fallout 76 damn fiddle
May 11th, 2020 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

The open world gameplay loop wins again.

So, yeah. Fallout 76 finally got me hooked. I’ve written about this alot. I played the game for review back at launch for the page, and was rather disappointed. Now it feels so much more complete. And I find myself hooked, and even with Wastelanders, I’m enjoying just screwing around

But I’m actually kind of bad at it. Simple things like where the F do I get plans for workshops without paying an arm and a leg to the NPC vendors? I like to keep my CAMP very simplistic and usually build it in a way that uses the environment around it (like building on an abandoned house) but I could really go for the practicality of being able to use my own workshops when I want, and leave them out so friends can stop by and use whatever they want, possibly even chill out.

Most recently I built a CAMP near the train station next to the Top of the World. It’s over the edge of the street and in the swamp, but has a nice little deck that goes over the swamp and I’m itching to decorate it with tables, chairs, and of course, workshops. I also built a little sleep shack, literally a 2×1 floor plan with a bed. I just I gotta add decorations tho.

Also, I have a bit of a silly vending machine.

In real life, I am a… soft drink enthusiast? And in Fallout 76, I like making juice and tea. I also hate the grenades in Fallout, a bit to clunky for me. My solution? My vending machine is called “Bombs n Beverages” I sell beers, liquors, juice, tea, along with frags, mines, molotovs, etc. Not sure if I’m pricing them well but I mainly am good natured so I sell the grenades for a few caps less than the recommended minimum price. For beverages, they range between 10-15 caps. Perhaps someone can help me find all the beverage and bomb plans? That would be nice. I just need to be advised on where I can find these things without paying an arm and a leg, and if my pricing is fair, competitive, or worth anyone’s time. I’ve even debated making a daily FREE beverage, most likely blackberry juice.

Also, finally, I hate crafting in almost every video game and on my first run I never bothered with it. Now I absolutely love building and modifying guns but I run out of the good resources frequently. I’m all set with water, gonna build a purifier soon but for now I have enough radaway to not worry about rads. But I do run out of wood alot. Getting resources is a bit of a time sink for a new player like me. So I’m constantly looking for great places to farm wood or get the good resources like aluminum, adhesive, screws, etc.

What’s the point of this? Well, if you’re ever wondering how the people who enjoy this game continue to play it for as long as they do, this is it right here. They have me stuck in the gameplay loop. It’s quite a time sink, no wonder the people who like it play as long as they do. If I weren’t playing other games, I’m not sure I’d stop. Because I’ll eventually get sick of it. I always do. Come @ me in the comments, if you have advice!

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May 3rd, 2020 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

Just a couple days ago I wrote a piece on how Fallout 76 made enough marginal improvements to be worth your time if you haven’t played it. I also said it was boring. Yet somehow, as the very first story arc of the new game closed, something happened.

I could have stopped, it felt like the particular arc I was following stopped short. Then I explored some more and found some cool new things. Then I found another new quest that I thought was an old quest. Then random quests popped up as I explored.

And then I spent what had to be a solid 1.5hrs fiddling with my gear at a friendly player’s camp. You know, the high level players camps are so nice that I’ve yet to even bother to make my own, it’s actually been easier to just freeload. And they dynamic locations of the camps also makes it easy for me to fast travel to quest markers I’d normally have to hoof it to.

One night I was really steamed and needed to relax.

But did I launch Doom Eternal for the catharsis and murder? No. Did I scour the other wasteland that takes place in Washington DC? No not Fallout 3, I mean the Division 2, but still no.

I fired up Fallout 76 and had a terrible experience. A high level legendary monster killed me twice and at one point had me trapped. The 350+ rounds I unloaded on it reduced his health by… 1/32 if I’m being honest. Then I had scour the land far and wide to find a Tinker Bench because I couldn’t remember where one in particular was at. My freeloading ass went to 3 different user camps, all who had every workshop except a Tinker Bench. .

