Saturday, April 1, 2017

My thoughts on Mass Effect Andromeda.

So, Andromeda is out, for nearly two weeks now, and up till now it has been a mess. I love Mass Effect, like I love Star Wars. Passionately and seemingly since forever. Where the original trilogy of games is like the original trilogy to me, Andromeda is definitely the Phantom Menace. It looks like Mass Effect, it sometimes feels like Mass Effect and your affection drives you to see the best in it.

And no, delivering a faulty product is not ok, not in any business, why should games be different. I've been in food retail the last decade and imagine the riot if you sell someone half a cheese for full price, while the other half is still being made and you will deliver it to them in small bits. 

Possible spoilers ahead, you have been warned.
The single player campaign started very slowly in my opinion, and after wrestling myself through the prologue, I thought it would definitely pick up steam. Well, it didn't. I kept saying to myself, come on, play on a bit more, perhaps then huh?
That's a bad sign. When I first played Mass Effect 3, I was counting down the hours at work until I could play again and completely lose myself in the experience.
In ME:A, my attention wandered after about half an hour of play, and what completely put me off was the fact that when I was talking to an NPC about why she joined the project, only her lips moved, and twice there was a jerky motion of her shoulders which is supposed to be a shrug, I guess.

I've played Knights of the old republic, Morrowind, etc. Not exactly high quality graphics. Heck I wouldn't mind a talking polygon, if it had an interesting story to tell. In a situation where the story is already pretty slow, the voice acting ok, albeit lacking a bit of passion, the moving lips is something I trip over. The immersion is already paperthin, so that's a deal breaker.

Then let's talk about Multiplayer. This is honestly the part I've been looking forward to most. Playing with my husband and friends is my favorite evening past-time. Here's a list of things that bother me.

  • Underpowered weapons and attacks. Example? A shield-less, basic mook took a charge, nova, a shot of a shotgun and shockwave to die. Even a combo won't fell them right away.
  • Overpowered melee. A team of Asari and humans beating up mooks twice their size? Likely...
  • Unable to charge weapons while running. Venom used to be my favorite gun. Charge it while I charged/ran at the enemies and unleash pandemonium. Now you have to walk or stand still. Which makes no sense in a game that is made for dynamic, mobile combat. 
  • Objectives. After five years there is almost no new objectives? The ones that would actually make sense, like an escort has been left out. It would make sense, since you have to move around, which is what they want in this game. All they left in are the ones that want you to be stationary. 
  • Only Krogan headbutts. I love the Krogan headbutt, but seriously guys. What happened to the ME3 Krogan that headbutted them, but also gave them a swift uppercut while attacking. Only headbutting Krogan look silly.
  •  Just today I got booted out a minute before extraction when I was playing in a random group. Of course, no way to rejoin. That's 20 minutes I'm not getting back, that's consumables spent to help my team, that's credits lost because you didn't make extraction. Not cool. 
  • Clunky and unresponsive UI. To me, it doesn't feel intuitive or logical at all, plus it takes a while to react. 
  • Strike team deployment often makes me lose connection.
  • Leaderboards only show yourself. 
  • I like the jetpacks tho.
 The sorry quality of this is making me sad. We work hard for our money, and I don't think it's being demanding to at least expect something that is playable.

Yeah ma'am, my face is tired too, from gritting my teeth.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

What 2015 was to me.


So, we're nearing the end of 2015 and this time of year naturally brings a lot of people to reflect upon the last 11 months. I'm no different.
It has been a tough year for the world and my tiny country. The attacks in Paris hit really close to home, as the masterminds behind it where a mere two-hour drive away from where I live. Scary stuff.

So scary even the teachers' in my kids' school lock the doors behind them whenever they pass through the school. Personally it's been quite the year too. At the end of 2014 I found out I had two herniated discs. I've explained the whole process in a previous post. Found here, for those interested.

Read more here.

