PS4 Review – Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order – The force is strong with this one…

PS4 Review – Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order – The force is strong with this one…

So it has been quite a while now since we have had a 100% single player Star Wars game, I can’t even recall the last one to be honest.

So when Respawn announced that they were making a new single player only, no loot box, no multiplayer, no pay to win game, the industry took a moment to pick their jaws up off the floor.

EA is not known for giving us complete games. Hell, their entire business model up to 2018 was to shill every customer for as much as they thought they could get away with.

Well that was til the backlash against them over Star Wars Battlefront 2. Fans spoke out so loud and long that they actually revamped their entire loot plan, and BF2 took such a financial hit from negative press, that I am honestly stunned EA even entertained another Star Wars game.

But they really did learn, and become humble at this years E3, coming right out saying they are eliminating loot boxes and paid expansion, it was a brazen change of direction for them. One fans looked on skeptically.

But proof is in the pudding.

Here we sit a year later with one of the best Star Wars games I have ever played, second only to Knight of the Old Republic.

The story takes place in a time between Episode 3 and Episode 4. After order 66 wiped out the Jedi, but about 10 years prior to A New Hope.

With a force sensitive scrap salvager and a fallen Jedi as his teacher.

I wont give away much of the story, as it is honestly pretty great, and works very well within the confines of the universe we all know and love.

At its core, it is a really weird mix of well established genres.

It is part Tomb Raider / Uncharted in its level traversal and climbing based puzzles. With wonderfully crafted worlds (6 in total) that are all open world, yet in the fashion of Legend of Zelda, require certain items or force skill unlocked as you journey to open paths in a level you are in.

Puzzling is nothing terribly difficult, but there are a lot of secrets and alternate routes to take if you are keeping a close eye on the level.

It is part Dark Souls in it unforgiving difficulty and the way it handles death. Every time you die, you respawn back at the previous place you meditated. And thus respawns all the enemies in the area.

This makes for a real balancing act, when you are low on health, do you meditate and respawn everyone? Or do you forge on and hope you make it to the next checkpoint.

If you do get killed my an enemy, they will now glow after your respawn, and they will hold all your previously acquired and unspent experience. Pushing you to find them and kill them, or you risk losing it all.

It has a vary Final Fantasy skill tree, where you spend points you accumulate from experience, every XX amount of points you get, nets you a skill point to spend on abilities. Most ranging from 1 to 3 points to unlock.

There are a fair bit of skills to unlock as well=, about 40 in total if I recall correctly. From throwing your saber, to additional combos, force push and pull boosts, etc. All adding to your arsenal of force destruction.

Upon day 1 release, sadly the game suffered from A LOT of glitches, from disappearing droids, to not being able to complete a Platinum run of the game as the collectables were glitched.

In the coming 4 weeks post launch though, they managed to clean pretty much all of it up. Just a bit frustrating for us day one buyers.

The only downside or negative I can say about the game is, they is little to no replay value added. Once you have got a Platinum, you have honestly seen and done it all.

I understand there may be a New Game + mode coming, that would go far in extending the life of the game for sure.

Visuals in Fallen Order are top notch, with excellent use of HDR and 4k, the game is incredibly crisp and colorful. Some of it can be a little too dark at times, even with a well calibrated TV or projector, but all in all the good outweighed the bad.

Sound was stellar, but not surprisingly so considering it is Lucas magic after all. Tie Fighters buzzing overhead, wayward shots from stormtroopers who can’t hit a thing, all of it sounded on par with the films.

An excellent romp that lasted about 25-30 hours for a Platinum trophy, and a damn fine addition to the Star Wars universe.

A solid 9/10 and a must buy for any Star Wars fan out there.

PS4 Review – Death Stranding – AKA UPS Simulation 2100

PS4 Review – Death Stranding – AKA UPS Simulation 2100

So this one is a big difficult to review. I am a huge fan of Kojima, and this is his first new IP from his new company, and in a way it kind of shows.

It is by no means an Indie game, yet there are things about it that scream Indie title.

From unfinished design elements, to bizarre story telling that needs to be read about online post game to ensure you understood what just happened.

Yet on the other hand, this is nothing but AAA.

From perfectly mastered environment, great character design and stellar acting, to a killer soundtrack that will stick in your head.

It is all tossed in a blender and comes out with a strange UPS delivery man simulation in the end.

