2019 Best Gaming & Tech [ No Life Podcast ]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jots2PsE5K4&feature=youtu.be


The Year in Review

In this special episode of the No Life Podcast, the crew tackle the best and worst of the year. They discuss the best games, movies, series and tech, as well as the biggest disappointments. Check out the episode and see who wins Company of the Year, Game of the Year, and Tech of the Year.


Guy Sold Coke from his PS4; Valve's Excuse [ No Life Podcast ]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rw0A3YAOIuU


CokeStation

In this episode of No Life Podcast, we're back from Thanksgiving. We chat about how a man was arrested for using his Playstation to sell cocaine, how Halo Reach on PC works great, and how Path of Exile is still insane. Check out the latest episode!


Fallen Order Review / Macbook Pro 16" [ no life podcast ]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAIw2CVOn1k



Please Order, Fallen Order

In this episode of No Life Gaming and Tech Podcast, Wayne and Doobie chat all about Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order. They both detail how much fun they're having, and all the flaws in the game, while also showing off their footage. They then dive into Pokemon, where Wayne completely trashes it. In news the crew discuss Game of the Year award nominees, and things get heated. Finally, Wayne and Jerry discuss the new Macbook Pro 16".

 

 


New 16" Macbook Pro Edits 8k HDR ProRes Raw...Easily

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-CDq4MOXTr4


Impressive

In the video above, user FCPdotCO shows the new Apple Macbook Pro's natively playing back and scrubbing through 8K HDR ProRes Raw footage. This is wildly impressive, especially considering we're not seeing any stutters in performance. The scrubbing is especially impressive, showing almost 1080p quality timeline skipping. The machine in the video is using the 8-core i9 running at 2.3ghz with 16gb of RAM and the new Radeon Pro 5500M 4gb GPU. So not even the most top specced model, though with the most top specced GPU. What is also interesting to note is that FCPX will be releasing a new update once the Mac Pro is released, Mercury playback will be enabled for Raw files, enabling even better rendering times and playback. If you're wondering about the base model 5300M GPU, check out Max Yurev's latest video


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6-uGBSSaNI


 


Death Stranding is ...... [ no life podcast ]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpCE7rwSvaw&feature=youtu.be



In this episode, Wayne talks all about Death Stranding. Is it good? Pretencious? Insanely boring? Wayne tries to answer all these questions in this episode. He also talks about Red Dead 2 on PC, and the gorgeous visuals the PC version packs. Then we dive into the latest Pokemon drama, and much more. Check it out.


Duty 4 Your Booty / Airpod Pro-ish [ no life podcast ]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-0JA73YHoqw&feature=youtu.be



In this episode we talk about the brand new Modern Warfare, and we see if its the best in the line up. We also discuss the Outer Worlds, and Wayne reviews the new Airpod Pro's. Are they good enough to ask for a $250 price tag? Check out the latest episode here.


Airpod Pro Audiophile Review

 

A bit of background. I've been a bit of an Audiophile for about 10 years, ever since I purchased my first set of Tech12's, and built out a vinyl listening room in my tiny apartment. I've owned many different headphones & speakers of all price ranges. I can currently say my favorite set of headphones currently are my Sennheisers 660 S's, which in my opinion are the best headphone you can get for the money. But I don't use them the most. Not even close, really. I use my Airpods and Powerbeats Pro's the most. Reason being, I don't need extremely high fidelity audio, every minute of the day. For the most part, I do a lot of casual listening. Podcasts, audiobooks, & YouTube dominate my listening 99% of the time. For that last 1%, I've spent an exorbitant amount of money trying to squeak out every ounce of frequency, from a file or record, as I can.

Sound

Here's my headphone testing playlist

The first thing I want to jump into is the sound. A lot of other reviewers and Audiophiles have claimed sound is the one lacking aspect of these headphones. I completely disagree. I thought the sound on the original Airpods were great (for what the were), and the new Airpod Pro's sound tremendously better (relatively).

