GWJ Conference Call Episode 222

Conference Call

Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit, Super Meat Boy, CES Gaming Stuff, Imagineering Our Tech Future, Your Emails and more!

This week Shawn, Cory, Elysium and Jonathan look at what CES brought to the gaming scene and imagine what the future may hold.

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!

Sponsor

CastMedium
Good Old Games

Mass Effect 2
Super Meat Boy
Razor Switchblade PC
Vizio Two Players One Screen
Onlive Coming Built In
Angry Birds Board Game
Lenovo Portable Arcade Laptop
Sony PSP Phone

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Show credits

Music credits: 

Intro/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

Suicide Mission - Mass Effect 2 - http://masseffect.bioware.com/market... - 19:58
New Worlds - Mass Effect 2 - http://masseffect.bioware.com/market... - 51:12

Comments

One of the best scoring players I've spoken to in Super Meat Boy uses a regular keyboard. Just saying. In this case, there's no technical advantage to using a gamepad given the limited controls. It's mostly about the feel.

I started playing the first Mass Effect no fewer than three times only to quit a handful of hours in (twice without even making it off the Citadel). Started up a female Shepard, finished the game. You do the math. Heck, "female Shepard" is redundant: there is no Shep but femShep. That buzzcut-sporting doofus in all the ads must be some sort of weird Alliance recruiting mascot or something.

Fact: Commander Shepard is the best sci-fi action heroine since Sarah Connor. Go on. Try to bring up a counterexample. I dare ya.

(Actually, I'd love to hear it if anyone DOES think they have a counterexample, because it's probably from something I've never read/watched/played and I'd probably be interested in checking it out. There are too few badass sci-fi action heroines around.)

Other Fact: Picard > Kirk for reasons that have been listed at great length elsewhere.

And nothing makes people feel better than buying their game at full price, going in to play it and being shown something they can spend their five bucks on immediately

Might I remind the podcasters of the angry internet people getting their knickers in a twist over a Dragon Age: Origins NPC appearing in your camp, telling you about his problems, and then c*ckblocking you unless you buy the DLC. This also happens for the Ostagar DLC with a location on the map.

Fact: Commander Shepard is the best sci-fi action heroine since Sarah Connor. Go on. Try to bring up a counterexample. I dare ya.

Ripley in Aliens. I win.

Elysium wrote:
Fact: Commander Shepard is the best sci-fi action heroine since Sarah Connor. Go on. Try to bring up a counterexample. I dare ya.

Ripley in Aliens. I win.

I'd give that to Sands, but it's a close call.

Female Shepard. That is all.

I have to throw in my vote for male Shepard, I think Mark Meer does a good job and it's mostly the disjointed recording of the dialog that makes him sound weird at times. Also it helps that it's easier to customize male Shepard. My ManShep is one of the greatest black action heroes of all time. I was never able to make a FemShep look convincingly like anything other than caucasian.

I still don't understand the Need For Speed score-chase thing and how it's subtly different. Can anyone explain it for me? Or just make me buy the game, I guess.

Elysium wrote:
Fact: Commander Shepard is the best sci-fi action heroine since Sarah Connor. Go on. Try to bring up a counterexample. I dare ya.

Ripley in Aliens. I win.

But Aliens was 86 and T2 was 91. So "since Sarah Connor" clearly disqualifies Ripley. Ipso fatso.

Male Shepard was a lot better in the Shadow Broker DLC, particularly with his old married couple banter with Liara.

Edit: And one thing that amazes me about ME2; the thread for it hasn't died yet. It's been almost a year and it's still going as strong as ever even with the sequel announced.

Quintin_Stone wrote:
Elysium wrote:
Fact: Commander Shepard is the best sci-fi action heroine since Sarah Connor. Go on. Try to bring up a counterexample. I dare ya.

Ripley in Aliens. I win.

But Aliens was 86 and T2 was 91. So "since Sarah Connor" clearly disqualifies Ripley. Ipso fatso.

You realize T2 was a sequel, right?

wordsmythe wrote:

You realize T2 was a sequel, right?

So was Aliens. So, Alien was released in 1979 and Terminator was released in 1984. Elysium still loses.

Dear God, the second transition song; the memories of the hours of mining...I'm having tremors!

Rat Boy wrote:

Edit: And one thing that amazes me about ME2; the thread for it hasn't died yet. It's been almost a year and it's still going as strong as ever even with the sequel announced.

That thread is circular though, so you have to measure the circumference to do any proper comparison.

Scratched wrote:
Rat Boy wrote:

Edit: And one thing that amazes me about ME2; the thread for it hasn't died yet. It's been almost a year and it's still going as strong as ever even with the sequel announced.

