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Hosts: Josh, Rutskarn, Shamus, Campster and Baychel.
This is a really good time for videogames. We’ve got everyone raving about Horizon and Zelda. Later this month we’ll get Mass Effect and STRAFE. Also a major Factorio update is on the way. And it’s only March!
01:15: Horizon: Zero Dawn
20:09: Bay’s Moped
The story of a girl, a headache, and a scooter for sale.
31:40: Zelda Breath of the Wild
The whole world is excited about this game. I have yet to hear a serious complaint.
39:48: The Steam Link
Josh, fitness, steam link, and Valve’s corporate culture.
Revisiting a Dead Engine
I wanted to take the file format of a late 90s shooter and read it in modern-day Unity. This is the result.
The product of fandom run unchecked, this novel began as a short story and grew into something of a cult hit.
Skylines of the Future
Cities: Skylines is bound to have a sequel sooner or later. Where can this series go next, and what changes would I like to see?
In Defense of Crunch
Crunch-mode game development isn't good, but sometimes it happens for good reasons.
The Best of 2017
My picks for what was important, awesome, or worth talking about in 2017.
82 thoughts on “Diecast #191: Horizon Zero Dawn, Zelda, Steam Link”
When the speakers were talking about breaking conventions and creating “multiplicative gameplay”, I couldn’t help but think of Emergent Gameplay from games like Deus Ex from over 15 years ago.
Every three or four years people realize the limitations of a computer interacting with itself, and game devs have to come up with a new term for that in order to convince consumers that their new video game will be magic. “Dynamic,” “emergent,” now that “procedural” has run out of gas I guess we’re switching to “multiplicative.”
And April gets off to a good start with Persona 5 in North America!
(What? I CAN’T be the only one who is looking forward to that one. In fact, that game will be the biggest factor in delaying my playing Andromeda until someone tells me what’s good and bad about it …)
In stuck three ways between Persona 5, Andromeda and Horizon Zero Dawn.
Also the new Torment game just came out and, against my better instincts, I’m interested in War for Mordor
That Persona 5 was coming later was much of the reason I got a PS4 Pro for Horizon Zero Dawn (that is an awkward name to say in full, but shortening it doesn’t seem right either :/).
So far I think I’m already happy with it since (bah, screw it) Horizon has been so fun already. That, and I’ve realized a couple other games I actually want to try out that I hadn’t considered (like Nioh and Last Guardian).
Unfortunately, hard to say the same with the Switch, even though I REALLY want to play Breath of the Wild. Yes, I know it’s also on the Wii U, but I don’t know if I really want that version…
You don’t like HoZeD?
I have absolutely no money for all of this, but I could really go for some Persona 5, Yakuza 0, Nier Automata, Nioh, Horizon Zero Dawn and a Switch with Zelda: Breath of the Wild. And don’t mind me, I’m just over here picking up Gravity Rush 2 for cheap too. Last year was an excellent year for games in genres I don’t actually like very much, i.e. shooters and stealth games. This year, they’re releasing tons of the types of games I’m into.
More realistically, I’ll keep playing Bloodborne(which I finally started) and Street Fighter V, which keeps getting new characters every other month.
And Paradox is releasing updates for both Stellaris and Europa Universalis IV on the same day, April 6!
Paradox is going to get such a large chunk of my first paycheck from my new job…
I don’t understand how people can be looking forward to ME:A. ME1 was awesome. ME2 was bad. ME3 was a disastrous train wreck. There’s only one way to end a downward spiral: the inevitable crash at the end.
Lots of people love the other ME games too.
That’s too simplistic.
ME1: Good characters, great world building, great plot, shit mechanics.
ME2: Great characters, bad world building, good plot, good mechanics.
ME3: Good characters, shit world building, shit plot, great mechanics.
Now, I tend to agree that MEA won’t be a good game, but it’s not like it’s been all bad. Rather, I’d argue that people were so pissed about ME3 BECAUSE it had so many good elements buried in the shitbath.
I’d heard rumors they’ll be resolving a subplot related to the ending of the third game. Here’s hoping it ends well (and hell, if it does, P3’s gonna shoot from a great game to one of my all time favourites. I might even work up the nerve to replay it).
4th April worldwide, actually!
I’m not excited, don’t be ridiculous.
(Don’t mess this up).
The only complaints I’ve seen about Breath of The Wild are from that odd obsessive group of Ocarina of Time fans, whose complaint is that it’s not Ocarina of Time, the greatest most unsurpassable video game of all time.
