GWJ Conference Call Episode 176

Conference Call

Bioshock 2, Dante's Inferno, The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom, FIFA 10, Trials HD, Saving The World is So Exhausting, A Contest (Starcraft 2 Beta Key In The Prize Pool!), Your Emails and more!

This week we lift an awesome thread from the forums and discuss saving the world fatigue. It's not mentioned in the show proper, but I've just received word from our good buddy Devmani that he has a Starcraft 2 beta key up for grabs for the content winner. Deadline is this Friday to submit your entries! If you want to submit a question or comment call in to our voicemail line at (612) 284-4563.

To contact us, email [email protected]! Send us your thoughts on the show, pressing issues you want to talk about or whatever else is on your mind. You can even send a 30 second audio question or comment (MP3 format please) if you're so inclined. You can also submit a question or comment call in to our voicemail line at (612) 284-4563!

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Show credits

Music credits: 

Intro/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

"Los Pistoleros" (Ian Dorsch) - www.willowtreeaudio.com - 0:28:10
"PodunkStump" (Ian Dorsch) - www.willowtreeaudio.com - 0:46:32

Comments

I avoid RTS like the plague, because I'm not good at those games. Speaking of games I'm not good at, I am in Elysium's camp--if I suck at it, I'm not going to play it, not for too long anyway.

The question then is, how much time will you give a game before you realize you're not getting any better and that it's time to give up? In my case, 2 hours and 38 minutes.

Also to comment on acquiring more powers/items as you level up in games--what bugs me as bad as an overpowered character against underpowered foes is when a game clearly tells you you're at a boss by giving you tons of ammo and health and armor right before you open the door. This trend goes all the way back to the days of Wolfenstein 3D, and seems to be a particular thorn in the side of many FPS and 3rd person action games, for some reason.

Demon's Souls does better than most, though it still falls victim for the last battle in the Skeleton world by giving you a weapon that it is safe to say without which you would never win that fight. It is a pretty darn awesome sword though.

God of War does a decent job as well, seldom giving you much before the boss fights, but giving you a little more life every time you die.

All through the 'I'm tired of saving the world' discussion I was thinking, 'What is needed is a change of scale. You should be saving a village not the universe.' Just as I was considering heading here and posting to that effect Certis said, "I'd rather be saving a village." That'll teach me to be composing comments on the show before I've finished listening.

I do get tired of saving the world/galaxy/universe but, I have to say, I really like Mass Effects plot. The overwhelming nature of the threat works for me.

I recently finished the campaign in Halo ODST and it struck me that the story in that game was far superior to the stories in Halo 2 or 3 (In Halo 1, for most of the game, you didn't know the broad scope of the threat so it also had a more small scale feel.) It feels like the writers were let off the hook. As ODST was (at the time of it's creation) a small side project they could feel free to focus on a few characters and their skirmishes with the covenant.

Actually, I would sometimes rather NOT save the world. Or anything Every so often, I just want to get through a tough challenge, or an impossible situation.

Welcome to the hell of Ryan's Inferno

Check out 1:07 of this. Sums up the situation fairly well.

Good show again and finally my email got mentioned !! You know, the one that gets snickered at

Man, I'm so bad at the audio contests. I think every song comes from a Zelda game. lol

Great discussion on the main topic. I don't mind the 'save the world/universe' story as long as it's written and delivered well. I'm getting close to the end of ME2, and while I really enjoyed almost all of the recruiting and loyalty missions, I can't help but feel like the game has gotten too far away from the main, overarching plot. I find myself trying (mostly unsuccessfully) to remember the who/what/why details of what my true goal is in the game.

I never had that problem in ME1. There's a lot of secondary stuff you can do, but if you mostly stick to the primary missions, you never lose focus of the main story and what your role is in it. Even if the ending of ME2 completely blows me away with its awesomeness (fingers crossed), I think that BioWare could have improved the mid-game experience by trimming down the number of squad members (and the number of loyalty missions as a result) - seriously, do I really need 11 people? - and keeping a combination of the best 7 or 8 characters/loyalty stories, so that by the time you've finished recruiting them as "loyal" squad members, you haven't forgotten why you recruited them.

Rob has indeed found a game that he's good at. My jaw was on the floor when he said that he'd nearly finished the Hard levels in Trials HD after a couple of hours. I've put many more hours into that game to climb the leaderboards, but the Hard levels and beyond are so far beyond my skills it's not even funny. There's a bunch of them that have a single obstacle that I have no idea how to get past, and after throwing myself at it 50 times or more, I finally give up.

That game is brutal, so massive props to Rob for kicking it's ass.

What quality do you save the Mp3 as? Your shows are normally small-ish file size but always with good quality audio.

EDIT:

I think the MAG points are slightly misleading. I've put 60 hours into the game now and have only unlocked one new gun; all the other weapons I use are starter ones.

One can unlock grips and sights for these weapons, making them more stable and accurate. It does make things a lot easier -- but I only decided to unlock them at about 45 hours in. I didn't feel particularly outgunned when I didn't have them.

On skill, of course people that have played more and unlocked more will have a one-to-one advantage. However, if they don't have a good leader and don't communicate, they will find it hard to win (even against a team Certises).