There is one reason why. The noise cancellation. Audiophiles spend hundreds of thousands of dollars treating their rooms to create the most optimal listening environment. Well, noise cancellation has essentially made this process obsolete (Audiophile nerds hate when people say this). By creating a virtually silent environment, you're creating a much cleaner canvas for your content to play on. This makes the relatively average sound of the Airpods, sound so much better. Because your surroundings are silent, you can hear the detail in every layer, so much more clearly. You also don't need to crank the audio up - introducing distortion - to gain that clarity. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Noise cancellation is a game changer in the world of audio, and having them embedded into a completely wireless experience is great.

Next, let's talk technicals, something a lot of "audiophile" reviewers have failed to show or mention. So...objectively...the Airpod Pro's measure respectably. credit: The Sound Guys. I understand sound is as subjective as taste, but anyone who says the Airpod Pro's sound "terrible" are exaggerating claims, biased, or to be frank, full of shit.

To me, the sound is well balanced, though a bit flat. The highs seem to resolve nicely & accurately. Listen to "I'll See You When..." by American Football or "Alaska" by Maggie Rogers for a good emphasis on the highs. The Airpod Pro's sound pretty damn good. They just don't sparkle like with SR80e's or DT880's, and could certainly use a bit of extra clarity added.

To me, the most lacking aspect are the lows. They are just a bit too flat, and a bit too boring. The bass is slightly muddy, and they tend to bleed a bit, which ends up being the culprit in some of the detail. A song like "Summer Friends" by Chance the Rapper shows this off perfectly, where the droning bass line on a tighter headphone like the 660 S's creates a much more detailed and energetic experience. With the Pods, the song sounds very nice, and very accurate, but the lack of depth in the track makes the mids/highs seem less clear. "Faceshopping" by Sophie is the worst offender for this. The track, which I consider a headphone gauntlet, just lacks the same terrifying experience you get with HD800's or even WH-1000x's. And with "Feel the Love" by Kids See Ghosts, the skat portion of the track just...sucks. There's almost no "punch" and the drums start to bleed everywhere. The low end just lacks in response and tightness, which hurts a bit of the entire sound experience. The lows aren't bad, though. I just wish there was a bit of an extra "energy" added to the low end. Which is funny, since the new Beats all seem to have this characteristic.

The most surprising aspect was the sound stage. Now, no - they're not 660's or even K270's. But they are noticeably more wide than the originals, and even the Powerbeats Pros. Songs like "So What" by Miles Davis, "The Medic" by Foxing, or the epic "Mountains" by Hanz Zimmer, showcase this the best. Listen to these same tracks on M50x's, and tell me you're not impressed. I think the combination of the airflow grill and noise cancellation allow for the perception of a wider stage.

Overall, the sound is impressive. The Airpod Pro's don't specialize in anything. Rather, they just do everything pretty well. It's hard to say what genres of music work best on these headphones, because they all do it fine. Just know, you're not getting an exciting headphone - in terms of sound. You get rather, a rounded off, slightly generic, but slightly impressive sound - with exciting features.

Noise Cancellation:

This is the most lacking feature of the Airpods. First off, the silicon tips are included to help provide passive noise suppression. They don't do a very good job. I'm very disappointed Apple - with billions of cash in the bank - couldn't develop or license a type of Comply foam tip, which are just objectively better at passive suppression. Now fortunately, I'm sure we'll see Comply release these soon, which will help with noise cancellation. The software side of the noise cancellation works well. Obviously, since it's basically just reading the ambient sound and pushing through an inverted phase wave to cancel out those frequencies. It's the rest of the package that helps fully seclude the user, that falls short. And to be fair, these have the worst noise cancellation I've heard since early versions of Gen 1 ANC.

Everything Else:

Finally, we get to the rest of Airpod Pro's. The features are what sells them. First off, once you go completely wireless, it's hard to go back. This alone is the reason for the massively successful Airpod OG's, and the reason why they're always in my bag. Being able to just pop them in, know they are always charged, and get going, is invaluable.

What makes this process so pleasing is the Apple ecosystem integration. The H1 chip allows you to very quickly and very seemlessly swap between devices. Going from phone, to watch, to macbook, to ipad, all with only a couple clicks and an extremely short connection time, creates an experience that's easy to miss. I can't wait for all wireless headphones to work this well. I love the how you just touch the stem to enter transparency mode. I love how when you pop them off, the audio on the device plays immediately. I love the quality of the microphone for phone calls and Facetime. And I love how you get your battery levels right on your lock screen. This type of integration is obviously worth a lot, since I'm willing to pay the "Apple Tax" to have a seamless experience like this - without hesitation.

