GWJ Conference Call Episode 373

Conference Call

Forza 5, More Zelda, Civ V, Hearthstone, Dead Rising 3, NFS Rivals, Starting the Ball Rolling on The Best Games of The Previous Generation, Your Emails and More!

This week Shawn, Elysium and Cory start the process of identifying the best games of the past generation of consoles.

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
00.02.50 Forza 5
00.20.11 Dead Rising 3
00.25.51 Zoo Tycoon
00.30.20 Xbox voice commands
00.32.41 Powerstar Golf
00.37.38 Madden 25
00.39.52 The Golden 3DS XL club (and Zelda: A Link Between Worlds)
00.49.51 Super Mario 3D World
00.53.40 Knack
00.57.01 Killer Instinct
00.59.19 Continuing reports from the Console Wars
01.01.02 This week's topic: the Xbox One!
01.45.53 Graham Rowat reads Elysium's Guide to Black Friday Retail!
01.55.13 Your emails!

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Show credits

Music credits: 

Luminous - Broke for Free - http://brokeforfree.com/ - 38:09

Like Swimming - Broke for Free - http://brokeforfree.com/ - 1:06:21

Intro/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

Comments

Still the best gaming podcast on the internet : )

BTW whoever edits the sound, the quality is very appreciated, it always sounds really professional. You guys should put them up on youtube, get more listeners.

Thanks for the episode gentlemen.

However, I'm left wondering about Hearthstone, it sounds like a lot of fun from Cory, but I understand Shawn's point (whatever that was).

I enjoyed MtG when I started it, but soon found it frustrating that experienced players or those who forked a tonne of cash/time into their decks would just stomp me as a new player. That caused me to give up because I neither want to be the stomp-ee or (eventually) the stomp-er.

Can anyone tell me if Hearthstone feels in a way, that someone with the easily accessible decks can still win games or does it lean more toward 'pay to win'?

Must add to the list:

Catherine

Tanglebones wrote:

Must add to the list:

Catherine

Maybe without the tedious puzzle gameplay. That was a total turnoff for me.

On the Wii list

Metroid Prime 3 is only around $8 used and well worth it, but the Trilogy and Xenoblade Chronicles are both priced out of reach for budget minded gamers by Gamestop ($60+).

Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Mario Kart Wii, World of Goo (best version is on Wii), and Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure are all great too.

What was the Skyrim mod you mentioned? Picked up the PC version after playing it through on 360 a couple years ago and it has its hooks in deep. Steam Workshop is wonderful.

Certis wrote:
Tanglebones wrote:

Must add to the list:

Catherine

Maybe without the tedious puzzle gameplay. That was a total turnoff for me.

Crazy talk! I loved the puzzle gameplay.

It would make my PS3 list, along with Brothers, Sound Shapes, Walking Dead, Journey, Last of Us, Uncharted 2, Flower, Portal 2, Mass Effect 2, Braid, Fallout 3,
And possibly the following with certain caveats, Valkyria Chronicles, Heavy Rain, Ni No Kuni.

hubbinsd wrote:

What was the Skyrim mod you mentioned? Picked up the PC version after playing it through on 360 a couple years ago and it has its hooks in deep. Steam Workshop is wonderful.

It's called Falskaar. Super rad. And because I'm terrible, here's the PCG interview with Alex Velicky, the mod's creator. Spent a year building this amazing piece of content and now he works at Bungie.

Tokyo Jungle!

And I still don't understand the panel's hate on infamous. I got the Black Friday ps3 bundle last year with uncharted 1&2 and infamous 1&2. I tried uncharted first, i really wanted to love it and the story and cinematics were lovely, but the gameplay was just a chore and a slog. I wasn't expecting anything from infamous, so when I popped it in just in a bit of boredom I just had a ball. The story is superhero schlock, but at least I don't feel like I'm fighting the game to get to the enjoyable parts.

Some more exclusives worth mentioning:
Nier
Heavy Rain
Beyond: Two Souls (haven't played it, and I know it and Heavy Rain also have their fair share of controversy)

troubleshot wrote:

Thanks for the episode gentlemen.

