Diecast #118: Invisible Inc, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, Shadow of the Colossus

By Shamus Posted Monday Aug 24, 2015

Filed under: Diecast 145 comments

Hosts: Shamus, Josh, Mumbles, Campster. Episode edited by Rachel.

Did you have trouble getting the Diecast to work with your RSS feed last week? I mistakenly had the download link pointed at “diecast117”, when it should have linked to “diecast117.mp3“. I noticed the problem a day later, and “fixed” it by changing the link to “diecast177.mp3″. I didn’t notice that blunder until Sunday when I write this post.

So, that was a pretty comprehensive failure on my part. Should be fixed now. Or maybe not. I’m probably not the most reliable person to ask, to be honest. But as far as I know, it should all work.

Show notes:

00:45: Oculus Rift Tech Demos

Here is the Don’t Let Go demo we talked about.

10:22: Invisible Inc.

22:28: Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture

37:00: Shadow of the Colossus

44:57: Good Robot

Here is the trailer I mentioned:

Link (YouTube)

And here’s a screenshot from last week:

Less Terrible Robot
Less Terrible Robot

53:35 Pillars of Eternity
1:00:55: JOHN CENA
1:02:25: Mailbag: BioWare Characters

Hey Mumbles, can we get a top ten best bioware characters list from you now that you have played through Dragon Age Inquisition.

Thanks, Jokerman.


From The Archives:

145 thoughts on “Diecast #118: Invisible Inc, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, Shadow of the Colossus

  1. Loonyyy says:

    That trailer looks very swish. Nice work!

  2. drkeiscool says:

    Hey wait, wasn’t Josh a TIE Fighter last week?

    1. MichaelGC says:

      Aye, he was – and Rutskarn’s been pretty quiet so far! :D I think Shamus must be rather busy engoodering Good Robot.

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      He was.Multiple times.So what gives?Why does Josh have a defined personality right now?This show has officially jumped the shark.

      1. MichaelGC says:

        Aye, and TIE also got introduced first this week. Where will it end?!?

  3. Wide And Nerdy says:

    I love this bit from SF Debris about Canderous regarding learning that your character is Darth Revan.

    “For Canderous, its like learning who his buddy Bruce Wayne is after gushing about how awesome Batman is.”

    1. allfreight says:

      It might be worth pointing out that your spoiler tag is about KOTOR (if you haven’t played it then you don’t know who Canderous is and you don’t know not to read it).

      There may be a non-negligible number of people who have never played it who may now play it because Spoiler Warning are about to do a season on it. If they’ve made it this far on the internet without finding out, it’ll be a shame to ruin it for those people now.

      Also Darth Vader is Luke’s father!. :)

      1. Wide And Nerdy says:

        I’d fix that if it wasn’t too late to edit the post. Sorry about that :(

      2. Keeshhound says:

        Because Chris isn’t going to accidentally blow that spoiler by the third episode while trying to outline some big picture concept.

        1. Chris says:

          Good news!

          I’m the odd man out this season, as I am(I’m pretty sure) the only one on the team to have not played all the way through KOTOR. So I’m relegated to lame jokes and confused exclamations this season while everyone else gets to make insightful analysis.

          1. Wide And Nerdy says:

            lol. And here you are. The guy who plays everything. ;)

            1. Thomas says:

              Was not expecting to find out that =D

              1. Supahewok says:

                You mean that Chris is already blowing spoilers, even though the season hasn’t even begun? ;)

                Cuz that’s to be expected.

          2. Aldowyn says:

            yeah, but I’m sure you know 90% of it through gaming cultural osmosis, right? I mean, so many Revan jokes, it’s almost as bad as I AM YOUR FATHER.

          3. Sleeping Dragon says:

            Ooh, that could be fun. Rutskarn’s reaction to the big reveal at the end of ME2 is still one of my favourite Spoiler Warning moments. Though KOTOR’s reveal is no quite as dumb plus I imagine you’re forewarned through “cultural osmosis” that Aldowyn mentioned. That or someone will spoil everything in the fist week of the show.

        2. Bubble181 says:

          If only they gave some sort of warning that the show could contain spoilers! :P

    2. Steve C says:

      What happened to SF Debris now that Blip is gone? Casual googling just pointed to blip pages.

      1. Alex says:

        Apparently he’ll be getting back to making videos before the end of the month.

        1. Wide And Nerdy says:

          Yeah he’s just looking for a new host. He’s fine. Patreon money is good.

          1. MichaelGC says:

            Looking for a new host? Like a parasite/symbiote insecty kind of a thing, or more of an astral possession type-effort?

      2. Daemian Lucifer says:

        He says that he is going to start reuploading his videos to a new service by the end of august,as well as start adding new stuff.But it will take a while for everything to get up to the old archives.


  4. Kalil says:

    Re: Shadow of the Colossus,
    It actually may be weirder/creepier than sister or girlfriend. From what I’ve pieced together from bits of outside sources, ‘Mono’ (her name is in the credits) is probably some girl (a sacrifice or something) that he feels guilty for having killed. She may not actually know him at all.

    There’s a massive gamefaqs article that tries to piece together the plot of the game into a coherent whole. It’s either a great or terrible example of atmospheric and minimalistic storytelling, depending on your tolerance for openendedness.

    1. Zukhramm says:

      I’m not particularly impressed with that document of theories. They seem to fall into two categories, the completely obvious and those with no basis at all in the game. Neither kind is very interesting.

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      She is your sister and your girlfriend at the same time!


  5. Wide And Nerdy says:

    You didn’t like Sten? He’s hilarious. He’s like Worf in that they both have a very dry sense of humor (you have to press him a bit).

    I was expecting Alistair to be the funny guy at first but I didn’t find his jokes all that good. I came around on him because he was at least attempting levity and because it was obvious that his humor was masking a lot of pain.

    And Lelianna in the camp. Not a great character, not the best storyteller but even with those flaws, sitting with her in camp listening to her stories while that wonderful camp theme was playing is what roped me into the game once and for all. Really a lot of that was the camp theme. I was depressed, as I often am, and this was one of those quiet comforting moments that helps get me through lonely evenings.

    A similar scene with Keira Metz in Witcher 3 was nice too. But I had plenty else in that game to go on.

    Regarding Shale. I’m glad I encountered her first because if I’d played KOTOR first I’d have been tempted to write her off as a 2nd rate HK-47. But frankly, HK-47 is so awesome that even a second rate imitation of him is still a pretty awesome character. And Shale has a little bit of her own thing going as well being more grumpy and less enthusiastic in her sociopathy.

    Put her in your party with Sten. Or Sten with Morrigan if you want to see Morrigan put in her place for once.

    In short, Mumbles, wonderful to have you back as always. It would be even more wonderful if HK-47 had made your top ten.

    1. Thomas says:

      1. Mordin
      2. Garrus
      3. Cassandra
      4. Legion
      5. Cole
      6. Tali
      7. HK-47
      8. Josephine
      9. Wrex
      10. Blackwall
      Honouraries, Aveline, Miranda, Juhani, Zaeed, Cullen

      ME1 – 3, ME2 – 5*, ME3 – 2, DA1 – 0, DA2 – 0, DA3 – 4, KotoR – 1, Jade Empire – 0

      *I counted Wrex here, because if it weren’t for him in ME2 he wouldn’t have come close to making the list. He barely interacts with the PC in 1 except for his big confrontation.

