Should I buy a Nintendo Switch?

I’ve been wrestling with this for a while. After my failed attempts to use the wife as a thinly veiled excuse to just buy one (she’s not interested), I keep torturing myself over this one. Should I buy a Nintendo Switch?

First world problems, I know, but I just can’t seem to make this decision. The lure is strong, but I don’t know why. I guess I just love gadgets. This house is not short of games or consoles, with a PC, Xbox One X and PlayStation 4 on the go. In these uncertain times, I’m still trying to be frugal as well.

In my entire life, I’ve personally owned a single Nintendo console, the NES, well into its lifecycle on the market. A gift from the mother ship, with a single game, Super Mario 3, now widely considered a classic. If I finished that game, she proclaimed, I could have another. I never finished it, deep down I think she knew that would be the case.

The neighbour kid had a NES too, once or twice we played together on his console, he had way more games, but I was becoming less interested in traditional video games and consoles.

Some of my friends at school had these things called personal computers, or PCs for short. They had games too. Within a couple years, we had a PC, a couple more later, I acquired the internet for myself. The next 14 years were spent 100% on PC, until the acquisition of a PS3 in 2011.

These days, I’m firmly in the camp of “gamer” rather than PC elitist, or console war fanboy. I love games, I just couldn’t give a monkeys what platform they’re on, as long as I can play them. If I could own and use just a single platform to play all the games I’m interested in, including with my friends, that would be ideal. Sadly, cross-play and cross-save is still in its infancy, but hopefully one day, we can all play together in harmony.

If I want to play Nintendo exclusive games, I’d have to buy a Nintendo console. As is the case with Sony exclusives, otherwise I wouldn’t bother owning a PS4. The thing is, I’m not really interested in any Nintendo exclusive games, that I’m aware of.

Zelda Breath of the what-now? Hmm, I’m alright thanks?

This is probably because I’ve never been exposed to many of the franchises Nintendo players hold so dear. There’s no desire to play a Zelda game, Pokémon, Mario or anything else I can think of.

What I am interested in, is the portability of the Switch. Being able to play console quality games on the go is a big draw for me. Commute, lunch times, car rides. That spare 15 minutes you might find yourself with. Many of the Switch owners I’ve spoken to have touted this as the biggest benefit for them too, rarely using the console in docked mode as a result. In fact Nintendo have launched the Switch Lite, intended for handheld use only.

I’m also interested in developers and publishers taking this Nintendo console seriously. Generally speaking, they may have been guilty of ignoring Nintendo consoles in the past, due to them being perceived by many as under powered, or consoles for kids. This doesn’t seem to be the case with the Switch.

This, on the Switch? Now we’re talking!

I’ve seen Bethesda release Doom and Wolfenstein games, CD Projekt Red have even released a Switch version of The Witcher 3 for crying out loud! The Outer Worlds, which I adored on the Xbox, also recently had a Switch version announced.

The graphical downgrades in many of these Switch versions are something to behold, but who cares, if you can play those sorts of games on the go?

The one thing stopping me from buying a Switch. Streaming console quality graphics with low latency over mobile is coming, no really. Google’s Stadia, released far too early, has been ridiculed, but this is not meant to replace your powerful hardware at home. For some, maybe it can, but this is just another option.

I’ve tried the Microsoft Project xCloud beta, to varying degrees of success, but so far I’ve been impressed.

From my desk at the office, with decent 4G signal, I’ve been able to play various titles such as Forza Horizon 4 and Borderlands 2, with little or no latency and graphical issues. This is on a Nokia 8, a two year old phone, with an £8 clip and one of my Xbox controllers over Bluetooth.

Supporting technology such as 5G is rolling out, newer phones are obviously already available. The internet in my own home is better than ever, in the not too distant future, I will be able to stream the games I want to a device I carry around in my pocket already, with minimal latency, either from my own console or from Microsoft’s cloud servers. So why would I buy a Switch?

My almost 2 year old son will obviously be a gamer, at some point. I’ve already told his mother to accept this. He’s going to see me playing video games, his future school friends will probably play too. This is mainstream entertainment now folks, like it or not.

I feel a duty to give the heir of my estate the video game education I never had, because my parents couldn’t particularly afford it and because I wasn’t overly interested at the time.

Don’t get me wrong, I will still kick a ball around with him and whatnot, if he’s interested in all of that, I certainly was, but I think Nintendo is the right way to go for a brand new gamer of a certain age. Also should prepare for the fact he might have other interests, of course!

I failed using the wife as an excuse then, but perhaps I can get away with using my son as an excuse?! If I purchased him one now, he’d just put it in his mouth and chomp down on it, so perhaps not quite yet, but I reckon I’m sold on this basis. Sod it then, gives me plenty of time to save I guess 🙂

What games on a Switch would be suitable for 3-4 year old? What has your relationship with Nintendo been over the years? Do you own a Switch and want to fanboy/girl about it? Let me know in the comments!

For the love of a good video game trailer

Ah well, I did it again, many months has passed by since I last wrote something. At this point, there’s no sense in even apologising any more, this is just business as usual 🙂

What is my excuse for being absent this time you may wonder? Well after all the stuff that happened previously, then changing jobs and potentially going to court, because my previous employer overpaid me, all of that was not enough stress and time sinking for me.

I decided to buy a house and move again at the end of last year, instead of continuing to rent. I think the total is now 10 moves in as many years. Given the political unrest and the state of my bank balance at the time, this was definitely the right decision. My rent was £900 a month, my mortgage is £600 a month, fixed for the next five years!

We can’t avoid the elephant in the room either. This post was originally written for some time around Valentines Day, a good six weeks ago itself now. Since that time, well, the whole world has collectively lost its !@#% while we fight off a global pandemic. Never in my life has the UK government ordered me to stay in my home, sent me text messages etc. Real life is like a movie right now. Maybe watching all those zombie films over the years was a bad idea.

Enough about all that!

Later Levels was doing #LoveYourBacklog week again this year, which I didn’t have time to whip something up for, I’m not sure I’ll be able to get involved with #MaybeInMarch either. Stay tuned though, there’s news coming about other community developments coming soon. Something I’m quite excited about and sort of responsible for kicking off.

I’m going to write here about something else I love instead though, video game related of course, several weeks after it was relevant 🙂

I love a good video game trailer. I’m referring to the kind of video game trailer which gets you hyped for a game before release, something which stirs up the anticipation you feel when the date is finally announced, or maybe its the first time you’ve seen gameplay at all, the graphics, a bit of story or all of those things.

