JUST LET ME FINISH MY @#$%ING TASK!

Today I thought I would blog about a trendy thing. That thing is Among Us.

I heard about Among Us about two months ago when it started becoming popular along with The Fall Guys. I saw the thousands upon thousands of memes made about it, but I never really knew what it was about. That was until I watched NerdCubed’s video on it. The next day, I decided to try it and boy-oh-boy, was it enjoyable. Crewmates and the Impostor(s) are all it’s about. Crewmates have a list of tasks to do and the Impostor(s) has to sneakily eliminate them before they finish said tasks.

The first few rounds I played, I was a crewmate getting to grips with the whole thing. The tasks are quite fun, although the rewiring tasks are annoyingly easy. The most annoying thing is when someone calls an emergency meeting right at the start of the game or whilst you are in the middle of a task. I played around two hours and the amount of tasks I had to redo in that time because someone was being a twit was ridiculous. I noticed that the go-to penalty for an uncalled-for emergency meeting is ejection, which is really funny.

Then you join a game where you are the Impostor and you have to pretend you are doing tasks. It’s hilarious. Most of the fun happens in ‘Electrical’ as it’s the most secluded spot, however other than the cafeteria; it is also the most used spot as well. Then there’s Security where you can check the cameras and possibly catch someone doing the murdering. I haven’t been able to do that, but I was caught out like that once.

My favourite part of the game though, is watching the people going mad in the chat. One person accuses another of being the Impostor and 70% of the time the rest follow, even when the accused is not even the Impostor. One game I was the Impostor and got three people ejected. It was hilarious!

I have thus far only played in public lobbies with ‘randoms’, but I must say, it’s turning out better than I thought it would. Usually with online games and ‘randoms’, they try to be annoying or ruin the game for everyone, but so far it has been smooth sailing. I might keep playing this till the hype eventually dies down.

Now if only I can FINISH MY @#$%ING TASKS!

©2020 Michael De Kock

Michael de Kock is a recently graduated job-seeking petrolhead nerd, fascinated with avocados and generally quite tall

Technology, Isn’t it Grand?

For the past few days, I have been playing Watch Dogs 2. It is by far better than the first issue of the game. I have played both and the second one has many, many, many more options than the first had. Watch Dogs’ story was awful in the sense that it was about a very boring person (Aiden Pierce) and his niece’s death. He wanted to take down a company called Blume and a ctOS operating system that enabled the city of Chicago to be a ‘Smart City’. This enabled Aiden to manipulate various aspects of the city to his advantage, etc. I never finished it because it was too dull. And the driving engine was awful. Cars seemed like they were not allowed to leave the ground and they could only drive in four directions, i.e. forwards, backwards and only left and only right – nothing in between.

Now, without getting into too much depth about the game, I can say that Watch Dogs 2 is a lot better .You have more things to play with, such as two remote control (RC) vehicles in the form of a small, two-wheeled RC car that can do physical hacks (which is useful) and a RC drone that can fly around and hack other stuff. The only problem I have so far with the game is that you cannot complete all the missions with just the RC vehicles. I was breaking into the game-world’s version of Google and had gotten to the objective with the RC car, but it didn’t activate since the character wasn’t there. I was a bit annoyed because I avoided all the security and droids and everything. Then when I moved the character in, all the guards saw him and I had to use the tazer on them.

Anyway, this game has got me thinking. In it you take down big corporations and organisations and so forth exposing them for who and what they really are. But you can also hack many things. Things like phones, grenades, cars, etc. and this is what got me thinking. In our own world, technology is becoming more and more integrated with each other. In Smart Homes, the fridge can talk to your local server which then sends you a text saying that the milk is finished or that your eggs are a bit smelly. The Home is also connected to your security system with all the cameras and sensors and stuff, as well as to your car. And if you have an electric car, the battery power in your car can be used to keep your lights on when the power goes out, but let’s face it – if you have enough money for a Smart Home then you wouldn’t live in a power-outage prone area.

Then we get to the military. Many, if not all, of the equipment and weapons these days in modern armies have a chip or two in them. This means that if hostile forces acquire the weapon, it can be remotely aborted or sabotaged making it useless. We have ‘smart grenades’ that can be fired from a computer-controlled M32 grenade launcher that can change direction in mid-air. The same goes for ‘smart bullets’. Fired from a M99 sniper rifle, it can make subtle adjustments in its telemetry due to wind resistance or the Earth’s rotation to assure the shooter of a hit. (Personally, I believe that it takes the skill out of the entire exercise.)

All of these things can be hacked, probably. And if they can be hacked, then there is a huge risk in creating them. But we humans only greedily think about being better than everyone else and so these smart weapons will be produced as it is all about having the edge, whether it is on the battlefield or in suburbia.

Now, if you ask me on which side I would be in the inevitable upcoming war on technology, then I would still say technology. Technology has the power to save this planet. Technology can stop Global Warming, it can fix the ozone layer, it can stop the pollution in Beijing and it can save the Internal Combustion Engine from extinction. It can do all of those things, but only if we let it. At the moment we are too concerned with what our neighbours are plotting than what we can do to make life on our side of the fence better.

