Geekly Review #227

A tad late this week as we’ve had a nice 4 day Easter Weekend. Plenty to talk about so here’s what we’ve been up to.

Call of Duty Infinite Warfare

So last week I didn’t get involved with the Geekly Review. I had been in Manchester for 6 days partaking in a ‘Administering & Maintaining a SQL Database & Server’ course. It was actually better than it sounds and will be helpful in my work at the MoD. However, that’s not the point. Because I was away for a week, I thought I’d take the PS4 to keep me entertained in the evenings after the course. So after venturing out after the course finished each day to find food, I’d hurry back to the hotel room and partake in some PS4 uninterrupted until whenever I wished to call it a night. I took a few games with me, but I had recently picked up COD: Infinite Warfare from ASDA for a bargain £5. Even if the game was terrible, which to be honest, I was expecting it was a £5 gamble that I wasn’t really worried If I’d lose on.

Fortunately, it would turn out that it was a very worthwhile £5. I admit, I’ve not touched the multiplayer, and since completion of the game, have uninstalled to free up space without even giving it ago. But the campaign for this COD title was surprisingly unique to the standard ‘Future warfare’ titles that Activision have been pumping out in their latest COD instalments (apart from the boots to the ground WW2 last year). While yes the action was immensely over the top with completely cheesy cut scenes with characters you didn’t really give two craps about, that aside it was a very fun and engaging campaign to partake in. Usually in some campaigns I’ve played, I tend to find I slog through the missions, just to sort of… get on with it, so I can say I’ve completed it and have peace of mind I’d actually got some of my monies worth (unless like WW2 you put 3 days into multiplayer and truly do feel you’ve got the money’s worth from multiplayer alone).

With Infinite Warfare though, if you felt the fatigue of the campaign specific missions hitting you, you could choose to partake in what I can only call side missions to detract you from the campaign. You would approach your command deck and choose to plot out the course where you want to take the ship and it’s crew. Your choice being made by what type of mission you are choosing to navigate to. There were specific air combat or ‘dog fight’ missions which were absolutely brilliant, perhaps my favourite part of the game and there were side missions which involved you boarding huge mother ships for specific reasons. One being to steal prototype weaponry, another was to free hostages. So it’s not like this side missions became repetitive as they had individual reasoning for taking place. Not every air combat mission was the same sky-box with same enemies, you had a reason to be involved in that air combat mission.

And the actual campaign missions were hardly terrible to be honest. I did find the characters were slightly more likeable than previous COD’s especially the robot E3N, or Ethan as he was dubbed by Captain Nick Reyes who you take control of. And while earlier I did say you don’t really give two craps about the characters, there was a lot more shocks in this campaign than previous COD campaigns, and it wasn’t necessarily the happy ending that you’d have expected.

A surprising amount of entertainment was had from this campaign, it gave my trophy haul a significant boost, and only cost me £5. Highly recommend to others if they were on the fence about this game after hearing positive review scores for the campaign elsewhere, which seems to genuinely be the case.

Far Cry 5

Onto a much newer game, Ubisoft’s latest entry into the ridiculous Far Cry series. This latest entry caused quite a stir upon it’s initial reveal with some sour Southerners in the US boycotting the game and calling for action to be taken against Ubisoft. It would appear this wouldn’t deter Ubisoft and the game released anyway to pretty positive critical acclaim.

So far I haven’t made a dent in this game yet. While I picked it up at the start of this 4 day weekend, I’ve not dedicated a good long session to really getting stuck into the game, So I can’t give the most full of opinions thus far. I can say that the first few hours I have played of it, it’s…. Okay.

I’ve completed 10 missions of the Southern area of the map, and while it has been fun, it has had it’s share of frustrations too. For one, it feels like these religious fanatics could probably go on to invade and take over the whole world based on the sheer number of them and the armoury they boast. It’s pretty ridiculous, even for a Far Cry game. At least the island settings of previous games were quite isolated and not overly populated. Here in Hope Valley it feels every 100m travelled on a road you’ll encounter some of the fanatics. And when taking the approach of travelling through the woods to avoid being spotted by the roads, I end up with a helicopter search party locating me and spending ages escaping this threat.