I’m also referring to the kind of trailer which lives on way beyond the release of the game. Maybe even long after you’ve finished or even played, but you can’t help revisiting the trailer once in a while, to rekindle your love for the game.

Here’s a few trailers I personally love and still watch, when I have a few minutes to spare. They’re heavily weighted towards first-person shooters or action games, because my indie education continues. Also, action makes for the best trailers in my opinion!

I’ve been playing GTA Online since it was released. How far we’ve come, I think I prefer it without the flying bikes and cars. It was a simpler time.
I’m more of a Battlefield kinda guy than Call of Duty, this trailer and instalment of the game is a big reason why. Also, real war and violence is bad folks. That aside, “Get down on the ground, I SAID GET DOWN ON THE GROUND!”
This one still makes me feel all tingly about cars and Forza, another perfect use of music
Over 500 hours later, with more still to explore, I don’t regret watching this trailer so many times, I only wish it had convinced me to buy the game sooner.
What is left to say, this is probably my favourite game ever, but also a daft trailer. There’s lots of daft Borderlands trailers and the intro videos for the first two games are also noteworthy.
Seizure warning! The hype was real, this trailer is amazing, the base games’ story/writing was absolute garbage. If you play for the shloot, get hyped by this trailer. I’m going to sulk in a corner and play Borderlands 2 forever.
The first proper sight we had of this game, things have already changed since this reveal, by the time it comes out, this trailer will be over two years old. I CAN WAIT CDPR, you can’t rush perfection.

Do you still go back and watch old video game trailers, or am I in a minority here? Judging by the YouTube comments in a lot of them, people do still go back when the game is relevant again for whatever reason. Good old nostalgia!

If you have any favourites, I’d love to hear about them in the comments, maybe I’ll even discover something new. As you can see above, my own palette is quite limited to pretty much FPS 😀

A Different Type of Gaming Backlog Is Weighing Me Down

Ah December, a time for many things, but chief among them, sales. Black Friday and Cyber Monday continue to merge into a week or month long excuse for retailers to discount their tat. We all invariably end up buying something we don’t even need, turns out most of those products might not even be too great a deal after all.

Face it, you’ve been doing this for years with video games too. Valve (and now others) have offered you an unmissable deal during winter sales; £15 for that shiny video game which was £30 but a week ago!?! Then it sits in your library for six years and you see it again for £2.50, you curse your impulsive nature.

Meanwhile the backlog of video games continues to grow.

I’ve curbed my own spending and growth of my video game backlog as a result, instead opting to play titles I already own faster than I can buy new ones. Today I’m going to write about a different kind of backlog though, and this is a war I’m definitely not winning. I’m talking about magazines.

I’m of a generation which can still remember a time when the internet was, shall we say, not as prolific as it is today. Sure it existed, but it was expensive, slow, complicated, charged by the hour even. Thanks CompuServe.

Now, it’s in our very pockets; at the top of a mountain, even in the murky depths of the London Underground, you can still get online. You’re moments away from the latest video game news, reviews, videos, tips, cheats. Streamers are now playing billions of hours for your general entertainment. You can often download these things for offline viewing as well. Essentially, there is little escape.

While we’re all staring at our phones, ask yourself, when did you last see someone reading a video game magazine? When did you last read one yourself?

The magazines still exist, some of them have been going for decades, some have come and gone, fading into obscurity and difficult to even find mention of any more.

In this modern age, the news and general content of such a publication is extremely old compared to what we can get online, even when its printed and delivered double quick immediately after something like E3, we’ve already seen and read it all. Despite this, in my life, there exists a sizeable backlog of video game magazines.

Subscriptions to the Official Xbox and PlayStation magazines came about when those consoles were purchased. Edge magazine was first read with a free Readly subscription, then a print subscription to the magazine was purchased when the Readly subscription deal expired.

There’s nothing quite like the real thing. Edge in particular is simply a work of art, both in the word content and in the presentation of it, just amazing stuff.

Despite Readly being incredible value for money, I cancelled it, in favour of real magazine subscriptions.

The act of collecting something physical, tangible, it just can’t be beaten for me, though it is difficult to explain. My game collection has largely been Steam and digital since 2004, but in recent years I’ve grown to appreciate the sense of ownership and nature of collecting physical things more generally.

There’s just one problem, the same problem many of us have with our video game backlog. Time. I can’t read these damn things sooner than they drop through my front door. It’s a running joke in our house when they arrive, staggered throughout the month, 13 times per year each! “I haven’t finished last months yet!”

The ones I haven’t read are kept aside, so I can keep tabs on them. My current total of unread video game magazines? A shameful 38. That’s a huge, heavy pile of magazines completely unread. This hurts more than hundreds of un-played video games.

  • A years worth of each magazine subscription
  • It’s taking up physical space, we’re about to move again
  • I spent real money on these things
  • I want to read them… I have been reading them! I’ve been trying to keep up with this for the last 18 months when life got busy and this backlog started.
  • I carry at least two or three of them around with me throughout the working week

My wife tells me to just cancel them, or at least the ones I don’t read, but I can’t bring myself to do so, eventually they do get some attention and make it to the “finished” pile.

I can’t be beaten by this, I won’t be beaten, the march to backlog victory will continue. Just another 200 or so video games to actually play afterwards. No big deal.

Do you still read video game magazines, what about the now difficult to find strategy guides? Are you happy to get your fix online, from the big sites or the the WordPress community?

Review: The Outer Worlds

Version played: Xbox One X (Game Pass), Playtime: 30 hours

It’s most rare these days for a video game to be released which just works. Thankfully, The Outer Worlds is such a video game, so you can dive right in and enjoy yourself for once!

Built on Unreal Engine 4, Obsidian Entertainment are well known for the buggy release of Fallout: New Vegas, but The Outer Worlds suffers no such fate. I’m happy to say, there were no technical issues at all for me, no frame drops, no falling through the world, I was just living out my space fantasy one evening after another. Everything feels finished, ready! My goodness!

The fact I’m even mentioning this is a shame and says a lot about the industry in 2019, but lets not detract from the task at hand here. We’re talking about The Outer Worlds.

