Friday, September 30, 2022

Give Me A Reason. Yeah, That'll Do.

I haven't played Cyberpunk 2077. I'd like to but my PC won't run it. Well, technically it will. I just benchmarked it at and somewhat to my surprise I got a PASS on all of the Minimum Specs but I'm not naive enough to think that would lead to a great experience.

On that test, my rig gets a rating of 37%, which is a failing grade by anyone's terms, although what it actually means is that I can run "371 of the top 1000 most popular games listed on PCGameBenchmark - at a recommended system level", which isn't quite as bad as I thought. Still, that number is only going to shrink.

The site very helpfully analyses where my rig is weakest and tells me what I need to do is upgrade the graphics card, which will "have a big impact on your performance in games." That's quite re-assuring. I've been thinking of doing it for a couple of years but obviously the market wasn't right. Now that crypto's over (Hah!) prices are coming back to a reasonable level, so it's probably time I did something about it at last.

Badge of Shame.
I've also thought about upping the ram. Memory has been very affordable for a long time so that hasn't been what's stopped me. I just haven't been sure it would make much of a difference. Still, it's bound to do something, right? Might as well do both.

Apart from money and availablity, the other reason I've been holding fire on upgrading this six-year old machine has been the prospect of remote play. Streaming if you prefer. Playing on someone else's hardware.

I dabbled with that when I was playing New World and I'll be doing it again when the miracle patch drops. Like everyone else, I'll be back in the queues to see how the new New World plays. I haven't decided if I'll start over so I can play through (And document.) the new-user experience or if I'll carry on with my existing, max-level character. Almost certainly both, I imagine.

New World does run on my machine, albeit not without issues. Although I can play just about normally, my PC makes frightening grinding sounds and chunters away to itself, which makes it hard to concentrate. I keep worrying it's going burst into flames. 

Playing New World on GeForce Now leaves my PC silent and cool but without paying a subscription it leaves me limited to one hour sessions (Albeit chainable indefinitely.) and the performance there isn't always great. It doesn't feel like the ideal time to be investing in a streaming game service, either, what with Google suddenly deciding to pull out of the market. I still believe streaming from remote servers is the future of mass-market gaming but we clearly have a ways to go yet.

Just because I can't play Cyberpunk 2077 doesn't mean I have to feel completely left out. There's a spin-off anime series on Netflix and I just started watching it last night. I'd been aware of it since it first appeared and I had it on my watchlist but it might have been a while before I got round to watching it if it hadn't been for this.

That's the 7" single that came with the deluxe edition of Let's Eat Grandma's utterly wonderful third album, Two Ribbons and even on such a superb record it would have been a standout. I'm not convinced by the logic of putting your very best work on bonus material in collectors' packages but so long as we all get to hear it later I guess it doesn't much matter either way.

Towards the end of that Stereogum article (That you didn't click through and read earlier. No judgment!) there's this delicious tidbit: "In other Let’s Eat Grandma news, they scored the upcoming Netflix series The Bastard Son & The Devil Himself, which drops on the streamer on October 28." Oooh! Excited now!

Naturally, the first thing I did was look the show up. Turns out it's an adaptation of a YA series called "Half Bad", the first of which I read in proof quite a few years ago. I can't even remember if I liked it, much less what it was about. The publisher, Penguin, must have had expectations. They made a promo video. That doesn't happen often. Here it is. Just don't confuse it with the upcoming show.

You'd think the fact that I never read any of the sequels would suggest I wasn't very keen but you'd be one hundred per cent wrong on that. I've started any number of series with proofs, many I loved and swore I'd follow, but the problem with reading proofs is that by the time the actual book comes out you've read fifty more. I very rarely remember to follow through on series I discover that way.

My success rate with TV adaptations of YA fantasy series has been pretty good, though, so I have hopes for this one. I'd probably have watched it anyway, when it popped up in a New to Netflix promo. Now I know Rosa and Jenny did the music it's a sure thing.

A lot of indie/pop/rock musicians seem to be working in soundtracks these days. Some of them seem more suited to it than others. Let's Eat Grandma's lush, cinematic sound ought to be a natural fit. Once again, though, releasing in limited format. Not sure about that.

 Still not seeing the Cyberpunk 2077 connection? Don't fret. We're getting there.

After I'd watched the video for "Give Me A Reason" embedded in the Stereogum piece, I went straight to YouTube to download it. As I was listening to it again, I noticed several links to Cyberpunk 2077 in the reccomends sidebar. I thought that seemed odd so when the song finished I clicked through to see if I could find out why they were there. This is why.

Credited to "Rosa Walton and Hallie Coggins", it's not by Let's Eat Grandma as such, even though it sounds exactly like something they'd do. It's a solo effort by Rosa, whose "in-universe alter-ego" is... Hallie Coggins. The song plays on the in-game radio station 98.7 Body Heat Radio and features in the TV show, Cyberpunk: Edgerunners, all of which is so meta it burns. Also, talk about limited accessibility...

So far, I've  only watched the first episode of the show. It starts very unpromisingly for reasons that are satisfactorily explained within a few minutes but it's a risky opening. If I'd been flicking through, looking for something to watch, I'd have kept on going.

After the unsettling start the thing picks up traction quickly. I was solidly hooked by about ten minutes in. I'm looking forward to seeing all ten episodes. By accounts I've read, the Rosa Walton tune accompanies a deeply resonant, emotional episode in the show. I'd expect nothing less.

We'll see if watching the show makes gives me a reason to play the game. Who knows, by the time I get to the end of Episode 10 I might even have bought myself a new video card.

1 comment:

  1. I've finished Edgerunner's now, and I've come away somewhat conflicted. Although I believe that is largely down to how high expectations were raised before I went into it. I've seen people call it a 'masterpiece' and... I don't agree with that take.

    I felt like there might have been perhaps too much effort spent on integrating mechanics of the game into the story, which was a bit jarring. So honestly, perhaps your lack of playing CP2077 going in is actually going to be a benefit!

    In any event, while I wouldn't put it on the masterpiece pedestal, it *was* good. Be curious for your thoughts when you're done, for sure.


Wider Two Column Modification courtesy of The Blogger Guide