Tuesday, September 25, 2018

.Wolfenstein: The Old Blood Review

WARNING: To anyone that is reading this in Germany, this might be censored.

What was originally going to be an expansion DLC to The New Order, Wolfenstein: The Old Blood got built up as a stand alone game. It's result in May of 2015 was one that had a bit of praise. Once again with MachineGames developing, it's more of the same single player action. It's still good, but not as strong as its predecessor.

Set before The New Order, Old Blood is set in early 1946. The Allies are losing the war and Helga Von Schabbs has a folder containing the location of General Wilhelm Strasse at Castle Wolfenstein. B.J. Blazkowicz and Agent One must get it to plan an assault and stop the war from getting worse. More or less, it's their own version of Return to Castle Wolfenstein, but with their own timeline. Things don't go as planned and B.J. must survive to get the Allies a much needed victory. Obviously, it doesn't come close to what the previous game did, but not every game needs a story. Still, there is some development and a decent cast of characters that B.J. surrounds himself around.

Nothing changed in terms of gameplay. It's still that same love letter to the 90s and 2000s. Just like before, there is exploration and a number of secrets similar to Wolfenstein 3D and Doom. It also retains the one man army and objective based ideas of Goldeneye and Medal of Honor along with some new school ideas from Wolfenstein 2009 and Bioshock. There are eight levels, but very expansive and complex as you go through parts of Germany. The focus on single player is still MachineGames' bread and butter, so no multiplayer.

I didn't notice much of a change in the graphics, but it's still nice for an early release. It's more the little details and with the focus on newer hardware and no older tech (was not on PS3 and 360), you can notice finer details on the characters and areas. Just some of the outdoor areas are breathtaking and nice to get a look at. The audio is more or less the same. It's music is part orchestra and part rock depending on your scenarios.  Voice acting is top notch and the accents are very real. Doesn't seem fake. Both facets are still given a lot of care.

Like New Order, Old Blood doesn't have a huge variety of weapons, but each one has its use. It's more old school like Medal of Honor as you don't have any laser type weaponry. Dual wielding is still a part of the fun. The knife still has its use along with the grenades. Unlike most games, it has a good balance between stealth and action, and they give you an equal amount of both aspects. The focus there is bigger. As before, there perks to what you can do during the game, as well as trophy and achievement support.

Brought back is the health system where there are plenty of health pickups, regeneration, and armor. Overcharge returns, but unfortunately, there is no small upgrades. They offer one upgrade perk, but that's it. As with the series, an emphasis on treasure is present. The same can be said with concept art and letters. No enigma stuff, but there are challenges to get medals, adding to a bit of replay value. More or less, the level design has the same ideas. It's linear, but there is a bit of freedom to explore in the areas combined with having strategies for different kinds of Nazis.

There wasn't a huge spike in difficulty, but it had a few more cheap moments compared to New Order. Outside of the story, (which that can be forgiven) the only major complaints I have is trying to fight off a handful of enemies at once and their constant throwing of grenades. The armor still has some problems, but it's not as bad. Anyway, this is still a fun game. Old Blood may not be like The New Order, but it still has some good satisfaction in gameplay and still retaining what made the Wolfenstein games excellent.

Score: 7 out of 10

Thursday, September 20, 2018

PlayStation Mini?

Plug and plays have been popular for a very long time. Even with system ones such as Atari Flashback and Sega Genesis Classic. Nintendo has thrown their hat in the last few years with their NES and SNES ones. Sony is the next to join in on what was announced with a PlayStation Classic. What is happening?

Sony knows the nostalgia fad is a huge deal now and is attempting their own take of it with their very first system, which will turn 24 in December. Speaking of which, it is set to come out on the third of that month(it's debut in Japan back in 1994) for a hundred dollars. Set with two controllers and 20 games, it is an opportunity and a risk they are willing to take. As far as 3D gaming goes, this particular generation is not easy for many to get back into primarily on graphics and maybe controls that weren't top notch.

The very few titles that got mentioned include Final Fantasy VII and Tekken 3, huge sellers for their time. I'm sure the rest will be announced sometime the end of this month or early October. They got some good choices right now, but how the rest pans out is up to them. It's a nice way to celebrate a phenomenal system that had a nice library.

This is a big chance. I do believe this will perform very well and keep the fad going for a while. It's always nice when there's some good competition, even with these Minis.