Influences abound

There’s strong vibes of Futurama, Firefly, Fallout and just about every other RPG you’ve probably ever played. You could argue this game is influenced so heavily by these things it outright rips them off. The shy female mechanic, the vicar with a mysterious and potentially violent past, the barmy old man, the power armour (which I don’t think you have a hope of wearing, unless I missed something). It’s hard not to notice the similarities.

This is typical fetch quest too, kill this person (or facilitate peace) affair, sprinkled with a dusting of interesting characters you might actually want to talk to. The maps themselves aren’t big enough for this to become too much of an issue however.

There’s quite a lot of talking

Once you’re told the premise of everything, corporations own everything and everyone it seems, you can get stuck in making friends and influencing people. I spent the first 10 hours of the game doing little more than talking to NPCs, with the occasional shooty bits. In the end this started to bother me a little, because the action was good, although very brief each time.

If you don’t want to do all that talking, you obviously don’t have to, just shoot and smash your way around. The game will be much shorter if you do so, but you’ll probably still have fun along the way.

Soooo much talking, towards the end I found I could read it quicker than it was voice acted, but to skip the voice acting would be regrettable

All the characters I spoke to were well acted, interesting enough to keep talking to, thoroughly amusing or just downright hilarious. The world seems chock-full of people with things to say.

Particular favourites of mine were Parvati the mechanic, voiced brilliantly by Ashly Burch, who you meet very early on and can sign up to your crew, as well as Sanjar a little later on, head of an outcast corporation (Monarch Stellar Industries) and his assistant. Finally for me, was SAM, who I won’t spoil for you at all. I wish I’d spent more time with SAM. Lets just say, he’s very useful against other robots.

Ludicrously easy on normal difficulty

I didn’t struggle at all with this game, which is unusual for me, as I often suck at video games. Once you’re up to two companions, any of them really, set them to offensive mode and the three of you will just carve through most enemies, even the ones you may encounter and think “Oh !@# this is gonna be…. over, OK.”

Tactical Time Dilation, the games version of V.A.T.S. from Fallout, where the action is slowed down, makes it even easier, although the effect is well handled and does make for some satisfying shots on target.

There’s rudimentary modding of gear, weapons, you can do the same for your companions too, all of which I experimented with and felt was absolutely necessary to keep up. Prior to kitting out my companions with grenade launchers, miniguns etc, they were all a bit squishy. Oh, perhaps arming them to the teeth is what made the game easier? It was fun ripping through everything and everyone with them regardless!

There’s consumables too, but I didn’t use a single one of them, just sold them for the games currency, called bits. I suspect they’re more useful than I give them credit for.

There are more difficulty levels which incorporate survival mechanics, where the consumables probably make a real difference. This also offers permanent death for companions, something which would probably break my heart in Parvati’s case. She’s far too sweet to ever send off to her doom.

Ultimately survival is not my own preferred playstyle, I loath hunger meters and all that sort of thing, the pressure is too much and it makes the experience hard work, I just want to enjoy the story and combat.

Short and sweet

The whole experience was over before I was ready for that to be the case, the polar opposite to the way I felt playing Borderlands 3 before this. The game teases you from the start with places on the star map you believe you’ll visit. Some of them appear to be just for show in the end. The final act crept up on me very suddenly.

I delayed a few missions because they might be time consuming, difficult, both, or to maximise my time with the experience. Don’t bother doing the same; if you hoover up all the missions you can find, steering clear of the main campaign, you’re still going to finish this game in 30 or so hours, unless you explore every single square inch of every map. The time will just fly by.

Some enemies will take the fight to you, which is an endless source of amusement

The ending felt rushed as a result, but perhaps that was just my high expectations by that point. Obsidian made it clear months ago this was not some sprawling, fully open-world, 100 hour game; it is concise in every way, including in its limited run time.

Does the game warrant multiple play-throughs then? I think so, even just out of curiosity to see what changes; the one who plays nice, the strong idiot, the lone wolf, the absolute psychopath, the one who sides with the enemy. Perhaps your imagination is better than mine, but I’m not sure the game will cater to dozens of different styles. There are two main endings, but many different things that can change dramatically in between.

Hey good lookin’

This is a beautiful game, no question. It is extremely colourful, as a game about space and terra-formed planets should be. The skyboxes, oh my goodness. Echos of time misspent in No Man’s Sky haunt me. But this isn’t procedural, it’s all hand crafted in the Unreal Engine I believe.

A very pretty, vibrant and colourful game, it has to be said.

Hungry for more

It seems I’m not alone in wanting more, but is there anything else in the works? People are expecting to buy DLC imminently, but nothing is confirmed yet, to my knowledge. The game has performed very well and a recent visit to the studio by Eurogamer somewhat confirms there’s still a team at Obsidian working on the game, in some capacity. Is that more content, a sequel? Time will tell.

The studio is now Microsoft owned, they move forward without the fears being an independent studio can bring, they can focus on what matters, which is making video games.

I hope very much this is the start of something bigger, not too much bigger, but the worlds Obsidian have created here are ripe for further development, but hopefully, not exploitation.

Single player, and that’s absolutely fine by me

Personally I think the video game market is going through another shift back toward shorter single player experiences. There’s got to be a market for that, haven’t we rinsed the multiplayer annual releases of CoD experience to death now?

As we’ve all aged, got married, had kids, become busy at work or even all of those things together, we have less time for video games, but still want to play.

Because yoooouuuurr’eee gorgeous, The Outer Worlds, lets be alone together

I need to play this on the go

For the same reasons as above, I think there’s definitely a market for cloud streaming. Google Stadia launched today, in a very limited capacity.

There is a desire on my part to buy a Switch and play something like The Outer Worlds on my commute, I simply need to get my fix when and how I can these days. A version for Switch has been announced by the way, I think the game will suit this console very much and sell maaaany units, maybe even a few consoles.

The not so good

At launch, one glaring and hugely irritating problem which is being fixed the week I post this review: THE BLOOMIN’ TEXT SIZE! Once again, as with Borderlands 3, completely unreadable text from a normal distance on console, using a massive TV. I had to sit very close to the TV to read anything, but once again, I was not alone.

Developers everywhere; stop making your games with tiny text, especially on console!

In summary, spacers

Beautiful visuals, music, serviceable weapons, gear, mods, good level design, great voice acting, interesting lore, tremendous voice acting and overall, a good time that I will remember fondly when I start a new save.

Go out and get your own fix, this is a great, short, beautiful video game!

Review: Borderlands 3

Gearbox has managed to do something I fear Valve will never do: count to three.