Battery life sucks. I'm able to use my WH-1000's for hours and hours on end, though they take a very long time to fully charge. With Airpods, they're great for about 4 hours, then you need to pop them in the charger for about 15 minutes before you can squeak out another few hours. If you're on a long flight, just know you'll need to take a few listening breaks.

And lastly, the form and fit is excellent. I have smaller ears, so IEM's are sometimes very uncomfortable. The Powerbeats Pros, Jaybird X2's, and CA Io's all with Comply, tend to irritate and make my ears itchy. One of the reasons I loved the originals Airpods was because this never occurred since they didn't dig into your canal. So I was a bit worried when I saw the silicone tips. But I'm happy to say the Airpod Pro's are simply the most comfortable IEM's I've used. This makes me wish they created their own type of foam fitting tips, so the ANC worked better but didn't sacrifice comfort. This is VERY subjective though, and if these don't fit correctly in your ear, you'll hate using them. In fact, they won't even work right. Luckily, you can go to an Apple store and demo them with each of the tips, to ensure they will fit right for you. Something that other headphones don't have the luxury in having. And to top it all off, they charge in the same type of tiny rounded Qi charging case that fits in any Zippo pocket.

Conclusion

I can safely say these are a must have for Apple fans, a must have for podcast/audiobook/casual listeners, and a must have for wireless ANC headphone fans. Don't even consider the OG Airpods (unless they come in less than $100). These are just the better option and I've been using mine for hours on end since I got them. But I can't recommend them to people with more "unique" ears. And I especially can't recommend them for reference audio production, sound professionals, or serious listening. They just aren't up to those standards, especially at this price... a price that's HEAVILY contested with amazing headphone options. So do you need to do work, or just kick back? Because these are meant for the latter.

 

 


More Like Code Lame // Pixel 4 [ No Life Digital ]

https://youtu.be/vmoO_FbO8Z0



Souls-Like?

In this episode of No Life Podcast, we chat about Code Vein (again). This time Wayne gives his Souls-like comparison, to see if it holds up to others like Dark Souls and Bloodborne. We also debate about IGN's Top 100 games list, and we basically crap on it. Finally, in tech, we dig into Google's new products like the Pixel 4 and new Pixelbook Go.

 

 


Control by Remedy Entertainment [ No Life Review ]

Control is a third person, single player, action blockbuster made by Remedy Entertainment. Developers of Alan Wake, Quantum Break, and Max Payne. It's a super stylish, fast paced, sci-fi horror action adventure that digs deep into MK ULTRA like conspiracies. This review will break down my opinions on this game, what I think of its gameplay, the story, and its presentation, and will contain spoilers. So without any further ado - let's get into its story.

Story:

The story of Control is confusing, convoluted, controversial, and definitely cool. The story starts with the protagonist, Jesse Faden, arriving at the "Oldest House" - which is the HQ of the Federal Bureau of Control to search for her brother Dylan. Upon coming to the FBC, Jesse finds out the original director, Zachariah Trench, has committed suicide. As well as find out the entire Bureau has been taken over by the "Hiss", and evil force that takes control over other agents and guards in the FBC. The main story you play, has you figure out what exactly happened to Trench, how the Hiss has taken over, and where your brother Dylan is. There are many other questions you aim to answer throughout the games side missions - which help to build the lore around the world.

So is the story good, is it compelling enough to keep you playing? For me, it really was. There is no doubt that the story is convoluted and sometimes hard to follow. Especially if you don't want to read the hundreds of (kinda boring) lore strewn about the world. Prime candidates, AWE's or Altered World Events, Polaris, the Hedron, HRA's, and Objects of Power, all words when said individually are almost overwhelming, but are pillars to the games story and its world. But these concepts offer up something to look into. I found myself digging through mission just to get lore on aspects like "What is the Oceanview Hotel?", and "what was Darlings thoughts throughout these events?". They string together really well, and paint a fun, but fucked up, picture to strive toward.

