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Minor, vague spoilers for Rise of the Tomb Raider, mild spoiler for the end of Dragon Age: Origins


Welcome back. Hope the weekend was lovely.

So my tech lust won out and I grabbed a top of the line Samsung 4K HDR set with all sorts of blur reduction. It’s lovely. How lovely? I was going to get a slightly cheaper one, but Mrs. McP was with me and she looked at this one and said “This one is SO much better…..can we get this one?” MRS. MCP! It’s so nice SHE got tech lust!

So that’s cool.

As for playing……

I got grenade arrows (I just like typing that. Grenade arrows. Grenade arrows), got to very next campsite, and decided it was toodlin’ time, so I went back to the geothermal valley. Right there was a barrier I could destroy cuz GRENADE ARROWS and I thought there’s GOT to be something awesome there cuz I need GRENADE ARROWS and it had five coins. Five. Coins. That’s it. Toodlin’ sucks.

But then I wandered some and found the way to get to the other, bearless challenge tomb, got to the door, got to the campsite there always is, called it a night. It’s the infirmary. It’s up on a cliff past a big iron gate, you had to swing to get there. I’ll raid it when I next play.

I want to say to these rebels “Hey, look. I get that you have to hole up in towers a lot, and that you have to go ahead of me, and that I do toodle and that’s on me, but could you leave a key under the mat, maybe? Or, if that’s too risky, maybe a secret knock? I mean, is it really reasonable to make me CLIMB the fucking thing? AGAIN? I mean, this keeps happening…we need a system……”

Oh, and the Witness continues to be under my skin. MAN it’s good.

And I’ll tell you now so there is no confusion. L2. Sprint is L2.


Sadly, the weekend was not that lovely, as we were sick for two days in my house.

Tech lust though…that sounds pretty great. A fine match for the Pro! Toss the kids in the basement with the cast-offs.

I played a bit, sick notwithstanding. Got the rebreather, went back to the tomb with the bear. Kept thinking “damn it, I know how to poison a bear, why isn’t this working?” because I kept hitting R2 for regular arrows instead of R1 for special arrows. Eventually figured that out (oops, heh heh). What’s weird is that I tried grenade arrows (didn’t work that well), so I obviously know HOW to use special arrows, I just for some reason didn’t do it with the poison ones. Possibly my brain was sluggish with illness. Anyway, eventually remembered how to shoot special arrows, got into the tomb and puttered around, was going to finish up with it on Saturday (Friday being Mr. O’s turn at the console), but by Saturday was a shivering wreck.

So that’s essentially all I did all weekend. I’m not much further ahead of you!

Sprint. L2. Noted. [Promptly forgets]


Dude, it’s nice. NICE. If Mrs. McP thinks it’s nice, it’s NICE. And you can get one of these pretty darn cheap. I mean, this tippy top of the line one was 700. You can get one that isn’t tippy top of the line for, like, 450.

Christmas, man.

Oh well. You’ll play again. Where’s the rebreather? Did I miss it?


You didn’t miss the rebreather–it will be very specifically handed to you for a specific part of the story a bit later. No fear.

The thing I’m waiting for now (still) is the ‘broad head climbing arrows’…I’ve seen a couple of places I can’t get into without them. And I second your wish for a secret knock, or the back door key, or something…I know I’m going to have to go back and get into all these places again, and I’ll have to do all the climbing and stuff all over. Although at least you can usually get to a campsite relatively near the tombs and so forth.

I did stumble on a document from one of the Remnant talking about the battle with Trinity and making it sound as if the fighting in the valley had been going on for some days. So they KNOW you’re going to go toodle around and explore tombs!

“Don’t mind us, we’ll just keep struggling here while you poke around looting our dead…siiiiiiiiigh…come back and help whenever you’re ready…no pressure, we’re only fighting for our cherished way of life…”


They ought to know that the LAST person you need around when you’re fighting for your cherished way of life is a video game hero. Always running off, stealing stuff.

They’d really be better off with a bunch of Kevins. They never run off. They just go over there and back.

If only you could train them to stand in circles facing OUTWARD it would be perfect.


Seriously. Video game heroes are terrible bets, really. I mean, sure, they’ll get the job done in the end, in as flashy a way as possible, but only when they’ve hunted down every single piece of random junk in the countryside and upgraded all their weapons 5 times.

Who cares if you and 112 of your friends have died in the meantime? As long as they’re back for the big finale, not them!

Kevin. So underrated. So much in need of just a little basic training.


Isn’t Kevin just?

I mean, I get it’s cold. Huddling around the fire makes sense. But you know a sneaky woman is out there. At least take turns looking.

You know who should always pick Kevin? The good old guy. Think vesimir. That dude is in the crosshairs every damn game. He’s probably all “look I’m like o for my last 172 times we picked ‘hero’. Can we go Kevin just this once?”


Yeah! Get a few Kevins, train them to actually think a little and keep their eyes open, pay them and feed them: they’ll be so much more reliable than that hero, who claims to care about whatever your issue is but who OBVIOUSLY is only taking your quest for the XP and/or because it’s on the main storyline. Kevins never turn on the bad guy, no matter how many of them the hero kills: why would they turn on you? Kevin is LOYAL.

I know variations of this have been done before, but I would be very interested in a game that had you training your army of Kevins to finally defeat the flashy and obnoxious hero. You’d have to tell them to scout around, but not to wander away from each other (stealth kill!), but not stand too close to each other (grenade!). There’s a lot of strategy there.

Although I suppose, if you look at it from the “villain’s” perspective, this is basically what we were doing in DAI, among other games. Trying to thwart someone is trying to thwart someone, in the end.



Hey, Varric was no Kevin. Morrigan was no Kevin.


True, but you were also recruiting groups of people to your side.

“Fight with us, rebel mages!” Most of the rebel mages could have been Kevins.

This is actually even more true in DAO, when you had to gain the support of various groups, and then got to explicitly summon them to your aid in the final battle.

“Get the dragon, Kevin! I mean, dwarves!”


Oh right! I totally forgot about those guys.

That whole game was “recruit Kevins!”



You have to have someone who can train and inspire the Kevins while you’re out hunting for random junk and upgrading your weapons.

And somehow it always comes full circle…


I’m not getting the weapon thing. I got this bolt action rifle that was exactly the same as one I got in one of those moments where you got inexplicable guns.

Whatever. I usually use molotovs.


Yeah, I am honestly having kind of a hard time telling one weapon (from within a given type) from another. I just sort of equip a different one at random every time I get to a campsite. Unless I forget, in which case I just use the same one for 5 hours straight.

I mean, some of the different bows look cool, and a few of the guns have style, and there are various bonuses to this and that, but…whatever, as long as you have a bow, a big gun and a small gun, the individual units seem fairly interchangeable. They’re all going to get the job done. I’m not even in love with the shotgun!

We could do a whole theme discussion about how this showcases Lara’s practical nature, how she’s only in it to get the job done and doesn’t care about the mere trappings of adventure (at least, not violent adventure) and how this fits or doesn’t fit with her depiction as a female action hero…but that might be too much work considering I’m still in recovery from a horrible virus.


Yeah, dude. Pace yourself. Save your game strength.

I love the shotgun. What’s wrong with the shotgun?


There’s nothing WRONG with it, it just doesn’t…sing to me, the way a shotgun usually does.

Not like the Wounding Combat Shotgun…ahh, the Wounding Combat Shotgun…

[long sigh, dreamily staring into space]