Marvel’s Avengers: Ew, No Thanks

By Shamus Posted Tuesday Aug 11, 2020

Filed under: Column 75 comments

I complained about this game when it was first showcased at E3 last year. At the time I didn’t like it because it looked like a lazy copy of the cinematic Avengers with all of the charisma and wit drained out of it. The action looked stilted and scripted. It had a bad case of too many quicktime events, not enough player expression.

But hey, this was just a first impression, right? This is an E3 showcase, so of course they’re going to lean into the more cinematic sections of the game. Star Wars™ Jedi: Fallen Order™ EA™ looked pretty uninspired at E3, and that game turned out great.

But then as the previews began I saw that my initial concerns were just small potatoes compared to the real problems:

Continue reading ⟩⟩ “Marvel’s Avengers: Ew, No Thanks”



Diecast #312: Chip Fab, Good Robot Source

By Shamus Posted Monday Aug 10, 2020

Filed under: Diecast 61 comments

If you’re here because you like to hear me whine about games that disappointed me, then you’re in luck! You get a double helping this week. If you get annoyed by “You never gave the game a chance!” and “You quit just before it got good!”, then this is not going to be your favorite episode.

Hosts: Paul, Shamus. Episode edited by Issac.

Link (YouTube)

Continue reading ⟩⟩ “Diecast #312: Chip Fab, Good Robot Source”



Jedi Fallen Order Part 1: A New Hope for EA

By Shamus Posted Thursday Aug 6, 2020

Filed under: Retrospectives 257 comments

You might remember that this was my Game of the YearAlthough that title doesn’t have the same weight here that it does elsewhere. in 2019I think it will actually count as a 2020 game on the big gaming sites. Either that, or this game was severely snubbed by the gaming press.. I really enjoyed it, and I was glad to have something that used a Dark Souls-ish combat system of timing and pattern recognition, but without the Dark Souls style punishmentEh. I’ll talk much more about this later.. I’ve played through the game four-ish times now, and I’ve enjoyed each playthrough more than the previous one. 

Also: I played on the PC using an Xbox controllerI know I bitch and moan about Microsoft, but this controller is over a decade old and has held up like a champ. I should do a post about this thing someday., if you care about that sort of thing.

Continue reading ⟩⟩ “Jedi Fallen Order Part 1: A New Hope for EA”



No Mod’s Sky

By Shamus Posted Tuesday Aug 4, 2020

Filed under: Column 35 comments

Last week I expressed appreciation for the turnaround that No Man’s Sky has experienced. I talked about how I was able to add a few mods to the game and have a really good time. A few people wanted to know what mods I was using. So let’s talk about that.

Modding NMS isn’t hard by the standards of PC modding, but it is a little more involved than finding something on the Steam Workshop and hitting “subscribe”.

How to Mod

If you’re a frequent modder then you probably already use the mod Nexus and already have the Vortex Mod Manager installed. That program downloads, installs, and manages mods for over 1,000 games. If you’re seriously into the modding scene, then Vortex is the way to go. If you’re already a Vortex user then you don’t need my help and you can skip to the numbered list below.

I recommend using Vortex, but I’ll be the first to admit there’s a non-trivial setup overhead and a bit of a learning curve. If you’re just looking to install a couple of mods for one particular game, then you probably don’t want to mess around with all of that. To sum up,:

Option 1: Use Vortex, which has a long setup time but afterward offers one-click installs for all mods.


Option 2: Install stuff manually, which is easy to get started but can get a little technical. You need to be comfortable manually shuffling files around and editing the occasional settings file.

So here’s how to install NMS mods the manual way…

Continue reading ⟩⟩ “No Mod’s Sky”



Diecast #311: Eh! No Man’s Anthem

By Shamus Posted Monday Aug 3, 2020

Filed under: Diecast 77 comments

My voice was super dry and scratchy when I recorded this. I spent most of the show hacking and clearing my throat. I tried my best to hide it, but you can probably tell something’s off.

Also, our first mailbag question is really good this week and I’m curious to hear other people’s take on it.

Hosts: Paul, Shamus. Episode edited by Issac.

Link (YouTube)

Show notes:
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That’s a Brave Idea

By Shamus Posted Thursday Jul 30, 2020

Filed under: Rants 166 comments

I’m not totally sure when I switched from Firefox to Google Chrome. I feel like it was about the same time that I created my Gmail account, which (going by my archives) seems to be in September of 2008. 

So I’ve been on Chrome for ~12 years. I’ve been happy with it up until the last six months or so, as Chrome has grown gradually more unwieldyI have a list of minor interface nitpicks and annoyances that aren’t really worth getting into in this post. Maybe another time. and slow. Also, the reputation of Google has shifted over the last 12 years. Back in 2008, Google was beloved as the force behind some of the internet’s greatest innovations: Google search, YouTube, and Gmail. Here in 2020, people are wary of Google’s eponymous search engine over privacy concerns. YouTube has become a frustrating, unjust, and downright Orwellian platform. And Gmail? I guess Gmail is fine, if we’re okay with it being needlessly and aggressively ugly. 

The point is that Google no longer comes across as a hip young company full of idealistic mavericks. These days it feels like a monolithic corporate overlord in a dystopian cyberpunk novel, and every time they show up in the news I feel the need to extricate myself from their ecosystem. 

On the performance side, Chrome began driving me crazy a few months ago when individual tabs would hang for several seconds at a time. I ran into this a lot when scrolling media-heavy subreddits. Sometimes the page would stall and the entire Chrome interface – including switching tabs – would become gradually more unresponsive until I restarted it. My computer is pretty beefy, and I’ve never run into these slowdowns before. Performance seems nice and smooth outside of Chrome, which leads me to believe the problem is with Chrome and not the hardware / OS. 

So far I’ve avoided moving because it’s such a monumental pain in the ass to change web browsers these days. I keep Firefox around for testing purposes, but I’ve never liked it enough to make it my main. And obviously I’m not interested in Microsoft’s offerings

But now I’ve jumped to Brave, and I’m not sure what I’ve gotten myself into.

Continue reading ⟩⟩ “That’s a Brave Idea”



A Whole New Sky

By Shamus Posted Tuesday Jul 28, 2020

Filed under: Column 62 comments

You might remember that last week I enjoyed another round of mockery at the expense of No Man’s Sky. It’s become something of an annual-ish tradition around here. In this case, the application exhibited baffling windows behaviors that forced me to track down and edit settings files to get the thing to start.

Then in the comments of that same post, Mephane listed some mods that really improved the game.

Wait, modding NMS is a thing? I never even looked. This game is obviously using an extremely idiosyncratic custom engine and I sort of assumed that modding would be impossible. 

But as it turns out, there are lots of mods for No Man’s Sky. Sadly, this is an unfortunate time for me to revisit the game.

Continue reading ⟩⟩ “A Whole New Sky”