Back To The Grind

Happy Weekend TAY!

Whew, what a week! Back to school for the boy, lots of news to read on new PS4 consoles and iPhones (plus exploding Samsung phones), a broken microwave to deal with on a warranty repair, and Dell just let me know I won’t have my laptop back from the repair depot for another two weeks or more...I need a nice quiet weekend.

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With my kid back to school it felt like life had returned to normal, but that generally means less time for fun and games.

I did have the time for a few sessions with Far Cry 4 and I appear to have finally licked my crashing issues with better results. Turns out that only the Nvidia Gameworks’ enhanced godrays were the problem. Somehow I missed this in my first round of setting tests (or a new Nvidia driver changed the issue). Now, with just standard volumetric fog enabled, I am crash free.

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I’m really starting to become enthralled with the different characters and storylines in Far Cry 4. I tend to wander a lot in open world games instead of making a beeline for the main quests. This can often make game narratives somewhat broken with the haphazard way I get around to the story missions. However, this doesn’t seem to be a problem with Far Cry 4 as the writing lends itself to being done in chunks that don’t feel oddly paced no matter when you get to them.

The game just works so well on so many levels. Even the morality choices given to the player are more intricate than the obvious value system of good and evil found in most other games. Do you stand up for women’s rights while helping to distribute heroin to fund your resistance? Or, do you destroy the poison drugs and keep people from becoming addicts while turning a blind eye to the forced marriage of young girls? I find these choices following me outside the game and weighing on my mind. Few games ever do that to me.

(*Spoiler* *NSFW* Partial intro video for Far Cry 4 - Troy Baker as Pagan Min)

Much like Far Cry 3, Ubisoft put a lot of care into the writing and the quality of the voice acting. Far Cry 3 blew me away with the amazing voice work and Michael Mando’s “Vaas” was probably one of the high points in acting for video games, but the overall general caliber of acting in Far Cry 4 is likely even better than its predecessor. With heavyweights such as Troy Baker and Naveen Andrews it is easy to forget you are playing a game; even the bit players seem to have found their voices with great care.

I can’t wait to see what happens next in the story. I have a nagging feeling that I am being played by everyone and I’m loving that I can’t guess what is going to happen next.

I managed a little more Uncharted 2 with my wife last week and continue to be very impressed with the visual upgrades in the PS4 edition. You would be hard pressed not to think this was a modern day offering instead of a game that is soon to celebrate its seventh year anniversary.

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And that’s about all I had time for last week. I’ve finally installed Star Wars: Battlefront on my PC and I’m looking forward to giving that a whirl, but I should put what little time I have into Far Cry 4 when I can. I did play some Rock Band 4 with my family last week and I’m hoping to have time this weekend to try out the new “Five Finger Death Punch”track.

So, what are you playing this weekend?