What is the right attitude to take at work?

Do what you need to do, and do it well.

It’s not as easy as it sounds, apparently. Let’s talk about some of the values I’ve learnt to appreciate over the years of work.

First off, I’d like to thank a friend and mentor who hammered this philosophy into my thick skull. Eleven years on, and I’m still proud to say his words have done the most good in my professional life by far. Once again, thank you to Neo Chee Beng, without whom my life would’ve likely taken an entirely different road.


Let’s start off with responsibility. That means taking ownership of your assigned task. You’re in charge, it’s all yours, and it’s definitely all on you to make it work. It’s not an opportunity to palm it off to someone else and claim credit after. It’s up to you to give it your very best shot, and show others what you’re capable of.

Your very best shot.

Always focus on what can be done, don’t give excuses. No one likes excuses, and neither do you. Talk about what can be done. Look forward, stay positive.

Find out what needs to be done, break it up into smaller, achieveable goals. It’s all about working out each successive detail properly. Concentrate on getting the little things done, and before you know it? Mission accomplished.

If you’re not sure, is there any way you can do a quick read and learn? Anyone to ask for advice? Always do what you can to figure things out, before reaching out.

It’s all about attitude. How badly do you want to see it done? Try all ways and means to reach the goal.

What if you need something from someone else?
Eyes on the prize, stay focused and get what you need. Keep pushing (nicely, this means not sounding like a condescending bully), and never let it drop off the radar.

Be realistic, understanding and professional. Be realistic about what you are asking for. Understand the situation of others, and be professional in the way you ask. Make sure it’s understood that you’re just trying to get things done, not just because.

If you are getting delays because of procrastination from others, try another tack. Should you be asking someone else in another department for help instead? Is there another pathway you can try? Anywhere else that this question could be escalated to? Be polite, but firm.

For example, start the discussion off with the objective.
“I’m really sorry to keep pushing, but this really needs to be done.”

Move on with some suggested alternatives.
Could someone else be the answer?
“Is there someone else I should be checking with instead?”

Would a face-up meeting work things out better?
“Could we arrange for a time to sit down together and talk this over?”

Give everyone some space to work this through.
“Would you prefer I check back at an agreed time later?”

Is there another obstacle you weren’t aware of?
“Is there something else you’re waiting on?”

Most importantly, offer help!
“Is there anything I can do to help move this along?”

It’s important to keep this in mind: always be appreciative of the help others extend to you! Never take the goodwill of others for granted.


Time is of the essence.

Get your task done quick, more so if someone else is waiting on you to do their work. Don’t keep people waiting if you can help it.

Help others want to help you. Be honest and truthful in what you do (or did not do).

When you mess up, own up. It’s important to learn the power of a good apology, and no one exemplified this better than Dr Randy Pausch, who spoke about the three important parts of a good apology (among other things) in his last lecture titled “The Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams”.

I’d recommend watching the entire lecture from Carnegie Mellon, but here’s a shortened version from the Oprah Show.

I’m sorry, it was my fault, how do I make it right?

If it’s your fault, admit it. Don’t get defensive and start spouting excuses. There’s nothing wrong in saying it’s your fault, especially if it really is. Make a proper apology, focus on what could’ve been done better, and promise to do it better.

None of us are perfect, and we all make mistakes. It’s been quoted often enough, that to err is human, to forgive, divine. Before forgiveness though, there has to be an honest admission, and the sincere desire to want to do better.

Take responsibility, have the right attitude, communicate, be appreciative. Be mindful of timing. And when things go wrong, don’t be afraid to apologise and promise to do better.

For what it’s worth, I’ve seen my own life unfold the right way more often than it should. Call it dumb luck, call it fate, but I believe the right attitude’s helped more times than I’ve realised.

“If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself. The dreams will come to you.”
– Dr Randy Pausch

Birthdays: keinday 2015, the Truth year!

Tuesday isn’t the best day for taking a day off, and so it came to be that I spent the keinday at the office.

The actual day

The actual day wasn’t too bad. We’d gotten a shared birthday cake for the June/July folks last week, and that was great.

