GWJ Conference Call Episode 562

Comments

00:01:32 Tangledeep
00:06:36 Suspicion (board game)
00:11:39 Cthulhu Mythos (board game)
00:17:19 Cinders
00:19:30 Player Unknown's Battlegrounds
00:21:44 Nier: Automata
00:29:49 Mini Metro
00:32:55 Passportout: The Starving Artist
00:36:28 Jump (indie game subscription service)
00:40:07 Your Emails

I want to say so many things about Nier: Automata, but absolutely none of it would be helpful. I'm actually curious if the gameplay would be more fun if you knocked the difficulty up and thus were forced to more deeply engage with the weaponry, chips, and swapping between load-outs at a moment's notice, but I've not played Hard myself and could only make the time take much longer.

For me, Route B became stale because I was doing side quests, so I just took a week or two long break and that made everything better. Perhaps taking that break is a good idea. As I've been discussing with Taharka in the Slack and some of the folks in the game's forum, though, I feel like Route B and your feelings towards it are largely dependent upon how you feel about shmups and hacking. If Automata were strictly the melee combat I would have likely enjoyed it much less, but hacking became a great change of pace that allowed Route B and C to feel fresh. But if you're not at least somewhat a shmup fan then I imagine that stuff will be a slog.


As for boss fights, I feel like most games don't really need one, or at least not in the more traditional sense. Bullet sponges or enemies that rely on the rule of three can be tiresome and are often even a cake walk. A boss should test your skills or be creative implementations of the tools available – Zelda, as noted, does this – but if you simply have to repeat the same tactics three times then it's only challenging once. The boss should change and learn.

Mr. Freeze in Arkham City is actually a pretty good way to do a boss fight in that game. It capitalizes on the mechanics and the villain learns throughout the fight. Twilight Princess changes things up in Zelda by giving you the obvious and predictable rule-of-three phase, but then switches things to a whole new rule-of-three phase. Sometimes it is appropriately difficult, other times it's not.

Essentially, a boss fight should be challenging, but it also shouldn't be unreasonable. Most boss fights are instead rote, often nonsensical, and on occasion unreasonably difficult.

In shooters, I find that it's much better to have encounters that are filled with stronger foes but cleverly designed, or provide environmental obstacles and challenges or some other disempowerment of the player that forces them to rethink their typical tactics.


In regards to sexual content in games, I feel like this question can be extended to pretty much all media. I was about to bring up the first episode of GLOW and as I'm typing Certis brings it up. At the same time, you can then ask the same question about blood, violence and gore. How much objection was there to sawing people in half in Gears of War?

Regardless of personal or cultural values regarding sex or violence, I feel like there's always gonna be gratuitous and carnal content that is shallow in purpose and content that is there for an artistic purpose. Sometimes, you'll have someone doing it for the former and yet feeling like or trying to do it for the latter.

It's a complex topic!


Final Fantasy VIII was the one with Squall, and it's a pretty divisive one. I need to go back and give it another go, but despite being an angry asshole of a teenager I was the only one among my friends that thought the character was awful. They all could relate to him. I thought he was just a dick. I want to go back and try and play the game on its own terms, though. Never beat it, tried three times, but I think it's worth one more go.

Gamines you played at 18 was briefly mentioned on the podcast. It seemed an interesting idea to explore to me so I created a thread; https://www.gamerswithjobs.com/node/...

Shawn, here's another way to think about the structure of Nier: Automata.

Route A: Chapters 1-10
Route B: Chapters 1-10 from a different perspective
Route C: Chapter 11 +
Route D&E: Explaining would be tough without spoiling, but neither takes more than 20 minutes to finish.

I can understand the struggle you're having. I, too, was growing tired of the combat near the end of route B, but it really is worth pushing through. I'm sure you're sick of hearing that by now

I would encourage you not to Youtube if you're that close. This is one of the rare games that requires the controller to be in your hand to get the most out of it, particularly near the end of the game.

Also, to Allen's point on fast travel. You unlock it around hour 2 or 3, not hour 10. It still sounds like you probably won't enjoy the journey, but I wanted to clear that point up so it doesn't scare others off

Dyni wrote:

I would encourage you not to Youtube if you're that close. This is one of the rare games that requires the controller to be in your hand to get the most out of it, particularly near the end of the game.