That thread is circular though, so you have to measure the circumference to do any proper comparison.

So your position is that circumference is more important than length?

wordsmythe wrote:
Quintin_Stone wrote:
Elysium wrote:
Fact: Commander Shepard is the best sci-fi action heroine since Sarah Connor. Go on. Try to bring up a counterexample. I dare ya.

Ripley in Aliens. I win.

But Aliens was 86 and T2 was 91. So "since Sarah Connor" clearly disqualifies Ripley. Ipso fatso.

You realize T2 was a sequel, right?

Neither character was properly an "action heroine" until their sequel.

Quintin_Stone wrote:
wordsmythe wrote:
Quintin_Stone wrote:
Elysium wrote:
Fact: Commander Shepard is the best sci-fi action heroine since Sarah Connor. Go on. Try to bring up a counterexample. I dare ya.

Ripley in Aliens. I win.

But Aliens was 86 and T2 was 91. So "since Sarah Connor" clearly disqualifies Ripley. Ipso fatso.

You realize T2 was a sequel, right?

Neither character was properly an "action heroine" until their sequel.

Quintin has the right of it. Sarah was the damsel in distress up until close to the very end of T1; Ripley in Alien was more like the last person desperately trying to live through the end of a horror movie.

Demiurge wrote:

I still don't understand the Need For Speed score-chase thing and how it's subtly different. Can anyone explain it for me? Or just make me buy the game, I guess. :)

The AutoLog in Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit only directly compares the time taken to complete an event. It then recommends you events to compete in depending on how close you are to the friend above you or how recently ago someone beat your time. There's probably a lot of other subtle factors going into the algorithm but that's basically what you're presented with. After adding a few friends to your list it completely changes how you approach the game.

mcwizardry wrote:
Demiurge wrote:

I still don't understand the Need For Speed score-chase thing and how it's subtly different. Can anyone explain it for me? Or just make me buy the game, I guess. :)

The AutoLog in Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit only directly compares the time taken to complete an event. It then recommends you events to compete in depending on how close you are to the friend above you or how recently ago someone beat your time. There's probably a lot of other subtle factors going into the algorithm but that's basically what you're presented with. After adding a few friends to your list it completely changes how you approach the game.

Autolog has actually not been that revolutionary for me, big surprise. The recommendations do make it a personalized leaderboard, but it never compelled me to beat others' times. It is a subtle difference, perhaps too subtle. Mostly I just look at the wall and think "Wow, so-and-so was fast", but if I already got gold I don't sweat it. Maybe I'm not personally competitive, but there's enough to do, and enough XP to earn, just trying to place first in every event. An extra 2K for topping a leaderboard isn't much of an incentive. And since I've hit level 20 in both careers, it's no incentive at all.

Now screenshot editing and sharing, that's a feature in a gorgeous game that I can't get enough of.

Man, I never tried female Shep. I'm too misogynistic, I guess.

To be fair, ManShep is the default, so it's not surprising that a lot of people wouldn't bother to mess with the gender setting. It IS a bummer, though; they're missing out.

El-Taco-the-Rogue wrote:

Man, I never tried female Shep. I'm too misogynistic, I guess.

Neither have I, but I never played the original that much to try a female character and since I imported all my ME1 characters to ME2, I never played that as FemShep, either. Before ME3 comes out, I plan on starting a brand new character in ME1 and progressing through ME2 right into 3. Might get complicated with TE5 and Batman: Arkham City due out right around the same time.

I have to keep fighting the urge to start up a new ME game. I've only ever played through the first two the once, and that's THE version of Shepard as far as I'm concerned; I want to play through the entire story one way before I start messing around with different variations. On the other hand, it's as though back when Star Trek: The Next Generation was new someone had forbade me from watching reruns while I was waiting for the new season. I need my Shepard and Tali and Moridin and Garrus fix now the same way I needed my Picard and Data and Worf and Crusher fix back then.

hbi2k:

Don't fight. Give in. With an all new class, new origin, new romance, and choosing different conversation options (not necessarily extreme), it's almost like you're playing through brand new ME content - which you essentially are.

Man, I gotta say I like Meat Boy's PC controls.

LarryC wrote:

hbi2k:

Don't fight. Give in. With an all new class, new origin, new romance, and choosing different conversation options (not necessarily extreme), it's almost like you're playing through brand new ME content - which you essentially are.

Yeah, but (to continue the TNG analogy), it'd be like watching some weird version in which Picard had hair and was a womanizing ladies man, Data was a wisecracking sidekick with a wacky catch phrase, and Troi died instead of Tasha Yar.

