Happy Father's Day weekend! A lot of men enjoy sports, so I thought a discussion about the NBA and NHL playoffs would be appropriate. The NBA and NHL seasons for 2019 are officially done and I'll give you my thoughts regarding each playoff tree. Keep reading to find out the details.
NBA Playoffs- Western Conference: Round One
I'll begin with the NBA playoffs. Truthfully, I'm not a fan of college basketball, but the NBA is one of my favorite sports leagues. For those of you who aren't familiar with basketball, the playoffs are split between the Western and Eastern conferences. Then the winner of each conference plays during the finals to win the NBA championship.
First, the Golden State Warriors eliminated the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round. As expected, The Warriors were a much stronger team, so I knew it wouldn't be difficult for them to move forward. Ultimately, the Clippers never change. A lot of basketball fans and commentators say the Clippers will be great contenders, but it never happens. They're a predictable team.
The Denver Nuggets eventually beat the San Antonio Spurs. This was one of the most interesting matches because both teams have a lot of contrast. The Spurs are good at scoring points, whereas the Nuggets are highly defensive. It took seven games to finish the first round. In the end, the Nuggets challenged the Spurs enough to keep their points down. Also, the Spurs aren't the same team anymore. They ruled the league when Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili played on the team, but that was quite some time ago and the Spurs don't have the same depth today.
I felt disappointed when the Portland Trailblazers easily defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder. It seemed like the Thunder had a pretty decent season, but they haven't thrived during the playoffs since Kevin Durant left. I find the Trailblazers overrated, but they ultimately played better.
The Houston Rockets didn't have much trouble eliminating the Utah Jazz in the first round. That didn't surprise me because the Rockets are a very strong team, especially offensively. The Jazz have a mediocre offensive, but they tend to play well defensively. However, you can't win without scoring points. Plus, the Rockets have a star player like James Harden and the Jazz doesn't have anyone who stands out.
NBA Playoffs- Eastern Conference: Round One
How did the first round turn out for the Eastern conference? As usual, the East was weaker than the West. Typically, the Eastern Conference has one or two really good teams and everyone else is mediocre at best. The Milwaukee Bucks eliminated the Detroit Pistons without much difficulty. That's what I expected because Giannis Antetokounmpo is probably the best player in the entire NBA. The Pistons usually make it to the playoffs, but they're not a threat to stronger teams.
Then the Toronto Raptors defeated the Orlando Magic. At this point, Toronto is a well rounded team with strong offense and defense. Kawhi Leonard and several other players are tough to beat. The Magic are doing much better, but they still need new players and a lot of development.
I don't care about the next group. The Philadelphia 76ers eliminated the Brooklyn Nets in the first round. Neither of these teams had a chance to reach the finals. I don't even understand how either of these teams eeked their way into the playoffs at all. Like I said, the East just wasn't very strong in 2019.
The Boston Celtics beat the Indiana Pacers pretty easily. I'm not surprised because the Celtics are actually a good team this year and the Pacers haven't progressed very much for a long time. Truthfully, the Celtics just needed to play more carefully during the regular season and their rank would have been higher during the playoffs.
NBA Playoffs- Western Conference: Round Two
Some people thought the Rockets had a chance to beat the Warriors, but I knew better. The Warriors are a dynastic team and the Rockets have a tendency to underperform during the playoffs. That's exactly what happened. Harden underperformed and the overall team didn't play very well. But Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, and the rest of the Warriors didn't have any problem making a lot of points.
I didn't know what to expect from the next group. Eventually, the Trailblazers beat the Nuggets. They're equally matched teams with a handful of strengths and weaknesses. The Trailblazers lost some players from injuries, but they usually score more points than the Nuggets.
NBA Playoffs- Eastern Conference: Round Two
The Bucks didn't have an issue defeating the Celtics in the second round. That surprised me a little bit because the Celtics were making a comeback this season. But Giannis is a really strong player. He can practically carry the entire team. The Bucks simply outscored the Celtics and that's all it takes.
