Metro 2033 EP6: Kahnception

By Shamus Posted Friday Oct 18, 2013

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 129 comments

Link (YouTube)

So we left behind the con man so we could hook up with Kahn, man! I feel really bad about how this episode turned out. This is where the game started doing all the things that really make me happy: Good atmosphere, psychological threats, mysteries, less reliance on combat, pretty particle effects, and a general policy of messing with the player’s head.

It’s so good, and yet most of us hadn’t even reached this point in the game and we made jokes over the whole sequence. Worse, now that Rutskarn has set the tone I expect the comments will lean away from critical analysis and turn into a non-stop parade of groan-inducing puns.

I guess we have the audience we deserve, not the one we want.


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129 thoughts on “Metro 2033 EP6: Kahnception

  1. Winfield says:

    That was so friggin’ close to a Batman joke. Why couldn’t you have let me chortle along with a reference to my fandom of choice?

    On a more serious note, I keep thinking I want to play Metro 2033 but every time it comes on Steam for $5 I go “meh, it’ll come around next time” and buy an indie game instead.

    (Also, maybe I’m the audience you deserve, just not the audience you need right now.)

    1. Piflik says:

      I got it for free, or rather for selling my soul via a Facebook ‘like’, during a Last Light promotion. Abandoned it though after a while. Don’t really remember when, but this part I have played, and some afterwards. I think I remember a really big battle that netted me night vision goggles. Maybe I pick it up again and finish it…

      1. Chris Davies says:

        I bought the game at the THQ “oh shit, we’re nearly bankrupt” sale. I’ve never got to this point because every time I play some point in the first aboveground sequence the game takes away all my weapons and refuses to give them back, and I have to restart.

        As far as google can tell me, this is a bug entirely unique to me. I guess I’m special.

        1. aldowyn says:

          As opposed to the ‘we are ACTUALLY bankrupt’ sale, which I think is where I got it? (Along with dawn of war and a few other things like that)

        2. Winfield says:

          You’re the bugtester THQ deserves, just not the bugtester it needs right now.

  2. Benjamin Hilton says:

    I’m playing this for the first time right along with you guys and maybe this is because I’m doing it on ranger easy, but up till now I always disagreed with Chris’ statement that ammo was everywhere, in the earlier parts I would find myself facing monsters with barely half a clip, even while scavenging all I could.

    This area was the first one where I had all the ammo I needed.

    Also this area was a great example of the amazing pacing this game had…you journey through your first time on the surface, and think your about to finally make it back to safety, when bourbon’s debts catch up to him and you pay the price.

  3. broken says:

    I like how at 3:50 Josh completely ignores the dud grenade trap. (There is a rope spun across the entrance that will *click* when you cross it. Normally that will detonate the grenade that it’s connected to but this one’s scripted never to explode.

    Also: *so much Hellsing ammo missed* sadface.

  4. James says:

    I Khan’t stand all these puns.

    1. Piflik says:

      Nobody forces you to make these kahntrived puns…

      1. Destrustor says:

        Khan’t we just subvert everyone’s expectations and not do this for once?

        Eww, what a lame khantribution. I just copied someone else.

        1. Syal says:

          Well, what else would we do, if we weren’t sending anti-pundits into khaniptions?

          1. MrGuy says:

            Settle down. Try to Kahntain yourself.

            1. Jeff says:

              Anyone else hearing Schwarzenegger in their heads?

    2. broken says:

      everyone who replies to this goes on the list. You’ll be the first ones against the wall when the revolution comes.

      1. Paul Spooner says:

        What’s all this “you’ll” business? Seems like you replied as well! That means…


        Well, as long as I’m here; It seems that most of this episode was lacking Khantext.

      2. James says:

        You Khan’t stop me.

        (for the sake of it being said for campster)


        (that is all)

      3. shildosh says:

        You can’t Khantrol me! Even if you do manage to Khanvince others to join the revolution, I always have a Khantingency plan. Khanverging on our position will end with the unfortunate Khansequence of your utter defeat!

        1. Syal says:

          This man…

          is a pro.

          1. Chauzuvoy says:

            Seriously. Is there a sizeable chunk of the twenty-sided community that’s always this good, or do episodes with heavy Rutskarn khantributions turn some of us into pun masters.

            That’d be a really odd form of lykhanthropy.

      4. Corpital says:

        In all of Spoiler Warning, this episode was the first time I really wanted everybody to just shut up and quit the punnnnssssss for a few minutes.
        It was a strange and frightening new experience and I hope it will never happen again.

