It was Anthem Demo weekend (1-3 February). I wasn’t notified until the 3rd by EA, when I recieved an email about it, so I got in late. It took me much longer than expected to download, and even bothered to make room in my gaming drive for the hefty 40GB of space it required.
Eventually… It was time to try out the new excuse for a game that BioWare thought to replace our beloved Mass Effect with.
In a nutshell… Oh. Dear.
Definitely not enamoured with the game. Constant online presence required, it’s server-based — and based on servers that don’t work, and it takes ages to get in — if at all. Ever.
It didn’t help it took the better part of an afternoon and evening to download it. Origins seemed to think 3.75mb/sec was an acceptable speed to download over 40GB worth of game. I can reliably tell you that it is not.
(In the interest of fairness, I must also point out that Elder Scrolls Online managed a reasonable 35.75mb/sec a little later to download some extra updates before playing it… It’s not like, as a gamer, I have a slow bandwidth contract… So, I just can’t imagine how there was such a difference!😠).
And to add insult to injury… It’s First Person. It’s boring. And it’s not Mass Effect. Which really doesn’t help.
I spent forever trying to get into it (as in, not even past the Enter bit, into the beginning of it) in the first place. Then when I did get to start it, it kicked me out twice, saying it couldn’t reach the server, or there was some error or problem.
Between being kicked out, I managed to play a little of the game. What little it would allow me to play. I couldn’t speak to people, despite them having “[F]” hovering over them — each one coming with a message that they were unavailable during the demo when the key was pressed.
Finally, I managed to just about get to putting on my suit for the first mission… Before it died. Again. Well, to be perfectly precise, it showed me a loading screen for about 15 minutes, where the bar never moved. I ended up getting into the Task Manager and End Tasking its backside, after losing patience with it.
On the surface, Anthem really does look like a Destiny family-member (…or clone). Gone wrong. But at least I did get to play Destiny… 🤔🤨😒 In reality — at least going by this experience — it’s a weak and badly managed, and the demo was a bad one indeed. I spoke to one person, learned nothing, found no reason to keep playing, and very quickly lost interest in attempting to fight with its sorry arse.
Laughingly, after spending so long to see what this was like, and what it was about, I still don’t know what it’s like. And that’s certainly not for any want of trying.
It so very wasn’t worth waiting for the download and ditching a couple of games from my drive!
I have played 157 hours (over 3 characters) in Mass Effect: Andromeda now – and after all that time and 2 major patch fixes (this is v 1.06), this game is still… weird. For instance – expressive slowdown whilst on the main ship, The Tempest. Everything on there slows down – whether or not it’s on high or low specs. I’ve had it racked it right up to High/Ultra to Med/High/Uta, to Med/High … and whilst it changes almost everything else, it will not change that.
Another issue isn’t just the graphics – the audio goes into stuttering slowdown along with it more often than not, which is, frankly, even more annoying. It also makes this awful crackling sond that gives me a headache. Given I’ve paid a rediculous amount for this rig and this game – not to mention the amount of hours I’ve invested in this game alone – it seems like I should be allowed to expect that this wouldn’t happen. But it does, and the annoying thing is I don’t know why it does it.
It’s actually quite strange..
Another thing is that is takes quite a long time to launch – but when you do get in, the loading screens are fairly quick (Skyrim on the Xbox 360 comes to mind there… they felt like each took a week!)
Every time this happens – as with Dragon Age: Inquisition – is some kind of memory cache or similar that has become problematic. Whenever I go to restart the machine after strange things like frame rate drops happen, there’s a ping during shutdown and a window appears for a second or two that includes a specific sting of numbers and saying there’s a problem. It’s been constant since an upgrade of Origins some time ago and the damn thing hasn’t stopped since.
This is the first Bioware game I’ve played at launch on just PC – the others have all been on console when they first came out. But even so, this one seems less… finished. Not effectively optimised – or it’s just so big and complicated, some things can’t be found to be fixed before tens or hundreds of thousands of people play it on different machines with a kelidoscope of v– hardware specs. The Witcher 3 suffered it. MMOs always suffer it. CoD and Battlefield have suffered it. With such differences in hardware these days, its impossible to replicate them all before release, so all you can do it do your best and see what comes up… and I don’t blame them for that. However, I do wish I could work out how to make this… stuttering… a little better on my ship. Oh, and it’s universal across all characters too, so it’s not unique to a saved place, file location, or where I am in the game.
