Currently Playing…Dragonball FighterZ (PS4)

Well, if you read my a�?Rapid Firea�? post from a couple of days ago then you know that I was eagerly awaiting my copy of Dragonball FighterZ. Turns out our local UPS terminal must be avid readers of this site because lo and behold, the game was delivered that night. I eagerly ripped opened the box and had the game in my PS4 before you could say a�?Gokua�?. I then received the familiar message that most PS4 owners have seen, a�?Not enough memorya�?. After the stream of expletives fell out of my mouth, I started the unpleasant task of finding items that I could delete. 35 minutes later, I was able to finally the start the game. Have I mentioned how much I love to play this game? Ya��know, the find and pick stuff to delete that you dona��t really want to delete game? Thanks to Sony for putting such HUGE hard drives on these things. Yes, Ia��m aware that I can go out and spend $60-$150 for an external hard drive but I shouldna��t have to after dropping 300 on the console! But I digress, this is about Dragonball Fighter Z and not Sony.

When I first fired it up I was a little disappointed that I had to setup an online username and character. Ia��m a pretty antisocial gamer and I wasna��t planning on spending ANY time online with it so this felt like a waste of time. After getting setup, you must choose a lobby to join. The maximum characters in a lobby is 64, so there might be times when you start up the game and you wona��t be allowed into that lobby because of too many players, so then you have to either choose another lobby or hit [Triangle] to go to an offline lobby, which is just you (Hoozah!). The lobby is essentially just an area that serves as a main menu for the game, so you can walk around to what modes you want to try out or hit [L2] to bring up a list of areas and you can just warp to it. After perusing the lobby for a while, I found that I didna��t mind it has much, yes there are other players running around, but unless you go into a tournament or the arena, you dona��t really interact with them.

After the playing the game for a couple of hours, I sent Shawn a text saying that while I might just be in the moment, this is the best fighter I have ever played. And most of the games that I play are fighters. After putting more time into the game, I can confirm that it *is* the best fighter Ia��ve played. The graphics are amazing, the combat is fast paced, the combos are really easy to perform, and if you can throw a fireball in Street Fighter, you can perform any super combo. No a�?hold back for 2 seconds, forward, back, down-right, forwarda�? nonsense in this game. It really keeps the fight flowing and after a match or two, I was performing 30+ hit combos. If you hit the heavy attack [Circle] you hit your opponent against the wall and they bounce off of it, hit [Circle] again and you perform a a�?Dragon Rusha�?, which means that you fly into the character to juggle them. The game does take skill though, you have to time those combos to keep them going. Dragonball FighterZ is the closest thing to Marvel vs Capcom 2 that Ia��ve played to date. MvC2 is usually my benchmark that I compare all other fighters to, but after many years, I have to say that ita��s been dethroned as far as overall gameplay goes. While similar, (both are 3 on 3 tag fighters with great gameplay mechanics), MvC2 has more than twice the amount of characters that DBZ has. I believe MvC2 has 56 characters, as opposed to DBZ having 21. That said, I found that I wasna��t bored with the character selection at all. Although, I did buy the a�?Day One Editiona�? which comes with a code for an additional 2 characters that you normally have to beat a�?Arcadea�? mode on hard to get. At this point I have played as all of the characters multiple times and Ia��m still figuring out new ways to chain combos together. Thata��s the thing with this game, ita��s easy to pick up and play, but only after putting in a good chunk of time was I able to see that while it looks simplistic, ita��s intricate under the surface.

I thought I was going to have buyera��s remorse after paying full price for this game, but I had been looking forward to it since E3 and just couldna��t help myself. Ia��m happy to report that I dona��t regret it all, this game is worth every penny. Ita��s an instant classic and the hype was real.

Buy It: If youa��re a fan of 2D fighters, crazy 3 on 3 battles, or just love stringing together those combos in fighting games.

Try It: No, just buy it. Ita��s worth owning.

Walk by it: If youa��re not into fighters, or more of a a�?realistica�? fighter fan (i.e Tekken, Soul Calibur, DOA).

Final Score:
Dragonball FighterZ: 10/10 (!)

Some Notes on the Nerfs

Introduction

I know that you don’t come here for the latest breaking news in games.A� Also realize that this article won’t change that.A� I barely have the time right now to post my articles about 30 year old video games and my status as a filthy casual as a Magic the Gathering player.A� I’m not going to even attempt to keep up with all of the current video game news.

However, I did notice a post on the Instagram feed of one of the people that I follow.A� It had a picture of Patches the Pirate from Hearthstone and the tagline “I’m in charge now”, but with the “now” crossed out and “next turn” scrawled above it.A� I didn’t know what to think because Hearthstone players have been screaming for a nerf of that card since it was released.

I mean, seriously, what the hell was Blizzard thinking with this one?

Initially, I thought it was a joke and laughed accordingly.A� But, something nagged at me, so I went in search of an article that I didn’t even think existed.A� I typed “Hearthstone Nerfs” into Google and expected to only find articles from the past.A� Much to my surprise, an article written that day was the top search result, so I followed the link.A� Apparently, Blizzard finally got around to nerfing the card right as it was on the cusp of rotating to Wild.A� More on that later.

I texted Chris about it, but then we got to talking about something else.A� Later in the night, he must have checked out an article about it because he texted me out of the blue “I actually agree with the nerfs” in response to my assertion that maybe Blizzard had gotten it a bit wrong.A� It’s not that I don’t agree with the nerfs.A� It’s just…warlock right now.A� Jeeze.A� How could they not do anything about Warlock?A� I know that they want the players to use the tools available to them to figure out the meta, but c’mon.A� When they nerf one of those tools, what are players supposed to do?A� More on that later.

