Diecast #171: More Mumbles, Halloween Horror Nights, Dragon Age Inquisition, Mailbag

By Shamus
on Oct 10, 2016
Filed under:
Diecast

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Hosts: Josh, Rutskarn, Shamus, Campster, Mumbles. Episode edited by Issac.

I really wanted to do more emails this week. We had some good ones lined up, but we ran short on time. Assuming there isn’t any huge news in the coming week, we’ll try again next episode.

Show Notes:

0:01:31 Mumbles is Making Videos!

Do you like Mumbles? Do you like videogames? Do you like NOT Rutskarn, Shamus, Josh, and Chris? Then this series is for you. Mumbles is currently playing through Dragon Age 2:


Link (YouTube)

And here is her Patreon.

0:05:39 Halloween Horror Nights

0:41:30 Dragon Age: Inquisition

Josh is back at the game after two years, which means this is a great opportunity to re-open those old wounds!

1:06:56 Mailbag: Liking unpopular games.

Dear Diecast,

Has there ever been a game you liked that it seemed everybody else hated? And, I mean, even your nerdy friends who usually share your taste in games. Please insert personal anecdote here.

Cheers,

Henson

1:17:02 Mailbag: Revisiting old seasons of Spoiler Warning

Dear Diecast,

If you could redo any one season of Spoiler Warning, what would it be and why? Also, which season of Spoiler warning was your favorite?

Keep being awesome,
Joey

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A Hundred!2011There are 131 comments here. I really hope you like reading.

From the Archives:

  1. Ninety-Three says:

    Re: What’s Bioware working on: In 2015 they canceled a project called Shadow Realms that looked to be reasonably far along, and as of 2014, they announced that they were working on some other project which was only described as “A new original IP”. Other than that, it’s just Mass Effect and TOR.

  2. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Do you like Mumbles? Do you like videogames? Do you like NOT Rutskarn, Shamus, Josh, and Chris? Then this series is for you. Mumbles is currently playing through Dragon Age 2:

    But what if we dont like dragon age 2?

    • Turtlebear says:

      I don’t like it, but Mumbles makes it worth it. Plus, laughing at the terrible in-game dialogue makes for great entertainment.

    • lurkey says:

      Then you play Inquisition and discover that you retroactively like Dragon Age 2.

      • Ninety-Three says:

        Really? Dragon Age 3 got a decent amount of criticism for being bland in many respects, but DA2 wishes it was bland. Even its fans admit that the only thing it did well was character writing, and it’s not like DA3 ruined that. How on Earth does DA3 give you an appreciation for 2?

        • lurkey says:

          Well, I’d take deeply flawed over bland any given day, but here’s the extended list:

          Combat is MMO dullfest, enemies (in small, typical MMO-sized groups of 3 and 4 guys) keep respawning over and over in once again MMO fashion, environments are vast but dull (combat was bad and exploration awful in DA2, but at least it didn’t take so much damn time as in DA3), the main plot somehow manages to be both grandiosely overblown operaand oatmeal bland and has abysmal pacing that alternates long-ass cutscene series with long-ass combat stretches (where nothing interesting happens) and is gated behind arbitrary “points” you have to earn in said combat stretches, the side quests are all about collecting 10 bear arses, your character is an idiot who almost out-idiots KOTOR’s Revan and despite of that everyone worships them for no good reason and that makes them especially annoying Chosen One subtype…and those are just things I remembered in last 15 minutes. And I played the game about a year ago.

          Oh, and the last but very definitely not the least is this.

          • The song’s bad, but wtf is with that woman’s walk? It looks very weird and wrong, like her skirt’s way too tight and she can’t move her legs properly.

            (Never played any Dragon Age game)
            Edited to add: the song sounds like some of the ones I made up as a kid, where I’d just start singing a poem without any thought to it. Not the best way to write songs without a good underpinning of training, whether that’s loads of exposure to music or theory/voice training.

          • MarsLineman says:

            This. DA2 was interesting bad. The storytelling frame offered narrative direction, and there were some interesting (if underdeveloped) ideas in play.

            DA3 was the first Bioware game that bored me to tears (also the first of their games that I started but never finished). I wish I could have those 20 hours back.

            • ehlijen says:

              Agreed. DA2 at least failed while trying to do something different (for bioware). DA:I was a rehash of previous ideas and games.

              Setting the game in one city only (after DA:O’s nation) was bold. The time skips were something new. Hawke definitely had more identity preset than any bioware game I’d played otherwise, and it really helped focus this otherwise meandering game a bit. Conversely, the bland empty shell DA:I serves us weakens an already generic plot.

              My ideal dragon age would be DA:O, where each city was as detailed as Kirkwall and would be revisted every time skip. Oh, and it would have X-COM or posibly ToEE style turn based combat. But I doubt it would sell the billion copies needed to fund something like that…

              • Sleeping Dragon says:

                I actually liked that it was placed in one city. The repeating locations was an issue where they overdid it and it made little sense (side locations in ME1 had the same problem) but when they made sense I was more than fine with it. I’d actually love to see the same concept with the (time)budget it deserves actually exploring the city changing over the span of years.

                To be honest right now I’d lean towards enjoying DA2 more than I did DA3, but this is likely the result of it being further in the past. I do remember when playing it I thought “this game is bad” and I even remember many bullet points of what annoyed me*… but the tedium and overall narrative vacuum of 3 is fresher in my mind.

                *The primary offender being the narrative idiocy forcing the player to run through the same (especially endgame) content regardless of their choices. Which is probably the most notable sign of not having enough time to work on the game.