After seven years, we’re finally able to get our hands on a “proper sequel” rather than a “Pre-Sequel” to the huge critical and commercial success that was Borderlands 2. I’ve personally put a fair few hours into the series, and I’ve very much been looking forward to this game since my early thirties.

When you wait this long for something, can it live up to the considerable hype and slick marketing, which we’ve most definitely been experiencing for the last few months for this title?

This review is based on around 40 hours of playing a single character in solo mode. By any normal standards, that would be enough to write a review, but in Borderlands, this is barely scratching the surface. This is a big, long game already, which will only get bigger. As such, I will very likely tweak this review over time as the game and my experience with it changes.

On the night of release, I’m busy completing my True Vault Hunter Mode play-through on Borderlands 2 on the Xbox One X, which I started from level 1 a couple of months back, by way of training myself to play with a controller. Until that play-through began, Borderlands 2 and Overwatch were the only two games left on the PC I wasn’t purposefully or at least capable of playing with a controller. In a truly poetic turn of events I couldn’t have timed better if I’d tried, I defeat Handsome Jack and the Warrior and watch the credits roll a little after Midnight. I then jumped straight into Borderlands 3.

Psychos return, including many screaming female and midget varieties not previously seen

This game has not been without controversy leading up to release, the only topic bothering me however was the Epic Games Store timed exclusivity for the PC version. It annoyed me so much, I chose to go with the Xbox One X version of the game.

After leaving my previous job with a Microsoft Store voucher and cashing in my own Microsoft points, I had £50 in Xbox vouchers to splurge, so the Super Deluxe version only set me back £40, said to include four story DLC releases in the future.

If Gearbox deliver on Randy Pitchford’s promises and the bar set by previous titles, that will be a great deal of content for comparatively little money on my part. Yes, I’m still on my frugal gaming kick.

Our journey begins once again on Pandora, home to the series since it began in 2009. Much of what you’ll see at the start is familiar, this looks like Borderlands for sure, only much shinier. It doesn’t take long for things to feel different though, and not necessarily in a good way.

There’s vaulting over things, rather than just vault hunting, there’s sliding too, which does give me the freedom of movement I’ve always longed for in a Borderlands game. From the very start, I’m reminded of the first Borderlands game, things feel a little clunky, not quite right. They’ve changed the models for the various containers, things sound different, things overall feel different. I’m immediately worried. Maybe this feeling can be put down to coming straight from playing Borderlands 2, maybe the move to console and controller? What have I done!

I persevere though, in the interests of diving into the story and safe in the knowledge that Borderlands 2 felt “different” from the first game, and I didn’t like that to start with either. I can happily jump between all entries so far in the series, each has their own feel, and that’s OK. Maybe Borderlands 3 will be the same in that regard. Several hours later, I’m comfortable, but this is where I start to notice other things. Bad things.

The story is dreadful, there’s nothing kind I can say about this, which makes me very sad. This is of the utmost importance to me, the primary reason I play the Borderlands series, or most video games for that matter. In the second game, I was fully drawn in to the lore. Handsome Jack was one of the best video game villains ever. The Calypso twins in Borderlands 3 are nowhere near as entertaining and they’re extremely forgettable. In fact, I won’t even mention them again, they’re that dull.

Where the story went very wrong for me

This could be seen as a possible spoiler, if you’re sensitive to such things, skip to the next section.

Lead writer of Borderlands 2, Anthony Burch, is gone from Gearbox now. That definitely shows, I was worried when he departed and apparently was right to feel that way. The way major characters from the second game are treated in this third instalment is a disgrace.

The way in which the Vault Hunters from the first game were introduced and utilised in the second game was just beautiful. In this third instalment, they’re wheeled in and cast aside as the unhinged plot necessitates, almost like Rick Moranis playing with his dolls again in Spaceballs. Clip is probably NSFW by the way!

Playing one evening, I had to stop for the night to process what had just happened, after one character was killed off. It seemed completely ridiculous, implausible and just downright nonsensical, serving an equally daft plot point and the introduction of a new character I’m now suddenly supposed to care about. I’m not the only one incensed by this, by any means. I took it personally simply because I spent so long investing myself in that character during the second game. The way other characters react to this death is just infuriating, “Oh well, that happened. BIG LOL.”

Characters such as Lilith from previous instalments in the franchise make an appearance once again, but their treatment is questionable. I suggest playing the game to figure out if she’s the character I’m referring to being killed off!

The situation with the story doesn’t improve, even by the end of the game. My feelings toward how that previously mentioned character was treated never go away either. In fact, feelings of negativity are further amplified by the manner in which other pivotal characters are treated, which is better overall, but still serves to magnify just how bad the first misstep was earlier on in the game.

I feel I will never be able to forgive Gearbox for this, even if they dedicated an entire DLC to that character. It just wasn’t the right thing to do and served no purpose in my eyes.

One saving grace is Vaughn, first introduced in Tales from the Borderlands, who serves the main plot throughout, with much enthusiasm and humour.

Rhys, also from Tales, serves the main story too, but I don’t recall the two characters properly interacting, which seems strange given their previous relationship. It’s possible I’m miss-remembering, or this is explained somewhere that I missed.

I get it, Gearbox, there’s lots of characters to keep track of here.

Other elements which grate

The balance in enemy strength and levels in solo, on the first play-through at least, is terrible. The boss fights in particular are grating. It took me a silly amount of time to take on one vault monster, who was at my level, with the appropriate gear. I’ve drawn the conclusion this is the first time I’ve played a Borderlands game immediately after it has released, so balance will probably be tweaked in later updates.

I did play Borderlands 2 a couple of weeks or months after it released, but I don’t remember this being an issue. Other encounters which I expected to be difficult were in fact extremely easy, and I was left dumbfounded as to how it could take two minutes on that occasion while other battles could take thirty.

The user interface is just completely horrible on console. It lags when you go into your inventory and switch between the tabs, something you do frequently in a Borderlands game. Worst of all however is the font size, which is microscopic even on my 49″ TV, I have to stand right up to the TV to properly read it; this is not a 10ft UI. Everything is too small, the mission descriptions, mission log, prompts, item cards, even the game-play tips on loading screens. Everything seems about 50% of the size it was in previous titles.

This is a worrying trend I’ve noticed recently, The Division 2 felt like this too, but with a semi useful accessibility menu which allowed you to change the font size, it was at least serviceable. Borderlands 3 on release gives you the option to change the font size for the closed captions, that’s it.