Patches the Pirate

This is the big one.A� As I said earlier, this is the one that players have been talking about since before the card was released.A� It thins your deck, gets played automatically most of the time, and has an immediate board impact.A� There was a time when players were running pirates in their deck just for this card.A� It was absurd.A� The power level has diminished some in standard due to the proliferation of control and durdle combo decks, but this guy is still all over wild.

It’s gotten to the point where when I see this card in wild, I just concede.A� Sometimes I will just concede if I see a warrior or rogue because I know that they are probably pirates.A� Rogue also has the mill archetype.A� They are both just such triggers for me.A� They are just no fun to play against.

I will say that I’m impressed that Blizzard is at least making an effort to support their eternal format.A� I was afraid that it would just be a dumping ground for past standard cards and they’d never even think about it again.A� I like wild because I like the eternal formats, so I play it almost exclusively.A� Instead of ignoring the format, they actually made a nerf that was at least partially due to their thoughts of how the card could warp in Wild.

Raza the Chained

This is one that has only recently gotten on to people’s radars due to the Priest Razakus combo deck that has taken over Standard.A� According to Blizzard, though, that wasn’t the main reason.A� Actually, come to think about it, their statement makes it sound like that wasn’t even a consideration.

I find that strange.A� They’ve nerfed cards in the past to prevent one turn kills and the Razakus combo is exactly that.A� Then again, it takes some effort to pull off, standard rotates every 3 or 4 months, and the card will eventually meet it’s match.A� Where it again becomes a problem is Wild, where Razakus could rule, potentially forever, squeezing out any creativity and imagination in deck building.

Since Wild gives you all of the cards to build your decks, that’s exactly what it needs to be.A� There needs to be room for new and interesting decks that are constantly evolving due to new cards rotating into the format.A� It doesn’t need to be a stagnant swamp of durdle deck against durdle deck that makesA� you want to throw yourself off a cliff.A� Again, good job thinking of us filthy casual Wild players.

The problem with this one is that Razakus was the only thing keeping Warlock from being a truly dominant force in the Standard meta.A� They may have plans to deal with Warlock in the coming months with some rotation/hall of fame moves, but in the mean time, Warlock is going to be mean.A� This doesn’t affect me much because I never play Standard at any high level, but the streams I watch will become Gul’dan v. Gul’dan, which is troubling.

Corridor Creeper

0 mana 5/5?A� What could go wrong?A� This card is crazy stupid in a game that encourages minion trading.A� At least with the giants, you can get them to 0 mana, but it takes some skill and strategy.A� This thing, you just throw your little guys into the other guy’s little guys and play him for free.A� Good riddance.A� It might still be borderline playable in arena, but the other two picks would have to be pretty bad.

This is the one that I’m least concerned about.A� It has a powerful effect and delaying that effect for one turn might make it unplayable.A� Because, we all know, when Blizzard nerfs a card, they either miss completely and the card just becomes slighly less powerful or they ban hammer it into a deep hole.A� I think this card might be in the first category instead of the second.A� It’s still a decent late game card in arena and maybe even in constructed control decks.A� I have no idea and I’m honestly not all that concerned if it isn’t.A� This card just doesn’t register all that much, but that might be because it is an arena nerf and I don’t play much arena.

The Verdict

While I ultimately agreed with Chris and all of the nerfs hit the spot, I’m a bit concerned about what Warlock will become.A� I like to watch streams because I’m terrible at the game, but I do enjoy the interaction.A� I have no idea when the next expansion is going to hit, but until then it is going to be all Warlock all the time.

It’s going to be like when Pirate Warrior and Aggro Shaman were all over the place, but as of right now, there isn’t a natural enemy of the Warlock.A� I’m sure that streamers and pro players will find that counter and hopefully they do soon.A� Because during the aforementioned Pirate Warrior and Aggro Shaman meta, I watched less and less Hearthstone.A� Maybe that’s a good thing.

On Trains and Childhood

Introduction

I’ve talked on my One Guy Outdoors page recently about how much tradition means to me and our family.A� We aren’t bound by traditions, necessarily.A� It’s just that when we find something that we enjoy doing, we tend to put it into a routine that becomes tradition from year to year.A� One of those traditions is the Hobby Railroad Show at the Big E.A� I don’t remember how we discovered it.A� It was definitely during Liam’s Thomas phase.A� Looking for something to do with a train obsessed preschooler during the long and gray months of December and January, we stumbled on the train show.A� It didn’t hurt that it was near my birthday and I don’t often ask for anything for my birthday.

Those first years we went as a family.A� It was even as recently as maybe 3 or 4 years ago that all five of us took the trip.A� Last year or the year before, it was just the boys and I.A� This year, the only one that was able to make the trip with me was Aiden.A� Christine made plans for Quinn to do a “Cookies and Canvas” event put on by their school’s PTO.A� Originally, Aiden was supposed to join him, but he backed out.A� She suggested that he come along with me to the train show since I was a bit upset that it looked like we might not make it this year.A� To my surprise, he said that he’d rather do that.

Journal

I started to hedge a bit this morning, saying things like that I didn’t want to pay $20 for two people to go since we used to pay $30 for 5 people to go and trying to push Aiden to go to the Cookies and Canvas.A� He held steadfast that he didn’t want to go and wanted to go to the train show.A� I finally relented as part of my newly found attitude of saying “yes, and…” when faced with a decision like that. A�I’m glad that I did.