Yes! Don't YouTube this game's ending. It would be better to just abandon it versus trying to see the ending on YouTube. Everything about the game's plot relies on its mechanics.

I've had Nier Automata on my wishlist since it came out, but just hearing people talk about the game is exhausting. Certis's comparison to a television show that "really gets good after season 4" struck me as very apt.

This game sounds like Final Fantasy 13 all over again, in that the game's most ardent boosters are the people who have the most tolerance for putting in 15 hours of grind before the game gets "started." I do love a good grind, but I'm left wondering if Nier offers the sort of grind I like.

Maybe? I mean, what kind of action games have you enjoyed in the past?

In a lot of ways I'm easy to please as long as there's something to dig into, or some sort of thought or strategy that comes about. Using a sword + spear as my melee weapons I found a nice little technique that allowed me to slaughter robots quickly and easily without them being able to escape. A very specific button combination that I could rely on, but not so much that I didn't need to still dodge and take advantage of the hacking and slashing or step away and use projectile attacks.

It's a deep enough combat system, but if you're not the type to dig into action systems then you'll just mash buttons and think "Wow this game has no depth".

The second route can get stale simply because it's a lot of repeated content, though at least foes are leveled up. What kept it lively for me was I basically stopped doing melee combat and started hacking everything, which turned it into a different game. When I say route B got stale for me, it was more because I had just spent 15 hours in route A and 5 hours into Route B I was getting a slew of side quests I felt compelled to push through again (you don't need to, though two side quests do have narrative pay-off in the main story). It wasn't so much the gameplay so much as knowing I had a bunch of the story still ahead of me. But y'know what? I took a week off to play some Darksiders, and when I came back I was ready for more.

This is not to say those first 20 hours weren't fun. There's a difference between "it gets good at season four" and "it gets so much better at season four". It's actually not uncommon in Japanese media since they often spend maybe half a series introducing characters before introducing "the real story". Nier: Automata is sort of the same. Route A and B give you a pretty typical video game narrative that's satisfying enough, and then route C begins and it only works as well as it does because of routes A and B.

But, a lot of us that are singing praises are doing so because we're big on the narrative. I like to think of myself as being big on narrative and mechanics, and while Nier: Automata's mechanics aren't as excellently executed as the narrative, there's an incredible fusion of the two that makes them both rewarding. But if you're all about mechanics and aren't going to think all that deeply about the narrative? Well, good chance you aren't going to see what the big deal is.

I've got some other thoughts on my blog that are spoiler-free. At the very least, I'd say your wife, Greg, might be a more likely fan than you would be.

I think "boss fights are all bad" as a blanket statement is a little strange. It's true that most games get them wrong, but the ones that get them right are much better games for it.

The Souls games generally get them right. There are some duds here and there because of the sheer quantity, but many of my favorite gaming moments of the last few years are particular boss fights from that series. It would have but a fraction of the passionate fanbase it currently has without them.

Undertale had amazingly good boss fights. Every fight taught you more about the characters you were fighting and their motivations through a combination of reactionary dialogue and unique fight mechanics.

Monster Hunter is a series built entirely around complex boss fights. Shadow of the Colossus is another obvious example. From this year, I'm only about 5 or so hours into Hollow Knight, but the couple boss fights I've done so far have been wonderfully designed and absolutely additive to the experience.

ccesarano wrote:

I In regards to sexual content in games, I feel like this question can be extended to pretty much all media. I was about to bring up the first episode of GLOW and as I'm typing Certis brings it up. At the same time, you can then ask the same question about blood, violence and gore. How much objection was there to sawing people in half in Gears of War?

Regardless of personal or cultural values regarding sex or violence, I feel like there's always gonna be gratuitous and carnal content that is shallow in purpose and content that is there for an artistic purpose. Sometimes, you'll have someone doing it for the former and yet feeling like or trying to do it for the latter.

It's a complex topic!

What was the name of that mobile game, Luxurious something? I'm asking for a friend.
Seriously, can't find it anymore...

Totally sold on Passpartout, the starving artist (although they really should've written it Passe-partout). Sounds ludicrously funny.