 

© 2017 Michael de Kock

Car Enthusiast Extraordinaire (not)

Drake’s Review

So a few months ago, I bought the Nathan Drake Collection on the Playstation 4. It is essentially the first three Uncharted games remastered and sold for the price of one. Now, I have played the first two so far and a bit of the third one. The graphics are okay in Drake’s Fortune, except that when aiming, Nathan holds the firearm at an angle, yet the bullet still manages to hit its target. This annoyed me a lot. Luckily, it was fixed in Among Thieves.

The stories of Drake’s Fortune and Among Thieves were pretty good. The goblin zombies and Shambhala-enhanced warriors were really unnecessary and honestly quite cliché. If it was just normal people, then the game would have been better. It needed to be supernatural enemies. I hate that in videogames. The Uncharted series is such a good exploration series and I feel they ruined it in a few ways.

Firstly, the positives. I like Nathan Drake and Sullivan for that matter. The supporting characters such as Chloe and Alena are brilliant as well. The romance between Nathan and Alena is well written and the voice acting is up to par. The facial expressions are nicely done and movement in cut-scenes are quite good.

Now the negative and, oh boy, there are a bunch. Firstly, why the heck did Naughty Dog think it was smart to put in this many combat zones in a game about solving ancient mysteries? Seriously! There were like two actual puzzles to solve in Among Thieves and the rest was sneaking and shooting. I looked forward to the bits where I actually had to open Nathan’s journal and solve the puzzles. The good thing about Uncharted is that the textures don’t really give away the answers. You actually have to look around for the answers. That went a bit off the point, but anyway.

Secondly, the movement of Nathan Drake has the same problems as Edward Kenway had in Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag. You want him to do that and go that way, but instead he goes and jumps off a cliff or let go of a pipe. It is really annoying. I felt it was worse in Among Thieves than it was in Drake’s Fortune. In the twenty-odd percent that I have played Drake’s Deception, it seems to have improved significantly, as did the shooting mechanics. And the graphics.

Thirdly, I believe that, since the Middle-East is involved, there will be ‘undead’ mummies that I have to shoot at some point. I include this prediction in my list of problems because I assume it will probably happen.

With all this negativity, you would probably be wondering why I even bother to play it any further. The reason is, I actually like it. Yes there is too much emphasis on combat and too little on puzzles, but I enjoy the story. Plus Nathan Drake can be quite a badass sometimes.

So would I recommend the Uncharted series to anyone? Yes, I would.

Why?

Because it is actually worth the money. Looking at you, No Man’s Sky…

Lots of Hours watching Videos

So, like many other people, I watch videos on Youtube. I am currently watching NerdCubed’s Completes series with Fallout 4. I also watched his Completes Cities Skylines series too. Twenty-six hours. That was a bit much, but it was awesome. Yes there were boring parts, lots of boring parts. Placing all the bushes and trees around the agricultural area was agonising. But it was a relaxing experience. Nice to watch.

Currently the Completes Fallout 4 is great. The looting in Workshop Mode is a bit boring, but you get to see how the game mechanics work. It’s tonnes better than Fallout 3 and New Vegas, which I’ve played a bit. New Vegas is fun and cool, but the grey-green filter they used to make it more nuclear-fallout-ish is a bit dull and the mechanics are too stiff. The characters are emotionless – like Megan Reed’s mother in Deus Ex: Human Revolution when you tell her the bad news.

Fallout 4’s visuals are better and more interactive, as well as having more colours. The world is more vibrant. Well, that’s what I can see from the videos I’ve watched. I haven’t actually played any FO4, but I’m looking forward to it.

I’m currently on NC’s 6th Fallout 4 video. You can watch NerdCubed’s Completes at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWiBBdXFKNg

Games an’ Stuff

Ok. Hopefully Electronic Arts and/or DICE and/or whoever is reading this listen.
The whole point of creating a game on the basis of its predecessor is to make it bigger and better and badder than before. It should be more awesome!
I, and many others, would have been happy with a souped-up, HD, next generation version of SW Battlefront II. Maybe a blend of Battlefront and Battlefront II would’ve been cool. We’d be a bit disappointed, but happy still.
But what EA has done is made a cool game, and then decided it should be worse.
I saw many videos of the closed beta and I have to say, it looks beautiful. But what’s the deal with those cards?! Why are there no classes?! Why are there only two heroes?! Why are there so little AI’s on each team?! It’s silly!
It’s Battlefield 4, only with worse options.
I’m disappointed with it. I really hope that EA is just releasing this one to ‘test the waters’ to see how fanboys react. I still, however, long for the brilliance that would have been Battlefront III with ground-to-space battle transitioning.

Look at Square Enix for example. They create games such as Just Cause 2 and 3, Murdered: Soul Suspect, the new Lara Crofts and that complicated as heck Final Fantasy series. All of which are from thinking outside the box. Heck! In Murdered: Soul Suspect, you are the one solving your own murder! The Just Cause series, as you may or may not know, are open-world games full of explosions, people being flung around with a grapple hook tether thing, explosions, cars being driven off cliffs, explosions, etc. and it is brilliant (I can’t wait for JC3).

Electronic Arts is the sort of company which create an idea and use it for all the games in that category. I bet they sat around a table going through ideas like, “Let’s use the Battlefield 4 system, but let’s change the décor and add laser pistols and tell everyone that it isn’t the same thing…”
So. Here I beg to some company to remake Battlefront II into HD. Just the visuals. Leave the gameplay and missions and stuff alone. Please!