GWJ Conference Call Episode 396

Conference Call


Tabletop Simulator, Bound by Flame, Kentucky Route Zero Act III, Age of Mythology HD, Games We Just Can't Go For, Your Emails and more!

This week Shawn, Julian, Cory and Allen talk about games they just can't go for.

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
00.02.24 Tabletop Simulator
00.09.30 Kentucky Route Zero Act III
00.16.02 Bound by Flame
00.23.35 Dark Souls 2
00.28.38 Age of Mythology HD
00.31.14 This week's topic: I can't go for that!
00.49.05 Your emails!

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Comments

I love the music in Bastion and enjoy the graphics. Can't stand the gameplay.

So what I think is interesting about having a gaming environment without rules enforcement is that it allows cheating. I'm not personally a big fan of playing with that sort of "soft skill," but I know a lot of people who find that some games are more fun if cheating is in play. McChuck grew up with house rules on Monopoly where cheating was encouraged. I know I grew up with complex deals that weren't in the rules and wouldn't be workable in a fully automated version of the game.

And, well, when you realize that the game's been lost because someone's cheating, you can always flip the table.

I'm in the same place with Bastion Cory. I feel like I should be able to get into the game and, occasionally, I'll go back and give it one more try but, every time I launch the game, I play for a shorter period of time before realising that I'm not having fun.

I've never been into the 'tiny character runs around on his own killing swarms of enemies' type of game. The Diablos never worked for me (oddly Myth did but that was a squad tactics game.) Sometimes you have to accept that a certain game, no matter how well made, leaves you cold and make a mental note that that game type might not be for you.

I'm in the same place as Cory but with another game, and this game has it all:

- Janky shooting mechanics;
- Stealth game that will sometimes arbitrarily and without letting you know in some situations prevent you from succeeding at sneaking through;
- Unnecessary RPG elements;
- Telegraphed "encounter" arenas;
- Plot holes large enough to drive a mad-max style armored vehicle through;
- Random debris and doors block your way (even though you are holding a hatchet);
- Immersion breaking NPC mechanics (seriously standing right in front of enemies out of cover and not getting spotted); and
- In this game there is exactly ONE puzzle but you will repeat it 4-5 times (goddamn that raft thing).

... but really it has really good voice acting and art direction.

Yeah that game is The Last of Us and every time I hear someone wax poetic about that game I think I'm in an episode of the twilight zone. The introduction was great, but I threw up in my mouth a little when I came to that first "arena" with Robert's goons and it was all downhill from there. Ugh... that section at the power station, walking through I start seeing bricks and bottles everywhere thinking geez I guess I'll have to fight my way all the way back out. Amazing.

That game has so many warts and poor game elements I think people who love it have some kind of Stockholm syndrome. In my experience The last of US was a pretty good movie, but a mediocre game at best.

I feel the intent of the discussion was about games that just don't do it for you. Obviously you didn't like The Last of Us, but please don't feel the need to put down people who liked it.

There are many genres that I want to enjoy, but I keep finding that I can't get into them - fighting games, sports games (looking at you MLB 14: The Show), JRPGs, MOBAs, etc. I still have this idea that I am the guy who plays everything, and that increasingly is not the case. I still have hope that I will find that crossover hit that will do it for me. Like Alan, Hearthstone has got its hooks into me, and it's the first card game where I've actually gotten really involved in the meta. I won my 100th game yesterday, and if I look at my shelf of collectable card games I have tried (both physical and digital) I don't think I could come up with that sum if I added them all together.

Bottom line, Hearthstone is amazing, and it clearly don't do it for Shawn.

In regards to the question about gay characters in games, I feel that it is a bit of a cop out to simply say "it shouldn't matter, so of course." Gay characters have been so underrepresented that I do want to see some significant gay characters in major games where that is a plot point, just like having romantic subtext is a plot point on Uncharted games. The Last of Us in fact featured a gay character, which I felt was handled well.