However, I'm left wondering about Hearthstone, it sounds like a lot of fun from Cory, but I understand Shawn's point (whatever that was).

I enjoyed MtG when I started it, but soon found it frustrating that experienced players or those who forked a tonne of cash/time into their decks would just stomp me as a new player. That caused me to give up because I neither want to be the stomp-ee or (eventually) the stomp-er.

Can anyone tell me if Hearthstone feels in a way, that someone with the easily accessible decks can still win games or does it lean more toward 'pay to win'?

I haven't felt like I needed to spend money to win. In fact, the only reason I bought any cards at all was that I was waiting on my SO to finish something, and I was bored.

I have a hunch that Blizzard will make more money on $2 entrance fees for Arena runs. But that's just a guess.

Dryden wrote:

Tokyo Jungle!

And I still don't understand the panel's hate on infamous. I got the Black Friday ps3 bundle last year with uncharted 1&2 and infamous 1&2. I tried uncharted first, i really wanted to love it and the story and cinematics were lovely, but the gameplay was just a chore and a slog. I wasn't expecting anything from infamous, so when I popped it in just in a bit of boredom I just had a ball. The story is superhero schlock, but at least I don't feel like I'm fighting the game to get to the enjoyable parts.

Because of all of the InFamous talk, I've got it loaded up and ready to play over the holiday break. I'll give it a fair shake and hopefully dig it as much as you do. Thanks for the reco!

I will forever be branded a Metroid: Other M defender, and will probably have my reputation tarnished by the fact that I enjoyed it a lot more than Prime 3: Corruption. I'd still say the best Metroid game since Super Metroid would be the first Metroid Prime, but it's also very different from how Other M, Fusion and Zero Mission play. So I'm completely fine with Metroid Prime and Other M sitting in two separate placements of "best of" offerings.

But Prime 3 just...I dunno. Maybe I have to go back and give it another fair shake, but I felt so let down by it by time I finished. Oddly enough, watching my roommate play the Prime Trilogy version of Echoes, I actually feel as if the motion controls make the game harder as the A.I. wasn't at all adjusted for the new style. As such, I wouldn't mind having the Trilogy packaged together, but otherwise am happy with Prime 1 and 2 still being for GameCube in my collection.

Certis wrote:
Tanglebones wrote:

Must add to the list:

Catherine

Maybe without the tedious puzzle gameplay. That was a total turnoff for me.

I think the issue with Catherine is that it is a very hectic style of puzzle game, and tying it to a story leads players to become frustrated if they don't happen to favor that style. Portal is a very laid back puzzle game that, a lot of the time, allows you to sit back and think through a solution. You can die, but it's not going to happen on most of the puzzles.

Catherine takes the opposite approach, and if you're the sort that prefers to have time to think through a puzzle first, then you'll find yourself panicking, mind clouding, and then POOF! dead.

That said, for the type of experience they're looking to deliver, they did an incredible job (that I happen to be fond of).

Tanglebones wrote:

Some more exclusives worth mentioning:
Nier
Heavy Rain
Beyond: Two Souls (haven't played it, and I know it and Heavy Rain also have their fair share of controversy)

I'd definitely say Heavy Rain was a better game than Beyond: Two Souls, and a better story. While Beyond was better acted and in places better written, Heavy Rain accomplished more despite failing to live up to its ambitions.

Honestly, I'd much rather they have released an expanded edition of Heavy Rain, complete with multiple outcomes/endings.

Spoiler:

Because you can just TELL that the original plan was for the Origami Killer to change based on your actions throughout the game.

Regarding your discussion of games pc controllers.

Batman Arkham Aylum/City in my mind was apologetically better with a controller.

Oh, Certis, I'm not sure which Zelda dungeons you were stuck on, but one that baffled me for a bit was Turtle Rock:

Spoiler:

It took me a while to realize I had to use the Ice Rod on the see-saws to keep them from moving.

So in case that was one that had you, too, well, there you go.