                • This comment is the first time I’ve seen someone else mention that the overused areas was also a problem in ME1. :P

                  • lurkey says:

                    ME1’s identical locations never really bothered me — they all were on exploration planets, and it wasn’t a big stretch to imagine there’s some LEGO-IKEA corp that sells, like, three types of modular habitats to frontier/uninhabited planets (“So easy to assemble a Cerberus employee can do it!”), while story hubs — Citadel, Noveria, Virmire in particular — were pretty distinct.

                    DA2’s identical bloody caves do not have an excuse of being a cheap corporate product.

            • Daimbert says:

              Only 20?!? Mine was 90 hours, at the end of which I commented in my thoughts on it at my blog that if I NEVER play Inquisition again, it will be too soon.

              Which became a problem when I got the itch to replay the Dragon Age series again only to be foiled by “But then you’d have to play Inquisition again …” [grin].

              (Then again, I DID finish it, so there’s that, at least).

          • ehlijen says:

            Don’t forget the big bad literally being a loony toon (and not ever much else).
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uq1oqptbKUg

            • Ninety-Three says:

              One of these days, developers won’t ruin the mood with achievements, but it is not this day. Going from pounding battle music to the little achievement ding there is hilarious to me. That’s almost on par with the time Walking Dead made an action movie one liner about you murdering a man in cold blood.

              • Ronixis says:

                I found the ones after romance scenes to be more awkward and mood-affecting, but can’t say I like either. I disabled the notifications as soon as I could after that (which was a while, since I was on PS3 and that wasn’t an option in the then-current OS version).

          • djw says:

            I’ll add to Lurkey’s most excellent list this: they completely borked the tactics in Dragon Age Inquisition.

            You can’t program the characters anymore. You can’t really control them either (the game made me rage so hard every time I carefully placed Varic on high ground away from enemies, only to find him face tanking them the moment I shifted focus to a different character). It was infuriating.

            Dragon Age 2 took a few steps toward the dumbening of the combat interface, but it at least retained the ability to program character ability usage in a semi-intelligent way. You also had slightly better than nominal control over them in combat, although you did still have to turn off AI if you wanted them to not rush into some certain death situations.

            On the current trend line the interface of their next game will cause weapon grade aggravation. If I am right about this then we should air drop it on North Korea and then send the red cross in a month later to pick up the pieces.

        • Daimbert says:

          To add to the comments of others:

          DAI tried to mix the open world style of the Elder Scrolls games with the story and character driven games they love to produce … and failed miserably. Areas opened up with story or council mission progression … but in order to feel like I had enough levels to advance to the next story mission, I felt that I needed to complete as many quests in all of the new areas as possible. But those quests were all dull and mostly unrelated to the main story. And the areas were so big and there were so many missions that it took hours and hours and hours to finish them … time that wasn’t being spent on the main story and main character interactions. This only served to make the game feel dragged out, and as a casual gamer also left me with a number of play sessions where I, say, only completed half an area and so didn’t have any real sense of accomplishment. Worse yet, other than giving you the ability to do more Council missions these quests didn’t really add anything to the overall story, and thus overwhelmed it: most of the time you aren’t doing anything related to the main quest, and so it feels like most of the game is filler.

          Also, the use of Dragon Age Keep to import/set-up the world cost me an entire afternoon and much frustration.

          DA2 is my favourite game of the three, I think, but that’s mostly because the playstyle really suited me: do all of the missions until the only one left is the main quest, do that, move on, and so I was always sure to be as leveled as I could be when doing it. I also like most of the characters and the overall story. The biggest problem is the combat and, specifically, the fact that you have teleporting enemies who suddenly appear behind you even if you’ve already cleared out everything behind you.

          DAO, though, has the wonderful starting stories which add personality, and a much deeper story. I still just dislike the combat, which is too chaotic for my liking. I also hated the injury mechanic.

      • Jokerman says:

        Ha, yes…. DAI made me wish we had another DA2.

    • Pinkhair says:

      I’d say not liking DA2 is an excellent reason to watch.

  3. Ninety-Three says:

    “I hope Bioware finds something else to be good at” is the most optimistic thing I’ve heard about them within the acknowledgement of “Old Bioware is gone and not coming back”.

    That said, I think we’re more likely to get a return to old Bioware, or flying pigs, than a new Thing Bioware Does. If you chart the evolution of their games from ME1->DA1->ME2->DA2->ME3->DA3, you can see them iterating on a formula and converging on the platonic ideal of a Bioware game. I think we all know the quintessentially Bioware elements and design flaws, but it wasn’t until I thought about “The Bioware Game” as a whole package that I realized it’s basically their companion-talking romance simulator, plus thirty-one flavours of padding.

    • GloatingSwine says:

      The other optimistic thing is that there’s a revival of the old school PC RPGs that existed before Bioware went all action combat on the genre. Wasteland 2 and Pillars of Eternity satisfy the old Fallout and Baldur’s Gate urges whilst Tides of Numenera, Tyranny, and Wasteland 3 give us more to look forward to.

      Old Bioware might not be coming back, but Old Interplay has, at Obsidian and inXile.

      • ZekeCool says:

        Am I the only one for whom Wasteland 2 just did not land? I bought it and got my refund within an afternoon. It was a snorefest with awful combat and the dialogue was painfully bland.

        I did love Pillars of Eternity and am eagerly awaiting the next obsidian game though.

  4. Darren says:

    I don’t care what anyone says, I liked Dragon Age 2. Much like Mass Effect 2, it understood that what Bioware does best is characters. Unlike Mass Effect 2, the main storyline, while flawed, doesn’t completely shit on the established rules of the setting; you can ding it on pacing, plot holes, Anders’ near-complete change in personality, etc., but at the end of the day it still makes sense and didn’t just set up a chain of narrative collapse.