This next matchup surprised me as well. The Raptors beat the 76ers, but it was a real battle. They had to play the entire seven game stretch. Apparently, the 76ers are better than I thought. Both teams have pretty good defense, but the Raptors have more players who can make points.
NBA Playoffs- Western Conference Finals
It was an anticlimactic match between the Warriors and Trailblazers. Predictably, the Warriors were much better. They might not have a strong defense, but they have multiple players who can score points in spades. The Trailblazers don't have that type of offense. I actually felt kind of bad for the Trailblazers because Golden State shut them out in four games.
NBA Playoffs- Eastern Conference Finals
This match probably shocked me the most. The Raptors actually beat the Bucks without a whole lot of trouble. I thought the Bucks had the best chance of defeating the Warriors in the finals, but that's not what happened. Ultimately, the Raptors were able to contain Giannis and the team's better players. Despite being a very defensive team, the Raptors can also score a lot of points. That makes a huge difference in these matches.
In the end, the Raptors eliminated the Warriors and became the NBA champions. I knew the Raptors were a real threat when they defeated the Bucks. Initially, I thoughts the Warriors would nab another championship, but they lost both Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson to injuries. It was the nail in the coffin. Plus, the Raptors contained them defensively as well. Honestly, I'm pretty sure a healthy Golden State team would have beaten the Raptors, but that's not important. The Raptors won their first NBA championship and they played incredibly well. I'm not a fan of the Raptors, but this championship was a big milestone for their franchise.
Stanley Cup Playoffs- Western Conference: Round One
Now I'm moving on to the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. Ice hockey might be less popular than basketball in the USA, but it still has a pretty big and dedicated fan base. The Stanley Cup playoffs operate very similar to the NBA playoffs with two primary rounds, the conference finals, and the Stanley Cup finals. I'm not familiar with every team in the NHL and my favorite groups didn't participate in this year's playoffs. It's also worth noting, the Stanley Cup playoffs tend to me more unpredictable than the NBA playoffs. Anything can happen in the NHL. It's not unusual for top contenders to be eliminated right away. Likewise, underdogs go very far and even win sometimes. Also, the conferences tend to be inverted from the NBA. The Eastern conference is usually much stronger than the Western conference in the NHL
In the Western conference, the Colorado Avalanche defeated the Calgary Flames. These teams have very different strengths and weaknesses. The Avalanche didn't have a very good season and they suffered from major injuries. I wouldn't say the Flames had the best odds either because they don't have an effective goalie. However, they can make a lot of points. Ultimately, the Avalanche took advantage of the Flames and their weak goaltending.
The San Jose Sharks beat the Las Vegas Golden Knights and I wasn't sure what to think about their matchup. It seems like those teams were equally matched in many ways. They're quite defensive, not particularly great at making goals, and the two goalies are okay. However, the Sharks are a veteran team and the Golden Knights have only been around for a couple years. It probably made a difference.
I'm a little surprised with the Dallas Stars achieving a victory over the Nashville Predators. Typically, the Stars aren't very good at making goals, granted the Predators don't have the best offense either. It just seemed like the Predators were more well rounded during the regular season, but anything can happen in the playoffs.
The St. Louis Blues defeated the Winnipeg Jets and I don't know what to think. Neither of these teams are usually on my radar. It just seemed like the Blues were quicker, scrappier, and better at scoring.
Stanley Cup Playoffs- Eastern Conference: Round One
Here's a shocker. The Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Tampa Bay Lightening. I couldn't believe it because the Lightening probably had the best chance of winning the Stanley Cup. And yet they were eliminated in the first round! Great defense and solid goaltending led the Blue Jackets to victory. Sometimes the underdog wins.
The Boston Bruins defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs and it made sense to me. Toronto is actually a decent team, but the Bruins are much faster and better at scoring. Like I said, a team can't win without scoring points.