What also really helps the story are the great characters. From Jesse, the strong woman protagonist who doesn't take any shit from anyone. To Dylan, the fucked up little brother who's possession makes for some truly disturbing scenes. To Trench, who's silhouette appears from the grave to guide you and sometimes mock you throughout your journey. To the charming Janitor who's role is more like the "Morgan Freeman" character. To the bubbly Emily Pope, who fucking loves data. They aren't Breaking Bad level of deep, but deep enough to enjoy. And these characters, their interactions, and their acting, are fascinating enough to care about and also make the games playtime feel even shorter.

And that's my biggest complaint. I did enjoy the story. Quite a bit actually. I thought it was intriguing enough to explore all the lore - collecting and reading every file I found and watching every slide in the world. I think Remedy did a wonderful job of crafting a unique action sci-fi story that touches upon the conspirator inside myself. But I wish is was a bit longer. One of my biggest complaints to this game is how short it is. I got through the main game's story in a quick 10 hours - and dying a fair amount, watching every single cutscene, exploring all dialogue options, and reading all lore included in that time. If you picked up the games combat quickly & didn't care too much for the lore, I can see the main story being complete in around 6-8 hours. This is a bit embarrassing, but I think it comes from the criticism from their previous title Alan Wake. Which was criticized for being a bit too drawn out, when it could've told its story in the same amount of time as Control. Overall though, it was a fun blockbuster to uncover on a rainy weekend.

Gameplay:

In terms of actual control, Control does it well. Moving Jesse was fluid, and I never had one problem with controls. I think they paid extra attention to this, because if "Control" didn't control well, well...that would be a headline everywhere.

Next I want to dig into the gameplay. Essentially, Control is built around these powers you equip and your weapon. Your gun, the "Service Weapon" takes 5 different forms that you uncover as your progress, and allows you to equip any two at a time. These go from the standard pistol, to the shotgun, to the sniper, to the submachine gun, to the rocket launcher. Each form feels vastly different, and each offer a different style of play. Oh yeah, and don't worry about ammo. Your weapons are energy based, and "recharge" rather than reload. My favorite combo was the "Pierce" (the sniper), paired up with the standard pistol. This allowed me to rack in big damage from a far, keeping my distance, and utilize my powers and pistol to finish them off. But you could easily go the other route, and play more close quarters combat style. What I also enjoyed was the powerups you found along the world. This gives upgrades to each of your weapons forms. Such as close the choke on the shotgun, creating a tighter blast from further away. Or increasing your rate of fire on your submachine gun. These were vital to finding my right combo to compliment my powers.

And speaking of which, you're also given 5 different powers. The Throw (picking up whatever in the world and throwing it at the enemy), the Shield, the Dash, the Seize (possessing an enemy allowing them to fight for you), and the Levitation (basic ally flying). You only start with one, and uncover the others later on, with levitation being uncovered quite late in the game. What's great about the powers is that they are always equipped once you obtain them, and only hindered by your "power meter" which acts like your mana. Don't worry it recharges rather quickly, like your weapons. The powers are what makes you feel "powerful". As you get better, stringing together combos with your different powers and weapons becomes so satisfying, and adds another aspect of the game to keep you enthralled. I loved upgrading my Throw till I got to the point where I could throw almost anything at the enemy, doing massive AOE damage, which I would then finish with my Pierce shot from afar. I also enjoyed Levitating above the battlefield, throwing debris everywhere, and possessing any enemy low on health to do my bidding. Again, its really up to you on how you want to tackle these battles. Myself, I enjoyed the mass destruction.

And that leads me to talk about one aspect of the game that added to its overall impressive nature. In Control, almost everything is able to be destroyed, picked up, thrown, and destroyed again. Taking an enemy and throwing them through a window, or a pillar, crushing everything around it, and everyone under it, then pulling that dead enemy out of the debris, only to throw at another enemy...yeah...it feels good. It was really impressive to see just how much in the game was destructible and had physics. And to be honest, it felt like everything.

The enemies. This was a bit disappointing. They're fun to shoot and throw around, but there isn't much variety. Maybe about 5 - 6 constant enemies, with a few more that are more "mini bosses" and a few actual bosses. Not only that, but they're also not very smart. You won't see any sort of tactics, or even self preservation. Just another slog of mindless enemies at your disposal. Only a handful of times I felt actually challenged by them.

