Last of Us EP34: Giraffes Are Cool

By Shamus
on Jan 7, 2015
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning


Link (YouTube)

At this point in the game – just as we finally enter the home stretch – I’m finally going to get to play The Last of Us for myself. I now own a Playstation 4, along with GTA V and TLOU. These arrived via UPS with no note or indication of who bought them. I have my guess, but I don’t want to say anything until I know for sure. The important thing is that someone was very very good to me and I am very grateful. This is exactly the package I would have picked for myself.

This is the penultimate episode of the season. It’s been a good run. I feel sort of bad about stepping all over our discussion of the ending in my column yesterday, but I think there’s plenty of stuff left to discuss beyond, “How stupid and useless are the Fireflies and are they worse than Cerberus?”.

So I’m curious: Can you shoot these animals, and does Ellie react? We didn’t want to do the experiment and risk the wrath of Mumbles if it turned out the Giraffes were mortal.

The scene just before you leave the Giraffes behind is kind of interesting. As far as either of them knows, this shouldn’t be a big deal. Ellie is just expecting to be “studied”. They should be relieved to be done with travel and danger and fighting for survival for a few days. But the dialog flows as if they both know this is going to be a bigger deal than any of the challenges they just faced. The only explanation I can think of is that Joel thinks they are about to part ways.

And finally: Exhibit Z in the “Proof that the Fireflies suck at everything” files: The tunnel leading to their hideout is the most heavily zombie-infested place in the entire game. How long have they been here and not dealt with the monsters on their doorstep? Don’t they need to come and go once in a while? And while we’re at it, I should point out that with no viable means of trade or farming, there’s nothing for the Fireflies to eat.

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From the Archives:

  1. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Chris,what did you do to your mic?Last few recordings,you sound like the errant signal dude.Its good actually,keep it like this.

    • Chris says:

      I had to move a lot of footage between my capture computer in the livingroom and my office computer where I do my editing for the GTAV episode. At some point when unplugging my external harddrive in the office to go get more footage I started to walk out of the room and had my headset’s cord wrapped around my foot while it was still plugged into the PC. Stripped the USB cable to the point where it was useless.

      So I’m using my Yeti as a mic here. It’s a bit uncomfortable – I have it on a stand so it doesn’t pick up vibrations from my desk/computer, so there’s a mic stand between me and the monitor. But it sounds much better! Wouldn’t recommend it as a real headset replacement, though.

  2. Daemian Lucifer says:

    So,we had a game where we sacrificed ourselves in order to save (almost) family.We had a game where we sacrificed the cure for zombieism in order to save (almost) family.What we need now is a video game where we sacrifice (almost or actual) family in order to save the world(or,you know,10 non family people).I wonder if that will be done soon.

    • Jeff R says:

      Ultima VII, Serpent Isle. So about negative twenty years or so.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Doesnt he sacrifice himself in your place though?Because he wants to atone.Thats not really it.

        • MadHiro says:

          The ethics of it gets a little bit wonky; since, you know, you’re the Avatar. Really, not only should you have seen it coming (Codex of Ultimate Wisdom), but you’re almost certainly much stronger than he is. Which means, in game, the Avatar basically lets Dupre hop in.

          It’s further made unclear since Dupre doesn’t -actually- die, but becomes part of the Chaos Serpent. And sacrificing yourself to become part of a trans-infinite godhead is probably not that much of a sacrifice. Though, what the whole ‘ripped out of the Chaos Serpent to live again in the abomination that is IX’ thing means is another kettle of fish.

        • Jeff R. says:

          I could also cite Stationfall, even earlier…

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            Robot is not really what I had in mind.Also,sort of self defense is not what I had in mind either.Its not that much of a sacrifice when the one you are sacrificing is trying to kill you.

            • Jeff R. says:

              Well, it’s more the one you are sacrificing is possessed by something that’s trying to kill you (and will kill lots of other people if you did decide to sacrifice yourself instead…)

    • Grudgeal says:

      Terranigma. Sort of.

  3. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Now I wish that if you shot at giraffes in that scene ellie would be like “What the fuck are you doing joel?!”.That wouldve been awesome little moment.