This took… I think another 3 hours of my life but I was frustrated so I QUIT. For a solid hour and a half and then jumped back on because I was so close to finishing the quest! Then another quest popped up. At some point I literally sent Xbox messages to players offering to sell of my grenades to them.

Then I looked at the curtain in my own room. And then I looked at the clock. It was 6AM. Todd you’ve done it again.

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April 28th, 2020 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

You already know the score if you’re here. But to reiterate, Fallout 76 had a big update that added a campaign and some NPCs to an otherwise empty world. This brought some good and bad with it.

I saw in early reviews that the new campaign is too easy if you use your veteran character so I made a new one. After talking to some intro NPCs, I headed down to the starting place for all players.

Except instead of being an empty campsite… there’s an empty campsite, a bar, and a very friendly user C.A.M.P. nearby. Go into the bar to start your quest, visit the nearby user houses to help you starting out. This part is really nice, other players are largely helpful individuals. Some guy just gave me 10 super stimpacks.

But, now I’m wondering if it was because he was being nice or because I had a female avatar? I didn’t have a mic and neither did he but he used enkugh emotes for me to get it. I mean, my character is a strong independent black woman who ain’t need no man! Meh, who cares, thanks stranger. Also, he showed me a cool bug.

It’s nice to have the new NPCs but I got a bit confused. I accidentally started following the original “campaign” and the only difference is that every where you get lead to has exactly ONE NPC standing around doing nothing.

As I progressed further, this always seemed to be the case.

But the new questline did have actual interesting characters to interact with, and I’m on a slightly interesting quest to find a treasure or something. Sounds underwhelming but I like it when the plot isn’t immediately about saving the world.

So, going in, if you haven’t played F76 in a while, it may be refreshing. But at the same time, if you start over you’re gonna realize it’s the same boring game with more stuff added. I’ve not found the survival interesting, and I spend way too much time fiddling with equipment before I go anywhere. But hey, if you like survival, knock yourself out. If you’ve never touched Fallout 76 before now, it’s in a much better state to begin playing. [Also, I’ve stayed this before but don’t let them fool you with that “deluxe edition”, the regular version is available for $40.]

And of course, before I let you go, it wouldn’t be Bethesda without an absurd bug coming with the update. As discovered by many users, if you die and you have friendly NPCs helping you, there’s a chance an NPC will loot your corpse and take your best weapon. And you can’t get it back, you can’t trade with said NPC and you can’t kill then. -sigh- It just works!

I’ll continue to sleep my way through this update. I refuse to pick up a new title until I genuinely need something new to play. This expansion is a solid mediocre. Maybe you think it’s really good, or a huge waste? Come @ me in the comments.

Here’s a gaming news robot to tell you more about the glitch.

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May 17th, 2019 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

Metro Exodus isn’t even an FPS, here’s why.

That’s right, I content that Metro Exodus is a survival horror game that occassionally becomes a shooter. I go over that in the beginning. But after, if I still have your attention, I have some nice tips for you if you plan on taking this incredible journey.

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remake 2 demo
January 14th, 2019 by Julia Portugueselastname

Re-experience the epic sequel.

First day at new job as a cop, the city gets invaded with zombies. The Resident Evil 2 remake 1-Shot demo( What a mouthful!) came out Friday January 11th and boy do we have a lot to talk about before the full game release happening January 25th!

This is a ground up remake of the 1998 PS1 classic of the same name. The game starts instantly insisting you be able to read. Once you take control of rookie cop Leon S. Kennedy in the zombie ridden Raccoon City police station, right away the graphics are mind boggling! This game is visually stunning, liquid freedom will stream from your eyes.

The attention to detail builds the atmosphere making it very spooky, too spooky for me almost. Controls are fluid, the camera perfectly follows you, and a fantastic soundtrack accompanies the year’s first AAA horror game.

1-shot for those of you who don’t know means you have one chance to play the demo, not one bullet. Please learn from my mistakes. I thought I only had one bullet…. There is a timer that displays thirty minutes. Sadly you can only play up to a certain part. Spoilers: Lt. Marvin Branagh has you take a look at video footage. SPOILER WARNING IN ITALICS. Leon sees Claire and is excited she has made it, lastly you are told how to get to the courtroom to meetup with her.

