What I’ve Been Up To

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So tax season is finally over so I can finally get back to writing! Most times I was just too tired by the time I was done working on the weekend to do much so that’s why I hadn’t been writing for a while. I’ve really missed writing and the blogging community! So here goes my update!

Games I’m Currently Playing

Right now I am playing NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139… (quite a long title). This was one of the games I was looking forward to playing this year and I love it! Just like NieR Automata, it is an emotional game with a lot of moments so far that have made me cry like the lighthouse story. This game is essentially about a brother attempting to find a cure for his younger sister’s disease with the help of a talking book, Grimoire Weiss.

I also played the Resident Evil Village demo last weekend and I am really looking forward to this one! I love vampires so having an entire horror game about vampires to play is just perfect! So far, I am loving the graphics and the mystery surrounding the vampires. It also was scary and I did manage to jump a few times especially when I was being chased by a horde of vampires.

New Games I’ve Gotten

A friend told me about a portable hard drive that I could get for my PlayStation so I’ve been able to finally get some more games on it and I also moved Cyberpunk 2077 to it so I can get all the DLC for it whenever they release.

My PS4 now has Spiderman which is really fun so far. I really enjoying being able to swing around New York and I love that it’s open world so I can explore the city! I also got Red Dead Redemption 2 which I am really looking forward to playing! It looks gorgeous and I am interested in playing a game as a cowboy. I just added Assassin’s Creed Unity as I’m a big fan of the Assassin’s Creed games and I’m looking forward to being a part of the French Revolution.

I was also able to get Blue Reflection, Spyro Reignted Trilogy, NieR Automata, Assassin Creed Syndicate, Yakuza 0, and Yakuza Kiwami back on my PlayStation 4 now that I have the room. I did not finish Spyro so I am really looking forward to being able to play it.

There were a ton of sales during tax season so I got a few games on my Steam. I just bought Dead Rising last weekend as it looked like a lot of fun. I’ve seen the Game Grumps play parts of it so I am looking forward to actually playing it. I also got Asssassin’s Creed II because I was interested in exploring Italy and Fallout: New Vegas because I have never played a Fallout game. Finally, I got Black Desert Remastered while it was free on Steam because I had it on mobile and wanted to get the PC port.

For my Switch, I got Persona 5: Strikers and Vampyr. I am a big fan of Persona 5 so I am really looking forward to playing it’s sequel. Vampyr’s story intriqued me and I went with the Switch version because I figured it would be fun to take it with me on the go. You play as a vampire doctor during the plague and you can decide whether to maintain your humanity or become a bloodthirsty vampire.

Finally, I got Pandora’s Tower for the Wii U. I’ve always wanted to play this game so I decided to try the Wii U version and so far it’s great! I haven’t had a problem using the GamePad for the motion controls.

Games I’ve Completed

I was really busy working so I couldn’t find a lot of time to play, but I did beat Cyberpunk 2077 and BloodRayne. Both are great games and I am looking forward to playing BloodRayne 2 and the eventual DLC for Cyberpunk 2077.

Game’s I’m Looking Forward To

I am looking forward to Resident Evil Village after playing the demo. I am also really looking forward to Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne HD this month as I am a fan of Persona but haven’t played an SMT game. The plot sounds very interesting because it appears to be about you finding someone to rule the world after it gets destroyed and there are multiple endings. Finally, I can’t wait to play Skyward Sword as I have always wanted to play that game as well and I am looking forward to the Switch port.

What have you all been up to recently? Let me know!

Remembering Jackie Welles

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This post will contain spoilers for the First Act of Cyberpunk 2077. I bought this game for the PlayStation 4 and it was not looking great. But, I was interested in the story because I felt an instant bond to Jackie Welles. He reminded me of friends that I had so it was easier for me to bond with him despite his regrettably short time in the game.

How Meet

How you meet Jackie depends on your life path. I played through all three intros out of curiosity, but my main path is Street Kid.

Street Kid

V meets Jackie doing a favor for someone that worked at his mother’s bar which is why he later decides to trust V. The bartender owed a debt to a man named Kirk. Kirk tells V the debt will be repaid if she can steal a luxury car for him. When V followed his orders the car door opened and Jackie was threatening V to get out of the car because he had also been hired to steal it. After that, the police swarm in and take us both down and knock us out. When V wakes up Jackie was relieved that nothing had happened to them and after hearing that V did all this for someone else ,especially someone that works at his mother’s bar, he decides that V is an upstanding person and wants to work with V.

Corpo

V and Jackie have been friends for quite some time. He shows concern for V when he sees that she gets so stressed she gets sick at work saying that the job is going to kill her. V is told by her boss to take down his rival. V asks Jackie for help with this job but, due to him describing himself as a man of principle, he is not happy about the job. Then, Arasaka comes after V while Jackie is with her and strips her of her job. Jackie threatens them when they are about to try to take V in so they leave her alone afterwards.

