Rage 2 Part 1: I’m Not Even Angry

By Shamus Posted Thursday Jan 23, 2020

Filed under: Retrospectives 136 comments

Right up front, I admit that this is a terrible idea for a series. Judging by the comments, the audience of this blog typically majors in RPGs with a minor in Dark Souls. In terms of audience priorities, action shooters fall somewhere below “2D side-scrolling pixel art indie games” and random complaints about keyboards

Moreover, this game is fairly new, and my Spider-Man series demonstrated that the audience prefers to read retrospectives about games that are a couple of years old. Even in the wider gaming culture, this game didn’t seem to resonate with people. It vanished shortly after release and nobody had much to say about it. 

So why am I doing a retrospective on a poorly-reviewed game that people don’t care about that my audience cares about even less and would be too new to be of interest even if they were interested? I don’t know. I think this must be self-sabotage on my part. The years of imposter syndrome have taken their toll and now I’m trying to get rid of my audience so I can go back to working fast food.

Actually, I’m probably writing about this for the same reason I wrote about all those other games: I just can’t help myself. Rage 2 is filled with really interesting problems that compel me to look closer. I want to discuss these flaws (and complain about them, obviously) and talk about why they matter. In my Spider-Man series, I said the story was mostly good and occasionally brilliant, but with a couple of moments of perplexing awfulness. Rage 2 is the inverse of this. The story is mostly dross, occasionally awful, but with a few brief moments of perplexing excellence. How can a setup like that not make you a little curious about the development process?

Continue reading ⟩⟩ “Rage 2 Part 1: I’m Not Even Angry”

 


 

A Bunch of Stupid Charts

By Shamus Posted Tuesday Jan 21, 2020

Filed under: Column 143 comments

For the last few months, I’ve been doing this dual-production thing where I publish my columns as a YouTube video and as a blog post. That’s sort of like making a game cross-platform by releasing it as a Steam VR title and an MS-DOS text adventure. The two mediums are so different that there are very few assets you can meaningfully reuse.

(Also, if it’s not obvious already: This post is a bunch of navel gazing. This is going to be really boring. I’ve even got graphs and charts later. I’d tell you not to bother reading this, but we both know that’s not how things work around here.)

Stuff that works well in one medium might not have a good equivalent in the other. My beloved footnotesFootnotes like this one, except more funny. don’t have a good analogue in the video world. And of course linking to other sites is trivial in text and obnoxious / impossibleYou can either put the link in the description where absolutely no one will see it, or you can display the URL as text in the video and absolutely no one will bother typing it. in a video. Likewise, video footage can convey a lot of information that would take several paragraphs to convey in text. One example is in my column on in-game economies. In the video version, I cut away to some Final Fantasy X for a humorous conversation that lampshades the economic problem I’m talking about. There was no way to capture that joke in the text version except to explain it, so it got left out.

Continue reading ⟩⟩ “A Bunch of Stupid Charts”

 


 

Diecast #287: Endings, AI, and Mailbag

By Shamus Posted Monday Jan 20, 2020

Filed under: Diecast 77 comments



Hosts: Paul, Shamus. Episode edited by Issac.
Diecast287

Show notes: Continue reading ⟩⟩ “Diecast #287: Endings, AI, and Mailbag”

 


 

Achilles and the Grognard: Biowarification

By Bob Case Posted Saturday Jan 18, 2020

Filed under: Video Games 65 comments

Achilles: I finally put my finger on something about how this game feels.

The Grognard: How’s that?

Achilles: This game feels more familiar. Like it’s part of a genre I recognize, instead of something from before my time.

The Grognard: Is there anything specific that makes you feel that?

Achilles: Well, for one thing, I can finally bang some of these people.

Sometimes, Aerie starts sashaying her hips at you after just a couple hours of gameplay.
Sometimes, Aerie starts sashaying her hips at you after just a couple hours of gameplay.

The Grognard: A Bioware signature. Of all developers, I feel they’re the ones to most effectively monetize the horniness of your average consumer. As far as I know, these were pretty much the first examples of involved NPC romances. So, who are you going with? Aerie? Jaheira? Viconia, even?

Continue reading ⟩⟩ “Achilles and the Grognard: Biowarification”

 


 

Dénouement 2019 Part 5: The Best Stuff

By Shamus Posted Thursday Jan 16, 2020

Filed under: Industry Events 209 comments

The usual disclaimer applies: Don’t read too much into the order of these games. I tried to sort them from best to extra-best, but such ordering is inherently arbitrary. Don’t hold me to this. Maybe five years from now I’ll still be talking about and playing the #5 game, and I’ll have forgotten the #1. I do what I can, but putting games into a specific order is silly.

Anyway, let’s get on with it…

Continue reading ⟩⟩ “Dénouement 2019 Part 5: The Best Stuff”