Control Freak

Happy Weekend TAY!

Whew...what a week! It seemed like an extraordinarily long and busy week full of many issues. Thankfully it is over and I have a short respite before I am back in the trenches next week. I hope everyone is gaming this weekend if they can; I know I’ll certainly be trying.

Part of my headache last week was setting up my new Harmony Companion remote. This is the latest line of Logitech’s remotes that now use a hub and transmit over WiFi. Setup was fairly easy but a very lengthy process. After a little bit of initial setup on my PC I was able to use our old iPad 2 for all the remaining programming (and now as an additional remote/keyboard). If you have a newer tablet or phone you don’t even need the PC step at all. Everything was fairly straightforward to get connected to the hub, though I had to use the included IR blaster to make the 360 turn on. I’ve had Harmony universal remotes for a very long time and the new setup system and software is quite a bit different. In the end when I finally wrapped my head around it all, I was quite happy with the results...except for the PS4.

I bought this remote because my old Harmony 880 was on its last legs but also because the ancient 880 could not control the PS4. After doing some research I found that Logitech’s new hub line of remotes were PS4 compatible; it says so right on their website. What they don’t say is that there is very limited functionality for the PS4. App support is all over the place. You can navigate the PS4 dashboard successfully and Netflix seems to work alright with the exception of not being able to fast forward and rewind. Then things fall apart. Blu-ray controls are a mess. I can move around the menus on a Blu-ray but once you start watching it, you have no controls. No stop, play, fast forward, rewind...and NO pause! No pause?! Really? Then what’s the point? I still have to have my PS4 controller close by to use these functions so the purpose of the Harmony remote for the PS4 is lost on me. My other streaming service, Shomi (Canadian), can’t be controlled one bit with the Harmony remote on the PS4. No menu navigation at all.

I think part of the blame is with Sony since they have apparently not released the bluetooth stack to Logitech for compatibility. I suspect this is to bolster sales of Sony’s own remote for the PS4. However, my Harmony remote is for so much more than my PS4. It controls 10 devices in my room with 15 activities and this includes the lights. I simply can’t do all this with Sony’s PS4 remote. Also, it would seem that Sony needs to consolidate controls on the PS4 for application development. Pause should be the same pause everywhere on the system. The fact that some apps are looking for different signals for the same functions points to Sony’s need to unify the ecosystem.

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Logitech certainly isn’t blameless though. When you advertise the PS4 as being compatible with the hub remotes, one assumes that this would apply to all things especially Blu-ray playback. Logitech should denote partial compatibility for the PS4. Also, Logitech has not been very forthcoming to the community about fixes or future solutions.

Without a fix I’m left using the PS4 controller for Blu-ray playback. I could get a PS4 Remote, but it makes little difference to me having the controller or another remote on my table. I would get a standalone 3D Blu-ray player if I had any HDMI ports free, but in the end I’ll just suffer through until I buy an Xbox One for my home theater room and use that for Blu-rays. I could go back to using the PS3, but after using the PS4 the PS3 sounds like a jet engine.

I didn’t have much time to game last week but I did get a few moments with Betrayer. I’m really enjoying it and it seems to enjoy kicking my ass.

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It really is a well designed game. Aside from the amazing atmosphere, I am absolutely loving the gameplay.

Betrayer is all about sound and not for those who don’t enjoy hunting by sound. I imagine you could get away with stereo sound but the game was definitely built for surround sound. Knowing how close and in what direction your enemy is patrolling is crucial for survival.

Everything in the game comes back to sound. You need to be quiet while stalking the enemy. If you are running they will hear you from quite a distance and, since you are standing to run, the enemies will see you from farther away as well. As I said last week, they have very keen eyesight.

Those Specks In The Distance Would Hear You Running

Bows are your stealth weapons. Short bows for fast and close combat, long bows to snipe without revealing your location (though the enemies are pretty smart and they will check out trajectory lines), and the crossbow as your medium range “Mack truck” hit. You can recover your arrows from bodies and try to locate the ones that get deflected or miss altogether. You’ll find you need to do this since ammo is scarce as is the money to buy more.

There are guns as well but they are definitely non-stealth weapons. Muskets for long range with a very long reload time and powerful pistols with less range but quicker reload time. However, like in the real world, firearms are loud. No suppressors here. Firing off a gun will let everyone in a wide area know where you are. These are weapons of last resort or for those instances where it seems everyone has already found you.

Apparently before Blackpowder Games patched Betrayer to include all discoverable items on the map, you would have to search for these via sound as well. They have that Crackdown/Saints Row 4 chime to discoverables that grows increasingly louder as you move towards the object. Normally, I would prefer this to having the items shown on the map but I think including the markers on the map was a good move. These items very often relate to the story so if you miss some you won’t get the full effect of the narrative. Also, the range of the sound for these objects isn’t that wide and the levels are quite large and very open. It would be easy to miss one and trying to find them all would result in a LOT of effort and time. You can still search for them the way the game was initially released as you can turn everything off on the map, but I am comfortable having them on. Plus, did I mention the game is tough? Like evil tough. I love it, but if you don’t have the patience to redo things over and over, then this isn’t for you. I am playing on Hard so maybe Normal is more manageable, but I’ve heard that is fairly rough as well. So, spending lots of time looking around for things can be very taxing on your resources (and your nerves).

I’m totally enthralled though. I don’t know how much I have left, but I imagine I’ll be talking about Betrayer again next week. Definitely recommended for those who enjoy a creepy ass-kicking.

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Hopefully I’ll manage a little time this weekend to revisit Betrayer and get some gaming in with the family. We didn’t get any Rock Band 4 in last week with all the stuff going on.

So, what are you playing this weekend?