It started in the car ride. A�When it is just me and one of the boys, I try to find podcasts that they will enjoy, too. A�Aiden is a pop culture freak and he likes all of the current music, so I could have gotten away with the radio. A�I, on the other hand, abhor most of today’s music, so I compromised with the podcasts again. A�I chose the “Playing with Science” episode about soccer and the leftovers of an “Only a Game” episode about Gene Mingo, a football player that I had never know before hearing the episode.

He was only slightly interested in the soccer episode, but it was mainly because he was reading a book. A�He did laugh a few times. A�However, the Gene Mingo episode hooked him and he flipped off the radio when they reported on Mingo’s accidental shooting of his wife. A�We talked about guns and the drugs that led to the accident. A�It was a good talk.

After the episode, he agreed that it was compelling. A�I told him how I like that show because it isn’t like most of sports media. A�Chris told me that he was going to go off on sports media in his latest articleA�and he didn’t hold back. A�While Chris has a valid point about WEEI, ESPN, and much of sports media these days, that wasn’t exactly my point when talking to Aiden. A�I only listen to two podcasts that qualify as sports, “Only A Game” and “Hang Up and Listen.” A�”Hang Up” occasionally gets into the regular stories of the day, but they often give a fresh take. A�”Only a Game” more regularly goes off the beaten track and tells compelling stories that I’d have never heard otherwise. A�I like that. A�Much like the Patriots, sports media just bores me. A�I’m glad that Aiden was able to enjoy the show, too.

Aside from the ride, it was nice to have one on one time with Aiden. A�I don’t know when the last time that happened. A�As the boys get older, they become busier with friends and activities and it becomes more difficult to spend any time with them, never mind hours of uninterrupted time. A�It was time that he volunteered, at the sake of spending time with his friends, and that makes it even more valuable. A�Aside from that, it brought us together with a common interest.

This surprised me. A�Aiden is a “cool kid” in the purest sense of the word. A�He wants the latest sneakers, listens exclusively to popular music, wants to be with the in crowd. A�I never expected that he would be the kid who became the one most interested in model railroads. A�But, here we are. A�He said that he really wanted a train set and even had plans for where he would put it. A�In talking with Christine, I wondered out loud if it might end up being a Paddington 2 scenario where he eventually gets too cool for them and we’ll be left holding all of these expensive train cars. A�But, she said that he asked for one for Christmas last year, but waited until the last minute to do so.

He will grow out of them eventually. A�He may come back to them after he’s done with his teenage years and when he has kids of his own. A�But, and this goes along with why I went to the train show with him even though I wasn’t feeling it initially, he is interested now. A�I want to seize upon that interest and have something that we can have together. A�Something that will let us hold on to his rapidly dwindling time as a kid for just a little while longer.

Well, that got a bit heavy there. A�Sorry. A�The show itself was fun and informative. A�As soon as we walked into the first building, Aiden started looking at trains and I mentioned how they weren’t very expensive. A�The guy at the booth started talking to us about the different kinds of trains. A�I suspect that they don’t get much interaction from people outside of the community. A�Other than kids who just want to see the trains, when someone comes in and shows a serious effort to enter the hobby, they go out of their way to explain things and welcome them. A�We would do well to learn from that attitude, fellow nerds.

For the rest of the show, I was looking at various types of trains to figure out which one I want to get to let him try his hand at building. A�Another couple of people made us feel very welcome and answered our questions. A�We ended, as always, and as you may suspect, at a Lego display. A�I wondered aloud if they still made the powered Lego trains. A�He confirmed that they did, so that might be where we start.

Epilogue

I don’t know the last time that Aiden and I had one on one time that wasn’t interrupted by technology. A�It was an experience that I won’t soon forget and hopefully it had the same effect on him. A�As I stated earlier, you have kids and they are initially with you 24/7. A�They get older and go off to school, meet other people, and get other interests. A�You never know when that mythical “Cats in the Cradle” moment might happen, but you know it’s coming.

I’d like to put it off for as long as humanly possible. A�We have plans to go to at least one hockey game over the next two weeks before the season ends. A�I might just splurge and get tickets to both games because they have a buy one get on free deal going on now. A�I think Christine might have gotten it via email because she bought the tickets. A�A bit surprisingly (but perhaps not because it was Saturday night and college students have better things to do), the game wasn’t very well attended, so they’re pulling out all of the stops to get people to come.

Well, I’ll take advantage of their misfortune and get some time with Aiden as well. A�People tend to only take a look at those around them during times of tragedy. A�The Facebook posts “Hold your kids extra tight tonight and tell them you love them” only come after a terrorist attack or tragic fire. A�I don’t understand why you wouldn’t do those things each and every night. A�We only have a limited amount of time and don’t know when it’s up. A�Tell the people you love them every single day and just do the damn thing.

Rapid Fire! Random Thoughts 1/29

-Ca��mon UPS, bring me my copy of Dragonball FighterZ. Ia��m tired of watching all of the gameplay videos on Youtube, I just want to play the friggina�� game!

-Scott Snyder is taking over Justice League after the next Justice League event. How the heck are they going to fit all of the those character in that book with all of those text boxes?! Hah! I kid, Ia��m sure ita��s going to be really good. Ia��m definitely adding it to my pull list. I am a little confused as he and Greg Capullo kept teasing fans on Twitter about working on a Swamp Thing series. Hopefully thata��s something thata��s still in the works. I personally think his cerebral style of writing would fit Swamp Thing much better than Justice League but hey, what do I know?