Some fans might have been surprised with this one, but I figured it would happen. The New York Islanders eliminated the Pittsburg Penguins right away. Sure, the Penguins might be more offensive and quicker on the ice. But the Islanders are tough as nails and one of the best defensive teams in the NHL. I've noticed a trend. Defensive teams usually win in most sports. Beating an offensive team is easy if you can disrupt their ability to make points.
I don't know many details about the Carolina Hurricanes, but they defeated the Washington Capitals. The Capitals have a great goalie and their track record was excellent through the regular season, but injuries became a major problem. In the playoffs, the Hurricanes were healthier, more defensive, and their goalie was pretty good too.
Stanley Cup Playoffs- Western Conference: Round Two
It didn't surprise me when the Blues eliminated the Stars in the second round. The Stars aren't very good at making goals and the Blues were very well rounded in the previous match. It was one of the more predictable turnouts in the series.
The Sharks beat the Avalanche and it could have gone either way in my opinion. I find the Sharks a bit inconsistent and they turn over the puck quite a bit. But the Avalanche is a low scoring team who's missing some of their better players.
Stanley Cup Playoffs- Eastern Conference: Round Two
Here are my thoughts about the Hurricanes eliminating the Islanders. As usual, the Islanders couldn't get many goals, and that became a huge issue. The Hurricanes had decent goaltending and they made more points. In this case, it was good enough.
I figured the Bruins would beat the Blue Jackets. It seems like the Blue Jackets are just a middle of the road team and the Bruins are better. They're quicker, tougher, and the goalie performed quite well.
Stanley Cup Playoffs- Western Conference Finals
Was it surprising to see the Blues defeat the Sharks? I'm not sure because both of those teams were underdogs earlier in the playoffs. Overall, I would say the Blues played more consistently and stronger during the playoffs in general. I'm actually surprised the Sharks got this far.
Stanley Cup Playoffs- Eastern Conference Finals
The Bruins eliminated the Hurricanes and I assumed it would happen. Overall, the Hurricanes didn't have enough speed and effective goaltending to fend off the Bruins. It's hard to beat a fast team who's really good at making goals.
Stanley Cup Finals
This was an exciting match, but the Blues eventually won in the seventh game. I thought the Bruins might be the frontrunner, but their ability to make goals was disrupted by their opponent's hardnosed defense. Both teams were quick on the ice and the Blues had a better goalie. I have to admit, in the finals, the team with the better goalie usually wins. In the end, the Blues won their first Stanley Cup and NHL championship.
We're all done! I hope this was a fun and interesting post for sports fans. Did you watch the NBA or NHL playoffs? Are you surprised with the results? We won't be seeing more NBA or NHL games until next year, but the upcoming college and professional football seasons will begin in the summer. At some point, I'll probably cover a couple pay per views from the WWE and maybe a few episodes of UFC Fight Night. Enjoy the remainder of your Father's Day weekend and come back soon for next week's post.
Good evening! Many of you know I'm trying to cover a variety of games before the next generation of Xbox and PlayStation systems hit the market. I played The Evil Within, Borderlands: The Handsome Collection, and Until Dawn. All three of these games have very different plots and gameplay styles. I have a lot of input about these games with a smattering of positive and negative comments. So, relax and check it out. Even if you're not a gamer, this post might be an interesting way to learn about the stories and characters.
First, I'm covering a survival horror game titled The Evil Within. It focuses on a detective named Sebastian Castellanos who's investigating a mass murder at Beacon Mental Hospital. Reality becomes blurry when our protagonist encounters monsters, undead creatures, and other horrific oddities. Ultimately, Sebastian needs to figure out more than one grim mystery.
