Another variant, another Far Cry, another Cowboy Bebop, another L4D, another Nioh, another Mass Effect. Oh yeah, and I mentioned all of them last month
. (What I'm saying is my post title is totally on point.)
Cowboy Bebop, final take
Initial discussion here
, I finished the series and was pretty happy with it until the finale
The Scratch episode was good, kind of Star Trek-y, and has an interesting take on the Spike-Julia relationship. The out-of-control AI trope has a little more intrigue than the standard Skynet/HAL situation. The only problem, the anime episode was far better
Stuff with spoilers
Vicious continued to be incompetent
and not really very vicious. What's more, his uncertain intentions in the anime have been replaced with an obsession with killing Spike.
The Julia rewrite, wow. Not a good wow. I guess Netflix wanted to give Julia and Vicious screen time so she needed to feel like Spike abandoned her? Spike chasing a ghost seemed a lot more poetic.
Maybe Netflix writers just decided to let the chicken choose their plot twist.
And while in the anime Spike meets his end like the protagonist in many westerns, Netflix wanted that second season money
. Except they just canceled it.
Far Cry 6
Mine and J's Far Cry 6 co-op campaign is going pretty well. We escaped the prologue island and have almost recruited two squabbling influencers
in an effort to overthrow a cruel despot - kind of a reverse-Borderlands 3.
Yeah, that's one of them, trying to get a "zebra" picture for social media because that will unite Cub-ah, the island nation of Yara
. But let me rewind.
Far Cry has always been about interesting, eccentric, Bond-like villains
. FC6 gives us Anton Castillo, who appears to be your standard banana republic tyrant, but for three things:
- He is in control of a revolutionary cancer treatment and has decided to export it everywhere except the US.
- Early in the game he gives a pretty fiery interview with western media that's pretty well written.
- He seems to be intent on raising his son to be his successor and the kid really doesn't want to have any of it.
Juan Cortez reading the classics.
Even more awesome is Juan Cortez, the semi-retired revolutionary with a pet crocodile named Guapo. Influencers aside, the FC6 cinematics have been far more interesting than most of the content on streaming services
Like its predecessors and Ubisoft peers, FC6 has an endless list of things to do and tinker with
. Inventory, mods, vehicle capture, side missions, towers... Every hundred meters have some thing to do that gives you incremental progress toward a goal or unlockable. It's not all bad - they're lightweight tasks (unlike Skyrim caves) that you can ignore if you get bored of them. But then, is destroying zillions of propaganda billboards and rescuing the same hostage really all that satisfying?
It's a little from Column A, a little from Column B. Another example, way back in the day, GTA added a garage feature where you could store your Diabla and retrieve it for a mission requiring fast wheels
. That was neat and all, but annoying if your hard-earned car suffered terminal damage as you were backing out of the driveway. On the flip side, being able to spawn any car at any time is just kinda cheap. FC6 allows you to steal and save vehicles (e.g. a tank) at your guerilla camp and then spawn them later as many times as you like. It's a neat, optional, middle-of-the-road mechanism for incremental progression.
While climbing towers for lootables is sometimes a chore, the series mainstay of capturing strongholds is undeniably fun
. You case the joint with your cellphone camera, getting permanent(!) visibility of the guards that you highlight. Then you choose one of numerous stealth paths in (parachute, wingsuit, swimming), or you just kick in the door with a tank and try to get to the alarm before they do.
A variation on these is the anti-aircraft emplacements. The AA guns serve both to deny airspace to our hero (thereby dialing back the value of aircraft) and to provide a lightweight stronghold that you can either stealth or simply blast with a long-range tank shot.
The internet and The Fast and the Furious have convinced me that it's true that Cuba has a ton of pre-blockade American cars still in use
. Yara's vehicle scene is cut from the same cloth, though the guerillas have added a few mods that don't come from the Mopar catalog.
I think FC5 had this, but it's certainly nice to be able to summon a combat-ready Buick Riviera with a quick menu command
It might look like J is smuggling some pipes in the above screenshot, this is a 'Supremo' special weapon
that Juan assembles once you have the right materials. This one fires homing rockets that are one of the only early-game defenses against helicopters.