-Speaking of the next Justice League event, it starts up after Dark Nights Metal concludes and during the event the title will be going weekly. Much like the Avengers: No Surrender storyline. Hey, Ia��m all for more comics and competition is healthy but how about a price break? I would have to think that having an expedited deadline on each book would cause the quality to suffer a bit. Do you really want to spend $20 a month on just The Avengers or even $12 for just the Justice League? I know I dona��t.

-Looks like Rivals of Ixalan has lit the fire of 2 Guys Gaming again. This weekend we will have a sealed draft and Ia��m pretty excited for it. Quite a few cards in the set have my brain churning out some deck lists.

-I know that my random thoughts are supposed to be rapid but something has really bothered me today. Usually I listen to Boston sports radio station WEEI maybe once a day for an hour or so just to see what the topics of the day are. I tuned in this morning just in time for Tom Brady to call in and, in a really restrained way, tell them that he felt disrespected and that he was going to evaluate whether he wanted to continue his weekly interview with them. This was apparently due to a comment that a host, Alex Reimer, had said about his 5 year old daughter. Last Thursday night, after watching the Brady Facebook documentary series, he decided that he would call Bradya��s little girl an a�?annoying little pissanta�?. Dude. Really? A 5 year old who is just excited about playing a soccer game? What the hell is wrong with you? Of all the things he could have talked about pertaining to the first episode thata��s what he came up with? Thata��s his hot take? No, thata��s his cry for attention and notoriety in the world of sports media. My guess is that he wanted to go for a�?funnya�? shock value but it ended up ruining his career. Or at least it should. He has since been indefinitely suspended as the big dogs of WEEI tear out their hair since Tom Brady basically flipped them the verbal bird this morning and hung up. Tom Brady is a public figure so he is under the media’s microscope at all times, but to sink to insulting his kid? That crosses a line.

I dona��t blame the guy at all, to be honest he probably should have done so a long time ago. The morning guys he talks to are two of the biggest idiots in radio with one of them, Minihane, always going for the hot controversial take in order to keep his name in the papers, keep the ratings up and foster this new culture of shock value that is becoming more pervasive in the halls of WEEI. At this point, the morning show doesna��t even talk about sports, they talk about other journalists, politics, and most of all other hosts of the station. WEEI has turned into nothing more than childish in-fighting between shows with younger hosts saying dumb crap in an attempt to emulate Kirk Minihane. Ia��m essentially done with the station at this point, let me know when it gets back to sports instead of hosts calling each names and criticizing each other. It reminds me of my days working in a warehouse with each shift claiming to be better than the one before it.

This is the reason why I stopped watching ESPN. I cana��t stand Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman, both of which personify all that I cana��t stand about sports media. Mindlessly shouting a�?hot takesa�? at each other and arguing over each other for an entire show and collecting a paycheck for it doesna��t take talent, it takes the masses approving of this kind of a�?reportinga�?. a�?Hey! Shannon Sharpe and Skip Bayless like to yell and say dumb stuff too! Leta��s give them a show!a�? Good idea Fox! Not that I should expect anything less from you.

Arena��t we better than this people? Do you think these hosts really believe half of the garbage they are spouting? You dona��t think ita��s fabricated?! Is watching Stephen A. Smith/Max Kellerman trying to form words to eloquently debate their points and shouting them at each other really entertaining? Whatever happened to just reporting the news and reporting it accurately in order to make a name for yourself instead of always going for the hot take that will get your name out there? It seems like having journalistic integrity is no longer important in our society as all of these shows have decent ratings. Apparently I just need to stay away from sports media all together.

Deck List! 5C Superfriends (MTG Modern)

I was going to design this deck as a Tron deck but thought that it would be too vulnerable to Ghost Quarter or Spinal Extraction, so I went with a green/white ramp shell and included spells that let you create tokens that get buffed from your Planeswalkers as well as help ramp into Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh, which is a great finisher. Much like Tron, this deck is susceptible to the aforementioned Spinal Extraction. If your opponent removes Oath of Nissa (the key card in the deck), then you can still use Aether Hub, Cryptolith Rite, or Chromatic Lantern to generate any color of mana needed.

EnchantmentA�(12)

2xA�Cryptolith Rite
4xA�Oath of Gideon
2xA�Oath of Nissa
4x Utopia Sprawl

SorceryA�(6)

2xA�Call the Gatewatch
2xA�Deploy the Gatewatch
2x Attune with Aether

PlaneswalkerA�(10)

1xA�Ajani, Caller of the Pride
2xA�Elspeth, Sun’s Champion
2xA�Garruk, WildSpeaker
2xA�Nissa, Vital Force
1x Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh
1x Vraska, Relic Seeker

InstantA�(6)

2xA�Raise the Alarm
4x Lingering Souls

CreatureA�(4)

4xA�Avacyn’s Pilgrim

ArtifactsA�(2)

2x Chromatic Lantern

LandA�(20)

5xA�Forest
4xA�Temple Garden
5xA�Plains
4xA�Sunpetal Grove
2x Aether Hub

Logan Blu Ray Review

******Contains Spoilers******

After comparing notes and realizing that I had never seen Logan and Shawn had yet to see Deadpool, we decided to have Marvel movie night. He had endorsed Logan as being one of the best Marvel movies he had seen so I was curious to how good it really was. After all The Wolverine was a big steaming pile of rat crap so I had my doubts about a Wolverine movie being decent. I’m happy to report that he was not wrong, this movie is fantastic. Right from the opening scene you know that this isn’t a Wolverine/X-men movie, it’s more raw, more real, and more gritty. I believe the first words out of my mouth were “Oh !!” . I didn’t expect the violence or the “F-bombs” being dropped. With that said this movie isn’t just Logan running around shanking people like they owe him money. The story is about as far as you can get from a Marvel movie as it’s more focused on the characters as opposed to the typical rock ’em sock ’em action packed super battles. It completely makes you forget that you are watching a “superhero” movie and that’s not a bad thing.

