The Last of Us – A disk pressing review

I didn’t play the Last of Us when it came out, but I did buy it when it came out and only now have I finally gotten around to playing it. Unfortunately, there won’t be a review of the game because, I, like many others it seems, have had trouble running the game.

Let’s cut to the chase, no this is not your PS3 – it plays other games juuuust fine, no this isn’t every copy of the game; lots of people report no problems at all. Saying that – some people claimed the HD collection ran fine for them, but that was not even remotely true. Anyway though, the disk is thin, flimsy, and the game’s video does not stream from it properly. Also because of most company’s policies on games, it is non-returnable unless you have not opened the game. However. It is remarkably difficult to tell whether or not a pressing is good or not based on the box.

Essentially I have a very expensive ($64) Frisbee. I can get it to play more sometimes by cleaning it in some ways and making other bits dirty, but these things just make it more obvious that the disk is at fault.

PS4 Games so far

Out of the three PS4 games that I have so far bought (the rest have been free or not really for the PS4) I have to say that my favourite is actually inFAMOUS: Second Son. Which was unexpected. I was actually expecting it to be Ground Zeroes or Watch_Dogs. Buuuut; Ground Zeroes has the problem of being a stealth game where you’re timed in missions and you’re expected to repeatedly do the missions.

I have realised over time that when I want to play a stealth game it’s because I want to take my time and take out a bunch of people and sneak to the target. Like in Dishonoured or MGS4. Instead I’m basically running everywhere in the hopes that people don’t see me after playing the game slowly and carefully to memorise enemy patterns, which isn’t how stealth games should work in my opinion. Also the subject matter is kinda vile. Yeah, listen to this tape which is supposed to be a young boy forced to rape a barely legal woman; that’ll be an enjoyable experience (hint: please stop). I really hope the full game is less like Ground Zeroes and more like MGS3 and MGS4.

Then there’s Watch_Dogs. Watch_Dogs is like if you took Assassin’s Creed, Grand Theft Auto, Ghost in the Shell, and Deus Ex and mixed them all together, but with everything you found fun surgically altered to be hard to control and barely present. Playing Watch_dogs is not even remotely as enjoyable as it looks. You feel very restricted, the character moves wrong, the vehicles control wrong. You very certainly don’t feel like a cool hacker, you feel like you have bought a magical phone from a cool hacker. It combines several obnoxious elements about modern gaming and 4chan culture, from the billboards you hack (and by hack I mean you press square) to say hilarious phrases like “Never gonna give you up” and “Over 9000!” to the other-people-can-invade-your-game crap (which thankfully can and has been turned off – although doing so loses all multiplayer progress because … oh who knows) to the throat-cancer barely alive main character. It isn’t bad per se, it just isn’t very good, but it does have a massive detailed world and tons to do. I just wish it was enjoyable to do them.

If I had to summarise I would say that Watch_Dogs is definitely more entertaining than not playing Watch_Dogs.

inFAMOUS on the other hand I was expecting to dislike, for a couple of reasons that I was anticipating before starting the game and a couple new ones I wasn’t expecting. I loved the first game, and didn’t like the second game (note: Second Son is the third game) for a variety of reasons mostly involving a backbending effort to appeal to youth and the horrible things they did to the cool powers from the first game. After hearing that the main character was Troy Baker pretty much playing himself with a side-serving of Laura Bailey pretty much playing herself I was ready for the genericising of the involvement of those two generally foretells. If you haven’t heard them by name, you may recognise them as Snow and Serah, or Silent Hill HD’s James and Angela. Basically, you’ve heard them before, and you will instantly recognise their voices. Troy provides the anticipated “Aw Hell yeahs”, “Haters!”, and “Awesome!”.

However, the game is incredibly enjoyable with only a few irritations, for example, despite the fact that you’re dressed in the obligatory five layers of untidy that are the hallmark of today’s young hipster everyone still manages to think you’re trying to put them in prison for some reason. And the plot has several holes and cartoonishly evil stuff occasionally happens. The controls have also been inexplicably changed for the worse (hover is the same button as jump?!). But who cares? It is incredibly enjoyable, the powers are fun (despite being weird stuff; smoke, neon, video, concrete?), the city looks absolutely amazing, and navigating around the place is such fun, and so are all the little gameplay elements. It really is the opposite of Watch_Dogs where everything you do feels chore-ish with the slight saving grace that it looks a bit cool, whereas inFAMOUS everything is fun.