What happens when you beat it?

The demo thanks you for playing and a trailer of what’s to come rolls. Hunk confirmed as well as the ever difficult tofu mode is back! Yes… You can play the game as a giant blob of soy goodness!

Fans of the Resident Evil series and newcomers alike will enjoy the challenges presented. The enemies are very meaty and take a few bullets to go down. You will eventually get the the ability to stab via the survival knife! In your travels you get to see potential puzzles, other environments to explore, secrets, and signature twisted imagery. That first guard who Leon helps was brutal to look at, those intestines look so real, we have those in our bodies and there it was in my escape from reality!

I truly thought I’d see the infamous Licker in the first long corridor with windows. But the true horror there was Tiffany whom I haven’t seen since high school shrieking about IT WORKS and Herbalife from outside.

I definitely recommend the Resident Evil 2 1-Shot demo (or as I like to call it 5 Nights At RPD) to hold you over until the release day! If you enjoyed previous Resident Evil games, Left 4 Dead, Outlast, and a plethora of others, download the demo today!




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October 9th, 2018 by Vega Montanez

Mech meets Metal Gear!

Is it just me or am I really starting to have some pull in the video game industry? After releasing my review of the best mech game available on current generation consoles, we get a release date for a new one. Left Alive, a new spin-off from the Front Mission series, will be available on PS4 and Steam on March 5, 2019.

Left Alive is an upcoming third person survival action shooter set in a dark and gritty war torn world. With art designs by Metal Gear character designer Yoji Shinkawa, this game quickly found its way on my “must play” list. Square Enix has shrouded the game heavily in mystery. However, Left Alive plans to tell a story focused on three unique protagonist fighting for survival.

The game will let players decide between stealth and wit gameplay or going guns a blazing against enemies of all sizes. And armor. That’s right, as shown in the trailer, players will be able to pilot giant mechs into battle. It’s been a long time since we’ve had a proper narrative game with heavy man vs machine elements. Unless we’re still counting TitanFall 2, of course. 

Let us know in the comments below, does this game excite you as much as it excites me?




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August 21st, 2018 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

Not so happy too.

We Happy Few is a survival-oriented stealth adventure game developed by Compulsion Games and published by Gearbox Publishing. It is an unusual game that drops you into a bizarre world. One that will take you between two different types of zones, separated simply by whether or not people use to take a drug called “Joy”. If you refuse to take your medicine, you are thrown out of the city and have to live in the garden district. The game focuses a lot on the perception of your interactions with people. There’s also a system where you need to make sure you are fed, hydrated, and rested. Otherwise, you face severe debuffs that affect your ability to run and fight. The game was delayed many times but eventually released it. The game was originally funded via Kickstarter, with over 7K donaters. It got a huge promotional jump when Gearbox scooped the game up to publish it.

GRAPHICS: 1/2

The appearance of We Happy Few is is another game with a certain stylized, cartoonish design. People have bizarre body to head proportions and some enemies are very tall. Everyone’s face looks like it’s been physically sculpted out of clay, and that’s on top of the mask everyone is required to wear. There are also moments that change the scenery when you take certain drugs. The enviornment also changes when they wear off. When you take Joy you get a double rainbow and it does go all the way across the sky. But beyond that, there are several graphical hiccups. Some textures look very hastily made. Other times, texture pop-in issues arise. However, most egregious is the amount of copy-pasting done to the world.

This game’s campaign features procedurally generated environments, so no two playthroughs are alike. I haven’t seen a game utilize this feature quite like this since old Xbox classic game, “ToeJam & Earl III”. Yes, it’s real, I played it. They’re eerily similar in terms of artistic design, it’s quite unusual and I don’t expect others outlets to pick up on this. While this is good for the game long term, it also means that a limited amount of assets are available. Because of this, every single location looks exactly the same. You’ll see the same dozen houses in the garden district and the same dozen houses and signs in the cities. They become so unremarkable that you can almost never figure out where you are and frequently need to consult the map to navigate around town. This also applies to the citizens, with the same dozen NPCs littering the locales. It tries to justify this in-game, but nobody is buying it. Not enough models were made.