The morning was pretty prosaic, but I got a ramen lunch treat from David at Momotaro! Sam also popped by the office for birthday wishes before that, which was really cool of him. And of course, a birthday cake this year – YES!

2015_cake

This was the same cake from Le Petit Gateau V got for me back in 2008 when some of the guys were around, fond memories.

The site got smacked!

This was the not-so-fun side event to the keinday. My morning began with a text from LS, pointing out my site (yes, this site) was down. Tested it on my phone and yep, this was what I saw.

Warning: Unknown: failed to open stream: Permission denied in Unknown on line 0

Fatal error: Unknown: Failed opening required (REDACTED) (include_path=REDACTED) in Unknown on line 0

Waking up to an outage (admittedly, a non-critical one) was annoying. Plonked myself down at the computer, and after a bit of digging, realised the permissions on the index.php file were set to 00. That was fishy, and it made sense. Obviously the browser error began at line 0, because read permission was being denied. Replacing the index.php with a fresh copy fixed things, but that in turn triggered the question – why was this happening? Figured it might be a security measure from the webhost, so an email was fired off to them.

Apparently, my site was compromised and was being used as a spam relay. Hey webhosting guys, thanks for locking my site down and not letting me know, I really appreciate the support. I guess I sort of deserved that for using a grandfathered (and likely vulnerable) theme. I really liked Hemingway, and had hacked away to keep it usable throughout the years.

Step 1: Change theme.

Step 2: Signing up with Sucuri, and getting them to clean the site up. This was painful, as it involved an annual fee of $200. Great value, but it was a bit of a hit when paid upfront.

Step 3: Go through the usual post-hack measures. Limit permissions, change passwords, remove users, delete unused plugins, regenerate salts, the lot.

The Sucuri signup had a good ending though! Being an affiliate from the earlier days, Sucuri very kindly offered a free account after some discussion, so that really saved a heap. Thanks guys! Sucuri and MaxCDN have some of the best customer service that you can ever find.


Work

The past year hasn’t been too bad overall, and I got a trip to Shanghai last year, which certainly was an eye opener. It wasn’t all pretty though; the workplace went through a pretty severe round of retrenchments a few months back. I survived, but it was a quite a blow to everyone, myself included. Crushing to see friends leave, but things have to go on. Had to pick up the slack left behind, and the extra work resulted in some good karma. Put in the work and get things done, get the recognition, and the rewards will come.

It’s really great to see all the positive feedback from folks around the office, getting the recent office award, and even from the directors on recognition on all the grunt work, definitely made my week.

The Pick and Roll

As far as PnR is concerned, we’ve been slowly but surely getting our feet under us. Improved frequency of coverage, positive partnerships (especially with Basketball Australia and Eurosport), and culling general NBA coverage have been some of the major milestones. The idea to remove general NBA coverage made a lot of sense. There’s fierce competition in that broad topic, it’s hard to gain differentiation/recognition. On top of that: the site is already Australian basketball-centric anyway, so why not focus the NBA towards that niche too?

Let’s not even start talking about the herculean efforts it has been, trying to ensure consistent coverage with a huge team that needed a lot of motivation to keep writing. The strain I faced on pushing topics out, encouraging writers, editing, publishing and promoting was enormous.

I was so burnt out at the end of the playoffs, but have recovered and am getting back on track, no small thanks to the fantastic work from Alistar, Hayley, Winston and Jayme that’s helped so greatly with Aussies in NBA coverage. Streamlining the team has helped keep me sane.

Our core (Steve, Damo, OU) have been nothing but solid, something I’m sure a lot of other sites lack. Big props goes out to guys like Brendan, Grant and Dean for their work as well, and also to people like Tom Read for all the encouraging comments.

The year has been mostly good. I’m writing faster than ever, coverage pieces are shorter and I’m slowly tuning my game. The knowledge part of it is still the biggest gap, and I’m glad the internet is there as an invaluable reference – writing with nothing but my noggin would have been tough at times.

The biggest milestone for me on the PnR end, was being able to interview Dante Exum – what an experience! Ask me about the possibility of that a few years back, and I would’ve laughed and gone nah, that’s crazy.