I’ll give you the quick and dirty: It’s 2029 and (Old Man) Logan, far removed from his spandex-wearin’ ,Magneto- punchin’ days, lives near the Mexican border with Caliban and a dementia riddled Professor X. A mysterious woman pleads with Logan to watch over a kid, Laura. Of course, he is not on board with taking care of her but circumstances leave him no choice. Soon, it becomes clear that a secret agency is trying to capture Laura and he is forced to protect her.

Each character is a tragic figure that you can’t help but feel sorry for. Logan, for his addiction problems, Professor X for his brain degrading due to dementia, Caliban for being unable to be in sunlight and living a sheltered existence, and finally Laura for being a kid, losing her initial caretaker and finding herself surrounded by bloodshed. Professor X was particularly sad for me to watch. My grandfather suffered from dementia and towards the end of his life didn’t recognize me. Patrick Stewart did an amazing job with the character, and it was shocking to see this frail version of the Professor. To be honest, it was also shocking to see Logan taking on the role of his caretaker since I’ve always found their relationship to be more on the tense side.

If this indeed was Hugh Jackman’s last ride as Wolverine, it was a good one, as this was hands down the best film out of all the “X” universe movies to date. I cannot recommend this enough. If you haven’t seen it, pick it up at your nearest Redbox or better yet, buy it, it’s worth owning. I recently purchased the blu ray for $10 at Best Buy. It came with the blu ray, the dvd, and a special “noir” edition which is black and white.

Speaking of the Noir edition, I watched it a couple of nights ago out of curiosity. Strangely enough, it works for the most part. There are some interior scenes where it feels too dark and it’s hard to make out what’s happening. It also creates a different feeling for other scenes, namely the farmhouse massacre, which changes the movie to almost a horror flick during that shot. The original film feels like a western due to the “orange-ish” camera filter used, but even without the filter, the old western vibe really comes out in the black and white version. It’s absolutely worth checking out.

Logan: 9.5/10
Logan (noir): 7.5/10

Currently Playing…Trackmania Turbo (PS4)

Trackmania Turbo is one of those games that you think might be really repetitious and get boring quick, but is actually really sneaky good. My wife bought this game for me for Christmas and Ia��ve been playing it religiously ever since. This game is different from most racers because instead of racing head to head against a buddy or the CPU, you compete for the best track times in order to win medals. I know, it sounds really boring! No head to head racing?! Time trials?! Trust me, ita��s probably one of the most fun racing games out there that Ia��ve played.

The tracks are something out of a Hot Wheels game, from crazy upside-down loop to loops, to jumping huge gaps, ita��s pretty intense. Soon, you become so focused on beating the times that you dona��t care that there isna��t a car next to you. There are about 200 tracks and all are short but very cool, no Forza-length tracks here, guys. In fact most of the them are under a minute long. The game is also capable of making tracks for you and you can also try other playersa�� tracks, making it pretty tough to run out of tracks to try out. Hint: master the e-brake because youa��re going to need it on most of the tracks in the game.

The game can get frustrating at times because you will find yourself having to replay tracks many times over if you want to get the gold medal. To alleviate some of the frustration, there are checkpoints that you can hit a button and restart from which comes in handy on the gold medal tries. Silver is slightly easier to obtain but you will probably find yourself replaying some tracks a few times. Bronze is pretty easy, as long as you dona��t crash too hard you should be able to get the qualifying time.

To me, the best part of the entire game is the track builder. There is something really fun about designing your own crazy little track, setting the challenge times and then seeing if your buddy can beat it. I actually think that out of all of the time Ia��ve spent on this game, a majority has been playing around and designing my own tracks.

Ia��m not a huge racing fan, but this game really surprised me. For the most part, I play it every other day and still really enjoy it. The gameplay is addictive, the tracks are entertaining and the track builder is really easy and fun. I give this game a 8.5/10

Buy it: If youa��re a fan of all racing games, not just the Forzas and Gran Turismos of the gaming world. You wona��t find realistic cars in this game. Just really fun racing.

Try it: If youa��re a fan of arcade-style racers, but not sure if the time trial style racing is for you.

Walk by it: If youa��re only a fan of realistic head to head competitive racing then this game isna��t for you.

NFL Conference Championships Post Mortem

Introduction

We are in that weird time in the NFL season where they inexplicably take a week off between their conference championships and the Super Bowl. A�At least they haven’t gotten as crazy as the NCAA who has a month in between the final games of the season and their National Championship game. A�Also, they got smart a few years ago and put the Pro Bowl on this weekend. A�So, there is at least football happening. A�It’s an exhibition game, but still fun to watch. A�The added benefit is that because the Patriots almost always make the Super Bowl, I don’t have to watch any of them in the Pro Bowl. A�I have to find the positive of the Patriots always making the Super Bowl.