When I first started Death Stranding I presumed the parcel delivery was a kitschy little thing that would going to be a secondary element.

Well boy was I wrong, the game is 95% package delivery. And the weird part is, it works.

I started off not really caring for it, it was an annoyance, always having to balance you load, make sure you were not carrying too much, or that you were not falling and breaking your goods, or having them rust away in the terrible rains.

But slowly as time passed, I found I was trying harder and harder to get the mail to the rightful owners. It just grows on you over time. When drudging hip deep in snow, trying you best not to slip and ruin your load.

Things do get easier as time goes o, you develop the ability to craft buildings and roads at the heavy cost of resources. But the sooner you can get together a highway or a zip line network, the easier things will be in the back half of the game.

The game also ties together with online in a weird Dark Souls kinda of way, with a persistent online tie to other players and their buildings. They will help supply resources for your roads for instances.

Or leave little emoji signs warning you of danger, or of treasure ahead.

It is a strange add in that works well for the world, but sadly did not serve much purpose.

You cannot interact with other people in any way directly.

The graphics in Death Stranding are absolutely amazing. For a new studio, it is extremely impressive what Kojima could achieve here. The world he crafted is exquisite. From barren desert plains, to snowy mountains, to grassy fields, all of it feels very real, and very somber.

This is a game about isolation, you spend the vast majority of it alone, you vs the elements.

With the occasional smattering of vocal music to set the mood.

The audio is a real treat as well, there is a TON of rain in this game, and it pairs well with simulated Atmos. The ceiling feels huge here, and the surround is well designed.

While it does lack in bass for my liking, the ambient noise in the game is a real treat. In a world so dead, it certainly sounded alive.

Some of the weird shortcomings in the game center a lot around driving.

This is where the Indie side of things starts to show.

There are a few types of vehicles in the game, mainly bikes and trucks.

But my God the bikes are HORRIBLE! Like we are talking 1 out of 10 stars horrible.

It is like something that was designed in the Sony PS1 days. You cant even bump a rock without getting stuck or flipping. It is absolutely terrible. So bad that 90% of the time I avoided them altogether and just walked instead.

That’s right, I would rather spend a dozen extra hours walking than use the provided transportation.

There was also some technical glitches, like the game randomly crashing when a cutscene would start, those type of QA things that could have been fixed with another few weeks of testing.

But I imagine Kojima needed this out in time for holiday 2019.

Had this been any other designer, they likely would have been crucified over the issues. But we all give him a bit of a free pass due to the amazing story telling he does.

All in all Death Stranding was a good game, warts and all.

Not a 10/10 title, but a fantastic 1st attempt for a man who has shaped the gaming industry over the last 30+ years.

A must play for Kojima fan, or for aspiring UPS / postal workers.

A decent 7.5/10.

Block MOC Review – BSG Colonial Viper

Block MOC Review – BSG Colonial Viper

When trolling the rebrickable site a year or so ago, I stumbled upon the plans for 2 amazing MOCs, the Colonial Viper, and the Cylon Raider.

I immediately knew I had to have them, and promptly bought the instructions from the creator.

I dumped the part list into brick link, and came to find I would have to spend about 600 per ship to complete the builds. Not too shabby, but at the time I just didn’t have the capital to put on them.

So fast forward to spring 2019 and low and behold, the Chinese block-off community decided to make the Colonial Viper, and for a paltry $200 none the less, this immediately went to the top of my list, and I for the first time in Lepin history, pre-ordered it.

Now this was a mistake.

I was too damn excited, and jumped on the promise of coming next month. (This was Feb 2019)

4 long months passed, and after delays and more delays due to the bust of Lepin, I was getting pretty skeptical if this would even happen.

Well finally after long last, the end of June arrived and so did my shiny new ship.

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I immediately tore into it, to find for the first time, there was not instructions. Now luckily I had actually purchased them the year before, but I would be pretty pissed if I had to shell out another $50 for instructions that in the beginning, were not conveyed that I had to buy.

I cracked all the bags open and dove in.

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It became very quickly apparent that sadly the color match on the bricks were all over the place. The reds do not all match, nor do the whites.

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All in all it does not matter too much, when it is on a shelf 9 ft away from my desk chair, I cant see a difference at all.

The build itself was moderately challenging. Nothing crazy for a MOC build, but there was a difference in color choice for the interior unseen bricks that was not mentioned, this lead to some searching for nothing as the bricks I needed were different.

