Category Archives: Gaming

First Two Hours of The Surge

As I noted in my article about Bloodborne, Bloodborne – Frustration Triumph, my very first experience with a Souls like game, was Deck 13 Interactive‘s Lords of the Fallen, “which turned into one of my biggest game purchase regrets ever.” Indeed I was turned off the Souls like games by the experience, but then read that it was a poor example, and I did have a good time with Bloodborne. Despite that poor experience, when I saw they were developing a new Souls like game, The Surge, but based in a sci-fi setting, I still got excited for the possibility. I for one am willing to give a developer several chances to show they can do well, and so the question became, would The Surge impress.

I’ve done a couple hours now. I was out of town for the weekend, and my first day to play it I was busy with a game that’s under NDA (that one will get coverage once it drops), plus I was watching my kids for a few hours, all of which meant not much time yet with it. Still, I have to say, based on the first couple hours, I am far more impressed with this than Lords of the Fallen… it’s in all honestly not as impressive or smooth as Bloodborne was at the same point, but so far I have to say it has been fun. The game doesn’t shortcut and cheat, and mistakes are generally my own, like a proper Souls like game should be.

Here’s a couple of my streams (I’m still working on optimizing the PS4 streams… I have to currently stream from the console itself, so it’s less than ideal setup):
Trying the Surge [PS4] (19 May) This is the first half hour or so, while I was watching the kids, one doing some homework… still it was my first and last chance to play prior to the weekend.
Playing More of the Surge and Dying a Lot [PS4] (21 May) While I was busy most of the weekend, I did get home in time to do a short stream of the game, picking up where I left off before. After the stream, I played for a few minutes more.

So what can I say about it so far? It’s way too early to say too much. It is a fun game, and the combat feels right for the character. The level design is far more complex than say Bloodborne is. I also like the timer on the attempt to get your tech scraps, your currency in The Surge, like Blood Echos in Bloodborne or Souls in Dark Souls. You have a limited time to get back to your money before it goes away.

I really like being able to bank the Tech Scrap as well, so if you have lots of Tech Scrap, you can run back to the base, save it, and not have to spend it yet. This is something I’d love to see in the Souls like games… Bloodborne 2, Code Vein (Japanese site… English site still pending).

I do get frustrated by going back to the base, then leaving and having all the enemies reset, though I think that was the way it was on Bloodborne too, I just can’t remember. I’d probably prefer they only reset if you die, but then that would probably take too much of the challenge away. This is a good time to note your save points seem to be far and few between compared to other games in the genre.

I know from other streams I’ve seen, that the scenery seems too much the same later in the game, but I don’t know if I can fault it too much… yeah, it would be great if it jumped locations, for something new, say from the factory, to another that looked different enough, then perhaps a space station, but I don’t think I’d take too much off for that, and that’s based on what I’ve seen others play, not on my own play experience.

So it it worth it? As I said, I’m only two hours in, so I can’t really judge yet. If you really love Souls games, are interested in the setting, and like what you’ve seen in streams and YouTube videos, then don’t miss out. For everyone else, right now, based on what I’ve played and seen, I’d say, wait for a sale and get it, as it is fun, and makes enough changes to the formula to stand out. Right now on Amazon, The Surge is $60, and I’d say jump on it at $40 on down if the setting suites you, and once it goes under $30, other fans of the genre should jump in… if it goes under $20, then don’t miss it. I’ll obviously have to revise that after I’ve had more time with it, but I’m having fun and I seem to be on track to have near $60 worth of game fun out of it myself. It won’t upset Horizon Zero Dawn for Game of the Year so far… although I have hopes that Destiny 2 might score even higher than Horizon… All of which is sort of beyond the point. It is a good game, and I think Deck 13 has proven that Lords of the Fallen may have been a fluke.

NOTE: In the interest of honesty, I was provided a review code by a PR firm.

Hopelessly Addicted to Oxygen Not Included

You know you are in trouble when you’ve played a game for a couple or few hours after work and now it is a bit after 10 PM and you decide you’ll stop in a minute so you can wrap things up for the night and get ready for work early the next morning, then the next thing you know it is midnight (if not near 1 AM) at now you are going to have just a few hours of sleep, and you are going to regret it in the morning. Such a game is Oxygen Not Included, the newest title from Klei, perhaps most well-known for their Don’t Starve series. The game is coming soon to Steam Early Access (you can get super early access via this Oxygen Not Included thread for $19.99 USD, and price is expected to go higher later, though they haven’t set a price yet).

