Bethesda annoys everyone.

I hate being ill. Yesterday I spent the day laying on the couch staring into space and wishing I was at work. A rarity for me, to wish I was at work, but not being able to focus properly on anything meant I wasn’t even using the time to watch films or something that could be useful for this site. 

Thankfully Bethesda gave me something to write/rant about with the Fallout 76 subscription being launched. On top of the initial £39.99 that they ask for to allow you to play the game, they have now stuck a price on several features that have been heavily requested by the small but passionate community playing that game still.

I never jumped into it, it never struck me in quite the right way despite initially intriguing me. The idea of a multiplayer coop fallout game was something I had always wanted. To be able to run around Fallout 4 with a mate or three would have really added to the already great experience. What I did not want was a relatively empty world populated only by other players. No NPC’s no single player story.

Upon launch the game was met with terrible reviews and it came out with bugs that had been fixed by the communities’ mods on Fallout 4, suggesting that the players were more capable than the developers of the game. That aside, a community began to develop, people love the fallout world and therefore wanted to enjoy this world despite Bethesda’s own mistakes.

Now, ages after release they are releasing a subscription service that players will have to buy on top of the initial fee, in order to get a load of new features. On the one hand I understand why they feel entitled to some money for the development time spent on this, but on the other hand these are not ground-breaking features. They’re essentially Pay to win features like a move-able fast travel point and unlimited storage for the materials you collect in the world.

I have been tempted over the last year or so to jump into 76 and see what it’s like, this has now turned me off completely. It also has put questions in my head about Bethesda in general. They were once my favourite studio. Fallout New Vegas & Skyrim are two top tier games that I will always love. Skyrim came out in 2011, a year after New Vegas, and since then they have not made a game that has really blown anyone’s socks off. Fallout 4 was just more fallout. It released 5 years after New Vegas, and yet was built on the same engine with basic graphical improvements and not much in the way of new gameplay mechanics besides the crafting/building of the settlements. The shooting was improved, but for a 5 year cycle the game felt very similar to its predecessors.

The call for a new engine has been going for years, and although that is not really the right thing to be calling for (The game engine has changed a lot over the years), it’s the easiest way of saying Bethesda need to produce something new. Outer Worlds will be with us this weekend, and that game looks much better than Fallout 4 and it’s going after the same audience. Whatever their next game is will be scrutinised for bugs and errors, things that were once put down to Bethesda’s ambition and their games being so huge in every way.

That excuse has been burnt to a cinder because of games like The Witcher 3, which have released with bigger worlds, more stories, and a lot fewer game breaking bugs if any. Bethesda can’t afford another Fallout 76, and if the past is anything to go by, the next game will likely be an Elder Scrolls title.

Now I am a little bit protective of that property, and I will be so annoyed if they fuck it up. I have played through Skyrim 5 times, on 3 different platforms. I will play the next game on day 1, and if they only give me Skyrim with a fresh paint job and a new map, I will be…probably too in love with the world to care but deep down I will be furious. I want Bethesda to be the best again, but right now they’re so far behind the Naughty Dogs and Respawns of the world I am worried they may have had their best days already.

That was a long winding roundabout way for me to say “I want a new elder scrolls game” but that’s just where I ended up today. Hopefully Friday’s post will be about something more relevant.

‘Til then.

ChAzJS

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Some of the things that annoy me.

Somehow, I have missed that Zombieland Double Tap is now out in theatres. I loved the first one, so I want to go and see the sequel, even if it is 10 years late. It got me thinking that there have been a few films like this lately. I wanted to see Hustlers, but it came and went, Hobbs and Shaw too. I really need to get back into going to the cinema. 

It’s well documented that I don’t watch much normal television now, it’s always a streaming service unless it’s a sport, in which case I stream it from the NFL pass or something. This means I don’t see trailers or TV spots anymore, and maybe that’s making me oblivious to the films coming out, or perhaps the films coming out just aren’t compelling me. Why doesn’t YouTube advertise films instead of web browsers and VPN’s, I’d watch the adds longer than five seconds if this was the case.