I really wanted to like this game, but it's super frustrating. Regardless, I enjoy certain elements. The Evil Within is a legitimate survival horror game with scarce resources and a slew of frightening monsters. It's important to use ammunition cautiously and health depletes very quickly. I actually appreciate that part of the gameplay. It's pleasantly challenging in some ways and faithful to the genre. Also, this game is really scary. Even the environment is creepy.
The plot isn't bad, even though it's kind of weird. It's interesting and spooky with a solid mystery. This game isn't predictable and it can keep the player intrigued for a very long time. The Evil Within could easily make players give up in a short period of time, but the story was fascinating and unusual enough to keep me roped in for several chapters.
That's the end of my positive feedback. Overall, this game is very disappointing. It's unbelievably frustrating! This might not be the most difficult game in my repertoire, but it requires tons of patience and the right strategy. Most players will probably need a game guide to proceed very far. Taking the wrong step can result in instant death and checkpoints are sparse. I wasted so much time dying and backtracking. Don't play this game in a big hurry. Slow and steady is the only way to win.
I'm not fond of the animation either. Bethesda isn't known for having amazing visuals, but this is pretty bad, even for their standards. The graphics are blocky, the characters are unexpressive, and the finished product looks like it belongs on the previous generation of game systems. Basically, the visual elements look cheap and dated. Unfortunately, poor animation reduces part of the scare factor.
The gameplay might be better if there was more music. Most of the time, there's no music in the background. I find it odd for a modern game. Good music can make a survival horror game creepier and more atmospheric, but that doesn't seem to be a factor in this case.
Furthermore, the boss fights are ridiculously frustrating. The regular enemies can be overwhelming sometimes. So, the boss battles are much worse. You'll need the right weapons and tactics to move past most of the bosses. That can be a problem is you're low on ammo or missing specific weapons. You can go back to a checkpoint and purchase more ammunition, but that will probably require a lot of backtracking. After a while, I simply gave up.
Here's my verdict. The Evil Within won't be the right game for quite a few gamers, especially for people who don't play all the time. I think it might be a good choice for gamers who really enjoy difficult settings. For example, fans of the Dark Souls series might like this game. It's also a unique experience, so check it out if you're curious. I don't think it's good enough for full price. Just buy a used copy instead.
I'll give you a general idea of Borderlands: The Handsome Collection. It's a compilation with two games; Borderland 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. Both games take place on a chaotic planet called Pandora. You'll play as a vault hunter who's searching for rare and valuable alien tech. Likewise, your competitor is a corporation called Hyperion. The main antagonist of the series is Handsome Jack and he's a goofy, sociopathic, business tycoon. It's kind of like a comical version of Mad Max in space.
Both games are quite similar, so they largely have the same pros and cons. The gameplay is a lot of fun with a huge quantity of weapons, ammo, and skills. At the beginning, you'll select a character who uses specific skill sets and it provides many options. For example, some characters focus on melee attacks, others have a bigger emphasis on firearms, or you might find one who uses explosives, and so on. The controls are user friendly and you can customize a skill tree along the way. Enemies are everywhere and killing them is very entertaining.
The Borderlands games are so funny and over the top. Both games are packed with wacky action, witty humor, and other comical elements. One of your companions is a robot named Claptrap and I thought he was a scream. Even some of his gameplay abilities are utterly hilarious.
These games are good for people who are looking for exploration and open world environments. The world building is huge with countless opportunities for exploration and side missions. These games have a linear story, but you don't have to follow it. The player can roam around and customize their experience. There's also a big variety of enemies. Overall, the Borderlands games will never make someone feel bored.
I like the music pretty well too. It fits the gameplay's mood and energy. I'll put it this way. The music is equally wacky and goofy, but that's why it works. It hypes up the player and pushes the momentum forward.
The Handsome Collection is very good, but I have some criticism. These games are really hard for me, possibly because the pacing is really fast and death is just part of the gameplay. Expect an endless number of deaths and resurrections in both games. It's easy to become overwhelmed by hoards of enemies and I got tired of dying constantly. Truthfully, there are very few consequences if the player dies because you'll respawn right away. However, it makes the gameplay repetitive and a little bit annoying.
