GWJ Conference Call Episode 358

Conference Call

Gone Home, Saints Row IV, Space Hulk, Plants Vs. Zombies 2, Europa Universalis IV, A Report From The Gencon Crew, A Partial Spoiler Section For Gone Home, Your Emails and More!

Lots of stuff this week! Tons of games, a report from Gencon, Emails and a half-spoiler section on Gone Home after the credits!

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.

Chairman_Mao's Timestamps
00.01.48 Space Hulk
00.10.33 Europa Universalis IV
00.21.13 Gone Home
00.25.57 PvZ2
00.36.58 Bioshock Infinite--again!
00.39.14 Saints Row IV
00.59.26 Live from Gencon!
02.06.15 Your emails!
02.20.35 Spoiler Section: Gone Home

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Show credits

Music credits: 

Intro/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

Alpha - Workbench Music - http://workbench-music.com - 58:57

Chandra - Workbench Music - http://workbench-music.com - 2:05:37

Comments

The war of the roses is still a sore point with my parents. They are Lancastrians.

On Gone Home: $20 for 3 hours of gameplay? Isn't that the same price : length ratio as the original Portal?

PvZ 2 definitely feels harder or at least a lot more frantic. I think that's done to counter the addition of plant food (which I think replaces the upgrades from PvZ 1) and powerups. I think it'd be really hard to go back to the original game now, although I think I might still tell people to play the original first just because the difficulty curve ramps up slower.

re: Space Hulk being $30 - it's "GW tax". Doesn't make sense, and I'm with Corey and Shawn - it should be easier to play, and faster to play, but there's really no reason why it should be $30.

If anyone is interested in reading more about EU4 after Sean's description or is inspired to pick it up but would like a little help getting started, the EU4 forum thread is here. I was a late arrival to EU3 a couple of years ago, but I remember the EU3 forum thread really swayed me to purchase and how great it was to have multiple members available to help me get started with game.

Two years later and EU4 was a definite preorder for me and was a game which I reserved extra time last week to play. After already putting fifty+ hours into the game I can tell you three things:
a) I think the game is pretty great,
b) I think this may be the easiest Paradox Grand strategy game to get into so far, and
c) my wife is not a fan of me dropping 50 hours into a game in a week.

I'm finding PvZ2 much less satisfying. Maybe I'm too tied to the original's progression, but I can't help but feel that all the side "missions" and the need to earn stars before going on to the next section of the game breaks the momentum of the game. I don't want to have to go back and play their arbitrarily imposed time-or space-limited rehashes of the same levels. I want to keep moving forward the way the original did. On each level I've run through the path in one sitting and then, over the course of a few days, slogged through gathering stars. (I know I could pay, but I'm not gonna.)

That said, I love playing more and new PvZ. I like the addition of plant food, as well. And the new monsters and their tricks (stealing sun, swinging in, etc.) are great. It just feels like the experience has been cut up and messed around with in a way I find less enjoyable.

lostlobster wrote:

I'm finding PvZ2 much less satisfying. Maybe I'm too tied to the original's progression, but I can't help but feel that all the side "missions" and the need to earn stars before going on to the next section of the game breaks the momentum of the game. I don't want to have to go back and play their arbitrarily imposed time-or space-limited rehashes of the same levels. I want to keep moving forward the way the original did. On each level I've run through the path in one sitting and then, over the course of a few days, slogged through gathering stars. (I know I could pay, but I'm not gonna.)

I'm of two minds about this:

1) I'm annoyed it breaks the flow of the game by essentially forcing me to play through what was the optional "Puzzle" and "Minigame" modes from the original game.
2) I really liked the side-stuff in the original game and I'm happy they integrated those modes into the campaign

Ultimately, for me it comes down to being forced to play the game in a specific way. I want to move onto the Pirate levels, but I can't because I still need 9 stars which I'll only earn by playing challenge modes. Part of me feels like there's a better way they could've done this but it's not really irritating me that much... yet.

Then again, this is the same methodology used by Super Mario 64 and multiple iOS games to gate their content, so I can't blame PopCap sticking with something that's proven to work.

Also, Erik compiled a list of board games we talked about and/or liked at GenCon this year

http://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/16...

PyromanFO wrote:

Also, Erik compiled a list of board games we talked about and/or liked at GenCon this year

http://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/16...