Since then I've done some intensive physical therapy and I even started working again. Thankfully half-time, cause I really feel my neck when I get back. I was completely stressed out to start working again. As per usual, I worried too much and a couple of months later I really aced my performance review. Boss even gave me a raise :D

I also started streaming on the 3rd of march. Ten days prior to my operation. This descision has altered my life greatly. I still stream, whenever I find a pocket of time. It has also enabled me to talk to people I would have never met otherwise and with some of them I talk daily, like my girl Simmerplayer27. You are always so supportive and sweet. I love you my friend!

The most remarkable thing that happened to both my husband and me this year, was meeting Wiraqucha. On a certain day, I started playing Mass Effect 3 multiplayer on stream. It was just Ken and I, struggling to complete a mission as a duo, on silver difficulty. He said, hey, put it gold, I'll join. We were terrified, but he turned out to be really good at it. We started playing together more frequently and talking on Skype. We had a lot of things in common and we became friends fast.
He even visited us over the summer, we had a great week. Luggage was lost, castles were visited, burgers from hell eaten and trippy mini-golf played. He's also a great cook!
You are the brother we got to choose! Thanks for putting up with us, we do love you, even when we're blasting each other. (Ok, that's quite enough sap.)

This year, my dear nephew Floran also got his operation. I wrote a lot about it here, and if you haven't read it, please click the links below.

Post 1
Post 2: Update!

And allow me to update you live, right now!

Floran is in full revalidation! He's learning how to walk again, slowly, very slowly. He's also allowed to spend every other weekend at home. Here are some pictures of his progress.

He's making big strides, with the positivism only kids seem to possess. Big shout-out of appreciation to his parents, who went through hell and back. They still have a long road ahead of them, but I truly admire their dedication. Surely, they have moments when they feel low, that makes us human.

So the coming month will prove to be a busy one. I'm in food retail, so you can imagine we have our busiest days ahead of us. While it's hard work, it's also the time of year people are generally in good spirits. They are aware that waiting times at the cash register might be a touch longer, despite our best efforts.

So it's Sinterklaas (local holiday), Christmas, both my brother's and son's birthday coming up. Bye sweet money, I will miss you!
Roll on 2016, but don't forget to enjoy the rest of 2015 as well. Time starts to fly once you get older.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Update on Floran!

So a while ago I posted about the fundraiser benefit that was being held in my dear nephew's honor.
It's safe to say that it was a great succes!
In total we were able to raise almost 7000 euros! That included an art auction, people selling support cards, my gaming stream, etc.

First of all I'd like to thank all the people that donated to my charity stream. You guys were awesome!
A very special thanks goes to my friends Wiraqucha and Simmerplayer27 (These are their gamertags)
Not only did they donate royally, but you guys supported me and the stream all the way!

The results!
 The party itself was so sweet! In the beginning of the evening. The entertainment was focused on the children, only to grown into a full blown par-tay! Here are some images :D

Completely ran by volunteers mind you. Proof there are still pretty decent people out there.

Now two days ago, the day had finally come. Floran needed his operation. The whole family was tense that day. I found my mind wandering to my nephew every few minutes. Just imagine it's your own child, waiting to undergo such a tough operation.

Good news tho! The operation went ok! The road ahead for this little guy is rocky, but he is being surrounded by so much love. That has to count for something. Here are some post-op pictures of the little man.

He's still receiving valium for the pain, but the firs major step is taken. I will post occasional updates for sure!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Cerebral Palsy and how I know of it. (Not gaming related, not directly at least.)

This cute little guy here is Floran. Floran is my little nephew. He has had a really rough start in life. Due to a prolonged lack of oxygen at birth, he now suffers from Cerebral Palsy.

You may ask, what does this entail? Well in his specific case, it means he suffered brain damage at birth which causes him a whole spectrum of problems. He has a slight cognitive problem, a form of autism and his muscles don't grown as fast as his body does, meaning his body will grow 'crooked'

In order to to fix this, on the 8th of October, they will perform an SDR operation on him. For more info on that, please follow this link.

