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

LudensCogitet wrote:

Is it really "perpetuating a stereotype" if it's something that really happened?

It can be. This is one of those damnable situations where the words chosen make all the difference and unfortunately, the podcast is recorded without a script so some word choices may come out with unintended associations.
For example:
I needed help with my math homework so I went to find
A: an Asian guy
B: an Asian friend of mine
C: my friend Andy Ng
D: my friend Andy
All four endings can be referring to the same event that really happened, but without further context they can each perpetuate a stereotype to differing degrees.

I just started playing Saint's Row 3 and watched my roommate play a good chunk of 4, so I'm not 100% the best person to compare, but I think I can identify the differences.

Saint's Row 3 feels like your typical open-world game that's huge with a lot of activities, but isn't the most polished of games. inFamous 1 and 2 felt quite polished for open-world games, where the powers functioned well, the physics and animation functioned properly, and most of all the parkour elements worked beautifully on the whole.

That's not to say inFamous is glitch-free, it certainly isn't, but it is definitely more polished than you typically get with open-world games.

In addition, Saint's Row is about goofing off and having fun. I didn't even hit the three hour mark in 3 before I was tossed in a tank and blowing sh*t up. inFamous grants you abilities as you progress through story and leveling up rather than purchasing a variety of upgrades with cash. It also opens up more gradually, whereas I feel like I can drive anywhere in Saint's Row right now and just do quests and missions. inFamous is much more about struggling to take over an island, and then gleefully trashing all kinds of bad guys with your new powers.

Saint's Row 4 is more comparable with inFamous, but again, it's going to depend on mood. I don't play inFamous to play an open-world game, I play it to play a super hero game. I'd feel it's more comparable with Arkham City than anything.

I think it's most like Ratchet and Clank, to be honest. It's like a 3D Megaman that isn't quite so sadistic.

troubleshot wrote:

And possibly the following with certain caveats, Valkyria Chronicles

+1

Also, it seems Gamestop has a healthy supply of both Metroid Prime Trilogy and Xenoblade Chronicles and are still nicely price gougingly expensive at $60 and $70, respectively. They've got them available at every store in the area, as far as I can tell. That's 8 stores in less than 9 miles, 16 in 20 miles, the list of availability is the same for both.

I'm exclusively a PC gamer (with the exception of my Android phone for some casual gaming) and two of my brothers had Xbox 360's. There were a handful of games that I wish I had access to on the PC. One of which that hasn't been mentioned is Marvel Vs. Capcom 3. The PC has a few fighting games available now, but when that game was fresh, I was so jealous that I couldn't play it on PC. Another is the Dynasty Warriors series, be it super corny or not, they were always fun playing with my brothers.

For a long time, Castle Crashers was on that list of exclusives, but it has since been released for PC. And while I really don't know how the game was, I would have liked to play the Commando remake, Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3.

Love the show guys. Keep up the good work.

On the head lean mentioned in the podcast:

Kinect head lean in Forza is horrible.

However, try Kinect head lean in Battlefield 4 campaign, if possible. I LOVE it. Hang out in cover, lean your real body, and watch as your viewpoint changes on the screen. Squeeze off a shot. Throw a grenade. Target enemy combatants. Slip back into cover by straightening up your body. I'm not super blown away by the campaign, but this one feature is very engaging to me. I think my brain ties the hazard of not being in cover with the body language of the lean, and it feels one step closer to real danger. Seriously. Try it.

DRailer,

Is that hard to get used to? It sounds super disorienting.

Great episode and the talk about must-haves from this generation was a nice blast of nostalgia. However, I thought the Wii discussion was really short compared to the other two systems. And you guys mostly just blabbed about Wii Sports. Like, way to perpetuate the stereotype :p

Here's a couple suggestions:
Kirby's Epic Yarn / Kirby's Return to Dream Land
Trauma Team
Super Mario Galaxy 2

I had a great time with these games, and the best part is that they're fairly co-op friendly which is how I spent most of the time playing them

LudensCogitet wrote:

DRailer,

Is that hard to get used to? It sounds super disorienting.

I can understand why you'd say that, but it isn't. It's somehow intuitive, and nicely responsive. I think because your body is doing the motion, it is easy to keep track of what's where. Not sure if that's the real reason, but it works... and I think it is a really nice touch.

shoptroll wrote:

Great episode and the talk about must-haves from this generation was a nice blast of nostalgia. However, I thought the Wii discussion was really short compared to the other two systems. And you guys mostly just blabbed about Wii Sports. Like, way to perpetuate the stereotype :p

Here's a couple suggestions:
Kirby's Epic Yarn / Kirby's Return to Dream Land
Trauma Team
Super Mario Galaxy 2

I had a great time with these games, and the best part is that they're fairly co-op friendly which is how I spent most of the time playing them :)

To be fair, we mentioned Mario Galaxy. So there.