    Plus, Hawke was waaaaay more fun than Shephard or the Inquisitor.

    • IFS says:

      I agree with pretty much all of this, plus I would like to add that another thing I like about it is how different its story is from Bioware’s usual story arc. It wasn’t perfectly executed sure but I love a lot of the ideas going into it, just wish the game had been given at least another year of dev time.

    • lurkey says:

      I kind of…lukewarm-liked it initially? Liked the characters, loved the fact Hawke was a second fiddle everydude looking out for his family instead of Bio’s usual Mary Tzu McWorldSaviour, loathed the avalanche of insulting idiocy that was the third act which buried all the potential the game had.

      Then I played Inquisition and found out that DA2 was actually good.

    • Wide And Nerdy® says:

      I feel like DAI is a more improved game but for some reason I had a better time with DA2. My enthusiasm for Dragon Age just died once and for all with Inquisition. Its the only game I didn’t bother getting the DLC for.

      But yeah, for all its flaws, I did like DA2. And I had a blast with ME2. It was my introduction to the series.

      I first started watching Spoiler Warning with ME2 and there were times I nearly stopped watching SW for good. I think it was Mumbles fangirling out that kept me in, like my voice was kind of being heard (and Rutskarn’s Tali obsession. Take Mumbles, swap Garrus for Rutskarn’s Tali love and that was kind of sort of my voice.)

      Funny thing is, I really was annoyed by that jerk in the cast that was just constantly bashing the game. I didn’t know who was who by your voices at the time. That jerk ended up being Shamus. And I remembered the time when his web comic got me through a really rough night so I gave him another chance.

      Its so funny to think now that Shamus was the one I didn’t like back then (well, Shamus and Josh) because now he’s the one who makes the most sense to me. He’s the sort of cranky older Gen-Xer nerd/geek that I looked up to back when I was new to the larger nerd community. He represents the nostalgia I wish I had. What I wish I’d known about as a young nerd.

      • I suspect a lot of the worst problems in DAI were actually a result of the decision to not go full next-gen and have a 360 and PS3 version of the game, because they actually dropped both of those consoles for the DLC and it was VASTLY improved in a LOT of ways.

        There was some cool stuff in there but a lot of it felt unfinished/padded like they had technical problems and had to cut the cool stuff, leaving . . . filler.

        They made an essay at getting the filler to actually be relevant to what was going on inasmuch as you needed to do filler activities to get to the story activities, but that kind of backfired because of the really uninteresting 1-dimensional way it was put together.

        Basically it had a lot of the problems that are endemic to Bethesda games: lots of ideas, badly put-together, nothing’s quite finished.

        Although, I freely admit that the PC tactical camera in DAI wins the grand prize for WORST FEATURE OF THE SERIES.

    • ehlijen says:

      Because Hawke was someone, unlike Shepard. Here are some family Hawke cares for. Here are some friends Hawke made while a refugee. Here is Hawke doing everything they can making sure their family and friends are having a decent life. And instead of everyone sitting around the player’s ship/castle/camp waiting for new divine orders, all of Hawke’s friends and family lived their own lives in their own homes/places of work/drinking holes.

      DA2 was more Sword & Sorcery than Epic Fantasy. Hawke was closer to Conan or Han Solo than Aragorn or Luke Skywalker.

      It’s not something Bioware had ever done before or since, that I know of, and that freshness, I think, helped the game feel a lot better than it was.

      • Except that you didn’t really get to MEET Hawke’s family before one of them died tragically and there was a big emotional scene over it and you’re like “uh, I just met this person”.

        They need to stop with this awful in medias res stuff they keep attempting. The opening to Inquisition makes me INSANE, it’s such a godawful awkward infodump that fires something like SIX codex entries the second it ends. You don’t start your epic story with Cutscene and HERE READ THE ENCYCLOPEDIA WE’LL WAIT.

        • ehlijen says:

          Amen. If DA:I had started with corypheus fluffing his attempt at world domination with the canon hilarious blunder that’s in the game, he’d never have been a threatening bad guy for a second.
          Hiding the dumb scene for half a game wasn’t the solution, bioware!

          • Let’s also not forget the stupidity of having the Big Bad in your third game be someone who was the end boss of one of the DLCs in the previous game that resurrected because plot.

            That’d be like having the Blue Suns leader in Zaeed’s DLC be anything more than a footnote in ME3. :P

    • djw says:

      My initial reaction to DA2 was rage at the re-used assets. However, after I got over that I did play it through to the end. As many others in this thread have already said, the story was flawed, but it was flawed in an interesting way. I give them lots of credit for that.

  5. Joe says:

    I haven’t played DA2, but there’s a defence of it on Unjustly Maligned podcast. A good listen.

    My favourite Borderlands game is the Pre-Sequel. There’s something about the new mechanics of double-jumping and ice weapons that really click for me, plus the Australian jokes and references. I’m Australian, and recognise that they’re clearly done with love.

  6. Dragmire says:

    I had a question that’s not really great for discussion so I guess I’ll ask in the comments.

    What’s your favorite Spoiler Warning end credits music?

    The New Vegas season end credits music is my favorite.

  7. Ninety-Three says:

    I have to disagree with Campster on Mass Effect 3 working as a swan song for the characters, because they ruined characters like they ruined everything else. My favorite example of how they messed up is this line, ME3 Ashley getting catty when talking about Miranda.

    I wear armour, not a swimsuit.