Ah this reminds me, I don't know who said PHG has their prices down in the $40-50 range, but that's not the case unless you're talking Summoner Wars. Mice & Mystics, City of Remnants, and BioShock Infinite are $65-85 MSRP on their website.

My game of the con has to be Space Cadet. Quickly escalated to complete chaos as your crew is trying to do their best to perform their mini games on your space ship. I played the captain and it was like trying to herd a bunch of cats. You plead to them that please, please next round, we HAVE to shoot the aliens so please give energy to the weapons system. As the 30 seconds run out you realize that you might have the energy to shoot 1 shot. But of course, you weapons guy never finishes his mini game so you don't have a torpedo in the tube! Etc. Etc. Etc. If you like highly interactive games with the other players, I can give Space Cadets a heartfelt recommendation.

My firefly review: Unless you like solitary games with little to no interaction with the other players, you might not like Firefly.

Drunk Quest vine showing off the silliness of the nose touching effect card.

I totally forgot Plants versus Zombies 2 was out. Actually kinda ashamed about that! Thanks for reminding me, guys, gonna grab it as soon as I get home! Guessing the iPad version is nicer than the iPhone version, larger, more comfier?

Loved the talk about SR4. That one really, really looks like a lot fun, I can't wait to get my hands on it. I just know that if it's anything like SR3 (and it sounds like it is, and then some), I'll have tons of fun with it. Just pure, unadulterated fun.

Sounds like the guys had tons of fun at GenCon!! Drunk Quest and Freedom in particular looked... interesting.

I did that "play a game way too late" thing last night. I am not afraid of starting a game because I know it will keep me up too long.

But I should be.

Really hurting this morning.

Also, good to hear the EU4 love from Mr. Sands. That's the perpetrator of me getting too little sleep last night.

shoptroll wrote:
PyromanFO wrote:

Also, Erik compiled a list of board games we talked about and/or liked at GenCon this year

http://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/16...

Ah this reminds me, I don't know who said PHG has their prices down in the $40-50 range, but that's not the case unless you're talking Summoner Wars. Mice & Mystics, City of Remnants, and BioShock Infinite are $65-85 MSRP on their website.

Yeah, that was me. I think I was just remembering discounts from the show floor and pre-order prices.

So just curious to the Goodjers who were playing the slave freedom game: what about the game made it more unsettling to you than say playing a game set in some other horrible historical time such as Company of Heroes 2 (Eastern Front)?

PvZ2! Sweet!

IOS only.

Darn.

Great podcast as always.

jdzappa wrote:

So just curious to the Goodjers who were playing the slave freedom game: what about the game made it more unsettling to you than say playing a game set in some other horrible historical time such as Company of Heroes 2 (Eastern Front)?

Part of it might just be being accustomed to the ugly violence of war, but the human rights tragedies going on within Soviet and Nazi territory is largely distanced from the focus and action of Eastern Front games. In Freedom the focus is very tightly restricted to U.S. slavery in the 19th century, so there's no looking away.

There's certainly some positive feelings of "Hooray, we're going to fix slavery!" that eases the discomfort in a way that distantly echoes playing as allies on other fronts in WWII ("Yes, it's terrible, but we're struggling to solve it."), except, 1) Freedom is fairly long and pretty hard, perhaps fittingly so; and 2) I, as a player, was constantly confronted with how the issues faced by the Underground Railroad were both more complicated than I'm used to seeing them, but also more complicated than the game portrayed. The logistics of moving a brigade in France could be complicated, but the personal logistics of one slave moving from a plantation to "station" after station on the move north are more, well, personal.

I'm also keenly aware of how right I want to be about my thinking and talking about Freedom, as I think might be obvious from all the stammering in the podcast (unless that got mercifully edited down—I haven't checked yet). There's a very real problem in many people's conceptions that slaves were saved rather than participated in saving themselves. That might seem like semantics, but it means a lot that U.S. slaves rebelled, ran, and negotiated themselves out of slavery, and that the collective effort of all those people who pushed back against their condition made slavery ultimately untenable.

I'm curious to know what the hosts think about the iTunes reviews of PvZ2. The chart shows an overwhelming amount of 5 star reviews but finding one among the actual posted reviews is nigh impossible.