Really great episode - I'm excited to hear so much about Kentucky Route Zero. It was on my top ten list last year, and it looks like it'll be making a repeat this year. I have been waiting to play on matching calendars with a friend, but hearing about the multiple paths and replayability makes me feel like I could go ahead and ge tone run through in on my own.

I think my game (series) that everyone loves that I can't get into is Halo, but that's pretty clearly a me and first person shooter thing. I used to happily play them, I wouldn't seek them out necessarily, but I wouldn't avoid them. Goldeneye was the college game du jour for lots of my friends, but as I've gotten older I've found that I'm actually getting narrower and narrower on the type of game I'm willing to committ precious time into.

I've found that if something is unique and relatively low time impact, I'm all on board. Gone Home, Kentucky Route Zero, etc. Otherwise I'll take RPG and Strategy games, preferably turn based and with incredible writing. In general I'm actually finding that great writing will trump mechanics for me (Going back to what Tyops was saying, Last of Us - despite being a shooter - is actually intriguing to me despite being a game genre I shy away from, precisely because I hear the writing is so good.)

That said, I'll take mediocre writing with strong mechanics (see also: Might and Magic X which has a solid 65 hours of my time, according to Steam.) I'll just do the reverse as well.

I feel the intent of the discussion was about games that just don't do it for you.

I really liked Cory's final note of the "I can't go for that" discussion. It made me think about the importance of taking time to really figure out what things make it harder to stay engaged with a game. I think that's a question that both makes for smarter reviews and smarter consumers, because as we better understand what we react to negatively, we can have a better idea of what we won't like before we invest money and time into it.

Aristophan wrote:

In regards to the question about gay characters in games, I feel that it is a bit of a cop out to simply say "it shouldn't matter, so of course." Gay characters have been so underrepresented that I do want to see some significant gay characters in major games where that is a plot point, just like having romantic subtext is a plot point on Uncharted games. The Last of Us in fact featured a gay character, which I felt was handled well.

Maybe I wasn't that clear: I actually completely agree with you. I'm just hoping for a future where this is just not a freakin' thing. I agree there can be social change value in MAKING it a thing, esp in situations where it might open a few eyeballs. I fear a game like Gone Home (which everyone knows I'm totally in the tank for) is preaching to the choir.

rabbit wrote:
Aristophan wrote:

In regards to the question about gay characters in games, I feel that it is a bit of a cop out to simply say "it shouldn't matter, so of course." Gay characters have been so underrepresented that I do want to see some significant gay characters in major games where that is a plot point, just like having romantic subtext is a plot point on Uncharted games. The Last of Us in fact featured a gay character, which I felt was handled well.

Maybe I wasn't that clear: I actually completely agree with you. I'm just hoping for a future where this is just not a freakin' thing. I agree there can be social change value in MAKING it a thing, esp in situations where it might open a few eyeballs. I fear a game like Gone Home (which everyone knows I'm totally in the tank for) is preaching to the choir.

I think the real problem we're dealing with is that the industry needs to go through a couple of years of crappy activist plots before people get used to the idea and they can just start making games that feature gay characters without jumping up and down screaming "Look! A gay man! Look at how progressive we're being! Oh, and if you don't like it you can die in a fire!"

Activist fiction is always boring because it's activist first and fiction second. You wind up with a lot of plots featuring these cardboard characters because the activist part of the fan base will froth at the mouth if an identity character has flaws like a real person, while the market won't get used to it until they're beaten over the head with The Message for a few years.

I'm not looking forward to that stretch of tedious, but probably necessary, storytelling. Wake me when a gay man is allowed to be as big an a$$ as the straight man in the same role would be while also not telling me how gay he is every ten minutes and then we'll talk.

I'm with you Cory- I could not get into Bastion. My main reason was the combat lacked feedback (at least to me). I didn't feel like I was hitting anything, just was not satisfying. I loved the music and the art, but it wasn't enough to keep me going.