      I don’t think it’s really surprising that ME2 had the most interesting set of companions. It’s really what the game is about. I really like people who are kind of vulnerable because they can’t admit they’re vulnerable which is why Miranda makes an honourable mention.

      So many of KotoR’s felt bland (Carth, T3, Mission, Zalbaar) and I can’t remember who a single Jade Empire companion is even when looking at a list of their names, except for your friend from the beginning. With Canderous you’ve got to decide if you like him better as Canderous or Zaeed and I like him better as Zaeed because Zaeed is more vulnerable and Canderous is just a dick.

      Dragon Age 1 and 2 don’t have that problem (except for Alistair repeating Carth) but none of them really stand out quite enough. Varrick would be great if Bioware didn’t think Varrick was amazing. He’s a lot improved in Inquisition.

      I think it’s a testament to DA3’s characters that they get so many despite having almost no chance to interact with them outside of Skyhold properly. I also love how Cole spoils film plots and how he can change so much.

      EDIT: If KOTOR2 were allowed then Visas Marr, Handmaiden, Atton and Hk-47(he’s much funnier in 2) would get on the list with honourary mentions to T3 (Now with personality!), GO-TO, Bao-Dur and Kreia. Obsidian writing all the way/

      1. Christopher says:

        I want to do this too.
        1. Mordin (Entertaining and funny, but troubled and filled with regret without whining, good ties to the plot)
        2. Kirrahe (I love this guy, I can’t explain it, he’s just “HOLD THE LINE” but I get so happy whenever he has any screentime)
        3. Iron Bull (Best romance I had, lots of scenes)
        5. Alistair (Best friend I had, genuinely funny and pleasant and nice)
        6. The Glorious Strategist (Made the entire game for me, best villain)
        7. Solas (Could listen to his stories for hours)
        8. Zevran (Funny and pathetic despite theoretically being a master assassin, good sweet talker, romanced him)
        9. Black Whirlwind ( A sexless Iron Bull, trades boning for stories about how he solved marriage disputes really effectively)
        10. Tali( The only attractive Bioware character, one of few completely nice and pleasant companions, would have romanced if playing as male Shepard)

        If the personality that shows up in the files on Shadow Broker’s computer ever came up in the actual game, I would love Legion a lot more.

        I would never argue with Mumbles’ choices, mind. Taste is one thing, but in the case of Bioware games, you can sort of act and change how other characters act to suit your tastes. Renegade Shepard and romanced Garrus are probably pretty different from buddy Garrus and paragon Shepard.

      2. Aldowyn says:


        1. Cassandra.
        2. Garrus
        3. Mordin
        4. Wrex
        5. Cole
        6. Iron Bull
        7. Solas
        8. Legion

        I give up after that. Hard enough to rank 4-8. (I often listed Cassandra as my favorite in DA:I, and Cole/Iron Bull/Solas as tied for second) HK-47 gets an honorable mention for being absolutely hilarious, though.

        For the mass effect characters, I do enjoy them a lot more in 2 and 3 than 1, although Garrus is easily my favorite in 1. (Wrex is a little too.. I dunno, confrontational, and both him and Tali have severe cases of lore-itis in their dialogue compared to later games)

        But yeah, Cassandra is best. I’m as surprised as anyone.

      3. Humanoid says:

        In trying to assemble my list, I’ve realised that I haven’t actually played enough games to fill a top 10 unless it meant the lower half consisted of characters that fit the description of “eh, I didn’t hate them”. It was about the point I was considering Valygar for the shortlist when the only defining characteristic I remember of him is the ability to backstab with a Katana that I gave up. I got as far as a fixed top three of Garrus, Tali and Jaheira.

        For the record, I’ve played BG2+ToB, half of NWN, KoTOR, ME1, ME2, a quarter of ME3, half of DA1, and the Smuggler storyline in SWTOR.

        Also I might get howled down for this, but Mordin went from being one I liked to one I disliked due to his change of heart in ME3 ….and that’s only from seeing it in the SW season. To be fair though, it’s a general problem in ME3 where every single paragon choice you make in the previous game turns out to be the correct one. Save the Council, save Rachni Queen, destroy the Collector Base, cure the Genophage, etc, etc.

      4. Wide And Nerdy says:

        Not fully sorted in the proper order.
        1) HK-47 (Always going to be partial to robots and he’s hilarious and he’s really the only Bioware character who I’d heard had a reputation for being funny that then proved to actually be funny. I also like what his existence says about [KOTOR spoiler] Revan).
        2) Samara
        3) Wynne (yup, two wise older women. Guess its a thing with me. Wynn felt like family.)
        4) Jolee Bindo (He’s his own spin on a cross between Obi Wan and Yoda. I wouldn’t be surprised if Yoda didn’t get a little of his playfulness somehow from Jolee even though they lived thousands of years apart)
        5) Tali – My introduction to what Bioware can do with a romance when they’re having a good day.
        6) Mordin – of course Mordin.
        7) Joker (Best buddy character Bioware has ever done. Other characters we like to pretend we’ve been buddies but they’ve actually spent all their time sulking and angsting. Joker actually delivers.)
        8) [KOTOR spoiler] Revan. We discover a lot of his character indirectly even though we’re playing him. Between HK-47 and our own dialog choices we learn that an impish sense of humor was and still is a part of his make up.
        9) Alistair. Even though he can be among the whiniest of his type of character, unlike Carth and Kaiden, he actually does have a sense of humor and if we steer him right, we get to see him shape up. He’s also the most apologetic about his whining of this type of character. He’s dealing with the loss of Duncan who we actually get to meet, giving us a better taste of what Alistair is losing since he played a similar role to us (I mean, I never met Carth’s family). I also appreciate his reluctance to seize power. I think it makes him automatically superior to any politician or ruler.
        10) Varrick. If it weren’t for his development over two games he might not make the list but by the end of all of that he is a well realized character, fun, clever, good-hearted. He’s probably the only “rogue with a heart of gold” character that really earns the “with a heart of gold.” I also appreciate the idea that he’s an Andrastian who isn’t comfortable setting foot in a church. Been there and done that (yes, I am an Andrastian, saved you the effort)

        Honorable mention- Cassandra. Because there were a number of opportunities to screw her up, and they managed to avoid it. I like in particular that she’s the one that recognizes what I said above about Varric. Having been in Varric’s position, I love to think that someone like Cassandra cares enough to at least try to figure out how to make us feel comfortable and welcome in a church. Her romance is also a close second to Tali’s in my book. I love that she has this cheesy cliched notion of romance that she’s kind of embarrassed about but she wants it anyway.

        1. Wide And Nerdy says:

          I’m feeling bad about not having included Garrus but don’t know who I would bump. Maybe Samara or Alistair?

          I also want to include a shout out to Mission Vao. She may not be the most exciting or well acted character but I found her near constant optimism in the face of a difficult life to be endearing. She made me want to be the big brother Griff wasn’t. And I love the way she’s the first to support you at a key time after a key revelation.