The biggest complaints Ive heard about it are about inventory management and weapon degradation.
There have been some less than thrilled reviews at a few publications. But yeah, the response has been on the whole super positive.
Heh. That Zam review alternated very starkly between making me want to play the game immediately and making me glad I don’t even have the console.
Huge open worlds to traverse and explore? Hell yes.
Consumables crafting as your only means of sustenance? Permanent item degradation? I wouldn’t even want to play that if I got the console and game for free.
The item degradation is really not that bad if you take the right attitude. You just need to imagine you’re playing Halo. What do you do when your gun runs out of bullets in Halo? You throw it away and pick up another gun. Same thing here: when you run out of sword you pick up a different sword. You also have a pretty big inventory so it’s not likely you’ll be left empty-handed.
Consumables crafting is a bit of a hassle, but not that much really. You’ll have useful ingredients coming out of your ears and you can cook anywhere there’s a pot and a fire. My only gripe is that there isn’t a list of recipes you’ve found… given how obsessively collect-a-thony the game is, that’s a really weird thing to be missing.
Thats even worse!
Well, I also hate it when shooters are designed like that…
Apparently they’re DDOsing Jin Sterlings website, because he gave it an ‘only okay’ review, which knocked it down from its Metacritic spot that fans had been congratulating themselves over.
It was better than “only okay”, it was good!
7/10 is a good score, at least when you’re properly using the entire 10-point scale.
It’s also a long review that goes into detail about what he did and didn’t like about it.
Some morons also tried to hijack the website and his social media accounts.
The weapon degradation and lack of proper crafting and repair mechanics is bollocks but tolerable if you’re willing to put in the necessary work. Still no good excuse for it, though. Combat is also generally boring and largely meaningless.
The game’s performance is also curiously inconsistent in both versions, with the Wii U generally handling the open world environments fine but chugging in towns, while the Switch is roughly the opposite depending on which mode you’re playing in.
I’ve seen a number of complaints related to Switch hardware issues causing framerate drops but none about the game itself.
My only complaint is that you need to buy a Nintendo Switch for it, which is a huge waste of money.
The point of the steam machine is that they had to have an excuse for not working on half life 3.
I wonder how many people have given up on half-life 3. I know I have.
I think pretty much everyone gave up on Half-Life 3 a long time ago. I literally can’t remember the last time I saw someone reference it unironically.
Which is not to say there aren’t people who’d happily play it if it ever did come out, but nobody’s actually taking it seriously enough to be waiting anymore. That iron’s been room temperature for I wanna say at least half a decade.
These days I don’t think Valve is in the game dev business in general anymore. They’re a storefront and peripheral developer now. They’ll never actually actually say that, for the same reason they’ll never use a formal command/project structure, but it’s the de-facto groove their interest has worn into.
You say that,but secretly,when you know no one is looking,you weep every day you dont get to play it.
Please. It’s only, like, every other day.
Man, I hated Spirit Tracks.
I wouldn’t call Skyward Sword bad. Flawed, definitely, but a lot of the puzzle/dungeon design was very good.
The game’s major problems were the lack of an overworld and motion controls.
A lot of the problems with Skyward Sword come down to marketing.
It was essentially Baby’s First Zelda. Which is fine in and of itself, it’s okay to make a much simplified, more hand-hold-ey game for the little ones, or otherwise new/inexperienced customers. Introducing them to the concept of a Zelda game with less room for error, and hopefully make it less stressful and avoid the stink of the “GIT GUD” purists.
Which might explain the shallow, repetitive combat, the fact that there’s only 3 levels, and how the game explains how to use an item and then immediately has Fi tell you the exact same information again, in her slow, plodding, boring dialogue. Like it didn’t trust you to understand it the first time.
If you look at Skyward Sword as being an introductory game in a franchise, dipping the toe in the lake, it makes a lot more sense. The problem is that it wasn’t advertised as such. Nintendo hyped it up like it was the Next Big Serious Hardcore Zelda Game For REAL FANS ONLY *explosions and electric guitars*. And I didn’t see a lot of gamers or gaming news websites acknowledge any of this for months afterward. It’s like people clung to brand loyalty to avoid admitting they’d kind of been duped. Or maybe if we all just believed it to be the game everyone wanted, then that wish would come true!