Vikings/Eagles

There isn’t much to say about this game. A�I got it completely wrong. A�First, I thought the Vikings would win. A�Nope. A�Second, I thought it would at least be a close game. A�Nope. A�I honestly don’t know what happened or how the Eagles blew them out because I was so burned out on football after watching the latest episode of “Tom Brady Hulks Out” that I paid absolutely no attention to this game.

I was listening to Simmons and Sal this morning for during my commute and they talked a little bit about how the Viking could have won the game if only a few things had gone differently. A�I know that sounds weird with the final score as lopsided as it was, but if you watch sports, you understand. A�I used to have a Steelers web page and for every game recap I had a section called “5 big plays” in which I highlighted the plays that I thought contributed to the outcome of the game. A�Apparently, Simmons and Sal studied my old web page while putting together their notes for this show.

I will try not to break my hand.

I will just chalk this one up to recency bias. A�I hadn’t watched a single Vikings game all year and then I watched the first half of their playoff game against the Saints. A�I had also heard most of the year how dominant their defense was this year. A�I put those things together along with Nick Foles instead of Carson Wentz as the Eagle quarterback and I came up with a Viking win. A�Hey, I do promise that these things are done out of complete ignorance.

Truth be told, the Eagles might have been worse off with Wentz at QB. A�I know that he’s not strictly a rookie, but he might as well have been. A�The playoffs traditionally (as long as you aren’t playing an overconfident Steelers or Saints team) don’t favor inexperienced quarterbacks, so who knows what would have happened if Wentz hadn’t gotten hurt. A�I think we all know that the one constant is that the Philly fans would have rioted.

A Note About “Eff the Pats”

I was talking to a colleague yesterday afternoon in between classes. A�We got on the topic of football and she mentioned how much she liked to watch it on television. A�I hedged a bit because I do live in New England, they just won a big game, everyone is happy, and I am most certainly not. A�So, I said, “I like to watch college.” A�She replied, “I like to watch any football, but there is one team that I absolutely will not watch.” A�Oh boy, I thought, she’s going to get me to admit that I hate the Patriots and this conversation will end awkwardly.

More at 11…

I took a deep breath and jumped right in. A�”Me, too,” I said, “and the problem is that I just happen to live right in the middle of where they are located.” A�Her eyes narrowed. A�”Wait, do you not like the Patriots?” A�I shrugged. A�Here it goes. A�”Nope.” A�She held out a hand and I flinched because I thought she might pretend to slap me. A�When I recovered, she was still holding her hand up. A�It all clicked. A�She wanted me to high five her. A�She was in the same boat as I was.

We commiserated about our Patriots hatred and how it was all so misunderstood by the Patriots “fans” in our lives. A�”Oh, you’re so bitter because they just win everything.” A�”You’re just jealous because they always beat your team.” And, my favorite, “You hate us because you ain’t us.” A�Yes, that must be it. A�Hey, if you want to have a valid conversation about why I hate the Patriots, then we can. A�If you are going to reply to me with generalities and memes in any conversation, I’m going to assume you don’t have the necessary brain functions to hold a conversation and I’m just going to walk away.

As the picture above (which, yes, is a meme, so just walk away) indicates, I have always hated the Patriots. A�The seed for my hatred might be a bit silly and I’ve never been able to properly explain it especially to Patriots fans, but who knows what causes something to lock into the brain of a slightly sports obsessed preteen boy. A�Heck, I remember praying to a God that I didn’t believe to help the Michigan Fab Five win a college basketball game. A�If you are really concerned about my Patriots hatred, the seed is this storyA�that I read one night from the Football Hall of Shame.

It’s a good book and there are some funny stories, but the dark nature of that particular event has just stayed with me for 30+ years.

As I said to Chris (an actual Patriots fan and one of the few people that I feel bad about expressing my hatred around) today, the universe just has a sense of humor. A�It has seen fit to drop me in the middle of Patriots country during their rise to power. A�It makes me look like one of the bitter Steelers fans. A�I am, to some extent, but I’m also a complex person. A�I’ve seen the Steelers go to 3 Super Bowls and win 2. A�I’ve seen Antonio Brown channel Lynn Swann. A�Don’t worry about me. A�I’m good. A�This isn’t about some silly “rivalry”. A�This hate flows deep and long. A�That’s what she said.

Jaguars/Patriots

Patriots fans: A�What suspense! A�What drama!

Me: A�What suspense? A�What drama?

Right after the game, I texted my friend Craig, “It’s always the same script. A�Seriously, how does anyone root for this stupid team.” A�He tried to get me going because that’s what he does, but I just shut him down with, “I’m done with this sham of a league.” A�Because, seriously, did anyone really think this game was going to end any differently?

How many of these “once in a lifetime” comebacks do you have to see before you know the ending, Patriots fans? A�Chris, making fun of me, texted, “Hmm Ia��ll write it for you, they cheat, deflate footballs, Bill is Emperor Palpatine, ..etc. lol sound about right?” A�I replied, “I don’t write for ESPN.”

I already used my hack Star Wars metaphor for Alabama.

Besides, the Patriots saga is more like Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead. A�Now, I haven’t watched a minute of Game of Thrones and I stopped watching The Walking Dead years ago. A�However, I keep my finger on the pulse of pop culture just enough to understand the basic plot of these two shows. A�They manipulate their viewers to start to think that their favorite characters maybe, just maybe, will survive the latest onslaught, only to pull the rug out from under them at the end of the episode with “the most thrilling ending ever!” A�”You just have to see this! A�Don’t let social media spoil this for you!” A�The Patriots do the exact same damn thing every single game. A�I don’t hate them for this. A�I just find it boring.