Life

Not much to say here, except that life has been peaceful and pleasant, much the same as it was last year. Once again, much thanks to the family for working around me for times when I zone out and go into one of my get-things-done mode, and blithely ignore everything else.

There was this fun (not so fun) episode early in the year, when almost everyone in the house had food poisoning, and all the adults (except me – I had milder symptoms) were just limp and comatose in bed for the better part of a day. Lots of Hydralyte helped, but that was a scary thing.

And oh, I had a molar yanked. It sounded like a frightening prospect at first, but I don’t even notice the gap anymore. Much thanks to Dr Pippa Robinson for handling it painlessly, been good since.

Elly has been very good for the most part, until she gets into one of her raging crying fits. And then she’s a horrible bundle to deal with. It’s as much a learning process for her as it is for us however, and knowing her quirks helps minimise these episodes.

Keilen (I think I’ll call him Lenny in future) is firmly attached at the hip to mum these days. Overattachment is a bad thing, and we’ll have to slowly sort it out as things go along. He hasn’t been quite as firmly disciplined as Elly was in her younger days, which is part of the fun of being a grandparent – you get to spoil the kid! But when he’s in his fun bubbly mood, he’s an absolute pleasure. Adventurous, stubborn as hell, and a constance menace, Lenny is going to be a walking disaster in the days ahead.

Again, I have been quite remiss with the catch up sessions. Time is absurdly compressed these days; it’s hard to get out on weekdays because I have to charge home and grab Elly from daycare, and Saturday mornings are usually major snooze times. That effectively leaves Sundays and maybe Saturday arvo at best. Things will get better as the kids grow up and leave their naps behind, but for now it’s in a sort of holding pattern.

I’m glad I didn’t miss some of the big stuff, like Bill’s buck night, ahlong’s wedding, seeing WY, QL and ZL’s kids, getting out for KTV time with my singing buddies Vale, HY, Sharon! (Yes, KTV is important.) And all the friends I managed to meet over the past year whenever I got back to SG, like the Swim Team folks, LH and WJ, among others. And also to the other folks, my ex-Netbay people and also Andrew/Gen for catching up, very thankful for that!

Life with the boys Sam, Roland and David and the funny-as-hell work lunches have been an amazingly enjoyable period of my life, and I’ll always remember the lunch gang fondly.

Holidays

No international trips (those endless flights to Singapore didn’t count), but V and I actually managed quite a few getaways, huge thanks to the mother and Stan for helping out with the kids.

We headed out to the Dandenongs for Christmas, and went over to Daylesford for the wedding anniversary. And of course, the birthday weekend.

The birthday weekend

I had a pretty good weekend with V! It’s been ages since we’ve had an extended romp in the city, and this was more or less what I’ve always been wanting to do. A couple of nights away from the kids, having time to ourselves. A stay at a classy hotel, good solid conversations, couple of soaks in the jacuzzi, man. Life is perfect. V also enjoyed the stay a lot. The first night we were there, she just sat at the couch and went, it’s so good to sit there and enjoy the peace without having something always going on in the background.

Let’s not forget about brunch at The Hardware Société (pork belly, yum) and The Grain Store in one weekend, that’s a first for sure.

Catching movies at the theatre, really good too. Thoroughly entertained by Ted 2, and Jurassic World was underwhelming. Of course, it might’ve been that Gold Class seats were too comfortable to begin with, which in turn resulted in me getting some early shuteye.

Basketball

I’m pretty sure I haven’t been near a basketball court in three months or more, so yes I am in a rather depressing situation. The closest I’ve come to sinking baskets these days are popping balls into wastepaper bins – gotta keep working on my shooting stroke!

Will have to find the energy to get up in the weekend mornings and play ball. Soon.

Personal

I haven’t noticed much changes this year. Perhaps it’s been more a constant journey to improve the way I talk, the way I think, and the way I present myself to others.

Perhaps the one biggest perspective shift, would be the rather clinical view I take on content (TV, online) these days. Everything is seen as a pitch, and it’s all about giving a tailored presentation that appeals to the target audience. The best presented pitch wins, period.


Presents

What do you get when you cross Back To The Future with Transformers? This.

11754704_10152939421421994_1604847484_o

Marty McPrime apparently. Pretty rad T-shirt from the brother!