Imagine pre-ordering Super Mario Odyssey, and when you turn it on you get… Mario: Preschool Fun
My main problems with the game were that the motion controls fluctuated between fun and frustrating, and the slow, unskippable, repetative dialog. I assume by lack of an overworld, you mean that the sky area is big and has nothing in it and no reason to go anywhere except a few plot-related places, over and over. Yeah, that sucked too.
Is chris playing zelda on wiiU or Switch. Im really wanting a switch but im looking for more feedback on how it feels… wait is it even out yet?
I’m playing on the WiiU. I want to pick up a Switch but they are effectively impossible to get ahold of right now. Maybe in the fall there will be stock… and some games worth playing.
By fall there should hopefully be bundles available and a more concrete idea about the long term support of the system. Nothing so far has caught my attention either aside from Zelda but like you I have that on Wii U. If Xenoblade 2 actually releases as planned this fall and doesn’t prove an improbable disaster then I’d finally consider a Switch, but barring a major surprise otherwise I just don’t care.
How are you finding the performance on the Wii U?
Not great, but not unplayable. ~25-30 FPS with dips to ~18 FPS during particularly polygon-intense angles. Doesn’t seem to have anything to do with gameplay – it can happen when just panning around on a hill. Seems like it’s purely a sight-lines issue where more polygons are onscreen than can be efficiently drawn. Part of what makes the low framerate work is that the game slows everything down to encourage players to mess with the different systems. Long telegraph times on attacks, arrows, etc, encourage you to assess a fight and do something cool. And all of that makes the need for a rapid feedback loop a little less important. Still, it is pretty choppy compared to most games.
The bigger problems is the draw distance for monsters, which is only about 50-75 yards. It’s easy to be chasing A Thing only to have that thing cross over the threshold of remembered objects and disappear. Items seems to have a bit larger of a distance (presumably because they just sit there) but they can also disappear with enough distance.
Is it wrong to think that adding distance fog to a 2017 game could still be useful for stable frames and hiding blatant “pop-in” and “pop-out” of various objects?
Maybe I need to take a break from Silent Hill 2…
This is why I can’t agree with people who talk about Nintendo consoles lacking power as if it’s some kind of good thing. Their system’s limitations is clearly holding them back, even without them trying to make a photorealistic game on it.
Apparently Breath of Wild stutters even on the Switch when in console mode. so there vision seems several sizes bigger than what they had with the Wii U.
I heard that it stutters in console mode because you get more pee in that mode than in portable,where there is no such issue.And you cant change the resolution manually because…um…that would be inconvenient?…Somehow
Do we actually know how powerful the Switch is yet? Is it actually that much more powerful than the Wii U?
It sounds like the Switch is a bump above the Wii U in running Breath of the Wild
The game has significant problems with framerate on the Switch as well, especially when fire or wind moving grass are on the screen.
I’m normally not a framerate-guy, but it’s making me avoid fights on plains of grass, and when the performance starts impacting the way I play the game, it’s definitely a problem for me.
Horizon Zero Dawn or Zelda… hm…
New console and game, or just game… I don’t know, I have to think this one through. Horizon Zero Dawn’s something I read about last year, but didn’t pay much attention to. Then again, Zelda’s still a great franchise and the new game, with an open world setting and aesthetic, seems more in line with what I want to play.
Then again… Horizon Zero Dawn is still looking awesome as well.
I’m glad it was brought up in the Diecast that Horizon answers a lot of those “but what do they eat?” type questions, because that was something I noticed while playing.
Not gonna spoil answers, but a lot of questions like “So how did people survive and yet lose every single piece of technology?” and “Why are all these robots still getting made if all the people died forever ago?” and “Who decided we needed a bunch of horse-like robots in the first place?” do get answered. Even smaller stuff tends to get that short explanation Shamus always lists as an easy fix.
There were some things I was still curious about, but enough of my questions were answered that I’m willing to believe the other ones are answered somewhere in all the supplementary material I didn’t bother to read.
Breath of the Wild has tips on the loading screens, including what some of the monster types eat. I assume it affects what sort of food you’ll find after trashing their camp, plus you sometimes run into the monsters hunting or cooking.
It’s actually a hint of what acts as bait for them.
So,what you are saying is that horizon is a product of skelly gay love.
My first thought soon as Rutskarn said he’s checking for that account: “Is this going to be another ‘shaved black bear’ situation?”
Having checked, there is a Skelegay on Tumblr, Deviantart, Twitter, and Vine, among others. I’m not willing to dig to see if they’re the same person or not, but neither option would surprise me.
