Diecast #72: Tomb Raider Exclusive, Superhero MMOs

 By Shamus Aug 18, 2014 103 comments


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Hosts: Chris, Josh, Shamus, and Rutskarn.

1:00 The Next Tomb Raider game will be an Xbox One exclusive.

I’ll have a column about this tomorrow.

19:00 The sad state of the superhero MMO genre.

We’re talking about City of Heroes, Champions Online, DC Universe Online, and Marvel Heroes. Here is what I had to say about DC Universe Online way back in 2011. And here is what I had to say about Champions Online.

Here is the City of Titans Kickstarter that we discussed, and here is their website, which we were sort of mocking.


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Marlow Briggs EP9: Marlow Briggs and the Necromancer of Boredom

 By Shamus Aug 17, 2014 59 comments


Link (YouTube)

I can accept that Marlow Briggs is an American fireman who came back from the dead to fight Mayincatec gods with a three-bladed scythe and the help of a policewoman. I understand that the bad guy has an army of mooks that are willing to die at his command. And I can grudgingly accept the existence of a tank the size of Rhode Island that rolls through the jungle harvesting and refining ore of unknown value or utility. Fine. It’s all part of the genre, and I guess we have to allow for the occasional excesses of the writers.

But I REFUSE to believe that anyone was able to use one of those orange helicopters to travel from one point to another. Yes, it DID explode before reaching its destination, but it was operational for nearly a full minute. Given what the game has shown us so far, that’s completely ridiculous.


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Marlow Briggs EP8: Marlow Briggs and the Grotto of Animal Cruelty

 By Shamus Aug 15, 2014 43 comments


Link (YouTube)

Man, thanks to the devs for generous and thorough autosave. If you’re going to do checkpoint saves, this is how you do it. ON THE OTHER HAND, we wouldn’t have needed this kind of granularity in the checkpoints if the “skip cutscene” button hadn’t been one of the standard gameplay buttons.

I love how a videogame has cutscene continuity issues like a low-budget movie, as if this scene was pieced together from several different takes.

Marlow is standing nose-to-nose with Kim.

Kim: I’m the only chance you’ve got to save your little lamb, so how about you lower the harpoon?

Suddenly Marlow is holding his scythe up to her chin.

He wasn’t pointing his weapon at her until after she told him to stop doing it??? And then everyone takes turns holding the blade by the edge. And she spends the whole conversation looking him directly in the pecs. Hey lady, my eyes are up here.

It would have been awesome if just one of the characters had been given the name of an actual archaeologist known for working in this region. Then they could have opened the game with the claim, “BASED ON A TRUE STORY“.


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Marlow Briggs EP7: Marlow Briggs and the Great Balls of Fire

 By Shamus Aug 14, 2014 115 comments


Link (YouTube)

So it looks like the jump button is also the skip cutscene button, which means our bunny-hopping driver is skipping half the cutscenes. I like to think that the bits we skipped are these detailed explanations that would perfectly explain everything we’re seeing.

Also, I love the idea of calling an astrophysicist and asking him random science questions about archaeology, botany, zoology, and anthropology.

Every time I think this game is out of ideas and we’re going to run out of stuff to be incredulous about, it manages to top itself. Like Chris said in a previous episode, this game certainly has a lot of ideas. They’re mostly crazy nonsense, but there are SO MANY of them!


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Experienced Points: 4 Reasons Why The Mass Effect 3 Debate Refuses to Die

 By Shamus Aug 12, 2014 398 comments

As promised, we’re dredging up THIS crap again. The column is long, but I could fill double the space on the same topic and not run out of things to say. The problem with Mass Effect isn’t “the end”. The problem is a massive shift in tone, genre, gameplay, and lore that happens gradually throughout the story. Some of us manage to hold on longer than others, and a few people manage to hold on to the very end, so when the dust settles none of us can agree on the exact point where it all went wrong.

When did Mass Effect fall apart for you?

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Diecast #71: BioWare, Twitch, Sims 4

 By Shamus Aug 10, 2014 257 comments


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Hosts: Chris, Josh, Shamus.

Show notes:

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Marlow Briggs EP6: Marlow Briggs and the Whip of Weapon Upgrade

 By Shamus Aug 10, 2014 66 comments


Link (YouTube)

This episode is two days late because YouTube upload was broken. So that was a great way to waste hours and hours of Josh’s time by making him re-encode and upload a huge video file when the problem wasn’t even on his end. Thanks YouTube!

This game is a poster child for the Quiet Time problem. It looks kind of amusing, but just watching it for an hour is exhausting. It’s a complete sensory overload of flashing lights and roaring explosions and particle effects and flying bodies and spinning platforms. If it wasn’t for moments like the brief block-pushing stuff this would quickly get intolerable. It might not be that bad for those of you watching the game twenty minutes at a time through our show, but I just watched Josh play for an hour and then watched this episode prior to writing this post, and my eyes and ears are sore. I can’t imagine actually playing the game for a couple of hours at a time.