Here is stuff The Verge said about it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

A Rarity of NFL Ties

Prior to 2012, the last time there was an NFL tie was in 2008 with the Philadelphia Eagles and the Cincinnati Bengals. Since then, there have been seven that have become ties. The most recent being this past Sunday with the Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Vikings. It wasn't their first rodeo together since they experienced it in 2013. Is it really that big of a problem? I don't think so.

If anything, it's just pure, dumb luck with this one and the game with the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers. People probably said the same thing a couple years ago when the Bengals and Washington Redskins tied when the week before that was the Arizona Cardinals and the Seattle Seahawks. It happens. There isn't a simple explanation for why these happen. I kind of agree that the shortened time could lead to more ties, but it gives them an extra incentive to try for that touchdown rather than go for the field goal.

It's not like these teams are not giving up. Look at all the missed field goals. There's a reason why Minnesota cut their kicker and decided to sign Dan Bailey, one of the most accurate kickers. Being in a dome will help him greatly as their kicking game in the franchise's tenure has cost them in games that mattered. Tangent aside, teams are doing whatever is necessary. More than likely we're not going to see another tie. If it does happen again, we'll see what is in store from fans and critics.

Ties are not disappearing anytime soon, but it's not going to wind up being five or six ties a year like it was before overtime rules came into play during the mid 70s.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Moonves Ass Out Of CBS

Being in charge of a major network gives someone like Les Moonves a lot of important decisions to make. It also gives him access to potentially tons of funds and anything at his disposal. What wouldn't help were the stories of sexually harassing certain workers. With that, it's why he's been kicked out of the network recently by his own board.

So what does that mean, then? I see a lot of change coming to CBS as a whole. There might be stuff a new CEO might have different thoughts on compared to Moonves. It means that there could be other stories regarding other workers, something that has been shown in the firing of 60 Minutes producer Jeff Fager Either way, the network is in a huge bind and it's tough for the people who have worked their for years to have a question on why it happened and why he did this. Whatever they do, they better find their solutions.

In terms of Moonves, he may not ever work a job again. Not to mention a possible strained marriage with wife Julie Chen. Chen has worked with CBS in its news programs and the show Big Brother, but in recent years has done The Talk. That show I think is an excuse for her to still be on TV all the time. Despite my opinion, it can't be easy on her hearing all these allegations. A 14 year marriage with a son doesn't help either along with being outcast. I think she would bounce back with another job, but that stigma of being associated with a harasser may haunt her for the rest of her life.

When it's all said and done, CBS at some point will be completely different. The way they approach things, both with shows and their internal staff, will be the focal points in whatever their new CEO does. There is no redemption for Moonves. A dark cloud will be over his head until he is dead.

YouTube Videos Sep 7-13

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Bratty Tennis Bitch

I don't really follow tennis, but at least I know a handful of players who have played or are playing. One of those examples is the Williams sisters, Venus and Serena. The latter could be considered one of the greatest to have played the sport and maybe of all time. That is great and all, but she has been known for some pretty big meltdowns in the biggest matches. This one has taken the cake for the worst.

From what I understand, there were points in the match where Williams was penalized a few times. After the last one where I believe she was docked a game, she went on this big tirade about being treated differently and that the judge umpire was a thief, which netted her a huge fine. Regardless, she lost to 20 year old Naomi Osaka. Unfortunately, this first for Japan and Haitian descents was overshadowed by that outburst.

I've seen other sports where athletes have been hard to deal with. Look at Terrell Owens. Even though he got into the Hall of Fame, he was not someone critics wanted to be around because of his attitudes. It's not the first time Serena has even had these outbursts. And she created the sexism issue herself. It's her own fault. But I also have a few theories of why the outburst came.

One is the high standard. I have no doubt she continues to put the efforts in to keep playing at a high level despite her age.  Two is that she can be very feisty with it. There was those two times she went after an official, though the second time, she wasn't as bad with her meltdown. That being said, she does come off as a sore loser and that things didn't go her way. I don't blame tennis crew members for wanting to boycott her matches. Although it is very rare unless there's other outbursts since the late 90s, there is a fear of getting bitched at. Of course, you got defenders at her side. Even twats like J.K. Rowling speaking their thoughts, especially with that Australian cartoon, which I even admit comes off a little racist despite the message to it.

The title of this blog could be a name I could associate Williams with if she has another one or two of these outbursts. Some of the big named athletes throughout the world can be given a chance to blow some steam. This latest one, however, should not have happened. Blow steam, but not create a new issue in itself. It's all on her.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Mortal Kombat Overview/Review

September of 1993 brought in huge hype for the port of Mortal Kombat to the home market. It was an institution in the arcades the year before and was more for its graphics and violence compared to Street Fighter II. With its release on the 13th known as Mortal Monday, it showed up on the SNES, Sega Genesis, Game Boy, and Game Gear. Within the next year, it was on the Sega Master System in Europe, DOS computers, Amiga, and the Sega CD. I'll have my thoughts on the SNES and Genesis versions.

