Having purchased Skyrim Legedary Edition (part of the Elder Scrolls Anthology box set), I received the Special Edition automagically in my Steam account on Thursday night. Herewith some quick impressions of the graphic improvements accompanied by comparison images. These were taken on a comparatively old system (Core 2 Quad Q6600 CPU @ 2.4GHz, 4GB DDR2 RAM, Radeon R7 250 w/1GB GDDR5 RAM). SE cuts my frame rate in half from standard Skyrim, but the graphic improvements may be worth it. I especially like the more saturated palette and the water effects.
Standard Skyrim (no mods) is the top image, and Special Edition is the bottom image in each pair. You can click any of the below image pairs for a full-size version. Note the full-size versions are 1440x1800 in PNG format and average a little over 4MB in size each.
Helgen keep, first room if accompanying Hadvar. You can see the darker, richer palette at work here as well as more texture in the moss and rocks. Special Edition has a wider range of lighting as well, contributing to a more realistic look in every area.
Here's how the NFL schedule works. There are eight divisions (NFC North, East, West, South, and AFC North, East, West, South). Each division has four teams, each of which plays 16 games. The opponents for those games are determined like so:
- 2 games against each of the other 3 teams in the same division (6 games)
- 1 game against each of the 4 teams in another division in the same Conference (4 games)
- 1 game against each of the 4 teams in another division in the other Conference (4 games)
- 2 games against the same place finishers in the 2 divisions in the same Conference they are not already playing (2 games)
For example, Jacksonville is in the AFC South and finished in 3rd place in their division. This year, the AFC South plays the NFC North and the AFC West. So 14 of Jacksonville's games are: Indianapolis (2x), Houston (2x), Tennessee (2x), Green Bay, Minnesota, Chicago, Detroit (NFC North teams), Denver, San Diego, Oakland, and Kansas City (AFC West teams). Their final 2 games are determined by their 3rd place finish. They will play the 3rd place AFC North team (Baltimore) and the 3rd place AFC East team (Buffalo).
Every time some NFL "expert" starts jabbering about this or that team's "1st place schedule" or "last place schedule," metaphorically knock some sense into them. A team's placement in their division from the previous year has very little effect on their schedule in the current year.
In honor of Quicksilver, this review will be in the form of quick hits (mild spoilers, nothing you wouldn’t figure out from the trailers, but still)…
- Quicksilver is the best thing about this movie. At this point, I could watch 90 minutes of QS sequences and feel happy for the money spent. Make this happen, Fox.
- Best Jean Grey and Scott Summers ever portrayed on screen. (Sorry Famke Janssen. Not sorry James Marsden.)
- Best Nightcrawler ever portrayed on screen. (Sorry Alan Cumming.)
- Psylocke and Angel might as well have not shown up.
- Jubilee too.
- Hey, 20th Century Fox, more Quicksilver, please.
- Apocalypse wasn’t remotely frightening.
- But Magneto sure was.
- I have absolutely no interest in the Assassin’s Creed movie, but might watch it anyway just because Michael Fassbender.
- I am not happy that Mystique is a good hero. Mystique is a super villain.
- Based strictly on her performances in the 3 X-Men films, it’s hard to understand how Jennifer Lawrence gets any accolades.
- And “Apocalypse” was, by far, her worst turn as Mystique.
- I like Hugh Jackman, he’s even made me a fan of Wolverine, though I never liked Wolvy in the comics. But, c’mon, that whole Weapon X sequence was irrelevant and boring.
- Not the cleanup after-credits scene, though. That was amusing.
- I hope DC is taking notes for how to handle Flash in their movies.
- And, I sure wish Marvel hadn’t killed off Quicksilver in the MCU.
- Movie could have been shortened by 30 minutes with less talking. These characters natter on WAY too much.
- Nice little origin story for Storm, but her overall arc was far too rushed.
- Mind blown during final fight. I wasn’t expecting THAT.
- Jean Grey. Yikes.
- We really, really, really need more Quicksilver scenes.
- Worth a matinee ticket.
The following discussion contains massive spoilers for Fallout 4 and the Far Harbor expansion. You have been warned. The spoiler-free conclusion is: I’m not particularly fond of Far Harbor. Now, on to the spoilers… (after the screencaps)
I’m a completionist; especially in games I like. And I LOVE Fallout 4. But…
There are two trophies* that are incredibly difficult to get. Not difficult in terms of game play (like beating the game in Survival mode, which, thankfully, is not a trophy), but difficult in terms of meeting really weird requirements that can’t be met without special planning or a guide to the underlying algorithms. Trophies like these are a real fun-killer.
Of course, I earned them anyway.
Benevolent Leader (Main game)
I tried, and tried, and tried to earn this one. It’s ridiculously hard until someone broke down the algorithms and then it’s just grinding. Start with the “Large Settlement” requirement. That’s not “large” as in size, but “large” as in number of objects built. Eventually, using the method linked above, I got my trophy using one settler working a restaurant at the Red Rocket garage with about 100 wooden crates sitting around to make the settlement “large.” And that was only after two (real) hours of sleeping (in game) + waiting (not game “waiting,” actual sitting there watching the game run without doing anything).
Docile (Wasteland Workshop expansion)
It’s not that you need five tamed creatures who are normally hostile—i.e. cats and dogs don’t count—or even that you can’t mix-and-match creatures since they will continue to be hostile to each other—I just caught five mutant hounds and that was it. It’s the ridiculous requirements necessary to build a beta wave emitter that tames the creatures. You need at least one rank each in the Animal Friend and Wasteland Whisperer perks. Now, “wasting” 2 perk points on perks I wouldn’t otherwise use is not that bad, but…
Wasteland Whisperer requires a Charisma of NINE. I was fortunate that I had one high-Charisma character I could fall back on to get this perk, but that was unusual. I normally don’t spend that much on Charisma, as the higher-level perks are not that useful. But, even though I had the character, it was a high-level character that had finished the game and I had a lot of slogging about to rise up two levels so I could purchase the two perks. "Grinding" does not begin to describe it.
* On Playstation 4. Achievements for those playing on Xbox One or PC.
“I can do this all day.”
What has become an iconic line for Captain America was not first uttered by the Captain. The first time we hear those words, they are spoken by a scrawny Steve Rogers. Long before the Super Soldier serum coursed through his veins, Rogers was a hero.
DC Comics appears to be pushing Zack Snyder aside in an effort to elevate its Cinematic Universe. While such a move is an important first step, it will do little good unless DC understands why Snyder's movies are provoking great criticism. Snyder makes movies about super-powered people.
But they’re not heroes.
It's fine for our heroes to have flaws, but each franchise needs one linchpin that truly exemplifies the ideal. For Marvel, that is Captain America. For DC it should be Superman, but Snyder has badly mishandled their greatest hero. To bring the DCCU to the level of the MCU, Superman must be remade. It can be done, and in a way that is emotionally and intellectually stimulating. Just watch all three Captain movies.
This is not about DC beating Marvel, or vice versa. There's room at the cinema for two great superhero franchises. I want DC to succeed because I love some of their characters as much as I love some of the Marvel characters.
But until the DC supers also become true heroes, I just can’t watch.
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