This is a real shortcoming in the MOC block-off community. They seriously need to supply a part substitution list.

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There are really only 2 major short falls in this set. One I am pissed off about, as it was never rectified by the seller (Jeremy @ Whatsapp)

The cockpit itself is 100% wrong.

The glass provided is completely incorrect, and the cost of a replacement on Bricklink is $20 or more.

When I brought it to his attention, he straight up told me they would not be able to provide a replacement:

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Second, and this was a doozy.

The way the engines are constructed have to be the single handed stupidest think I have ever seen in a MOC.

You have to precariously place all the surrounding bricks, then shove a rubber tire into the middle, in such a precise way that if it is off by a couple mm, then it will not connect to the ship itself.

It took me close to an hour just to get a rough idea of how to do it, and probably 2 hours to make it would at all.

Essentially you make a Circle out of tank tracks, then you wedge a dish into the tire, which is an extremely tight fit, and does not fit evenly, then insert the small ring holding 8 tiny grates.

Here is a mini album of the process:

 

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It was TERRIBLE.

Beyond those 2 major issue though, there was very little to report.

The build otherwise is very straight forward, it sits on the stand nicely, and looks fantastic on the shelf.

A good starter build for budding MOC folks, (short of the engines) and over all a rather non-frustrating build.

A 8/10 for finished presentation, and a must have for BSG fans.

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Block MOC review – Empire over Jedha

Block MOC review – Empire over Jedha

When I first caught glimpse of this MOC, long before the Chinese block-off community grabbed it, I was taken aback.

It is rare to see a set like this. Something on a micro scale, yet so incredibly detailed. With hundreds of small buildings peeking out under the massive Star Destroyer. It was something of beauty, and something I figured I would never have a chance to build, as the likelihood of me putting in the time to collect the bricks for this was pretty unlikely.

But thankfully, the “Lepin” community rose to the challenge, and popped this set out.

Coming in at a whopping 5098 bricks, it is no small feat to put this thing together.

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Sorting of MOCs is always a challenge, and I tend to not stray too far from how it is bagged. In my experience, bricks of a like step or kind tend to be together. Not always, but short of sorting every little brick, this is what I have found that works.

Sadly one thing that came immediately apparent was, they decided to change the color of the interior “unseen” bricks. Now this is not an issue IF, and this is a big one, IF you let people know what you changed….

What it made for was a terribly frustrating build as you had to literally guess what bricks would not be needed later. The substituted Red for Blue, but also put in a pile of light grey and dark grey, both of which are used in other parts of the build.

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So when assembling the base, hundreds of substitutions were made, and worse yet, the manual is pretty unclear on colors specification. Sometimes things looked red, other times orange, and the 2 greys are almost identical in the book, so finding the right parts was a real challenge.

All that said, the base is incredibly well designed. It is solid and shows very little change of falling part at all.

The detail level is incredible, with multiple layers of “dirt” layer after layer.

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Once the base was out of the way, the city level posed the next conundrum. The instructions on how the support posts inside are placed leaves a lot of guess work as well. So when you are coming around the structure later with the walls, you may run into instances where you have to take some of it apart, and move the columns as they are in the wrong place.

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Another major shortcoming was the lack of properly colored supports for the star Destroyer. They provided white, and they should have been clear, this was to give it that floating look, which was completely ruined by 2 giant white technic sticks….

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Worse yet is the fact that they are built right into the base and into the Star Destroyer, so if you decide to change them later, you will need to do a substantial amount of rebuilding. So mu suggestion is grab a pair of bricklink BEFORE you begin.

And while you are there, grab a set of clear sticks for the mini ship supports too, those are inconveniently white as well.

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Lastly we have the Star Destroyer itself.

For a ship that is so “small” it is incredibly well details, but sadly, it is also incredibly poorly designed.

The top and bottom plates will not stay in place and closed along the seams at all.

I tried multiple redesigns in hopes to fix the flaws, but in the end was only able to find one fix… Kragle…

That is par for the course for MOC builds usually, but I still hate to break it out if I can avoid it.

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The command deck as well was areal pain to assemble. From the instructions being a bit vague at points, to finding a delicate placement of things to make them look right. It was just a pain to assemble.

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Luckily it required no glue to make work.

All in all, it is on par with MOC builds. It looks fantastic finished, but it is a royal pain in the ass to get there.