So very odd… But personally, I’m blaming the weird cache glitch thing that keeps happening behind the scenes.
Other than all that, I’m quite enjoying the game. Despite what others have been saying, I love the little personal things with the characters, their personalities, the fact Liam is such a nice guy (almost to Kaiden’s bland standards… bless him!) that he wants to cheer everyone up with Movie Night – but as it goes with a diverse group of people, everyone has different ideas of what that means to them and how they want it to go (reminding me of an episode of Friends – The One with the Thanksgiving Dinner, where they all want different things and celebrate it in different ways, driving Monica to distraction and ultimately disaster).
It’s [original] Mass Effect via Dragon Age: Inquisition – and it both works and it doesn’t. I feel there should have been more pressure on the Pathfinder to get the Andromeda more and more ready for settling, like having something akin to the Galactic Readiness of Mass Effect 3. That it needed to be ready for all the people left in Cryo, because the pods would only last so long, or something like that. It feels too much like Elder Scrolls, where you are left to just wander about at your own pace, and if and when you complete the main mission, that’s great. But there’s nothing pushing you towards settling Andromeda or defeating the Archon. In a fairness, that’s also something I could throw out about Dragon Age: Inquisition, too,
I like the dynamic with the others, again very similar to Inquisition. You get to know them better, become real friends and get to know them as people, like in Mass Effect 2 but better (in my own opinion). I do miss the Paragon/Renegade function – it made life more fun to push towards Angel or Devil with what you did and how you did it. I also miss the other Milky Way species: Quarians, Drell, Elcor, Volus Hanar… but perhaps they’re arrrival is a good excuse to make Andromeda 2…?
New graphics card. New Game. New Challenge:
To get Mass Effect: Andromeda to run at 4K on reasonable graphics specs with just one little GTX 1060 6GB graphics card by NVIDIA, built and overclocked by ASUS:
~ PC ~ i7-4790K ~ 16GB RAM ~ GTX 1060 6GB OC ~ High/Ultra Specs ~ 4K graphics resolution~ Recorded at 3840 x 2160 ~ 4K Playback ~
You know what? It kinda does. I’ve pushed the card to crying point, but it kind of works, on High-Ultra settings.
It turns out the worst culprits are lighting and shadows – they’re the settings that slow it down. Otherwise the things to watch out for are the HBAO and AA sets – they can get heavy for systems too. 6GB of VRAM gives you a lot of power, though, and the GTX 1060 quite the little workhorse – kicking out way more and far above its weight than I expected it to.
I must admit it was running much better until NVIDIA updated their GeForce drivers [to v. 381.39] – now ME:A doesn’t appear on my GeForce dashboard along with the others, and it doesn’t work quite as well – there’s a lot more slowdown now on the same specs, which wasn’t there before.
The above video runs on the original driver, updated and optimized for it just before the game was released. It looks good and runs well decent specs.
Here is the very first time I turned it on – proving it was on the GeForce dashboard and what it was originally running on, and how character creation used to be – they tweaked it later on:
Then also how it looked like when it was first up and running – I started it down on Medium, so I knew it wouldn’t be overwhelmed the first time I played it. It looked good, even then, too:
*Videos will play in 4K on relevant screens
It infamously had lip-sync issues before the new patch later, but everything else goes really well. Since the driver upgrade, however, I seem to be experiencing problems regardless. Especially with the “alien” races, although some work better than others. Jaal is terrible sometimes, as are most of the Asari.
It doesn’t stop me loving it – I really do love this game. It’s just fun… a little like the very first Mass Effect. The first full playthrough is hard, unnatural, because you’re only just finding your bearings. The second, third and fourth playthroughs get better and better, as you become more familiar with the game, the systems, the characters, the missions, the story, and even the enemies.
It’s a really amazing chance to more make your own story, than just follow the main one – which feels like an interpretive re-hash of the Collector/Prothean/Reapers story all in one place. Andromeda is not all that different from the Milky Way, as it seems that “human nature” really is just “organic nature”, common to all cognitive species in the entire Universe. But what is different is the terrains of each planet, the challenges of finding ways to explore, exist, co-habit with the natives, and survive this hostile environment where everyone (quite rightly) thinks you’re an alien.