    2. Benjamin Hitlon says:

      My favorite Bioware character has always been sky from Jade Empire. He is the only person that I ever felt like I could actually be friends with. He had a horrible back story but never let it get him down like that mopey pants Carth, And he didn’t have any itching chips on his shoulder like Garrus. (Garrus got better after ME1) Sky was the one character to where I felt like if we saw something funny I could share a sidelong glance with him and smirk. Evey one else always felt like a caricature. Everything about Carth revolves around his family, Wrex is a Klingon, Liara is a dork, Tali is a techie, Canderous is a Klingon…..Sky actually felt like a person.

      1. Aldowyn says:

        Liara grows out of her dorkiness, IMO. I really liked some of her scenes in ME3, particularly the one where she’s preparing the message for the next cycle in case you lose.

        As for Wrex, Canderous, Sten, Black Whirlwind, etc. etc… BioWare really *works* that blood knight archetype. Even more than the Carth/Alistair/Kaiden archetype.

    3. Mumbles says:

      HK didn’t make it purely to spite my little brother.

      1. Wide And Nerdy says:

        I am an oldest child myself. This answer is acceptable.

    4. DeadlyDark says:

      First DAO walkthrough was like I just making fun of Alistair (I also played racist city-elf guy, so Alistair just was in a way, no personal grudge against the guy; later after talks with Wynn my guy transformed in more heroic and reasonable attitude; BTW, Wynn is awesome*). I remember a dialog that was like:
      A: I have to tell you something
      Me: I already know, you an idiot.
      A (very enthusiastically): Yes, I am an idiot! How did you know?

      Or something like that. He was such a nice punching bag.

      Also, yes, Sten is awesome with his deadpan humor. Oh, how he interacted with Barkspawn.

      *Come to think of it, DAO was pretty good with it’s companions, all great personalities with almost no weak ones (well, Oghren wasn’t very good). Overall, they are better, than ME 2/3 or DA2. Still need to play Inquisition, but I’ll wait for sales and/or complete edition.

      1. Humanoid says:

        I never let Sten out of his cage, and killed Zevran before he even uttered a word. From a metagaming perspective I might wonder if I’m missing out on stuff, but from a roleplaying perspective, I couldn’t think of any justification for letting them live, let alone letting them join me.

        1. DeadlyDark says:

          Well, Stan killed some humans. That’s good for human-hating elf (like that protagonist of mine; I mean, he killed some humans, he can’t be that bad!) at least for letting him go free, and to further annoy Alistair (because he cannot be killed, yet) I can invite him in my team. Similar reasoning could be applied with Zevran. Yeah, being an unpleasant person as protagonist has it’s own perks ’cause it opens some new lines of reasonings. Though, I’m sure, other players have their own head-canon for “why I should include these two in my party”-problem.

          Probably, that walkthrough was my most… joyful role-playing experience.

        2. Wide And Nerdy says:

          Its something about the way he admits it. I could hear the regret and resignation in his voice.

          Plus, the Grey Wardens have one qualification, you must be good at killing darkspawn. If Sten isn’t of use, you have enough people on hand to kill him. If he is, he can earn his penance through service. The Darkspawn are the bigger issue and you need all the help you can get. (The only retort I see for this is that you can only have three in your squad at a time, but thats meta, not narrative and you wanted a narrative justification.)

    5. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Because I cant decide on who I like better,Im going to create my list chronologically.

      1. Minsc.Because minsc.He is the prototype goofball character that bioware uses for all their future goofballs.You can see minsc in practically all of them
      2. Jaheira+Khalid.Because they are the only married couple you get in bioware games,and its so awesome to have an actual married couple to travel with you.This not only shows you how not everything revolves around you,but that these people had lives before they ever met you.Its awesome.Separate though,the two arent that interesting.
      3. Deekin.A kobold bard that can start mutating into a dragon,all with breathing fire and stuff.Whats not to like?
      4. Aribeth.Ok,this one is a bit of a cheat.She is so bland and uninteresting in the original game,but she redeems herself in hordes of the underdark(which is why I put her after deekin,despite her being introduced before him).Also,the awesome and horrific things you get to do with her are a real joy(you can do nice stuff to her,but who would do that?).
      5. Darth revan.Because darth revan is awesome.
      6. Hk-47.Because he is hk-47.
      7. Joker.Because Seth Green.
      8. All the extra terrestrial crew in mass effect 1.Yeah sue me,but its my list.And all of them are awesome.
      9. Mordin.How can you not love mordin?
      10. Legion.A fanboy robot of your own?Sold!

    6. LadyTL says:

      I feel kind of the odd man out because my most favorite Bioware character was Anders. I totally got how he got to where he was in DA2 and even though half way though getting his bomb ingredients (which totally went for me “…wait a moment. This is not a potion. You are building a bomb. Goddammit Anders what the hell do you need a bomb for?”) I still kept going along because you kept getting glimpses of the old Anders and I had some hope that that’s who would win out.

      1. Mike S. says:

        I thought Anders was a good character, but by the time it came to it I was glad the game let me

        (are we doing SPOILERS?)

        kill him with no fuss. Blowing up a cathedral full of people in the middle of a densely populated city, with the express intent of starting a civil war? And trying to make me complicit without my knowledge?

        (Player me knew exactly what those ingredients were for. But who in Thedas outside a qunari or maybe a dwarf would? I think I drew the line at distracting Elthina for him, though, for all the good that did.)

        After seeing the result, my only regret over killing him was that I couldn’t go and kill him some more. Dammit, Anders!

        (And I’m pretty sure that’s what Bioware was going for re Kai Leng, however unsuccessfully.)

        1. Aldowyn says:

          Most people I know really don’t like DA2 Anders because they preferred Awakening Anders. I only played half of that one quite a while ago, but I hear the difference is rather profound.

          1. Mike S. says:

            I replayed Awakening recently, and the underlying resentment that becomes central to his character in DA2 is certainly there. It’s not a central obsession, but its becoming so strikes me as pretty well justified by Anders being possessed by a spirit of Justice.

            That someone driven to such extremes by the Mage Problem is also arguably a textbook example of why the problem exists, and simultaneously an example of the damage the regime mages live under does, is one of the many clever things about DA2. (That tended to get lost in the game’s considerable flaws and shortcuts.)

    7. BlusterBlaster says:

      My list:

      1. Garrus
      2. HK-47
      3. Varric
      4. Mordin
      5. Isabela
      6. Aveline
      7. Solas
      8. Wrex
      9. Alistair
      10. Leliana

      ME: 2, ME2: 1, ME3: 0, DA: 2, DA2: 3, DA3: 1, KOTOR: 1, JE: 0

  6. Micamo says:

    Back while Pillars of Eternity was still in its kickstarter phase, on the official forums and kickstarter comments, romance options were a really *really* contentious topic. Like, it started an instant flamewar the second anybody brought them up. The majority of the dialogue in that community seemed to be, “I hate Bioware, Bioware has never made a good game, and if this game resembles a bioware game in any aspect at all I will hate it forever.”

    It honestly feels like a lot of the design decisions in that game were driven by the desire to please *those* people. I don’t really think that was wise, but then again I didn’t think much of the game anyway.

    1. Wide And Nerdy says:

      Considering all the pandering DAI did to cater to the fans of its fanservicey newer games, I’m glad Obsidian catered to the other group. It resulted in a much better game than Bioware is capable of these days.

      Also, its for the best that Chris Avellone didn’t get to write a romance. He hates them.

      Furthermore, I feel like given the story in question, people are probably reluctant to have romance at all as it can lead giving birth to a soulless baby.