    She delivers that line while wearing the stupid skin-baring space jacket that replaced her actual armour because Creepy Marketing Guy decided she needed a sexy redesign and a boob job (they seriously made her boobs bigger).

    You can spend all of Mass Effect 1 convincing Garrus that vengeance is not the answer, then Mass Effect 2 goes and turns him into space Batman, previous character development be damned. And this comment box isn’t big enough for the essay I’d write on how Liara had her personality surgically removed to make room for generic badass swagger.

    Their handling of characters was not good. Even when you get over complaining over the game’s moronic plot and the general dumbing down of the series, you can see them mishandling characters in a quintessentially Bioware way: all the women are extra sexualized and you can bang the alien who was previously established as unable to leave her hazmat suit, everyone must be a badass, the series throws old character development out the window with almost the same force it throws away plot canon, the player’s relationship with the characters is more or less static for most of the game…

    It’s the truest embodiment of fanservice: shallow indulgence, emotional porn. I hate it not for what it is, but because every step towards it is a step away from anything resembling depth.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      (they seriously made her boobs bigger)

      They made every womans boobs bigger.Even the ones that werent supposed to have boobs in the first place.

      You can spend all of Mass Effect 1 convincing Garrus
      .
      .
      .
      Liara had her personality surgically removed to make room for generic badass swagger.

      To be fair,their and wrexs relationship with shepard do remain the same over the three games,even when their personalities change.Which cannot be said for the humans.

      and you can bang the alien who was previously established as unable to leave her hazmat suit

      Having a bromnace(brodettemance?)with her was done well however.

    • ehlijen says:

      I want to make some clever observation about how throwing plot away might give you an accelerated pace due to the effect of mass and opposite forces…
      but I’m not that clever and neither was ME3.

  8. Andy says:

    Rutskarn IS all about the Benjamin, it turns out.

  9. James Porter says:

    Listening to Ruts talk about the Dubstep Tunnel reminded me of Killer 7’s pre boss Rave Stairway.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Xi-CxR-a2o

    And this got me thinking, Killer 7 is exactly the type of horror house I would want to go to. Most of the badguys are suppose to be invisible with audio cues, and instead of being super dark, its full of these flat colorful halls and rooms. Throw in some of the more surreal stuff like Andre, Hartman, and the Handsome men, and you would have a haunted house that isnt really all that scary, but super unnerving!

  10. Christopher says:

    Josh’s little Inquisition corner really set me off about DAI. You know, I like Dragon Age Inquisition. Between the specific characters in that game, the beautiful environments and the action combat being better than ever, it’s my favorite in that series. But like always with Bioware games, there’s soooo much to complain about. They are never gonna make actually fun gameplay. Like who the fuck puts an auto attack in an action RPG? You just stand still and hold down a button and that’s the core of your normal attacks. Why is the combat such a mess visually? Why would you have mounts that run at what feels like the exact same speed as you run yourself, and alightly slower than special movement moves like the charge? Why do some of the party members have proper integration into the story while some have at most a fetch quest and a cutscene for their “loyalty mission”? Why are you always doing the mind control/corruption/possession shit instead of having characters with proper motivations and personalities for villains? Why are your character animations and graphics still so bad after all these years? How come you only release the proper story DLC on the newer of the console generations, so when I want to get proper closure I need to move on to that one? Give me a break, Bioware! Even when I like your game all I can do is complain, because they’re so uneven in their quality! I just want them to either get good at all the different shit they do or fire all their programmers and make visual novels from now on.

    • Baron Tanks says:

      *mic drop*

      • Christopher says:

        I forgot to not post angry!

        • Wide And Nerdy® says:

          I agree except for the fun gameplay. I feel like Mass Effect 3 was a big step forward and I actually enjoyed the shooter/power combo of that game.

          But otherwise, I get you. They’ve never really managed fun gameplay. The most I could say is that they provided endearing gameplay back when they were trying to put D&D on your monitor.

          • Christopher says:

            Fair’s fair, I’ve heard the shooting mechanics in 3 are actually good. But in that case I just don’t like cover shooters. It doesn’t do anything for me and I have the most fun on easy, charging around and slaughtering everything.

            • Wide And Nerdy® says:

              Your point absolutely stands though. They really struggle with that. I think the only reason they’ve got a handle on the shooter gameplay is because its been explored and refined so much that you won’t have a hard time finding people to help you polish it.

              Dragon Age has a harder struggle given that they don’t want to go back to the isometric CRPG or early top down 3D with CRPG mechanics.

              • They need to decide if they’re doing action combat or not. During development they were bragging that doing multiplayer really helped them make the combat more fun.

                Until you find out that they made fun combat if you ONLY. HAVE. ONE. CHARACTER. As in multiplayer. If you’re trying to control your entire party, it’s a mess. They have abilities that have to be TIMED with SPECIFIC ANIMATIONS in order to work. You can’t DO that if you’re running the full party.

                But, on the converse, you also couldn’t set up tactics to let you just play the one character, either. It was like they somehow FORGOT they were making a PARTY-BASED game.

                They somehow managed to hit this point where there was simultaneously too much and not enough of everything. Simultaneously. Too much action, not enough tactics. (Not enough tactical control, too many active-based things.) And too much tactics, not enough action (too few abilities and options to make combat interesting, not enough speed to make it challenging) AT THE SAME TIME.

                • djw says:

                  Agree. Except that the problem is deeper than just timing party member abilities. The problem is that the party members are suicidally stupid if you don’t babysit them constantly, and the game won’t let you queue up reasonable orders that stick past the moment you switch to somebody else.