Going back to the "head lean" thing in Forza 5, that was a more prominent feature I'm assuming that Turn 10 held over from Forza 4.

While Mass Effect 3 let you yell at the TV using the Kinect, Forza 4 let you lean left or right to turn your head. Unfortunately, my main console-playing chair at the time was a wing-back rocker, so it never quite captured my head right, and I just couldn't use it much.

Also, thanks for pointing out rewards.forzamotorsport.net! I did not know that existed, and my brother was also excited to find out he got a free 4 million credits for use in Forza 5 just from playing.

Add to list: Banjo Kazooie Nuts & Bolts!

Demiurge: About Assassin's Creed 4... It's really weird that there wasn't more of a tutorial for running around and stabbing people in the game. It's pretty clear that Ubisoft's gearing the AC universe to be their general go-to universe for their non-Clancy games(there are Watch_Dogs references all over the place), and the narrative kind of supports this direction.

The narrative hooks for a sprawling tutorial are all there in both Edward's story and the modern story. The character you're playing in the modern setting is the new guy at Abstergo Entertainment, so you'd figure that they'd have some training on how to use the Animus(like they did in just about every AC before this, even though Desmond was used to it after 1). Also, unlike every other historical character in the series, Edward doesn't have any ties to the assassins or templars at the beginning of the game.

It's pretty obvious that Ubi decided to have somewhat of a reboot of the franchise's direction after 3's sprawling mess. So it's weird that AC4 isn't more friendly to new players than any of the previous games.

Tyops wrote:

Regarding your discussion of games pc controllers.

Batman Arkham Aylum/City in my mind was apologetically better with a controller.

Totally agree with this. Same goes for the Assassin's Creed games.

I've also appreciated a controller for Pinball FX2, Beat Hazard, and Street Fighter IV.

I would recommend the XBOX controller for Windows. I also have a couple of lesser quality controllers and the difference is noticeable.

Gah, because I can't seem to run out of things to say:

Re: the e-mail on GroupThink, my thoughts on the nature of game reviews and where they should go and what they should be are vast and varied. However, I think the simple truth is that it's not so much a matter of group think, but a lot of people reviewing games tend to have a similar sort of preferences for games and philosophies on what games should be like. Look no further than how the press has treated the Wii. Everyone knows it has no hardcore games, amirite?

But I don't think it's so much a "well, these publications scored it high, so we should as well" or "so it must be good" or any other sort of subconscious thought. Especially considering that most of these reviews are already written and scored before they even go up. While there's a lot of communication within the industry, you're not necessarily going to have that much influence on each other's thoughts that you'd have a unified stance on something.

However, and I'll only keep this brief, but I do question the qualifications of reviewers in this industry and why their opinion should be trusted over a random user review on Amazon or Steam, or someone on a forum. Reviews as they are exist for scores, not for the actual review, and it's a self-fulfilling cycle. People go to scores because that's what they're used to, but without scores most folks wouldn't bother reading the review, so they add a score to get people to look it over, but people only look at the score because it acts as a quick summary.

But as I said, a lot of reviewers and journalists simply have similar tastes and loves. Sure, GTA5 scored high for a lot of folks, and to me it's just proof that a sandcastle made out of sh*t is little more than a fancy, big pile of sh*t. But last year Telltale's The Walking Dead was getting so many accolades that even Spike's Video Game Awards gave it constant acknowledgment.

So the real question is: why do we keep hiring people with similar opinions as game reviewers, and what are their qualifications? But that's a rant for another time.

I have to admit, I found the "he got a PS3 because his cousin gave it to him after the girl he was marrying didn't want it in the house" comment a bit unfortunate. I know it wasn't meant maliciously, but it still kinda perpetuates those "no more fun when you get married" and "my wife/girlfriend hates it when I game and is a total pain" stereotypes.
Also, I would've loved it if my husband had brought a PS3 to the marriage those seven years ago!

Was an interesting podcast, I was definitely listening intently to the podcast. As an eternally consoleless peasant, I still hope to convince my husband some day to get a PS3 (the "but it plays Blu-Ray!" argument hasn't worked so far, because well, we don't have any!). Journey, Tokyo Jungle, the Uncharted, Heavy Rain, Flower are all console exclusives I've been curious about, so who knows.
Looking forward to the article on the site!