There are 100,000 people from the Milky Way counting on you, Pathfinder Ryder, to give them a world to live, exist and thrive upon. Several were already killed whilst entering Andromeda when they hit the Scurge – including the Andromeda’s original Pioneer. The original human Pathfinder died to save you – as any father would – and the others have been scattered in their Arks, nowhere to be found.
Made Pathfinder without your knowledge or consent whilst you were in a coma, you wake up to find the existence and lives of 100,000 Milky Way people are thus now depending on you, the only known Pathfinder, to do what needs to be done to help them settle into a Galaxy who doesn’t really want any of you.
It’s not about just finding the root of evil in the Galaxy… it’s also simply just about getting people out of their cold little coffins,in Cryo Stasis, and onto a viable planet for them to live on.
And I have them all… here. On my YouTube Gaming channel.
Or here, on my normal YouTube channel.
~ The Joy of Inability To Copy Over 4GB to USB ~
… And queue sarcasm radar to shatter into a thousand shards of agony…
Note To Self: Always re-format idiot FAT32 format drives of all and any kind.
Fancy having a system that can’t transfer over 4GB! What kind of world do we live in where companies still auto-format in this way?
Probably should have checked this first, but I really didn’t realise anyone was that daft anymore.
This is apparently how USB sticks are still formatted… apparently lost in some factory in a decade now far, far away… until it’s returned to now and sold on…
I checked my other one, and yes, it’s apparently FAT32 as well.
FAT32 doesn’t allow more than 4GB to be processed at any one time. Have as many files as you like – but they must be all under the 4GB mark. From now on, I will be auto-formatting all my USB sticks to exFAT… Both exFAT and NTFS have unlimited data transfer per file – however it is best to keep in mind that exFat can be used across the board in Mac and Linux OS machines as well, where as NTFS is dedicated only to Windows.
In fairness, it’s probably always best to check the Disk Management system with all new USB drives, as well as HDD/SDD ones for formatting, health, etc:
That way you know everything’s good to go before you put your very precious data on it.
I loved my Wileyfox Storm. I really respected their stand against general mobile phone manufactures. But now they have clearly lost the plot – and in this instance a once-loyal customer too.
I literally got my Swift 2 Plus handset today (day of writing) and I can’t even get it to charge. Nor did it hold its charge either, that 50% it came with right out of the box. My PC thinks it’s malfunctioned and refuses to acknowledge it (both USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports), other USB ports don’t seem to charge it, and right now it’s on barely-there life-support – holding a meagre and un-moving 3% – plugged into my PS4. Attempts to contact customer services is like hitting head on a wall – and you get the same result… nothing but a headache.
I was looking forward to using this phone. I had my Wileyfox Storm – until the screen accidentally got written off completely and it was murdered via blunt-force-trauma – and I loved it. It was perfect. I thought nothing of going back to Wileyfox and getting one of the latest handsets. Big mistake.
I have been shocked by my inability to get this one to work at all, because the battery (or maybe charger, I can’t test it because I only have this one USB C charger, that came in the box – unlikely, but possible). One might expect some issues at some point, but not right out of the box.
I have had problems contacting their customer service department, and to be honest, they don’t seem to be particularly bothered about helping at all. If they ever answer you at all, they can barely contain their nonchelance. I was quite taken aback by their absolute lack of customer service quality.
I’ve seen a few like-for-like recommendations, so I shall have to try one of those instead, and leave Wileyfox behind now. Unfortunate, because it is (… was…) a British company with good intentions and ideas… in theory, at least.
Racist Address Page & Astounding Customer Service
When I was trying to purchase a new phone, I originally wanted their Swift 2 X – only currently available through their website. It was more than the Swift 2 Plus, but then you got more.
So off I went, chucking it in the basket, all ready and looking forward to getting it. But then… it refused to acknowledge my Welsh address! Three… or four times. I tried it again, and again, and again… Nothing. It literally didn’t accept the Welsh names or spelling. Amazingly, the website itself is actually racist!