Adventures in Hauppauge Capture (32022)

Someday, someone may experience these bizarre events. Hopefully, they will find my notes useful.

So I’ve been experimenting with the Hauppauge Capture which is the software you use for capturing (in this case Wii footage – using component cables) from your Hauppauge device, which includes mine, the HD PVR 2 GE+.

Actually, I imagine you can use a few different programs to capture, but this seems to be the purpose-built one. Feel free to tell me if you’ve found something else. I haven’t tried the other bundled one, (ARCSoft?) since I have a video editor I’m already very happy about (KDEnlive).
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FRAPs not recording / capturing the desktop DWM

A very quick hint, FRAPs can sometimes get confused by running programs and not capture the whole desktop, usually not displaying the frame counter.

In my case the program doing this was Logitech setpoint, others have reported different programs, but you can usually find out what application is causing the problem by trying to capture whilst monitoring the files in the Capture folder as the file generated will be named after the thing being recorded.

Yes, it’s as simple as that in most cases.

Surround sound and Youtube

The conventional wisdom is that you cannot get surround sound out of Youtube.

This is not strictly true.

Pro Logic is a method of matrixing surround sound into a stereo signal for later fetching out into the surround field by a Pro logic decoder. The easiest way to do this is with a game already in Pro Logic, such is the case with our Eternal Darkness Let’s Play. However, you can also create a Pro Logic downmix from a 5.1 discrete signal with fantastic results, which is how we did our Silent Hill 2: Born from a Wish Let’s Play.

However, recently, I found an interesting snippet on Google Support. To me that looks an awful lot like they have the ability to store and probably play back proper discrete 5.1

I’m uploading tests to determine, and perhaps it may only work on the rather experimental HTML5 version of Youtube, but this is still quite exciting for me.

I could, if this is possible, provide the best of both worlds. Pro Logic surround for the stereo channel which sounds equally fantastic in stereo or decoded into surround, and a discrete 5.1 surround for whatever that will work for.

E3 and the future

I (eventually) watched the E3 Microsoft and Sony broadcasts.

I’m sure you’ve read about it already, much as I had before watching it.

Here are some thoughts.

Wasn’t it nice to see Sony’s announcements get more cheers and positive reactions for its policy on used games and internet connectivity than it did for also undercutting the price of the XBox One? It gladdens the heart that it seems that consumer’s rights are more important to people than raw price and Microsoft’s rather out-of-date attitude to used games bite them in the butt. After all, even EA have recently put an end to their Online Passes.

A few have complained about the DRM on the Playstation 4, and DRM is always a valid concern, but not from the people who compare it unfavourably to the XBox 360, which has more restrictive DRM in the first place with the exception that its easier to bypass.

Two interesting things for the future are the issues of being able to record video gameplay so easily as the new consoles provide and what position the PS4 and XBox One are going to hold in the new generation. Will the PS4 be this generation’s XBox 360, hanging just ahead of the competition, or perhaps this generation’s Playstation 2, with no real competition.

I don’t think Let’s Plays and amateur game reviews are ever going to be the same again when they’re released.

It was also strange how different they were, Microsoft’s was rather mediocre, and seemed to have more stereotypical games – military style shooters, whereas Sony’s seemed far more well-rounded and interesting, and possibly even sophisticated.

Like a bee

So busy at work, we get a rush whenever there’s an event. Father’s Day rush right now.

Haven’t been writing enough. I was thinking of getting a decent webcam and doing more Petercasts.

Part of the problem is that I type all day at work, so that when I get home I don’t really want to type more. Plus we’ve been out cycling quite a bit, which is nice. The whole family too. Young Master Brandonbutt is deliciously pleased with his mountain bike and has picked up cycling for the first time very, very fast. Faster than I did.