GWJ Conference Call Episode 241

Conference Call

LA Noire, The Witcher 2, Fancy Pants Adventures, Twitter Questions, Voicemails, Your Emails and more!

This week Shawn, Julian, Cory, Rob Zacny and Allen talk LA Noire, The Witcher 2 and plenty of your emails and Twitter questions!

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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CastMedium
Game Thing Daily
Good Old Games

The Witcher 2
LA Noire
The Fancy Pants Adventures

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Show credits

Music credits: 

Intro/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

L.A. Noire - Main theme - http://www.rockstargames.com/lanoire/ - 0:38:28

Comments

I think I speak for all us Witcher fanboys over in The Witcher 2 - Catch All thread when I say, all you guys on the podcast who haven't started playing TW2, start playing TW2! Would love to have a bigger discussion of the game on the podcast.

Like the transition music last week, we seem to be missing one of the voicemails, the one proceeding the "Steam Conference" bit. Just thought you should know.

mwdowns wrote:

I think I speak for all us Witcher fanboys over in The Witcher 2 - Catch All thread when I say, all you guys on the podcast who haven't started playing TW2, start playing TW2! Would love to have a bigger discussion of the game on the podcast.

Same! I hope there's a spoilercast too, they're always enjoyable

mwdowns wrote:

I think I speak for all us Witcher fanboys over in The Witcher 2 - Catch All thread when I say, all you guys on the podcast who haven't started playing TW2, start playing TW2! Would love to have a bigger discussion of the game on the podcast.

I'll admit, I'm intrigued. If I can jump into it without having to slog through the first game -- not a dig on its quality, but on my simple time constraints -- I'm happy to give it a go.

Demiurge wrote:
mwdowns wrote:

I think I speak for all us Witcher fanboys over in The Witcher 2 - Catch All thread when I say, all you guys on the podcast who haven't started playing TW2, start playing TW2! Would love to have a bigger discussion of the game on the podcast.

I'll admit, I'm intrigued. If I can jump into it without having to slog through the first game -- not a dig on its quality, but on my simple time constraints -- I'm happy to give it a go.

Penny Arcade has a good comic on Witcher 2 today. Might make you reconsider.

Shoal07 wrote:
Demiurge wrote:
mwdowns wrote:

I think I speak for all us Witcher fanboys over in The Witcher 2 - Catch All thread when I say, all you guys on the podcast who haven't started playing TW2, start playing TW2! Would love to have a bigger discussion of the game on the podcast.

I'll admit, I'm intrigued. If I can jump into it without having to slog through the first game -- not a dig on its quality, but on my simple time constraints -- I'm happy to give it a go.

Penny Arcade has a good comic on Witcher 2 today. Might make you reconsider.

The Penny Arcade comic is ridiculous. They said the same about Mass Effect, both games have manuals. The game is difficult, but the first fight is not.

Demi, you can totally jump into the second one. Just make sure you get a silver sword ASAP, apparently you start without one.

MrDeVil909 wrote:
Shoal07 wrote:
Demiurge wrote:
mwdowns wrote:

I think I speak for all us Witcher fanboys over in The Witcher 2 - Catch All thread when I say, all you guys on the podcast who haven't started playing TW2, start playing TW2! Would love to have a bigger discussion of the game on the podcast.

I'll admit, I'm intrigued. If I can jump into it without having to slog through the first game -- not a dig on its quality, but on my simple time constraints -- I'm happy to give it a go.

Penny Arcade has a good comic on Witcher 2 today. Might make you reconsider.

The Penny Arcade comic is ridiculous. They said the same about Mass Effect, both games have manuals. The game is difficult, but the first fight is not.

Demi, you can totally jump into the second one. Just make sure you get a silver sword ASAP, apparently you start without one.

I think the comic makes it out as the first fight, but in their post it seems it might be a little later in the early stages of the game.

PA wrote:

When I got in, he told me that he had died twelve times at the same spot and then quit. I knew the spot he was taking about; I’d died there myself.

Forty-seven times.

He didn’t believe me when I said “forty-seven,” but I started counting it. It’s partly my fault. I wanted to see if something was possible, and it wasn’t! It really, really wasn’t.

Tycho goes on to explain the challenge which arises when you make starting fights difficult without explaining how to either perform certain actions in the game which would help, or educate you on whether & how you should prepare for a fight.