In the first half of this year I had a list of every film I wanted to see, for some reason I did not repeat that for the second half of the year, and I have seen much fewer films. That’s upsetting, because it means I have missed out on some decent films as well as bucket loads of popcorn I could have munched through. Salty is the way to go by the way. If you get a mix, I can deal with it, but just the sweet popcorn is not OK. You should consider therapy to try and correct this minor character flaw if you’re one of those people.

My most recent trip to the cinema was alone, and I enjoyed it for the most part. I saw Joker, a film about a loner who doesn’t have any friends and becomes a psychopathic killer. There I was alone, standing behind someone on the left of the escalator to the exit thinking “I understand why he turns”.  In case you’re not versed in the do’s and don’ts of escalators, stand on the right, and get a shift on and walk down on the left. It’s not hard, its basic decency. If you stand on the left, do not be surprised or upset when I push past you and give you a disappointed tut of disappointment.

You know what else annoys me, playing any kind of battle royale with other people who aren’t in my party. If I was a streamer, I would be dropping into Apex Legends with random players all the time, because I hurl insults at the dim-witted nincompoops that I seem to be regularly paired with. The idea is you drop together and search different buildings. Not drop right next to me and run into the same room. Who is that benefiting exactly? I get half my loot, and you steal half my loot when you could have had your own stuff in another place. Meanwhile our enemies are strategically sharing the loot out as they should and it’s no wonder when it comes to a firefight, I am reloading my running out of bullets in my shitty Mozambique shotgun and having to punch fools to get any kills early game.

Speaking of the Mozambique, why does that piece of limp dicked nerf shooting crap exist on Apex Legends? What role does it fill? It’s a waste of everyone’s time. The developers have spent hours crafting this weapon but forgot to make it remotely useful to anyone. I cannot think of any other guns I hate as much as that gun on other games, but the G7 Scout from Apex was a close contender for a long time. I have reconciled with the G7 since then and now appreciate what it offers, but the Mozambique is a piece of shite and anyone who says otherwise is wrong.

In case it wasn’t obvious from the random nature of this post, I am over tired today. I have started to play Fortnite with mates and somehow, with very little skill, we are nearly winning games. Most of the time we are being idiots and making jokes, but then at some point in the final game it became serious. I don’t remember the gun play on Fortnite being so good, but I really enjoyed that aspect. Normally the reason we don’t win is because the final team we must fight is Bob the Builder and his friends. We win almost every gunfight that’s not super heavy on the building side, and then as soon as someone is chucking stairs and walls left right and centre as well as shooting at us, we are done for.

We will win a game at some point, and that is when I will finally feel I can retire from Fortnite again. Ironically it will be when I am capable at the game again, which is a bit of an odd time to stop, but that’s just how I tend to play these games. I got pretty good at Apex, top 3 was the minimum, and now I have played one game in the last month just to see the new map.

I am going to have fun trying to title this one. It turned into a list of things I can’t stand but there you go. Anyway I am at a respectable amount of words now, so I will leave it here. Have a great weekend!

‘Til Monday.

ChAzJS

 

Ultimate Team is….

This year I really tried. I really tried I did. I wanted to like it. I wanted to be hooked and to get into the weekly grind. To get the satisfaction at the end of the weekend when you’ve got your wins and are rewarded with multiple packs and coins to spend on improving the squad. But I just cannot do it. 

I am of course talking about FIFA 20’s Ultimate Team mode. The microtransaction monster that has dominated the game over recent years and been the primary focus of the development team because it makes EA so much money. While most of the game modes in FIFA have gone through minute changes from year to year, every year there is overhauls to how Ultimate Team is played.

