A Bunch Of Random Stuff
Updated: Feb 19, 2019
So...what's been going on this past week? A lot of things! In fact too many time this week I have lost track of time being so busy with work, family, collecting, and gaming that it seems I barely have a moment to think about posting updates to this blog. However, I will strive to maintain some sort of regular schedule to provide you something to actually anticipate and look forward to. Sound good?
Recently I have taken a great liking to the new Netflix superhero drama "Umbrella Academy", based loosely on Gerard Way's short series of comics published by Dark Horse. The series follows the exploits of the members of the titular Umbrella Academy, a facility built by the late eccentric billionaire Reginald Hargreeves to foster and train a group of six gifted children he "adopted" to thwart a vague apocalyptic threat to humanity. Hargreeves' strained relationship with his "children" as well as their personal dysfunctions due to his seemingly callous tutelage sets the tone for the show.
Many other comic book inspired dramas have tried to impose a dark realism to their storytelling; The Defenders, The Arrow, and Gotham being prime examples. These shows have typically suffered from poor writing that renders their characters unrelatable, or worse unlikable. A lack of a good supporting cast has also hampered efforts in crafting a more approachable comic book drama, but I'm surprised to say that Umbrella Academy manages to avoid the majority of these pitfalls. The writing and presentation is a even mix of gritty realism and cartoonish action. The special effects are not top tier but they are leaps and bounds beyond the likes of most network shows. Lastly the cast is a great mix of talented performers ranging from more well-known performers such as Ellen Page and Mary J. Blige to recent rising stars including Tom Hopper, Robert Sheehan, and David Castaneda.
All of this combined with Jeremy Slater's shockingly effective creative direction (screenplay writer for the both the fantastically awful Fox Studios Fantastic Four movie as well as the mediocre Netflix live action movie adaptation of the Death Note anime series) and you're left with a superhero drama that sinks its teeth into you and doesn't let go. This middling episodes are slower in pacing and lacking in major character development (aside from one member of the Academy) but it ultimately leads to a satisfying conclusion that in many ways improves upon Mr. Way's original story.
If you haven't checked it out already I highly suggest you give Umbrella Academy a watch!
Apex Legends Impressions
I've been playing a good bit of Apex Legends, the new Free-To-Play online battle royale shooter by Respawn Entertainment and published by EA on their Origin client. I'll start by saying that I'm not a big fan of battle royale games. I have never played Fortnite or PUBG, and at this point refuse to do so out of some strange adherence to personal principle.
Why then would I give Apex Legends a try? Well, for starters it's set in the Titanfall universe of games. Because of this the characters have some small amount of backstory and personality compared to the likes of randomly generated Douche-nozzle #17 in Fortnite or PUBG. The squad based combat is a much needed formula shift that when combined with the surprisingly polished tactical, survivalist gameplay makes you itching to get back into the action even after a particularly embarrassing performance. You will slowly get better, learning a little bit with each match. It's a thrilling experience. Just be sure you have at least two friends to bring along into the action. Playing with complete randos leaves much to be desired. You'll be lucky to survive past the first minutes without some level of squad coordination and communication.
For being a completely free game, Apex Legends shows a astonishing level of polish. There are some big performance hiccups, and the Origin client remains as irritatingly intrusive as ever, but with a promised stream of content updates and patches Apex Legends may prove to be the new king of battle royales.
New Computer Build
I am currently in the midst of almost a complete overhaul of my desktop. Recently I came to the conclusion that my current set up was not going to cut it if I was going to go whole hog on this streaming thing. My Elgato HD60s was doing a decent job for console capture and streaming though it capped my console capture resolution at infuriating 1080p on the PS4 Pro, and my current rig was handling the stress but a couple of components were hilariously outdated. My poor i5 4500k and old Asus TUF Gaming Pro motherboard had done their duty admirably, but the time was fast approaching for a replacement; components that I could safely continue using for several years to come.
So I'm upgrading to a 9th gen Intel i7 9700k Coffe Lake 8-core CPU with the intention of overclocking that sucker up to 4.6-4.8 GHz. I'll be swapping out that old TUF mobo for a Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Ultra and the DDR3 1600 Mhz RAM for DDR4 3000 MHz, though I'll be dropping from 32 GB to 16 GB. Other than the SATA drives I'll only be salvaging the GTX 1070 OC edition GPU and the 850 watt Corsair PSU. The case and most of its innards will be completely new. Oh and I'm also throwing in a Elgato 4k60 Pro capture card and ROG Strix Ultra Wide 2K monitor. I already have the last one in use and it is AMAZING. Not only does it make streaming much more manageable but it also gives me the workspace I so desperately needed for the video production I do as part of my job. I won't have everything in place until Tuesday next week so be sure to check back for updates. I'll also have a new stream theme set up by then so check on www.twitch.tv/cartridgecrazy for new streams with the new setup!
Until next time, gamerguys and gals!