Andrew's Blfog

Teardown

Teardown recently came out of early access, so it seems like a good time to write a review

[Image: minecwaft with gauns]

Teardown is a semi-sandbox first-person shooter game where you have to complete a variety of tasks in missions with sets of limitations. Most props within a level are destructable, though some may require the use of guns or explosives to break, and you acquire more weapons the more mission "points" you get.

The "hub world" is a building used as your character's home and their company HQ, Lockelle Teardown Services. You get missions via simulated email on the computer within this building, and you can also view the map where missions can be re-played, as well as the tools screen where you can upgrade most of your tools for money, on this computer.

[Image: like thus]

Graphics

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Grand Theft Auto V

I beat another game! This time, GTA5. The only game that comes close to Skyrim's legacy of being ported to everything.

[Image: THERE IT IS!]

It's a pretty good game.

Graphics

The graphics, especially for the 2013-2015 era, are really nice. They rival games released in the last 2 years.

One nice touch I really like is when you walk into water and your character's model appears wet up to where the water got to. The sunsets in the game are also quite nice on PC.

Overall the game is much more colorful, not just in terms of art direction but also in terms of actual post-processing saturation, than , which had an awful desaturation filter over all of the already quite bland textures.

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Grand Theft Auto IV

Last month I beat GTA 4 for the first time ever.

[Image: NIKO CAUSIN LET US GO BOOOWLING]

In the past (around 2009-2010) I probably played a few hundred hours of GTA 4 with my old Intel Q6600 + ATI Radeon 4550 (Or maybe I had my Nvidia Geforce 8800 GTS at that point) but never completed it. I mostly focused on playing multiplayer with friends, and cheating in singleplayer using a trainer - with my favorite activity being to hop onto a motorcycle and use the trainer I used to push me forward, allowing me to fly pretty freely.

So, basically, the same backstory that I had for GTA:SA and GTA 5 (the latter of which I'm playing right now and will, of course, blog about once I've beaten it...)

All that said, let's get into it.

The Story

GTA 4 puts you in the shoes of Niko Bellic, a serbian guy with a penchant for killing people.

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Steam Deck

I'm pretty excited for Valve's upcoming Steam Deck hardware.

[Image: The thicc boy itself]

For those not in-the-know, the Steam Deck is a handheld PC designed and (soon) sold by Valve/Steam. More info here.

On paper, the hardware itself is cool but not anything too exotic - we already have handheld PCs that can run Windows, and they have pretty decent specs usually.

What sets the Steam Deck apart is a short set of very compelling features

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I am a huge fan of the original Xbox; the controller design, console design, and games are, IMO, some of the best of all time. The Halo series (not counting Marathon) started here, the best versions of many cross-platform releases were released on the objectively faster Xbox hardware, and it was the only console of its generation to actually contain a hard drive.

But it's not without its flaws. Inside every Xbox (even, to an extent, the 1.6 revision) are three ticking timebombs:

  1. The hard drive. All of them are past their manufacturer's suggested lifespan.
  2. The disc drive. The belts and plastic gears are wearing out and breaking, and the lasers are getting weaker every time they're used.
  3. The clock capacitor. This one is a killer - it's a capacitor that's placed near vital traces on the motherboard, it is guaranteed to leak (even the 1.6's eventually) because it's a cheap electrolytic cap, and the effects are catastrophic.

The clock capacitor

The clock capacitor is easy enough to fix. On all revisions except 1.6, you can simply (carefully) snap it off the board. Its only purpose is to keep time . Use gloves when removing it or handling it, as the acid it leaks is pretty aggressive on human skin.

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Tony Hawk's Underground (1 and 2)

I played through Tony Hawk's Underground 1 and 2 on the original Xbox, so here's some words:

THUG 1

This game follows you and Eric Sparrow, two friends who skateboard from Jersey, as you both try to go pro. There's some plot twists and turns where Eric betrays you, but overall the plot definitely just exists to get you from level to level and to naturally unlock parts of levels as you progress. It's a good system! The cutscenes have some funny dialogue, really good animations, and pretty good voice acting that makes watching them a pleasant experience.

Very nice graphics for the time, runs at 720p on the OG Xbox which looks pretty good! Almost always a solid 60fps except when there's particle effects taking up most of the screen.

Controls pretty well, althought wallplanting is significantly harder to do in-the-moment than sticker slaps from THUG 2, so I found myself failing some combos due to hitting a wall.

I really enjoyed the story, though the last mission where you have to ride Eric's line is disproportionately harder than all the other missions before it. But I definitely felt compelled to actually complete the story.

The locations, while they mostly felt same-y, were all great, pretty large, and had plenty of secrets to find. Looks like each level has at least a secret tape, and possibly an unlock for a retro level from previous games (though I'm bad at video game and only found 1)

One oddity is that there's a pretty decent amount of "driving" you have to do in the story. I found it a little clunky for a game about skateboarding, but it's limited to like one forced segment per level, so it's not annoying.

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Jade Empire

After 15 years (since I last played the game), I've finally completed Jade Empire.

[Image: Xbox "limited" edition]

The game drops you into a "mythologic chinese" setting, where chi is a real force and spirits and gods directly affect the world. It's made by Bioware, known for creating the Mass Effect games. Just like Mass Effect (and KOTOR), Jade Empire features a good/evil choice system.

That said, it doesn't have a whole lot of meaning on the overall story of the game, with most of the "evil" choices having the same result as the good choices, just with extra bonuses like more money given or slightly faster route through a mission. In fact, I'm pretty sure the final good/evil choice can be made regardless of your alignment.

Difficulty

The difficulty curve is pretty fair through the entire game, with fairly rewarding combat. There are two points in the game that I believe are unfairly difficult, especially compared to the fights directly leading up to them:

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I dug out my original Xbox, and realized that many of my games lacked cases. While I didn't have any spare full-size Xbox-style cases handy, and my local game store doesn't yet have a shipment of Xbox-like cases in, I do have a lot of cheap jewel cases. A ton with front artwork spots, so that was the main focus, but also some with a spot for rear artwork.

So I created a Photoshop template to help make it all consistent. The end result...

[Image: The front cover for Republic Commando] [Image: ...and the back!]

The templates include all of the ESRB ratings already in the correct spot, so you can just show/hide the layer for the rating you want.

The fit of the back template is snug, some trimming may be required. It ends up looking a little something like this:

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Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

I just beat San Andreas for the first time in my life

[Image: ]

I don't know why I never beat it before. I played probably hundreds of hours of it just mucking around when I was younger, and I wasn't far from the end of the game it turns out.

It's really quite a short game. I'm working on GTA 4 right now and I've put a lot more time into it so far than I had doing missions in San Andreas - it's a little surprising.

Also, the latest PC versions of San Andreas are pretty buggy and suboptimal, so I downgraded to 1.0 and applied a bunch of mods that fix various issues that aren't present in the PS2 version.

All in all I rate it a 9/10, the crack fortress sequence was hilarious and the writing was pretty good throughout.

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