        Also, no pun. Still too shocked.

        1. Jace91 says:

          It’s too bad this episode had you feeling khanflicted, maybe the next one will khanform to your expectations.

        2. Cybron says:


          This was a really atmospheric and interesting segment, and I would have rather heard more about it than a bunch of puns. I suspect it’s a side effect of the SW crew playing games that actually look like something I might want to play, which doesn’t happen very often.

      5. MrGuy says:

        I do not fear your
        *takes off sunglasses*

      6. Disc says:

        It’s no use crying over spilled bourbon. These people are beyond help. Some things you just can’t.. khange.


    3. Nytzschy says:

      Between the darkness and the puns, this video won’t be winning any accolades at Cannes.

      1. MrGuy says:

        That pun was Kahntemptable.

        1. Phil says:

          I rather thought that one deserved Kahngratulations.

          From here on out, I think he should be billed in the credits as Rutskahn. It’s always nice when everyone puns in kahncert, rather than relying on one person. Though, I imagine one could make an argument against such kahnformity….

      2. silver Harloe says:

        It does seem to be making it hard for them to rekhancile the tone of the commentary with the tone they want.

    4. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Ugh,all the puns!I need a shot of bourbon so I khan digest them all.

      1. SharpeRifle says:

        Really I was just Khantemplating suicide from the Khaniption fit this caused me.

        But now I’ll just get drunk instead.

      2. Sleeping Dragon says:

        Yeah, just when you thought that bourbonic plague was over… but no, it’s like some kind of Khancerous growth that you can’t get rid off that easily.

    5. Duhad says:

      Its funny how during the crazy none shooting sections they devolve into punning, but as much as they complain about it, they are much more focused when in khanbat section.

      1. supflidowg says:

        You guys khant khantinue with the puns. No amount of bourbon makes the pain go away, khanprende.

  5. ChoppazAndDakka says:

    I really hope that at least one of you catches up to where Josh is at in the game. I’m really digging this season so far, but having only one person understand what us going on, and having that person being the player and therefore sidetracked from commentary a bit by also playing, makes me worried that it could degenerate into all jokes, no real commentary. I feel this section of the game was ripe for discussion and impressions of what I would argue is one of the most interesting and atmospheric parts of the game, and all we got were Khan puns. I’m not saying it wasn’t enjoyable and that it will ruin the season. I simply worry that only watching without experiencing the effects of the game firsthand will limit you guys a lot. My least favorite bit of Spoiler Warning has been when you guys did Dead Money, and I don’t want Metro to go the same way.

    1. MrGuy says:

      +1 on this. I do get Chris’ point that there’s some value to commenting on the story as it unfolds. That said, I don’t think it “works” in the Spoiler Warning formula.

      For example, I doubt you guys really reading the subtitles/listening to all the character dialogue, especially when there’s an interesting discussion going on. Personally, I don’t want to go back to the original ME1 season where there was a lot of dead air as the hosts spent time watching the gameplay. Riffing on a game precludes (to some degree) paying attention.

      And then we wind up with “wait, who is this guy again and why are we doing this for him?” a few episodes later.

      Or we wind up with a bunch of Kahn puns. Potato, potahto.

      1. aldowyn says:

        It is really hard to follow along with a plot when you’re talking to anyone else at all. One or two people who are going in blind is fine, but the driver needs to have played (obviously, for this model) and probably at least one other person, I’d say?

        1. X2Eliah says:

          That’s hardly an excuse, though. If you can’t make LP’s, don’t. If you do make LP’s, put some effort in them and prepare.

          Just as a thought, all the hosts would certainly have a much easier time to follow the plot if they weren’t involved in a pun-off competition, right? I’ts a simple binary thing – do you talk about irrelevant stuff, or do you listen to the game/player and talk about *that*.

          Also, I want to bring up something TotalBiscuit and SlowBeef have said – a proper LP is For showcasing a game. (Add in analysis in SW case.) That’s it’s primary purpose, and it’s okay to just shut up and not say something for a bit – but the game has to take the precedence, not the personalities of the LPers. … Well, okay, there’s some dissent to this opinion, of course. The aforementioned was mostly the serious-LP ideology started on SA (iirc). On the other hand, you have LP’s that are all about the cult of the personality and wacky hijinks, mostly on youtube, wherein the game is just a background noise to spark some facecam shouting and fill the screen with flashy stuff. Pewdiepie would be a perfect example of this.