      If you want romance though you can make that your connection to that heretic woman who’s soul you meet at the end. I think its kind of brilliant that the game lets you decide details about your past life as well.

      1. Micamo says:

        Granted, I personally don’t really care about romances one way or another. If Obsidian had included them, they probably would have ended in disaster: Can you imagine them trying to write you putting the moves on Pallegina or Azoth? *shudders*

        I actually thought Iovara was one of the weakest portions of the game: She’s introduced far, far, far too late and far too rushed for your “arc” with her to actually mean anything, and said arc consists of the game asking you “how do you feel about this person” questions rather than allowing the two of you to interact organically. The “romance” is literally *started* by you declaring you’re in love with this woman you know nothing about.

        1. Wide And Nerdy says:

          Regarding Pillars
          You aren’t declaring it, your past self is revealing something about his relationship with Iovara. It adds a dimension to what you have to decide which is how you felt then about what Iovara was trying to do and how you feel now.

          As for the companions, you’re right. Most of them wouldn’t have made good romances (I think Eder might have worked and I don’t see whats wrong with Pallegina). But whats wonderful about that is, none of their characterizations were confined by a need to be appealing to the player to serve their desire for a romance.

          These days, when designing squadmates, Bioware is obligated by their branding to first figure out who is and isn’t going to be a romantic option (and a good portion of them have to be because they want to give multiple sexuality specific options to each player) and make sure they’re at least somewhat appealing on those grounds. That confines what they can be.

          Pillars list of characters all serve as perfect examples of what you can’t have when you’re shooting for Bioware style fan service.

          Now the way they could have worked around it would be to give you townsfolk romances. Might not be as satisfying since you have to leave them behind but that would again be something you don’t normally get from a Bioware game and has its own dramatic possibilities.

          1. Artur CalDazar says:

            Recalling statements made by the writing staff your assumptions here seem wide off the mark about how a character is written.

            1. Wide And Nerdy says:

              How? Can you be specific?

              Do you have a link to an article or a video?

              There has to be some restraint. Otherwise they’d end up with whole batches of squadmates who aren’t young, single, attractive and personable enough to suit all tastes. I’ve read enough to suggest that this is a concern they keep in mind during their writing.

              I know they also have to make sure they have classes covered but honestly thats an easy enough thing to manage.

              1. Artur CalDazar says:

                “Who can you romance” isn’t a first concern and it’s something they have said in various places when asked though social media.
                And there isn’t anything about most of the companions in Pillars that would make them unromanceable beyond the fact they simply aren’t and you can’t even try.

                obviously it’s something that has thought put into it but other concerns (such as time and tech) have outranked them in importance. Sera for example isn’t a character that’s constrained by the fact you can romance her anymore than Durance is constrained by your ability to hate him.

                1. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

                  First concern or not, it seems to be the effect.

                  It is getting rather tiring as I pass my third decade. Sure, the romance and sex of early BioWare was exciting when I was 20, but now? It’s National Geographic pron. And with the exception of KOTOR and ME1, none of them have mattered to the story -they’re as grafted on as the Anakin/Padme romance was.

                  What I wouldn’t give to drop a few love interests, integrate a love story into the game in a meaningful way, and give me some characters like Jolee Bindo or Canderous.

                  1. Humanoid says:

                    Optional romances seem to me to be a terribly inefficient way to spend resources, because it essentially requires that a whole lot of mutually exclusive content be created, of which only one branch will ever be seen in a particular playthrough. You can do everyone’s loyalty mission, but you can’t do everyone’s romance mission.

                    You can get away with it a little more if you have a character with pre-established relationships, such as in The Witcher, but even CDPR wrote themselves into some difficulty there.

                    1. Mike S. says:

                      It depends on what the goal is. If you want replayability and choice, then locking out some content and opening up other content is a feature rather than a bug. If anything, the problem is that the romances are the only things that really vary widely in something like DAI, so you’re basically playing the same game except for that.

                      (To be fair, there’s also the choice whether to contact the Templars or mages first, which has some running consequences in choice of sidequests and secondary opponents.)

                2. Wide And Nerdy says:

                  Grieving Mother is in no state of mind for romance. Neither is Durance really. They’re both partway gone at a metaphysical level. Sagani is married with children and her discussion of the conflict between that and her charge to hunt a soul is central to her arc. She would have needed a substantial rewrite.

                  Hiravius, well I can’t imagine a slovenly bestial halfling is going to appeal to many.

                  1. Artur CalDazar says:

                    Somewhat fittingly I had forgotten about the greving mother, but the point othrrwise stands that most still could be at romance options.

                    As for Hiravius, I would again compare to Sera, she isn’t the type most would want to romance but that wasn’t an intrinsic restraint to the character.

          2. Aldowyn says:

            Romances with companions would have felt *weird* in Pillars, considering most of the main plot had to do with you remembering your past self.

            Would have been interesting seeing more of the companions’ pasts, though, IMO…

          3. Mumbles says:

            Eder would have been a perfect romance option, tbh. Even Aloth. That would be hilarious.

            1. Wide And Nerdy says:

              That reminds me actually, they kind of do go there.

              Eder keeps wanting to ‘get to know’ Aloth’s other personality.

  7. Attercap says:

    There is a true spiritual successor to Syndicate that’s in the final stages of pre-release called Satellite Reign, which looks pretty good (and has gotten some decent initial reviews). It’s RTS rather than turn-based, though. Campster and Josh, it might scratch that itch, when it hits.

  8. Ilseroth says:

    Regarding Josh’s: “Need a new easy graphic style.” I think clean low poly, simple colored 3d art is actually a good way to go. The issue with a lot of low poly games is frequently grimy, stretched, low resolution textures that go with it, and minecraft didn’t help regarding that. Using simple colors, modern rendering, some fancy shading can get some interesting graphical styles.

    I tried to do this during the Ludum Dare that went on last weekend and came up with This in about 48 hours.

    Simple, low poly, striking and doesn’t just look like voxels… Personally I was going for a modern take on those old PC rpgs that were all in Black and White.

    1. Hermocrates says:

      I think my favourite example of this in AAA form is The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker: low-to-medium poly, cell-shaded textures, and a creative use of sprites for what would typically merit particle effects. When they announced the HD Remake of it for the WiiU, I thought it was joke, since given a Gamecube emulator and minimal filtering the original game still looks great even at 1080p.

    2. Christopher says:

      I think that sort of thing can look really cool, but I’m not sure the people who love retro platformers are gonna start making them in 3D because other people are tired of pixel art. Some genres do feel tied to their roots in that way, and I think it’s more appropriate to use drawings instead in that case. Like for the Spelunky remake.

      If we’re specifically talking about replacing pixel art in games, I just think people need to pixel art differently. At this point, there’s an entire style that’s really simple pixel shapes, maybe with modern shaders or lightning on top. It looks cool in some cases, but to me it’s the sort of thing that makes me tired because it’s somehow become a trend for them to look this way. You can make pixel art look like anything.

  9. Zukhramm says:

    If you don’t like walking simulators, don’t buy walking simulators. And if you want interactivity in them, you don’t like walking simulator. And Gone Home and The Stanley Parable. Gone Home is a puzzle game, and The Stanley Parable is garbage.