I tried a few years back and gave up when I was being drawn against teams with players I have never heard of with low ratings, and then being torn apart because all of them have 99 pace ratings. I left it alone for years only dabbling a little in the game mode to see what’s what. This year I decided to follow my mates and play it, and at first all was well. I opened some packs, and despite how much I hate microtransactions I bit the bullet and invested £20. I got some okay players, nothing amazing, but it was enough to build a decent team and play some squad battles to improve the team a little.

After one week of those rewards, my premier league team was built. Jamie Vardy up front, a strong core and a formation I know very well from Career mode. 4-3-3 is my favourite formation, with a holding midfielder to protect the centre backs. Well in career mode this works, I even have the holding midfielder dropping deep to collect the ball at times. I have everything ready; my team is set up to play in the exact way I have grown used to playing the game in every mode. I am yet to be beaten by anyone online in other modes and I haven’t been beaten face to face on FIFA in about 10 years.

Things start off ok. I jumped into Division Rivals placement games and noticed straight away the gameplay was not the same as in other modes, or even in the Squad Battle challenges. The players feel loose, and they look like they’re barely able to bring a ball under control and tackling anyone is a bit of a lottery. Sometimes your player will come out of the tackle with the ball, other times it will ricochet unnaturally to another player, be that on your team or the opposition.

Ultimate team’s gameplay is like normal FIFA with all the stats slightly adjusted, and a load more random things that at times feel unfairly balanced one way or the other. There is a big discussion about how regularly goals are scored after conceding, something I always thought was much ado about nothing. Having played the game mode a bit more, I have to say it really is oddly hard to win the ball no matter how cleanly it seems like you tackle the player. It makes for a very frustrating game of football and doesn’t give me anywhere near the satisfaction I get from dominating a game of Pro Clubs or leading a team of home-grown players to glory in Career Mode.

What I find most frustrating of all is that Ultimate team has the components to be a very fun experience, but when the part where you play football is the worst part of a football game mode, you have to wonder what could have been. I have had more fun in the squad building challenges than any other mode. Those puzzles have entertained me for hours and I am looking forward to the next load of puzzles, but it’s now just a glorified mini game to me. I sold my squads and will probably forget about the puzzle mode after a while.

Ultimate Team’s days are possibly numbered, with governments all around the world looking into the legality of the loot boxes and the gambling aspects of video games, it may well mean that FIFA ends up with a R/18 rating for gambling mechanics. I can’t imagine that will fly well with EA, so they may need to revamp the mode completely.

For now, though, I will stick to Pro Clubs for most of my FIFA gameplay, and leave Ultimate Team to those who can deal with the frustration.

Have a great weekend!

ChAzJS

 

Content Burnout & Terrestrial Channels

There is a lot of content out there right now that I intend to consume at some point. Despite that, I could only muster the effort to go and see Joker. Besides that, and sports, I have only really watched The Office over the past 7 days. Oh, and like 2 thirds of Star Wars A New Hope. I am at the point where the ships go to shoot up the death star. Besides that, I just haven’t had the attention span to pick up something new. 

I have already seen the office in its entirety once, and watched odd episodes countless times, so watching through it again isn’t giving me anything new, it’s just allowing me to switch off and enjoy some silly jokes and the incredible man that is Michael Scott. I assume this is something other people sometimes struggle with, the urge to play games or watch shows & movies just goes and you just want to tune out for a bit instead.

I have a list of old films to see, to try and fill in the gaps in my movie knowledge, and there are countless shows I would like to experience. I haven’t even listened to many podcasts aside from some football-based ones which is only happening because I enjoy laughing at Tottenham so much. I think it’s very important to do that by the way. Laugh at Tottenham. Their fans have been smug for a few years and at this point their most successful period in history brought them a third-place finish and a loss in a final.

Ha.

Football aside, it feels like I am suffering from what I would call content burnout. That urge to watch something new just isn’t there, so I have gone back to something I already know so I can just have it on while my brain is thinking deeply about sweet sweet fuck all. Well since Sunday it’s been thinking about Joker but that’s just the nature of that film.