All versions followed the same story as the arcade. The seven fighters all have their reasons for being in Shang Tsung's tournament. As far as intros, at least the computer versions retain the stuff the arcade had. Windows 3.1 and the Amiga were very capable of doing a lot more compared to home consoles.

With that in mind, graphics outside of the computer versions had to be toned down. If we're digging into the 16-bit ones, the SNES version was mostly accurate. A little toned, but it was there. Animations were very strong. The Genesis suffered from the color palette, but was decent on its own. Its animations were minimal. Audio, the computers and Sega CD version were in touch with the arcade, especially on computers. The SNES version was more accurate, but was very quiet and didn't have that oomph that the arcade had at times. On the Genesis, it was more lively and felt more action like. Everything except the Genesis handled sound effects and voices with strong efforts.

The emphasis for Mortal Kombat was on the blood and fatalities. It has the basic moves that most fighters had. You had to fight everyone including yourself, a few endurance matches and then the final bosses. With the SNES port, the controls were a little sluggish, but it wasn't unplayable. It took some time and once you got the hang of it, you could do some damage. Regarding the Genesis, it was a bit smoother despite the limited animations. There wasn't any lag or anything.

If I'm going to put a knock into those two ports, it's the very high difficulty. Even on easy, you will have problems. At least the SNES version allows for infinite continues. Of course, we can't talk about that one without mentioning the censorship. That was dumb on Nintendo's part.

If you're looking for a port of the original, it can go either way. The arcade version itself may still be on PS3 and 360 if you're looking for that.  Mortal Kombat has its place in both success and controversy. It wasn't a slouch back then, but may change depending on your tastes in fighting games and the series.

Genesis: 6.5 out of 10      SNES: 6.5 out of 10

Monday, September 10, 2018

Lowly Tie

If you're the Pittsburgh Steelers, this should be a travesty in itself. Facing the Cleveland Browns should have been a walk in the park somewhat. Instead, they let them comeback and not only tie the game, but end the game in a tie.

For one thing, do not blame this on Le'Veon Bell. James Connor put up one hell of a game that totaled almost 200 scrimmage yards and a touchdown. The defense put up their effort, particularly one T.J. Watt with four sacks. Ben Roethlisberger had the awful game with three interceptions despite over 300 yards passing. More than likely, that was what got Cleveland back in.

On the other side, Tyrod Taylor was abysmal in accuracy, but the ground game is what got him and Carlos Hyde to score. Jarvis Landry is one guy Miami might regret trading away if he has games like he had this week. The defense did not give up. For rookie Denzel Ward to get his first two picks ever off of one of the great quarterbacks, it says a lot for not just him, but for the team.

Pittsburgh has it tough facing Kansas City for Week 2. Although they beat them in the playoffs two seasons ago and the regular season last year, they were tight match ups. Dealing with Tyreek Hill is their most concerning issue. Cleveland goes to New Orleans, who laid an egg against Tampa Bay and backup Ryan Fitzpatrick. I see Drew Brees getting the victory and the winless streak continuing for the Browns. Ultimately, Pittsburgh should be ashamed of having this as, although it's just the first week, it could be a huge factor in whether they are a postseason team or not.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

A Conspiracy Ban

This didn't surprise me at all. Twitter and Apple have decided they have had enough of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his InfoWars show. Now, he is banned from those two sites. More than likely, it was because of his behavior and attitude at times when it comes to subjects.

I think this was a move that was coming sooner or later. Certainly, Jones has the right to say whatever he wants, but some of the stuff he says do not help his case. That Sandy Hook lawsuit is still going unless something changed. His fights against companies and Senators lately have probably been a huge factor in his banning. Whether this is an act, I don't know.

We live in a completely different era now from what it was in 2001 when Jones said conspiracies about September 11th. The Internet was a unique animal during that time period and still somewhat new. Now these days, companies can keep eye on what people like him do and take action when necessary.  The writing was on the wall. It was only a matter of when to ban.

Jones will find some way to stay relevant, though. He's not going to leave, no matter how much a lot of people want him to.

.Wolfenstein: The Old Blood Review

WARNING: To anyone that is reading this in Germany, this might be censored. What was originally going to be an expansion DLC to The New Or...