    • Eruanno says:

      I’m almost certain that the game won’t let you hold a weapon in that area. I think. Maybe?

    • Tizzy says:

      Or have tye giraffes run as soon as Joel pulls a gun…

      I’m surprised they didn’t include it. You KNOW a lot of players will pull some stupid shit like this, and it’s always a pleasant surprise when the game reacts to something stupis you do. Old school adventure games could be really good at that: including a throwaway snarky line for a single object combination you might attempt.

  4. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Maisie Williams still looks very young.She could play a 14 year old in the last of us.

  5. SAeN says:

    You can shoot the giraffes but nothing happens.

    On a related note, Chris remarked that you can sit and watch the giraffes for as long as you like. During my second playthrough of the game that’s where I chose to turn off the console and leave it. I think the actual ending of the game is much happier than most people assume, but that just seemed like the right place for me to stop.

  6. Daemian Lucifer says:

    @19:20

    But ellie is a bigger badass than you.Did you watch her fight?She is a terminator in kid form.

  7. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Yeah,people werent angry that me3 didnt have a happy ending(despite what bioware keeps saying),but that it had no resolution.All these people that you got to know,that you got to do stuff with,and…they just end up on a planet somewhere because….who knows?Also,the starchild made no sense,and you had no option to tell him “youre drunk kid,go home,and take the reapers with you”.

    • IanJ says:

      A thousand times this. ME3’s problem, and BioWare’s problem in general, is too many cooks. No one person to stand up and point out that actually Shepherd already does have a character, etc… because every one of a thousand writers has their own story to tell with Tali or Samara or whatever.

      TLOU seems to have almost the opposite problem, where they have a story, it has characters and themes which intersect in interesting ways, and the team is all on the same page… But then they fail to have enough faith in the audience, and make David a cannibal maniac, Marlene a hypocrite, the Fireflies a litany of failure.

      Despite how well executed all the individual components of the game are, I left it feeling less like it was a triumph and more like it was just a step in the right direction. If David’s group had been just people defending themselves from a misunderstanding, or if the Fireflies were just apologetic or conciliatory, then the final chapter would have been something spectacular.

      It’s better than ME3, of course, but I still feel like Naughty Dog dropped the ball.

      • nerdpride says:

        Didn’t ME advertise something about player input being important to the plot? And then the result was more like, “did you get enough X/Y points to get a special 5 minute scene or the generic one?”

        I don’t remember too good, honestly. And usually I like the open endings.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Yep,there was the infamous:”We dont want you to push a button and get a different colored ending” speech,and then in the end you get to push a button and get a different colored ending.So bullshit,much rage.

    • SmileyFace says:

      I also feel like the people who expected to have the option of a happy ending felt that way because it had been reinforced by the structure of the story up to that point – Shepherd defies death and does the impossible, and then does it again, and again. You literally come back from the dead after suffocating in space and having your corpse undergo re-entry. For Shepherd to die doing what essentially amounts to pushing a big glowing button is arbitrarily saying ‘this is where Shepherd dies’, even though it makes no sense for that to be what finishes Shepherd. It might have worked if the game was trying to make some sort of point there, but it doesn’t seem to be.

  8. guy says:

    I think the DLC somewhat ruins Ellie being all withdrawn now. She apparently made it through that all right.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      But we dont know how she did it,or how much she brooded afterwards.Not to mention that almost losing joel resparked all of the emotions from that period.

    • Bitterpark says:

      It’s still a harrowing experience for her: almost losing Joel, almost losing all her limbs on the cannibal table, having to kill creepy rapey guy and dozens of his goons… She mentions “(after) all I have done”, so murdering all these dudes must be affecting her. And she’s not Joel, who’s all withdrawn to begin with and who had a career of murdering dudes before the game even started.

  9. Hydralysk says:

    I have to say I did like the fact that the big Infected fight near the beginning, as well as (at least most) of the Firefly fights at the end are stealthable, it takes a lot of patience and a bit of luck, but you can do it.

