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  1. I consider myself a reasonable(ish) person, one who“s usually slow to anger unless I“m navigating THOSE FREAKING MEDUSA HEADS in Castlevania. Whenever a company makes a business decision I don“t agree with, I try to look at it objectively and think of the many reasons why it could be a good thing, and why they thought they should go ahead with their plans. Not this time though, as Microsoft has gone and made a baffling decision involving PC gaming that makes me want to throw an Xbox off a balcony into a pile of other broken Xboxes and possibly even switch to Linux while I“m at it. That decision was leaving Steam and Windows 7/8 users in the dust for their upcoming PC game releases. Someone get me a sledgehammer. Let“s start with a little background though – we all know and possibly love Steam, right? It“s a great service for buying digital PC games, since you can keep them all in one tidy library instead of having to remember where you bought what game if you need to retrieve a download link again. Sure, there are other services like Origin and GOG Galaxy, but the massive number of available games on Steam absolutely dwarfs the competition, from indies to AAA to everything in between, it“s almost all on Steam. Steam also has a large community that's usually willing to help resolve issues, so you don't have to wait for Valve to take your number. Isn“t it great to have such a wide variety of games new and old, and a thriving community supporting them, all in one easy place? Apparently Microsoft doesn“t think so, at least, not anymore. Sure, if you have a look right now, you“ll see some Microsoft Studios published games such as Mark of the Ninja and Ori and the Blind Forest. But those are the last ones you“re likely to see with Microsoft“s new outlook, as part of their supposed commitment to delivering the same quality Xbox games to PC gamers. Why is that? Because Microsoft, in all their infinite wisdom, has decided that you had better be using Windows 10 and Windows 10 ONLY if you wanna play their newest games on PC, because they“ll only be available on the Windows 10 Store. Got Windows 7 and wanna play Quantum Break on PC? Tough cookies, sonny, you“d better upgrade that operating system or get yourself an Xbox One. You didn't want this anyway, right? So what the hell are they thinking? Locking their PC games to Windows 10 is no different than locking a game to Xbox One specifically, because you still need a specific system just to play the game. They are taking the console-exclusive approach and applying it to what should be a “free system†of sorts, where any range of machines with varying operating systems and configurations have access to the same games. Who does this benefit besides Microsoft? Absolutely no one, that“s who. It gets their newest OS in more hands so they can make the numbers look good, and having the games exclusive to the Windows Store means more money for Microsoft and no sharing with the likes of Valve. If you“re waiting on me to try and find a way this helps the consumer, you“re gonna be waiting a while. It means not being able to shop around for a good price. It means only having one "official" source of support if something goes wrong. And if you already hate having to use Origin for EA games, it means splitting your PC library up across different services even more. It's not even so much that games aren't available on Steam, though that is annoying. It's that they can't be played if you don't have one specific operating system, despite how almost every developer and publisher besides Microsoft (remember Halo 2's Vista-only compatibility?) optimizes their games for various versions of Windows, and sometimes other OSes like Mac or Linux. Now, I“ll be fair and note that Windows 10 is technically free to upgrade to, and you can upgrade from Windows 7, 8, or 8.1, so there“s no real reason you can“t actually play the games that will come to Windows 10 Store if you“d like. Therein lies another problem, though – not everyone wants this “upgrade.†Some people are just fine and happy using an older version of Windows, and see no real reason to switch, even with the promise of being able to play stuff like Killer Instinct or Gears of War Ultimate Edition. Oh, and another problem? Since Windows 10 was developed and released after most currently available games came out and stopped being supported, there are a handful of games with compatibility issues ranging from save files disappearing to DRM not working (which you might notice means you can“t even play the game) to sound issues and more. How is that an upgrade if you“re already an avid PC gamer? Notice how the light is on the outside of the window. You'll find only darkness within. I“m willing to admit I“ve always been biased against Microsoft, and this is just another in a long line of missteps that keeps me snuggled in the arms of Sony and Nintendo. It doesn“t help much that I“m quite comfortable using Windows 7 and have no desire to change it if I don“t have to. But I don“t think I“m alone when I say that this new approach to PC gaming is a huge step back from the tried and true method of, you know, distributing PC games across various digital stores and optimizing them for use on different operating systems. It“s a step that only goes one way – in Microsoft“s direction. In their sudden rush to bridge the gap between Xbox and PC gaming, they ended up making them basically the same thing. I suppose no amount of complaining is realistically going to change their new stance on PC gaming though, and that stance boils down to “get Windows 10 or get bent.†So anyway, there's my rant on how annoying it is that I won't be able to play Killer Instinct without an Xbox One or Windows 10. How do you feel about Microsoft's commitment to only releasing games on Windows 10? Maybe you don't care because you already upgraded to Win10, or maybe you don't care because you don't play PC games. Maybe you're just as annoyed as I am! Whatever the case, let me know how you feel in the comments!