It’s too long. I never thought I’d be saying this, more Borderlands is a good thing, right? Well sure, but towards the end I was skipping side missions and still clocked in around 40 hours and level 36-38 to finish the main story. The pacing of the story just didn’t seem right at all, much like the first game and Pre-Sequel. One particular section of the game felt like it was taking a very long time, it also felt like I’d spent longer in that area than some of the more interesting places I’d have preferred to spend my time.

This was one of the boss fights I finished surprisingly quickly, given the build up.

It isn’t all doom and gloom

OK, that’s all the things I didn’t like, but it isn’t all bad. The list of good things is ultimately longer and ever growing, the more I play:

  • The graphics are phenomenal, Unreal Engine 4 shines
  • The art style makes great use of the engine too
  • The environments are larger and filled with more detail
  • The sound effects are terrific, everything punches very nicely
  • The weapons are numerous and vary wildly
  • The alternate fire modes of the weapons is a great addition
  • The legendary items and weapons are interesting and fun to use
  • Gunplay is finely tuned and great with a controller
  • Love me some grenade spam
  • The additional skill trees and abilities are brilliant
  • Sanctuary III is a great home base
  • Voice acting is top notch, Vaughn and the Psycho death one liners had me chuckling throughout
  • The rag doll physics add some hilarious consequences to the action, particularly in my play-through with Amara’s singularity phaselock and a singularity grenade mod both in play
  • Numerous quality of life improvements do just that, make the game much better on a technical and usability level

I could go on, but you probably get the point. Gearbox knew they had a huge task ahead of them in creating Borderlands 3. It was always going to be a massive game which made them a huge sack of cash.

In their pursuit of achieving this huge task, they forgot one thing; the story matters. Maybe not to everyone, but to many of us. We care about these characters, treat them with some respect, will ya?

If you can look past or have no interest in the story, this is more Borderlands, improved in every way. Otherwise, prepare to (probably) feel disappointed, as I and many other fans of the world Gearbox created have been feeling over the last month, since the game released.

There’s more content to come, I’m sure, so bring it on, my body is ready. We’re promised four story DLC packs and the free stuff begins with the Bloody Harvest DLC in October 2019.

Remind me, who are Valve and what was that game they were famous for never making?

If you’ve got some thoughts to share on Borderlands, feel free to slap them all over the comments section below; I’m always up for talking about this series.

GOG Galaxy 2.0: First Impressions

After waiting what feels like an eternity, I finally received an invite to the closed beta for the new “launcher to replace all launchers” on PC, from and industry darlings, CD Projekt Red.

During the wait, I’ve been messing around with Playnite on the regular; it has now become the only launcher to open by default when my PC starts. Praise indeed, so can GOG Galaxy 2.0 replace it?

I quickly got up and running with Galaxy 2.0, the installer is reasonably sized and the process for installation is much like anything else these days, a couple of clicks and an EULA accepted, you’re away. I didn’t even need to sign in, it must have picked that up from the existing launcher I already have installed. I have since been signed out for no apparent reason a few times however.

Within a few minutes, I was also signed in to all of the services supported which I’m personally using, through the official and community integrations. This includes Xbox, PlayStation Network, Uplay, Origin, Epic, and of course, Steam. There’s nothing available for Nintendo, which is rubbing some people up the wrong way, but I don’t have any of their consoles.

Galaxy 2.0 quickly gets to work importing from services where integrations are available. Support for various features depends on the integration and what is available from the platform, you’re informed of what will be supported when you enable the integration. This potentially includes game time, achievement progress, friends lists.

In this view, games from each platform are shown separately rather than combined, which makes very little sense

One thing which impressed me immediately was the combining of recorded playtime across platforms; where I’ve played Fallout 4 on Steam and Xbox, it gives me a combined playtime of just under 500 hours, split between just under 40 on Xbox and the rest on Steam. I can also clearly see how few achievements I’ve got for the game on Steam vs Xbox, because I very quickly started using mods on Steam (which disables achievements), but never bothered on Xbox.

The playtime appears to be historic too, by week and so on, although I’m not sure how on Earth it is doing that! How accurate it is, whether it is more accurate once the integration is activated (and your activity is then being monitored in real time, I assume), well I can’t be sure yet. So far, I’ve not been convinced, it seems to think I’ve played something when I haven’t for example. I’m hoping it will be more accurate for the full launch, as this is the feature I care about the most.

Either way, this is the information I want, across all of my launchers. What games do I own, are they installed, how much time have I spent playing, how am I doing on achievements, what are my friends doing? I don’t care where the games or my friends are really, I just care about the games. Playnite does a good job, but lacks the shine Galaxy 2.0 already has.

So far then, so good. The application is responsive, simple to use and shows real promise. It could very easily be the one-stop launcher for all my PC games, when I’m sat at my PC of course. Most of the games I play on PC are now over Steam Link, with a controller. If Galaxy 2.0 could somehow take care of that… recently celebrated their 11th anniversary with a sale, but the Galaxy launcher has only been around since 2014

I’m spread across PC on several launchers, Xbox and PlayStation these days. Galaxy 2.0 is quickly becoming the most interesting application on my PC, competing with Playnite for my affections. Galaxy 2.0 is winning already, simply because Playnite is quite ugly, although they’re improving the theme support, releasing a major new version recently.

Meanwhile, despite this being a closed beta, it shows real promise. I hope they keep going, because if new launchers are going to keep springing up (I’m looking at you, Rockstar) I need something to bring them all together. I love the way it brings consoles along for the ride too. There’s a wealth of opportunities for making use of my data, I’d love to see an iOS and Android app too. Ahhh, video games.

Bristol Gaming Market (Sept 2019)

Hey, it has been a while, again! I’ve been job hunting, ultimately I was very successful this time around, accepting one role and turning down three others. I’ve never been in that position in my life, it was pretty surreal. It didn’t leave much time for video games, or blogging about them either.

Here we are then, five weeks after starting my new role, settled in for the most part. I’m on my way to Bristol Gaming Market, on this dreary and wet Sunday morning, after seeing a post on Geek Sleep Rinse Repeat last week.

I’ve never been to one of these markets, but I’ve read Kim’s tales of the London Gaming Market on Later Levels and fancied the idea for a while. I don’t think I’ll have the funds to make it to EGX this year either, despite that being an ambition for 2019, having enjoyed it for the first time in 2017. Now the offspring has grown a little and we’re close to the in-laws, I thought it would be possible, but it isn’t at the NEC in Birmingham this year.