ZM and XX sent the latest issue of Dear Boys Act 3 over, along with a card. Love it! Thank you both so much for the thought.

zmxx

亲爱的KEIN-SAN!

祝你身体健康,心想事成!!

生日快乐!

明明&香香
4th JULY 2015

Secret present from LS! A Memobottle that can easily fit into a bag, begone y’all cylindrical bottles. (Just kidding. The car’s drink holder is still unfortunately circular. I still need one other one at least!)

memobottle

Cards

The card arrives once again! Courtesy of LS.

11768608_10152952576971994_2058397459_o

On this special day, I’ll like to thank you for being there for me; a special light in my life.
Throughout the ups & downs, you were always just a tinkle away.

You have a way of making the good times better & the less-than-good times bearable.
Thank you for making a difference, not just in my life but I’m sure in the lives of many of your other frens!

Dearest old fren,
Kein

Simple card for a Simple Man! Happy Birthday ^^

The world is a brighter place because of you!

Love from
LS

And here’s my first ever birthday card from Elly. This is probably what I look like to her, complete with sarcastic smirk:

ellycard


WhatsApp

ahlong: Before the day is through and the flurry of well-wishes descends upon thy.. Happiest Birthday, good health and blessings of a fortuitous nature to you bro..

Stan: Happy bday to you, another year wiser now

Bill: Happy birthday brother!!!

SJ jie: Hi di, happy birthday to you! Things look like they going well for you, so I wish you good health, great energy for running after your kids (reserved for your kids not basketball! ;p), and that everything will be 顺顺for you. :) All the best!

LS: 👍 👍 👍 Happy birthday!!!

ZM: Omg! Today is your birday ! Happy Birthday my most hated friend in this universe … may you continue to be my most hated friend till the end of time 😂

HJ: Happy birthday!! Have a great one :))

Jianhao: Happy birthday bro…. :)

CL: Hey hey, Happy Birthday !!!

Cherie: Happy birthday, Mr. Chua 🎈🎊🎉🍰🎂

Estee: Happy Birthday!!!! Hope one day you don’t need to work for sleep hahaha

PR: Happy birthday, Kein!!!

Dinesh: Happy birthday bro! Long time no see but friendship doesn’t fade! Wishing you even more luck and happiness in the future. Oh and satay. I wish you lots of satay

Sharon: hope im not too late=) may u enjoy ur burf with ur dear ones tdy happyburfffffffff

Facebook

LS: Happy birthday to my dearest fren ( AU time). Though we rarely meet, I treasure the random chats we have! Belated card otw! ^^ Awesome bday once again!!!

Dad: 生日快乐,心想事成,步步高升………

Law: Happy birthday to you (and me), Kein.

Jen: Happy birthday Kein, I hope you have a wonderful day

Roz: you’re old mate. hbd bruh.

Cousin Noelle: Happy Birthday Kein..

Yen Shuet: Another year older, another year wiser.. Happy Birthday!!

Greg: Happy Birthday KC !!!

Meishan: Blessed birthday, dear friend. :) The song says it all.

Mat: Happy birthday mate

Momo: Happy birthday Kein!

XX: Happy Birthday Kein!

Happy birthday! 😄

Weizhong: Happy bday bro ☺ have a great one ☺

CP: Happy birthday, frd!

Uncle Loh: Happy Birthday Kein!

Daryl: Vaguely remember it’s sometime in mid Jul. So now jump on the bandwagon and wish you happy birthday + many happy returns.

Ashley: Happy Birthday… enjoy ur special day with lotsa smiles n laughters

Jack: Happy Birthday Kein!

Albin: Happy Birthday Kein Chua

HQ: Happy Birthday!

Meihui: Happy birthday!

Mandy: Happy birthday have a great day ☺️

Julian: Happy Birthday Brother! We ball soon!

Kenneth: Happy birthday Kein! Have a good one!

Weiliang: Happy birthday!

Eugene: Happy birthday!

Kenrick: Happy birthday Kein! ☺️

Benny: Happy birthday !!! good health and happy days!

Nash: Wish you many many happy returns of the day superman

Lukas: Happy Birthday Kein!!!