  2. Greetings again, one and all, and welcome to the madly misguided musings of me, the man of many misadventures, Venom! (I had to stop alliterating at SOME point.) As you probably don't know, I sometimes decide to rant about gaming-related things that bug me, and this is where I do it, so hold on tight and get ready for an all-out self-entitled assault of gamer rage at your eyeballs! Today's topic: Why does playing games that were designed for co-op in single player always have to suck? Let's take a trip back to a mythical time of ripped jean shorts and grunge music, a time known as the 1990's. Back in those glorious Cheeto-dusted days, many a game came standard with the option to have a friend, or sibling, or random hobo who came in through your window sit down next to you and play a game in a co-operative mode. You didn't have to - the game would be exactly the same whether you were playing alone or with your brother who knew all the cheats but wouldn't tell you what they were. It was just a holdover from the arcades where you could stand next to another (or three more, or five more if you were playing X-Men) random stranger to make your way to the end of a game, and it certainly helped out those who had trouble playing the game alone. Fast-forward to today, and co-op is all the rage...only now, you're generally forced to experience the game with people you don't know over an internet connection, because that's obviously more fun. "are you even trying, or are you just as brain-dead as these zombies!?" But what if you don't want to play with random strangers? That's why online gaming services let you have a friends list, keeping up with the people you like to associate with and (more or less) not forcing you to interact with Sk8erBoiTHPS6969 if you'd prefer not to. Playing only with those on your friends list may be preferable to some people, like me...but what do you do if your friends don't have a game you want to play? Suck it up and play with randoms? Avoid playing the game until someone else buys it? Plead with the gaming gods to bless your best bud with today's hot new titles? You could do those...or you could choose Option D - the D is for dumb - and forge through a game alone, despite the fact that it couldn't be more obviously made to play with others without the game simply refusing to play without a full party. Why is that dumb? Don't worry, it's not you, the player, that's dumb, it's the game that's dumb for forcing you to play the same experience that would be manageable for four people but a nightmare for one. Unless you're Batman. Batman can manage any situation alone. A recent example would be the Gauntlet reboot that was released last year. It's actually a pretty good game, and each character is unique in their own way to make them all valuable as part of a team of monster slayers making their way through hordes of skeletons, zombies, and other assorted creeps. My point is, the game makes it pretty clear that you'll want to grab a full party before descending into the crypts...because if you don't, you're going to die. And die again. And die some more. And then you'll die one more time, thinking surely, you'd make it this time. This time, you wouldn't need food badly. This time, you'd take out the enemy spawn points before they overwhelm you. This time, you wouldn't shoot the food like a doofus. Yes, if you decide to enter The Gauntlet alone, you're going to be up against such overwhelming odds that the 300 Spartans would probably call you crazy for trying. You'll be drowned in a sea of enemies, struck down by traps, face bosses with ridiculous amounts of health, and sometimes just get straight up killed to death by Death himself, and all because you didn't bring some buddies along, dummy. Blue Valkyrie has never needed friends so badly. Then again, Blue Valkyrie does have a bit of an ego. Another problematic game, indeed, the one that caused me to write this, is Fuse. Fuse is a third-person co-op shooter for up to four players, but if you're playing alone, the other characters are controlled by AI because the way the game and cutscenes are set up, all the characters need to be present. Granted, plenty of games have characters simply appear in and out of cutscenes if they're not being controlled by a player, but they couldn't do that because, shut up, Fuse is talking. Anyway, the problems with playing this one alone are pretty simple - there is way too much going on in every single drawn-out firefight and boss battle, and the AI is pretty much useless. On that first topic, pretty much every room is a new battle against waves upon waves of enemies, to the point where sometimes you might wonder if they'll ever stop coming. With a team of four players, you'd headshot them all in 5 seconds and move along, but with one human and a bunch of drooling babies in the same situation, the fights become an exercise in patience and frustration. Worse is the fact that the enemies tend to focus on human players, and if there's only one, well, you're going to go down a lot and just hope the AI bothers to revive you this time. When not completely ignoring you or objectives directly in front of them, the AI can most often be found standing in front of an enemy's gun as it goes off in their face, or occasionally directly in front of your gun just for a change of pace in the direction the bullets are coming from. The one actually using cover is the only human player here. "But Venom," you say, knowing full well I