The Customer “Service” people on the Chat option were clearly trained right out of the School of Basil Fawlty. In fact, he would have been better. And funnier. These people knew less than Manuel… about anything. My dog could have done a better job. Even Jack Dee would have done a more cheerful job…
And their response to the Welsh-language problem? Oh yeh, that’s probably it, then… Astounding. Unprecedentedly Astounding…! In every worst possible sense. There are just no words. They didn’t even try to rectify it, or over-ride the system… nothing. And that was the second person I spoke to. I disconnected the first Chat conversation because they were downright rude!
A £220 sale out of the window. Just like that. I just hope they’re so very pleased with themselves… as they’re clearly heading for the cleaners, if the fact I am in the majority of people here with such an experience…
This is what happened when a driver update killed my system and I needed to fix it.
This was the moment I found out there was no longer an F8 Safe Mode in Windows 1o…
So, at this moment in time, it seems like there’s a good change I may have broken my computer.
Well, actually… not me. NVIDIA, actually. To be presice, it was their GeForce Driver update [375.70]. It showed an error message then it stopped working properly. Then it stopped working at all.
It won’t boot properly. It starts, goes through the BIOS, gets to the Windows 10 blue squares, then… nothing. Doesn’t keep on booting after that. It took a while but I finally managed to get it into Safe Mode – and boy did that take some time and doing too.
Windows 10 – SAFE MODE:
No more is there an F8 … and MS can F-***
Apparently the trick is to get to fail to boot 3 times – at this point the system finally clocks onto the fact it’s not working properly.
This is when you are given actual Troubleshooting options – the RE(covery Environment): SELECT: Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > Startup Settings > Restart > Select option 4 [Safe Mode] with Curser / Function Keys.
The Scouts didn’t have it wrong when they said always be prepared.
Without a Recovery Point from System Restore, or a Recovery Disk [USB], I am very limited with what I can do. So I have put whatever is portant on the OS SSD onto a USB backup drive – just in case it really does need to be reformatted – and uninstalled the NVIDIA Drivers that caused the issue.
Now… It’s Reboot Time.
OMG I’m IN!
Well, I can tell you the first thing I’ve done is create a restore point…
I’m going to be brave now and try that driver again. Yes. Call me an idiot. But I have to try. And I’ve tried something called a Clean Installation. I don’t know if that will help or not, though.
Wow… All done. Took just a few minutes… Nothing’s exploded yet so I’ll take that as a good thing.
I didn’t get that same window popup again, so I maybe in luck that I made the right choice with that Clean Installation thing (it was under Custom Installation settings).
I’ve run an extra Restart to test. All good – I got back in. However, there’s been a strange side-effect to Safe Mode: The One Drive folder is no longer recognised – although it’s still there (on a 2nd HDD). I’ve re-set it up and pointed it back to the folder it’s already inhabiting, and all I can say is it better not duplicate anything… I think it’s just re-synching itself, though.
And now for the ultimate tester – playing Dragon Age: Inquisition on it … which it crashed and burned before dying on me…
Unfortunately, this isn’t kicking back in first time. I’m obviously concerned about corruption to the saved games, and I’ve requested a Repair via the Origins desktop client. For some reason it still had difficulty actually booting, just a black screen with the little green Rift icon flashing away in the corner relentlessly.
Still naught. It looks like I may have to reinstall it. It’s possible the corruption got into it … No, actually, strangely enough I go back to shut it down, but start up the ASUS GPU Tweak II desktop client instead – and suddenly the damn thing comes to life after a good 5 minutes of just spinning on its heels. The thing is it’s taken another 5 minutes to get into the Save file, so now I’m getting quite concerned…
And it’s only taken until 2:20am to accomplish this so far … Thank you, NVIDIA.
… in a nutshell.
A Nightmare of brainwork – and finally, an answer.
The biggest FYI here is that the appropriate app is not the “MovNow Plus” or “MovNow Q2”. Just in case you’re being told that too.
Nope. It’s not that one at all – and you’ll just keep getting a “Connection Failed” response if you attempt to pair it with this one.
The TW64S Sports Activity Bracelet
This is the newer next gen edition of the TW64, mainly identified by the Interface button being placed on the right instead of the left. The UI (User Interface – i.e. the LED display, in this case) is also a little different from the original first gen as well.