One last point. A�During my conversation yesterday, the topic of “tin foil hat conspiracy theories” came up. A�I’m not going to go too Cigarette Smoking Man on you right now. A�I’m going to save that for after the Super Bowl. A�Inspired by one of my conversations with Chris, I have a story that I went full X-Files with. A�I want to flesh it out a bit and have some fun with it. A�Look for it in a couple of weeks.

But, if you read it, we may have to kill you.

Because I don’t have television and I’m not going to go out of my way to get consistently punched in the gut until I become immune to it, I didn’t actually watch the Jaguars/Patriots game. A�I kept an eye on it via GameCenter. A�At no point did I ever think the Jaguars would win the game. A�Even as Chris was admitting to being a bit nervous because the Jags were up 10, I knew the Patriots would come back. A�There’s no way the NFL would allow the Jags in the Super Bowl. A�That just wouldn’t happen.

And here’s where I start to get fitted for my tin foil hat and I start to sound like the “hate us because you ain’t us” crowd. A�I’m not going to accuse the NFL of a conspiracy (except, you know, I just kind of did), but I find it odd. A�I did watch the entire second half of the Steelers game and watched an injured Antonio Brown make a circus catch because one of the Jaguars was draped all over him like a cape. A�Brown scored the TD, so it didn’t matter, but as we’ve seen time and time again, games change on pass interference calls. A�It changed the tide of Saints/Vikings.

Look I get that the referees didn’t give up 42 points to the Jags. A�The referees didn’t overlook an inferior team. A�I just find it odd. A�A team that only received A�3 penalties for 40 yards against the Steelers suddenly imploded against the Patriots and got 98 penalty yards on 6 penalties. A�Meanwhile, the Steelers got 3 penalties for 25 yards (so comparable), while the Patriots committed only 1 penalty for 10 yards. A�It’s just odd.

NFL! Goodell! Kraft! Brady! Trump! Putin! RUSSIA!

Because I’m bound by an imaginary contract (that I wrote, amended, and signed), I will do a Super Bowl spectacular next week. A�I’m not in the least bit excited about it. A�As a Steelers fan and a lifelong Patriots hater, choosing which team I want to win is like deciding whether to saw off my leg and bleed to death or let the rot slowly spread to infect my entire body.

Patriots? A�Eagles? A�Eff this Super Bowl.

Sure, let’s go with that…

Top 10 2018 Upcoming Releases

1. God of War 4 (PS4)

How would this not be at the top of everyone’s list?! There has not been one bad God of War game, not one. I’m pretty excited to see how the switch to Norse mythology goes. Truth be told, it was about time they rebooted away from Greek mythology. I will miss Kratos’ chains though, such an iconic weapon, but in GOW4 they will be replaced by lightning axes. The developer also said that the game will be 3x longer than God of War 3 and will have more character development. This is a must own in my book.

2. Dragonball Z Fighters (PS4, Xbox One)

I actually just finished texting Shawn about this game. This is literally the first game that 1. I’ve preordered and 2. Paid full price for. Yeah, that’s saying something about this one. I’ve had my eye on it ever since it was announced and the gameplay videos that I’ve seen look phenomenal. It’s 3 on 3 tag fighting with simplistic combo mechanics to make the fights flow as well as graphics that look straight from the anime.

3. Darksiders 3 (PS4, Xbox One)

I really enjoyed the first 2 games in the series so I’m hoping this one is just as good. I’m a big fan of the character design in these games, which is done by one of my favorite artists, Joe Madureira. If you haven’t tried the first 2, I highly recommend you give them a shot. They’re dirt cheap right now and play like a mix of God of War and Zelda.

4. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night (PS4, Xbox One, Switch, Ps Vita)

This is basically a Castlevania game.without the name. It’s designed by the same guy who created Symphony of The Night and Aria of Sorrow, both of which were some of the best Castlevania games ever made. Although it’s not Castlevania, I’m hoping some of the same rpg elements are included in Bloodstained.

5. Final Fantasy 7 Remake (PS4)

Mother of God. Finally, my 2nd favorite game of all time is getting a new coat of paint slapped on it and re-released in hd. This will most likely be another game that I pay full price for. Here’s hoping that it’s a $30 special considering that it’s a remake.

6. Earth Defense Force 5 (PS4)

I’ve briefly covered one of the Earth Defense Force games in a previous article, but in a nutshell, it’s a 3rd person shooter where you choose from different classes of futuristic military warriors and fight giant insects, robots, and other creatures. It feels like you’re in a cheesy sci fi movie but it’s ridiculously fun. The fifth game in the series looks really promising and I definitely plan on adding it to my collection when it’s released in the States.

7. Days Gone (PS4)

Yep, it’s kinda like a zombie game, the enemies aren’t zombies but are called “Freakers”, which I believe are humans who are infected with a virus. So why am I excited for this game? Because it’s true open world, you go at your own pace and choose your own path. You cruise around on your motorcycle, which holds your inventory, you craft weapons, (kinda like Dead Island), and of course get chased by massive hordes of infected and mow them down with a gun of your choice or something a little more up close and personal, like a chainsaw.

8. Mega Man 11 (PS4, Xbox One, Switch)

It’s a new Mega Man, ‘Nuff said.