Oxygen Not Included is a space colony simulator, similar to Rimworld and a couple of others, but with a fun cartoon art style from a 2D platformer perspective. It is early Alpha stage at this point, early even for Steam Early Access (which is why the normal Steam page doesn’t include a way to buy it), but is very playable, and a bit overly addictive. I’ve managed to avoid playing too much the last two nights… never mind that I was out-of-town away from my computer one night and busy with chores the other… Continue reading Hopelessly Addicted to Oxygen Not Included

Bloodborne – Frustration and Triumph

I’ve never played a Dark Souls game, nor Demon Souls, or pretty much any game like it prior to Bloodborne… well, there was a brief flirtation with Lords of the Fallen, which turned into one of my biggest game purchase regrets ever. However, after recently playing the free to play Let it Die on my PS4, and growing interest in the idea of the Souls games, I delved into seeing which game to get, and based largely on the story, I went with Bloodborne.

The result? Lots of F bombs from me to the game. It is a constant frustration to die so often. Going in, I knew this would be the case though, and I’m working on it. So far, I’ve pretty well enjoyed my time in Yharnam. Continue reading Bloodborne – Frustration and Triumph

Conan Exiles – Early Alpha Thoughts

It’s early alpha. Keep in mind it’s early alpha.

FunCom has recently released into Steam Early Access their new survival game, Conan: Exiles. I’ve been trying the beta off and on this weekend (it’s been a busy weekend with Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands (not as overly exciting as I had hoped, but shows promise and I’ll get it on a good sale and I don’t care if it doesn’t have PvP) as well as Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 (okay but buggy on my system), I was hoping to try Decksplash, but didn’t get into that alpha this weekend, and I have the kids this weekend, so a busy weekend.. Anyhow, back to Conan. I’ve dived into the alpha (in the interest of full disclosure, provided by a PR firm, not directly from the developers) a bit off and on this weekend, and so far I have mixed feelings on it. Now note, this is based off a very limited time with the Alpha so far, and later articles may delve deeper.

It’s early alpha, not even beta really, so the bugs and the like, I can deal with for the moment as I’m sure they’ll work out some of the lag issues (from watching streams and the like, it seems the more housing and the like on a server, the more it lags, even if you aren’t near the housing and aren’t rendering them on your client), clipping and other bugs. The server lag is a big problem, and one they are working hard to solve, especially for official servers which went down while they search for better hardware.

The game is very difficult. As in harder than ARK, and this is even on PvE mode, I can’t imagine the nightmare on PvP. Continue reading Conan Exiles – Early Alpha Thoughts

Visiting the Ancient Ruins in Elite Dangerous

When Frontier Developments should a trailer of the new 2.2 Guardians update to Elite Dangerous: Horizons, they showed some ancient ruins. A player managed to figure out where those ruins were from the stars and nebula in the background and triangulated their way to the ruins. How he did that is far beyond me or the scope of this article. I had just arrived at HIP 10716 to get ready to do some Imperial rank grinding (HIP 10716 and Wu Guinagi Imperial Rank grind) and it was only a few hundred light years away, so I decided to hold off on the grind and visit the system. It would be my first time landing on a planet without a station (I’ve done plenty of station landing on planets), and first time using my SRV.

From the featured image above, you can see my SRV looking at an apparent alien obelisk.

I used the Radio Sidewinder Ancient Ruins Visual Guide to help guide to the me where to land once at the system…

As I got near, I decided to stream it. The stream went down a couple times, but I managed to get a couple good highlights in. Continue reading Visiting the Ancient Ruins in Elite Dangerous

My Suggestion for Elite Dangerous PVE Player Griefing

Elite Dangerous is a huge open sandbox MMO. And with open sandbox this usually means player can kill other players. The consequences very from game to game, and right now Elite Dangerous doesn’t do much to punish player killers. There is no PVE server, so many of us PVE players join up with a private PVE group. The other day I was at the ancient artifact grounds (Visiting the Ancient Ruins in Elite Dangerous), and left, but apparently some griefers were out there killing other players in the private PVE group, and this got me thinking that we need a solution in game. Within the groups Facebook page, there was a discussion about a PVE option, and punishments for players who grief PVE players, and that inspired this blog post.

