Sympathetic Sickness

Happy Weekend TAY!

Last week was an unfun time for me and my computer. I was down at the beginning of the week with something akin to the flu without the cold symptoms. As I was finally recovering on Wednesday, my computer decided to continue the sickness.

My PC has always been a little finicky and I’ve never been able to nail down what the issue is. However, this time all signs seemed to point to my SSD being faulty (though it passes all tests with flying colours). It is a fairly old 120GB SSD, so replacing it with a 250GB SSD wasn’t seeing me well up with tears. I game off the SSD for maximum performance, so the extra room will now allow me to have more than one large game installed at a time (the SSD is also my drive with Windows 10 on it). I performed the very minor surgery on the PC yesterday and things seem to be in a good place now. I’m curious to see if all my PC woes on this 5 year old machine were attributed to a bad SSD. Time will tell I guess.

With both of us down last week, I had little time to play much of anything. Though, I did manage to wrap up one game and start another.

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I finally gave up on Fallout: New Vegas. I completed the Old World Blues DLC (fantastic!) and started some of the other DLC, but my heart just wasn’t in it anymore. I have trouble with RPGs as a general rule and it is hard for me to push through many of them. All the talking, reading, and inventory management really wears on me. I have great respect for people who can thoroughly read all messages and talk to all the people that they come across in RPGs without skimming or skipping large portions of the information. I just don’t have the temperament for it. For me gaming is more about my ability to be a good jockey and how well I can push my reactions. Some RPGs have the action aspects that I like, but it is the other slower parts and mechanics of the genre that turn me off.

I had already seen the end of the vanilla Fallout: New Vegas and only purchased the DLC for some of the mods that required files from the additional content. I’m happy to leave things as they are since I wouldn’t have purchased the DLC if I didn’t use the mods. I had a good time with Fallout: New Vegas and it was a better experience for me than Fallout 3, but I definitely prefer The Elder Scrolls series to Fallout.

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With New Vegas under my belt, it was time to move on to the eagerly anticipated Far Cry 4.

I’m loving the little I’ve played so far, despite the crashing. The game seems to be humming along just fine with no performance issues at all and then BOOM, it crashes to a black screen which requires a reboot of the whole PC as I am unable to get the Windows Task Manager to come to the front over the black screen. There seems to be no rhyme or reason for the crashing, sometimes I can play for hours before a crash and other times I get only 20 minutes. I haven’t had a lot of time to investigate the issue, but it dampens the fun somewhat.

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I loved Far Cry 3, though I had major problems with how easy the whole experience turned out. I feared a similar issue with Far Cry 4, so I took some steps to make it tougher right from the start.

I turned off the reticle, though I do this in most games that let me aim down the sights of a gun. This of course makes shooting from the hip much tougher, as it should be.

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Next, I turned off the Detection Meter. This is the indicator that tells you how long you have to break line of sight with an enemy before they identify you as a threat. I find these meters redundant since the enemies themselves give you enough feedback in most games of this type to let you know if they’ve spotted or identified you. Using my ears and eyes to observe the bad guys is much more satisfying than a meter. Also, I have more room to screw up since the baddies can actually see you from quite a distance.

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The best thing to turn off in Far Cry 3 and 4 is the weapon and camera tagging. These are really the “cheats” of the game, though they are on by default and integrated into the tutorial. Tagging lets you mark enemies with icons that allow you to know where the enemy is, even when the character model is no longer visible. This means you can locate them behind walls or when the landscape hides them from view. It is far more satisfying for me to have to track them manually. Again, I have to rely on my ears using surround sound and my eyes to track the actual enemy instead of these magic markers. This makes stealth and combat much tougher, but it fits in better with the hunting theme of the game.

So far, the game has been feeling like a reasonable challenge. Not tough, but certainly not as easy as my play-through of Far Cry 3 where I left all the default options turned on. I’m loving being back in the staggeringly beautiful Far Cry universe, it is just so much fun and such a pleasure to control.

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As long as the hard drive swap in my PC has fixed the problem, I’m hoping lots more Far Cry 4 is on tap for the weekend. I imagine some Uncharted 2 and Rock Band 4 will also make an appearance, though we’ve got to start prepping for our family vacation.

Meathead373 will be holding down the fort for the next couple weekends with the almighty Zarnyx running backup if Meathead is somehow unable to be here. Thanks guys! Hopefully TAY will remain the same while I’m away. I’m hoping to keep track of the Gawker news if I can find reliable WiFi (which I’m hoping the hotel has). See ya’ll when I get back (fingers crossed)

So, what are you playing this weekend?