I must admit I’m yet to fully get to grips with what is available to me, such as the skill tree to unlock and the mercenaries I can hire to assist me. So far I’ve only got the loyal and faithful Boomer to help me out, who I managed to get on side via some seriously sad circumstances for him. The constant soundtrack that seems to be playing throughout the game had a genuinely perfect moment when you do get Boomer on side for the first time and see what happened to his owners. It’s quite a touching moment…. That is until 4 pick up trucks full of cultist hillbillies just appear to attack you… *sigh*…

Hopefully this ongoing continuous spawn of cultist will become easier to handle once I figure out the perks worth unlocking and what guns are best to carry around. As said, early days into the game yet, so plenty of time for me to get more properly involved in this. Away from the game play, the setting and visuals are just superb. One of the prettiest open worlds I’ve wandered around in a long time.

Board Games

On Friday night my wife and I headed over to a friends house to play some games. Rather than fall back on ticket to ride, which we tend to play alot, we opted to play a new game that’ll be shortly called ‘When I Dream’. It’s essentially a word association game with one player blindfolded who is ‘sleeping’, with the other players taking on the roles of characters associated with the night… The Boogeyman, The Sandman & Fairies (because Fairies are associated with sleep right?). The players that are awake and playing as characters must try and describe a card to the sleeping player using one word. Once the sleeping player makes a guess whether it’s correct or not, the characters then move to the next word they want the sleeping player to guess. The Boogeyman trying to persuade the player to guess incorrectly, the fairy trying to persuade the sleeper to guess correctly and the Sandman trying to persuade the player to guess an even amount correct and incorrect. Once the timer runs out, the sleeping player must recite all the words they guessed be it right or wrong in a dream.

Each player gets a shot at being the sleeper or dreamer. Once every player has had a go, the points are tallied up which are scored for various circumstances from guessing and such and the winner is the player with the highest score. It was a good laugh, but I was quite gungho with my guesses when I was the sleeping player and had plenty of incorrect guesses much to the delight of the Boogeyman.

Easy to understand and fun to play. A detailed review with rules and such will be arriving shortly for this as well as another game called Azul which we played a while back.

On this games evening we also played Exploding Kittens for the first time, which was again a real simple card game to play in which if you drew a kitten from a deck of cards that was going to explode, well game over if you’d already used your defuse card. The game does have a few more detailed rules than that and special cards, but nothing overly complex at all. Apparently there is a none PG version of the deck. Something I might look into as the PG version was funny enough.

– Murr

Overwatch

Brigette is now available in Overwatch for everyone to play and after playing her for a bit I’m finding it hard to see where she fits in. I first played Brigette on the PTR a few weeks back, but the PTR is always a bit of a mess with lag and people just playing no hero limits so you’ll quite often find a 6vs6 with the same characters when a new one releases. It’s hard to really judge what a new hero is like when they’re on the PTR, but I did like what I was seeing from Brigette. She sits in the support role but has a passive heal ability that is only triggered when you’re doing damage to others with her rocket flail.

It seems pretty obvious that Brigette is an anti-dive comp hero, all her abilities lend to her being grouped up and knocking enemies away or stunning them, something that would be very useful if you’re up against a dive team. The problem with this is that in quickplay and even in most competitive games you don’t see dive teams. Most of the time it’s six random players who’ve never played with each other before let alone co-ordinated a dive on the enemy team.

Now, obviously I’m very new to playing her, so it could just be me still getting used to her. But almost every game I played with her I’d have to switch because I was getting countered easily and wasn’t able to effectively heal. If the enemy is engaging from a far she feels basically useless as she has no real heal over time, only the repair pack can heal when this happens and that heals 150 health or provides 75 armour to full health allies. 150 health doesn’t sound too bad, but when you have two tanks that are getting pummelled and you’re on cool down, you can’t dish out enough healing. So she’s an off healer? But I don’t really see how because all her attacks rely on the enemy being close to you. The Whip Shot is the only ability with any range, but you have to be very accurate.

The only time I felt like I’d really contributed with Brigette was on Watchpoint Gibraltar when I stuck close to the payload in order to push it. But even though I ended up with gold healing at around 4k I never really felt like I was healing. She just doesn’t feel very satisfying to use I don’t think, and there are better healers all over the support role.

Maybe it is just a learning thing, but right now I don’t see Brigette being picked all that much.

-Will

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