    • IFS says:

      The really weird thing with DAI’s combat for me is that they made it better in the multiplayer. Part of that is that you have other people playing the rest of your party, so they don’t make boneheaded decisions (or at least there’s a friend you can laugh at when they do), the characters get diverse kits with interesting synergies (some of which are not possible to emulate in the campaign, for example the alchemist combining elemental bombs from Varric’s spec and the flask of fire from Sera’s to throw out piles of explosives) and the multiplayer throws way more enemies at you so you get opportunities to indulge in some of the more powerful combinations (necromancer with walking bomb+blizzard can be hilarious on large groups). Then there are the extras they added over time which have some simple but interesting gameplay like Isabela who can be built to have a very aggressive combo oriented playstyle focused on chaining kills together to avoid damage, the Virtuoso who gets around the limited ability selection by combining different ‘music notes’ together for various effects, to the Saarebas whose spells have different effects depending on the sequence they are cast in.

      Its still not amazing ARPG gameplay by any means but its much more diverse and exciting than Inquisition normally is.

  11. Tizzy says:

    I’m with Shamus on Silent Hill. I find that there’s nothing like being jumped by a pair of undead nurses as I’m stepping off the elevator and blasting them away with my newly found shotgun to make my real life anxieties feel manageable.

  12. Christopher says:

    Lots of people love Bioshock Infinite! I know there was a critical backlash, but it’s not like it’s some universally hated game. Same with Far Cry 3. This idea of “game that everyone else hated” is weird because the specific group you’re in has certain tastes, not just about Dark Souls.

    If I’m trying to think of such games for me it would be… God Hand, One Piece Pirate Warriors 3 and Street Fighter V. But as much as I might put those in the “everyone hated” category, there are still thousands of others who like those games and share my experiences with them.

    • tmtvl says:

      Oh come on, everyone loves God Hand. How could anyone not?

      Next you’ll be telling me there’s people who hate Final Fantasy VIII.

      • Kelerak says:

        Pretty much any A-tier Clover Studio/Platinum game is beloved at this point, including God Hand. Jury’s still out for how people feel about Vanquish, I think.

        • Christopher says:

          That’s what I’m talking about! Lots of people love God Hand, even though it’s the least mentioned Clover Studio game and it got a 3 from IGN at the time. And although SFV has had tons of trouble since its lackluster launch and less than stellar sales, I’m not alone in really liking it and having a good time with learning it and playing online(and getting into characters that weren’t in the last game, like Rainbow Mika and Birdie). I’m sure there are even other One Piece fans out there for whom Pirate Warriors 3 was both the first One Piece game AND the first Warriors game they played, despite it actually being neither. I can’t think of a game I love that has zero other supporters.

          Among my friends, the women love the Witcher games because of the romance and character stuff, while all the guys think it’s annoying to play because the combat isn’t that hot. Judging by the conversation in the Diecast, you’d think it was a Man’s Game for Men Only. It’s difficult to get what the world as a whole thinks of a game unless the only metric we use is reviews and sales numbers, and it’s tough to get a comprehensive view even with that. Do people as a whole actually love FF7, FF8, FF6, FF9 or FF10 the most? Because they’ve all got their vocal supporters on the internet that come and go, and which of them is the “bad” one depends on who you listen too.

        • Geebs says:

          There are two kinds of people: people who think Vanquish is fantastic, and people who are wrong.

  13. Wide And Nerdy® says:

    Bioware wasn’t just throwing any random stuff at a wall and seeing what stuck. They were throwing a specific set of stuff at a wall, all the stuff that fans complained about from Dragon Age 2. Its like Mumbles was saying.

    If you were following the criticism of DA2, you can see the reactions everywhere in the game’s design from those big maps to the character choices to the quasi return of the Origins (that missed the appeal of the Origins. I want to play my Origin. It was the most special thing I’ve ever encountered in a video game RPG) to the epic scope of the mission (people complained DA2 was too personal and the character had too little impact. I think Bioware didn’t quite get what they meant).

    Really the only thing I can think of that they threw in that wasn’t really driven by fan backlash was the Ballroom Courtly Intrigue stuff.

    The only group they ignored was the grognards, and I’m sure Obsidian thanks them because that’s where the Kickstarter budget for Pillars of Eternity comes from.

    They needed to be more focused. The fans will accept some things staying the same if you make your other changes work well with that new core.

    • Bloodsquirrel says:

      My impression was that DA III came from orders from above (“Hey, Skyrim is really popular. Make a game more like that!”). The developers were making type of game that they didn’t have any interest in making, trying to appeal to people that they don’t understand, care about, or like very much.

      I’ll say this about the difference between Bethesda and Bioware: As broken as a lot of the stuff in Bethesda’s games is, Bethesda clearly has an overall ludic vision for their games that is solid enough that even the broken elements (like their storytelling) can mesh well enough with it. Fallout 4 has actual decent game feel, exploration, and other mechanics because Bethesda wants to be making that kind of game, while Bioware feels like they’re stuck making nominal RPGs despite really wanted to be making a dating sim.

      • GloatingSwine says:

        I think Bethesda have a clear idea for core structure, but they’re willing to cram any old gubbins into that structure because it happens to be the in thing. Hence we get settlement building in Fallout 4 because Minecraft is popular with The Kids.

        • Bloodsquirrel says:

          That’s always sort of been *part* of their core. The gubbins, I mean. Their games have always been full of oddball systems and mechanics, but the freeform nature of their core gameplay usually accommodates them. Bethesda’s games are, first and foremost, a space for screwing around in, and having toys to screw around with fits that model.