    I felt it kind of helped the tone of the final chapter that I was able to go “There’s no way I can take these guys head on, I’d better hide” rather then be forced to Rambo my way to Ellie. Maybe the fact that I insisted on stealthing my way through was why I didn’t really have an issue with how the last chapter was paced.

  10. RedSun says:

    I’d say that Mass Effect just didn’t have the tone to be a tragedy. It was too indulgent; you need cynicism for something to be tragic. You need the player to respond to trouble, at least some of the time, with “well, we’re fucked”. In Mass Effect, you never feel fucked. A lot of times, you end up making sacrifices, but they’re sacrifices you expected to make. You almost never FAIL. It’s only when the game tells you you’re about to fail that you realize you can fail.

    And I think the whole aspect here where they’re teasing the idea of a happy ending with Joel and Ellie is kind of necessary. There needs to be that understanding that things won’ts work out the way you want them too, but also this need, this undying hope that things are still ultimately okay. I think, in a lot of ways, tragedy is about that false hope.

    • ME3 also failed to live up to its promise.

      ME1: Space Cthulhus are coming! Their plan is beyond our feeble comprehension! And you save the Citadel from one of their number!
      ME2: You die. You’re resurrected by the ME universe’s version of The Smoking Man who heads up their version of COBRA. You meet some cool dudes, but in the end, the Council still doesn’t buy the Reapers as a threat, and it turns out Reapers are made of sentient-being-slurpee, which is dumb, but pretty comprehensible.
      ME3: The Space Cthulhus have arrived! And they’re basically just blowing stuff up. And out of nowhere, there’s a plan to stop them that just might not work and really should have been foreshadowed in ME2. Then you press a button and die, unless you took the biotic power, “Grind,” where you push a different button and take a breath.

      The ending wasn’t planned from the get-go, made up at the last minute, and was unsatisfying on just about every level. It didn’t pay off anything that came before, it wasn’t even a good “you sacrifice yourself for the greater good” ending, and the dev who wrote it should feel bad.

      • Grudgeal says:

        Honestly, much of the entire third game, and much of the second, felt that way to me. I mean, the particulars are well done in many places — the loyalty missions were generally good and several of the ME3 quests were ok — but just how you got from Star Trek-esque Space Opera with a twist to The Dirty Dozen IN SPACE against an entirely new species made out of whole cloth and then to Waiting For MacGuffin (some kid died!) just feels like a huge disconnect. It’s like they took out the entire second act from a different play and as a result the scene direction for the third act got messed up.

        And THEN you add the last-minute ad hoc ending on top of that.

    • Ithilanor says:

      I’d moderate that by saying that ME3 tried to have the tone of a tragedy, but that tone hadn’t been established by the previous two games and the tonal shift was completely unsubtle and manipulative. If a stand-alone game tried to tell ME3’s story without having the baggage and expectations going in, it could have worked better.

  11. Chamomile says:

    Why would you make a Last of Us movie? Can a movie really deliver a better cinematic experience than the game? I mean, I know it’s possible but is it likely? This was a well put together cinematic experience and unless you get a really good team I doubt a proper movie would top it.

    • Alexander The 1st says:

      Reminds me of Moviebob pointing out that an animated Mario movie at this point is at its best a glorified cutscene, and if that’s what Sony is doing, hasn’t Super Smash Bros. Brawl’s Sub Space Emissary already done what’s probably the highest stakes of entertainment with its cutscenes?

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      “Can a movie really deliver a better cinematic experience than the game?”

      Yes.Because a movie is a cinematic experience,and a video game isnt.What a movie cannot deliver is better immersive experience.

      • But there’s the added problem of both being capable of having a bad story. ME3’s ending would’ve been an awful movie, too. Then there’s the concept of a video game movie that tries to re-tell the game’s narrative. Either it’s a re-hash of what you already saw/played, or they get it wrong and it’s not satisfying to fans of the game (or in some cases, the audience).

        They could make a Mass Effect movie set in the universe of Mass Effect… if they retcon the Mass Relays blowing up.

        …and the whole Reaper thing, since that would have to be the focus, otherwise.
        …and it shouldn’t be about Commander Shepard, since we already know his/her story, and any deviation would make the games even more pointless.
        …and it’d have to compete against Blasto, the Hanar Specter, which it can’t hope to do.

