Hangout: E3 Day Zero Coverage

By Shamus   Jun 15, 2015   Notices 46 comments

Electronic Arts is doing their press conference today at 1PM Pacific Time. After that will be Ubisoft, and then some other stuff.

We will be streaming the events and talking over them, giving our thoughts as things are revealed. Both the feed and the chat are embedded below. If those don’t work, then you can go here to see it on Twitch: twitch.tv/spoilerwarningshow. We’ll probably start streaming about ten minutes before the event begins.

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Diecast #108: Jurassic World, Town of Salem, Steam Summer Sale

By Shamus   Jun 15, 2015   Diecast 100 comments

Thanks to Josh for editing this episode while I was recovering from injury and trying to catch up with my work.

Direct link to this episode.

Direct download (MP3)
Direct download (ogg Vorbis)
Podcast RSS feed.

Hosts: Shamus, Campster, Josh, Mumbles, and Rutskarn.

Show notes: Continue reading »


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Bethesda Stream

By Shamus   Jun 14, 2015   Notices 188 comments

E3 kicks off tonight with the Bethesda press conference. Josh and I plan to stream it and give live commentary. We expect Bethesda to discuss Fallout 4, Doom 4, and maybe even Dishonored 2.

You can watch the stream here: twitch.tv/spoilerwarningshow or try your luck with the embed below:

(Stream over. Since Twich refuses to archive anything, the embed has been removed, rather than turned into a broken link.)

If it works, we’ll upload the thing to YouTube. If not, we’ll just play another videogame.

EDIT: So that’s it! Thanks for watching everyone.

It didn’t really work out the way we wanted. People had to stream our channel AND the Bethesda channel, and the two were of course out of sync, and it was awkward and not ideal. I have no idea if it will be legal or feasible to have a proper archive version of the exchange. We’ll see.

We tried.

For those that missed it:

Doom 4 (Called simply “DOOM”) looks like a high-speed, high-damage, crowds-of-foes experience like the original, and not a slow-paced peek-a-boo in the dark like Doom3. Also a super-easy map editor. We were surprised and interested.

Dishonored 2: You can play as Emily? Sounds interesting. Too bad they still have Captain Boring as the outsider.

Battlecry: Meh.

Elder Scrolls Online: Huh. I guess they haven’t shut the game down yet. Good for them, I guess.

Fallout 4: Mixed reactions. YES you can be a woman. (Yay!) YES your protagonist is voiced. (Probably not going to be great.) YES it will be a “hunt down the people who killed your family”. (Yawn.) YES the interface is even more atrocious than before. (Sigh.) Some parts look stupid. (World-building.) Some parts look intriguing (crafting, base-building) and some parts are still up in the air. (Game feel.) Release in November. Fingers crossed.


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The Blistering Stupidity of Fallout 3, Part 2

By Shamus   Jun 13, 2015   Game Reviews 131 comments

Last time we talked about how the writers completely misinterpreted and subsequently bungled the themes and tone of the Fallout universe. Now let’s get into the brokenness of the Fallout 3 setting. Last time they just made things really hard for themselves, but this is where the plot of the game melted into radioactive nonsense.

Let’s start with my favorite question…

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Hangout: Bethesda Press Conference

By Shamus   Jun 12, 2015   Notices 25 comments

So E3 is this coming week, and Twitch.tv is doing something new. They’re allowing people to re-stream their feed. Which means we can watch a press event and comment on it in real-time. Josh and I (and maybe some other guests, I dunno) will stream the Bethesda press conference, and talk over it like a couple of opinionated jerks.

Honestly, I have no idea if this will work, if it makes sense, or if you will enjoy it. We’re off the edge of the map here.

But maybe it will be fun. I’m sure they’re going to spend a lot of time talking about Fallout 4. You can be there to witness the hardening or melting of our hearts in real time. You can type questions into chat like, “Will you fix your reprehensible karma system?” Josh and I can ask each other those questions, conclude that we have no idea because Bethesda is still talking about plasma rifles or whatever.

The event is at 7pm on Sunday night on the West Cost. Here’s a countdown to to event:

If the Bethesda thing falls through, maybe we’ll just hang out and watch Josh play a videogame. If it works out, we might cover a few other events later in the week.