          Settlement building is, at worst, pointless. But it does give you something to do with all of the junk that you’re always collecting. It’s inclusion had less to do with Minecraft and more to do with it being popular mod fodder; it was always something people kind of wanted.

          Bioware, by contrast, is happiest when the player is stuck behind the dialog wheel making nominal choices so that their cinematic conversations with companions can plod on. All the rest is just this ‘gameplay’ stuff they have to bother with because fewer people would buy their games if they didn’t have combat in them.

  14. Wide And Nerdy ♤ says:

    You could revisit Mass Effect 3 via the DLC. Either play Leviathan and discuss how it captures or fails to capture the sci-fi thing you miss. Or Omega and discuss the need to inject badass into the series. Or Citadel and discuss Biowares fan pandering.

    Each one exemplifies a major point of discussion for what’s been happening at Bioware.

  15. Grudgeal says:

    Josh is back at [Dragon Age: Inquisition] after two years

    It’s been two years already? Christ, I’m old.

  16. TMC_Sherpa says:

    I am not excited about Cyperpunk.

    Mostly because if I don’t get hyped about it the game will have a chance of being good.

  17. Rutskarn, it’s easy to pronounce “calliope.” You say it the same way you as the name of the Greek Muse, Calliope.

    Surely you’ve used the Muses in an RPG somewhere, right? :)

  18. Droid says:

    NATURAL CONVERSATION MODE PLEASE!

    Sorry for being shouty.

  19. One of the best episodes from the New Vegas seasons is “Simple Reading Comprehension,” where Josh attempts to make it to the Boomers’ fence at Nellis. Just start watching from the beginning of the episode to get into the banter Mumbles mentions while Reginald gets vaporized trying to figure out what the instructions for not getting blown up meant.

  20. krellen says:

    Fun fact: Waterworld actually made money. Not as much as the studio would have liked, but it made back its budget after you factor in international box office as well. (It actually made almost 50% profit.)

    • Bloodsquirrel says:

      Does that include marketing and the theaters’ cut though?

    • In the long run, nearly every movie turns a profit from overseas ticket sales, video rentals, etc.

      What’s really ironic about Waterworld (at least to my mind) is that CGI is really good at making water and skies. If they’d waited a few more years, maybe they wouldn’t have needed such overwrought production costs to not see land from the atoll and boats.

      • Rutskarn says:

        Yeah, the question is definitely less “did they eventually recoup their debts” and more “could they have made more money if they’d done anything else with their available resources.”

        Disappointing releases aren’t bad because they’ll never make their money back, they’re bad because they were made instead of a movie that could have made people rich.

  21. Bloodsquirrel says:

    I liked Far Cry 3. The story was a mess, but most of the game was running around doing missions and taking outposts. The main story was a small enough % of the game to not bother me much.

  22. Henson says:

    So, the reason I asked this question in particular to the Diecast crew is because I had an experience like this many years ago, and I wondered if anyone else had something similar. The game was Velvet Assassin.

    Hey, stop giving me those dirty looks. Granted, it’s not a very good game. The stealth is both simplistic and unforgiving, the gunplay is terrible, and the last few stages kinda jump the shark. But there was…something about the atmosphere that appealed to me, like the developers were unafraid to put all the genuinely uncomfortable realities of war, and the second world war in particular, front and center. It was different, interesting, and not at all fun.

    It seems like no one else saw what I did. Maybe it’s because I only paid $1.25 for it.

  23. Gm says:

    elevator Source that was interasting and fun for some reason through it took an hour.

    • Echo Tango says:

      Part of what made Elevator source a good episode, was that it wasn’t episode 35 of a game, where the crew is annoyed with the horrible writing, characters, and deus ex machina nonsense. :)

  24. Kelerak says:

    I’m not sure what the standing on DmC: Devil May Cry is at this point, but I ended up liking that game a lot more than the other games (save maybe for 4). To me, the classic games are really only good for one playthrough and then only ever play Bloody Palace afterwards, because I feel that the level design in the classic games isn’t very good, especially when it tries to implement platforming into the mix. DmC has a less polished combat system than the post-3 games have for sure, but the levels were varied and fun enough for me to enjoy it more than I did the classic games.

    Other than that, there isn’t really a game that I like that nobody else does, unless we’re venturing into “guilty pleasure” territory. In that case, Shadow the Hedgehog all the way.

  25. Daniel England says:

    Pretty cool that Josh brought up Dragon Age: Inquisition when I just beat it about a month ago. Always nice to hear my complaints echoed!

    If any of you are looking for a cool video critique about Inquisition check this one out by Noah Caldwell-Gervis. I like his thoughts on it.

    I ended up coming to the conclusion that I preferred my time with Dragon Age 2 more than my time with Inquisition. I’d probably argue that Inquisition is a much better game when it’s focused and doesn’t let me spend ~20-30 hours finishing map objectives. I spent around 60 hours beating Inquisition and all its DLC, and I found that once I finished all the terrible side quests and other crap, the main stuff was really great, much better than 2! But all the wasted space, that sucked hours upon hours of my time and never had any worthy payoff, really bothered me. 2 only took me 26 hours, and maybe a third of that was partially or entirely filler? I was however very lucky in Inquisition in that I happened to date the person who made the final DLC especially interesting. When Inquisition works it can be incredible, but it did not need all the filler.

  26. Woa. Dragon Age: Inquisition is two years old?

    That means we should start hearing rumors about Dragon Age 4 soon.

  27. Anyone else seen the latest issue regarding Mafia III? (no not the 30 FPS lock, that’s “fixed” now in patch).
    I’m talking about the SSE4.1 requirement, which is not listed in the game requirements.
    They do list the AMD FX-8350 as a minimum requirement for the game. The problem is they did not list SSE4.1 being required.