          And, frankly, I really think that the SW guys need to decide, if they are pewdiepies or not, and stick to that decision. Right now, we’re getting a mix of icecream and roast venison – both great on their own right, but not really going well together.

          Eh. Guess that’s a rant, eh? No matter. I stand by what I’ve said.

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            Spoiler warning was never about showcasing the game.Some of the fun shit you can do in the game,yes;exploits,definitely;bugs,oh my yes!All with the fun commentary,yelling and puns.

            1. Thomas says:

              Considering this is one of the first spoiler warnings where I haven’T played the game first, and that I would actively avoid a Spoiler Warning so I could play the first, I can +1 that this was never about showcasing the game for me.

              Also I kind of disagree with Total Biscuit on this one. Because if you want the game showcased then you can watch half an LP and quit, or read reviews and Wot I Thinks (TB’s WTF’s are an excellent example of something that’s way better than an LP at doing this. You don’t have to invest 30 hours of your life into it either). If you’re interesting about a game and you watch an entire LP, you’re just spoiling yourself and wasting your time.

              I know there are people who watch LPs instead of playing the game, but I’m not too interested in that. If a games worth my attention, it’s worth my attention with me at the controls (and my money)

              I’m here for the entertainment and hearing other people’s opinions about a game, maybe sparking discussion.

            2. silver Harloe says:

              Even when they have interesting commentary instead of puns, the Spoiler Warning crew constantly talk over plot text… they really aren’t about showcasing the game. Total Biscuit is describing his opinion, so he’s not wrong, but in my opinion, Spoiler Warning is more fun than a “showcase of the game”.

            3. The Rocketeer says:

              Not that it doesn’t happen from time to time. I can remember a lot of moments where, after a long silence, someone- usually Shamus- says, “I know we aren’t saying anything but this part is SO AMAZING and I want everyone to see it.”

              It’s just that there’s usually a lot of shooting mutants or guards between one of these moments and the next.

          2. guy says:

            The purpose of a lets play is to satisfy the audience. Even Something Awful has plenty that aren’t showcasing the game. Personally, I think Spoiler Warning strikes a good balance in general. Admittedly, this was probably not the best timing for a silly episode, but I enjoyed watching it. Mixing insightful commentary and silliness is SW’s charm. If it were just showcasing the game, I wouldn’t bother watching seasons of games I’ve already beaten.

            That said, SW seems to work best when all but one of the commentators have played the game. Having Josh be the only one probably won’t end well long-term.

            1. Tizzy says:

              Exactly. Let LPs find their audiences, and don’t go around telling people how something _should_ be done, especially these things that just grew out organically from people doing just what came naturally instead of overthinking it. You can define what your LP aims to achieve, but even then, why people tune in or don’t is outside of your control.

              As for SW specifically, I wouldn’t even be able to explain my viewing patterns. Some I’ve watched all the way through, most I watched partially, s few not at all. Some were games I’d already played, others games I had no intention of playing.

              I’m watching this one because I really enjoyed the beginning, and Getting the game right now is too much trouble and not enough time, but I do intend to get Last Light eventually so I want the necessary background.

              1. Hitchmeister says:

                I do not watch Lets Plays to see the game. I watch Spoiler Warning for what the hosts have to say, be it insightful commentary or silly puns. There’s room for both during the course of a game. If Spoiler Warning stopped being Spoiler Warning to showcase the game, I would stop watching.

                On the other hand, I’m only one person, so if they feel I don’t represent a large enough demographic to keep doing things they way they do it, they’d be entirely justified in changing. If they’re happy with their viewer numbers, then that means there must be room for a Let’s Play that breaks the rules of what makes a “good” Lets Play.

                1. MrGuy says:

                  I move to close this thread before someone’s feeling get hurt.

                  I worry we’re going in the direction of:
                  “Last night’s Spolier Warning was, without a doubt, the worst episode ever. Rest assured I was on the Internet within minutes registering my disgust throughout the world.”
                  “Hey, I know it wasn't great, but what right do you have to complain?”
                  “As a loyal viewer, I feel they owe me.”
                  “For what? They're giving you thousands of hours of entertainment for free. What could they possibly owe you? If anything, you owe them.”
                  “Worst. Episode. Ever.”

          3. Syal says:

            a proper LP is For showcasing a game. (Add in analysis in SW case.)

            Incorrect. Spoiler Warning has largely been about showing off the narrative structure of a game, what works and what doesn’t (and what Josh can somehow break), much like turning on the Director’s Commentary of a movie. It assumes you already know what happens and offers information you might not have noticed before.