Nomad

V has been hired to smuggle goods and Jackie Welles has the cargo. They have to go through a border check to get into Night City which ends with border patrol chasing them as they have stolen corporate goods. After narrowly avoiding the officers, they open the cargo to find an adorable iguana. Jackie decides to help V find a place to stay and wants to work with her in Night City.

Background and Personality

Jackie was part of the Valentino’s gang until he was shot in the heart at 19 and his mother found out that he was part of the gang. This is where he gained his principles as the Valentino’s value loyalty, honor, and respect. Despite not being part of the gang anymore, he still shows pride as you can see he wears a Valentino jacket and shirt, has tattoos of the Valentino, and his bike also has Valentino on it.

Jackie is also someone I would describe as full of life. He’s vibrant, happy, funny. He treats you like family frequently calling you hermana. He also will look after you. When you do story missions together, he’ll tell you if there’s trouble or to hide.

Jackie wanted more out of life. It’s clear based on conversations where he mentions wanting to be part of The Afterlife, a club where you know you made it if they name a drink after you when you die. He wants his own home for his girlfriend Misty. His life has been moving slower than he expected and he’s been struggling to get the kinds of jobs where he will earn big money.

Story

Jackie tells V that a large fixer named Dexter DeShawn wants to meet her. He gives V a small task at first to secure a flatbot from Maelstrom, a gang known for their insane amount of cyberware and being hostile. This route can go forward in a few ways. In my version I received a chip with money on it from Militech. It came with a virus which led Militech to find Maelstrom and a fight ensued.

After V gets the bot, The Heist could begin. First, Dex gets V and Jackie into The Afterlife so Jackie and V could see the bar and order drinks. I usually don’t drink in games, but Jackie wanted to order drinks so we could celebrate together so sharing a drink with him made the moment special. I also learned about his signature drink which he told the bartender so he could one day have his name in The Afterlife. Dexter gives the group a plan on how to steal a special chip from Arasaka and then you can choose whether to start the mission immediately or do other quests.

The Heist was very difficult emotionally. I was looking up lore on characters and accidentally got a spoiler about Jackie’s death so I was well aware and crying through the whole thing. What made it worse was how happy he was. Jackie kept talking about the future he wanted. He tried to rent a Delmain cab once for a relatives party to make it special, but it was too expensive. When he makes it big he wants to take Misty to the nice restaurant at the hotel the Heist was at. He has a good feeling this job will make us rich and we’ll be happy.

The Heist goes wrong when an assassination occurs at The Arasaka hotel. The son of Arasaka kills his father, alarms ring out, and V and Jackie are in the middle of everything. Jackie gets shot in the stomach, the chip’s container breaks and Jackie slots it in his brain, and you have to sneak or run out into the Delmain cab.

Once V enters the cab Jackie slowly die in V’s arms while he hands her the chip. That was very hard to watch, it may have been one of the hardest things I’ve watched in a game. On top of that Dex blames V and shoots her in the head. V is saved by the chip only to find out that her brain is being slowly taken over by Johnny Silverhand whose life was stored on the chip.

Aftermath

There’s a side quest that unlocks where V finds something to give to Jackie’s ofrenda. She goes to his home and finds Misty there who says that she still waits an hour for him every day. V then learns more about Jackie by going through his things. The sweetest thing was he built a sand mandala because Misty told him to make one. He also told her he’d love to use the sand to build them a home. I chose to give him a bottle of unopened rare tequila that he kept for luck. Unfortunately my game bugged and I had to reload three times before I could select the bottle. At the ofrenda you get Jackie’s bike and his guns.

V can still call Jackie after his death and leave him voice-mails. I also found out by going through my Journal that the text for the quests were written with his voice. It was really touching to see a final goodbye from him telling me to keep moving forward for him.

Lessons Learned

Upon meeting the character and interacting with them, I loved that Jackie obviously lived life to the fullest. He wasn’t held back by fear and that’s what I wish I could do. I would like to let go of the fears I get from having anxiety and learn to be in the moment more.

For the sudden death, it definitely taught me to hold my friends close and let them know how much I care. You’ll never know when you’ll lose someone. Jackie was really young, he was 30 which is only 4 years older than me. I hope I will never lose any of my friends young.

As for lessons learned in the game world, it shows just how cruel Night City is. You find this one character that just wants to help people and is a good person and he gets killed. It also set the game’s serious tone as before it was more fun and focused on action.

What did you think of Jackie Welles as a character? Were you able to bond with him in the short time he was in the game?

The State of Cyberpunk 2077 on PS4

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I was very excited to play this game at launch. Unfortunately, when I woke up that morning I saw news that the game wasn’t running well. I waited for my physical copy to arrive and then had to wait for it to download 102 GB because the console versions are larger. The original state was very bad and even though with the current patch it does work, I would advise waiting for further patches.

Launch State

The original state of this game was bad for the little bit I played it. The graphics and lighting were poor. Textures had no detail and graphics were in general very blurry. There were loading issues with textures so things would appear pixelated. It was struggling with any action in the game.