The problem is there is no punishment for griefing players. A small bounty, but that is paid easy enough. In real life you go to jail, and that is where this gets to. Continue reading My Suggestion for Elite Dangerous PVE Player Griefing

Elite Dangerous – Sothis Runs

IMPORTANT NOTE: This works as of 2.1, apparently in the 2.2 beta, Sothis runs have been nerfed. As of this writing, not sure if that will make it to live or not.

One of the easy ways to make money in Elite Dangerous is stacking Sothis runs. I just managed around 11 million in 4 or 5 stops in my Type 6 with 96 T cargo capacity and 18.83 laden jump range. This is not a full guide, just more or less what I do.

Sothis is an outlyng human colony system. From Newholm Station, you can pickup a large number of delivery missions. You do this on a few ways. First I do it via a private group that I’m in. Load up all the far away delivery missions (don’t worry, once you get there, they are all within 2 or 3 jumps of one another… at least on my Type 6) and all the data delivery missions to Ceos. Then log out to the main menu, choose Open and get all the delivery missions (they should be near the others) and data delivery to Ceos… log out again to main menu and go Solo and repeat. This process of getting missions from the Open, Private and Solo is called mission stacking. At this point it probably is best to stay Solo or if you are in a private group, go that way. First I deliver my data to Ceos, which is only 1 jump away, and this nets a good haul from the stacking.

You can only have 20 missions at a time, so if you don’t fill up on delivery missions, you can run data back to Sothis and restack the delivery missions as there usually are more… Also note there are two stations in Sothis, I typically only stack the station closest to the entry point, but I know some people stack both.

Here is a Twitch highlight of me delivering mission stacked data to Ceos. Staring Sothis Runs for Credits – Ceos data drops and notes. Continue reading Elite Dangerous – Sothis Runs

We Happy Few – Preview and Second Look Coming Soon

I recently did a preview (semi early review) of We Happy Few back in late July:

Don’t be a Downer, We Happy Few – Giving We Happy Few a quick look at it’s current Early Access alpha access level. The playable characters aren’t in yet, and most of the story isn’t in yet. Highlight starts after the escape seen in the trailers. I talk near the end of the broadcast a few bits of my early impression thoughts and opinions of the game based on the early alpha (and I was one of the ones who got to show it off early before the official press embargo ended).

That was recorded 27 July 2016, which is why I’m getting ready to do a second look and give a review based on more of what’s in the game as of now (it is still very early access) I think there’s been enough time and enough updates to go back in and check it out… plus the press embargo is long over, so I think it’s time to get an official opinion on the state of the game. So keep an eye on this page… this article will be deleted and a full review will be going up… hopefully in the next week or two, depending on my schedule.

NOTE: We Happy Few was provided via a press contact outside the developer and publisher.

Elite Dangerous – My Real Addition of the Moment

So I’ve given up almost all my other games (save For Honor which I discussed the other day) in pursuit of many hours of Elite Dangerous. I’ve had ED (Elite Dangerous people… come on… grow up..) since early alpha… I dropped a lot to get into the Alpha back when… I want to say 2014. Then I stopped playing for a while… I picked up Planet Coaster by the same developers, but still didn’t jump back in.

Then No Man’s Sky happened. A game that I still don’t own, but did get to play some. The mild disappointment in that got me back into ED Continue reading Elite Dangerous – My Real Addition of the Moment

Checking Out For Honor – Closed Alpha

I was lucky enough to get into the For Honor closed alpha, and decided to stream a little of my first dive in… I quickly forget the basic that the CTRL mode is block and keep trying to remember if there was a special block key for the first few matches.

Anyhow, here’s a few highlights from the broadcast (the featured pic here is from one of those broadcasts which is why it is of lower quality than a pure screenshot, I’ll likely replace that with a straight screenshot later):

Checking out For Honor (Dominion – Player vs AI) – Raider. For Honor closed alpha gameplay. My 1st match of the day, trying out the Viking (Raider) this time.
Checking out For Honor (Dominion – Player vs AI) – Warden. More For Honor closed alpha gameplay, my 2nd match of the day, trying out the Knight (Warden) this time.
Checking out For Honor (Dominion – Player vs AI) – Kensei. More For Honor closed alpha gameplay, my 3rd match of the day, trying out the Samurai (Kensei) this time.
Checking Out For Honor – Brawl (Player vs AI) Mode. I think we were supposed to try one particular hero out in this mode, but it said Not Requited… but perhaps he was chooseable anyhow… I don’t know.