Definitely a 8/10 on the complexity scale. And only recommended for the seasoned MOC builder.

One of the coolest looking sets in my collection though, and I do still recommend it no matter the challenges faced.

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PS4 Review – Call of Duty: Modern (why did they call it this) Warfare

PS4 Review – Call of Duty: Modern (why did they call it this) Warfare

So what can be said about the 16th game in an annual series that has not already been said 15 times before?

Honestly, not much.

What can be said is that Modern Warfare is #1, a really stupid way of naming a game, as they already had this exact title 10 years ago, so not really sure the mindset to calling it this, since it is not a remake, and it is not really a reboot, just another story in the Call of Duty universe with some characters we know and love.

#2 – This marks the triumphant return of a single player campaign.

Last year in 2018 we got Block Ops 4, the first Call of Duty to ever ditch the single player mode in lieu of a multiplayer only title. In a move I suspect Activision made so they could save money on development as they believed most folks in their eyes only play the online game.

This hurt them BAD. Sale of BO4 were about 50% of what they usually sell. Not shocking when you remove 50% of the game.

It was also the first Call of Duty game in 15 years I did not purchase. So withholding dollars actually did work in this case.

Modern Warfare is really typical Call of Duty fair, there is a big crisis, you need to take charge and stop a world threat no one knows about all while staying under the radar enough to not incite another world war. It is a tried and tested formula, and honestly, it works.

There is a reason they tend to sell 20 million copies a year, people like to play the hero. As do I.

Combat is very slick, over the last 15 games they have worked every kink and glitch out pretty much. It is fast paced, and never really feels unfair.

I play all of the Coll of Duty games on the hardest setting possible to milk the most out of the single player I can. I also like that actual feeling of war in a way. Where a single bullet will tend to do you in.

This one however felt a little light on difficulty on the hardest setting. Other than a few instances of getting overwhelmed by a group of enemies, I never really felt in imminent danger of dying if I pooped my head out of the gopher hole.

Visuals this time around were top notch as well. An obvious engine change has done wonders for the game. With expertly crafted HDR on a well tuned system made for ink black shadows and pure white flashlights. One of the better HDR presentation out there honestly.

Sound, while not in Atmos, worked very well with simulated Atmos. From helicopters overhead to siper fire whipping overhead, the sense of sound immersion was great.

All in al lthe single player campaign was pretty great for a franchise that is pretty much same old same old every year.

I can’t comment on the other half of the game though, the multiplayer. I did not even dip my toe in that pool. It has been about 5 years since I played any Call of Duty MultiPlayer online, and the community then was rife with cheaters and campers, so I can’t imagine it got any better in the last 5 versions.

If you are looking for a stellar war campaign in a time tested franchise, then I highly recommend you pick up Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2019, you will not be disappointed.

A solid 9/10 for single player mode, and a big ?/10 for the multiplayer.

Brick MOC – Carbon Freezing Chamber

My apologies folks for taking so long to get some of these reviews out. It has been a very long work filled year, and though I found the time to play games and build “Lego” I have had a hell of a spell of writes block, coupled with a real lack of motivation due to my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

But I am forcing myself to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard as it were, and punch out a few rapid fire reviews that have been pending for months now.

First up (but last completed) if the amazing Carbon Freezing Chamber by Onecase and purchased from a Chinese block-off site complete(ish)

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Unlike most knock-off sets, MOCs are always a little fickle. They rarely come with printed manuals, so firstly you need a tablet or laptop close by to complete the build.

Second, there is never any semblance of organization, as all the bricks are counted out by the seller, it is literally a mixed bag of what you are going to get.

I tend to keep things sorted as they come, so in this case, about 12 piles.

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Things went smoothly for the base build, it is well constructed and feels very sturdy, something that is not always the case in MOCs, but this one was well designed from the ground up. At least to start.

There was some differences in parts compared to what the manual said, like the tank toppers in the back, and the small tank in the front, but it is merely cosmetic and not a big deal.

The problems started though with the 10 part wall construction.

1st off, the instructions once complete are very vague. There is no clear picture of how to put it on the base, it was 100% guess work and trial and error.

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Second and more problematic, was the way the connection to the triangle tops are designed. there is zero consistency. the 3 sections in the front were perfect, smooth, giving good surface to connect to.

But as you moved farther around, it was a mish-mash of different styles. Some only connection to 3 “dots” and having zero interior support.