And that leads to my last gameplay point. Difficulty. This game is quite easy. If you spend the time to upgrade your weapons and powers, but the end of the game, you're so far overpowered, you will rarely die, or even be challenged. It's a shame really because this compounds the short playtime. I would've loved a bit more attention to detail in the enemy types. Making them have a bit more variety. Better AI. And I also wish they had some type of backstory. They're nothing more than a toy in a sandbox, that you do as you wish with them. While it can be fun, it's just not challenging.

Presentation:

Finally, I want to talk about the best part of this game. It's presentation. Remedy uses its setting, sound design, and its cinematography to not only build its weird world around you, but enthrall you in it. The Oldest House looks like this cold, modern, large corporation at first, with large lobbys and wings with no one in them. But as you drive through and dig deeper, its more darker, sinister features appear. And damn, I love it. The feeling Remedy is able to pull from you - one that is uneasy, slightly disturbed, yet weirdly confident - nails exactly what Jesse would be feeling traversing through this.

The sound design is excellent. First off, the voice acting is phenomenal. Courtney Hope as Jesse is perfect, but Sean Durrie really steals the show. The weapons and powers sound great. The blast of the Pierce never gets old. And the sound of each different material hitting an enemies head is consistent with what it would sound like in real life. Impressive attention to detail. The music, or lack thereof, works. Because of the games setting, a traditional soundtrack wouldn't work. But when the music does come in, it's vast, it's powerful, and ultimately, fitting. And all the odd nightmarish scenes and ambiance are done very well. Nothing sounds cheesy, or out of place, or forced. Which is exactly what you want from sound design.

The Cinematography is certainly a highlight for me. There is one scene with Jesse and Dylan, that takes this disturbing turn, and the games cinematography compliments its perfectly. I actually don't think I've seen cinematography done in a game this way before. It's very similar to Mr. Robot, with its sharp cuts, odd framing, and deep meaning behind each shot. To Remedy, I salute you. Because it doesn't come across forced or cheesy. It works. And again, it adds to this disturbing foundation Remedy has built to place you on.

Getting technical, the games graphical quality is top tier. I was playing on PC, GTX 1080ti and i7 9700k. So while I was able to push the game a bit harder than most consoles, I had to sit at on medium-high to maintain 60fps. I also wasn't able to take full potential of the RTX Raytracing features. But even without that, the game looks and plays great. Flying around large areas, with dozens of enemies around, chucking them through walls with falling debris and its physics everywhere, with reflections on every surface, all while streaming, and not much of a hitch. And in terms of lighting, volumetric lighting, screen space reflections, and a light film grain, give the game an even more refined veneer. That said, it's taxing. If you want to play this game at 60fps on its full ultra settings with Raytracing, you will need a monster of a rig. On console, I'm unaware of performance (it doesn't look good though). Look to Digital Foundry for that info. But I recommend you stick to PC for this to have finer control on your performance.

Final Thought:

Finally, Control by Remedy is a great game. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with it. Its fucked-up & weird, yet enthralling, story, its compelling characters and voice acting, its fun and fluid combat, and its amazing cinematography, sound design, and graphical fidelity, all combined make for a game that I was completely engorged in and wanted to keep playing. Unfortunately, with a very short 10 hour play time, and not too much variety with enemy types or weaponry, it needs to bring a lot more to the table. I think the message overall is that we need to give Remedy Entertainment more money. A lot more. I'd love to know what they could do with a gigantic EA-like budget. I loved Max Payne and Alan Wake, and love how Remedy is using capital to hire real actors for great VO. But I would also love a lot more from them. Bigger worlds, more characters, more lore, more attention to detail, more great cinematography. And if publishers are worried about their games being "adult" or weird, just look at Kojima. The massive hype around Death Stranding is a tell-tale sign that gamers crave unique games with big headliners on the cover. But that's really my critique on this game and I can't wait to see what else becomes of this game or IP and what else Remedy does.

8.75 / 10

 

 

 


All Glory to Mother China [ No Life Podcast ]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyR4e5cTU_E

COMMUNE

In this episode we talk about some shocking news about how Blizzard has banned and taken the money winnings from a player who was in support of Hong Kong. We also discuss the PS5 and what it needs to do to beat Microsoft in the console wars. We then take a look at the THRONOS by Acer and we praise Sidecar from the new MacOS Catalina.