#thatfeeling when Americans pronounce the letters GE as GAY.
Horizon: Zero Dawn’s lead writer was John Gonzales, lead writer on Fallout New Vegas.
So that’s where the story quality came from.
And some of the side writing in logs and item descriptions is great too, quite thematically similar to the Survivalist’s caches in Honest Hearts (which Gonzales wrote).
I’ve seen complaints about the writing in HZD, but to be honest it’s been surprisingly solid.
What I like most about it is that some of the jokes are ridiculously dry. An early highlight for me was the part where it looks as if it’s setting itself up to be a Young Adult story. HZD introduces what look exactly like a standard pair of YA-style “best friend” and “entitled jerk” characters, with the unspoken assumption that the plot is going to be all about the competition between them….before unceremoniously dumping them in the next scene and doing something else instead.
I saw a video of the final boss fight for Horizon, and thought it looked derivative of… something. It looked like every new modern AAA game I’ve played in the last eight years, but I couldn’t pinpoint one in particular to use as an example. A weird, non-committal mush of modern game trends.
It just seemed like a kind of… Call of Metal Gears of War of Tomb Raidercraft Fantasy XV Effect. Which would be a better, more memorable name than what they went with.
I also keep confusing it with “Re:Core”, another game with robots and a stupid title.
If you’re saying the final boss of Horizon Zero Dawn is rolling around a dude in armor and shooting at his back and then sticking your torch in a goddess/shooting a cultist in cutscenes, I’m considereably less hyped. I was hoping for a giant robot human or dragon.
I know we had the boss talk in the comments like two days ago, but when it’s a game entirely about hunting down giant robot animals I feel that’s a justified expectation.
Re:Core is surprisingly similar thematically, considering that’s also a post-apocalypse full of robot monsters where you play as a chick.
I really wasn’t a huge fan of the final boss. I feel like it was one of the weaker fights in the game. Spoilers I guess on why, although non-spoilery I will say that it was different from most of the other substantial fights in pretty significant ways.
First of all, the final boss is one of the Faro bots instead of one of the GAIA bots. This means it’s a big flat weapons slab instead of a rapidly moving animal-like creature. Mostly it walks slowly around the platform firing barrage after barrage of gunfire, which means that mostly you hide and then peak out to shoot it, as opposed to carefully dodging around teh arena. Plus its weakpoints are very hard to remove, which means tactically disabling specific weapons (a key strategy against most other enemies) is a non-starter. That’s assuming you saw the Deathbringer fight. There’s also a fight against a human boss right before that who is even more lame. He just has a bunch of health and the ability to block direct arrow strikes, which mostly means you kite him around hurling bombs at him until he dies and it’s stupid and lame that there was a boss fight human at all.
The ending didn’t feel rushed or incomplete in a story sense, but it definitely felt like all of the fights in the final mission weren’t up to the same standard as the other intense fights throughout the game.
There are few things as disappointing in video games as Final Boss Blue Balls.
Ideally, the final boss should be the best moment of combat in the game, the culmination of everything you’ve learned. But it looks and sounds like Horizon dropped the ball on that one.
But the rest of the game is okay?
The storm bird fight a few missions earlier (
GAIA prime facility) was a better boss fight than the final boss fight was, and it wasn’t even the first storm bird I fought ( not that the final boss was the first deathbringer).
I agree that the end didn’t feel rushed but calling it sloppy might work. Bosses should have been more unique, I also can’t think of any other point in the game where a cutscene ignores the armour you have equipped and uses the default.
Re: Glowy lights on climb-able surfaces in Zero Dawn.
Having no PS4, I just looked at this video to see what the cauldrons look like. The really silly thing about the glowy lights in climbable things, is that the game already has something, which could handwave having climbable surfaces be visible to the player – the main character’s cyber implants (or magic techno-goggles). Whatever the character is using to see other interesting things in the world, could just show up at all times, for basic data. It would effectively be the same thing as Runner Vision in Mirror’s Edge. Funny thing is, that video already shows her using her super-vision, and then the things which are climbable turn purple – in addition to still having the glowy orange lights!
Regarding Steam categories, I have
VR only games
This basically keeps the games I’m interested in inside the uncategorized section, which…helps. Slightly.
Done: Completed, or completed to a satisfying point without plans to return.
Queue: The TO DO list.