London is a little too far for me to “pop along” and a bit pricey to spend the night, but Bristol, well that’s on my doorstep, so it would be rude not to. Also, the event is right next to Temple Meads train station and a measly £5 to get in, so there’s really no excuse.

I have no idea what to expect, but I’m hoping for the chance to see some old hardware, games, tat you can’t find anywhere else, something a little special to make me part with my cash, or maybe just a fun couple of hours being nosy.

The attendees

Who knew video games were this popular? I fit right in; 30 something white male with a backpack, like most of the IT conventions I frequent. We’re everywhere and dominate this venue as far as the eye can see. Sure, we’re all different shapes and sizes, but we’re mostly of the same generation, here for one thing. Video games.

Some of us take this so seriously, we are fervently checking our spreadsheets on our phones, as we tussle at tables, crammed with the memories of our youth, desperate to find that missing piece. I am not (yet) one of those people, so I look on in amusement, but also admiration at their being so organised. Goals.

Ladies and small children of all ages are present though, albeit in much lower numbers. I was happy to see a young lad picking up a really “old” thing called a GameBoy, asking “What is this?!” Also, the enthusiastic lady who found a PlayStation 1 (I think) game she was hoping would be there. She did a little dance, saying “I’m so happy right now!”

Despite entering the venue an hour before the general public, it’s almost impossible to get near anything, only a few minutes after the doors open, although there’s plenty of space in the venue overall. I couldn’t help but think the exhibitors should have been given more room, with some of them having stuff crammed into every inch available, on the floor etc. After a short while and a full lap around, things settle and gaps begin to form, so I go around again and again, four times in total.

The games and some other stuff (nostalgia hits you like a tonne of bricks)

Casually browsing the Master System games on offer at one stall, I find a game called The Ninja. Wait, could this be the game I’m thinking of from my youth? The one I spent (probably) hours and hours watching my uncle trying to finish, because it was to difficult for me? The cover immediately brings it all back, I part with £3, despite not owning a Master System any longer. That’s something I can fix later, I need this on my shelf right now. Other purchases for the Master System were Sonic & Sonic 2. I remember my mother purchasing Sonic 2 for the princely sum of £29.99, back in 1992 that was a lot of money to spend on a video game.

I also managed to find Black for the original Xbox, a game I’ve heard about many times and never been able to track down, admittedly never trying all that hard. I’ve already acquired a crystal Xbox from my brother-in-law, who moved abroad and didn’t want to keep any of the stuff in his old room at the in-laws. I think it’s just missing a cable, hopefully it will work once I can sort that out.

Another blast from the past was a Casio keyboard, we definitely owned one of these when I was much younger, I recognised it immediately!

There were old magazines, game guides (Quake III Arena!) and some incredible artwork, t-shirts, laser etched slate coasters… I just didn’t have the chance to look at everything on offer.

The hardware

There was more hardware than I expected on show, much of it in clear plastic wrapping, absent the original box and instructions, but there were some complete pieces around too. It was like going back in time, seeing those old boxes!

Much of what I saw was modded in some way, which surprised me, with “region free” and other benefits on offer. This is not something I’d considered before, but I guess Sony doesn’t care any more if you’re using a modded PS1? Nintendo definitely doesn’t care if you’re importing US NES cartridges to play on a modded NES, I’m sure.

Some of the modded consoles on offer, with new LCD backlights, shells, region unlocking etc.

I saw a modded “fat” PS2 with a 2TB SATA hard drive! I feel very much like I need to do my homework before I go about purchasing an old console. There is much to learn.

There was also a stall with dozens of “re-shelled” GameBoy Advanced handhelds, a system I know nothing about, but they looked amazing. They were branded as refurbished but honestly looked new, thanks to the new plastic shells.

I’d clearly forgotten how massive some of these old consoles were, and the controllers, the Sega Mega Drive controllers in particular, were they always that huge!?

All the feels

In the end, I had to leave before spending any more money I don’t have, it seems I’ve started an obsession collecting old consoles and games, what little I remember of that time, but also what I missed out on back then. This may prove expensive in the long run. More on that another day, but for now, I’m on the train home with a few cherished pieces that probably seem silly to others and a growing wishlist in my head. I’m already looking for the next excuse to find another one of these events.

An Epic Debate: Dan’s Argument (Now It’s Personal)

Read Ben’s thoughts over on Later Levels here!

I’ve tried to remain calm about the Epic Game Store, exclusivity and all that stuff, even though I haven’t felt this strongly about something gaming related, well, ever really. Gaming is supposed to be fun, when it isn’t fun, I tap out. Mostly, I stay out of this kind of thing, but this time, it feels personal.

I get it, competition is a good thing, I don’t have to buy games from Epic. If they’ve secured exclusivity, then I’ll just have to wait(!) to buy it on Steam, if that is my preferred store, which it is for multiple reasons. That’s probably the subject of another post all to itself.

Having seen Metro Exodus, The Outer Worlds and World War Z fall victim to Epic’s Fortnite fortune, I knew eventually they would come for something I truly care about. Something for which, I just cannot wait.

Then it happened, the unthinkable, Gearbox Software announced Borderlands 3. That alone was exciting, but then they simply said it was coming to PC, without talking about specific stores.

Oh dear, I knew there and then I was in trouble. Would Epic really come for my beloved Borderlands?

Surely not, it’s been on Steam from the beginning, they axed the GameSpy integration when that was shut down, retrofitting Steamworks to keep the Borderlands 1 multiplayer alive.

Gearbox started out by making impressive add-ons for the original Half-Life. Would they really turn their backs on Valve and Steam?

Then it hit me, Borderlands runs on Unreal Engine, a heavily modified version admittedly, but there it is, an existing relationship with Epic…

Exclusivity isn’t necessarily Gearbox’s choice

As mentioned by Gearbox’s CEO, Randy Pitchford, Gearbox apparently has no say in where it’s publisher chooses to distribute their game. Gearbox are simply the creative talent; they’re making the thing, 2K sells the thing.

That’s cool Randy. I believe you. He was sure to tweet all of this, and not mention it at all during the games reveal, because he knew what the reaction would be.

Then it was announced, Borderlands 3 is to be an Epic Game Store exclusive on PC.