  12. 7:12, Rutskarn: “So, a giraffe is equally surprising as a player…”

    That made me think how cool it would be if the giraffe was a playable character. Just imagine it shiving infected!

    • Vermander says:

      Giraffes are one of those ridiculus looking animals like hippos or cassowarys that are surprisingly dangerous. I’ve been told that they can actually kill a lion with a well placed kick.

      • Ivan says:

        Dude, holy shit. Hippos aren’t just dangerous, they are total assholes. If you get anywhere near their territory they will tear you apart just to spite you. The way I’ve heard it put is they’re basically built like a tank but still have the mentality of a much smaller animal, so they view anything and everything that looks at them funny as a threat, despite there not being anything you could physically do to hurt them without an elephant gun. Sorta like those small dogs people neglect to train, except this one has the bite to back up it’s bark. Just never mess with a hippo, ever.

        I’ve never heard the same said about a giraffe but considering it’s size it’s not surprising that it could do major damage to a lion. Just think of how strong those legs have to be to hold up an animal that large. But I agree, they look so goofy that you wouldn’t expect them to be able to hurt anything.

  13. WILL says:

    I hear KotOR 2 makes people very uneasy like Mumbles mentioned. It’s a such a grim and analytic view of the Star Wars universe, especially Nar Shadaa, not everyone could take such a downer.

    • guy says:

      A lot of people do not agree with its analysis. It doesn’t help that the macro-scale analysis depends on how much weight you put in exposition delivered by the Sith Lord of Betrayal.

      • Ithilanor says:

        And it doesn’t help that the game gives you no opportunity to respond to its worldview, whether to embrace it or reject it. Even if it hadn’t been rushed out the door, I think that structural flaw still would have been there.

      • Grudgeal says:

        Chris Avellone has admitted that he basically wrote that character as a speaking tube for all his problems with the Star Wars universe. Much like Ulysses from Lonesome Road was for New Vegas. I can see how that can become contentious for people.

        • Patrick the Philanthropic Carjacker says:

          Ulysses made almost no sense. At all. His gripe with the character was so superficial it failed the instant eye test. Any of his dark, brooding nihilistic mumblings couldn’t be taken seriously after that, no matter how eloquently or baritone they were. It was like listening to the world’s coolest, smoothest jazz musician read the world’s most angsty teenage poetry.

          And I thought the level design sucked.

          • Lonesome Road was far too linear, I agree. Even so, it offered some surprises (the Deathclaw that lands on the camper you’re looting, for example).

            But yeah, Ulysses being disillusioned with… well, everything, after what Caesar did to his tribe makes some kind of sense, but blaming you for delivering a box that caused nukes to go off when you didn’t know what it was seems poorly thought-out.

            Of all the NV DLC, it’s my least favorite.

    • SlothfulCobra says:

      My main problem with KOTOR 2’s grimness is the fact that there’s not really any goofing around like you could do in the first KOTOR.

      “Oh yeah, I was born on Kashyyyk. I’m a wookie, Bastila, can’t you tell?”

      • Isy says:

        There were a few. I recall the main character being able to annoy Atton via spouting cliche meaningless Jedi talk at him until he told you to stop. “But to know the future, one must know yourself.” “But to teach, one must be willing to learn.”

        The Dark Side path options were more humorous as well. “Give me all your money and go jump in that pit.”

  14. Daemian Lucifer says:

    You know,peoples reaction to body horror is a weird thing.Galaxy Gun not being bothered by realistic portrayal of gruesome violence(spec ops has some of the most horrific portrayals of burns and sadistic killing),and yet is bothered by unrealistic one such as the clickers.

    Its an interesting phenomenon to explore.Doctor pinhead,any thoughts on the issue?

    EDIT:Actually,after some thought,I think its the sound vs sight thing.Spec ops has mostly visual brutality(the blood,gore and scars),while clickers are just a sound thing.Its unnerving to hear them,but not see them.