    A lot of people have Phenom II-X6 CPU’s out there (I’m one of them), which does not support SSE4. The Phenom II-X& was discontinued in 2012 so it’s not a overly old CPU, and it’s 6 “full” cores so it performs pretty well.

    The really weird thing is that there are SSE4.1 capable CPUs out there with less processing power than the Phenom II-X6 cpu’s, and they are able to run the game.

    Another weird thing is that the compiler used to compile these games has various CPU support paths. And can fallback to alternatives (that are a little slower) and emulate SSE4.1 stuff. Provided the automatic compiler optimizations are used (these days they probably are, I don’t think hand optimized stuff is so common any more) .

    And here’s the thing. A game like Mafia III is quite expensive to make, and having it unable to run on CPUs that only support SSE3 will cut the profits quite a bit. The time spent on fixing it so the game works on those CPUs are worth the investment.

    Also, it’s not just a AMD issue. People with some older Intel CPU’s have reported being unable to run the game as well.

    But why is AMD the main issue here? Because when Intel releases the specs/standard for new instructions they are already in major production mode, so AMD may have to wait until their next architecture design to add the new instructions.

    One might think that wouldn’t the game run slower on a CPU without SSE4? Maybe. But the majority of people have 4 core CPUs (per the steam survey 90% has two or four core CPUs), but the Phenom II-X6’s are 6 (real cores) so if the game takes advantage of proper multi-threading then that should even out.

    Per the steam survey 99.99% of CPUs has SSE2, and 99.96% has SSE3. (Note! Almost all x64 CPUs made have SSE2 so targeting that make sense, so does SSE3 these days apparently).

    However, only 86.84% have SSE4.1 support. That means 13.16% of the potential customers of Mafia III are unable to play the game. I have no idea how much profit 2K is making on Mafia III but I’d guess that 13.16% could be a few million in lost profit? (people are refunding the game too since they can’t run it)
    Think about it, if they sell 300000 copies then 13.16% is 39480, that’s a lot of money and customers.

    I do a bit of programming myself, and when it comes to the web or a platform 10% is quite a lot. It is after all affecting 1 out of 10 users.
    I usually feel more comfortable if stats show that only 1% are affected.

    For example the steam survey shows that just a little more than 1% still use Windows XP. And even less use Vista. This does means that if the XP stats drop a bit more (so that’s it’s below 1%) Id’ feel comfortable targeting Windows 7 as the minimum OS for Windows supported systems in future projects. (However the way I code things my stuff usually works on even Windows 2000, albeit it might look like crap and does not take advantage of Win7 features obviously).

    One interesting thing to note though is that SSE4a is supported by 20.43% of CPUs, and the interesting thing is that these are all AMD CPUs, because SSE4a was only ever added to AMDs CPUs. (Intel added SSE4.1 and later SSE4.2, AMD tried to add SSE5 but this was scrapped when Intel moved towards AVX. SSE4a and SSE4.1 and SSE4.2 are all part of what would have been AMD’s SSE5).
    There are also the OpCodes “POPCNT” and “LZCNT” which is considered part of “SSE4”.

    Also it seems No Mans Sky also failed to run on older AMD CPUs, only in that case it seemed that te game merely checked for SSE4.1 support but did not actually use any SSE4.1 instructions (A later patch fixed NMS so the check was removed).

    If you are a developer and you do not handcraft optimization but let the compiler do it for you them please make sure you set the compiler to generate adaptive CPU code. What the option is called varies between compilers and IDEs used.
    But in brief it will tell the compiler to include code paths for no SSE, SSE2, SSE3, and SSE 4/4a/4.1/4.2/AVC and so on.

    And when the user runs the program/game the code will check the CPU capabilities and then use a code path that takes advantage of that CPUs extra features.
    This means that never CPUs will run the game better, and the older CPUs will run the game slower (but it WILL run).

    Some users may have more cores which balances out the lack of certain CPU features, while others may have beefy graphic cards picking up some of the CPU slack.

    • Echo Tango says:

      This is why I run 1 year old games on 3 year old hardware. Also, 5-year old games. Also, indie games that can run on toasters. I mean, they have to be the fancy new toasters, but still. :)

  28. Neko says:

    I really liked this diecast.

    I still don’t understand why you all find this guy so scary though.

  29. Oh the pure awesomeness that is Steven Ogg (Trevor in GTA 5)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsaLDnl_fEs

  30. Gruhunchously says:

    Maybe Mumbles should do her own Mass Effect 3 season when she’s done with Dragon Age.

  31. Mormegil says:

    I’m on Team Mumbles.

    I really liked Bioshock Infinite. I didn’t need a video game to teach me racism is bad, I needed one to teach me dropping from a sky hook and murdering people with a shotgun and a bunch of crows is awesome.

  32. Phantos says:

    “Josh is back at the game after two years!”

    Hold on… DA: Inquisition is at least 2 years old??

    Huh. I guess my grasp on the passage of time must be slipping, because I could swear that game came out in like… March.

    Was it one of those games where it came out on older consoles, but then recently got re-released on the PS4 or something?

    • Christopher says:

      It was released for both generations in late 2014. It had DLC and then a GOTY edition(an appropriate one, I think it received at least five from publications) released throughout 2015, so it definitely feels more recent than that.

  33. Peteski says:

    The original Tainted Love was motown, and it was pretty great.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSehtaY6k1U

    Soft Cell’s cover was awesome too, but the original deserves some love.