It was bad enough that I was thinking about refunding. Then the next day a patch came out that fixed things enough that I liked the game.

Current Graphics

Graphics are still low quality, but they do have more detail. I noticed that people’s faces had more detail and the lightning had been improved. Graphics can still be poor quality like signs sometimes have blurry textures so its hard to read. A homeless guy’s sign didn’t render properly so I was struggling to read the words. Textures still pop in so if you look in the distance in the city you can see how poorly detailed things are.

If you are planning on still playing, here are some tips that I found online or just by me tweaking settings. Turn off all graphic effects except Lens Flare and then turn on HDR if you have a compatible TV. Set the maximum brightness to 2000, paper white to 600, and tone mapping to 1.50. I would not set the paper white higher as it gets so bright it causes a double vision effect making it hard to concentrate and read. If you don’t have HDR, turn Chromatic Aberration on. Now turn your sharpness on your TV to a medium setting, I had it at 13 and then the game does look much better!

Controls

The controls needs a bit of work, but it could also be due to frame drops during intense combat. Driving was also hard at first because I could easily oversteer the vehicle when making turns.

The recommended control scheme I found by searching online was to turn dead zones down to their lowest amounts and turn all bonuses in the advanced options to 0. This allowed the controls to be tighter when driving and made combat smoother.

Bugs and Crashes

So far I have only encountered 2 crashes on my console. Both happened on the same day when I was able to play the game on the weekend. The first happened after I took a break from the game to think about a decision, I came back and chose my option and then the game crashed a few minutes later. The second I don’t know what happened; it was weird. All of a sudden, I started feeling like something was visually off with the game and then I noticed that things were blurring when I moved the camera and the game was really stuttering and I could tell the frame rate was dropping. Then, it just crashed. Both times when it crashed it completely reset my settings so I had to redo my settings so I made notes on what I had the game set to.

As for bugs, I’ve got plenty. I’ve had T-posing NPCs. I’ve had cars and people randomly spawn in. When a cyberpsycho died in the game his mouth was still moving. One time when my car spawned in when I called it, it landed on top of another car and got stuck. I found out that if a car flips over, it will do nothing, then the person in the car will stand on top of the car and then both will explode into fire.

I also have an odd bug that also happened twice where my controller disconnected. I’ve no idea how the game disconnected my controller as there’s no issue with the controller. I’ve played Valhalla for hours or used my controller to play Steam games with no issues so it’s not my controller.

AI Behavior

I’m coming from Saints Row and Grand Theft Auto games so I was shocked at how bad the AI behavior is. So, there was a scene where I had to capture someone in a diner. First, for some reason the cops were called and they spawned in immediately outside. So, I can’t tell whose a gang member and whose a cop. So, I took out the Tyger Claws gang and hid. Eventually the police gave up, but the Tyger Claws were still attacking. When I got outside of the area, everyone was crouching and hiding even though the action was over and they were far away.

Police do just literally spawn in and them doing that can slow the game down for a bit. They don’t arrive at a scene. They are also very hostile and will attack if you get too near to them. I was walking down to a fast travel location because I didn’t know what it was at the time. All of a sudden a cop said “drop your weapon” even though I had nothing out and started shooting. I just walked past him to explore and he took it as a threat.

As for people, they are not very interactive. Some have interesting dialogue that they will say to each other, but they mostly just tell you in various ways to go away. At least there’s one hairless cat you can pet in the game that’s friendly. There’s also street vendors, but you can’t buy food from them.

Positive Aspects of The Game

If you’re wondering why would anyone buy this then I do want to mention why I’ve decided to not try to refund it. The story is really fun and I’m interested in it; plus Jackie. I love Jackie, as soon as I met him I just had to keep playing the game! He’s a fun character that’s very comforting because he treats you like family.

Side quests can be fun. There are unique quests or some fun ones that repeat like researching cyberpsychosis by knocking out cyberpsychos. There’s weird NPCs like I found Jesse Cox in the game! He was flaming crotch man because I had to take him to a ripperdoc to an implant gone wrong. That was really funny!

The world is really pretty and with work I feel like it could be an immersive game! If stuff like AI was worked on and interactive elements like being able to eat food on street corners or go to the barber like in Witcher 3 would also be really nice RPG elements.

The cyberpunk aspect is really cool! I love the style and the emphasis on corrupt corporations. I am interested in how the cyberpunk theme and style will be developed throughout the game.

Verdict

This game has potential to be a really good game on consoles and in general with some patches. For now, if you are a console player and own this game, consider playing something else for the time being like I’m going to focus on Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla. If you are looking forward to buying this, wait until at least February because the latest news from CD Projekt Red is that there will be major patches in January and February. It sucks that the game I was looking forward to the most this year did release in this state. I’m hoping that this game can be really nice looking and play wonderfully after a few patches. Right now it can be played even though it can crash or have frame drops during battles, but I would rather wait until it is better looking and completely stable before playing.

What are your thoughts on Cyberpunk 2077 on consoles?