can't hear you, "you're complaining about things that could easily be fixed by just not being an idiot and playing the game with other people!" Which is true, but not my main issue here, so you're probably now cursing me for taking this long to get to the point. The real problem is...why is the game set up to be the exact same experience regardless of the number of actual players? Look, I'm not a programmer, because programming is hard, y'all, so maybe I don't know enough about it to see why it can't be fixed. However, it can't be that difficult because there are some games, older games even, that scale the amount of enemies or even completely reconfigure sections of the levels (the Lara Croft and the Something Else series is a good example) to suit the number of players. Why doesn't every game do this? Why should I have to wade through 67 enemies that could easily be dispatched by four players when I'm playing by myself? Couldn't it be like, 37 enemies instead? And this isn't a difficulty modifier thing - most games these days, changing the difficulty only changes how easy it is for the player to die, not how many enemies show up or anything sensible like that. It's just baffling and, even more, annoying that developers look at their finished games and say "yes, no one will ever play this alone, because there will always be active players or all their friends will have it" and ship it off without checking to see if maybe they should tone it down for those who power through alone. If a game is made to be enjoyed with others, that's fine, but developers really need to find a way to, you know, make it enjoyable if you're by yourself as well. Maybe it's just me, maybe I'm the crazy one, but it's that constantly getting overwhelmed by enemies when playing these games that's made me that way. Anyway, guess I'll go finish Fuse now. So what do you guys think? If you're playing a game that's absolutely meant for co-op, do you just find someone to play with and have a ball, or do you not really care and take it on by yourself? When you play through certain games alone, do you wish you had a co-op partner, or wish the developers had made the game a little more kind to a lone wolf like yourself? However you feel about co-op gaming in general, sound off in the comments!
  3. Alright kiddies, strap yourself in. The Angry Leprechaun has been dormant for too long, here is another attack at your eye balls, I suppose if you read this this out loud it's an attack on your ear holes as well, but that's not the point. The console war, a vicious cycle. New consoles come out, people argue over which is better and cite various statistics, lather, rinse, repeat. I won't lie, I have been involved in the past of "Console War" hoopla and who won, lost, is in a rubber room in a straight jacket wearing a tin foil hat to keep the enemies from seeing his thoughts and simultaneously cooking his brain like a baked potato. Can be good fun and is ultimately futile. So why rant if ultimately I'm OK with it, you ask? Well first off, thank you for being polite and asking a good question, second don't interrupt me while I'm typing, it's rude, just let me get to the point on my own you impatient little... moving on. Every single day, in various news outlets/sites/forums, I can't help but see a "Console X" has already won the "Console War". (Yeah, I like that, I'm putting quotes around that for the rest of the rant, because of how stupid it is. In fact, imagine me doing air quotes whenever you read it too. For fun you can do the air quotes yourself if you'd like. Go ahead, no one is watching you. Anyway...) Whenever I see this, I am overcome with a multitude of emotions, well maybe not a multitude, it's mostly just overbearing annoyance and rage. Let's start with the fact that the 2 latest consoles have been out for just over 6 months. Their previous iterations have been around for over 7 years. You mean to tell me from 6 months of sales data, you are predicting that the white flag is waving? The fat lady is singing? Let's face it, you're an idiot. If I recall, the PS3 was off to a rocky start with it's high price tag. So you want to try telling me again that 6 months of sales figures declares a winner? Go jump off a cliff. The "Console War" isn't won with the console itself, it takes games too. Bringing me to my next point, neither the Xbox One or PS4 is worth purchasing currently. I'm sure many are going to disagree with me here and frankly, I don't care. I have played the PS4 and I own an Xbox One currently and that is only because I won it in a costume contest on Amazon. The honest truth is neither console has games for it to be a fully justified purchase yet. I'm not saying there aren't fun games out there, there are, but not yet are there any that make me want to run out and spend a couple hundred dollars. This is why out of current gen consoles, I probably enjoy my Wii U the most, while the library is small, the quality of that library is excellent. (And I'm drooling thinking about X releasing, oooooooo yeah). They will be worth it, games will come, I will buy a PS4, but until they have some console sellers, the "Console War" is still going to be at a stalemate in my mind. OoLaLa Retired Robin, Would you look at dem gams? Another thing I can't wrap my head around is, why is everyone so quick to decide a clear winner? This is one of the very few instances where I can say without a doubt, winning is a BAD thing. If there is a clear winner declared, sure be happy your console of choice is the "winner". Here's the thing, what if that "win" actually knocks the other console of of contention completely? Competition is the reason why I own a PS3, 360, Wii, WiiU, Xbox One (well technically Amazon is the reason for this). Competition is what drives innovation, what creates amazing games, what pushes these companies to be better than the other in an attempt to "win". As a gamer, you shouldn't want someone to win, you should want them to fight and win battles instead of the war. While the companies battle, we reap the benefits. The argument could be made that a single console means that all effort would be put into that console, I doubt it though. In summation, stop declaring a winner. It makes you look like a moron and I hate you.