Also, even on PS4, the framerate takes a pterrible nosedive into the 15 frame zone if there are too many NPCs in view, which happens all the time since there are so many.

STORY: 2/2

In a world where Germany won World War II, the people are now forced to… wait, what? Really? Is this a fad or something? But seriously, despite this being a somewhat common trope, the game manages to veer off into crazy town. This is the game’s greatest strength, its engaging story. You start the game as one Arthur Hastings. He happily works his day job censoring old newspapers when he spots an article about his brother, who was taken away from him (put on a train to Germany). Triggered by this traumatic event, he stops taking his Joy and then gets forced out of the city. Throughout the campaign you work your way through location after location, simply trying to escape Wellington Wells to look for him. Over the course of this story, you will meet very interesting characters, two of which later become playable after his story is finished.

It’s surpisingly enrapturing, constantly making you want to know more and more. It also helps that the game is one of the very few games where they inject humor and it’s actually funny. There’s one mission called “Oh, Behave!” that teaches you how to interact with people and it was enough to make me laugh out loud. It also has a ton of references to many touchstones of British comedy, with gags about the Beatles, Austin Powers, and of course, Monty Python. “Supreme exective power derives from a mandate from the masses…” one of the NPCs will tell you. Conversations with random people are always a series on non-sequitor comments. You’ll eventually hear all of them and get sick of it. In this case, it’s somewhat acceptable because talking to normal NPCs is actually a part of the gameplay mechanics.

AUDIO: 1/2

Oblivion syndrome in full force here, where you will hear the same voice actor over and over and over again. It was also revealed in a few videos that some characters will actually swap voice actors. Again, considering that it’s a gameplay element with randomized voices for some NPCs, this is just okay. But, at the same time, it’s too often that you’ll hear the same thing repetitively. More random dialog needed to be recorded. As far as the music goes, it’s acceptable but not very audible overall. This is true even when I turned down all the other audio settings to favor the music. It fits the game’s setting, and that’s just it.

GAMEPLAY: 0/2

OOF. Here’s where the trouble starts. I have an entire list full of gripes I have with this game and don’t know where to start. The combat is trash. First person melee can be difficult and is either becomes enough to work with or flailing mess. This one is the latter. Attacks just don’t seem to connect when you attack them. But your seem to have a hit box that spreasds a couple feet around you. The other main gameplay mechanic revolves entirely on you wearing the correct type of clothing for different locations and some specific costumes for a couple missions. Switching back and forth between your suit and your torn-up suit feels a bit like an unnecessary step. Basically, when you are in the garden (poor) districts, you are allowed to move about all you want but people will become hostile if you go in their homes or steal, which is reasonable.

But when it comes to the cities, it’s extremely strict but also trite. You have to make sure you walk normally, don’t crouch, jump, or sprint, and everyone will leave you alone. But if you’re caught either doing one of these things too often without immediately saying hi to people afterward (seriously), everyone will chase you. But moments later you can add a perk to your abilities section that gets rid of this mechanic. However, you can also be chased for appearing to withdraw from Joy, stealing, or wandering after curfew. During the daytime, this can be really problematic because once you do something wrong, the ENTIRE CITY will aggro and chase you, sceaming that you murdered someone. This isn’t too hard as long as you can find an alley to ditch them in, but it happens enough to become a nuisance more times than a challenge.

Some more nags. The map does erase your custom marker when you arrive at it. Icons on the map for missions and sidequests will also stay on the map screen even after you complete them. Because of the randomization and lack of variety, you also have to consult the map too frequently to figure out where you are. Fast travel is somewhat available but it is largely useless. This is especially poignant when quests put you on missions where you have to go to opposite ends of town, often several times per mission. Which would be fine if the game wasn’t littered with so many fetch quests. The game starts off fine but after a few hours in, you’ll be doing way more fetching than anything else. There’s an ultimate perk in your upgrades that makes you impervious to being dehydrated, hungry, or tired. But it literally does not actually work and it costs the most skill points to purchase.