    • Mumbles says:

      I wish I would have articulated this better, but yes. It’s the sound that really bothers me about this game. I think obviously making me grossed out/uncomfortable must mean they’re doing something *right* but it’s so unpleasant that I have no interest in playing the game.

    • Patrick the Philanthropic Carjacker says:

      The only accurate litmus test for shock and horror that spans generations, cultures, societies and gender is a Clockwork Orange style/forced viewing of the entire library of Taylor Swift music videos.

  15. Nytzschy says:

    The only complaint about ME3’s ending I can even remember centers around the different colored ending cutscenes. You want reconciliation between robots and humans? Take the green door. Something else that’s kinda bad I guess? Take the red door. Now the magical space light will make things happen somehow, but why the star kid didn’t use its magic space light to correct the cycle that had been broken— which was the whole point of having Shepard make a choice—which, okay, why would it let Shepard make the choice, and why is the problem a problem to begin with if it can be solved with red space magic?—I don’t even know.

    The ending simply didn’t have any credibility whatsoever.

    • What’s worse is that the ending is a contradiction.

      The cycle was set up because organics eventually give rise to machines that destroy them. So let’s solve this by creating giant machine-beings to wipe out organics before their creations wipe them out… because… that… um…

      This also is a childish view of the whole “monkey vs. robot” concept, even for pulp sci-fi. I’m not advocating the singularity here, but if you take the trends of having machines work as extensions of ourselves to sci-fi levels, it’d be pretty simple to see humans as enhanced with cybernetic wetware. You could even have nanoswarms inside humans, keeping them functionally immortal, barring accidents (and what a good explanation as to why you could soak up damage, eh?). Heck, this is practically Shepard after ME2’s opening. We should have had humans with enhanced minds, or neural links to the Galactinternet. I think the reason this often isn’t done in sci-fi is that the authors are afraid we won’t identify with someone like that, whose mind is too far beyond our concept of “human.” It’s a pity, but ME3 really went full 50’s robo-pocalypse and didn’t even do it well.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Not to mention that one of the resolutions of the quarian vs geth can be forming peace between the two,despite their long war.So star childs logic is proven to be idiotic by the game itself.And yet,you can never tell him about it.

        • Funnily enough, that would’ve made ME even more of an homage (or lazy aping) of Babylon-5, since the end of B-5 was basically the child races proving to the First Races that they weren’t required to help them evolve. Doing something like that, convincing the Reapers and the star-dead-kid to pack up and leave would’ve been a better ending, though it would’ve lacked originality. I’m guessing it wasn’t done like that because (1) the dev in charge of wrecking the story hadn’t watched B-5, and (2) that kind of ending doesn’t involve explosions and colored energy beams.

          • Grudgeal says:

            Not to mention that in Babylon 5 there was basically a half-season build up to the revelation that the whole Vorlon-Shadow conflict was basically a philosophical pissing match between the two parties fought for the younger races’ “sake”. In ME3 that buildup was about two minutes — in the Director’s Cut ending. Telling the philosophers to take a hike sort of lacks force without the foundation.

      • Grudgeal says:

        Well I for one am firmly pro-The Singularity and would have preferred the almigthy AI at the end to give you the opportunity to ask for a hamburger.

        /Really hoping I got that reference right.

  16. guy says:

    @19:30

    There have been games that do that sort of thing briefly and it’s hilarious and awesome. But yes, it doesn’t work for a whole game of that.

  17. Ithilanor says:

    So, funny story. I’ve been catching up on old Diecast episodes, and yesterday I was listening to the one about why the ME3 ending is still divisive. Another half a year has gone by, and, well… *looks around comment section* I don’t say this judgmentally; it’s just interesting as a social phenomenon.

  18. Shamus, as to your statement “there’s nothing for the Fireflies to eat.”,
    well there actually is…

    The Fireflies eat free ranging zombies.

  19. In regards to ME3 ending I agree with Josh. I don’t mind the conclusion to Shepard’s “story”, but the lack of closure/thread ending on all the other stuff really annoyed me. The extended ending fixed pretty much all that. But the extended ending should have been there originally IMO, instead of “oops, here’s a DLC guys that tells you how Wrex and curing the Phage turned out, we kind of forgot about all that due to our multiplayer stuff.” Or something along those lines.