The newly minted official Borderlands Discord server erupted, moderators were quick to create a new channel called #rant-discussion and filter the conversation into there, but it was impossible to keep up, even with slow mode enabled.

Hundreds of people were venting their frustration with tens of thousands probably looking on, some in agreement, others not.

Twitter and Reddit were a similar cesspit of comments. In the days and weeks since, conversations have taken place, with the Borderlands PC community now divided, as they all come to terms with the exclusivity.

What about consumer choice?

Many people in the community want to play this game as soon as it’s available, so what choices do we have in this case?

  1. Buy the game on the Epic Games Store. 2K would definitely prefer we did this, as they will receive a bigger cut of the profits versus sales on Steam. Will 2K pass on that additional profit to Gearbox? Let’s be clear here, it’s most likely the publisher that’s getting the bigger cut, not the developers as Epic keeps yelling from the rooftops.
  2. Wait for the exclusivity period to end, buy the game on Steam. This is a tough one to swallow, I’m a big story junkie and I need my fix. The ending of Borderlands 2 set up a sequel that is sure to be epic, if you’ll pardon the pun. It’s been 7 years, I need to know, first hand, what happens next!?
  3. Pirate the game when it’s released and buy it on Steam once available. This is not something I condone, at all, nor is it something I’ve ever done; I’ve always legitimately purchased my games. There are others out there who see piracy as simply another method of acquiring games, rather than theft. In many cases, they’ve reduced their reliance on piracy once digital distribution caught up, thanks in no small part to Steam. They won’t touch the Epic Game Store, so they simply move on to the next method of obtaining the game.
  4. Buy the game on console. This is the path I’ve chosen, not because there’s anything particularly egregious about the Epic Game Store itself, or because I prefer to play on console. In the case of Borderlands, I definitely prefer the PC experience.

Why abandon the PC for this game, just because of Epic Game Store exclusivity?

As a consumer, there’s very little I can do to make my voice heard, there’s the old adage though; vote with my wallet.

So that’s what I’ll be doing. Exercising my ability to make a choice, by avoiding the Epic Games Store and purchasing on a completely different platform.

I choose to do this because I draw the line at yet another store application on my PC. I completely disagree with Epic’s strong arm tactics. I resent not having the choice to buy the game on Steam, if that’s what I prefer, that should be my choice to make.

It’s not about just installing another launcher, because there are ways of dealing with all that, Steam works for me and that’s where I prefer to buy my games. I only buy them elsewhere if I absolutely have to, but now, I’m just increasingly finding console gaming more appealing. I wonder, what is the revenue cut for publishers and developers on digital sales from Xbox Live, PlayStation Network, the Nintendo eShop?

In the time since I started writing this post, Epic have been making headlines about developer crunch, as well as purchasing an entire studio, with plans to ultimately moving it’s game off Steam! It seems they’re not content with just purchasing exclusivity rights any more.

Just days before this collaboration went live, an “Epic Mega Sale” was started on the Epic Games Store, but seemingly without warning publishers and developers first, two of which swiftly removed their games from the store, including 2K removing the Borderlands 3 pre-order! What a kerfuffle!

There’s also an interview with Tim Sweeny in this month’s EDGE magazine too, which sheds some light on the plays Epic have been making over the last several months, but my favourite quote is “For a typical game, the store makes more profit than the developers themselves make, and that’s wrong. It’s got to change.”

Well yes, if the store is making 30% and the developers are making less than that from the remaining 70% cut, clearly there is something wrong, but not with the store, because they’re taking the 30% cut and they’re done. What is happening to that 70% then Tim?

Valve has essentially been printing money for the last 15 years, Steam brings in billions of dollars every year. They’ve probably got enough money in the bank to ride this out and not doing a thing, while Epic trips over itself to look like the good guy, but simultaneously driving customers away. You know, customers, the people who actually buy the games they give a bigger cut to the publishers for. Lets gloss over the idea digital distribution, even with that fabled 70/30 split, represents better profit than traditional retail, because it cuts out the middle-man. That’s probably why we all think games should be cheaper and love a good Steam sale in the first place.

All of this has left a bad taste in my mouth, so while my PC gathers dust upstairs, I’ll be training myself on Xbox with Borderlands 2. By September, I’ll be ready for Borderlands 3 with a controller, well away from the PC.

Rumour has it, I’ll be able to cross-play with PC users of the Epic version. Ah cross play, that’s great isn’t it? The freedom and choice to play with friends, regardless of platform… Cheers Tim.

Playnite: The Solution For Multiple PC Game Launchers?

I’ve been complaining a fair bit recently about Epic Games Store and the silly amount of launchers now installed on my PC, but what is the solution instead of just complaining about it? 😉

Why is this a problem for me, what am I trying to solve:

  • The amount of client updates (easily in the hundreds of MB in some cases) every time I try and launch a freakin’ game these days. On 2.5Mbps broadband, that really is annoying.
  • The lack of ability (in an official feature at least) to move games around, which Steam can do brilliantly; when I bought a 256GB nvme SSD, they were much more expensive than they are today, but I have to live with that purchase!
  • Only Steam can really do streaming around the house well for me right now, out of all of these launchers. I need to stream because I can’t game at the PC itself beyond 7pm, a baby is asleep in the next room. I do use Moonlight on a Fire 7 or my phone, which is an unofficial app that supports nvidia’s Game Stream tech, if it isn’t a Steam game. If I want the TV experience, I’d need to buy yet another device, from nvidia, to plug in under there. Shout out to Rainway.
  • I have to open, update and launch games from the right launcher, a bit of a faff, but not that bad I guess, I’ve just had enough of this really.

Discussing my predicament with a friend from work, he sent me a link to an application called Playnite, which may be the answer to at least some of my problems. How have I missed this for so many years!?

Enter Playnite, the open source video game library manager

So far, I’m only aware of a couple of applications besides Playnite doing this; the ubiquitous Discord and nvidia’s GeForce Experience. I’ve been keeping an eye on the Discord feature in particular, because I have a huge admiration for Discord, as does much of the PC gaming community these days.

If anyone can get this right, it’s this bunch. Development appears to have slowed to a crawl on this feature though, sadly.

Discords attempt at library consolidation looked promising, the launcher to rule them all perhaps, but I still hungered for more.

Open source goodness

I haven’t typically been a fan of open source, although I’ve dabbled over the years. In the last few, I’ve increasingly found myself accepting it for what it usually is; free stuff, built by dedicated and passionate people. When my colleague recommended Playnite and told me it was open source, I dived right in.