  4. "So I Gotta Rant" he says. He says it's the first in some brand spankin' new series. Well, where's the rest of it if it's such a great new series, by gar? Well, dear hypothetical reader who only exists in my head, I'm here to answer that question for you, because today, So I Gotta Rant gets its second installment. Rejoice! Or don't...either way, enjoy. Over an hour. That's how long I've been sitting here, waiting for LittleBigPlanet 2 to finish updating. I put the game in over an hour ago fully intending to play the game, and yet, now, I've somehow lost interest in it. Somehow, the giddy excitement of dressing up a cute little Sackboy and cavorting off on a magical platforming adventure has lost its luster. Is it because I've been sitting here waiting for the empty, boring install screen to finally go away? Yes. It is because of that. Whatever happened to the days when I could just pop in a game and play it? It used to be that you could buy a game, take it home, pop it in your system of choice (or the system you got whether you wanted it or not, depending on your childhood) and it was ready to go right out of the box. Nowadays there are games that literally get patches the day they land on store shelves. Did they not have time to finish? Did they not care because they knew they could patch it? What happened to the days when game developers either shipped complete games with almost no bugs and glitches or else suffered the wrath of a thousand angry gamers, critical lambasting, and the expenses of several returned copies? You know, these days. But, alright, let's back up a little bit. There's nothing inherently wrong with patches and updates - I mean, if we'd had them in the Atari days, E.T. could have been made playable. It's actually great that some developers care enough about the community to listen for problems and actively attempt to fix them. But it also means that developers can get away with not finishing their games before release because they know they can just patch them later. Of course, most developers don't do this (because most developers aren't Terminal Reality) but the point still remains that patches have made it all too easy to turn the players into your quality control team. And when your player has to wait anywhere between 20 minutes to an hour (or more) just to play the game, they're not exactly going in with high hopes. I mean, don't get me wrong, sometimes it's well worth the wait, but other times, well... Don't mind me, just trying to find my AI. Yeah. "So you have to wait for some patches. Big deal! It makes the game more stable/playable/better/etc." you might say. But the point is that in doing so, I have to wait quite a while just to even play the game, depending on which game it is. But, fine, have it your way, patches are wonderful and great and I'm thankful we have them. That still doesn't excuse install data. Mandatory install data as most games tend to have. Because, once you've finally gotten done with the patches and your game has finally started, the first thing you should want to do is wait some more. Let's take Metal Gear Solid 4 for an example. In the 2 or 3 times I've played through the game, I never had my PS3 online, so I never downloaded any patches. Not that I needed them, since the game ran fine as it was. Regardless, I still had to sit and wait...and wait...and wait while the game installed it's massive data at the beginning and after every chapter or so. I get it, MGS4 was a huge game and wouldn't have been possible without this, but, seriously, THE WAITING. Once again, it had me pining for the days when I could just put a game in and see the title screen seconds later, not minutes/hours later. It's me again. Not to mention that some games that have optional installs don't really seem all that different with or without the data installed. So why bother? Why not make them all optional? At least then I could start playing the game immediately...immediately after the patch is done downloading, that is. So, needless to say, it's getting to be rather annoying to have to wait to play a game that I might actually be pretty excited about playing. Excitement can only last so long, and sometimes it doesn't last as long as a patch download or data install. Yes, these are necessary evils in today's gaming world, but they are an evil that I will continue to rant about, because when I grew up the worst waiting was waiting to get home from the store to play the game. Now it's waiting for the patch to finish downloading, and that will never cease to bother me. On a related note, it took me about 45 minutes to write this. The LBP2 update is at 94% now. Make your own conclusions about the validity of my annoyance.