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Thankfully there was lots of leftover pieces to fill things in, but it all could have been avoided had Onecase done a better job with the instructions, as he must have run into the same issues, just never corrected them.

Now for the big issues.

First off, the triangle top pieces are terribly thought out. As you can see, this is how they say they should be assembled. They took forever due to their absolutely flimsy design.

Couple that with the fact I was missing about 50 important bricks. For some reason the clear 1×2 were severely under shipped, as well as the 2×2 clear circles.

There are needed so that the lights can shine through cleanly.

I ended up having to add in solid bricks just to complete the build.

The next big issue came when it was time to put them all in place. Due to the poor design, the fell apart when trying to affix them. So I had to go back to the beginning and remove many of the clean 1×2, and add in a solid foundation so they would hold, having even to resort to a bit of kragle to make them hold.

The back triangle was the worst and needed a ground up redesign as Onecase bad it just floating in place, not connected to anything at all.

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I was lucky in the fact that there was a pile of unused 1×2 angle pieces left. The centers all lined up uneven originally, nothing came together smooth. But I was able to create a circle in the center with these spare parts to pull it all in nice and smooth.

The place I purchased from included a set of lights I had no intention of using, but figured I had them, and they are not compatible with my Christmas Village lighting, so may as well install them too.

I was glad I did as they look pretty great when turned on.

Adding them in was easy, they are all self adhering and went in no problem.

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This set sadly did not include any mini-figs, so I will be picking some up from Ali soon to finish off the look.

All in all it was a fun build, and though there are typical MOC challenges, the finished product looks fantastic.

The fine details of all the hoses and pipes really make the set a show piece.

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An excellent build not for the faint of heart or skill. Definitely an advanced level build requiring some out of the box thinking and patience.

A solid 10/10 for end results, and a 7/10 for MOC frustration.

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PC Game Review – Final Fantasy 14: Shadowbringers

So after my long winding road of catch up, I have finally arrived at the culmination of 2 years worth of extra content.

Our poor Scions are all now trapped in slumber, the world of Eorzea is on the bring of a massive world war with the empire, and I am whisked away to some foreign land by a mysterious hooded figure.

The game opens in the new realm of the First. Bathed in a horrible unending daylight, a world that lost the battle between light and dark, when light won and destroyed everything in its wake. Wait what?!?! How can the light be bad? We are in fact the Warrior of Light, we fight for good, how could this be?

Well that brings us to the main hook of Shadowbringers, balance.

All this time we have been fighting to snuff out the darkness, all the while not realizing the world needs balance, for with the absence of darkness would mean another Calamity would overtake us, as the scale tipped too far in one direction.

That is pretty much the crux of the whole story in Shadowbringers, restoring balance to the world of the First, in hopes of staving off a full blown Calamity that would destroy both the First and Eorzea in one fell swoop.

What is sadly omitted here si the main struggle in Eorzea, what we have built up to over the last 2 years is the final showdown with the Empire, but due to our poorly timed abduction, things back home have to wait, and as time passes different in the First, us being gone for years is only a matter of days back home.

So it is a sneaky way for Square to not wrap things up back in the real world. This is both good and bad, on one hand, it allowed us to see a lot of places we otherwise could not have explained in Eorzea, on the other it seems like a bit of a cop out in story telling. Right when the central story was about to be finally resolved, poof you are taken to a place where time moves differently so it does not screw with the main plot.

But I digress.

The core of the game has seen a massive overhaul. From abilities changing, shared skills no longer being a part of the jobs, to the overall ease added to tanking (and from what I have read, Healing too)

What Shadowbringers has done is somewhat give us a FF14 casual edition.

Now on one hand, for someone returning to the game after 2 years, it is a welcome change. I was always scared to tank as I recall in v2.0 it was seriously hard to keep hate, you had lots to balance.

Now, you just pop a enemity stance and that is it, little to no effort to keep the hate.

Same goes for Bard now sadly. You used to have songs that buffed the party, you would want to pop them at the proper time. Now, your sweet music if for your ears only, nothing more than a button mashing dps, little to no skill needed.

What this did however was push me to seek out other jobs for a challenge.

I dove into my level 50 BLM and took her all the way to 80.

While that may sound like a daunting task, it really isn’t anymore. Exp is so plentiful in Shadowbringers, that just through the main story I was able to get 4 jobs (Brd, Blm, Rdm and Drg) to level 80 with just main story and side quest experience.