Cousin Wenjun: happy birthday^^
wish you all the best^^

Dave: Happy birthday brother! Have a great one!

Mike: Happy birthday Kein!

Murray: Happy birthday mate. Hope you had an awesome day

Joyce: happy birthday!!

WY: Happy Birthday!!! May all ur wishes blossom true on this special day! *wink* *wink* 😉😘

NZ: Happy Birthday! mmm… hows it going so far? keinday 2015

From my winning folks in the AITNBA team:

Winston: eh?! Early happy birthday then! Enjoy your day Kein!

Alistar: Champaign showers at 12

Jayme: Happy Birthday Kein! Same day as Dante, something in that.

Hayley: Happy birthday Kein!

And here are two of my favourite people:

Steve: How was your birthday weekend away KM? Happy Birthday big fella! Hope you had a great day ☺

Jim: Damn, I missed your Bday! Rock on Keinmeister! You are the standard that everyone should subscribe to! Wait a minute it’s still Tuesday! Happy Birthday Mate! Damn alzheimers!

And belated wishes as well, including ones from people at the office like Ashish and Simon, love ’em all:

Shuxian: Happy birthday!

Zhiwei: Happy birthday to you!! ☺

Adele: Happy blessed birthday!🍦🍭🎁🎂🎉🎊🍰


What will the year ahead bring? Hopefully good health, and good strides made in everything else from family to work. (And hopefully a longer holiday to somewhere else.) And satay. Very important.

A stolen moment.

We hadn’t seen each other in a while. The dogs played amongst themselves, while we talked. Of everything, yet seemingly nothing. She looked like the weight of the world was on her shoulders.

“You look like you need a hug. Come on.”

I stepped close to her. “A hug.” I repeated.

Sitting down, without a further word, I embraced her.

After a little while, she hesitantly put her arms around me as well, and lay her head on my left shoulder, melting into the warmth of the moment. We stayed like that for a while, blissfully uninterrupted. It felt good. more importantly, it felt right.

After what seemed like an eternity, we finally got up, with more than a tinge of unwillingness.

“It feels like my life is finally free of regrets,” she looked at me with a smile.

Me too, Sy. Me too.

We should all have four day work weeks.

At least, that’s what V laughingly suggested earlier. It’d work only if every other country out there did it, otherwise us people in Australia are gonna be just a wee bit too laid back for work to function.

One for rest, one for family, and one for… moping aka dread about the next day being an inevitable work day. She loves the great countdown.

I’m thankful for long weekends though. Way behind on my basketball these days, but the urge to hibernate is just so strong. Cold weather obviously, doesn’t help. Does dribbling the ball at home help? Does throwing stress balls around the office help? Hopefully they do.


It’s fascinating how much time seems to be a crawl for certain topics, but yet absolutely seems to streak like a bolt of lightning in others. For example, the kids seem to have been around forever, but it’s only been a short three years.

It’s hard to summarise how much of a lifechanger they have been, but I guess it’s a make-or-break process: either you make it and you come out the better for it, being a more responsible/mature/patient/rational-at-times human being for it. OR you rage quit and become a really shitty parent. Not much of a choice really, I’m trying hard to be the former.

On the other hand: can’t believe it’s been bloody five years since Andrew first left Melbourne for his stint in Singapore. And here’s the clincher: my brother’s actually hitting 30 in a couple of years. Well, it’s less impressive when my 36th (!) birthday will happen three days before his 30th. It’s a logical thing, but just a little unnerving to imagine him being 30 already.

Un-bloody-believeable.


Things have been up and down on the work side. I survived a rather severe round of retrenchments, and it was rather upsetting, to say the least. Numerous people I’d come to view as part of my life, were just ripped away in the space of a day. Work is work, and I got over it, but it was an experience. We’re still trying to get our footing under us, and I’m trying to help with more things on the side while juggling my usual tasks, but it hasn’t exactly been easy. I suspect I’m gonna be catching up on things for a while.

Less mentioned, is the fact that the bunch of guys I always had lunch with also left within weeks of each other. That also left somewhat of a hole; just miss laughing at all the shit we talked about every day. I’m glad they’re on better gigs, but the past months with the gang truly remains one of my fonder memories at this job.