  5. gaiages

    Gamer Rants

    From the album: The Dusty Photo Album

    Drawing or not, this happens too often.
  6. During a CNN report, anchor Erin Burnett spoke with psychologist and author of Real Boys about the possible link between violent video games and violent children. Pollack does show concern over the violent aspect of certain video games, of course, but gave a simple "no" when asked if the myth were true, going on to talk about the easy availability of weapons in the U.S. Burnett isn't satisfied, however, and repeatedly tries to turn the blame back on video games. you can watch the full report in the video below, with the violent video game segment starting at 2:58: http://youtu.be/blH3Shg3nX8 Needless to say, some people weren't too happy with this anchor after badgering Pollack into saying violent video games were to blame for recent school shootings (even though he kept saying they weren't). One of these unhappy campers is none other than Twisted Metal's own David Jaffe, who decided to leave Burnett and her network a long and angry message via Twitlonger: "Dear @ErinBurnett : you, ma'am, are at best an idiot that @cnn should be ashamed to have as an anchor. At worst, you are the worst kind of American: one who has allowed the healthy desire for success to morph into a capitalistic cancer that makes it ok to ignore the facts in order to make your product more appealing, regardless of the consequences. To make matters worse, your own views about video games- which you seem to have no problem sharing with your hundreds of thousands of viewers- clearly have not been formed by any actual research or real life experience with the medium. I am sure you will think yourself quick and insightful when you tell me- a video game director/designer accusing someone from another industry of making products for profit regardless of consequence- that I am the pot and you are the black kettle. However, if you actually listened to your guests and read the studies (aka if you actually did some....some....hmmm, what's that word you journalists have for it? Oh right: RESEARCH!) you would see you are wrong; you would see there remains- after years of studies- zero evidence of video games with violent subject matter causing real life violence. On the flip side- you know: YOUR side- there is very real evidence that our society suffers greatly when our news media fails to properly inform the public. The fact that you think a guy who 'trains'* on a shooting video game would be granted the skill to horrifically, tragically kill those CHILDREN in Norway only serves to show how little research you do before you open your mouth in front of your world wide audience under the guise of delivering news. I'm not sure what makes your argument look more ignorant: the fact that you don't back up your idiotic statement by showing a correlation to the current health of America's agriculture sector with the popularity of Farmville OR the fact that the sick, deranged evil loser who killed those poor kids in Norway had picked such a poor 'training' tool that after 700 hours of play, he was only capable of hitting little kids with his bullets versus the well armed pretend terrorists and highly skilled virtual soldiers that he was battling in the game. Shame on you. But more importantly: shame on your profession. It deserves so much better.** David *'Train' is such a stupid, irresponsible verb that you- without a shred of guilt- chew into with relish and repeat over and over because you know it helps sell your false story. ** I know journalism deserves better than you because I really love Sorkin's The Newsroom plus I saw Broadcast News back in high school at least 5 times (I had a crush on Holly Hunter- so sue me!) which means- in your world- I must have the equivalent of a journalism degree from Columbia plus a few years experience working for The Washington Post (back in the 70's, I mean, when it was really something special). So because of that, I know you will trust me when I tell you that you are not right for your current job and that you should quit and go try to be on something like The View or try to act in a movie or some such." Team Jaffe or Team Burnett? Which side are you on? Source: Game Informer Via: The Escapist
  7. Ludono

    Windows 8 Rant / Review