            That said, it’s probably not going to work very well if they don’t know what happens yet.

          4. Michael says:

            I’ve always thought of Spoiler Warning as a roast… with a bit of analysis thrown in.

            EDIT: Or a video game version of MST3K, if Mike and the bots were trying to be fair to the film, while still ripping it’s guts out.

            1. AliciaEG says:

              MST3K did do video games once.

              (Though, just the cutscenes… which as we know are the most important part of a 1990’s Playstation game.)

          5. Melfina the Blue says:

            I watch mostly LPs that showcase the game (Mr. Odd), but I’m watching them for that. Mostly games I will never play because I hate the style (FPSes) but I’m interested in the world (Bioshock series).
            I don’t expect that from Spoiler Warning, but sometimes I get it. I expect 4 friends hanging out and having interesting conversations, mostly about the game. I expect the same thing from the Diecast, except mostly about gaming in general.
            Would I have preferred fewer puns this episode? Yup. I wanted to hit all 4 of them with a rolled-up newspaper by the end and say “No, no more Khan puns.” I also would have liked for Shamus to have played this section because I think he would have had some interesting things to say about it, but oh well, no one’s perfect and stuff doesn’t always work out the way you’d like.
            I don’t think there’s a One True LP Style anymore than there’s a One True Poem style, it depends on what you’re trying to convey and what you want to do.

          6. Felblood says:

            I must disagree.

            An LP, must contain some measure of both game-play and commentary.

            If all you want is commentary from zany narrators, read Dwarf Fortress journals, or listen to a podcast.

            If all you want is to see the parts of the game that come after the part where you dropped out/ tuned out/didn’t buy it, just watch a playthrough or a speed-run, without all the extra yakking.

            If you want neither of these things, watch this guy’s show: Seriously, listen to this man gripe for 15 minutes about how doing the sidequests would be too much work, but he is bored waiting for the primary objective, and has nothing left to talk about. It’s enough to make you shout at the screen.

            A let’s play is strong when lots of interesting things happen in the game, and the host(s) have interesting things to say about them. Especially if the other player supplies a perspective completely different from your own.

      2. Syal says:

        Or we wind up with a bunch of Kahn puns. Potato, potahto.

        I think you meant Corn chips, Kahn chips.

      3. jarppi says:

        Yeah… Propably the best sequence in the game and a lot of lore included and all they did were a bunch of puns. And some russian accent. Not that I wouldn’t enjoy some puns but the analysis is what I really enjoy in the Spoiler Warning. They really need all to finish the game before they do more episodes. And less fake russain accent, it degrades the tone here.

        1. Lalaland says:

          Yup the ‘bad foreign accents are funny thing’ is starting to grate, funny at first but as it wears on decidedly less so. I do enjoy the analysis though and having a few members of the crew with no foreknowledge of a game does bring a good dynamic to the whole thing but a majority of the crew behind the player doesn’t seem to be working. Particularly in a game like this where the limits of stream encoding mean that all most of the crew saw was a smear of blacks I think it makes ‘playing along’ almost impossible. I’m not trying to say ‘they’re doing it wrong’ but I hope more of the crew will be ahead of Josh for the next session.

    2. X2Eliah says:

      Aye, same here.

  6. broken says:

    So about the anomaly: if you look back to the first episode; when everyone falls asleep during the train ride, you can see an anomaly forming (or arriving, it’s never really clear) behind the train. I don’t know for sure, since the ‘rules’ for anomalies never truly get explained, but it is quite probable that everyone would have died due to the electric attack had we not fallen asleep and slowed down…

  7. SpiritBear says:

    Shamus are you still doing the opening Photoshop because this seemed to be more effort than usual.

    1. Shamus says:

      Real talk: The only reason I made this one because I was in a hurry and didn’t have time to do fancy image editing.

      1. tzeneth says:

        Even if it didn’t require the fancy edits, I still enjoyed the image at the front. It made me laugh :)

        1. Sleeping Dragon says:

          Would you believe I almost missed it? “Oh, one of the loading screens from the game with some narration”, it was just a split second before it faded away that my eye actually caught something like “Chris was…” and I realised there’s something fishy going on here.

          1. Sabredance (MatthewH) says:

            This was, I believe, the first title card I have ever cracked up reading. It was great.

            1. Zagzag says:

              Definitely the first time I can remember laughing out loud at one too.