I don't know that I would call Cinders a dating game per se, though, because you can play the game and not end up with anyone at all. It's really interesting and all the more powerful (especially if you end up ruling queen euh a puppet consort prince). I'd go with "visual novel." Glad you enjoyed it, Amoebic! And I agree, it would be awesome on mobile!

Eleima:

What was the name of that mobile game, Luxurious something?

I think this is the game mentioned? Luxuria Superbia

sebas wrote:

Eleima:

What was the name of that mobile game, Luxurious something?

I think this is the game mentioned? Luxuria Superbia

Ah, yes, that was it! Thanks a bunch!!
Oops, I'm not seeing it in the Apple Store.

On the subject of the oldest Digital games you can still access...

In 1991-1997, I ran a BBS. Two of the games that I had to play on that were Dr. Dread and Land of Devastation. I paid $10-20 each for them. 4-5 years ago I got my Dr. Dread code, and last year I got my Land of Devastation code from the devs. The vast majority of other digital games from that era are lost. I believe Dr. Dread's developer lost the code generator (stopped working on modern computers) and you can't get those codes anymore, but they did put a generic one up on the net for anyone to play the old games.

2003, Stardock released Galactic Civilizations. I can still download this drm-free from their website since I bought it from them. I can also access handful of other games from that era that I purchased on either Total Gaming, or Stardock Central in the early 2000's.

In 2003-2006, a dev called Moonpod released a couple of games, Starscape and Mr. Robot. I'm not sure my copy of starscape can still be downloaded, but I can still get Mr. Robot and unlock it from their webpage. Of course, there's now Steam versions of these games as well.

2006 is also when PS3 and PS3 online store came out, and I can still download all of the PS3, PSP, PSVita, and PS4 games that I purchased from 2006 until today.

By contrast, my Humble Bundle and my GoG account are only 7 years old, starting in 2010, and my Steam account is 6 years old.

Of course, there have been casualties. Impulse games that didn't migrate over to Stardock Central have evaporated now, luckily there weren't that many (20?) Playstation Mobile is toast (~20 games,) a fair number of Android games have gone kaput (10-12). All my Desura games that I got through Indie Royale are gone (maybe 10 games?,) and most of the Shareware games I bought from 1991 and on have disappeared and I'd have to rebuy them if I wanted to play them, if they can even be found.

doubtingthomas396 wrote:

This game sounds like Final Fantasy 13 all over again, in that the game's most ardent boosters are the people who have the most tolerance for putting in 15 hours of grind before the game gets "started." I do love a good grind, but I'm left wondering if Nier offers the sort of grind I like.

I dunno, this seems like a fundamental misunderstanding of FF13. It's not "15 hours of grind" it's 20-30 hours of Storyline and gradually increasing functionality in the game (which some people disparage as "tutorial". It does grow the functionality VERY slowly though.) Then the people who disparage the game say it "gets good" which means that it completely sheds the storyline, turns it into an open world game, and lets you just grind for as long as you want before you go and do the last 5-6 hours of storyline.

All of the digital games I bought are still accessible as far as I know. Not all of the on disc games I bought are because of DRM that is incompatible with modern Windows, or due to disc de-lamination.

Eleima wrote:
sebas wrote:

Eleima:

What was the name of that mobile game, Luxurious something?

I think this is the game mentioned? Luxuria Superbia

Ah, yes, that was it! Thanks a bunch!!
Oops, I'm not seeing it in the Apple Store. :(

I refer you to my review of Luxuria Superbia on Steam:

me wrote:

I'm not absolutely sure, but I think this is a game about having sex with flowers. There's probably a word for that. Floraphilia? Sure, let's call it floraphilia.

So, you're a floraphile, and your goal is to make sweet, sweet love to an infinitely long flower for an indeterminately long period of time. Appropriately enough, you engage in the aforementioned floraphilia by tickling the trippy insides of your sylvan lover. Tickle them too much though, and you'll be prematurely ejaculated from the flower, and no-one wants that. That seems to be about it. Nary a hint of foreplay, and as for pillow-talk, let's just say that's no bed of roses either.

Piling onto the already burgeoning raft of assumptions I've made with this review, I'm further assuming that Luxuria Superbia is a lifelike representation of boning garden plants, and ergo we can conclude that getting jiggy with a geranium is extremely tedious and barely arousing at all.

TL:DR version - it's a nonsense "art" game that fails at both being art and being a game.