Clockworkhouse actually already started a Wii thread along the lines discussed in the podcast. Coulda used that as a resource during the CC.

Demiurge wrote:

To be fair, we mentioned Mario Galaxy. So there. :)

I thought you might have but there wasn't any memorable discussion like Wii Sports or Metroid Prime 3.

Plus Galaxy 2 is an outstanding game as well.

Don't think I heard Boom Blox, either.

Unfortunately, can't buy Viva Piñata on GFWL download. That marketplace shut down in August. http://www.xbox.com/en-US/live/pc/update

I guess it is still technically a rumor that the backend service itself will shut down this coming July.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Games_for_Windows_%E2%80%93_Live

There is a PC DVD version of Viva Piñata available. http://amzn.com/B000VBFWAG

ccesarano wrote:

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.

There's a lot of issues with the way games handle reviews, and I think you hit the nail on the head on one of the main ones - scores. The five star amazon review. The perfect score on metacritic.

As soon as you attempt to quantify something as complicated and multi-dimensional as why you enjoy or don't enjoy a game on a flat sliding scale, you're clipping the nuance. I love chocolate, and I love sushi. I could give "five stars" to both, but that tells an outsider nothing about the experience of having either.

One of the things I love about the podcast is the way that everyone can succinctly talk about any game they play in a highly nuanced fashion, with awareness of their own tastes & preferences. That's what a review should be. I want to hear the dissenting opinions and conflicting ideas about a game. I want two reviewers to both love something and still be able to debate about some aspect of it in a productive, informative way. An actual critical dialogue instead of a number will go a long way towards legitimizing games as an art form.

And of course, you need to have a variety of critics who come from different places with a wide berth of tastes and preferences to make the critical dialogue happen... There's part of me that would love to see some gaming magazine/website devote an column exclusively to really smart, well argued dissenting opinions. Obviously it would require some pretty stringent discussion rules (see also, GTA V misogyny backlash). I don't know, maybe someone does do this that I'm not aware of (I'm sure in some way, shape, or form it must exist.) Its definitely something I'd like to see more of.

All my console gaming was tons of N64 at my friend's house as a kid, occasional gamecube mario tennis doubles, and then various halos and rock bands in dorms. I have never played solo console games, or owned a console of any type in my life. (PC gaming galore though, so no worries).

This podcast specifically, and other discussions like this, are setting me on a dark path to pick up a cheap 360 to play stuff like Lost Odyssey and all the other great games I've been hearing about but ignoring in favor of more Steam games. I fear I am on a dark path.

TheHarpoMarxist wrote:

One of the things I love about the podcast is the way that everyone can succinctly talk about any game they play in a highly nuanced fashion, with awareness of their own tastes & preferences. That's what a review should be. I want to hear the dissenting opinions and conflicting ideas about a game. I want two reviewers to both love something and still be able to debate about some aspect of it in a productive, informative way. An actual critical dialogue instead of a number will go a long way towards legitimizing games as an art form.

This is starting to increase and change, but it's always a matter of audience demand and money. I follow a lot of guys on YouTube that do smart games analysis (Tasteful Understated Nerd Rage, The Gaming Britt, Matthew Matosis, Errant Signal...), each of which likely took influence from the popularization of Zero Punctuation and Red Letter Media, but none of them are nearly as popular as, say, The Angry Joe Show, which I found to be insubstantial when I tried watching a few reviews. The same can be said for games writing. However, there are certain things that simply more easily attract readers/viewers and thus, money.

Take The Escapist for example. I fell in love with it because it was focused on intelligent features, and when they pulled in Zero Punctuation it was for the critical insight in addition to the humor. Fast forward several years later and a lot of their video content is focused on humor and lists, and while I still watch The Jimquisition and Zero Punctuation, I feel like they are ultimately going for a "lowest common denominator" approach on the whole. I do, however, give them great credit for always pushing forward as a gaming website centered around unique content as opposed to being just another website featuring news and reviews. If they had done that, they'd be nowhere today.

But that's the thing. What most people want, expect, and think to create in terms of game content has little to do with analyzing it in a meaningful or significant way. As great a writing staff as even Polygon has, I have found many of their reviews to be the same sort of checklist style reviewing that is neither entertaining to read nor truly critical. It is informative of one player's experience, but it isn't a true analysis.

However, most people don't want that. They want to know if a game is worth buying or not, or to be immersed in the culture. I think this is one of the reasons Let's Plays are so popular. You get to see for yourself if a game is worth playing, and the host is a "gamer just like you".

Due to time constraints of adults with families looking for something more substantial, they become a smaller and quieter voice of demand compared to the oodles of teenagers, College students and single millennials with a lot more time on their hands but a lot less they care to think about.