      2. Josef says:

        Rutskarn should have narrated it with his Russian accent :)

      3. Tizzy says:

        It was pretty funny. Maybe because it was so different from my expectations as well, but also the tone of the writing seemed to be a good match.

        Constraints, whether time or other, can bring out the best innovations.

      4. Jarenth says:

        That’s interesting, because this one is my favourite by far.

  8. shildosh says:

    It’s possible to have both critical insight and puns!
    I would really like to emphasize the khantrast between our original cart buddies, Khan, and Bourbon. We start with our light hearted buddies who quickly are sobered by our near death experience. The story is filled with even more close calls and mortality after we reach the shady and mischievous khan man Bourbon. We then reach Khan as he khansitutes a deeper and very methodical man, at least compared to Bourbon. The character arch of Artyom is shown more in the people he is used to being around becoming darker and a bit more khanning than in the little loading screen speeches, because after all he is a mostly silent protagonist here, but more outspoken in every way in the novels. We’ve only reached Khan as the next level companion so it is hard to really include in a meaningful way the khangregate of people you meet during the game.

    1. X2Eliah says:

      Mnope, sorry, the puns ruined any serious thought that might have been in there, for me. I’m just seeing khan khan khan bdsbfdshj khan bfdshfhsj khan.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Really?All you are seeing is khan khan khankhankhan khankhan khankhankhan khankhan?But that happens in last light,not here.

      2. anaphysik says:

        Bah, puns and commentary are not *nearly* as inkhangruous as you make them out to be. I thought shildosh’s point (that the progression of companions leads to a progression in thematic khantent) was clear.

        (I *am* for the hosts to all be better prepared in terms of ‘actually have played the stuff we’re seeing, so they khan actually /discuss/ it properly,’ but arguing for the excision of puns is arguing for the death of part of SW’s personality.)

        1. PeteTimesSix says:

          I agree with Eliah here. Couldnt make it past the third line because I got tired of decyphering which word was it that got bastardised into another bloody pointless pun.

          1. Sabredance (MatthewH) says:


  9. Spongioblast says:

    This whole level is tihar paradise. This and the Nazi bridge. The thing is perfect for stealth Khanbat.

    Ok, that was a bit of a stretch but you Khan’t say I didn’t try.

  10. Neko says:

    I had to really khancentrate during this episode to follow the in-game dialogue while also enjoying the khantinuous barrage of puns =)

    Seriously though, that was a weirdly sudden end for Bourbon. Perhaps other games have conditioned us to expect emotional last words from their dying comrade. No-one in videogames can truly die until they’ve told the player how much he felt like a brother to him, and finally hinting at something really important that the player needs to do but dying before finishing their

    1. droid says:

      Neko wasn’t that great of a guy, you’re better off with me. Also: I have always looked up to you. Now we just need to

      1. Bryan says:

        Man, that droid just suddenly fell apart, didn’t he. That’s too bad, but I always knew it would happen; he needed to refit his joints more often. Well, I think you’ll be better off following me anyway.

        As a matter of fact, I happen to know that right down this side hallway there’s a dead end, where you’ll find quite a lot of

      2. Syal says:

        Just like a droid to break down when you need it most.

        Hey, mind if I borrow a

        (EDIT: Suddenly, NINJAS!)

  11. Gordon says:

    Fun fact: ghost show up earlier in the game. on the first cart ride, when you’re falling asleep, the hitchhiker guy said something like “Let’s hurry. I get sad to hear them weep.” I got a weird feeling on my second playthrough, so I turned on my flashlight and started looking around. Turns out there’s at least one human ghost standing in the tunnel, and a DARK ONE ghost in the middle of the tracks. you pass through him right as everything goes sideways.

    1. Sabredance (MatthewH) says:

      I think that’s causal. I haven’t read the book, but I always thought we were seeing the last moments of Hunter and the Dark One. Of course, apparently Hunter isn’t dead, based on Josh’s Last Light comments.

      1. LunaticFringe says:

        Having played Last Light I don’t recall anything about Hunter still being alive, but maybe I missed it. The closest thing that comes to mind is that he appears in the last level of this game in the Dark Ones’ trippy mental reality, but that could just be a hallucination.

        1. Disc says:

          My theory is that it’s either that Hunter or some part of him is somehow tapped into the Dark Ones’ “mind network” and is trying to help you, or that he’s just a reflection of your subconscious fighting back the influence of the Dark Ones, considering how the scene plays out in the real world. It’s still a bit of a metaphysical mindfuck that how the gun appears in your hand in the real world if you never actually carried the revolver that Hunter gives you in the dreamland. While the game shows that you do move around in the real world while suffering the visions, it doesn’t really adequately explain where the gun came from.