Those cover art sizes *eye twitch*

Here are some of the things I like so far:

  • Small download
  • Quick install
  • Mostly easy on the eye, this is designed very well
  • Supports many emulators too, not just the usual suspects of Steam, Uplay, Origin etc. This isn’t something I’ve dabbled with much yet, but if you’re into emulation, this could be of interest.
  • Consistent playtime tracking across all games, if launched through Playnite, can apparently sync from original launchers too!
  • Hooks into for metadata and various stores for images
  • Really clear text when using fullscreen mode on a TV, something even consoles sometimes lack

And some of the things I’m not keen on:

  • Wants you to sign in to your launchers to determine what games you own but don’t have installed. I’m very VERY wary of this.
  • The icon, although lovely, is a console controller. I play with a controller on PC a fair bit, but come on haha.
  • Mishmash of cover art sizes, I’d really prefer this to be consistent, like Steam etc. Jinx from Jinx’s Steam Grid View, which I have used many times to smarten up my Steam library, has been spotted on the Playnite Discord talking about integrating his artwork with Playnite. Fingers crossed!
  • Press A to play the game in fullscreen, but X to see details? Argh, my brain doesn’t work like this, I keep pressing A to view the information and launching the game.
  • Scrolling down the text in full screen mode using a controller doesn’t seem to work

This appears to be the work of mostly one dude, but he’s already on version 4, with 5 in the pipeline due for release very soon (end of this month, apparently).

Is the idea of a library gone?

Back in the day, I had games on a shelf, much like my CD/DVD/Blu-ray collection. I ditched physical games when I moved to Steam for Half-Life 2, although I have continued buying other media physically.

Do any of these launchers we have today really offer a digital take on a “game library” of the traditional sense? When you look at the world of physical game libraries, they’re often labours of love, extremely beautiful to look at. Shelves, lighting, collectables, pride and meticulous detail everywhere.

On the PC, through my many years of digital purchases, I’m left with several launchers that kind of just want to sell you games and launch them. They don’t really take “libraries” all that seriously. It’s a bunch of ones and zeros. I love my games, but in the move to digital, I’ve lost that sense of owning them, displaying them, and enjoying them beyond the act of playing.

I recently found MusicBee, when looking to re-rip my entire CD collection, which has been a dream so far. It’s the work of one man. I’ve also been using Plex for several years. Neither are open source, but they both show you what is possible in terms of digital media library management.

A consolidated, metadata rich launcher experience for my fragmented PC game library and all these launchers is something I crave; my CD collection is digitised nicely, same goes for the DVD and Blu-ray, so where does that leave the games!? Won’t somebody think of the games!

I will keep playing around with Playnite, but so far, so good!

How many launchers do you have installed on your PC? Are you a console gamer who finds all of this multiple launcher/store front malarkey hilarious? Are you hoarding a physical game collection you’d like to show off? Let me know in the comments!

It’s OK To Play Video Games On PC With A Controller

Back in September, Valve revealed the results of one of their regular hardware surveys. Something surprising was mentioned; the number of PC players plugging in a controller of some kind.

Like many PC players, I used to think of controllers as a console only affair. I assumed most PC players still felt that way. Why would you use a controller when you have the “superior” option of keyboard and mouse available? Simple, because it isn’t always superior.

Yes, you can aim, without help, with a mouse. Yes, it is definitely more accurate, movement and 180 degree turns are often more fluid and rapid. My aim is still dreadful, even after twenty something years, with a mouse and keyboard. Why not accept that and be comfortable instead?

Git gud? Get lost.

My avoidance of controllers on PC stems back to not wanting to play an FPS with a controller, back in the day that was mostly what I was playing and I did so exclusively (until recently) with a mouse and keyboard on PC.

A couple thousand hours of controller use on PC and various consoles over the last several years has seen me re-evaluate my stance on that, after bitter disappointment with the Wii and Valve’s Steam Controller, both now gathering dust.

I ran through Tomb Raider, Battleborn and The Division solely with a controller on PC, I have played a fair bit of Borderlands 2 and have done some of that with a controller, to the point where I can swap between inputs when it suits. I do this frequently on GTA V too, a game which is significantly responsible for my improved controller skills, after more than a thousand hours of flying, driving and shooting my way around the streets of Los Santos, once I repurchased the game on PC. I’d already played it with a controller on the PS3, so it seemed completely natural to me to do so again.

I started to feel more comfortable with a controller, compared to how it felt playing The Last of Us and GTA V on the PS3, the first time I had personally owned a console. It wasn’t pleasant back then, I was all fingers and thumbs, it almost spoiled my enjoyment of both games, but I persevered. These were two games for which I absolutely had to put all my reservations about consoles and controllers behind me to experience.

Sort-of accidentally, particularly over the last few years, I’ve slowly become a more console orientated gamer, who happens to own a PC. I find myself increasingly, for almost every game, using a controller on said PC, which is hooked up permanently to a 42″ TV in my home office since the move.

You may notice I wrote “almost” every game. This week I’ve blitzed playthrough 1 of Borderlands GOTY Enhanced, solely with the controller, stunned at my own abilities, but despite that, I can’t bring myself to play Overwatch with a controller. It simply isn’t quick enough to keep up with the pace of the game for me.

Rather than try to improve my mouse and keyboard skills any further, with things like KovaaK’s FPS Aim Trainer, I’ve just become increasingly better with a controller and accepted that I’m average with both inputs. Sometimes it’s nice to chill in front of the TV with a bit of aim assist, sometimes you want pinpoint accuracy. It’s good to have options. Increasingly, I find myself choosing comfort and aim assist.

Catching up instead of missing out

Recently, Killzone Shadowfall was an absolute delight on PS4; I enjoyed it so much I’ve started hunting down all the installments that came before it, grabbing bargains in the process.

I’ve started Halo The Master Chief Collection and that is proving to be a blast too, I’ve repurchased and played the main story in Fallout 4 on the Xbox One X, enjoying the enhanced visuals on my 4K TV.

I don’t regret my stealth move into heavy controller and console use, because I’m now in the position where I feel comfortable using any input on any device, which comes in handy at gaming shows and when your mate hands you a PS4 controller for a quick go on something.

Do you enjoy PC games with a controller? How do you feel about keyboard and mouse support coming to consoles? I would love to hear from you in the comments!