Everything over 70 sees massive exp in dungeons as well. So it is a pretty easy run from 70-80 now, which is also good and bad. Sure I can turbo through levels but it feels too casual friendly, like I have not earned it per se.

All in all though, Shadowbringers added some stellar story to the lore of FF14.

We finally understand Hydalean and Eorzea, from millennia of time, back to the very seeds of creation and how the worlds came to be, how the calamities happen, all of it.

This was hands down the biggest bump in lore of any FF14 expansion to date.

A lot of questions we have had for a decade got answered.

In addition to the new story, we also got 2 new jobs thrown into the mix. Gunbreaker and Dancer. A tank and a ranger dps job.

Gunbreaker is a bit of a mix of Pld and War with a side of Machinist thrown in for good measure. You have a gunblade like Squall from FF8. You build up a gauge for the ability to use magic bullets pretty much to deal massive damage.

In my opinion it feels a little too much like a DPS job and not enough support.

And that is a real downfall of FF14, there are no real support roles. I miss the days of FF11 where things like enfeebling were paramount in killing bosses.

Now it is just about timing and dps, the higher the dps, the better chance you have of winning.

The second job is a very convoluted dps job. To be fair I have not played it much outside of the initial unlocking story, but Dancer seems like ti has the potential for some real fun. Maybe I will take her for a spin in the next expansion.

All in all Shadowbringers adds a lot to the old world. I have put in about 300 hours into the expansion and it shows no sighs of slowing. With the new raid and the new alliance raid on the horizon, there is plenty of content to still master.

All in all well worth the price of admission.

A solid 9/10 and a must play for anyone interested in MMOs

PC Game Chat – Final Fantasy 14 – 4.2 to 4.5

How does one write about a game that has taken 3 months to finish, somewhere in the 400 hour range.

A game that spans continents and universes?

A game that is a continuation of almost 10 years of play?

To be honest, I am not even sure where to begin.

After a 2 year hiatus I stepped back into Eorzea with trepidation, not even remembering how to play the game, where I left off, what jobs I preferred. All of it lost to the passage of time.

My beloved game causing a bit of anxiety with the sheer overwhelming size and scope, all of this even before the expansion dropped as I had a month worth of grinding the back content to get caught up enough to even play the expansion.

I eased myself in, much like a child in a pool trying not to drown. Checking out Gold Saucer and the mini games that I had never even seen, I grabbed my level 50 DRG and ventured into dungeons telling people I was pretty much a noob here. A lie that was not so much a lie, as all of this felt fresh to me.

All coming to a culmination so I could play Shadowbringers in July.

The massive amount of content was staggering, having seen 4 full on stories unfold, new raids and dungeons, and old story treads come to a head, all leading to SB.

Once I finally found my feet I started to get braver, started to dive into some old raids, get caught up on Heavensward and Stormblood content I just never got around to finishing.

What these last 5 months have taught me is, there is never a shortage of content to be had in FF14. Not that I doubted it, but it seems even to this day that I am still finding new missions and quests I never knew existed on a weekly basis.

I have been going through the Achievement section finding things I have not finished, that lead me on a never ending wild goose chase to new stories.

I have finished the last 2 raids now, I have forged a top tier Anima weapon for my Bard, I have leveled not only my 2 mains (Redmage and Bard) to 80, but also decided to bring up 5 other jobs. (Drg, Blm, Pld, Gnb and War) as well as level up my Carpenter to 80 as well.

All the while unlocking new story content for those jobs as well.

So it is no small surprise since I allowed myself to indulge in Final Fantasy 14, that I have had a hard time moving on. As there really seems no end in sight to what it has to offer.

Even though I am playing other things at the moment, I still pop in for my daily deliveries and weekend Catpot tickets.

So that pretty much takes us up to date for Shadowbrings, stay tuned for impression coming soon.

Where oh where has CCG been?

So 2019 has been a bit of a strange year for both Lego and video games.

From Sony pulling out of E3, to Lepin being seized by the Chinese police, things have been weird all over the world.

With the lack of Sony and new games coming down the pipe, a lot of my year was spent diving into my 165 game backlog, but even that didn’t really get chipped down too much. Primarily due to this little thing called Final Fantasy 14.

For the first time in a bout 7 or 8 years, I allowed myself to just indulgently game. To play FF14 until I no longer felt like do it.