    Also, the “secret” destruction ending, it really should have been shown regardless of your war points whatever (endingwise it would not fit the synergy nor control endings), but it makes sense, hey Shepard might have survived, that old guy in the ending clip could have been him or a descendant, etc.

    I was also hoping for a non-canon “happy” ending with the love interest helping Shepard out of the Normandy on that planet and some cheezy dialog like: “Shepard: I need a vacation *cough*, LI: Well, your’e in luck then.” and camera pans to reveal the planet they are on.

    I also wish there had been a better/longer “bad” ending, where you see the reapers decimating the worlds (if Shepard fails) the outcome of that and cycle starting anew. BioWare did some of that stuff, but not enough. ME3 ending wasn’t just the ending of ME3 but the ending of a trilogy and they underestimated the required size/length of it.

    I also wanted to play evil Shepard and take over the galaxy ad become it’s supreme ruler with a Reaper army, but I guess one can not have everything. Hehe!

    I wish more games would dare to provide alternate non-canon endings, if a sequel is released and that continues from the canon ending them people (gamers) will understand and accept that. (I miss KoTOR. Though that is a bad example as the sequel to that actually caters to both the canon and non-canon endings of the previous game, bravo Obsidian for that trick.)

    Would be interesting to compile a list of games that provide a canon ending plus non-canon ending.
    Would such a list be large or small, and would it be CRPG biased?

    • ehlijen says:

      I don’t think I’d have been opposed to an ending where Shepard dies and then the game is over, no epilogue. I mean, that’s what happens when you die.

      But for that to work, you’d need to give the player a good idea of what shepard’s death is likely to accomplish. “If you give your live, this is what’s probably going to come from that”. That can be enough, and that’s why NWN2 worked worlds better for me than ME3 did. But ME3 didn’t give us that. It gave us ‘wordswordswords what do you mean words need meaning? also schroedinger’s galactic destruction’

  20. Thomas says:

    Jeez, guys, can you play NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer already? Here, I’ll reassure you:

    MILD spoilers

    *All of the party NPCs are pretty cool and none of them are the kind of people that you want to kick out for being terrible

    *You have to work really hard to even get an evil NPC

    *You find out that most of your party is just fine from the Rocks Fall ending of NWN2

    *All of the party can live at the end

    *Plot doors 75% less ridiculous

    *Cool Planescape-like cosmic story (PST did it better though)

    • The Rocketeer says:

      Haven’t Shamus and Rutskarn already sworn immortal vengeance against this game for the Universe’s Most Epic Plot Door? Or is that a different title I’m thinking of?

      • Thomas says:

        Shamus wrote a series of posts on how awful the NWN2 pack-in campaign was. MOTB is the expansion (which they have said they are avoiding because ‘fool me once…’ or something like that)

    • Rutskarn says:

      I am fully aware of MotB, actually, but as far as I’m considered it doesn’t matter.

      I bought a game. That game had a shitty, inexcusable ending. That was my full experience. If you tell me that an ending is effectively patched in by a boxed money-cost expansion…yeah, I’m not going to buy that. And I feel no qualms about describing the ending of the boxed, money-cost full game as exactly what it was: self-contained, published jackassery of the highest order. Appending “and you can pay to make it better” does the game more of a disservice than a compliment, and I’m not compelled to do it.

      • guy says:

        I can very well understand that sentiment. However, Mask Of The Betrayer is also a good story on its own merits.

        Someone who knows how to buy gifts on GoG, just buy them the thing so we can stop having this conversation.

        • Probably not what Rutskarn means here, he just do not wish to “reward” a game with a ending that bad out-of-the-box.

          Having to pay extra to get the full/good ending sets a bad example.
          It’s like going to the movies, then find out the ending sucks or is cut short and later you find out that you can buy the ending (or pay for an extra ticket) to see the 15 minute extended ending.

          Cliffhangers are fine, if a sequel is actually delivered. Or if a story goes so long it has to be split into two or more parts (LoTR).