In other news, Rick and Morty Season 4 has been confirmed for November and I am going to have to sort out channel 4 for the first time since I moved out nearly 3 years ago. I have lived without any terrestrial television now for a few years and the only thing I miss is Match of the Day. Netflix, Amazon Prime and Now TV provide me with so much content, which combine with YouTube and Video Games mean there is always another thing to watch or play. I am assuming that I can download an App for Channel 4, hopefully it works better than the ITV app.

The ITV smart tv app is one of the most frustrating things I have ever used. The channel is called ITV. TV is literally in their name and yet, they do not have the function to watch their channel live within their app on smart TV’s. I even reached out to ITV about it, and by reached out I mean sent them a shitty email, and they responded with “Unfortunately our TV application doesn’t allow you to watch normal TV”. It was the final nail in the coffin, and I streamed the England game another way.

I am not sure how I got to this, but what I am trying to say is Fuck ITV. In fact, all the terrestrial channels, except the BBC, are more than welcome to do the same. Actually no, fuck the BBC. I just remember they moonlighted as a paedophile shelter for a bit & not even Match of the Day and Killing Eve can redeem something that ridiculously horrific.

So yeah today’s post started out about me feeling burnt out on content and ended with me say Fuck the BBC and all its friends. Maybe I should try and get more sleep.

‘Til tomorrow.

ChAzJS

 

My Most Anticipated TV series’ of 2019

I’ve done Games, I’ve done movies, now for the series that will take up hours of my time throughout the year. Last year had some excellent shows, Killing Eve, Bodyguard, and Daredevil sticking out in my head, but 2019 has some real treats in store (hopefully) and these are a few of the ones I am most excited to binge watch. 

Game Of Thrones – April

Where better to start than with arguably the most anticipated TV series in history. I watched every episode of Game of Thrones in August 2017, having never seen a single episode before. I knew about it of course, but I missed the start and felt I was too late to jump in. Once I decided to go from Episode one, it hooked me within the first hour. Sixty-seven episodes later, and I am a massive fan of the show.

With so many memorable characters over the seven seasons to date, and so many of them having met horrific ends, this season has the unenviable task of finishing the story. There are so many fan predictions and videos online about the upcoming season, but honestly I am avoiding all spoilers and going in just hoping that they can stick this landing. This is as ambitious a project as I have ever seen on TV, and if they pull it off and finish this series well, it will almost certainly cement itself at the top of TV shows for me. I loved Breaking Bad so much because of its excellent ending (in my opinion), so I really hope Game of Thrones can get it right.

Netflix’s The Punisher – January 18th

Netflix last year released a lot of series, all 4 of the defenders has a series released and to me the only success was Daredevil season 3. The next, and possibly the last Netflix Marvel series after the cancellation of Luke Cage, Iron Fist and Daredevil, is The Punisher Season 2. The first Punisher series surprised me, because it didn’t go for the over the top action I expected. It told a real story about a flawed character, and is the only series without Daredevil that has worked really well for me in this Netflix Marvel world.

Jon Bernthal returns as the title character, and his portrayal of Frank Castle is probably the best single performance in the Marvel series aside from Vincent D’onofrio’s Wilson Fisk. This season I am hoping for a bit more of the action I expected last time. The villain this time round, Jigsaw, was set up brilliantly in the last episodes we saw, so I am expecting big things from him trying to get revenge on Frank.

Stranger Things – 4th July

Halloween last year didn’t feel right without Stranger Things to binge all weekend, and I for one am glad its back this year. Wait its coming out in July? What the f….

In all seriousness, this show has been excellent for most people who have seen it,  for me its been a good show with some great moments, and I really hope the next season expands the property into new areas. The random episode last season (Season 2, Episode 7) felt very out of place for everyone, but I think this next season will do a lot to make sense of that episode. I expect a bit a change of tone for Stranger things, mainly due to the moved release date. Halloween was perfect for the pervious 2 seasons, so I am hoping for even more of a Goonies vibe this time round.

