Nintendo. I probably won't watch that one. Too early. 


      EA----- 2PM Central 


      Microsoft------ 4PM Central 

      Bethesda------ 11PM Central 


      Ubisoft---- 3PM Central 

      Sony (BETTER FUCKING TALK ABOUT ACE COMBAT 7)------- 8PM Central 


      Nintendo------ 11AM Central (Why? Fucking nine in the morning?! Really?!?!) 

      21 replies

    • More Drawing, Now with 1,001% More Back Pain

      2 years ago


      Second time doing this post because one of the drawings had something I wanted to fix. That's always a process. 

      So I drew my avatar and also Lady Shinoa. I did both with dots for points of important stuff and everything. I colored Shinoa, first time ever for that. So that's a thing. 


      And Shinoa. 


      I've been totally hunched over for like three and a half hours at this point and my back really hurts really bad, so I'm going to go lie down now. 

    • Some More Drawing

      2 years ago


      Done two days ago.Was done mostly tracing after I finally discovered the pencil tool is far superior to the pen. Turned out alrightish. 


      This was done today. Came out a bit darker. My Surface pen is pressure sensitive so that might have something to do with it or maybe not. I just typed that whole sentence and then realized that I might have accidentally turned the opacity down for comparison in the process of making the last one and not turned it back up before I took the screenshot. I don't know. 

      Anyway, this one was done with about the same amount of overall tracing, like the position of the chin, top of the hair, outside of the pony-tail and the top line of the arms. Mostly so I get everything somewhat right and proportioned. I've tried it without doing that and it does not turn out nearly as well. This time I did some more shading to try and make it look less bland. Yay. 


      By the way, this is what I'm drawing. 


    • OCC Civilization V Game Planning Phase

      in Forums > OCC Civilization V Game Planning Phase | Follow this topic


      Baba Yetu, my friends, it is I, Shadow5435, the glorious Keeper of......... Keeper of........ Uh, the Keeper of.....

      Alright, that part isn't important. What is important is the purpose of this thread, to establish a group to incite a global revolution play a friendly game of Civilization together.

      The game will take place of the course of several weeks with the same group of people. I will host the game and save the map, as well as coordinating each subsequent meeting, all of which will probably occur about the same time. I was thinking Friday nights, and either have a hard cut-off at a certain number of turns per session, or run for an amount of time.


      --A living, breathing human being.

      --Sid Meier's Civilization V on Steam.

      --Brave New World Expansion Pack.

      --Gods and Kings Expansion Pack.

      --All of the additional Civilization packs (maybe).

      --Wonders of the Ancient World pack.

      --Basically all the DLC. Why don't you have them all? What are you doing? Buy them all.

      --Skype and a microphone.

      We could either do all random civs, or have people reserve their Civ here.

      I dunno.

      Disclaimer: The name of this thread is completely original, and has not been adapted, inspired, or taken from any other thread in the Oxford Comma Cafe (henceforth to be referred to as "OCC" or "The OCC"). By utilizing or viewing this thread you agree to the OCC Civilization V Game Planning Phase thread's terms and conditions. Terms and conditions, as well as terms of use, may be changed or otherwise modified by the leadership of this thread with or without notice, at the sole discretion of sole owner and leader of this thread, Shadow5435, henceforth referred to as "Glorious Leader", or "God-Emperor Shadow". Rules and restrictions may apply.

      21 replies

  • Comments (1)

    • IronBridge FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold Keeper of Knowledge

      2 years ago

      Somehow we aren't friends yet.

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