Regarding the technical issues with LA Noire that were mentioned, I'm one of the few people whose console has frozen/crashed while playing the game. In fact, I've had a problem twice, and I still have 6 cases left to do. The second occurrence wasn't that bad - froze on the black screen between the case completion summary screen and the next military flashback that was supposed to play.

It's the first occurrence of a problem that was more severe. I was in the middle of playing through one of the homicide cases. I had just gotten into the car about to choose the next location to drive to, when my 360 suddenly turns off. I look at it and see what appears to be the dreaded RROD. The 3 sections of the red ring are slowly flashing, but also the little power icon in the center is flashing rapidly. This 360 isn't a slim model, but isn't that old either, especially when considering how much (little) use it's gotten. So I'm thinking this can't really be my 360 dying. I unplug it for about a minute, then re-plug it and it starts up and plays fine while I replay the case I was doing.

One could argue that this is a sign that the current consoles are having a hard time keeping up with what developers are telling them to do, and that we need newer, more advanced consoles. But because I'm primarily a PC gamer, my reaction is further hostility towards Rockstar for not releasing their %&#@ing games on PC. Assholes! With as much polish as Rockstar's games get, I'm sure that my capable rig would play the game just fine, without shutting down in the middle of a mission. We all know that piracy is easier on PC, but I bet there's plenty of piracy on the consoles too. Hell, just release your games on PC via digital distribution only. That's much better than no PC version.

On a completely different topic...

I'm going to have to call out Jonathan Downin. Once upon a time, there were outtakes at the end of every show. When they stopped appearing, at first I thought that there just weren't enough of them to include an outtakes section. Then after the sixth or so consecutive show with no outtakes, I accepted the fact that even if there were plenty to use, there was never going to be an outtakes section, no matter how much I enjoyed them. But in this show, Allen (IIRC) calls attention to how many outtakes happened, so I'm thinking 'surely there will be an outtakes section this time; it's being talked about during the show'... only to be disappointed when reaching the end of the outro music. WTF?

Dammit Shawn, you just made me buy the Witcher 2. I was hoping to wait for it to drop in price a bit (and I was going to finish the original Witcher), but you sold me, little that you said. Plus I just upgraded my rig to Sandy Bridge (still using my 460) and it's killing everything I throw at it. So, time to play something that pushes it to its limit.

(Edit: Btw, I think it was your GRRM analogy that pushed me over. That and I didn't want to go back and play the crappy fighting mechanics in the first game. Yuck.)

Demiurge wrote:
mwdowns wrote:

I think I speak for all us Witcher fanboys over in The Witcher 2 - Catch All thread when I say, all you guys on the podcast who haven't started playing TW2, start playing TW2! Would love to have a bigger discussion of the game on the podcast.

I'll admit, I'm intrigued. If I can jump into it without having to slog through the first game -- not a dig on its quality, but on my simple time constraints -- I'm happy to give it a go.

The stories are more or less separate, the only thing you miss out on is familiarity with the world. The first game was just like the sequel though, it didn't explain much to you, instead you gradually learned about the world through osmosis. It's nothing like Mass Effect in terms of having to play the first game.

There will be references to things you don't know, but some of that will be there even if you played the first game and you figure it out anyway. I actually like that the game doesn't have lots of exposition just to explain everything to the player.

Just youtube the opening cinematic and ending cutscene of the first Witcher, and it gives you all you need to know for Witcher 2. Opening tells you what a witcher is, and ending sets up the context for Witcher 2.

So have the Rift players actually done anything with the, you know, rifts? Based on my experience with the free trial, this one seemingly minor feature has given me a very different experience from WoW. For one thing I'm grouping up with people more regularly than I do in WoW; it's easy to jump in and out of rift groups, and it doesn't mean committing to a full dungeon run. For another thing, I'm starting to recognize names of players in the same level band as me. That's NEVER happened in WoW. In WoW, if they're not in my guild then they might as well not exist. Rift's rifts and invasions have given me a mechanical reason to care about the other players in the world. If you don't call that a significant difference then I don't know why you're part of a gaming community in the first place.

P.S. You folks in a regular static group might want to figure out how to let other people join you for rifts and invasions. I don't think that's turned on by default. Either that or the duo I ran into the other night had deliberately turned it off... I don't think they did though, since they were good about helping me even though we couldn't see each other's life bars.