American Gods – March 10th in US – UK Unconfirmed.

American Gods was one of the weirdest series of tv I have ever watched. To be honest I am not sure whether i liked it or not, such is the level of weirdness. It was certainly interesting, and Ian McShane is absolutely brilliant in his role. The world it’s set in really does intrigue me a lot, combining the mythology of every real world religion is a really cool idea, and i have been tempted to read the book myself.

I am keen to see how the story plays out with the characters I know, and I think this next season could be a real surprise. Hopefully I am right, but honestly this series could be terrible, and at times in the first season it teetered on the edge of being nonsensical madness.

Of course there are several other series I will watch, Brooklyn 99, Lucifer and hopefully Archer all have new seasons coming out, along with Rick and Morty. Thanks for reading this week, and I am going to keep the posts coming this year. Again please share if you think someone else might like to waste 5 minutes reading my ramblings. Til tomorrow.

ChAzJS

My Most Anticipated Games of 2019

Gaming is fantastic. If you’re not into it, get into it. There is a game for you, whether it’s a 2D platformer in the vain of the old Super Mario and Castlevania, or a sprawling open world like The Witcher 3. It’s the biggest entertainment industry in the world, and here are my most anticipated games coming in 2019. 

Anthem – 22nd February 

BioWare have made some of the most popular games of the last 20 years, from Star Wars The Old Republic to Mass Effect. Anthem is their newest idea, looking like a mixture of Iron Man suits and Destiny, which sounds great to someone who has sunk a lot of hours into Bungie’s shooter in the last 12 months.

Mass Effect Andromeda was widely considered to be a rare miss for BioWare, even though I personally thought it was a decent game. Decent doesn’t cut it nowadays though, and Anthem needs to really hit for both BioWare and publisher EA to get them back in the fans’ good books.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice – 22nd March

From Software develop games I never play, but something about the trailer for their newest effort got me interested. It looked stunning for a start, and the combat looked unique. It’s very early days at this point in terms of what I know about the game, but hopefully we see something special from the developer.

I haven’t got into Bloodborne or the Souls games, as their live die repeat gameplay doesn’t appeal to me, but I am hoping this game is a departure from that hook, and they go for something new like Guerilla Games did a couple of years ago with Horizon Zero Dawn.

The Outer Worlds – 2019

With no confirmed release date, I am hoping this manages to stick to 2019. Coming on the heels of the failure that was Fallout 76, and in the void created by no Borderlands 3 announcement, the creators of the Fallout franchise Obsidian are bringing their new IP, which looks to combine the lessons learnt from Fallout with the fun and whimsy of the Borderlands franchise.

This is possibly my most anticipated game of the year, as at the moment it’s the only single player game I am 100% in for. Days Gone and Sekiro both look decent, but at this point there isn’t enough to get me to commit to buying them. In one excellent trailer, The Outer Worlds convinced me to buy with a lot of confidence this is going to be a very fun game to play.

The Last of Us: Part 2 – 2019 (Hopefully)

Naughty Dog are the kings of single player gaming experiences. Crash Bandicoot was the PS1 mascot, Uncharted was the premier single player adventure game, and until last year, The Last Of Us was considered the Jewel in PlayStation’s library. God of War showed us things can still improve, and in one swoop Sony Santa Monica’s God and Son story laid the challenge down to Naughty Dog.

The Last of Us: Part 2 may not make the cut for 2019, but I sincerely hope it does, as Naughty Dog have shown time and time again they can exceed the lofty expectations fans have for their games. We know very little about the game, but it’s bound to be another evolution on the last few Naughty Dog games, with Uncharted and The Last of Us’ gameplay influencing each other in the last few games.

There are bound to be a lot of games this year that surprise us, as God of War did last year, so hopefully we get something similar again from something like Days Gone. Thanks for reading, please share on Facebook and Twitter if you liked this!