@Jonman:*cough* Julian*cough*

garion333 wrote:

@Jonman:*cough* Julian*cough*

Can I play my usual get-out-of-jail free card and claim ignorant foreigner status? You know, because all foreigners sound alike?

I find it funny that the whole "I'm tired of saving the universe" conversation got started based on a game where the central plot doesn't involve saving the universe. Sure, you saved the universe in ME1 and probably will try to do it in ME3, but that's not the main thrust of it in ME2.

Jonman wrote:
garion333 wrote:

@Jonman:*cough* Julian*cough*

Can I play my usual get-out-of-jail free card and claim ignorant foreigner status? You know, because all foreigners sound alike?

Well, Julian's American.

I got 4 out of 6... anyone do better?

Rat Boy wrote:

I find it funny that the whole "I'm tired of saving the universe" conversation got started based on a game where the central plot doesn't involve saving the universe. Sure, you saved the universe in ME1 and probably will try to do it in ME3, but that's not the main thrust of it in ME2.

Good point...

Spoiler:

The plot is more akin to throwing a monkey wrench into the Reapers' plan. Not nearly as big as taking on Sovereign and his Geth army as they try to destroy the Citadel. They sort of did go the "save a village" route. It seems like the "save the universe" aspect in ME2 was more tonal than anything else.

Cap the guesses? Aww man, so I shouldn't have guessed on some of those?

I agree on the points of finding some guys notebook. In some games it works, when the main story is meant to be behind the scenes and not really visible to the public (Baldur's Gate for example), but it definitely stands out in games like Mass Effect. For my part, it serves to really take me out of the experience when I've just been charged with saving the universe, and I have to resolve a domestic quarrel 5 minutes later.

I for one will probably never play FIFA '10--despite how good it is--because I couldn't care less about Sportsball games. I played the hell out of DA:O and thought ME2 good, so it's just a case of different strokes. Best not to get offended.

there are hundreds of games that have you doing something other than saving the world/universe. I'll give you a hint, they're from Japan, and playing one probably gets listed on some potential sex offender registry some where.

How about a (needlessly artsy) game that has you save the universe in every side quest? The ultimate goal of the game is to find a notebook, but along the way, you have to save the universe dozens of times.

I've said this before, but I think one of the DLC packs should focus on Blasto, the hanar spectre, trying to save the universe, if only to hear his dialogue over and over again.

benu302000:

I actually found Japanese hentai games to be refreshingly honest. Here is a character driven, plot driven multi-ending choice-based game where the stated goal of the protagonist is nothing more than to get oogaba. What could be more blatantly straightforward?

benu302000 wrote:

there are hundreds of games that have you doing something other than saving the world/universe. I'll give you a hint, they're from Japan, and playing one probably gets listed on some potential sex offender registry some where.

These games are actually ones that let you destroy the universe.

"Heavy Rain" might be a good hiatus from saving the universe- now, whether or not its actually a game is another discussion.

EDIT: Ah, Certis zeroed in on this game already. Listened to that part right after I posted.

And keeping with Rabbit's comic book analogy:

Would people really care where the Turtles came from if they didn't go on to save the world from the Shredder? It's not so much that they are incredible, it's that they've done and continue to do incredible things.

doctorfrog wrote:

How about a (needlessly artsy) game that has you save the universe in every side quest? The ultimate goal of the game is to find a notebook, but along the way, you have to save the universe dozens of times.

I like it.

Love the discussion about how wearying saving the universe is - it's how I felt all through ME1. What I found incredible about the story of that game is how central human beings were to the plotline. It felt so incredibly... speciesist? I mean, it takes the American idea of manifest destiny to the stars. (and isn't Bioware Canadian?)

One of my favorite games of all time, Planescape:Torment, was not about saving the world, but your soul. What a concept. If we had more games like that, we can get over this whole games as art stupidity.

As far as the notebook quests are concerned - if there was real pressure on you -- if Bioware style RPGs were willing to be less forgiving -- each side-quest becomes a tradeoff. Then you can have interesting moral questions. Imagine: You can save this village that's under attack, but to do so you'd waste a day, and you only have two weeks before the Flibberflabber of Doom explodes! It'd give some interesting replay possibilities - what changes if the village is saved/not saved? (Yes, I know, that really screws up sequels. I don't care, I'd like to see this happen).

from what you guys said it sounds like The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom is like that game Time Donkey http://blurst.com/time-donkey/ which is pretty fun also

I can't believe nobody snickered when you mentioned the one-handed mode for Bayonetta. Was that a joke?

I think Max Payne 2 told a more interesting story than Max Payne 1. MP2 is just about the characters, their relations to eachother and their motivations. The events that take place are just kind of incidental, for the most part they're not what the story is about. MP1 is about taking revenge but in MP2 you don't have a real cause, things just play out and as such it can focus much more on the characters. I can't think of many other video game stories like that, which are just about a bunch of characters.

KotOR II is a bit like it though. You kind of save the world but that's not what the story is about, but it doesn't make that entirely clear and I think that's why a lot of people were left confused by the ending. I think its story about the self descovery of your character (and one of your party members) and that mostly wraps up quite a bit before the end. There are no answers when you beat the game instead you need to piece together everything yourself, which can be frustrating for some people but very rewarding for others. Like I said it's not really apparent that the game isn't about saving the world because you do end up saving the world in the course of the game.