Weekend Whammy: Gears 5, Mobile Broadband & Borderlands 3

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It’s another Weekend Whammy! It’s not the weekend? Ah, fuck it. It’s a Weekday Whammy, then, I guess. Anyway, this week I’m talking about Gears of War, lovely Playstation artwork and the potential brilliance of mobile broadband!

Before we get going here’s my weekly reminder to consider donating to this GoFundMe campaign to help a terminal cancer patient combat massive debt problems caused by the UK government.

Just a single review this week folks because my sister was up visiting with my little nephew. I don’t actually get to spend much time with him because my sole job becomes trailing after my dog who is utterly fascinated by my nephew. He’s very gentle and brings him toys in an effort to tempt him outside for a game of chase, but he’s also a big dog and gets carried away with the playing from time to time so I just have to keep an eye on his antics. Plus, at some point he might accidentally sit on the kid or something, and then moron here will get the blame.

Anyway, the review was of Decay of Logos, an interesting blend of the Breath of the Wild’s aesthetics and Dark Souls more thoughtful combat. On paper it sounds bloody amazing, but in reality I didn’t get along with the game at all.

I talked last week about my next review probably being the Blair Witch game, but that’s because for some insane reason I forgot that Gears 5 was launching. After discovering that I could get early access to Gears 5 via Gamespass Ultimate I went ahead and upgraded my existing Xbox Live and Gamespass to the Ultimate version and downloaded Gears 5. At this point I’ve gone through the campaign have begun sinking some time into the multiplayer, so a review should be coming soon. For now, however, my general impressions are very positive. The Xbox One finally has another strong exclusive.

Playing Gears 5 gave me a kick in the old nostalgia balls. It’s hard to believe the very first Gears of War came out way back in 2006, and was actually a massive factor in my decision to go with the Xbox 360 over the PS3 at the time. The PS3 had an incredibly high price-tag, so between that and the hundreds of gameplay videos of Gears of War that I was watching the choice became easy – I wanted to chainsaw some people! Jumping from the PS2 to the Xbox 360 was a hell of a revelation. Gears of War was a graphical powerhouse and it blew my tiny little mind. I was in love with graphics, the characters and the gameplay. So many people criticized the game for being full of macho meatheads, and they weren’t wrong, but there was some serious heart behind the story. If you tell me you didn’t shed a tear when Dom found his wife or when he sacrificed in Gears of War 3 then I’ll call you a liar.

It’s also interesting to think how much the series has changed. The first game was still a cover-based action-shooter with more testosterone than the World’s Strongest Man competition, but the Locust enemies were treated as scary monsters in the dark. There was a stronger horror tinge to the game that began to vanish in Gears of War 2‘s “bigger, badder, more badass” approach. By the time the third game had come around there was more colour and almost none of the horror styling of the first game. Maybe that was for the best – by the third game we’d all fought the Locust horde for dozens of hours and any creepiness they might have had was long gone.

Sticking with Gears 5 for a second, Kotaku wrote an entire article explaining how the game’s absurd microtransactions actually work. Look, game developers, if websites feel compelled to write lengthy articles breaking down how progression and microtransactions work in your game then there’s a pretty big problem.

Anyway, The Blair Witch is still on the schedule along with Greedfall and Borderlands 3. Sleep is also on the schedule but might have to get delayed until next week. I’ve heard that they might be putting out a patch to make it work better, too.

Speaking of Borderlands 3 there was a slight controversy in regards to review code. Citing security reasons Gearbox and 2K didn’t hand out a lot of codes and the vast majority were handed out to US publications only. Just a small selection of sites outside of the US got early access, and yes, I wasn’t one of them. Eurogamer briefly touched upon the weird situation. Of course, there’s no obligation for review code to be handed out at all, but it’s the accepted practice within the industry since it benefits everyone, so situations like this are just weird.

As for other stuff I’ve been playing I picked up SteamWorld Heist on sale on the 2DS this week. It cost something like £3 and I have to say for that price it’s nothing short of brilliant. It’s like a 2D XCOM, but with more sarcastic robots and none of the perma-death that made me weep like a broken-hearted child that was just told it’s favourite toy had been run over.

So the exciting news of this week (exciting to me, anyway) is that I’ve been experimenting with mobile broadband and how it might just be the solution to my rural gaming problem. See, I live in the countryside and I love it, but the downfall is that the Internet out here is bloody awful. I mean 3-4Mbps awful. So this week I visited Three and took out a mobile broadband contract since they give you seven days to try it out. Where I live the 4G signal is patchy, but the signal has been hovering around 15-28Mbps which is obviously a huge leap up from what I’ve been getting. The only hiccup so far is during high winds and rain the speeds seem to drop down, but even the lowest speeds I’ve seen have been 6Mbps which is still better than what I was getting. I’ve ordered up some external antenna for the router to see if that might help combat the signal inconsistency. But while it’s still early days I have hope that mobile broadband might just be the answer for poor rural gamers like me.

Did you guys notice the new Sony announcement this week? Nah, it’s not some awesome new exclusive game, but it is a bunch of awesome versions of existing Sony exclusives. They’re nothing more than re-releases of titles like Marvel’s Spider-Man and The Last Of Us Remastered, but just look at that glorious artwork! They can only be found on GAME at the moment. Personally, I think they’re missing a trick by not selling those sleeves seperately. As beautiful as they look I don’t think I can justify buying the games for a second time. If I could just get the sleeves, though….

Right, I’m going to sign off for this week. Take care people!

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