    Also, Shadow of the Colossus has the best controls.

    fight me irl

    1. Shamus says:

      Excuse me, sir. But you seem to have stumbled into the wrong room. I believe this is what you’re looking for:


      1. Wide And Nerdy says:

        Whats this room then?

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Its the Making fun of Josh room.

    2. Bropocalypse says:

      Come at me scrublord, I’m ripped

    3. Syal says:

      Do I have to walk anywhere to fight you irl? I don’t want it to turn into one of those walking simulators.

    4. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Well despite you being wrong on so many things,you are correct about walking simulators.Gone home and stanley parable are not walking simulators because you get to do stuff in them.Plenty of games get lumped into the “walking simulator” category,despite you actually being able to do stuff in them.Maybe we should label them as exploration simulators?

    5. MichaelGC says:

      Final Fantasy XIII is best walking simulator. (Well, it perhaps got a bit overinteractive to’rds the end, there.)

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        I dont know,its story is a bit stupid.The characters arent too bright either.But it sure does have a lot of walking,so thats a plus I guess.

    6. SL128 says:

      k m8 fite me at the mcdonalds downtown an see wots wot

  10. The Rocketeer says:

    I think what Mumbles is trying to talk through in the Shadow of the Colossus section is this: there’s a profound difference between a tragedy and a farce. Plenty of writers have tried to write a tragedy and ended up writing a farce. Shadow of the Colossus is fundamentally tragic in nature; it’s rare that writers really devote themselves to that, and it’s even rarer to succeed to the degree to which Team ICO had.

    This is important in the other most important part of SotC. Despite being described most often as being entirely about the boss fights- including here, by Josh- the game is equally about exploration. Exploring the sealed land contributes just as much to the tragic tone as the narrative or the bosses. The beautiful, majestic land, left closed and abandoned inscrutable ages ago, with only small, piecemeal signs of long forgotten human habitation and culture crumbling and moss covered, known only to sparse animal life and the colossi themselves. It’s an irreplaceable part of the game.

    And I think Josh’s problem with the controls- at least to some small extent- might specifically be part of the remaster. When the updated release of Shadow of the Colossus came out, a lot of people who were familiar with the original noticed that it didn’t control quite the same, and many things had been made harder or less responsive to a degree. This is especially apparent in the unlockable Time Trial mode; not only is the game harder to control, the in-game clock seems to have sped up to a significant degree, making the time trials much, much harder, to the point of being nearly hopeless for some colossi whose fastest strategies have been obviated by the irregular controls or tighter time limitation.

    The clock speed is certainly tied to the upgrade from 30 to 60 FPS, but as odd as it seems, the control/physics problems may be caused by this as well; I recall a similarly unintuitive thing happening with Valkyria Chronicles, in which running the game at 60 FPS made it impossible to climb hills in your tank. Somehow.

    1. Christopher says:

      The controls are sort of weird in the original, even. Takes some getting used too. I haven’t played that much of the PS3 port, but so I can’t compare the controls that well, but even though I beat it back on the PS2, it was really hard to go back.

      Shadow of the Colossus is my favorite sad game, because you can have story-focused bloggers talk about how emotionally effective they are and still get to climb on top of giant, unique boss monsters, hit them in their teeth and stab them in their balls. That’s some interactivity. It’s good at creating a mood, an atmosphere, but the actual boss fights are pure fun for me. There hasn’t been anything that did what it did as well as it did since then. Closest was what, maybe for the titular dragon in Dragon’s Dogma?

      1. The Rocketeer says:

        The controls were very strange in the original. They were clearly purpose-built for the game rather than adapted from a familiar template, which I think was both perfectly necessary and an inevitable source of initial confusion; most every other game with SotC’s camera and controls would be centered around using your weapon, managing an inventory, and maneuvering your character on the ground, but SotC needs basically none of that, and instead needs to focus on clinging to and moving around ledges and vertical spaces. Plenty of games have those things, but SotC is practically unique in its exclusive, overriding exploration of them, and in using them in emergent, creative ways, as opposed to, say, Uncharted or Tomb Raider’s platforming, which is rigid, straightforward, and tuned to favor spectacle over problem-solving.

        It helps that the controls are rather simple for what they are; there aren’t very many “advanced moves,” and what few there are aren’t vital to the game and will probably be discovered either by accident or intuition. The game also does its part with player training; you aren’t able to reach the first colossus without using every mechanic you need to know in the short “training obstacle course” that leads up to it, although I realize learning these mechanics in a safe environment with no time pressure is different from using them in a fight.

        That’s a very different ballpark from the HD remaster, in which the controls seem to have become less reliable, which was never an issue in the original game. I honestly didn’t notice it when I was playing back through, but I also didn’t get into the Time Trials, in which the alterations become most apparent.

        1. Christopher says:

          The movement is very deliberate, too. Or, maybe that’s not exactly the right word, but Wander won’t turn on a dime, he takes some time to jump, prepare a stab and get back from a colossus shaking while he’s hanging on. It’s important to the feel of the game, but like the controls, it takes some getting used to. But yeah, it helps that the controls are simple. It’s kind of amazing that they even give you the ability to swing your sword. I can only remember using it on the colossus with the teeth.

          1. The thing about the controls in SotC is that they are dependent on dynamic information. The main focus of the game’s design is direct physical movement and interaction with dynamic environments and forces i.e. navigating a shifting environment – the colossi – in real time while battling inertia and gravity. Since the game doesn’t feature any preset animation of any kind, I’d hazard a guess a lot of the movement mechanics were closely designed around the original PS2’s abilities at random number generating and that wasn’t carried over when they ported it to the PS3.

    2. Ringwraith says:

      It’s because game speed is often tied to the framerate in games made for consoles like this, because it’s much easier to do and doesn’t completely take control out of your hands if there happens to be slowdown. Also easier to do.
      Physics engines also often get to tied to the framerate, which is why tanks can’t climb hills at all in Valkyria Chronicles if you go above 60.

    3. Groboclown says:


      The remastered version is hands down better, simply because more polygons means more emotions.

  11. Xedo says:

    Yeah, the Pillars of Eternity protagonist basically comes off like the lead of Unbreakable, seeing nothing but crimes.

    I liked the flavor it provided, but I disliked that outside of meeting the old Watcher in Caed Nua, the ability to see people’s histories is kept far away from gameplay. People whose souls you see don’t give you quests, and you can’t just use your soul-vision on party members or quest givers to see their true histories (with a few exceptions, admittedly, and not until after you’ve had a lot of dialogue with them, rather than on command).

    It was a really good game, but the way that your power as a watcher was largely cordoned off away from the plot-based characters of the game struck me as odd after a while.

    1. MichaelGC says:

      Aye – although I think it’s just the NPCs with gold names who had their stories written by backers. As you say, though, I think the Obsidian ones are still all rather vignettey, rather than directly relevant to the story. (Like Josh I didn’t realise this, which meant I flamed out pretty early. I’ll give it another shot at some point, though! – often takes me a few goes, with a game like that.)

      1. Thomas says:

        I’m happy they chose the gold names because it meant you could ignore them unless you were interested in dipping every now and then

        1. Micamo says:

          As soon as I learned that the gold names were all backer-written, I started just killing every single one that I saw. Except for the couple that are invincible for some reason.