I always have an issue with leveling up in most games. It's the same situation in The Handsome Collection. You'll never build a great skill tree by killing enemies and grinding away at the main story. It's essential to take as many side quests as possible and finding the right weapons. Many of the side missions are tedious and feel like busy work. I guess these games want the player to earn their attributes.
Leveling up is considerably easier in The Pre-Sequel, but the game is also less interesting. The plot is basic and forgettable. It's also more straight forward than Borderlands 2 and I would say that's a mistake. In general, the Borderlands games work better with a more expansive setting.
Would The Handsome Collection be a good addition to your gaming library? I think it depends. It's definitely a great choice for people who love first person shooters, role-playing games, and super fast pacing. Borderlands 2 is definitely a better game than The Pre-Sequel, but neither installment is terrible. Personally, I find the Borderlands series overrated because it's so repetitive and frustrating, but most gamers really enjoy the franchise. If you don't have this game yet, fear not. I'm still finding this game everywhere, including mainstream stores like Target, Walmart, and GameStop. You can also find cheap, new copies on Amazon. The Handsome Collection has been on the market for a while, so it's not labeled at full price anymore.
Until Dawn is the final game in this post. It's a horror game that uses the choose your own adventure format. The story takes place during an annual getaway for a group of teenagers at Blackwood Mountain. Twin sisters, Hannah and Beth, disappear and never return. The following year, their brother Josh, brings the group together again for one more reunion and possible closure. Unfortunately, they're not alone in the mountains. A mysterious entity terrorizes the group and it's unclear if their villain is a psychopath or a supernatural being. Eventually, the player finds out the answers.
This is probably my favorite game in today's post. It's really scary and a great example of survival horror. Until Dawn is a graphic adventure with elements from the supernatural, slasher, and psychological horror genres. It's a great combination of elements that don't usually go together very well.
The atmosphere and world building is pretty good. It's creepy, designed well, and hauntingly beautiful. I wouldn't want to get lost in those woods. In general, the graphics are awesome. All of the characters look realistic and the motion capture is modeled from the voice actors. For example, Rami Malek plays Josh and it's definitely his physical likeness. By the way, he's terrific in this game. I haven't seen Bohemian Rhapsody yet, but I understand why he was given a lot of praise in that movie. He's a great actor, even in this video game.
Despite having multiple horror clichés, the plot is surprisingly good. It has quite a few layers and unexpected elements. The story is unpredictable and it takes a shocking turn in a few key areas. This game has an original story and I have a feeling other titles will try to copy it.
The gameplay is impressive for the graphic adventure genre. It requires fast reflexes, strong intuition, and your choices alter the story along the way. Making correct decisions if very important and it can be challenging. This game also has quite a few action scenes. The action part of the gameplay is fun, exciting, and pretty smooth for this type of style. You'll have many opportunities to find valuable clues and hunting for them requires a lot of work. Until Dawn is neither easy nor incredibly difficult.
I'm only going to mention a couple of flaws. It relies on horror tropes and redundant jump scares. Many of these tropes are predictable and it reduces some of the terror. This game reminds me of the typical slasher film, especially Friday the 13th and Halloween.
Also, this game doesn't have much replay value. Once you've played the game, the mystery is gone. You already know the basic plot, the ending, and the major revelations. But you can play again to achieve better stats.
Overall, I would recommend this game for most people. It's an excellent and original survival horror game. If you're looking for a break from first person shooters, try it out. I'm pretty sure most gamers will enjoy it except for individuals who scare easily.
That's the end of my triple feature review. Thanks for coming back and reading my work. I'm planning to cover the conclusion of the NBA finals and Stanley Cup playoffs, but we'll see what happens. Next week's post isn't set in stone yet. Keep checking for more posts and I promise to write again soon. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!
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