When the event is live you’ll find it here: twitch.tv/spoilerwarningshow

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Arkham Asylum EP3: Asylum of the Heart

By Shamus   Jun 12, 2015   Spoiler Warning 63 comments


Link (YouTube)

So that’s our first week of Arkham Asylum. I’m really glad to be covering something we like.

There’s a good bit of tension between this game and Arkham City, to the point where it’s hard to discuss one without bringing up the other. I think this one makes more sense and it has a more focused story, but I find City to be more fun to play and explore. The combat is smoother, the combat is deeper, the enemies are more varied, but the overall plot is muddled.

In Arkham City, it was like the team was compelled to use every Batman villain in existence, including some of the obscure D-listers. The game has Hugo Strange, Penguin, Two-Face, Catwoman, Joker, Harley Quinn, Mr. Freeze, Bane, Zsasz, Hush, Deadshot, Soloman Grundy, Clayface, Poison Ivy, Mad Hatter, Riddler, and Ra’s al GhulAlso Calendar Man is there, perplexingly the only man in all of Arkham City who is locked in a cell.. That feels like extreme overkill. It feels like they were overcompensating. Which is odd, since the first game was great and they didn’t need to compensate for anything.


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Arkham Asylum EP2: Officer Frank BALLS

By Shamus   Jun 11, 2015   Spoiler Warning 140 comments


Link (YouTube)

This is the first time on Spoiler Warning that we’ve covered a game that Josh really doesn’t care for. The good news is that we’ll get to cover a game that’s really different from our usual fare, and Mumbles and I have a lot to say about it. On the downside, he’s not interested in the game enough to master it, which means he’s probably going to struggle a bit.

I think I get why he doesn’t care for the Arkham seriesWhat I don’t understand is why *I* like it. It’s pretty far from my usual thing, but I really dig it.. Josh favors games with a lot of planning and strategy, but here it’s more about execution. There’s no way to “break” the game mechanically like in a Bethesda title, and you can’t experiment with different builds like in Dark Souls. There aren’t even that many different approaches for each encounter. If guys are armed then you ambush them, if they aren’t you just wade in and punch them. It’s got some low-level tactics involved when you decide how and when to unleash your combo meter, but those decisions are short-lived and only apply once you start to master the rest of the mechanics. If you don’t care for the base mechanics, then the promise of, “Master this reactionary face-punching gameplay and once in a while you’ll have the opportunity to make a small tactical decision” isn’t exactly a great sales pitch.

Yes, there are choices to make when you level up and choose what ability to unlock, but you’re not really going for “different builds” in the RPG sense. By the end of the game you’ll have unlocked everything.

Since I didn’t explain it in the video, here’s how it works:

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Arkham Asylum EP1: Satan Clown Rodeo

By Shamus   Jun 10, 2015   Spoiler Warning 162 comments

Here it is. Listen to the cast try to admire a game to death. All this gushing and praise makes me nauseous. I’m not sure how much of that is because this is a fantastic game and how much is because it’s not Hitman: Absolution.


Link (YouTube)

(Note that at the 11:30 mark I say “Officer Cash” when I should have said “Officer Boles”. My bad.)

This game generally gets a pass for the long opening because the scene is really good by the standards of movies, and phenominal by the standards of videogame cutscenes. The opening to this game is about ten minutes of barely-interactive talking. It’s actually worse than a simple video, since the fact that it’s quasi-interactive means it can’t be skipped. You can’t even put the controller down and go make a sandwich, since you need to be there to nudge Batman forward.

But setting aside how stupefyingly risky it is to begin an action game by making the player walk implacably forward for ten minutes, the scene really does a fantastic job at putting all the pieces on the board. We get the Batman / Joker dynamic, we get that Joker is up to something and that Batman knows it, we get a look at this main corridor of the Asylum where a good chunk of the game will take place, we get the explanation for why so many of Joker’s men are here in an asylum instead of in a regular prison, we get the setup for Croc, we meet Warden Sharpe, we meet Gordon and establish his friendship with Batman, we see how the layers of security at Arkham work, we get some foreshadowing with Officer Boles, we see how Batman is ready for Joker’s move, and we see Harley spring the trap.