The PnR side has been rather interesting, to say the least. I was, and still am rather drained by the constant writing. It’s slowly getting easier as I learn to write quicker, but it’s still a tiring process at times, especially when you know you’re racing against the clock to put something out. Game 2 is tomorrow, so full steam ahead – let’s hope it doesn’t degenerate into a lopsided victory.

The good side, is that the weekly newsletter will be rotated among the core moving forward, and I can take a six-week breather in between.

The constant urge to keep innovating on the site however, has taken a backseat for now. I guess I finally ran out of gas; it was bound to happen sooner or later, given the breakneck pace I was driving myself to work at. Things need to be done, but it’s no longer a “never put off what you can do today” mentality; I’m just more mindful when it comes to spending more time with the family and resting myself up these days. It’s a marathon, not a 400m sprint, and finding the right pace is pretty important.

I’m a real stickler for using the right words, so here’s a pet peeve: the use of “we” when the task involves only one person (usually me). Last time I checked, we involves you and me at minimum. Don’t make it sound like teamwork (yay!) when it’s not. Be specific, outline the task and name the participants involved.


More random comments.

  • Fuck it’s getting cold.
  • The first season of The Flash has ended (r/FlashTV has been awesome), I’m bored. It might just be time to check Daredevil out. Introduced V to the series during our last weekend getaway, and she’s slowly binge watching her way through. Slowly.
  • And did I mention Google Inbox is pretty cool? I hate the lack of an archive button though.
  • It’s been a long time since I last read a new book –I do have a list of to-reads though– driving has taken that away from me. I know, audiobooks are an option. Still deciding if I should stop listening to basketball podcasts, but Bill Simmons’ departure from Grantland definitely makes the debate a lot easier.
  • Definitely not a life milestone: stalked so hard on bemusedtots’ blog. Some of the things I read there are really fascinating (like Chinese poems, life thoughts and movie reviews), and some are just fond reads because they talk about people I know. The cheerful, guile-less writing just seems to flow and make it all such an easy read.
  • Was kinda engrossed (I’m 100% in on most things I do, and gaming is sadly one of them) in the Transformers: Rising mobile app for a while, until I realised almost every other MF player was a VIP (aka paid) account, and there was no way I could overtake or even catch up to them, despite spending consistent effort. Not worth my time, NEXT.
  • Re-read the comic version (all 252 issues) of 大唐双龙传 because it’s still a cool story. Funny how re-reading it actually made me cast a more critical eye on the artwork, and notice how shoddy some parts of the series are (it felt like filler arc artwork in an anime series), and how the artist actually changed towards the end – the difference in art was frankly, quite noticeable. Filing this under things you nitpick when you get older.
  • Finally caught up on Dear Boys Act III up till chapter 78 (aka first chapter of vol 19), albeit in raw format. I can’t understand kanji even if my life depended on it, so dialogue aside, all I know is the basketball side of thing’s still progressing really well. Damn foul trouble though.
  • Just read about a pre-2014 Mac backdoor vulnerability that is not going to be fixed, and the only precaution you can take is to disable sleep mode. Good job Apple.
  • Kickstarter addict finally received a few packages recently. Stackerware is pretty cool, I love that all the lids are the same damn size, and I don’t have to ever hunt for those odd-sized lids again. And having plastic containers that are freezer/microwave/dishwasher-proof, are very handy. Also received Growfloats (aka hydroponics), I’ve yet to get started on it (no seeds purchased yet).
  • The biggest epiphany or life lesson I had this week: the virtue of focusing on a task (or staying focused in the moment) cannot be overstated. Immersing yourself fully in the experience makes it all the more richer for yourself and everyone else. Skimming by half-heartedly and with poor comprehension or doing a half-fucked job because you were distracted/multitasking, is a disservice that you should seek to avoid.

So there you go, a super condensed entry with random thoughts on the life of yours truly. Hopefully I’ll be more consistent with writing moving forward.

What I liked and disliked about The Order: 1886 on PS4

tl;dr – Fell flat of original expectations.

Warning: spoilers ahead.


 

Things I liked

Sniper rifle targeting.