    So Windows 8, Microsoft's attempt at breathing new life into their traditional OS, to put it bluntly; SUCKS. Now, I'm not one to be against change, quite the opposite rather, I welcome it, embrace it, give it ...well anyway I think change is good. Change keeps the ball rolling, helps things improve upon previous mistakes and all that fun stuff. So I decided to give Windows 8 a fair chance. The Boot Up Time Never before has an operating system started so quickly and so seamlessly. From the moment I press the power button to the moment I am on the "desktop", it takes under 15 seconds. Now, I upgraded to Windows 8 in conjunction with installing an SSD into my system, which likely also helped the boot time, but I am told the Win 8 boots fast no matter if its an SSD or HDD. The OS itself... So much wasted space Now to the real meat and potatoes of Windows 8. The UI. The Metro UI. Probably the most controversial change Microsoft has made to their tried and true Windows platform. Lets take the standard Windows interface, the desktop with icons and a taskbar at the bottom. To the left of the taskbar you have the start button, a nifty button that lets you access a menu to get to other regions of your PC. The right has a clock with the date, as well as icons for programs you use. Simple, effective, easy to use and understand. Now lets take away that pesky Start Menu (You didn't really need that did you?). Lets get rid of the standard desktop as your starting point and replace it with a bunch of tiles of various shapes and sizes for different programs and apps. Lets take that useful little desktop and turn it into an app to be run alongside other apps. How do I switch between programs if I don't have a task bar you might ask, well Microsoft has replaced the oh so annoying taskbar with a much simpler option. To see which programs you have running (because apps are fullscreen and can't be put into windowed mode) simple move your mouse to the top left of the screen, then swipe down. Voila all your open apps appear down the left hand side! Ingenious! What about shutting your system down? The Metro UI main interface has no power off button anywhere. Or does it? Simply move your mouse to the top right of the screen, swipe down and voila there are those essential Windows functions you've been looking for! Search, Start, Options, and whats this? A Power button! Simple click that, which brings you to another menu, then click "Shut Down". So much simpler right? Notice the third party start menu, the odd shape/spacing of the taskbar Back to the desktop, which functions as an app, meaning every program you run in the desktop (Non-Win 8 native programs) will essentially be a program running within an app! Appception am I right? Not to mention the lack of a start button which means find programs, or anything really is incredibly out of your way as the "Search" function in the left side menu (known as the Charms menu) only searches your apps, if you want to find a program to run on your desktop app, you'll need to search within the desktop app itself (an advanced search if you will). The taskbar it gives you is about 50% thicker than the Win 8 default taskbar, and the icons on it are about 50% larger as well making everything seem like you're running at a lower resolution than you actually are. And did I mention, you can't customize or change any of that (Well, you can...by installing 3rd party software)? Fun stuff eh? The Apps Now the apps themselves. The new start menu has a bunch of default apps already on it, such essentials such as mail or messaging or games...etc. It's safe to say all are generally terrible. All have terrible UI's and almost every app with prompt you to "log in using your Microsoft account". The Games app for example, looks and acts very much like the Xbox 360 dashboard, complete with advertisements! Because we all want advertisements in our Minesweeper right? The only, slightly, positive...actually I won't even say positive but amusing thing I discovered was that these Windows games have achievements. Which amused me for a good 5 minutes trying to get an achievement in Minesweeper. Other than that. Garbage, the whole lot of apps. I'll specifically throw Skype under the bus here. Skype (being Microsoft owned) has a Win 8 app, which WON'T LET YOU LOG IN WITH YOUR EXISTING SKYPE ACCOUNT, that is unless your existing Skype account is your Microsoft account. So I ended up having to install the Windows 7 version of Skype, on the desktop app, to be able to sign in with my Skype account and have Skype windowed while I worked on a Google Doc with someone, something the app would not let me do. Sure, the Metro UI looks nice....at first, sure the boot time improvement is nice as well. The search (when it worked) was also seemingly a bit faster (though once again that may have been the SSD not the OS) but other than that, Windows 8 seems not like a step backward but rather a step out of the world of Desktop OS's into the world of Tablet and Mobile Phone OS's where the Metro UI actually works WELL. WITH A TOUCHSCREEN. ON A DEVICE NOT MEANT FOR EXTREME MULTITASKING. Imagine that. I feel slightly obligated to give this a score now because I did put review in the title of this post, so I'll give Windows 8.... 3/10 How about you guys? Anyone made the leap yet? Anyone planning to? What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below !