HedgeWizard wrote:
MrDeVil909 wrote:

The Penny Arcade comic is ridiculous. They said the same about Mass Effect, both games have manuals. The game is difficult, but the first fight is not.

Demi, you can totally jump into the second one. Just make sure you get a silver sword ASAP, apparently you start without one.

I think the comic makes it out as the first fight, but in their post it seems it might be a little later in the early stages of the game.

PA wrote:

When I got in, he told me that he had died twelve times at the same spot and then quit. I knew the spot he was taking about; I’d died there myself.

Forty-seven times.

He didn’t believe me when I said “forty-seven,” but I started counting it. It’s partly my fault. I wanted to see if something was possible, and it wasn’t! It really, really wasn’t.

Tycho goes on to explain the challenge which arises when you make starting fights difficult without explaining how to either perform certain actions in the game which would help, or educate you on whether & how you should prepare for a fight.

First fight or not, there's nothing in the Prologue that's that difficult. If you try something and fail, you don't do the same thing you try something else. The developers give you a whole toybox to use and sometimes you need to figure out which one is appropriate.

While I agree they do a piss poor job of explaining it in the game, that's what the manual is for.

I like how the Witcher 2 just throws you into it. This is the world, everything is at your disposal, figure it out. Tutorials are contrived anyways, and a quick reference to the manual or any sort of experimentation is really easy to pick up what you need to do. After dying ten times in the span of 5 minutes immediately in the Prologue I finally got my head out of my ass and really delved deep into the game's tactics. The feeling of self discover was really rewarding to me and now I absolutely love the combat.

One thing I have to complain about the Witcher 2 discussion in the podcast is why, why, why didn't you mention the game supports an import save from the first Witcher. I am hearing The Witcher 2 does a much "better" job with the import save than Mass Effect 2!

demonicmurry wrote:

One thing I have to complain about the Witcher 2 discussion in the podcast is why, why, why didn't you mention the game supports an import save from the first Witcher. I am hearing The Witcher 2 does a much "better" job with the import save than Mass Effect 2!

Really the feature is used differently between the two games. Mass Effect is (when the trilogy is done) three parts of one story, The Witcher is a distinct story in each game, which continues in the same world and it's the setup for that world which you're importing.

MeatMan wrote:

I'm going to have to call out Jonathan Downin. Once upon a time, there were outtakes at the end of every show. When they stopped appearing, at first I thought that there just weren't enough of them to include an outtakes section. Then after the sixth or so consecutive show with no outtakes, I accepted the fact that even if there were plenty to use, there was never going to be an outtakes section, no matter how much I enjoyed them. But in this show, Allen (IIRC) calls attention to how many outtakes happened, so I'm thinking 'surely there will be an outtakes section this time; it's being talked about during the show'... only to be disappointed when reaching the end of the outro music. WTF?

Seconded. I sure do miss the outtakes.

I don't know how many other people do this, but when the show is talking about a game I plan on playing, I basically skip that discussion, as I don't want any specific details to color my feelings about a game when I play it. As long as people tell me the game is good, that's pretty much all I want to hear before playing. And as The Witcher 2 and LA Noire both fall in that category, I skipped a good portion of the first half of the podcast. I imagine this won't be the last time you'll be bringing up these games; I suppose that's good incentive to get to work on them soon.

garion333 wrote:

Dammit Shawn, you just made me buy the Witcher 2. I was hoping to wait for it to drop in price a bit (and I was going to finish the original Witcher), but you sold me, little that you said. Plus I just upgraded my rig to Sandy Bridge (still using my 460) and it's killing everything I throw at it. So, time to play something that pushes it to its limit.

(Edit: Btw, I think it was your GRRM analogy that pushed me over. That and I didn't want to go back and play the crappy fighting mechanics in the first game. Yuck.)

Did you not hear that the developers cited Demon's Souls as an influence for the new combat system? I figured that alone might have sold you on the game

I'm anxious to dive into The Witcher 2. New PC will be up and running soon.