So it comes down to money. Anyone writing anything substantial is probably a lot harder to find because there aren't a lot of people that care about them. Which is a damn shame, because some of it can be extremely intelligent.

I need to check some of that stuff out! Thanks for the links and the youtube suggestions.

I do tend to get more from hearing about the experience of a friend playing the game than from most reviews. Because scores say so very little. If I'm on the fence about, say, an RPG then I want solid information about it. Is it turn based or is it more of an action RPG? Story driven or open world? How crunchy / customizable is it? What's the setting like? I don't want a number, I want actual information.

I'm not sure the time constraints of adulthood necessarily prohibit the pursuit of true analysis though. That audience is still there, even if they get quieter as responsibilities mount up. There's plenty of people who get pockets of time at work to read up on things that they enjoy or are interested in. I'd say I probably spend more time on this site or reading articles about games than I do actually playing them (which is... a little weird now that I say it out loud).

I'm unusual in being fond of both Tenchu Z and Bourne Conspiracy.

Got some time with Heathstone this week, and Certis is absolutely right. As a Skinner Box it's a remarkable accomplishment, and as a potential money-maker no question it's a smart move. But as a _game_ that respects its customer it's crap.

it triggers all the alarms that has consistently driven me away from FTP games.

Elysium wrote:

Got some time with Heathstone this week, and Certis is absolutely right. As a Skinner Box it's a remarkable accomplishment, and as a potential money-maker no question it's a smart move. But as a _game_ that respects its customer it's crap.

it triggers all the alarms that has consistently driven me away from FTP games.

Sigh.

Sorry to break your heart, buddy. I really thought I was going to like it.

Elysium, did you figure out if you can mix penguins in with other animals in the current Zoo Tycoon?

Hi, I'm new. I listened to the podcast this week about the best games of the generation. I was a little disappointed you didn't include the DS and PSP, since they technically are a part of it. I've made a little list of what I think are essential games of the past gen.

Wii

Disaster Day of Crisis (Europe only, but a really fun action adventure game)
Kirby's Epic Yarn
Muramasa
No More Heroes
The Last Story
Xenoblade
Zack & Wiki

DS

Elite Beat Agents
Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure
Hotel Dusk/Last Window (Europe only but worth importing as the sequel to Hotel Dusk)
Nine Hours Nine Persons Nine Doors
Professor Layton (the series as a whole)
Shin Megami Tensei - Strange Journey
Wario Ware Touched

360

Blue Dragon
Earth Defense Force 2017
Fallout New Vegas (which I consider a 360 exclusive because Bethesda games work so abysmally on PS3)
Infinite Undiscovery
Last Remnant
Lost Odyssey

PSP

Brave Story New Traveler
Crush
Echochrome
Final Fantasy Type 0 (Japanese only but the best FF game since FF10)
Half Minute Hero
Tactics Ogre - Let Us Cling Together

PS3

Afrika
EX Troopers (Japanese only, but aeons better than any Lost Planet game)
Folklore
Ni No Kuni
Tokyo Jungle
Wipeout HD
Valkyria Chronicles

Multi platform

Batman - Arkham Asylum
Dead Space 1
Deadly Premonition
Deus Ex - Human Revolution
Majin & The Forsaken Kingdom
Nier (possibly my game of the generation)
Red Dead Redemption
Vanquish

So you can see my tastes definitely lean towards JRPGs and quirky Japanese games, but I think there's a legitimate case for all of these.

Awesome list! We just didn't want to spend 4 hours on the topic

The article will hit a bunch of these I'm sure!

For the email that was asking about learning to use the controller. I cut my teeth on Gears of War on the 360, but any third person shooter or action adventure games are best (IMO) on the controller, purely from an ergonomic standpoint.

Specific ones that work for me; The Witcher 2, Prince of Persia 2008, Saints Row, Dead Space, Darksiders (before anyone asks, not a good game, but controls well)

I actually specifically bought my controller for the PC for Beat Hazard, and racing games are a no brainer too.

Even though I game exclusively on PC at the moment I still like to kick back and play whenever I can so I use the controller for anything except strategy games, the very occasional FPS, or MMOs. I wish SWTOR was playable with a controller, it's the most appealing thing I've heard about FF XIV.

Regarding the thoughts of reviewers, I think Ben Abraham gave a pretty good overview of the bigger thought movements over the course of the genre.

Ben's good people. I like Ben.

wordsmythe wrote:

Regarding the thoughts of reviewers, I think Ben Abraham gave a pretty good overview of the bigger thought movements over the course of the genre.

He mentioned Bill Kunkel! I got to meet him! And I interviewed him!

I can't find the audio to the interview though...

It was interesting getting to talk with him, though. He helped fill me with greater confidence that I may stand a chance as a games writer after all.