          1. MichaelGC says:

            Maybe their backers chipped in a bit extra? Anyway, these are certainly sounding like useful approaches for when I do go back to it, so thanks! :D

    2. Ranneko says:

      I was really pretty disappointed with how Obsidian handled the backer content. The NPC stories did seem to get some care and attention, even if they felt a bit too common and got tiring to read, but the memorials were done so lazily.

      It has all of the appearance of a straight dump from a database, there was no attempt to do editing (beyond slurs probably), curation or grouping. They seem to have just selected points on maps where memorials seem vaguely appropriate and written a script to dump about 10 of them there.

      It means you have advertisements next to parodies next to good attempts at thematic content next to tributes to friends and family members. Given each of those memorials represents someone who contributed at least $500 they could have at least attempted to work with backers to do some basic editing.

      The approach they took makes it incredibly unlikely for anyone to bother reading all but the initial memorials which is pretty sad.

  12. Hermocrates says:

    Speaking of what Mumbles and Shamus were talking about with SotC, have any of you played NieR? Not to spoil anything, but it also has a really cool/tragic “is what I’m doing actually worth it?” vibe, although it requires a NG+ playthrough to really hit home. That, combined with its awe-inspiring soundtrack, surprisingly funky mashup of other genres within its seemingly bland “3rd person action-adventure” core, and other miscellaneous in-game commentary, makes me wonder why I’ve never seen any thoughtful game criticism on it.

    1. The Rocketeer says:

      Another good word for NieR: it has some of the best voice acting in videogames. Hardly anything else comes close.

      1. Jokerman says:


        1. Hermocrates says:

          I don’t know about “some of the best voice acting in videogames,” but I gotta give it credit for at least having one of the few English dubs of a Japanese game I could enjoy, let alone could stand for more than 10 minutes. It helps that the version released in North America was also identical to the version initially released for the Xbox 360 in Japan (including the audio), so it wasn’t just slapped together by some localization team.

  13. Cybron says:

    I still like 2d pixel art chiptune platformers :(

    Also as far as RPG maker games go, To The Moon is a wonderful game. Also, LISA is an interesting RPGmaker game. It’s a kinda Earthboundish RPG that emphasizes difficult choices with gameplay consequences.

    1. Trix2000 says:

      The thing I’d say about RPG Maker is that it can be a VERY powerful tool for making games (not just RPGs, but it’s built more for them) particularly with extensive scripting. Even without messing too much scripting, the event system is pretty damn powerful…

      …provided it’s utilized well. And I think a lot of the problem with many games from the maker is that it’s almost TOO easy to use. Like, it provides a lot of simple pre-built tools for making fighters, items, battles, etc which make it easy to make a ‘game’ without too much difficulty. Problem is, if a game’s going to be any good, it REALLY needs something more than that. Without some effort put towards the mechanics, the story, the framing of things, etc… it’ll just end up with some uninteresting generic “walk around fighting stuff” with no life or character.

      Since RPG Maker makes it so easy, I suspect a lot of people take it, make the basic ‘game’ that the system easily provides, MAYBE slot in some basic story, and call it a day. There’s very little effort put into the details or feel of the game because the engine doesn’t require that much effort to produce a playable game. These people never get the idea of just how involved making an interesting game really is, but they release it anyways since “Hey, it’s my own working game and to me it looks great!”

      …Sorry about going a little ramble-y there. I just take issue a little bit when the RPG Maker game stereotype comes around (and it’s not unearned, I’ll admit) because it’s very much capable of creating wonderful games. It just takes realizing the maker is not going to make the game for you.

      EDIT: Just thought of another example I’ve played that was pretty good – Skyborn. Good story and characters, interesting combat mechanics, and well made art and music. It definitely still feels like an RPG Maker game, but at the same time it really shows off what one can do with the engine with a bit of ingenuity.

  14. Wide And Nerdy says:

    I wish I’d known about the backer entries so I could have bought one.

    “You’re standing near the city gates, going over provisions before hitting the road. This could prove to be a long trip if you didn’t make it out before the rain came.

    Then you saw them, four travelers, heavily armed and armored. Their leader’s hair stood up in shocks as though mimicking shafts of light. These travellers looked wealthy, perhaps you can lighten your load by selling some of your inventory before leaving.

    You smile and turn to them as they pass.

    ‘Welcome to Crystal City.’

    They nod and continue, you kick yourself for leading off with such a mundane greeting. You speak again.

    ‘Welcome to Crystal City’

    Somethings not right. ‘Welcome to Crystal City.’

    Confusion sets in, then panic and thats when it hits you. You can’t walk, you can’t scream, you can’t even cry. Your face is locked in a smile except when you try to speak and then its the same four accursed words over and over ‘Welcome to Crystal City.’

    Heart racing, palms sweating, your eyes dart about hoping someone sees you, notices you. It quickly becomes clear they’re all stuck just as you. Janet the midwife keeps commenting on how Doc Hoskins needs a guava root for his miracle cure. And Jolly Pickins, his face was locked in a scowl, so unlike him.

    But worst of all were poor lil Jimmy and Tammy, the twins were running the same loop over and over again, their legs clearly straining but unable to yield.

    Nobody was free but the adventurers and they didn’t seem to notice. Why didn’t they notice us? Why didn’t they care?”

    1. Wide And Nerdy says:

      Or I would have had a baby late in the game and when you peered at its soul, you’d be seeing from the perspective of a guard who promptly gets stabbed in the back and falls over. The last thing he sees is your character’s face before dying.

  15. Paul Spooner says:

    Cool! Thanks for the Good Robot update. Looking forward to hearing more. Maybe we can get a short animated gif of the machinery?

    1. Ilseroth says:

      Okay you be practical, I’ll shoot for the moon:

      Hey Shamus, any chance you can get Josh to do another stream of it? I missed the first one and it doesn’t exist anywhere.

      1. Humanoid says:

        Back in June, Shamus mentioned that they’d endeavour to try to host a monthly hangout. The last hangout was in ….June.

        1. Aldowyn says:

          I was just wondering that myself. “Didn’t they say monthly hangouts? I could actually do them now? When was the last hangout? More than a month!”

          In other words, Josh, Shamus, assorted other personalities, more hangouts please.

          1. MichaelGC says:

            Aye – although realistically we should probably wait until Good Robot is out before making too much space in our calendars!

  16. Joey Palzewicz says:

    A few things:
    1. You have Rutskarn listed in the show notes. I did not hear Rutskarn at all. Maybe he was just being quiet, I dunno.

    2. Do we have an actual, physical release date for Good Robot yet?

    3. I agree with Chris, I miss Mordin. :/

    4. I agree with Mumbles’ list of best BioWare characters. In fact, Legion is like one of my all-time favorite video game characters ever, right up there with Sora from Kingdom Hearts and Kratos from God of War.

    5. Another great episode, can’t wait for more!

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Rutskarn was totally there.Did you miss the munching and finger licking sounds coming from Mumbles?

  17. Muspel says:

    I’m curious– did Rachel start editing the podcasts because she wanted to practice audio editing, or is there some other reason?

    1. mhoff12358 says:

      I’m guessing she got in trouble and “listen to your dad talk with a bunch of his dorky internet friends” constitutes a punishment.

      1. Wide And Nerdy says:

        I assumed it was a homework assignment like the time she wrote a review.

        1. Jokerman says:

          I think mhoff’s version is funnier, so i hope its true.