  34. SlothfulCobra says:

    I think I’d love a Spoiler Warning season on Bioshock Infinite. I’ve got a lot of complex feelings about the game, but I don’t have it in me to play through it again. You’d probably have to try playing D&D towards the latter part of the game where there’s a lot of downtime but there’s no longer any NPCs to talk to.

    The way the game has such a pretense towards being deep without actual depth was really frustrating, but it’d give the crew a lot to talk about. The most frustrating thing to me was how everybody seemed to buy into the game’s artificial depth at the time, including the cast of Spoiler Warning (they dedicated a whole diecast to the game), and I felt like a crazy person when I finished the game, was really annoyed and disappointed with the way it ended and absolutely nobody else was corroborating my experience.

    And then, after some time had passed, there was some kind of crazy revisionism where everyone now remembers the game as being full of itself and not that great without ever confronting their previous opinion. It makes me feel insane.

  35. Bespectacled Gentleman says:

    Mumbles: the problem I had with Bioshock Infinite was that it completely destroyed BioShock canon with its multiple worlds thing. I am just generally not a fan of dimensional travel or whatever it was, and this abberant injecting it into the core of a beloved franchise where it was completely absent previously makes it one of the few games that made me truly angry (topping ME3, in my opinion, because the ending was an event that could be written around or otherwise avoided, while Bio-I’s ruining is a near-inescapable part of the setting). It’s a premise that could have been standalone, in which case I would have been like “meh. It was okay, I guess”, or done a final fantasy “this is a completely new setting with no relation to the previous but some similar genre things”, in which case I would have been mildly irritated; but instead they strained to link it to the other games and completely rewired the setting. Which is a problem that can’t be solved by treating it as a disneyland ride, unlike the vigors(?) not being very well integrated into the setting or some thematic dissonance or shallow treatment of race or whatever.
    So in addition to, in my opinion, being a weak title, it poisons any (admittedly unlikely, but I can dream) future games in the series and makes discussion of the series an insufferable quagmire of “maybe these events took place in different universes and then they merged and Atlas actually was a guy who was helping you but Fontaine came from another world and…” Guh. It’s not only a bad game, it retroactively ruins beloved titles and binds any potential sequels to its bullshit.

    • SlothfulCobra says:

      Was there a meaningful “Bioshock canon” to ruin though? There was only one sequel beforehand, which the guy in charge of Bioshock was uninvolved with and wouldn’t acknowledge anyways like one of those direct to video disney sequels. Bioshock Infinite essentially had nothing to do with the original Bioshock story-wise unless you liked the game enough to buy the DLC, in which case, you deserve what you get.

      I don’t think there’s anything that really left the ground fallow for any sequels aside from how it was a bit of a dumb game and the fact that Ken Levine doesn’t really seem to be the type to want to tell contiguous stories. If someone came along with the money and the rights, there’s nothing stopping them from making another game aside from the fact that everyone in Rapture should already be dead by this point.

      • Bespectacled Gentleman says:

        Bioshock Infinite essentially had nothing to do with the original Bioshock story-wise

        This is kind of exactly my point. They didn’t have to drag their completely unrelated stuff into the BioShock universe. They game could have easily been its own standalone thing; you spend like a minute in Rapture in the main game. Of course, I know why it wasn’t, because without the brand name on it I never would have played it. Honestly, if they went Final Fantasy and didn’t try to make them have the same world at all, I would have been completely okay with it. Maybe do that “man, lighthouse, city” thing as a kind of nod and left the universe-travel out of it. There’s a lot one can do with an isolated city gone mad and a crazy idealist running it; they probably could have made a huge series. In space, on an alien planet (Elon Musk, looking at you), underground…

        Also, I liked 2 but I understand that many don’t like it for the same reasons I don’t like Infinite. I think they did the father/daughter thing way better. They kinda let the story focus on it instead of the weird shallow class and race stuff, and the game is better for it. The endings were very well done, no matter which one you get. Great voice acting, some kind of response to your “moral choices”, and one hell of a gut punch. Or maybe that one just didn’t have dimensional travel because this is something I despise with a passion.

        And yeah, there’s really not much of a chance of a sequel, especially one in the tone of the original. Mostly my problem is that it retroactively changes something about the setting that was never intended but now is canon. I try to cast it out of my thoughts, but any discussion on the story is going to be worsened by having to now deal with this being a part of the setting.

  36. Binary Toast says:

    Honestly, talking about revisiting old seasons brings to mind something about the New Vegas season; back then, they still hadn’t released all the DLC. I want to say they’d only had two of the four story DLCs out?

    At any rate, I’d kinda like to see them go back and do Lonesome Road. They finished their New Vegas season before it had been released, and I’ve always been curious about what they’d have to say about it.

  37. anaphysik says:

    For mailbag-the-first: I really liked the Telltale Jurassic Park game. In fact, the 3 Spoiler Warning episodes of it are the only set of Spoiler Warning episodes that I’ve never watched, because I’m afraid I’ll just end up angry :<

  38. Duoae says:

    I had the same experience as Josh and Mumbles with Dragon Age Inquisition. I just found the game to be terrible and the gameplay to be tedious and boring compared with DA2 and DA:O. They MMO-ified the overworld way too much!

    Just one observation for Mumbles: Swearing is a culturally agreed-upon taboo word. The point is that whether you say Frack, Frick, Frig or Fuck is neither here nor there because you are still swearing, we all know you’re swearing or meaning to swear. You can see this in how words can become or fall out of use as swear words… it’s not the word itself that is a swear but the intent of the users of the words.

    So, I guess my overall point is that, you’re not really swearing less… Not that I mind swearing at all.

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