          Anyway, it could explain if Hunter is still alive at least in some sense, either just in your head or still living at least in some form or capacity, if not fully human anymore. Never played Last Light though, so I’m just speculating.

          Plotholes, dude.

          1. So you’re saying Hunter is to Metro: Last Light as Dave Bowman was to 2010?

            Trippy, comrade.

  12. Chris says:

    Puns are out of Khantrol…

  13. guy says:

    I am ashamed of you people. The most atmospheric and engaging part of the game and you furiously punned over it.

    I can’t expect better from Rutskarn, but I’d hope Shamus would have a grasp of the consequences of this sort of thing.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      “I am ashamed of you people. The most atmospheric and engaging part of the game and you furiously punned over it.”

      You are new to spoiler warning then.

    2. anaphysik says:

      I hope you’re trolling here, because the rampant punning in no way distracted me (someone who’s never played Metro) from the awesomeness of Khan’s speechifying.

      1. X2Eliah says:

        I hope you’re trolling here, or are you seriously assuming that everyone’s tastes and perceptions are exactly the same a yours?

      2. guy says:

        It was a joke. This was wonderful and let me make a pun you missed. Admittedly, I’d probably get tired of it if it keeps happening for the rest of the season, but as a one-off it’s great.

  14. Hitchmeister says:

    I really feel for Josh in this one. The rest of them were just doing it to be khantrary.

  15. Henson says:

    Khan is by far my favorite section of the game – both the character and the abandoned tunnel. It encapsulates all the unique flavour of the Metro 2033 fiction in all its Russian-ness: the ghosts of the past, the prayers, the lonely and melancholy guitar, the assertion that the afterlife was “atomized”. And Khan, a character who feels like he inhabits a different plane of existence than the rest of the human survivors.

    It’s a great section for the player to slow down and think about the world he inhabits.

    1. Eric says:

      +1 to this. It’s too bad Shamus stopped playing here, as this is one of the best parts of the game, but I can understand being tired and frustrated after dealing with all those bandits.

      Also, I love the idea that humanity fucked up so badly, we destroyed the afterlife and can’t even die properly anymore.

      1. Tizzy says:

        Indeed! And it can’t be a completely new idea, especially during the Cold War, other fictions must have come up with it, but I can’t think of any right now so it feels fresh to me. And so well done, now I want to read the books!

        Cut everyone off from Heaven. It’s hard to imagine a better way of expressing: now you really did it this time! Even better than the statue of liberty sunbathing ona beach.

    2. Sabredance (MatthewH) says:

      While I liked this part of the game -a great breather, a very atmospheric section -I was disappointed that it never came up again. This was my primary complaint with the game -there really isn’t much story here, so much as setting. It’s a great setting, but its mostly setting. In that sense it has a lot in common with Fallout 3.

  16. McNutcase says:

    I am going to have so many videos to catch up on once I’m out of the hospital.

    Shamus, if you want to consider me as a playtester for Good Robot, my daughter was born yesterday and I am willing to count her as a production baby ;)

  17. Jakale says:

    So, out of curiosity, are shadow ghosts a Russian thing or is it something the book or game came up with? Seeing as ghosts in American myth tend to get represented as the glowing, semi-tangible stuff like the anomaly.

    In the sense of first persona exploration, shadows work pretty well, atmospherically.

    1. guy says:

      I think, and the wiki agrees, that they’re an allusion to the blast shadows from nuclear weapons. You can see some pictures of them on the walls of buildings in Hiroshima, where someone was standing when the bomb went off.

      1. X2Eliah says:

        Ah, now that’s an interesting (and believable) idea.

        As for the parent comment – Hm. I’m not fully up to speed with slavic ghostlore, but I don’t recall ghostly-shadows being that much of a thing.

      2. ET says:

        The weird thing with the Hiroshima shadows, is that (I think) they should all look like photo negatives.
        i.e. The blast makes a bunch of bright light/xrays/etc which burns the objects it touches.
        Any areas which were in the “shadow” from another object should look un-burnt, and therefore lighter in colour compared to the surrounding area.
        The only image I could find like this is this one.
        Now, I’m not a chemist, so it could be possible that, depending on the composition of the wall/street/object, its blast shadows could look darker than the rest of the area, since the radiation lightened up the surrounding area.