          If a expansion/DLC comes out months or a year later to “fix” the ending then that is bad, really bad, it’s a year too late IMO.

          Take ME3 for example, BioWare did the smart thing, the extended ending was a free download, imagine if they had charged for it, it would have had the potential to seriously arm the bottom line of the company in the backlash it would have caused.

          When you buy a game you buy a game, you expect to get the whole package, if not then you expect the description to say it’s part one of a duology or trilogy or something.
          I’ve yet to see a game advertise “The ending will be in a Expansion/DLC” in a bullet point.
          A Expansion or DLC expand or add to the existing game, beyond the original game.
          Either to add character background depth, unrelated sidequests. Or find out what happen next.
          But those who just bought the game on it’s own should not be penalized for buying just the game.

          If a Expansion/DLC is so critical to the main game, then it really should be part of the main game, no ifs and buts about it.

          Now I extrapolated all that from a single statement Rutskarn made above, I’m sure he’ll slap me with a trout if I misinterpreted anything.
          Also, what I wrote here is also how I feel about game endings and Expansions/DLCs.

          • guy says:

            It’s a new story. New setting, new characters, new plot. It also gives more closure to the original ending, but that is not the only merit Mask Of The Betrayer has. Not even close.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        What if the expansion is a completelly different game in on itself?Like the first nwn and its expansions.The vanilla sucks,but the expansions are good and awesome,respectively.Plus,they are stand alone.

        • GTA IV had expansions that whee “stand alone” but too place in the same world. And had cameos of the other characters.
          You can say what you will about RockStar’s GTA but Lost Boys and Ballad of Gay Tony did that brilliantly.

          I only wish the interaction with the other characters and how it went varied on your play through with them.

          Damit, I want my 3 character game where you play through with each character you make and each character’s playthrough varies based on ther choices you did with one of the other characters.

          Not sure if a full playthrough is best or if chapter wise is best. Alternating would probably work best if the story/plot is similar, but full playthrough with each would work best if the plot diverges for each character (but with intersections).

          Right now I’m on my 3rd playthrough of Dragon Age Inquisition but I’ve only played through DA:I once so far and now I’m in a bit of a lull (again).

    • Isy says:

      Mask of the Betrayer is a fantastic game, but saying it “fixes” NWN2 doesn’t work. It’s a completely different game. It started off running full speed from the plot of NWN2 and only looks back for the barest of cameos. Nothing in that game’s main plot requires you to have played the original.

      • Ithilanor says:

        Seconding this. MotB is a great story that stands perfectly well on its own, incidentally happening to fix some of the flaws in NWN2. If you don’t want to invest the time playing it, here‘s an absolutely excellent LP to read.

  21. The Rocketeer says:

    Is there a reason you aren’t using the Spoiler Warning better? Or am I the only one that can’t see it, since no one else has mentioned it?

  22. Zaxares says:

    I hate to say it, but I think even Cerberus is better than this lot. At least there were (flimsy) reasons for everything the Illusive Man did!

    • MrGuy says:

      I’ll second that and raise you this. I don’t have a problem with Cerberus.

      The Illusive Man is a big, powerful, shadowy man who works by indirection. He’s paranoid. And even when he’s telling you what happened, he’s probably not telling you the whole story. His actions may seem like poor ways to accomplish his goals, but you never REALLY know what his goals are – only what he tells you they are (and we know he lies to you).

      The problem with Cerberus isn’t with Cerberus. It’s with Shepard. Shepard is written to GO ALONG with all of this, even though no sane human would do so. You don’t get to opt out. You don’t get to question it. You don’t get to shoot the Illusive Man in the head. THAT’S the problem.

      Cerberus isn’t your enemy. The writers are.

  23. TheUnhidden says:

    Mmh, something in this Screenshot tells me, that the level designer had some sense of self-awareness …

  24. Eruanno says:

    Joke’s on you, Shamus! Someone bought you a PS4 but only with last-generation games!

    (But seriously, both of those are excellent games where the “next-gen” version is better than the old one and that’s really cool of your secret benefactor. High-fives all around!)

