Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition (PS4)

I anxiously picked up Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition for the PS4 yesterday on its release. Now, it’s true that I have the game, Diablo 3, on my Mac and have completed it through the first 3 difficulties. But that was before they brought out the expansion, updated the game in some major new ways and brought out even more new ways to play. And more new levels of difficulty, might I add! So, how does the console version of a major Blizzard (yeah, yeah, technically Activision-Blizzard) game play? Well …

If there is one thing you can count on from Blizzard Entertainment, it’s quality. D3:UEE is no exception here. The game graphics have been zoomed in for the television, as opposed to the smaller graphics on my little 13″ Macbook. They look pretty darn good, very clean and colorful in the dark and gloomy setting of the world. Characters move smoothly and the voice overs are pulled straight from the original game. Lighting details, sound effects, music … it’s Diablo 3, folks. There’s nothing new in this department, just fine-tuned for 1080p television love.

shoppingUsing a controller on a PC/Mac game has never felt more comfortable. Especially when your main interface with the computer is clicking the crap out of a mouse button and occasionally fingering a number key between 1 and 4. Diablo 3’s controls come through nicely on the DualShock 4 controller and I have absolutely nothing to complain about. Each control and their action is clearly labeled on the lower left of the screen as you play through the campaign. I almost prefer the controller to mouse/keyboard for Diablo 3 now, having played it this way.

Content-wise, you not only get Diablo 3, but you also get the expansion, Reaper of Souls and all the goodies that come with that chapter. That means a new playable character class, a whole new Act and new gameplay options. Blizzard has also said that they see no reason not to push patches from the PC/Mac version through to the next generation console versions as well. This means that if the PC Diablo 3 gets a major change via content patch, console users should expect to see the same sooner or later.

If I have to pick one major issue with the game, it’s damage. When encountering large groups of mobs, damage doesn’t seem to distribute evenly. With that, I mean that shooting blindly into a mob that’s surrounding you might see three mobs go down in 2 shots while the third one takes 10 more hits to cut down. The auto tracking of enemies is also a good and bad thing. It’s good because it’ll automatically lock onto an enemy as you approach it. When encountering a large mob, however, it can harm you more than help because it might lock on to an enemy in the very rear of the mob, meaning everything else around you might as well not be there. This is where the ability to sort of direct an attack comes in handy, sort of. Targeting is the second issue the game has, for the very reasons I’ve just been discussing.

And did I mention MULTI-PLAYER?! That’s right, just like its Daddy, Diablo 3 for the console allows you and up to 3 other online friends to rumble it out in the dungeon crawler. If that isn’t enough, you can also do local multi-player with another party member. I have yet to try either of those options, so I can’t really give you the nitty gritty, but will update this blog post in the near future.

The Quick & Dirty Lowdown:

Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition is a great console adaption of an already fantastic game from Blizzard Entertainment (Activision-Blizzard). If you’ve played the PC/Mac version then you’ve played this, but if you just want a great button-masher for your console then it delivers. Beware tricky targeting and uneven dispersal of damage between large mob groups. Includes Reaper of Souls expansion and potential for future updates from Blizz. Also, link your Battle.net account and receive a free in-game gift! As an added bonus, if you’re playing on a Sony Playstation, you’ll also have exclusive content to look forward to, such as custom Rifts and armor sets.

My Health In Review for the Week of August 17, 2014

Welcome to the weekly blog post where I regale you with tales – good and bad – of my adventures in dieting and weight loss. Last week I promised transparency for the purpose of this blog and future video blogs. Weight stats, victories, defeats and setbacks are incoming.

Previously …

This passed week went extremely well. I stuck to my diet, I kept my calories in control. Meals were prepared in advance and even a few vegetables were consumed. Exercise was still a little lacking since we just can’t seem to get a schedule going here at home. Hectic school days, my wife working from home and my trying to do weekly chores and cook my meals for both lunch at home and my meal break at work that night was just more than I’m use to handling at one time. Not to mention The Wife and I are both lacking a lot of sleep. A lot. But I’m wandering …

Wednesday’s fasting went so much better than I thought it would. I did eat a small lunch, but my calorie intake stayed below 800 calories, which is not too shabby. If I’d went the entire day without eating anything on my first attempt, I’m afraid it would have been another failure to chalk up as I might have caved in.

Going into the weekend, I reached Friday night at work and didn’t have a meal prepared because we’d had a big lunch at home and I’d consumed the majority of my calories then. I planned on gliding through the night on those remaining calories, and would have succeeded. However, my weakness is boredom, and boredom was in full swing Friday night. We’ve been extremely slow at work, so after about 10 minutes sitting in my car listening to podcasts, I found myself on the road to Sonic. Sure enough, a burger and tots did me in and sent my caloric intake skyrocketing. A fail – a major fail.