          1. Gruhunchously says:

            Once she gets a little more practice in, she’s going to start splicing Shamus’ audio clips together to make him say silly things.

            1. Dude says:

              Such as, “Hitman Absolution has a great story!”

              1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                “Josh is my best friend.”

        2. Alexander The 1st says:

          Could also be a side way to pay off the hearing aids.

          “Here – you can now hear better, so now that you enjoy hearing Heer, you must also hear the diecast recordings here.”

      2. Mumbles says:

        *dorky internet friends and super cool mumbles who is not a nerd

        1. Phill says:

          Wait, there’s a *different* Mumbles? Why doesn’t she ever get to talk?

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            Because she has a life.

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Because whats the point of having children if you arent going to force them to do stuff for you.

  18. AileTheAlien says:

    Figured since Josh really likes Shadow of the Colossus, and Shamus wants more pixel art, I’d just mention Titan Souls which is coincidentally having a half-price sale right now. It’s basically a 2D SNES-or-PS1-level-graphics game, with nothing but the boss fights from Shadow of the Colossus.

    It’s overall a pretty fun game, although it does have a few problems. First…it’s crazy hard, so maybe Shamus could just watch somebody else play it. :P Also, it really needs a map in the game, or even something like signposts that tell you which path leads where. As-is, you spend a tonne of time forgetting where you are in the world, in which you are also backtracking constantly. If it had a smaller world, or a more linear world this wouldn’t be a problem, but the game that was shipped is a game that’s super hurting for a map. I mean, you could map out the world manually, but that always feels like I’m getting yanked out of the game experience. ^^;

    1. tmtvl says:

      Looks more NES or Master System era graphics rather than SNES or Megadrive to me.

      1. AileTheAlien says:

        Definitely not NES. That thing had more limited colour palettes/options, and bigger pixels. Also, the first 3D stuff was on PS1 era, and this game has some 3D stuff. So far just a couple of the bosses are 3D things, made to look 2D. You can actually tell that most of the bosses are 2D sprites in 8 directions worth of poses, but the cube and the chest-mimic bosses are both 3D, with a pixel filter thing going on. Might be hard to tell from the screenshots, but this game is definitely closer to Chrono Trigger, than to (NES / non-X) Megaman, in terms of graphics.

  19. Karthik says:

    Another voice for the upcoming Satellite Reign, spiritual successor to Syndicate Wars. It’s very upcoming. In fact, it releases this weekend.

    It doesn’t have the base-building metagame that Chris and Josh want, but it’s 3D, top-down, open-world (open-city?) with customizable agents and a loosely structured campaign to take over the city.

    (Also, there was a lot of talk of AI, emergence and city simulation during its kickstarter and development, but the only review up doesn’t mention any of that. It will be interesting to see.)

  20. Nicholas Hayes says:

    As regards Volume – Jim Sterling does NOT voice the AI

    He plays a streamer who’s critiquing the player’s progress and claim he could do far better – basically an exaggerated Jim Sterling…

  21. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I prefer no romance to dumb romance(aka bioware romance).

    1. James Porter says:

      I think I have seen Avellone talk about why he doesn’t like romance in games(seems to be about the same thing he said to mumbles) and I think thats his main point. He just doesn’t think these romances in games are all that good. You can see it in New Vegas, where all the NPC’s are super fleshed out Bioware style, complete with sexual orientation, but you can’t start a relationship with them(I believe I heard that they tried it out, but it was too pander-y and cheesy)

      I suppose that argument makes sense, but I do think you end up with the Skyrim problem, where one specific emotion is just off limits within the space of a game.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        He is correct,they dont make sense.Ive seen them make sense only a few times:In planescape:torment(because of course),in baldurs gate where you can have a baby,n hordes of the underdark where you get to control hearts and minds,and where loyalty is a big thing,and in alpha protocol where sex is one of your manipulation tools.Also,saints row 4,because FUCK YEAH!

      2. Wide And Nerdy says:

        As far as I’m concerned, I did have a romance with Cass. We were Bonnie and Clyde. I didn’t need a bedroom scene.

  22. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Mumbles confirms shepard is female.Its canon now.

    1. silver Harloe says:

      Mumbles merely relayed a fact – she didn’t make canon any more than if she had said that the ship was named the Normandy or that 2+2 is 4.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Well there were a few people out there who didnt want to see the truth,but now they have to accept it.

  23. Daemian Lucifer says:

    By the way,Josh,how do you like the news that directx12 makes amd cards run better than nvidia cards?You must be really excited about it,seeing how you recently got windows 10,and are such a big amd fan.

    1. MichaelGC says:

      Oof, low blow! :D

      Nvidia are casting a nasturtium or two upon those results, btw:

      We do not believe it is a good indicator of overall DirectX 12 gaming performance.


      When accurate DX12 metrics arrive, the story will be the same as it was for DX11.

      I’m in the same boat as Josh recent-purchase-wise, and whilst it required some light mental gymnastics, I decided that if AMD DX12 really does outperform Nvidia DX12, that could be good for everyone, as hopefully it’ll push Nvidia to improve. (They certainly sound a little complacent as things stand!)

  24. Will It Work says:

    So… Listening to Mumbles talk, it sounds more like Everyone’s Gone to the Rapture is basically Myst without the puzzles.

  25. The Railway Man says:

    If I’ve heard this correctly… is your principle complaint with Everyone’s Gone to the Rapture that it lacks in meaningful interactivity with the gameworld? That the player is observer rather than instigator? And that this lack of interactivity in some way renders the player unable to become invested with the plot and characters?

    Is this an accurate summary of your views on the game?

    1. MichaelGC says:

      No, it’s more that those things meant they personally got less invested this time around than with other similar games where there perhaps was a little more interactivity. I say ‘perhaps’ because I’ve just realised I’ve not played any of these games! Five minutes of the one with the bridge, that’s all … Ethan Carter, that’s the chap. Hmm, I should probably get on that!

      Anyway, I definitely don’t think they’d say that the player can’t get invested in it – just that they didn’t, this time around.

    2. Ringwraith says:

      I’ve just heard it relies on hitting invisible triggers and backtracking to random places so you can easily miss a bunch of stuff, and there’s too long between them.
      So it’s just not a good example of it really.
      The Stanley Parable is a very good example of how do it that sort of game well.

  26. Daemian Lucifer says:

    By the way,for everyone who thinks that rapture game is too slow,there is a sprint button.You just have to charge it(which is weird).

    1. Aldowyn says:

      Technically, it gradually ramps up. “charging” seems a bit of a misnomer. Even at max I think it’s only 40% faster?

      1. MichaelGC says:


    2. Ringwraith says:

      Also it was bugged and didn’t work initially, and doesn’t tell you it exists unless you go into the controls.

  27. Jeysie says:

    I personally think of Invisible Inc. as a casual game that’s meant for busy hardcore gamers.

    It’s the sort of game you play when you’re an experienced enough gamer to always want strategic gameplay and a decently developed atmosphere and story, but you also currently need/want something that’s short-term length with replayability rather than either something you have to commit dozens or hundreds of hours to finishing or something that’s only 10 hours long with no replayability but also costs $50.

    Which is pretty much the reason I bought it myself, and it fulfills that sort of niche itch pretty nicely.