Find out more here!

This operation is super delicate, as they will cutting nerves near his spine. He will have to stay in the hospital for 3 months at least and will have to recover, while laying on his belly for quite some time.
After this operation, they need to set his ankles straight also and he will be needing an operation for his hips, since he also suffers from hip displasia.

His parents are busy with him nearly 24/7. His father has taken time off from work to be with his son during the hard recovery time. Mom will still work part time and take care of their daughter. Safe to say this will put an intense finacial strain on them. This is not the first operation and definitely won't be the last.

That's why most of their friends have banded together and started a benefit for little Floran which will culminate in a big party where the family shall be handed the accumulated funds from the fund raiser.

I will probably not make it to the party, as I have to work, but I want to do my part and in my own way. That's why I decided to do a Donation stream.
I will be streaming Sims/Mass Effect/ viewer suggestions on Saturday, September 19th, 2015 at 10 PM Central European Summer Time (CEST)

To easily convert to your own timezone:

Find my timezone!

For more information and pictures. about Floran and his family, I gladly point you to this website. It's in Dutch, but should you have a question about it, feel free to ask!

Facebook group:

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Mass Effect Andromeda: Speculation time!


Still pretty hyped from the E3 presentation. We got a first look at the latest installment of Mass Effect! And we got a name!

Mass Effect Andromeda. Trailer here.

Time to pick it apart! Sara style. There will be a lot of exclamation marks and curbed smilies, cause I just want to go overboard. I love this game so much, it's nearly insane.

So we start with a Johnny Cash tune. Nice, this evoked an immediate Firefly feeling with me.

Mal approves!

Look all y'all, it's Arizona! Click the picture for a higher resolution. Apologies for the quality in advance as these are screengrabs.

Arctic world with hidden cave and superblue streams. Yes, I like this.

Arizona meets the Great Barrier Reef above ground, with giant beetles!

Asteroid field, first look at Galaxy map interface and I think this little circle could be indicative of resource collection? Because it looks like a bit of a pie chart, with writings beside it. 
Like listing the resources available. Yet again, pure speculation from my part.

Then we have a seemingly very rocky and verdant landscape with a mega creature flying in the air. And again a circle thingy near a rock, probably giving a read-out on resources.

It's the dawn of a new planet, looks like. So it could be a really new planet or a really old one that faced annihilation.

FTL destination, I think this is our new galaxy map people. Feels a bit like the old one, but looks fresh. Also, emerging protagonist!

Yeah, speaks for itself.

 N7. YEAH!

So the Mako is in there too. Hold on to your stomachs folks! In some kind of desert scape. I expect Thresher Maws! And the giant beetles again.

So now the action starts. You see the protagonist overlook a desert landscape with some blue electrical currents cackling.

And now it becomes even more interesting! So we see these giant structures rise up from the ground.
In my opinion, they look Prothean. They also have the tell-talle blue lines running through the construction.

Here is some Prothean reference material of the Mars archives.

And to prove that theory even further. Here's a screengrab of our protagonist engaging the enemy. The form of their heads, their back-wards bending legs, shape of their shoulders all scream Prothean to me.

Some reference material to go with it.

And it ends with this. Captured in engine, so representative of Game Experience. Still a good year and half of waiting ahead, but I don't mind. Take your time on this one guys. My hopes are way up. It will be a hell of a fall if this dissapoints. This trailer has me hopeful however. I also saw a Krogan in the trailer, good times! :D

A clean break with the Shepard storyline was to be expected. I feel however, that it offers enough familiar elements to make you feel comfy of embarking on a new adventure.
I have just recently ventured into the Mass Effect community, late as I am to all the parties, but I love it so far. To be a part of it from the very beginning will be a new experience.

I cannot wait.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Current state of affairs.