I don’t think I’m ready for a VS player mode yet, and will stick to the VS AI modes… lol.

Not shown in those is hero customization, requiting new heroes and adding goals to gain more in game money.

Anyhow, what do I think? Continue reading Checking Out For Honor – Closed Alpha

Playing and Streaming Elder Scrolls: Legends – Bethesda’s Digital CCG Based on the Elder Scrolls Universe

After the huge success that Blizzard had with Hearthstone, a digital CCG based on the Warcraft universe, we’ve got a couple games that came out based on others. Chronicle, based on the Runescape universe, but with a lot of unique and cool twists that sets it apart from any of the others, that makes it well worth your time to check out. Meanwhile, perhaps one of the biggest RPGs (plus an MMO) out there, Elder Scrolls, has gotten it’s own digital CCG, Elder Scrolls: Legends. This game has a great deal more depth than Hearthstone (which remains a great game), and seems to straddle the line between Magic and Hearthstone near perfectly.

The game has a single player story mode, a solo versus mode, an arena versus mode, and others… I’ve been playing the single player story mode of late on my Twitch channel. Here are the highlights:

Elder Scrolls: Legends – Act 1 Chapters 1 to 8 1:18:55 The whole first act, from here on out I cut highlights by Chapter.
Elder Scrolls: Legends – Act 2 – Chapter 9 15:45
Elder Scrolls: Legends – Act 2 – Chapter 10 21:05
Elder Scrolls: Legends – Act 2 – Chapter 11 25:49
Elder Scrolls: Legends – Act 2 – Chapter 12 10:44
Elder Scrolls: Legends – Act 2 – Chapter 13 26:10
Elder Scrolls: Legends – Act 2 – Chapter 14 16:01

Unfortunately I don’t have any keys to give out.

Endless Legend Has a New Must Have DLC … or at Least Strongly Suggested

Endless Legend made my 2014 PC Games of the Year list, and would have scored higher than honorable mention if I didn’t suck at the game so much. It is much better than Civilization, but harder.

They recently released a new DLC, Shifters, which adds a new Major faction, Allayi, which make use of a new resource, Pearls which can have an influence on future winters if you build an Altar of Auriga and use it to pray, using more Pearls to cast an influence on the next winter. Some buildings and equipment also use Pearls to build.

The Allayi are a nice addition to the races. Continue reading Endless Legend Has a New Must Have DLC … or at Least Strongly Suggested

A Few Gigantic Highlights

I recently got to stream Gigantic, while it was still under NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) for most players/streamers. I also created a video, but the stutter in that video is even worse than the Division one so I decided not to use it. So I’ll link the 4 highlights I made that weekend instead. A huge thanks to Motiga for allowing me to stream it a weekend early. Needless to say, the fact I got to do that, even if it was only one weekend early, got put into my  My Noted Past In Gaming post.

I can’t embed these as a bug in either the Twitch player and/or WordPress makes them autoplay:

First Game of Gigantic in 5 or so Months

Gigantic Fun With Gigantic

By Far Not the Best Gigantic Player Out There

Finally a Gigantic Victory

My Division Video is Up

So there’s a new game coming out March 8th called, Tom Clancy’s The Division (pre-order/order Tom Clancy’s The Division via Amazon) for which I’ve been in mixed excitement and trepidation on. After playing a bit of it when it was in closed beta… got to say I’m more excited for it now.

I won’t go on and on about it in this post, and rather leave it to the video here for details (the video had far more stutter than usual, sorry, I must have goofed my OBS settings):

I’ve also got a Twitch highlight that follows it up (I can’t embed it, as it autostarts… even with autostart turned off, a bug Twitch hasn’t fixed yet, though it seems to be more a WordPress ignoring the setting thing, hard to tell): http://www.twitch.tv/jonathanstrangebt/v/39732910

TLDR: The Division rocks, get it. Follow the link above to buy it… and watch the video. 🙂

New Homeworld Game Out Very Soon

Eons ago, I played a little game called Homeworld. It was an amazing RTS game, and ages later I still recall the theme. Then a few years ago we started hearing of a little game called Shipbreakers (it’s gone by a few names, but that was the main one that I recall once it started getting big attention) from some of the original Homeworld people. Then the original Homeworld property went up for sale in a bankruptcy… and then we got Special Editions for the original game and Homeworld 2…. and soon Shipbreakers was an official Homeworld game.

Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak tells the story immediately before the events of Homeworld. As one can tell from the name, there it takes place in the desert of the planet the original game takes place. So gone is the full 3D aspects, but the rich RTS aspects still appear to be there. If you don’t have the original Homeworld games in their remastered forms, the pre-order of Deserts includes those.

Fists of Heaven is featuring a contest to giveaway a copy of Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak. It is one of those Gleem social media entry types. While the discount for the game is pretty nice for those of us who already have the remastered Homeworld games… I think I’ll give that a go first… especially as my poor brain normally isn’t any good at RTS games and why spend money to feel stupid if you can feel stupid for free? Lol. 🙂

My First Overwatch Video

Well, I managed to get some video footage that I was able to cut a video from. My personal account still isn’t flagged yet… cough… hint… Blizzard… cough.. so this is probably the only video I’ll be able to do until such time.

It’s mostly an introduction to the game, some thoughts and opinions on a few controversial subjects in the community.  No real new information for those who’ve been following the game.

I also tried to convert my script to closed captions for the first time…

The Museum Director’s Day – An Overwatch Fan Fiction

What follows is a bit of fan fic I wrote for Overwatch. It’s nothing overly great and was done way too quick (less than 1 1/2 hours counting editing)… but it is a stepping stone to something I have in mind for later. As of original posting the ending is far too rushed a bit to deus ex machina… And yeah, I inserted myself, but all other characters outside the official Overwatch universe ones are not based on anyone else (no inflated or busted egos out there).

I should perhaps note that I normally don’t write fan fic (heck, I haven’t really written much fiction on perhaps 30 years)… as may become obvious. Lol. Also there are a few lore errors here and there, which would likely not be in the main story.

The Museum Director’s Day

An Overwatch fan fic
By Brian A Thomas

“It’s been nearly a year since the events that initiated the museum renovation.” Brian paused, the audience at home was now watching clips of Reaper and Widowmaker’s attempt to steal the gauntlet. He was standing not far off from the gauntlet itself, he found himself wondering once again what would have happened had they succeeded. What if Winston hadn’t caught wind of the plan and asked Tracer to come and help? The battle outside the museum caused more damage than that inside, though it was the footage inside that everyone remembered. Continue reading The Museum Director’s Day – An Overwatch Fan Fiction

The Overwatch Salt

A very vocal portion of the Overwatch fan base is all upset how the only people Blizzard let in is a few Twitch streamers and YouTubers, and left everyone else out. They are salty about it. But when one takes a moment to really think it through, there is no reason for all the salt. The salt drives more crazy than the lack of access.

This happens with every Blizzard beta

In a few months when it is no longer super high on Twitch’s rankings, people will start crying how the sky is falling on the Overwatch hype train, and amazingly enough nobody they know is in… I’ve covered before how this happened with The Sky is Falling on the Heroes of the Storm Hype Train, and I can already tell that in a few months we’ll be in the same spot with Overwatch. It had the same hype, and the same salt and accusations that were unfairly leveled at Blizzard that we see happening all over again.

The content creator’s are the only ones in fallacy

This is the most often cited problem. The one that causes the most salt.

Yes. Blizzard did flag some Streamers and YouTubers. Perhaps or even likely a few hundred. That doesn’t mean they are the only ones let in. I’d wager that the number of content creators let in is probably a 10% of the total people let in. Even if it’s as much as 20%, it’s a small percentage overall. There is no NDA, so yes, they are going to push for Streamers and the like first to help get free advertising for the game.  Continue reading The Overwatch Salt

In Defense of the Overwatch Museum Security Guard

There is a point in the Overwatch Cinematic Trailer (trailer below, screenshot moment as the featured image here) where amidst the battle going on in the museum, it cuts to a scene where we see the security guard playing a game of Hearthstone rather than doing his duty. It is an additional funny moment in the trailer, playing not only off the old joke of security guards not paying attention to that which they are supposed to secure, but also an inside joke at Blizzard‘s other game (for those not in the know, both Overwatch and Hearthstone are Blizzard games).

I am here today to defend the honor of that security guard. Continue reading In Defense of the Overwatch Museum Security Guard