9. We Happy Few (PS4, Xbox One)

This game seems like the strangest of the bunch. It’s a first person survival game that even though it’s bright and colorful, as a slightly creepy look to it. You play as a character that lives in a fictional English town where the residents are forced to take pills called “Joy” that makes them trip balls. You decide to say no to drugs and are labeled a “downer” who must be killed on sight. Sounds pretty interesting.

10. Metro Exodus (PS4, Xbox One)

Apparently this is the 3rd game in this series. I might have to hunt down the other two. This is a FPS set set in the post-apocalyptic ruins of civilization, you are trying to survive by scavenging for supplies while shooting all sorts of mutated animals. Sounds pretty straightforward.

Honorable mentions:
Soul Calibur 6, Red Dead Redemption 2, Indivisible, Metal Gear Survive

Comic Haul! #2

Comic Haul #2 (Midtown Comics -link to site below)

Hey gang! I’ve got another comic haul to share with you. As you know, I’m running behind on sharing my hauls so this one is from the beginning of December.

Batman Lost #1 (DC Comics, 1st printing, foil cover)

Gotta tell you, For the most part, I’m loving all of these Dark Nights Metal one shots. This one was really well done. It starts with an elderly Bruce Wayne reading a story from his past to his grand-daughter. The story she chooses is the first adventure he had as Batman. As he reads the story there are discrepancies from what he had originally wrote. I won’t give to much away but I’ll just say that it ties in nicely with the main Metal story. 9/10

Batman the Devastator #1 (DC Comics, 1st printing, foil cover)

Another Metal one-shot. This issue tells the origin story of the Batman-Doomsday hybrid baddie. Batoomsday? Doombat? Eh..you know who I’m talking about. Anyways..SPOILER ALERT……………………….On Earth 0, Batman is forced to infect himself with the Doomsday virus in order to put a beating down on Superman who has gone…batty. Heh. You see what I did there? I’m not proud of it. Pretty action-packed issue. 7/10

Batman the Merciless #1 (DC Comics, 1st printing, foil cover)

Metal one-shot. I’ll level with you, while this story was okay, it definitely wasn’t as good as the others. So what makes this one not as good as the others? Simply put, it’s wordy. Too wordy. Blocks of text friggin’ assault you on every page. Listen, I can understand that the writer has only one issue to fill in the backstory of the evil Batmen but this one felt too ambitious. Well if you’re curious…….SPOILER ALERT……………………………………..On Earth -11, Batman loses his woman, Wonder Woman to be exact. Ares kills her and Batman takes care of him..and then puts on his helmet, which he was warned not to do, and this turns him into The Merciless. Buy this issue if you’re trying to collect all of the one-shots, otherwise save yourself the money and be happy with my synopsis. 5/10

Mighty Thor vol. 2 #700 (Marvel Comics, 1st printing)

This issue starts the Death of the Mighty Thor storyline, which so far has been pretty good. Jane’s cancer is getting worse as a beast called Mangog shows up to unleash his final judgment on the gods of Asgard. War Thor, the blood thirsty badass that he is, decides that he can take it down and goes to fight it, leading to one of the biggest ass kickings I’ve seen in the pages of a comic book. I won’t tell you who is doing the kicking though. 8/10

Monsters Unleashed vol.2 #7 (Marvel Comics, Lenticular variant cover)

I..uh..I didn’t read it. I bought it for the lenticular cover that pays homage to Fantastic Four #1. Therefore I can’t give this a rating. N/ A

Spider-Gwen vol.2 #25 (Marvel Comics, Lenticular variant cover)

Ok, so this starts out with Spider-Gwen doing spidery stuff and..I…didn’t actually read the issue. I’m a mark for special covers!! Oh god, I grew up in the 90’s, I saw what all those prism, foil, and hologram covers did to the industry yet I cant stop myself! To be fair, this cover is the Lenticular version of one of my all time favorites, Amazing Spider-Man #316 so it was a no-brainer for me to pick it up. N/A

Batman White Knight #1 (DC Comics, 1st printing)

This is the first issue in a 7 part series. Batman, finally has enough of Joker and beats him half to death, the brutality of said beating is too much for Gotham City who now view Batman as a maniac and Joker, cured of insanity, as the hero. The Joker, now known as Jack, sets out to right his wrongs by trying to save the city from Batman. I really enjoyed this issue, it was a really fresh take on the Batman-Joker relationship and has become a must-read for me. 9/10

Batman White Knight #2 (DC Comics, 1st printing)

Issue 2 of 7. Jack (Joker) focuses on exposing corruption within the Gotham City PD, while he also forms an army of super villains. Meanwhile, public support is not on Batman’s side. This issue, while really good, didn’t quite have the pacing of #1, which made some parts feel slow. 8/10

Dark Nights Metal #3 (DC Comics, 1st printing, foil cover)

I’m going to catch a lot of flak for this but Dark Nights is getting confusing. I feel like there are too many side stories that Scott Snyder is trying to pull together into one cohesive story and it’s just not working. Listen, I loved the previous Batman series, even though it was very wordy (something I pointed out to Shawn a few times), but as Metal has progressed it feels like the overall story is suffocating in over-exposition. Is it awful? No, it’s still entertaining at times. To me, Capullo’s art is what is keeping me buying this series. It’s too bad that some of the art is getting covered up by huge text bubbles. 6/10

That’s it for this haul!

Midtown Comics:
www.midtowncomics.com