FC6 was probably built for PS4 and PS5 so I didn't have high expectations for the graphics. After a claustrophobic prologue with some interesting lighting effects, landing on the beach was visually pretty impressive.
TLDR: FC6 has everything I expect from the series
and it's fairly fresh since I don't play a lot of AAA titles. My major gripe? On my mental health day off I got the hankering to do some level design, perhaps Rainbow Road 2.0
. Guess who dropped support for their (previously very good) level editor
Dani Rojas, revolution is life.
Back 4 Blood, campaign completion
The lolbate squad finished out the B4B campaign (on easy). Unlike L4D, the game ends with a neat final boss battle
that I'll talk about at the end of this section (in case you want to be surprised).
With some more hours in the game, my card set has increased significantly
. I built decks for each weapon type and for weak point DPS. I can see where this mechanic would open the door to advanced play with squad roles.
The campaign was pretty good but lacked some of the memorable moments
that made L4D2 so good. The developers also seemed to try to duplicate the humor/banter between the L4D2 survivors but really fell short. Normal difficulty is surprisingly difficult, but that might be our next run.
Major gripe? It looks like there will be no community content (maps)
for this game because there is no support for a level editor.
The Abomination (boss spoilers)
Designing a good boss battle isn't easy
. It needs to be able to sponge bullets. It needs to be powerful, but not impossible - so it needs to have complex attack patterns and/or require that the user minmax their build.
Of course, there's nothing wrong with an unconventional finale like racing the clock in a Warthog or convincing pre-final-form-Saren that he should off himself. But those are the exceptions that prove the rule; a final boss needs to not be to the rest of its game what GoT season 8 was to seasons 1-6
The Abomination is a three-stage battle (neat) that was a lot easier when my team maxed out weak point damage
and carried pipe bombs. On higher difficulty, assigning a crowd control role might have helped as well. The breakdown:
- Blast four pattern-attack tentacles in their weak spots while keeping a few waves of zombies at bay.
- Shoot the Abomination in the tonsils while avoiding nastier tentacle swipes and still shooting zombies. This is the hardest phase.
- Chase the Abomination through some pretty cool tunnels, shooting its four weak points and fighting off not-as-many zombies. This phase isn't so bad if you know where the weak points are and avoid getting insta-downed by incidental contact from the big guy.
I haven't gotten much ME3 in, but recently picked up some fetch quests from Victus and a bunch of people on the Citadel
. I'm going to keep repeating it. Uniting the galaxy via favors would have made a lot more sense if it didn't start as the reapers besieged Earth and Palaven.
Nioh 2 complete-ish
In case you didn't believe my statement
, "Then fought our bff's bride on their wedding day (she's a large house with an eye and numerous very large tentacles)."
So we beat the Tokichiro zombie and his Raiden-lookalike boss
. That left us with a couple more solo missions, including fighting(?) Kelley, the protagonist from the first Nioh. We'll call it done.
A Party Has No Name
After just barely beating (on hard) several early quests, the Ritchie bros party has fallen on the losing side of some close outcomes
. Happily, it's been more motivating than discouraging.
Nothing too crazy here - we had a big dip and a big pump in the recent weeks. Jon
timed it pretty well selling some TQQQ puts and then dumping the shares after assignment.
This was kind of fun:
- Buy OIH (via cash secured put) with a cost basis of $181.
- Monday morning, with OIH at $188 and the potential for more red, sell an ITM $183 call for a few hundo.
- If OIH stays ITM, I'm out with some profit. If OIH dips a bunch, I keep the premium and am holding at a decent entry price.
Theta gang. Normally I'm selling OTM calls (or bag holding SPACs like CRSR, LZ, and SOFI), so selling one ITM but still above entry is nice
Looks like Amazon is going to take a hard fall due to its services being down
I have a new favorite intentially-incorrect idiom, "Blimp on the radar"
. See ya later, "Bowl in a china shop".