More? Okay. NPCs will get stuck in one spot in a walking animation, float around, and clip right through the scenery. The game forces you to focus heavily on crafting in its second act. It asks you to craft a lot of things the moment you start the act when you have nothing in your inventory. I had to spend a solid half hour or more trying to find one specific item so I could continue the story. Then, later on, I had to do it again.

MORE? Okay. The Joy mechanic is very unbalanced and frequently leads to the problem of the aforementioned aggro of the entire town. The load times are very long and you can be stopped dead with a loading screen while walking around. Some mechanics force you to just sit and do nothing for several minutes. Oh, and it completely crashes many times too. I had eight crashes during my play time. This leads to another long wait for the game to load and on two occasions it cost me mission progress.

FUN: 0/2

So, yeah. All that above? It doesn’t make the game hard, the game is rather easy on its normal setting. But it is arduous and obnoxious. You are essentially being drip-fed with plot elements followed by 5 minute long jogs around town. This happens too often. The original sense of wonder you get when you start the game diminishes and becomes tiresome. The final straw was during the second act. I was hard-pressed to find crafting elements. And when I did, I had to go back and forth between two locations countless times. After finally collecting an ingredient, the game hit me with yet another 600m trip to the other end of town. Remember, you can’t sprint until you unlock that perk. I had enough after 20 hours of game time. I cut my losses and traded the game in for Xbox bucks.

This game is such a letdown and appears to have been released before it was ready. As stated, the game was delayed several times, and it is very likely that the developers at Compulsion Games were simply told to wrap up production and put the game out. It would also seem that Gearbox may have had a negative impact on their game and made them do far more than what they originally set out to make. If you can tolerate bad gameplay for a good story, that’s your only reason to buy this.

SCORE: 4/10




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August 15th, 2018 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

Tactical Zombie Survival Action

I am still playing this game even though I don’t think it’s all that great. Somehow, the gameplay just sucks you in and make you want to play even though it’s practically nonstop torture. I understand that multiplayer with friends might be a better time, but jokes on you, I don’t have any friends. -chet

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August 8th, 2018 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

You just can’t catch a break


I think the entire point of the State of Decay games are to be a simulation of the total clusterfuck of surviving a zombie outbreak looks like. Endless issues.




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August 6th, 2018 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

Altered States

State of Decay 2 is a survival-based zombie game with a focus on micromanagement. It is an Xbox One (and PC) exclusive, available for free with the Xbox Game Pass, and developed by Undead Labs. What sets this game apart from other zombie games is the focus on the minutiae one would have to do to have a thriving community after the zombie outbreak. It’s not your typical “punching trees” survival games. Instead the game focuses on special resources you need to find by scouring abandoned buildings for food, meds, building materials, and other necessary survival stuff. Although not really a system seller, the game is a very competent and well-designed game. It’ll either have you shut it off after an hour out of frustration or having you going through the gameplay loop for 3-5 hours straight.

GRAPHICS: 1/2

HDR and Xbox One X Enhancements are available for this first party title. But the game’s overall graphics quality really isn’t affected by which console you run it on other than performance. It is competently made with just a set of “good” assets. There’s nothing you can really pick apart from this title other than the fact that nothing spectacular stands out. The textures are very high quality, but the rest of the FX could still be better. Shadows look good enough, anti-aliasing is just okay, models could use some work. With the random generation, there’s only so much quality you can squeeze out of people who will be cooked up in seconds with a bunch of sliders. There is also an obvious lack of variety, as many houses in the game are just the same building copied and pasted a bunch of times. Which, isn’t too bad but if you go on a marathon it may irk you.