Note to other developers: Yes, Arkham Asylum began with a long cutscene, but it wasn’t just a bunch of clich├ęs and dramatic visual cues. It was also packed with detail, exposition, lampshading, characterization, and foreshadowing. You should be very cautious about trying something this audacious in the future. If you pull it off, fine. But if the cutscene fails, annoys, or tries anyone’s patience, then your entire game is going to faceplant before the player even settles in.

I suppose we can think of this as the Half-Life Tram Ride 2.0: This is a sequence that worked for this game, but probably shouldn’t be attempted by anyone else.

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The Blistering Stupidity of Fallout 3, Part 1

By Shamus   Jun 10, 2015   Game Reviews 141 comments

This is going to be a ~7,000 word series on someBecause listing ALL the things wrong with it would take 200 years. of the things wrong with the central story of Fallout 3. Yes, I know this is a celebrated and beloved game. It made a bunch of GOTY lists back in 2008, and still appears on lists of favorites today. To be honest, I liked it too. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to pretend that the entire story wasn’t a giant heap of sophomoric tripe. None of it fit together, none of it made sense, and it was filled with awful, frustrating situations where you were forced to do stupid things because doing something smart would resolve the problem without requiring the player to go out and shoot things.

If you’re one of those people that can’t stand to hear people say bad things about stuff you like, then this is going to be hard for you. I’ve broken the series into five parts to help soften the blow.

Good luck!

(Yes, I covered a lot of these points way back in 2010 when we covered Fallout 3 on Spoiler Warning. But I wanted a version of this rant that people could take in without needing to sit through 15 hours of 480p video.)

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Hangout: Geralt of Rivia and the Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich

By Shamus   Jun 9, 2015   Spoiler Warning 36 comments


Link (YouTube)

Supposedly you can beat Witcher 3 in 25 hours if you only play the main quest and skip every cutscene. My play-through took around 80 hours and barely scratched the surface of the side content. I suppose the best-case for a proper play-through would be in the neighborhood of 50 hoursNaturally a first-time player spends some time getting lost, not taking the best shortcuts, hunting for things, taking on needless extra tasks, etc.. Since Spoiler Warning covers about an hour of gameplay a week, this means it would take us an entire year just to do a “quick” play-through of the game that barely skims the surface.

So enjoy this hangout, as it’s probably the closest we’ll get to a Witcher 3 season. I’m sorry I missed it. I’d love to have discussed the game, assuming I could get a word in between people prostituting themselves for the Wendy’s sandwich menu.

We’ve said before that we’d like to do hangouts monthly. I think making a policy of doing them at the top of the month is a good idea. Also, I think we should give Witcher 3 another shot next month, assuming Josh is up for it.

I just finished my play-through of the game. I think the main plot is overlong, and the layers of ancillary quests are a little too deep, but I was really happy with the ending.

Also! Brace yourselves: Tomorrow we begin the next Season of Spoiler Warning. If you’re just coming off the Hitman Absolution episodes, this will probably cause some whiplash.


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Experienced Points: Witcher 3 – Size Matters

By Shamus   Jun 9, 2015   Escapist 73 comments

My column this week is about how our usual metrics for the size of a game (hours and square area) are inadequate for describing the size and complexity of Witcher 3.

I wrote that column on Sunday. At the time, I’d just completed a massive siege at a castle, which was kind of like the suicide mission from Mass Effect 2. All the main characters were there, the bad guys were there, and everyone had gone all-in. The list of resources available to me was shaped by decisions I’d made over the last sixty hours of gameplay. The battle was a long, complex, multi-stage thing that kind of had a Helm’s Deep vibe. It was the perfect ending to a long and complex drama.

And then the game kept going. And going. And going. Days later, it’s still going.

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Hangout: Killing Floor

By Shamus   Jun 8, 2015   Spoiler Warning 30 comments

Here is the footage from the hangout we did three days ago. I guess we can consider this the finale to zombie month. We were hoping to cover Dead Rising 2, but that didn’t work out. Later this week we begin our coverage of Arkham Asylum. Are you excited? I’m excited.


Link (YouTube)

Later in the week I’ll post the second half of this hangout, where Josh plays Witcher 3.


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