Saturday wasn’t as bad, but also not in the most healthy range. While I went the entire day without really eating anything because I was catching up on sleep, I still snacked on a bowl of cereal (bad considering my attempts at limiting grains and dairy foods), and there might have been a Little Debbie Fudge Round thrown in there. Saturday night, after The Wife got home and sat around for awhile, she wanted to go to a little Italian restaurant in Murfreesboro. I didn’t go overboard there, but it was enough to put me just over my calories for the day. Nothing tragic, aside from the grains and dairy intake.

Today was a good win to start the week out on. Family came in to visit and we took them to Longhorn Steakhouse, where I was able to maintain control and had a nice healthy meal. I was proud of myself, but still felt miserable because after my previous week long success, I was suddenly filled to bursting from the cereal and sweets I ate Saturday. It seriously weighed me down after eating healthy for nearly an entire week and that one day of on and off snacking really packed a gut punch.

This week …

I plan on continuing preparing my meals in advance, eating healthier and carrying on my combination intermittent fasting/Paleo mix of dieting. Drinking the heck out of water, staying away from the sodas hasn’t been nearly as troublesome as I expected and I’ll continue with that. And, of course, I hope to once again try and wrangle a schedule out of the chaos we’re fighting. I’ve already got the idea in my head that I’ll stay over at work each night after clocking out and walk at least a mile before coming home. Not exactly what I’d like to do, but I’ll take what I can get at this moment in time. My ultimate goal is to get back to the park in the mornings and get back to my 1-2 mile walks.

Quick n’ Dirty Stats:

Last  Sunday’s Weigh-in: 347.5 lbs.

This Sunday’s Weigh-in: 344.2 lbs.

Difference: -3.3 lbs.

Thoughts: Considering I had gotten down to 330 lbs a month and a half ago before getting sick, this is a major, MAJOR disappointment and setback. When I first started, though, I was at a hefty 352, and I’m almost back to that point again. I’m basically a yo-yo dieter from the results I’ve gotten over the past few weeks and I’ve packed on a ridiculous amount of weight in such a short amount of time. Lapses in judgement, inability to control my boredom and emotional eating are still problems that need to be dealt with more firmly. All of that said, I’ll take a 3 pound loss any day over another 3 pound gain.

In closing, I thank you for the continued support, appreciate the messages I’ve received and the few comments given. Stay tuned for next week when the ultimate question will be answered: “Will he be able to lose any more weight? Or will he Shamu out and start making whale sounds :)

Have a good rest of the week, friends. I’ll see you on the other side!

 

 

 

Five Minutes #1 – Accountability

Welcome to Five Minutes! Here I will break your computer monitor by broadcasting my ugly mug across the internet and into your private abode. This particular episode was recorded a few weeks ago when I was under the weather with a sinus infection and bronchitis. Excuse the few little coughs sprinkled in there, but I haven’t bothered to edit it. 

As for the video, let me take a moment to address a few issues that may pop into your head:

1) The lighting is a bit off, the sound may fluctuate a bit and I may cough in your earhole a time or two. This is because as I start out, my editing skills and time involved will be a bit short. I’m not going for an Oscar for best cinematography or anything, this is just a fun little thing I thought I’d like to try out. If it continues, then I’ll start editing them a bit more and paying closer attention to details such as how pale I may look in a particular setting :)

2) Yes, I realize I’m looking at the computer screen. This is because I WAS reading from something I’d written to guide me along so I wouldn’t “Ummm and Ahhh” the entire video. Please excuse that unprofessional behavior. I’ll work on that as well and go for more off the cuff commentary.

3) I apologize if the issues above keep you from coming back to watch any others, or if something about me personally makes you ill at the thought of watching another minute. I’m just here to try something new, have fun and do something I like.

Hope to see you again next Friday! :)

Robin Williams (1951-2014)

As a few days have been put behind us, I read over news articles, blog posts, Facebook status updates, Twitter tweets … and all I can see through all the sadness, drama and occasional negativity is that the world lost a great man. A man who was giving, who loved to make people laugh, who make mistakes and owned up to them. A loving and admired father, husband (to several wives, yes, but still,) and friend. Robin Williams was an original one of a kind, and he will be missed as we move on and the world takes us toward another day.

My first experience with Robin Williams was Mork & Mindy. I absolutely loved that show and watched it religiously. Of course, I caught the reruns, being just a wee lad when they originally aired. It was, come to think of it, probably my first exposure to the sci-fi genre of movies and television. That is pretty impressionable, considering how big of a sci-fi nerd I became over the years. But of course, discovering Robin Williams on television as the lovable Mork didn’t prepare me for the true comedy stylings of Mr. Williams. That came later on in my life, and while I’ve never been a huge fan of vulgarity in comedy, I admit to Mr. Williams having a way with his antics. 

His movies, from Popeye to Old Dogs, back to his return to television with The Crazy Ones, I always made sure to check in on Robin Williams and see what crazy hijinks he was up to. He was a master at improvisation, and someone at work made the comment about the questionable scripts on some of his later movies. I pointed out that with a man like Robin, you can’t write a script and make him read it. His talent came from improvisation. You give him a scene and let the man work, let him own it and play off the talent around him. He could only be as good as those surrounding him, and would always potentially overshadow them when he got into his groove.