STORY: 2/2

The greatest thing that this sequel did was ditching the plot altogether. In the YOSE version of the game for XB1, you had 3 modes, the campaign, an endless mode, and an expansion pack. Playing the campaign was exhausting because the conditions of the game’s challenge really got in the way of you being prepared to actually partake in the missions. You get a clear goal ahead of you, but the woes of your survivor group took precedence. The endless mode streamlined the experience so you can focus on making your community great again. That’s a lot in and of itself. So, I was actually pleased to find that State of Decay 2 embraced the endless mode. All you get in the way of a plot is an introductory tutorial featuring one of 4 different pairs of people you can choose at the start. But once that’s done with, if you start another community, you can randomly generate NPCs as many times as you want before launching the game.

If you put all of your eggs into one basket and build up one character, you’ll find yourself struggling when you give that character some rest and switch to somebody else.

The game tells its own story with the environment and interactions mostly. You can meet up with different groups that all have their individual quirks. Same goes for the survivors, as most of them will have any one of many different personalities. These personality traits actually affect your community, as someone who’s hotheaded may frustrate others, or if one character snores it bothers everyone and is even a risk of attracting zombies. Seriously, one of the personality is snoring. Either way, as much as you want to work hard to provide help to your team, don’t get too attached. Permadeath is the other major factor of this game. If you put all of your eggs into one basket and build up one character, you’ll find yourself struggling when you give that character some rest and switch to somebody else. That’s right, your player character gets tired if they do too much work and lose stamina, so you have to make sure everyone gets their exercise.

AUDIO: 2/2

This game doesn’t have much in the way of an OST. But that’s not too important in a game like this. There’s a lot of stuff going on and the game has a good grip on spatial awareness. You could be digging through some trash in a house. Then you hear the grunt of a zombie coming from somewhere else in the house. Also, one of the primary mechanics of searching is how quickly you do it and whether or not you make noise. Make a loud noise like a gunshot and you’ll attract local zombies. Searching through containers for the resources you need is slow. You can speed that up by holding another button while searching. But, doing so also risks making a loud noise by being careless and again endangers you of some surrounding zombies. A lot of craftsmanship went into making sure the sound FX are accurate and effective.

GAMEPLAY: 1/2

Buggy in some places, but overall not too bad. The combat is considerably visceral, so if you like getting up close and personal. Killing zombies and by beating their skull in with a lead pipe is particularly enthralling. The gameplay loop is to simply survive. You find a base and accrue followers. THen, you have to take care of your base by getting materials to help with the upkeep. You need to manage every inch of your base, making sure people have food and water, they’re happy, they aren’t arguing, etc. Then you gotta head out of the base and go collect whatever resources you needed to get. After you have enough stuff, you bring it back to the base. This is difficult because the game is very time-consuming.

Like Stardew Valley or Animal Crossing, only extremely violent.

Whenever you’re in the middle of doing a supply run, you’ll get a call from one of the neighboring survivors asking for help. But then you’ll also hear from your base that they found out the ammo you got were duds. Or stuff just plain expires because you don’t have proper storage. The whole game is a struggle through and though. It keeps you going by dangling a carrot on a stick, but whether or not you enjoy doing it depends on your tolerance for other games that do this. Like Stardew Valley or Animal Crossing, only extremely violent. Eventually, once you do enough stuff as one character and promote them to a leader of the pack, that’ll unlock a sort of main quest line.

FUN: 1/2

Fun is going to be a hit or miss with this game. I personally found myself giving up, going back to the game, swearing off it, then going back on it again and so on. This is very subjective. I don’t like a lot of games of this type but it’s a novelty experience for sure. Its no console seller, but it is a pretty damn simulation of small towns fighting off zombies.

State of Decay 2 has sucked me into long playtimes, from 2-5hr sessions, yet when I stop playing, I really don’t feel like I accomplished all that much. I got everyone to stop being so damn miserable. But now everyone is sick and I don’t have enough meds to treat them all. This game just has a lot of buzzkills.

Oh wait nevermind, I started playing the game for 15 minutes after writing this review. I got the meds but all 3 of the settlers that were talking to me just abandoned us. But now my community has a high morale rating all of a sudden. What… what?

SCORE: 7/10




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