Since none of us have played the game before, and since the story is a hyperactive stream of incongruous destruction, we have no idea where we are. Each week is a mystery. “Will we reach the end this week? Or are we just wrapping up the first act?” No idea!


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About Spoiler Warning

 By Shamus Aug 8, 2014 97 comments

So we were going to do another Marlow Briggs today. But then YouTube couldn’t decode the latest episode that Josh uploaded. (I’m guessing this is the result of moving to a new version of Premiere.) So… we got nothing.

But!

As part of the ongoing site update I wrote 1,600 words of trivia about Spoiler Warning, and then stuck it on a page where hardly anyone will see it. So I’ll just take those 1,600 words and put them here in a post where you’re more likely to see them and where you can comment. It’s not content, per se. But it’s close. MAYBE Josh will be able to figure out what the deal is with Premiere / YouTube and get an episode up for you today, but I’m going out with the family. Sorry if this isn’t properly proofread. Have a good weekend.

Spoiler Waning trivia follows:

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Marlow Briggs EP5: Marlow Briggs and the Heavy Thing That Needs to be Over There

 By Shamus Aug 7, 2014 87 comments


Link (YouTube)

At the six minute mark Rutskarn mentions Skallagrim, who is a YouTube guy who shares his weapon knowledge and generally scoffs at the often absurd excesses of Hollywood weapon-making. He’s good, although I just want to throw my weight behind LindyBeige as someone who is fun to watch and seems to have an inordinate number of archaic pointy things lying about. (The linked video is him talking about scythes, which seems relevant to our discussion here.)

And for those who missed our earlier episodes, the seemingly errant pronunciation of Marlow’s weapon is deliberate. I’ve decided that a scythe is a tool for cutting grass, and and sKythe is that ridiculous contraption that Marlow is using. They’re just spelled the same because of an ancient Mayan curse or something.

I really wish we had the archaeologist with us. I would drag her through this madhouse and just DARE her to explain this stuff. “Well, see you had to bring a sKythe here and jam one end into this socket in order to open a door. Which would also split the scythe into two really inconvenient sword things. It was an intelligence test. Anyone stupid enough to attempt to wield the resulting pieces as weapons was clearly too dense to be useful and therefore should be put out of the village or eaten.”

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No Text

 By Shamus Aug 7, 2014 119 comments

If you’re one of my many text-based fans, then this week is probably looking a little lean for you. I didn’t write a column. I didn’t do a Monday post. It’s all podcasts and video content this week. Sorry.

I canned my column at the last minute. I just wasn’t feeling it. I wanted to talk about the conflicts between classic videogame boss fights and the current trend of “games as interactive movies”. But the thing kept sliding into “Top X crappy Boss Fights” territory, which is a sure sign there’s not enough meat in the column.

I’ve spent the rest of the week touching up little details on the site. The front page has been updated. Same goes for the Spoiler Warning page.

But while we’re here, now would be a great time for another batch of article requests / suggestions.

And one final note:

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Marlow Briggs EP4: Marlow Briggs and the Pipes of Doom

 By Shamus Aug 6, 2014 66 comments


Link (YouTube)

The hardest part of Marlow Briggs isn’t the combat. The hardest thing isn’t the environmental challenges. The hardest thing is explaining the game to other people.

The cutscene was perfect:

The evil bad guy is a dick to his subordinates for no reason. Then he demonstrates a power that – while impressive – doesn’t seem to have any immediate practical use. The main character stands by passively and watches the entire exchange without making any effort to engage these people he’s been chasing for the entire game. Nor does he make any effort to get within earshot, although I guess he hears them anyway? Then the bad guy uses his hoodoo powers on his men to… what? What does that glowing green puff accomplish? There isn’t any sort of transformation to indicate these men have changed. Then Marlow suddenly decides to do something, so he rips open a door and begins shouting at his foes to make sure they see him coming. Then the bad guys start, board, and load and launch their helicopters in the time it takes Marlow to run ten meters. Then Marlow makes no effort to catch his nemesis, the woman who killed him, or the girlfriend they kidnapped, but instead stops to fight TWO(!) mooks that aren’t even in his way. And then he somehow has access to a power he’s never had before, for no reason.

I realize being terrible on purpose is better than being accidentally terrible, but still. Not all of this terribleness is a joke. Some of it is just regular, garden-variety stupid.


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Diecast #70: Gamespot Layoffs, Playstation Now, Mailbag, Star Citizen

 By Shamus Aug 4, 2014 178 comments


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Hosts: Chris, Josh, Shamus, and Rutskarn.

At the start of the show there’s some debate about how long it’s been since Rutskarn was on the show. For the record it was: Diecast #64: E3 Dustup, Watch_Dogs, Steam Summer Sale, back in June.

EDIT: No it wasn’t. It was a couple of weeks ago but I forgot to list him in the show notes.

Show notes:
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