Heroes & Icons

Last weekend I went with my mom to see the Richmond Hill Philharmonic Orchestra. Normally my brother Jason would go with her to see the performance, but since he was busy at the time I went in his stead. Here’s what I thought of the whole experience.

Overall, I only learned a little bit about how the orchestra works, but from my understanding, they have regularly scheduled concerts. Each time there’s a new theme in which the pieces are selected for that concert’s program. This concert’s theme was Heroes & Icons. Most of the selected pieces were from know movies such as Superman, Schindler’s List, and Apollo 13. The orchestra is a non-profit organization and relies on donations and fundraising in order to operate.

The concert took place at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts and seemed really well organized to me. There was a pre-concert talk that we missed but from the last bit, it sounded like it was about the evolution of music throughout the years. Before the concert, the conductor Dr. Jessica V. Kun gave a short speech about the orchestra and the theme Heroes & Icons. To me, she seemed very passionate and happy to be conducting the orchestra. She even cracked a few jokes between pieces which made the show more interesting.

As for the music I haven’t been to very many orchestral performances but I can say that I enjoyed it much better than the Winter On The Green concert that I wrote about a few months ago. However, that is to be expected since the Philharmonic Orchestra is professional while the other’s a high school orchestra. I knew most of the pieces from the program except for a few.

Overall I did enjoy the concert and wouldn’t mind going back to see their next concert which is in April. As a group of volunteers, the musicians all seem glad to play as apart of the orchestra.

Wacom CTH-480

A few weeks ago I purchased an older version of the Wacom Intuos Pen and Touch line of tablets. I initially got the tablet for the game osu! and was able to use it for a few weeks, so here is what I have to say about the tablet.

First off, since the tablet is an older model that is no longer in production I did get a used tablet although there was no damage to the functionality. The tablet is around the size of my mousepad which is a SteelSeries QcK Small. For scale, I can pretty much extend my hand to reach from one end of the tablet to the other.

The latest drivers were installed from the official Wacom website and many of their older models of tablets including the CTH-480 are still supported. There weren’t any major difficulties setting up the tablet besides disabling the ripple effect when you touch the pen to the tablet itself which I had to Google to find a fix for.

Even though the CTH-480 is advertised as a drawing tablet I haven’t actually tried using it in any programs to draw. However, touching the pen to the tablet is equivalent to a mouse’s left click and hovering the pen above the surface also works just fine. Therefore, I wouldn’t think that there’d be any problems drawing besides using the pressure sensitivity. Adjusting the area of the tablet using the driver is slightly confusing, but generally, if you’d like to keep your area the same ratio to your screen as long as you have the “force proportions” box checked in the area customization menu you should be fine. Other wise, you can freely adjust the area by dragging the corners around.

Using the tablet for osu! was easy. The only thing I had trouble with was having to change the area to something I was comfortable with. If I were to compare the experience of using the tablet to something else I’d say that it’s almost like getting a new mouse. You can get used to it in just a few minutes but it’ll take a while to get consistent performance. Between getting the tablet and now I’m still getting used to holding the pen and not shaking, but I have made a personal top 5 pp score so I’m happy.

Overall, I think that this tablet is great. I’ve had no input lag or delay and the drivers are easy to use. I’m having lots of fun using it instead of a mouse to play games which mixes things up for me when I’m playing games for a long time.

Apex Legends

Ever since a few days ago Apex Legends has been the biggest new game that seems to even be overtaking Fortnite at the moment. As a brand new game with the amount of content it has I think that this can turn into a really good game.

Apex Legends is a game that holds ties to the Titanfall franchise. Although the stories of the games are related, the gameplay is different. Instead of traditional game modes like team deathmatch or capture the flag, Apex Legends is another battle royale game. 60 players land onto the map known as Kings Canyon in groups of three. Your team finds weapons and supplies to fight the other players in order to be the last ones remaining.

What I think makes this game different from games like PUBG or Fortnite is that at the start of each game you choose a Legend which are the eight selectable characters. Each Legend has their own different abilities and ultimates. A squad can only have one of each Legend so a fight can turn out differently depending on which Legends are involved. In Apex Legends you are also able to slide around and climb up small walls. The mobility you have in the game negates the need for any types of vehicles.

The game was built really well with nice graphics and already has plenty of customizable cosmetics. Weapons were taken from the previous Titanfall games and the general gameplay looks smooth. There is a “battle pass” similar to Fortnite’s that contains exclusive seasonal cosmetic items.

Overall, I think the game looks amazing at the moment. The gameplay is good and the game itself is free to play on Origin. However, the game’s engine runs on a modified version of the Source engine which is known for having lots of cheats made for it. Additionally the game’s publisher, EA is also known for creating games that were ruined because of the amount of money that EA expects players to pay for DLC¬†and other such items. Hopefully, the free game of Apex Legends stays free as far as the gameplay goes.

Anthem

This week I’ll be writing about a new game that is going to be released in a few weeks called Anthem. Just a few hours ago one of my friends asked me if I was going to get Anthem. At first, I’d never heard of it, but after looking at it for a bit I started to think it was a pretty cool game. Here are my initial thoughts on the game.

When I first watched the “This Is Anthem” video I started to get some Halo and Titanfall vibes based on the visuals of the player models. Although it looks like one of those types of games, I think the way the game works is kind of like Destiny where there’s the main storyline with missions and a more open world where you can explore more freely.

The characters you play as are these exoskeleton suits called Javelins that come in four different varieties. The Ranger, Colossus, Interceptor, and Storm. These are pretty much your four “classes”. If I were to compare these four Javelins to more familiar classes in other games I would say that the Ranger is more of an all-around decent at everything class, the Colossus is a tank class that can also deal heavy damage, the Interceptor is comparable to an assassin, and the Storm is like a mage. With each one you can customize a loadout with different components, skills, and weapons.

One thing that I’m curious about is the three more specialized classes. Usually, in a lot of RPG games, partying revolves around “the Holy Trinity” system. This is where three different types of classes work together. A Tank class, DPS class (Damage Heavy Class), and Healer class work together in battle. What I’ve noticed, is that the game’s website doesn’t really mention how the recovery system works. Even the “magic” focused Javelin Storm has no mention of any types of HP recovery of any kind in its list of skills. The closest thing I could find is the “Quickening Field” skill that creates a field that reduces cooldown on abilities for allies to enter. This would only make sense if each party member had their own skill to recover on their own. If it was a more fantasy type RPG someone could just “pop a potion” and recover, but in a futuristic game like Anthem that revolves around exoskeleton suits I can’t think of a way that one would instantly recover on their own.

Other than the class system, the main missions in the game do seem pretty normal to other games like it. It also contains dungeon equivalents in the game from what I saw in the “This Is Anthem” video. I asked my friend if he knew whether or not the game would be super grindy¬†or not. As in, will you have to play the game a lot doing the same thing. After some searching, you can actually choose the difficulty of the missions you go on. So if you’re looking for better loot or more of a challenge you can choose harder difficulties, but if you’re more of a casual player you can choose the easier difficulties.

So far Anthem is advertised as a PvE game with no multiplayer beyond partying with a few friends, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they later expanded towards some sort of PvP as well. Once the game comes out on February 22 I will watch some reviews and see some actual gameplay and then make the decision on whether or not it’s worth $80.