Pretty spot on, didn’t shake too much. Much better than Uncharted’s Dragon Sniper Rifle – that one was more realistic and tended to bob too much.

Character/costume design, dialogue.

Excellently done. Characters didn’t feel shallow, dialogue was authentic, costumes were brilliantly done. I’d grade this game a 10/10 if it was based off this category alone.

Backstory.

You can see a lot of effort has gone into creating this world. Every inch of it looks so polished, both visually and in terms of the story design. Things like the Order’s usage of knightly names from the Arthur-era knights, the use of Blackwater to revive the Knights, cool-looking weapons, cut scenes that looked like they came out of an actual film, to flawless lighting and textures of every map, there’s really not much to nitpick.

There’s likely a reason for all the effort, and I would guess it’s in preparation of a multi-episode series – no surprise if it happens.


 

Things I didn’t really like

Weird plot progression.

It began as a war between the Knights and half-breeds. Half-way through the game, we suddenly had vampires entering the equation. The East India Company is shipping vampires in bloody crates to the rest of the world! Hastings is a vampire! Uh, whatever happened to the Lycans (half-breeds)? But sure.

And Lucan (should’ve guessed from his name, too damn close to Lycan), who’s incidentally the Knight Commander (aka yet another professional half-breed killer) is revealed to be a half-breed himself, and talks about betraying Galahad as protecting his own kind. WTF bro? I’m sure you’ve killed enough half-breeds over the decades/centuries of your life. Unless when you said “protecting”, you meant sending them to the comfort of the afterlife. Lucan’s story was never explored in depth, which felt like a waste. In a single scene, Lucan goes from being the trustworthy compadre, to the archvillain for this episode. Of course, Galahad did him in. And that’s it. The. End.

And yes: how weird is it that Lucan’s father (the effing Lord Chancellor) adopts a half-breed as his son and expects him to kill his own kind without a word of complaint, and is not surprised when his son turns out to be a traitor to the Order? And refuses to kill his own son, but handballs it to Galahad with some vague mumbo jumbo instead? Like mate, are you seriously the leader of The Order or what? Bloody poor example of a role model, that’s what you are.

You know what I would’ve wanted to see? If the game revealed that the Blackwater the Knights took, actually was a variant of what turned humans into half-breeds. That might have been more interesting, and raised some fun questions.

Lack of freedom.

You’re basically just there for the ride, and playing when there’s fighting to be done. Very fixed, linear game that just asks you to tap different buttons to move on, basically. The best part came at the final scene, when you had to hit R2 to fire the gun, and of course Galahad killed Lucan. The game ended right after.

I was like, SERIOUSLY? WHY MAKE ME PRESS A DAMN BUTTON IF IT’S ALREADY BEEN DECIDED FOR ME? Giving the gamers a choice to kill or not kill Lucan (and diversifying the storyline) would’ve been much better. Just saying.

Galahad does not have a reflection when he looks in the mirror.

Don’t take my word for it, try it yourself. Is this intentional? If it wasn’t, big blooper.

Button mashing sequences.

Times when you have to get your right thumbstick to that indicated spot, and hit a random button. Annoying as hell.

Backstory.

The problem? It’s so underutilised. Nothing to collect. No real interesting trinkets that could fill the gamer in on the world’s history for example. The phonographs were too brief. Random photographs you could’ve picked up, but not much explanation. I had difficulty read the papers I picked up at various spots. Plenty of rooms that had NOTHING of interest. Look at The Last of Us, the contrast is just so evident.

Game length.

Too short, way too short. I completed the game in about 8 hours. Probably could have been less if I hadn’t nosed around, and wasted an hour at least on that last big battle in the catacombs, when about a million company guards jumped me, along with thermite-toting bozos and detonator launchers galore.

Saving the game.

No save points, looked like they were all autosaves. So, no chance of saving and retrying different scenes? Or maybe I’m just an idiot who couldn’t figure out how saving was done – that’s highly possible.


Overall. I thought the game just fell short of what it could’ve been. Be it an attempt to deliver on time with limited resources, or planning issues, it’s just a pity. This game was on my must-play list, and I’m a little bummed it wasn’t as great as I thought it would be.