If you happen to get this item from Wowcher… I strongly suggest you find the little official instruction book that was in the box with it (not with the packaging) and read that instead.
The information – and most importantly, the app, is very different.
The app you need is this:
Mistep is the compatible app for this product – available for iOS and Android devices (see app details for specifications on devices/OS versions).
The Mistep app can be located by simply scanning the QR Code in the User Manual. This User Manual should be in the box – do not use the badly-printed paper that comes in the envelope, the “MovNow Plus”/”MovNow Q2” apps:
- Download Mistep app from relevant app store (the iPhone app will work fine with iPad [tested]) >> The app should be available by scanning the relevant QR Code on the official enclosed User Manual
- Turn on phone/tablet Bluetooth
- Go to list of Bluetooth devices available and connect the TW64 (the bluetooth device name can be found by long-pressing the side button on the right)
- Open the Mistep app
- Register your new account (or log in, if you have one) and enter the app (NB: I had a little difficulty registering a new account on the Android app – but this may not be a universal problem. When I did register a new account via iOS app, the login after was flawless)
Now you’re in the device, the pairing/binding should be pretty straightforward:
- FYI: Your TW64S Bluetooth (referenced as “BT” in the User Manual) is constantly on, so there’s no need to concern yourself about the Smart Watch Device.
- Turn on the Bluetooth of your phone/tablet
- Enter into the “Find devices” section of the relevant Bluetooth Menu and pair the TW64S with it
- Return to the app and go to Menu>Device (see below)
- In Device, use either Search for Bracelet (if already paired) or Search Equipment if this is the first time pairing (or “binding”, as it’s also referenced in regards to this process)
- The Bluetooth Icon will appear in the top left corner of the bracelet’s display when the device pairing is successful: This is when the app will be able to recognise the device to “bind” itself to it.
Now, you can hopefully enjoy your pretty new shiny gadget without any further problems.
All relevant information regarding the use of the Smart Device is on that little official User Manual that came with it in the box.
Unfortunately, I can’t really help with you with actually using it – with the the running, the jogging, the hiking, the workouts, the aching muscles afterwards…. etc.
Handset: Wileyfox Storm
I got this new handset not so long ago, when my poor little over-used BlackBerry Z10 was failing and I was priced out of the BlackBerry market.
Unable to afford a new BlackBerry (only the Priv & Passport were available at that time) I looked for something else that wasn’t quite mainline. I found Wileyfox, and saw what their Storm had to offer.
I’ve been so far very pleased with the handset… But I am not at all happy with the OS.
Not now they’ve killed my SD card.
My PNY 64GB micro SDHC card was doing really well until the very minute the Cyanogen 13.1.2 updated was set off. Then it went through 128 modules, and spent ages with the little green android wiggling its antennae on the screen. Once relaunched, the first thing I noticed was the “Corrupted SD card”… and my blood ran cold.
I attempted to reboot. when picked up the phone, I noticed it was extremely hot to the touch, both front and back, which wasnt a good sign. Unfortunately, this did not resolve it. There was only one conclusion…
The update had killed my SD card data.
It. Was. All. Gone.
I double checked it in my old Z10. That couldn’t read it either. My PC doesn’t have a card reader, and I no longer have an SD adapter (that I remember). I rather stupidly don’t have a USB reader. But I think it was made pretty clear by the BlackBerry… which has always been reliable. There was only corrupted, unreadable data on the SD card now. The update had fried the data and turned it to gibberish.
I had to start everything all over again. At least pictures and videos were immediately transferred to several cloud services. Things like music…. They all had to be imported and playlists probably recreated. Some apps might have to be redownloaded. There could be a whole bunch of other things lost on there I don’t remember… This is not good at all.
So right now, I’m pretty mad because I have to erase and (re)format my card. Everything lost. Broken. Gone. I don’t even know why… Apart from the fact I made the mistake of updating the OS.
I’m obviously very unhappy about this. I couldn’t even do an emergency backup, because just like that it was all gone. There was no warning, and I’ve never encountered such a problem before, so it’s both infuriating and baffling.
When I’ve gathered myself enough to deal with the trauma of being able to pull the plug, I will reformat the card and start again.
And try not to cry. Or break something…