Dryden wrote:

And I still don't understand the panel's hate on infamous.

Is it Hate or merely indifference?

Eleima wrote:

I have to admit, I found the "he got a PS3 because his cousin gave it to him after the girl he was marrying didn't want it in the house" comment a bit unfortunate. I know it wasn't meant maliciously, but it still kinda perpetuates those "no more fun when you get married" and "my wife/girlfriend hates it when I game and is a total pain" stereotypes.!

My PS2 and 360 are both in storage because my wife doesn't want them in the house. Same with my board game collection. And she does dislike my gaming. (There's a reason I never play MP with anyone.) So it does happen.

tanstaafl wrote:

My PS2 and 360 are both in storage because my wife doesn't want them in the house. Same with my board game collection. And she does dislike my gaming. (There's a reason I never play MP with anyone.) So it does happen.

That's a bit rough.

I'm not saying it never happens, all I'm saying is that even though roughly 50% of women are gamers, we still get the odd looks when we say we game and trash talk online (why do you think I don't play MP?). I know the intent wasn't deliberate, but I just thought "he got a PS3 for cheap" would've sufficed.

I keep trying to buy my wife the new 3DS XL and she keeps saying "No." It's not the honest kind, though. She'd love it, but she has this hangup about buying things she likes. I say "buy her something," but I'd really be using our money, so it's more "buy her something with our money." Shrug. I'm reduced to buying her used PS3 games with my allowance.

Kingdoms of Amalur is a game that's better with a controller, IMO, and a must try for any brawler fan. Quite good. Has to be set to Hard setting, though. It's otherwise way too easy.

Kurrelgyre wrote:
Dryden wrote:

And I still don't understand the panel's hate on infamous.

Is it Hate or merely indifference?

Fair point, there was no actual malice. Indifference would lead to not even bringing it up in the first place, so maybe dismissiveness? Not trying to ascribe motivations to folks I don't know, just how it comes across to me.

Eleima wrote:

I have to admit, I found the "he got a PS3 because his cousin gave it to him after the girl he was marrying didn't want it in the house" comment a bit unfortunate. I know it wasn't meant maliciously, but it still kinda perpetuates those "no more fun when you get married" and "my wife/girlfriend hates it when I game and is a total pain" stereotypes.
Also, I would've loved it if my husband had brought a PS3 to the marriage those seven years ago!

I get what you mean. I was actually pulling from a literal thing that happened to growat's neighbor a few weeks ago that ended with him having a free PS3 in his house. I should have been clear it wasn't a random example or a broad assumption.

Kurrelgyre wrote:
Dryden wrote:

And I still don't understand the panel's hate on infamous.

Is it Hate or merely indifference?

I think hate or indifference are both too strong words for my feelings on Infamous. I said "competent" once and I think that sums it up for me.

Eleima,

Is it really "perpetuating a stereotype" if it's something that really happened? People can be unjust in how they apply stereotypes, and seeing a cliche instead of the person in front of you is wrong, but I don't understand preferring that someone not relate their experiences because it happens to agree with a stereotype. That seems like refusing to look at reality in the opposite direction.

We can't let bigots set the terms of the conversation either positively or negatively.

Cheers,

John Hiner III

I think the crew nailed this week's topic by naming Red Dead Redemption and Dark Souls/Demon's Souls. The former is the best video game narrative ever, and sadly only available on consoles. Dark Souls is the most atmospheric world and best exploration I've ever experienced, with probably the best combat ever.

I have a question for Infamous fans after hearing this episode: How many giant Infamous fans have played Saints Row 3 and 4? Does the podcast crew have it right that 4 is better than Infamous? It's definitely better than Crackdown. I got the Infamous games with last year's Black Friday PS3, but haven't tried them yet. I do plan to.

Lastly, major props to Elysium for his pronunciation of Forza. As an Italian speaker, let me say, bravo!