ChAzJS

 

My Most Anticipated Movies 2019

I don’t know if everyone feels this, but one of the things I love the most about movies is the anticipation. Wondering about what surprises might happen, which characters I’m going to love or hate, and just whether or not any movie is going to be good or bad for me. Of course I am excited for the likes of Avengers Endgame and Star Wars Episode IX, but so is everyone else. With that in mind, here are a few of the films I am most excited to see in 2019 that aren’t huge blockbusters. 

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – 9th August (UK)

Boasting arguably the most talented cast in history with Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt Margot Robbie, Al Pacino and Kurt Russell, it is none of those names that really make me want to see this film. The name that does that, is Quentin Tarantino. I love every movie that I have seen of his (there are a few I haven’t watched) and a late 60s hollywood setting matched with all of Tarantino’s style and sensibilities sounds like a match made in heaven.

His particular brand of dialogue and the creative characters he puts into his films in the hands of such an incredibly talented cast just add to the anticipation for me. I know barely anything about this film beyond what I have put in this post and it is still easily one of my most anticipated films of the year. Releasing at the height of the blockbuster season, I really hope this gem isn’t buried by the superhero films out around then.

Joker – 4th October (US, UK Unconfirmed)

If you know me well, you will already know why this film is so high on my list. The Joker is my favourite fictional character across all mediums, so a movie based on him with a talent like Joaquin Phoenix in the role is tantalising. Early set photos show Phoenix looking suitably creepy as the maniacal villain, looking like a mix of the classic Caesar Romero look blended with Heath Ledger’s iconic turn in the role.

The Hangover director Todd Phillips is in charge of things, and that is my main concern with the film. None of his films really wow me, but none of them are terrible, he’s a very middle of the road director for a project i really want to see succeed. If he can take a few pointers from Martin Scorsese, who is on as a Producer for this film, i really think this could be something special.

The Lion King – 19th July (UK) 

Now this is a very interesting film to me. The animated classic from the 90s is my favourite Disney film, I watched it 100s of times as a kid, and it was a film I hoped would not be made before I saw the Jungle Book remake. However, in a post Jungle Book world, and with the astounding cast of voices on board under the same director (Jon Favreau), I am now all in to see this film. The special effects are brilliant, that goes without saying, but what will make or break The Lion King for me is the characters being as lovable and memorable as they was in 1994.

I never had this attachment to the Jungle Book, so this is new ground for me. I am going into a film hoping it is exactly the same as one I have seen before, but with a new lick of paint and some shiny new accessories. Whatever the end product is like, I am sure me and my generation will be pushing small kids out the way on opening day to sing along to Hakuna Matata in a theatre together come July. If it’s a success, we will be back in for the next showing.

Rocketman – 21 June (UK) 

In 2018, Bohemian Rhapsody gave Queen fans (i.e. Everyone) a chance to relive the past with Freddie Mercury leading Queen through their songs, whilst giving a glimpse behind the curtain at the life the legendary frontman led. In 2019, Rocketman aims to deliver the same experience, but with Elton John. His career spans several decades and his music traverses multiple Genres just like Queen, and he too has a story not everyone knows about. I am in that section of people, so I’m fascinated to learn about the man behind the music.

Dexter Fletcher is directing, whose work I have never seen, but I heard good things about Eddie the Eagle, hopefully this gives him the step up he needs to reach the next level as a director. Kingsman lead man Taron Egerton takes on the role of Elton John, and I really hope he nails this and maybe even generates himself some award buzz.

There are lots more of course, with Disney alone boasting Toy Story 4, Dumbo, Aladdin, Captain Marvel, Spiderman Far from Home and Frozen 2 on top of Star Wars and Avengers, it promises to be a huge year in cinema. Google 2019 films to see a lot of the films coming our way in the next 12 months, and there are certainly some we haven’t even heard of yet. The blog will be more active than ever this year so thank you for reading and please share if you think anyone you know will want to waste their time reading this! Til next time 🙂