Dread Delusion

GWJ Conference Call 926

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Rich, Daryl, and Beto are joined by special guest games writer Julie Muncy (Vice, Wired, and more) to talk about notable events in gaming news so far for 2024.

Games: Dread Delusion, Nine Sols, Valkyria Chronicles 4, Shadow of the Erdtree, Demonschool.

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.

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Great episode. Julie was an excellent guest.

I’d never heard of theatre of cruelty before. Probably the closest I’ve come to seeing an example was a play, set on a generational spaceship, where the scenes of work and maintenance would repeat almost exactly then, when the crew indulged in some much needed leisure time, those scenes would also repeat.

I forgive Hidetaka Miyazaki and his team any miscalculations, when it comes to difficulty in From games like Elden Ring, because his ultimate intent (much like theatre of cruelty) isn’t to torture the audience but to offer the players experiences that might be uncomfortable and frustrating in the moment but that are ultimately satisfying and memorable.

For me, the sense of camaraderie when working through From games is a vital element. The life saving signs written by players who warn of imminent ambushes and helping or being helped by others when taking on tough bosses. I also enjoy watching the fleeting ghosts of people exploring their own copy of the game as they settle at a campfire, practice their moves in front of a boss door or gallop and prance across the countryside.

00:01:13 Dread Delusion
00:07:08 Nine Sols
00:09:42 Valkyria Chronicles 4
00:18:41 Elden Ring
00:27:39 Demonschool
00:32:45 Gaming News in 2024

Loved that The Goblin Emperor came up! That book is freaking great.

Rich, given how much of an enabler you are, I'm going to try to enable you on Valkyria Chronicles 4 -- I think, given your taste, you'd love it.

The setting is a semi-sci fi version of World War II. When you asked about if it was the same war as in 1, and they hadn't ended the war yet, picture that each game features a different unit or battalion in some discrete part of WWII. The evil empire in the game is basically a symbolic hybrid of Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. And the fantasy stand-in for nuclear power also allows for some super-soldier human experimentation (mostly by the evil empire, as seen in some late-game antagonists).

Like Daryl said, the combat is kind of like an X-COM with some added flexibility have one unit take multiple turns. But the gameplay tweak that really sets this game apart is that you can see the map, and then, when you activate a unit, you drop down into it and play its turn out in an over the shoulder, third-person mode. So your vision is limited by its perspective. In part, individual unit turns play out like a crunchy RPG strategy game: your movement is limited by your stats, your actions are limited by your stats and gear, as is the damage you do. But in part, it plays out like a cover shooter. Like if you step into an enemy's range, you'll take fire as you move, and you can also step on a mine or something like that. The same is true of enemy turns: if an enemy moves into range of your units, they'll take fire.

The whole battalion is pretty interesting and definitely has a Band of Brothers feel. The story mostly focuses on the group of main characters that are all from the same town in a country that is Legally Distinct from France, but there are a lot of sub-stories and side missions that feature interesting relationships among the 20-30 member supporting cast. And they all have personality quirks and interpersonal relationships that can trigger boons or penalties on the battlefield.

I mean, I've always been Valk-urious. I think I might pick this up once I finish Nine Sols and Shadow of the Erdtree!

I'm playing Octopath Traveler II right now, by the way, and all of your glowing comments about it were spot on.