Awful to hear them go on about Bioshock Infinite again...
Seriously the shootery gameplay was so underwhelming while the story was so overrated. Did you again listen to the barber shop quartet :-/
And especially after playing the Last of Us I find the Elizabeth character very dull.
Gameplay wise Elizabeth was just a walking voxohpone compared to the fully realized NPC Ellie.

Oh and PvZ 2 is just soooo good... even the Taco is a more realized NPC than Elizabeth was... loool

Mom?

A majority of Blammo's few contributions have been railing against Infinite. Hopefully we'll hear more about the things he does like soon

Interesting to hear the comments about PvZ2. I was dramatically underwhelmed by PvZ, so the sequel wasn't particularly on my radar. It sounds quite appealing though.

MrDeVil909 wrote:

Interesting to hear the comments about PvZ2. I was dramatically underwhelmed by PvZ, so the sequel wasn't particularly on my radar. It sounds quite appealing though.

If you didn't like the first one, I can't see their sequel winning you over.

Yeah, I'm with Cory on this one. PvZ2 is definitely building on PvZ, and if you didn't like the first one... Odds are slim to none that you'll enjoy the sequel.

I finally got it and started playing, and my feelings are... mixed. On the one hand, I appreciate that it's free, and it's an interesting spin (the Ancient Egypt zombies with the suncatcher, the mummy, and the mural zombies). Then again, I'm not a huge fan of going back and replaying levels I've already completed. That being said, I'm still playing, so they must be doing something right.

Demiurge wrote:
MrDeVil909 wrote:

Interesting to hear the comments about PvZ2. I was dramatically underwhelmed by PvZ, so the sequel wasn't particularly on my radar. It sounds quite appealing though.

If you didn't like the first one, I can't see their sequel winning you over.

Oh I didn't hate it. I thought it was cute and interesting, just too easy. And I'm not one for going back to collectables once I've hit the end. So trying builds to farm gold, unlock collectables and doing challenges just didn't appeal.

The fact that it's now a bit harder and 'forces' you to do things to progress seems to address my criticisms of the original.

And don't worry. I won't blame you guys if it turns out I still don't like it.

Now it just needs to release on a platform I own.

GenCon crew - did any of you see Sails of Glory? If so, I was wondering what your impressions of the gameplay were?

Nevin73 wrote:

GenCon crew - did any of you see Sails of Glory? If so, I was wondering what your impressions of the gameplay were?

I saw it and my dad and brother sat down with it for a while. They have a good time, but my dad pointed out that the "fleets," at least as set up, were so small (one SoL, one frig.) that if you messed up early, the game was pretty much over from there on.

(My brother, who's still a teen, was more jazzed about being able to seriously rough up a poorly steered man of war with his frigate and a couple good enfilade shots.)

wordsmythe wrote:

My brother, who's still a teen, was more jazzed about being able to seriously rough up a poorly steered man of war with his frigate and a couple good enfilade shots.

Well, why wouldn't he be.

Thanks for the info.

I love the original PvZ and am disappointed to find that PvZ2 is only available on iOS devices. Guess I'll have to steal my wife's iPhone while she's sleeping and try it out.

The conference call mentioned how the touch controls may not be able to be ported to PC. I hope PopCap figures it out and releases a Steam version soon.

LothainB wrote:

The conference call mentioned how the touch controls may not be able to be ported to PC. I hope PopCap figures it out and releases a Steam version soon.

I'm not sure why they said that. The only power that wouldn't translate is the pinch one which I used a grand total of zero times in my full playthrough. The other 2 would work fine with a mouse. Though, I never used those either, except for the couple of times I accidently fat-fingered the electricity one.

They could completely remove all 3 of those powers for the PC version without issue. I kind of assumed they were put in there so more casual players would have some easy-mode pay-to-win option for the tougher stages.

The game will surely be ported to every available platform in a short time. It should work just as well on PC and consoles as the first game.

Dyni wrote:

They could completely remove all 3 of those powers for the PC version without issue. I kind of assumed they were put in there so more casual players would have some easy-mode pay-to-win option for the tougher stages.

Hey now, they're great emergency backups if you're not paying attention and a zombie manages to break through to your sunflower rows and you don't want to spend time replanting everything.

I would expect them to rework the pinch powerup for KBAM controls. No need to change the other two, assuming they decide to keep them in for the PC version.