I really gotta rage real quick on that Infinity Blade review on Kill Screen. For starters, it has almost nothing to do with Infinity Blade. It is much more about itself than it is about Infinity Blade. You could say it reviews the artistic spirit of Infinity Blade, but compare it to a New York Times Book Review, as a possible example. A good NYT book review is orderly, comprehensive, addresses the reader directly and considers its subject within both the modern and historical worlds of literature. They can be eloquent and thought-provoking, but they exist to tell the reader about the book being reviewed. Kill Screen's review is most concerned with how clever, profound and experimental it can be, and is barely concerned with its actual subject matter at all.

As a piece of writing or 21st century blog-art, it's interesting in some ways. As a review, it is flat out awful. My admittedly limited experience with Kill Screen suggests that it is a publication that considers itself above addressing its readers directly and openly about what is ostensibly its subject matter. It's as if it is embarrassed to be a publication about video games, or like it uses video games as a jumping off point for a collection of unrelated, experimental prose poetry. Rant rant rant etc. etc..

Edit: Longer post was sort of in the wrong thread.

Rob says interrogation is sort of broken. Is there enough non-interrogation gameplay to still make for a worthwhile playthrough? Or are the interviews more or less the whole game, with other stuff sprinkled in?

BadKeyMachine wrote:

I really gotta rage real quick on that Infinity Blade review on Kill Screen. For starters, it has almost nothing to do with Infinity Blade. It is much more about itself than it is about Infinity Blade. You could say it reviews the artistic spirit of Infinity Blade, but compare it to a New York Times Book Review, as a possible example. A good NYT book review is orderly, comprehensive, addresses the reader directly and considers its subject within both the modern and historical worlds of literature. They can be eloquent and thought-provoking, but they exist to tell the reader about the book being reviewed. Kill Screen's review is most concerned with how clever, profound and experimental it can be, and is barely concerned with its actual subject matter at all.

As a piece of writing or 21st century blog-art, it's interesting in some ways. As a review, it is flat out awful. My admittedly limited experience with Kill Screen suggests that it is a publication that considers itself above addressing its readers directly and openly about what is ostensibly its subject matter. It's as if it is embarrassed to be a publication about video games, or like it uses video games as a jumping off point for a collection of unrelated, experimental prose poetry. Rant rant rant etc. etc..

THANK YOU.

It's absolutely a publication that simply looks to games as a root point for cultural commentary. The "scores" are nearly hipster ironic. The score for #sworcery changes with the moon phases.

Totally get how it's not a lot of people's thing, and certainly would never point anyone to killscreen as a buyers guide for what hot games are fun. Infinity blade is ancient, after all.

Net neutrality and data caps aren't necessarily the same thing. Of course, NetNeut has become this all-encompassing thing that everything is getting lumped under in order to get people to support more legislation and government control. There's some bits that everyone agrees with, and other bits that there is greatly differing opinion about.

As far as data caps go, to me what matters is if the caps are reasonable, the prices are reasonable, and if the overage fees are reasonable. 5 gig cap with multiple dollars per gigabyte? Unreasonable all around.

But if a company came into town and offered a 30 megabit download 5 megabit upload connection with a 0gig cap for $30/mo, and charged 0.10 per gigabyte down and 0.20 per gigabyte up, I would probably jump at the chance to switch to that provider. Those are reasonable prices for data transfer. There was a recent wired company that said 150gig cap with $10 per 50 gigs after that. I consider that to be a perfectly reasonable cap as well.

(As it is, I'm going to be paying a more expensive $65 per month for those rates with a not-clearly-defined cap. There are never any unlimited caps. You only have clearly defined caps and not-clearly-defined caps.)

Canada though... They gave them permission to charge nearly $2.00 per gigabyte there. That's clearly unreasonable. Australia has similarly ridiculous caps.

You're definitely right about the fact that it's 2 companies granted a monopoly over this or that data transfer method is the problem. I find that some of the solutions are similarly problematic though. Municipal broadband? I find that to be interesting, but it's just adding a 3rd monopoly to the mix. A monopoly on fiber connections.

The problem is that you either have dozens of cables running everywhere on wires and it gets ugly, or you have too few providers. Personally, my idea is that you would install at least 8 optical fibers, 16-24 would be even better, to every house when you build it. You run these fibers to a central neighbourhood vault. The Homeowner owns this cable and can choose who he terminates it with. The city owns the conduit networks to these vaults and companies run their cables out to these neighbourhood vaults and links up to the homeowner owned fiber there. For new installations, this solves the last mile problem and reduces the barriers to entry for new providers, but doesn't just throw another dysfunctional monopoly into the mix.