Fair warning, this is a post about my personal life. So if you wish to spare yourself from a long and boring piece of text, please help yourself to the rest of the Internet ;)

If you're still here, I salute you, brave reader. Some of you may have noticed I have been around a lot these last months. That's because I'm home on medical leave, have been since December 22th 2014. Reason? I had two herniated discs in my neck. Basically my neck was crooked and a nerve got stuck behind it. I found this out after a day of work. While my job is physically taxing, the pain I felt in my arm was disproportionate.
After a visit to the ER in my local hospital, they quickly found out about the discs. Then started a long journey of doctors, more doctors, scans, infiltration treatments etc. All of those didn't work, so my neurosurgeon decided to perform surgery.

I am now 2 months post-op. The pain in my neck is better, but not gone completely, plus the rest of  my joints regularly act up. Specifically my wrists. Boy did I pick the wrong hobby huh?
I will have to remain home for three more months. In this time I will have to go do physical therapy in order to get stronger and get my spine 'fixed' again.

In the same breath, my current doctor told me I will probably never be able to do the same job again. At least not without damaging myself any further, which is a shame, as I love my job. My co-workers are the best in the world and I've known them since a long time.
I know I have plenty of options left, but at 32, I don't want to 'start again' somewhere. Being the one that no one knows, being a complete noob at the job again. I've been there many times.

So that dangling sword of Damocles plus pain everyday sometimes makes me grumpy, even angry. Because I've had it. I know I'm working on getting better, but it's just not fast enough. I just want to wake up one morning without feeling as if I fought a battle during the night.

I try to channel all this into positive things like being with my family, streaming and playing games. Ninety percent of the time that works, but sometimes it just doesn't and I get angry at the smallest thing. For instance, it's been a while since I've been able to pick up my own kids, and when they hurt themselves and want to be picked up by mommy, I gotta tell them that I can't. They can't ever play a little rough with me because mommy's neck hurts.
I don't want my kids to think I'm some fragile plant you can't touch, but that's basically what's up.

Also, life, household and responsibilities go on, business as usual. Ok, this was quite enough of a pity party. I'm glad to have written it all down. Just doing that made me feel better already. So if you by any chance were wondering what I was up to, now you know.

Thanks for reading! :D

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Sims 4, Get to Work preview event screenies!

Hey Simmers!

I was lucky enough to be invited up to EA in Amsterdam. Play some Sims, meet some old friends and make some new ones!
We got to take 10 screenies and I didn't take the best ones, but I should share none the less!

In my playtime I always look at all the new build/buy options first. Build has one new wall texture and if memory serves about 5 new floors. As I expected, these floors were very profession specific. In this case hospital floors.
There are a couple of new doors and windows. Again, pretty profession specific. You have fencing to make a real prison, hospital doors and apparatus. Also, there are a ton of new buy items!

Where this expansion really shines is the gameplay. There are literally a ton of new things to do. In a provided save game, I followed a budding police officer to the police station. I got on a case and was sent to a house to collect some evidence and samples. It was such fun! Time was getting shorter so I switched to the Science career Sim in hopes of reaching the Alien planet.

I didn't get there in time because I had a train to catch, but I already had so much fun with the Simray that can freeze other Sims and transform items. I did get an alien to cross through the Wormhole generator, even tried my freeze ray on the poor sod as you'll see on the screenies below.

The retail system is intensely reminiscent of open for business, and that to me is great! You gain perks and special skills. You can sell basically anything you find in the buy catalog and crafted things!

So yes, I look forward to it. Especially now I have started with Let's Plays. I think I'm going for a business first! No home businesses tho, so the lot remains a private lot or a business. You could place a bed in your store, but some interactions can only happen at home.
Without further do tho, here are the screenies. They speak for themselves!

Let's invent something!

Wormhole generator!

Let's not forget our Photographers!
Also, photographs transfer to the Gallery! That's good news in my opinion :D Thanks for reading!!