Odds and Ends: September 30th 2014

I am still playing The Sims 4, but mostly in an on-and-off function. Also still working on my legacy challenge and have posted a couple of chapters here. I am getting kind of tired of playing the same family, so I think that after I catch the blog up to where I am in the game, I will take a small break from the challenge to play another household or work on some other “sim project”.

I have noticed that the load times have gotten a bit longer. Instead of taking about 5 seconds to load a lot, it probably takes around 10 to 15, which is annoying but tolerable so long as it does not increase significantly past that point. I will have to say though, that after almost a month of solid play, the game hasn’t crashed, locked up, or presented any serious issues that have caused me to reload the game or a save (unlike its predecessor). So in that respect I am impressed. I guess.

  • Dave has subscribed to WoW again as we have mentioned in nearly every recent podcast episode. I have holding off for the time being; My slated return to the game will probably either be for the upcoming expansion pack or a little before, perhaps mid October? Not sure. I am pretty tempted to resubscribe earlier than that though though so that I can gear up and do some of the content that I have missed out on (Timeless Isle, Siege Orgrimmar), but we will see.
  • Absolutely everyone is playing Destiny, except for me. By the time I end up purchasing a PS4, I am sure that the fad will have long passed.
  • I want Shadows of Mordor but I also want Smash Brothers 3Ds. I probably shouldn't buy both. Will have to choose one.
  • I have caught up on the Naruto anime and Manga in lieu of it possibly ending soon or from what I have heard, possibly time skipping into a new series/arc soon? Talk about dragging out a fight, geeze...
  • Word on the street is that we need to watch Legend of Korra. For some reason I stopped watching it half way through the first book.

I have also setup a forum that no one will likely visit.

Ring Bonus 5: Airsoft 101 and Stuff

Tonight we expand upon our weekly airsoft bit to discuss Airsofting 101. Specific topics covered are: What is airsoft? What gear do you need to get into airsofting? What types of airsoft guns are available? How much does this all cost? We also briefly discuss Dave’s triumphant (and Keiya’s pending) return to the World of Warcraft, Microsoft’s recent acquisition of Minecraft...errr Mojang, and it just being really really hot lately.

As always, thank you for listening and please feel free to subscribe to the Ring Bonus via the RSS feed as well as via iTunes.

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Ring Bonus 4: Gaming Journalism or Lack Thereof

Tonight in lieu of the internet shitstorm that has been brewing over the Zoe Quinn, GamerGate, and whatever scandal, we discuss gaming journalism (or lack thereof). As a whole, Dave and I have been unintentionally migrating away from the major gaming publications and more towards YouTube/Twitch streamers and stuff like that. We also discuss our recent excursion up to LA see Ben Folds and Elvis Costello perform at the Holleywood Bowl as well as a trip to the Getty.

As always, thank you for listening and please feel free to subscribe to the Ring Bonus via the RSS feed as well as via iTunes.

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The Sims 4: Review and First Opinions

If anyone is curious, she is annoyed because she set fire to the bedroom...

The Sims 4, from what I can tell so far is pretty stable. I played for several hours on Monday evening, about an hour Monday morning, and all of last night without even a single crash, hang, or game breaking glitch, which I find fairly impressive based on my experience with the previous games. I know that clipping was a huge concern to many people who have been watching the pre-release live streams, but to be honest I haven’t noticed it all that much. If a sim absolutely cannot find a path around an obstacle, they will clip slightly. I don’t really see it as all that of a big deal as it does not really break game immersion for me.

The load times don’t suck: I know that there was a lot of buzz about having to between areas but honestly, it is not that big of a deal given that loading and saving takes all of about 3 seconds to do (in comparison to The Sims 3 where loading quite frequently would take over 5 minutes for large neighborhoods…). From desktop to playing a saved game takes about 1 minute tops. Awesome.

