2019.03.16

Video game console stock art Nintendo XBox Genesis

Last month's journeys were followed by an early March trip out to the east coast, so suffice it to say I've been happy to spend some time in the man cave.

Cracked screen Nexus 6 rip

I manage to punctuate the trip by flinging my Nexus 6 under Jessica's car while shuffling my things getting out of the Lyft. Goodnight sweet prince. Really, it's done pretty well for a phone I started using in 2015.

I had a pretty good cadence of PC uploads, so there wasn't much to do before kicking off a factory reset. The one leftover thing was to pull SMSes. This wasn't particularly straightforward since the data is in /data/... which is System read only (phone wasn't rooted). It's been a bit since I did serious adb-ing, but painfully the answer simply seemed to be to install an SMS backup app that would export the data to a readable directory.

Naturally, the app wanted to sign in to gdrive and probably upload my stuff to their site. Hopefully doing the process offline, removing the app, and then factory resetting the phone prevented this.
Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G

Nikon D700 50mm f14 lens hood

Since pretty much always, my favorite lens has been the 50mm f/1.8. It's compact, fast, and handles low light very well. Because of this, I've always had an eye on the f/1.4. Now I have it.

Zwarktop flowering

I haven't played around with it much, but there are a few photo events coming up. Just taking it around the yard to see how it handles (Kafka was curled up in some low light), I have a few brief takeaways:
Far Cry finale

FarCry 5 father hostages screenshot cinema

J and I got to the end of FC5. The last bit was about what you'd expect: a somewhat difficult mission where none of the gear you've collected particularly helps. The story ending, however, was pretty interesting. I won't ruin it, but I like that they went for a bit of controversy.

FarCry 5 community content western shooter

We did stop in to Far Cry Arcade - their name for the mode where you play community-generated maps. I always liked the map editor/publishing feature of Far Cry and feel that maybe we didn't play this quite enough. But we did very much enjoy the top rated stuff, the western-theme scenario pictured above and the Last of Us-inspired map.

Fortuna

Warframe Fortuna dialogue Taxmen

As we've done for some years now, J and I played a bit of Warframe between main games. It works out pretty well considering the pretty constant development that the game undergoes.

Warframe Fortuna intro weird singing video

We've actually only once stopped by Fortuna - the new area/open world that's introduced by a characteristically weird video.

Warframe Octavia final battle screenshot Mirage

I finally finished the Octavia storyline. The finale was clever but rather frustrating. Jumping puzzles are fair game in Warframe, but can still be rather painful.


And beyond that, there are riven mods to unveil and Mirage Primes to (at last) build. The Wolf of Saturn Six event has been a great way to pull down nitain extract and I'm hoping to unlock gear slots before it finishes. Also new to us is Arbitration missions: high level alerts with 300% bonuses to random gear. It's pretty neat for people that have been collecting items and frames for a few years now.
Apex Legends

Apex Legends pistol RE 45

The lolbaters and even J and I played a little bit of Apex Legends. It has a lot going for it, but it didn't really catch on. I must say though, if I never again play a game with hero selection I will be a happy man.

Apex Legends login failure

To play it on PS4, however, I needed to ask EA to unban my account. Seems when I had bought Andromeda for PC and then, due to a compatibility issue, requested an immediate refund that was never fulfilled my chargeback meant I was blacklisted.

To their credit, EA quickly unlocked my account and told me not to do chargebacks any more. I could have sent them the case I sent Discover with screenshots of the unanswered support cases, but decided it wasn't worth my time.
Vermintide II

Vermintide 2 bridge of shadows screenshot Gdude420

So J and I are maining Vermintide II.

Vermintide 2 wizard

As many real reviews will probably quickly say, it's L4D2 with swords. Like, pretty identical: 4up squads, swarms of baddies, surges, specials (duplicates of hunters and smokers and tanks). And it's a very good formula to start with...

Vermintide 2 loadout equipment

... because they add character classes, items, crafting, specials, and a host of other mechanics that tend to work in any game. Also it has the typical well-thought-out but unapproachable fantasy storyline.


So you end up with a product that is quite enjoyable but not a revelation. One place they really could have put some work is the graphics. The level design and variety is simply not done justice by the low poly counts and flat lighting.
Payday 2

Payday 2 animal mask squad except Racecar

On the lolbaters side, we're giving Payday 2 a try.

Payday 2 curset kill room Bains plan kill kill kill load screen

Squad co-op with lots of content and progression makes the game very promising. The stealth and cerebral elements may be... challenging for us, and it doesn't help that the briefings tend to be fairly vague.

Payday 2 screenshot

The game feels like something of a sandbox, so I'm expecting really cool mission design. My only criticism is that instead of sending a few competent enemies at you, they send swarms of really dumb ones. It feels like L4D2 but instead of zombies who you'd expect to run at you or not be aware that you're standing right behind them, you have SWAT pouring in and using the dumbest of AI rules.
Gloomhaven

Gloomhaven Quartermaster solo scenario

Due to travel obligations all around, The Unnatural Ones have made slow progress on the Gloomhaven campaign. I did manage to finish the quartermaster (Marcus Kinkaide) solo in my first try. The infinite-range utility belt looks rather useful.

Gloomhaven Utility Belt item card
Dog

Se7en reference weimaraner knows the answer spoilers

Happily, Kafka is back to his old self after a protracted period of convalescence.