I will miss Robin Williams as much as the next fan. I respect him for the battle he fought with his depression and I can say I do understand some of what he possibly went through. It’s a dark and lonely place to venture to, and often against your will. And while we manage our own emotions at losing such a passionate human being, we should also realize that our grief is nothing compared to what his family must be dealing with. His children have released statements of their own, each touching and emotional. The one that put a lump in my throat, and at the same time brought a smile to my face, was given by his daughter, Zelda. 

She wrote:

“My family has always been private about our time spent together. It was our way of keeping one thing that was ours, with a man we shared with an entire world. But now that’s gone, and I feel stripped bare. My last day with him was his birthday, and I will be forever grateful that my brothers and I got to spend that time alone with him, sharing gifts and laughter. He was always warm, even in his darkest moments. While I’ll never, ever understand how he could be loved so deeply and not find it in his heart to stay, there’s minor comfort in knowing our grief and loss, in some small way, is shared with millions. It doesn’t help the pain, but at least it’s a burden countless others now know we carry, and so many have offered to help lighten the load. Thank you for that.

“To those he touched who are sending kind words, know that one of his favorite things in the world was to make you all laugh. As for those who are sending negativity, know that some small, giggling part of him is sending a flock of pigeons to your house to poop on your car. Right after you’ve had it washed. After all, he loved to laugh too… Dad was, is and always will be one of the kindest, most generous, gentlest souls I’ve ever known, and while there are few things I know for certain right now, one of them is that not just my world, but the entire world is forever a little darker, less colorful and less full of laughter in his absence. We’ll just have to work twice as hard to fill it back up again.”

There are never appropriate words for when a loved one pass. Someone that has been in our lives for as long as we can remember. But when the same can be said of someone we know through television such as Robin Williams, that’s a statement to the kind of man he was. Never mind the demons he fought with in his younger days or the darkness that hung over him that only he could see, Robin Williams will forever be an icon to many of us, a man loved for the joy he brought to so many millions of people all over the world. 

And finally, in closing, a few words from my old friend, Mork from Ork. I think he puts it nicely …

Guardians of the Galaxy (PG-13)

** Spoilers ahead! This is not a professional review. This is simply my rambling opinion of a movie I recently watched. Just a chat between friends. There may be spoilers, there may be long blocks of text completely unrelated to what this blog post is about. Take that with a grain of salt and continue on, if you are okay with that. **

GuardiansoftheGalaxy

I don’t think anyone knew what to expect going into Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, but judging from the reviews they were certainly surprised! Guardians of the Galaxy is the beginning of Marvel’s Phase Two for their movie universe. This is the spring board for the new line of movies to come, such as films based on Ant Man, Dr. Strange and so on. It’s also set to serve as one of our lead ins to the next Avenger’s movie, possibly another Iron Man and maybe even Hulk or Captain America sequel.

Guardians of the Galaxy offers up humor, drama, a great story, lots of action, classic music and … an epic dance off to save the universe as we know it. That’s right, you heard me, don’t be giving me any eye rolls, I’m not the one that wrote the film. The theater was laughing through out the movie and everyone cheered at the end, a sign of any great blockbuster. Rocket and Groot were the scene stealers, but the human cast held their own, especially Dave Bautista as Drax. I thought Drax was probably the character with the second saddest history, aside from Rocket, of course and his moments through out the movie.

Even the supporting cast is fantastic in their performances. Outstanding jobs by all involved. And while movie-goers may have been thrown off by all the aliens, space pew-pew and characters that they probably didn’t know one from the other, box office numbers don’t lie. The movie is raking in the cash, the cast is receiving praise, and they deserve every bit of it. Guardians of the Galaxy is every bit as good as everyone has said it is and maybe just a little bit better. If this is the direction the second round of Marvel movies is going, I can’t freaking wait!

Darker, more epic in scale and a complete change of pace from the armored do-gooders of The Avenger’s lot. The cast comes together and seems to mesh fairly well. And the already infamous scene after the credits … who knows, that may just be one of the mystery movies we’re destined to see in the next couple of years.

If you haven’t been to see Guardians of the Galaxy, then you must see it on the big screen. It’s rated PG-13, but even still, I found some of the language a bit unnecessary and out of place. Overall it was a great experience with my wife, the kids and her parents all along for the ride and everyone enjoying the film in all the right places.  And when the film proclaims that, “Guardians of the Galaxy will be back!” at the end as sure as we expected, you can’t help but let out a little cheer deep down inside, and then look around quickly to make sure no one else heard it.

Oh, and for you Dr. Who fans, it took me ’til nearly the end of the film before I realized, “Oh my, that’s Amy “Man Hands” Pond!!!” That’s right, and to make matters worse, she looked pretty hot as a blue bald chick. I’m just disappointed that I didn’t realize it was Karen Gillan sooner. For that matter, Benicio Del Toro doesn’t look like himself – or at least, not as I’m use to seeing him in movies.

Guardians of the Galaxy – go for the new chapter, stay for the cute ending just as the credits start to roll.