        1. guy says:

          Apparently it’s because the non-visible radiation, particularly Ultraviolet, tends to bleach most materials like plastic that’s been left out in the sun for years.

    2. MrGuy says:

      I don’t think there are that many depictions of ghosts in “realistic” videogames. Plenty of possessed, diseased, infected, undead, but not a ton of straight-up ghosts.

      For practical purposes, in a shooter a “glowy” thing is pretty much always a “look at me! shoot me!” kind of thing. Darkness is a lot more challenging to notice.

      Also, there’s plenty of precedent for ghosts being referred to as shades or shadows (there are references to the dead as “shades” going back at least to the ancient Greeks), so I’m not sure it’s such a novel idea.

    3. Thomas says:

      It becomes significantly less mysterious when you realise they’re basically just like the Nobodies from Kingdom Hearts =D

      Saying that, shadows as ghosts work so much better than ghosts as ghosts. It’s a completely natural thing, unlike the glowingness, floatyness of normal ghosts that you can’t really justify but it’s still creepy and powerful

  18. Mersadeon says:

    I love the way the shadow-ghosts are animated. I spend quite a few minutes just looking at them from different angles, trying to figure out how the lighting applied to them and how that worked.

    1. Decius says:

      I instantly figured them for a model that didn’t have textures, but affected the light from the flashlight. Or maybe they cast shadows from all light, but don’t appear near other light sources.

      1. ET says:

        Probably something like this.
        It’s been a while since I’ve worked directly in something like OpenGL or Direct X, but I’m pretty sure the 3D geometry and lighting are done in separate passes.
        Actually, pretty much everything is done in a separate pass.
        So, yeah, the ghosts are probably normal 3D models, but set to be transparent on the normal rendering, but made to still affect the lighting/shadow rendering.

        1. Mersadeon says:

          Thanks for that explanation! I was wondering how exactly it happens. That’s why I love Twentysided.
          Also, I love it when game developers create effects that aren’t really possible in real life. I think that’s partially why it’s so creepy – because we just can’t compare it to our concept of shadows.

          (And that’s why the Occulus Rift will be frakking terrifying when it comes to horrorgames. Can you imagine? I think, for the first time in videogame history, developers will have to restrain themselves from making it to scary, because they might make it emotionally unplayable.)

          1. Thomas says:

            There was an article on exactly that recently

            Although it might be like a cinema thing, where the first time people saw a film they were flinching at a train coming towards them, but after you’re used to it, the horror becomes a little less intense and your mind more readily accepts that you’re in an imaginary world

  19. anaphysik says:

    Damn, those ghosts looked good. Heck, even just watching Josh walk though here I felt a definite urge to shoot at the monstrous shadow when it leapt at the kid ghost.

    1. MrGuy says:

      I think this is where the “primarily gray” color palette really adds something.

      I like the instinctual “that’s an enemy – kill it!” reaction that you need to apply the “wait – it’s just a ghost” mental control over. At least for me, there was a real dissonance between created when I saw that lurking shadow stalking the kid that I knew in my head wasn’t “real” but looked the part. I shot at it, even though I knew not to.

      If the enemies were usually, say, green, I don’t think the reaction would be as strong on seeing a black shadow of one…

      1. guy says:

        Personally, I rapidly internalized the principle that ghosts were deadly, and froze or rapidly backed off when I saw them. I actually flinched when the ghost monster chased the kid directly at Josh and he just stood there.

        I guess I can see your point about the palette, but I always found the sharply distinct shadows easy to tell apart from the living monsters.

  20. Thomas says:

    Here’s to the new NPC, as good as the old one

    1. Bryan says:

      Le NPC est mort. Và­ve le NPC!

      (…At least, I think I got that right.)

  21. ET says:

    Am I watching the video on too low graphics, or did Josh miss a silenced assault rifle, outside the last train car, right before the end of the video?
    It looked like the AK74, or whichever gun that is, but with a big thing stuck on the end of the barrel.

    1. A. Hieronymus Bosch says:

      If you’re talking about the train car with the nosalis hanging out of it, then that’s a shotgun.

    2. Michael says:

      Yeah, I see it. I’m not completely sure, but I think that’s the silenced AK74.

      Also, I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure the rifle ammo is stamped 5.45mm, so that would be 74s, though I don’t know if any AK actually uses a cutaway magazine like the ones in Metro.