Well that still has not happened. I have been going strong now since May and for the first time since then, I am taking a small break to play through Call of Duty Modern Warfare, and also some Death Stranding (reviews coming soon)

But what this meant for The Compulsive Canadian Gamer is a lack of content, because really, I have not played anything I can review for you folks.

I will get something out for FF14 Shadowbringers shortly, but that is the only thing on the roster so far.

As for the Lepin / Lego side of things, the situation is similar.

When Lepin went under, there was a market lull for about 6 months, they are jsut making a comeback now, but it essentially killed the block-off business for 2019.

What did happen though is a influx of MOC sets, as small retailers tried to find a way to eek out a living still, and they looked to the MOC community to create some pretty great sets, just sadly, none that interest me that much.

I do have a couple things to put out, notably the Empire over Jedha and the Colonial Viper, as well as a replacement B-Wing for my legitimate Lego version.

I have decided I want to replace all my current on-brand Lego sets with block-offs, and put the originals aside for sale down the road. So I will have a few reviews there as well, but maybe not until the new year.

So please check back soon as I get caught up.

Thanks for reading!

Gear Review – AC Infinity Cloudline T6 and Aircom T8

Gear Review – AC Infinity Cloudline T6 and Aircom T8

So ever since I built my theater in 2014, I have struggled with one thing above all else.

Cooling.

I did a year worth of research into the theater build, itself prior to construction, the room is perfect sonically, with diffusers and bass traps and sound treatments on all my first reflection points.

But one thing no one ever spoke about on AVS Forum was the need for cooling in a AV room.

So it has been a constant battle over the last 5 years. Without any cooling at all, my Rotel amps would hit over 100 degrees and shut off channels to preserve themselves.

I tried an in room air conditioner that was both loud and added about 50 a month to my electric bill.

I tried a bathroom exhaust fan and tried piping the fan into the house cold air return, with the mindset of using the HRV to suck all the warm air out of the house, only to result in all the cold air return vents pumping out hot air.

So it was not til January of this year that I come across the slim AC Infinity Aircom T8’s that are meant to sit on top of your gear and suck air from under them, and vent it out the back. They also make an iteration that will vent out the front if you prefer.

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The devices run about $110 on amazon.ca and they, in conjunction with a AC Infinity Cloudline T6 they have changed my room temp by close to 20 degrees cooler.

I have installed one on each of my 3 amplifiers, as well as my receiver.

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They have all sorts of bells and whistles for automated cooling.

The way I have mine set is they come on via power regulated outlet, that when the amps power up, they all switch on as well, so they are not sucking up power for no reason.

But they have the ability to do temperature monitoring to switch on automatically if your gear gets too hot. They have a built in alarm that you can set via a high temp mark.

They also have 6 fan speeds, which you can either set manually, or allow the device to regulate on its own via the temp sensor. I personally avoid this one and opted to have them run at about 80% speed all the time, this lets my gear stay between the 80-85 degree mark almost constantly.

They also have a fault alarm in the event that they malfunction, which is great if you are like me and have a closed room where your AV equipment resides.

Lastly they can be linked together with up to 6 other devices and controlled with one master interface. Personally I didn’t see the point, I really want them to all function independently.

To top it all off, once the heat is blow from the components out the back of the rack, that is where the AC Infinity Cloudline comes into play. It is at head level and sucks like a vacuum on steroids, yet does so near silently.

It snags all the heat coming out and blows it out of the AV room through an exhaust port I cut in for the air conditioning unit I used years ago.

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This unit I leave on 24/7 as the room still holds a lot of other equipment, from the home automation, to my media server and home theater PC, all of which never turn off. So it still gets steamy if the door is closed and it is not vented.

This unit has a temp probe of its own, and a head unit that can control 2 Cloudline devices at one time if needed.

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This one I do leave on smart monitoring though, as it can judge bu room temp how fast to run the fan if needed.

Prior to installing these devices I had to keep my cabinet full of PC fans and have the door open 100% for it to remain in the low 90s temp wise.

Now with the compliment of AC devices, the room remains closed and is about 80 on most days now.

A pure win in my books.

All told it was a $600 endeavor to come up with this solution, but well worth the cash in my opinion.

It is worth mentioning there is also a dumb variety of the AC Infinity series as well for a lot less money, these devices work exactly the same, but have no programming like temp gauges and such, they are straight on and off devices. So if you are strapped for cash and have a heat issue, there is an alternative as well.