The municipal broadband idea links into this. The taxpayer pays (with taxes) for the retrofit of fiber installation by the government and running it out to the vault, then the govt, and all other providers can then link into it. Heck, you could link your cable tv in via fiber, your phone in via another fiber, and your internet via a third fiber and get all 3 from different providers.

JediK809 wrote:
MeatMan wrote:

I'm going to have to call out Jonathan Downin. Once upon a time, there were outtakes at the end of every show. When they stopped appearing, at first I thought that there just weren't enough of them to include an outtakes section. Then after the sixth or so consecutive show with no outtakes, I accepted the fact that even if there were plenty to use, there was never going to be an outtakes section, no matter how much I enjoyed them. But in this show, Allen (IIRC) calls attention to how many outtakes happened, so I'm thinking 'surely there will be an outtakes section this time; it's being talked about during the show'... only to be disappointed when reaching the end of the outro music. WTF?

Seconded. I sure do miss the outtakes.

I do miss the outtakes as well, but to be clear we don't specifically do "outtakes" as part of the process. That's something where we record, then realize we screwed up and have to cut it, but sometimes we screw up in funny ways. Lately, honestly, we go most of the way through without having to retake much.

I was just referring to all the comments between Rob and Cory that you could take out of context, loop with a drum machine and some techno and make a really, really gay dance track. It'd be glorious.

PyromanFO wrote:

I was just referring to all the comments between Rob and Cory that you could take out of context, loop with a drum machine and some techno and make a really, really gay dance track. It'd be glorious.

What we have is special.

Demiurge wrote:
PyromanFO wrote:

I was just referring to all the comments between Rob and Cory that you could take out of context, loop with a drum machine and some techno and make a really, really gay dance track. It'd be glorious.

What we have is special.

True. What we're really missing though, is an oil on canvas painting of you on his lap recording the podcast.

HedgeWizard wrote:
Demiurge wrote:
PyromanFO wrote:

I was just referring to all the comments between Rob and Cory that you could take out of context, loop with a drum machine and some techno and make a really, really gay dance track. It'd be glorious.

What we have is special.

True. What we're really missing though, is an oil on canvas painting of you on his lap recording the podcast.

First person to make this happen gets an Internet cookie.

Demiurge wrote:
HedgeWizard wrote:
Demiurge wrote:
PyromanFO wrote:

I was just referring to all the comments between Rob and Cory that you could take out of context, loop with a drum machine and some techno and make a really, really gay dance track. It'd be glorious.

What we have is special.

True. What we're really missing though, is an oil on canvas painting of you on his lap recording the podcast.

First person to make this happen gets an Internet cookie.

If it was actually good, I would pay $100 for it and put it in my study.

Sway wrote:

Edit: Longer post was sort of in the wrong thread.

Rob says interrogation is sort of broken. Is there enough non-interrogation gameplay to still make for a worthwhile playthrough? Or are the interviews more or less the whole game, with other stuff sprinkled in?

Here's the thing: Interrogation is what LA Noire revolves around and it is the most interesting aspect of the game. It's also one of the most frustrating because of the way it is implemented.

It's far from the whole game. You do a lot of searching crime scenes and suspects' homes for clues. There are also many car chases, foot chases, and shootouts.

But it's telling that almost all that other stuff is optional. I happen to enjoy doing it, but there's nothing there you haven't done many times before. It's definitely worth playing, but perhaps not a purchase if you're on the fence about it.

I happen to love the period and playing detective, so I end up giving the game a pass on a lot of the ways it disappoints.

HedgeWizard wrote:
Demiurge wrote:
HedgeWizard wrote:
Demiurge wrote:
PyromanFO wrote:

I was just referring to all the comments between Rob and Cory that you could take out of context, loop with a drum machine and some techno and make a really, really gay dance track. It'd be glorious.

What we have is special.

True. What we're really missing though, is an oil on canvas painting of you on his lap recording the podcast.

First person to make this happen gets an Internet cookie.

If it was actually good, I would pay $100 for it and put it in my study.

I believe this. It frightens me, but I believe it.

What happened with the voice mail that you guys obviously heard as being something about Valve and press conferences?

You were clearly listening to it but our recording of the cast doesn't have that track looped in so there's just some dead air and mic noises while you listen, heh.