I mean, okay, that last one would be an improvement, but you get my drift. It'd be weird.

hbi2k:

Speaking from experience, it's actually a lot more like a "What If?" scenario where, for instance, Picard was replaced with Kirk or Blasto, the Hanar Spectre. Having the Shepards be different in key areas is key to having a different experience.

Early in the show, Corey said that Need for Speed Hot Pursuit was a "return to form" for Criterion, following Burnout Paradise, implying that Paradise was somehow a stumble, of sorts, for the developer. I couldn't disagree more. Sure, Paradise wasn't for everyone with their open world design philosophy, and I definitely got annoyed with losing a race and having to drive back to where I started in order to try it again. However, the ability to simply "drive around" on the map and discover new things was so refreshing compared with the other arcade racers I played in the past.

I think that, in many ways, Criterion set a new and different bar in racing games with Paradise, setting the tone for their own future games as well as the industry's. While the open world map may not have been in everyone's wheelhouse (pun intended), I still think it was an interesting direction to go in, rather than a simple list of races to try. I found all kinds of stuff in that game just driving around, and in many ways, I think Paradise included far more content (not in terms of cars, but races, billboards, etc.) than practically any other racing game, even excluding the DLC. Also, getting Paradise as a downloadable game on the PS3 was sooooooo nice, so if I had 15 minutes to kill, I could load it up from the couch and just drive around Paradise City without needing to race anyone. It was very cathartic to just sit down and crash a few cars.

I still love Hot Pursuit, though. Excellent game and worth every penny I spent on it. Paradise and Hot Pursuit are different games, though, and while Criterion did a great job innovating with the Autolog system, I think Paradise was more of a watershed game for them.

IIn interviews I read from the NFS:HP developers, they felt like Paradse had one fata flaw, and this is where is lost me, apparently Elysium, and unfortunately for Criterion, many others in their target demographic.

The developers found that gamers never picked up the same feel for the virtual world that you do in real life. They never had that same ability to see landmarks and know what streets were coming up, and what routes were best to take to specific corners and such. Obviously some did, too many felt like there was no direction and found themselves just out wandering around, trying to figure out what to do.

Their attempt with HP was to provide more set tracks for the game to take place on, and stop forcing the gamer to drive across town for an event. all I can say is that when reading the dev's comment, he nailed exactly what I found so frustrating about the game. it was good in so many respects, but it failed to compel me to play. To often, I had no idea why I was doing what I was doing.

I actually preferred the driving of Paradise. I finally opted out of HP because it was just too much like classic Burnout, which is just not something I ever really got into. I ended up with NFS:Shift instead, which I find to be a lot of fun.

I'm bummed that I saw that it just popped up on Games On Demand,as i would much prefer to have it on my hard drive to hit a few laps here and there. If it had been, I would have been playing it last night while I waited for the Kansas game to appear on ESPN3. Instead I took a few more attempts at Super Meatboy.

I love the feel of driving in Shift so much, that Shift 2 is becoming more and more a day one purchase for me, even though they plan to go more sim than I am looking for, as it will trend more to Forza than PGR. But they are also throwing in the autoblog of HP into Shift 2, which I think is going to go over really well.

Jayhawker wrote:

The developers found that gamers never picked up the same feel for the virtual world that you do in real life. They never had that same ability to see landmarks and know what streets were coming up, and what routes were best to take to specific corners and such. Obviously some did, too many felt like there was no direction and found themselves just out wandering around, trying to figure out what to do.

Their attempt with HP was to provide more set tracks for the game to take place on, and stop forcing the gamer to drive across town for an event. all I can say is that when reading the dev's comment, he nailed exactly what I found so frustrating about the game. it was good in so many respects, but it failed to compel me to play. To often, I had no idea why I was doing what I was doing.

It definitely took me awhile to get used to. I still miss turns all over the place, but I found that, in many cases, that "missed turn" either led me to an area I hadn't discovered yet, or let to a spectacular crash. It did affect my racing, though, as I'd miss some important turns and get behind another racer, but again, sometimes those "missed turns" became a shortcut, or at the very least helped me with another strategy. In general, I don't feel like I had to try certain races again and again any more than I would have had the races been in a menu, or set up like they are in Hot Pursuit.

Either way, I love and own both games. If anyone didn't like Paradise, they should definitely give Hot Pursuit a try, but for the $20 download that Paradise is, I think it's well worth it. I tried the demo for Shift and liked it well enough, but that style of racing isn't really my focus. Seemed cool!