Add me to the Bastion list too, for the same reasons. Great art style, great music, and I liked the narration, but the gameplay itself just wasn't good enough to keep me playing more than 5 hours or so.

Bastion's a solid choice for me, though not because of any "indie pretentiousness." If we're going off of that, then I think Sword & Sworcery is a runaway winner. And I like pretentious indie games!

I appreciate what Bastion was trying to do with its combat -- all of the different weapons and idols give players a lot of latitude to tailor their own style and difficulty of play -- but I think the consequence of all that flexibility was that it ended up being a mushy and monotone experience. None of the weapons really felt tuned in a really satisfying way and movement speed, in general, felt kind of slow. To me, all of the different permutations of those options ended up feeling mostly the same.

Also, I liked the voice acting in the dynamic narration, but I was a little irritated by the way that it was constantly framed as this mind-blowing innovation, even though it had already been done before (and, arguably, more effectively). But, to be fair, that's not really the game's fault.

My #1 choice, however, would be Bioshock Infinite, though it's for reasons that have already been discussed ad nauseam elsewhere.

OzymandiasAV wrote:
Also, I liked the voice acting in the dynamic narration, but I was a little irritated by the way that it was constantly framed as this mind-blowing innovation, even though it had already been done before (and, arguably, more effectively). But, to be fair, that's not really the game's fault.

I'm a little sad that I didn't have the edition of KQ6 that had voice acting.

I prefer the voice acting in this one...

I totally get the whole "pretension aversion." Anyone that takes him/herself too seriously is a major turnoff to me. I know a lot of people will tell me I'm only hurting myself, but I'm pretty sure I'll never play a game by Jonathan Blow for that reason.

On the flipside, though, any developer willing to treat games with whimsy and not proclaim to he world that their farts smell like bakery fresh cinnamon rolls of wisdom will buy a lot of forgiveness for a few mediocre elements.

I want to like RPGs, but I found that I have narrow tastes. I want a light narrative and I want to become the angel of death at a high level. I loathe heavy narrative because most RPG narratives are juvenile and can't compare to a good book.

So I like Skyrim, and Fallout because there is more action and I am trying to force myself through Dragon Age Origins mostly for the tactical combat.

I don't get wanting to know if there are guns in the house where your kid is going to visit.

I have to disagree with some of the analysis on Tabletop simulator. I am probably biased as I set up the Catch-all on the site here, but the draw for me is that I can either create my own concept games or import the hundreds of Free to Print-and-Play board games that are out there in a way I could not before.

I bought a 4-pack and am distributing it out to real friends of mine that I no longer get to see in person. I am looking forward to playing Modern Art, Settlers and other games that we once played in person. We were big board-game geeks with quite literally hundreds of games from the very strategic Spiel Des Jahres award winners from Germany to the cheap-but-so-fun games from game developers CheapAss Games (Unexploded Cow, Deadwood, etc).

True, if you log into the multi-player and try to find or host a random room, you are likely to get a bunch of people who want to throw pieces around the table, but if you want to play any number of real games that you know how to play, have an extant collection of great games you feel comfortable playing, but no longer (Job/Family/Time/Distance) get to meet up and just play with your friends in person, I think this is a hit.

I won't be playing Monopoly, Chess, Checkers or other games, but I think our group will well get our value out of it.

Sure, there are probably ways to buy individual game packages to play individual board games or card games online, but with this sandbox you can mix and match, create your own games or just have fun.

It is an alpha. I hope they continue to add more.

I don't get wanting to know if there are guns in the house where your kid is going to visit.

Fair enough. I don't get not wanting to know.

I don't know if it'll cost twenty, fifty, or sixty dollars or whether undisclosed services from Allen will be required, but...

http://www.polygon.com/2014/5/30/576...

Yay!

Redacted. Sharing my unpopular opinion isn't worth the argument.