WINDOWED. FULL. SCREEN. MODE. All games that don’t explicitly need to be locked into one monitor (first person shooters primarily) need this option. I prefer playing most games in windowed full screen mode so that I can access my second monitor without having to tab out and minimize the game. At the same time, I really don’t like seeing bordered windows, particularly when there is no option to maximize them.

Good Things That I Liked

  • I really like the new look and art style. It’s smooth, vibrant, and polished. As mentioned before though, my tastes lean in the favor of stylized cartoony aesthetics and away from pseudo creepy realistic character designs.

  • I like the new UI, it is slick and unobtrusive even though it does take some time to get used to. Also, being able to finally search for items in build mode is a very useful feature.

  • Gameplay is pretty solid. Multitasking is fantastic and plays a huge role in not having to constantly cancel actions in order to engage in specific social interactions with people. An entire group for example can sit at a bar, watch TV, drink, and talk amongst different group members all at once.

  • The genetics are better than The Sims 3. The children produced, at least in my opinion, look quite a bit better.

  • The emotions are a great addition and really do add personality to the sims in my opinion. It feels more realistic and natural playing with a sim’s emotional state in mind and working around that. By the way, don’t mind the marketing. The emotional doesn’t really make sims all that smarter in the AI sense, but it does add an extra layer of strategy and depth to the game, which is really what I wanted from it.

  • Build mode and create-a-sim tools are fantastic. I won’t go into too much detail because I am sure everyone has seen them by now.

  • I like the overall early game difficulty: bills have teeth, if something breaks you have to repair or replace it before using it again  (such as the toilet), pregnancy test vs instant indication jingle

Not So Good Things

It’s difficult to judge a new sims game based off of the number of items in the new base game in comparison to its predecessor, mostly because it’s been so long since The Sims 3 was released that I do not remember what was or was not in the base game; And it is very much a base game, so if you are judging this game based upon the fact that it did not come preloaded with seasons or supernatural content, that is an unrealistic expectation.

All that said, there really are quite a few basic items missing from the game. Despite all that is good about this game, as I play it is pretty apparent that many features aren’t present most likely because the game was rushed out. It is not only the much aforementioned toddlers and pools, but also the fact that there are for example, no dishwashers in the game in addition to just about all NPCs are mysteriously absent from the game: No firefighters, babysitters, firemen, policemen, robbers, etcetera. Independent of not having any expansion pack content, The Sims 4 does feel stripped down and partially finished to a large extent.

The towns are nice, but they do feel small and limiting. Genetics are improved but they are still not true genetics as there are no dominant or recessive traits for hair, eyes, etc. At least none that are passed down through create-a-sim genetics based off of limited testing.

Conclusions

In any case, the general flow of gameplay and design of The Sims 4 is inherently different than The Sims 3. In truth, it is probably safer and more accurate to view this game as a sequel to The Sims 2 than the 3rd installment in this series. There is a taste of open town gameplay in the form of being able to explore each neighborhood (if you visit a neighbor’s house, it will incur a loading screen), but the game is obviously designed with rotational gameplay in mind whereas The Sims 3 was more geared towards one family per town. Even though this change aligns rather well with what I was specifically looking for from The Sims 4, it may not align well with what you want. So in that sense, The Sims 4 is and will most likely remain a polarizing game amongst fans, at least until it has a few expansion packs under its belt.

As a side note, if they release an Open For Business expansion pack along the same lines as The Sims 2 expansion, then all transgressions will be forgiven.

Ring Bonus 3: Streaming Services and Stuff

We recorded this last week but just got around to editing and posting the new episode because Keiya felt that it was more pertinent to watch anime all week after work instead of poking at audition for 15 minutes. In this episode we briefly discuss Amazon’s acquisition of Twitch TV, streaming services, and general musings related to being cordcutters. I am pretty sure that we go off-topic at some point, but that's half the fun, isn't it?

As always, thank you for listening and please feel free to subscribe to the show.

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