  22. 4th Dimension says:

    Nice and fun episode, although I was disappointing that they punned right through Khan setting up the exposition even when they haven’t played this bit. There were moments when I was willing Ruts to keep quiet so other can hear what is Khan saying about what happened.
    Also I’m a bit disappointed in the game, or maybe the original author that Khan, a Russian or at least Mongolian / Center Asian chants in LATIN in the middle of Russia.
    I would have sooner expected for him to chant in Church Slavonic or Mongolian or even some central Asian language (or even some Muslim prayer) than in Latin.

  23. shiroax says:

    Guys, I’m still 3 episodes back, but you do realize the knife has alternate fire? I think that’s the stealth kill mode, but I never managed to sneak up on anything to use it.

  24. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Man,all these Khan puns.This haas to be the most pun-prone name since deus ex.

    1. anaphysik says:

      Come on, you have to admit that this new guy is really striking a chord with us readers, even ignoring his rather khan-vent-tional introduction.

      Also, I am REALLY glad that Khan is friendly to us; we probably wouldn’t get to hear so much cool stuff from him if he were haastile.

    2. Disc says:

      You really should stop with these damn puns before you accidentally invoke Him Who Is Not To Be Named and bring doom to us all.

  25. ehlijen says:

    As much as I actually like puns, the combination of Josh not explaining what was happening (until later), no one else knowing either, the darkness preventing me from seeing for myself and no one having anything to say but not paying enough attention to change that all put together left me not enjoying this episode very much.

  26. Venalitor says:

    This concatenated string of puns has turned my skull concave and I must concede that in my conceit I could not conceive of such a concourse, being confidently convinced that Shamus was possessed of a concussion.
    Congratulations, this thread has been conquered by the khan. Hope your proud of yourself Shamus. Dare your viewers to do something and you get it. . . in the face.

    On the other hand this is also one of my favorite parts of the game. All the mysticism and world building here is just kind of. . . missing. . . from the rest of the game. This is probably where a more open world would have come in handy as more of the anomalies could have been justified. That being said there was no reason to not have more of the ghosts peppered throughout the game. I don’t really remember where they appear after this, but I know it wasn’t enough.
    The area with Kahn does feel pretty safe though and I feel like the game could have done more with the threat of violence rather than throwing trickles of cannon fodder mutants (which I don’t have a problem with in and of themselves) at the player. The library and separation to D6 were great for this. Just not the bloody kid.
    Remember! It was Ghengis the Green!

  27. Alex says:

    Well, that was disappointing.

    It’s not just because they’re puns, they’re lazy puns. “Khan descending” shows some wit, but if I wanted a list of every word between 81 and 85 of the dictionary, I’d look it up myself.

    This level had so much to offer, and you squandered it on a game of “words that start with ‘con'”.

    1. EBass says:

      Yea I gotta agree. Though I haven’t been too worried that most of the cast hasn’t played the game thus far, it has been in the back of my mind that this serious has had less real analysis. In this episode it really bothered me, because really you guys had nothing to say, other than “Oh this looks pretty cool”.

      Chris did talk about how it was a different dynamic, which is true, but I think its pretty much a worse dynamic. I think the Spoiler Warning format really relies on you guys all knowing the game perhaps with ONE guy who doesn’t as a bit of a foil. Because if you don’t know the game then you either stop talking over the plot bits, so you can understand what’s going on (which kind of misses the idea), or you just talk over the plot bits being irreverent (and somewhat irrelevant) and still not understand what’s going on.

      So yea, not your finest episode imho.

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Squandered,or s-KHAN-uadered?

      I feel so ashamed now.

  28. Jarenth says:

    What, nobody? For real? Fine, I’ll do it.

    ‘So you end up in an area of the metro tunnels that’s absolutely lousy with ghosts and anomalies and supernatural phenomena, just after meeting the only NPC who understands what’s up and who can help you get past them? Man, that’s Kahnvenient.’

    1. GM says:

      you know ,how would it be to go through that alone?

      1. It’d probably be khanterproductive.

  29. Cybron says:

    Chris’s arguments about blind runs producing more interesting commentary might have rung truer if this entire episode hadn’t been a series of bad puns.

    1. And didn’t an earlier season have an episode where blind runs by Spoiler Warning weren’t going to be a thing? Maybe they just meant for everyone as opposed to Josh.

  30. Ithilanor says:

    I’ve got to add to everyone’s criticism. I haven’t played, and this is really where the game started looking interesting…but I can’t get any real sense of things between the unending puns and the crew not knowing what’s going on. I know that the format of a LP is going to hurt the atmosphere, but it didn’t have to be this bad.

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