    That said, I’ll agree with lamenting that they built up this great atmosphere and set of characters and story premise which ends up being used as more or less an Excuse Plot. Hopefully if they make a sequel they will be able to expand it a little without losing that roguelike quick-game feel too much.

  28. James says:

    Regarding Shale

    Shale being a DLC character was actually ok for me, she came free with every non used purchase of the game, this is unlike Javvik which you HAD to pay for either directly or by getting the DDE Edition of the game. that was bullshittery.

    So my List i guess i should make one

    1. Alistair Therin (he was the quintessential best freind in DA:O, his humor snarky and this might sound odd but British hes sarcastic and self deprecating, thats something that is part of British culture and rarely if ever gets into video games)

    2. Shale / Hk47 (i suppose i should lump these two together, HK47 hats meatbags and Shale hates pigeons and metbags both makes jokes about homocide though shale also jokes about killing you aswell. dark humour is allways the best)

    3. Tali’Zora nar Ryaa vas Neema (Sweet baby nerd girl jesus, thats it thats all i have, oh her accent, i love it.)

    4. Morrigan (Probably the only Bioware character with a long rewarding arc she goes from queen bitch of the wilds to a major mover and shaker in the political scene with son and perhaps even a husband, she mellows out somewhat and its just so rewarding to see from start to finish, “..Come into these darkspawn infested wilds of mine…”)

    5. Mission Vao (shes the Tali before Tali was Tali, but this one has a wookie sidekick and a tragic backstory, yet shes chipper and upbeat. shes the kid of the party, she was 14 i think during KoTOR, and she hates being treated like a kid. the little street rat is great)

    6. Varrik Tethras (The storyteller dwarf rouge, hes one of the reasons i liked DA2 and and he continues his strength into DA:I, his use a possibly unreliable narrator for DA2 is great and he serves the roll as best buddy that Alistair did in DA:O)

    7. Anders (Ok OK OK! this is the DA:O:A Anders not the DA2 one, he was fun in Awakening, the runaway mage with a penchant for the finer things, he sadly falls into nonsense in DA2 and his turn to the darkside could have worked if it was better handled, however it wasn’t)

    8. Sten of the Veresad/ The Arishok (the very definition of Stoic, Sten has a way of thinking and will not budge and i respect that Bioware made a decision to have 2-3 even 4 different faiths in Dragon age and the Qun is very interesting and strange and Sten is a great example of it. also did you know after the actions of DA2 Sten becomes Arishok)

    9. Revan (right so ok not a NPC or a companion buttttt, the Canon Revan is an interesting guy, he is perhaps the first grey jedi i ever encountered in star wars mythos, he was once a hero turned by dark forces beyond his imgaining, his redemption wasn’t the atypical born again jedi this was bioware when it was ok to be neutral before paragade and renagon yes it wasnt perfect but it was better imho)

    10. Bastila Shan (Bastila is not best written character in KoTOR and like Revan excels in the expanded material, but i still liked her she was a arrogant and preachy jedi but over time she begins to let you in and lets her guard down, she can be fun when she wants to, tripping mission with the force for example, her “turn” by malek was rote and somewhat obviously going to happen but the fact bioware decided to let you “save” her OR join her was brave in a time when star wars was all about the good guys are good)

    Honourable mentions: Cullen, Sera, Cassandra, Leliana, Garrus, Wrex, Jack, Mordin

    carth… (Only joking kaiden is as dull as dishwater, unoffensive just dull. he was Alistair before they worked out how to make someone a freind.)

  29. Artur CalDazar says:

    Huh, ninjas have told me that Invisible Inc was good. They tend to be reliable about these things.

    Super sad to hear Rapture sucks I wanted it to be good, I live this kind of game. Vanishing of Ethan Carter was my favourite game of last year, but the nicest thing I heard about Rapture is that its a good pig buts machine and a terrible vanishing.

    I don’t know how much they might learn, I went over their postmortem for sex machine for pig buts and they have uh, a unique view of what worked as I recall.

    You know romance like in Bioware games isn’t really done much. That’s kinda weird, player driveN romance in general is rare.

    Super with Josh about the stories, not knowing they were pure backer stuff I expected something behind them. But nope they just give a inconsistent sense of how my Watcher powers work.
    Which only made the endless string of “the person giving you this quest wasn’t honest with you/ was mistaken” annoying at the time. Which sucks because the power is a super interesting one.

  30. Duoae says:

    I love both ICO and Shadow of the Colossus! Sure, the controls are a bit awkward but they work really well once you understand them. Remember, these are PS2-era games (well, PS1 for ICO really even though it was held over onto the PS2) and also come from a specific type of japanese controls genre.

    In many ways they may be the Dark Souls of their day in the control scheme sense.

    There’s also hidden stuff/mechanics in the games that players are basically left to intuit or deduce on their own – which is really cool, IMO.

    RE: favourite or most interesting Bioware characters… It’s been so long since I played Kotor that I don’t really remember those so well and I didn’t get past the deep roads in DA:O… So, out of ME 1-3 and DA2 (since I stalled on the boreathon that is DA3) I’d choose:


    I think they’re pretty explanatory but I can expand if required.

  31. Jarenth and I did a podcast about Invisible, Inc. We recorded it months ago but it took me until last night to actually edit and upload it, whoops.

    Hope you don’t mind me plugging it: discourse dojo woo

    Jarenth and I both had much more positive experiences with the game than Campster and Josh apparently did. The campaign is short, but it is incredibly replayable in my opinion. It will most likely be a GOTY contender for me.

  32. Phantos says:

    “It’s got Jim Sterling in it!”

    Chris, that was such a disappointing twist at the end of an interesting concept, I’d swear you were M. Night Shyamalan.

  33. Vorpal Kitten says:

    Did you know you can never meet Isabella and never learn why the qunari are even there or anything?

    It’s actually funny hearing everyone talk about Dragon Age – I hated Alistair because in my game he was constantly whining about being a bastard, and I never talked to Sten at all, even now I don’t know a thing about him.

  34. Phantos says:

    “I’m getting kind of tired of pixel art”

    “Find another easy art-style”

    Josh, do you not know what textures are? In 3D games? Guess what those are made of.

    Literally every game is pixel art.

    Also, pixel art is “easy”? Do you hear yourself? In what universe is pixel art easy? Do you think there isn’t as much work or fussing over details in even the simplest-looking game, just because it doesn’t have twelve-trillion butt polygons? Have you never made any attempt at this sort of thing? Do you have absolutely no concept of what goes into making even a game with flat tones, reminiscent of an old Atari game?

    Do you think making something look simpler than Call of Duty means it’s just farted out in five seconds out of laziness or spite?

    That was possibly the dumbest thought I’ve ever heard someone exchange on this website.

  35. Blastinburn says:

    Shamus, you should definitely watch what happens post-final boss if you are never going to finish Shadow of the Colossus.

    Josh, I have a very similar loathing for the Chinese Room that you do. I was initially excited for Dear Esther, but after playing it my opinion completely shifted. The story conclusion was somehow both completely dull and predictable and at the same time completely arbitrary and out of nowhere. I just sat there for a bit wondering what the heck just happened. And that was on top of the whole thing being dull in the first place.

    To the Moon is awesome, but it also eschews the entire RPG maker battle system outside of a one-off gag. The problem with RPG maker (in my view) is that the barrier to entry is super low, but the mechanics aren’t actually good on their own. It needs a really good story to carry it.

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