  25. Grudgeal says:

    You know what the Giraffe scene somewhat reminds me of? The dancing scene from Bioshock Infinite, only sort of in reverse. I spent a good five minutes just watching Elizabeth dance and enjoy her freedom and enjoying the fact that I, for once, was in control over how long the scene lasted.

    Of course, unlike the Giraffe scene (which is sort of set up so that the player and Joel’s emotions are somewhat lined up) the player prompt to end the dancing scene causes Booker to go precisely in the opposite direction of the player’s emotions. Or at least my emotions. Sure, it was probably intentional, but it didn’t help my disposition towards the game (which pretty much mirrors Chris’, only nowhere near as articulately) in the least.

    • TheUnhidden says:

      I’m actually more reminded of the scene with the kids and the brachiosaur in the tree in the Jurassic Park movie.

    • Vermander says:

      I totally agree with your comment about Elizabeth dancing on the beach in Bioshock Infinite (one of the only moments in that game I really enjoyed), and it makes me wonder why so few games cose to end with a scene like that? I can think of several games that feature really touching, beautiful moments that make you think “it was all worth it”, then go on to the usual “anti-hero staggers away from a pile of rubble” ending instead.

      I remember thinking that the moment where Anderson slumps dead against your shoulder after saying that he is proud of you in ME 3 would have been a way more effective ending. Only instead of the catalyst failing to work you sit there watching the reapers shut down and smile wearily as the music swells and the scene fades out.

    • Nelly says:

      Oh, yes. I loved that scene. I spent ages just letting Elizabeth dance because it was the first time she’d been able to. It was great.

      Then I had to shoot some guys, which was a bit dull. I think I kept playing that game in the hope is get another scene like that one.

  26. Patrick the Philanthropic Carjacker says:

    When you are done pouting over the slow, scripted murder of Altaïr Ibn-La’Ahad by the world’s biggest cowbell, let me know. I’ll let you borrow Unity.

    You know you’re going to play it, you might as well play it for free. You should have told me you got a PS4. I would have given you my copy of NHL15.

  27. mwchase says:

    Bonus hazard to using the flamethrower around Bloaters:

    Particulate organic matter like that, suspended in the air, it, um, interacts with fire. Some types of fungal spore is one example, but another is ordinary flour. Get it stirred up in the air properly, add even just a spark, and you can blow stuff up Real Good.

    I mean, um, according to my high school science classes.

  28. Speaking of endings (and DLCs to some extent).

    Take Alien Isolation.
    What I would have done is let Ripley’s daughter find footage (recordings) of her mother, and through out Alien Isolation’s gameplay the computer decodes (restores?) more and more of the old footage, except when she goes to look at the recently restored footage the camera shifts from the monitor view to Ripley’s view.
    That way you could have parallel unfolding stories; unraveling more and more of the mothers backstory and with events matching up with the daughter. Like how the “company” want a alien specimen at all costs etc.
    This jumping back and forth would allow shortening of the game play without shortening the game, so if you shorten it and then insert mom’s adventures you keep the length but mix it up. It would also allow time jumps in the story of the mother, unlike what happens with the daughter which is all realtime relatively speaking.

    It also wouldn’t hurt if the game had started with some memories of Ripley and her daughter together and then started when it did (with the daughter as an adult).

    The game start expecting people to be familiar with the first movie at the least, while it could easily have been tweaked to be introductory to the franchise itself.

  29. Pat says:

    So with the season almost over, do you know what game you’re doing next?

    If not… Sleeping Dogs. Just sayin’.

  30. MrGuy says:

    And while we’re at it, I should point out that with no viable means of trade or farming, there’s nothing for the Fireflies to eat.

    Geez, Shamus, you’re always looking for a nitpick. In this case, if you’d bothered to do any research, you’d see you’re obviously wrong.

    Read the following article from a reputable scientific source: http://www.highlightskids.com/science-questions/what-do-fireflies-eat

    Some adult fireflies also eat other insects. Some eat pollen and other flower parts, and some probably do not eat anything at all.

    See? Adult fireflies don’t NEED to eat, so your question is invalid. Even if they did eat, all they need is some “pollen and other flower parts,” which we’ve already seen.

    Do some research next time.

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