Recurring: (Multiplayer) games with a significant amount of replayability
VR: Venomous Rats
Since we’re doing this, in no particular oder:
Favourites-since it shows up at the top I treat it as “currently playing” category. This one tends to bloat out of control as I often have problems sticking with games to the end;
Done-as above, games that I’ve played to my satisfaction (usually completion) and do not currently plan to return to;
Multiplayer-games that I bought or keep installed specifically for multiplayer (with the one person who plays games with me);
Early Access-for Early Access games that I got, don’t want to play in their current state but want to have an easy way to check the state of;
Backlog-as my library increased ucontrollaby I attempted to set this category up to make the games that I’d like to prioritize for future play, this suffered from bloat and is now a horrible, useless mess;
Ignore-for games I do not actually intend to play, like duplicates (when I get another edition for free and do not intend to return to the original, Titan Quest rather than Skyrim), games that I got as extras to another purchase or part of a bundle that was tied to one key and I couldn’t give away, outright abandoned early access titles that are not in a state that I consider satisfactory for play etc.
Games-the default category, the few token efforts I made to sift through this and divide it into more useful categories have failed horribly;
@That Car Podcast: Are you planning on pitching your idea of 3-? guys and gals with no knowledge about cars talking about cars to BBC as Top Gear replacement.
One of the recurring jokes should be that Shamus is nearly always absent whenever they need him since he is off for tea, no matter how the situation would prevent him from getting out from it to go for tea.
* scene *
On a muddy fast flowing river a hastily constructed raft is moving down current towards the rapids with couple of cars on it (an oldsmobile, a scooter and ?), a dirty Chris is screaming towards a shaded are where the rudder is.
Chriss: Shamus, Shamus! Swing it left, there are rapids along the way…
Shamus don’t joke with me, it’s not time for that, the others are useless. Josh is trying to get two of our critical logs to glitch out mumbling somehting about fire, and Mumbles scares me. She has allready fed Rutskarn to the aligators in order to gain favor with them.
* back in the shaded are zoom in on a card placed on a seat in the shade *
BRB – out for tea break.
Hey,how come Shamus did not talk about his car?He is the guy that puts car metaphors into everything.What gives?
Our car is a 2001 Toyota minivan. It’s a trooper. Aside from an annoying tendency for the door latches to fail, it’s not bad on repairs. It’s pretty good on fuel for a minivan. It can fit the whole family plus groceries. It’s getting old and I’m not sure how many years it has left, but it’s the fist vehicle I’ve owned since 1994 that I’ve been really fond of.
Also, during my trip this year it was used to take Rachel’s scooter about 1,500 miles (2,400km) to Texas.
Toyota is the longest-lasting car manufacturer I’ve ever seen. My family has had no problems driving a 4runner that we have had for two years, and we had another Toyota vehicle for ten to fifteen years before. We’ve taken them into the shop only to get oil changes and other necessities, but they still run perfectly. I should clarify, we don’t own our other Toyota vehicle. We traded it in for the new one.
My family had a Toyota minivan, too, and it lasted a good long while before it didn’t pass the German road safety tests anymore (and as far as we know then made it through a chain of second hand dealers to a country with less strict regulations).
Our Toyota minivan lasted for 23 years before the engine gave up the good fight, and we got it used. I still miss it every time we move. For all that it was noisy and rattling by the end, I could fit almost my whole apartment in it.
Podcast feed is broken again.
What link are you using for the feed? The current feed is here:
That seems to work for me. What’s broken about it?
My normal podcast client shows no episode after 187, which is odd because the mirror I set up (Diecast Mirror) works just fine. I’ve tried deleting and re-adding the podcast feed and I don’t see any change.
I’m not sure why it’s failing – the client sometimes says I don’t have a valid podcast feed. I ran a feed validator but nothing in there looks like a fatal flaw.
While I absolutely love the new Zelda, I do have complaints, but that’s more because I always have complaints. I’m actually really interested in listening to this episode when I get home, I saw Campster saying on Twitter that he likes the rain system, and I really don’t.
But yeah, some of my (albeit far from really taking enjoyment away) complaints: horses aren’t useful enough, rain basically forces me to put down the game for a few minutes if I’m in the wrong place, some places on the map feel empty and could have been cut to give a slightly tighter feeling, some shrines are seriously redundant, and then there’s a few that would be spoilers.
Still, it’s an incredible game and it fixes my biggest complaint about the Zelda games – the combat is normally really, really boring, which they’ve fixed pretty much.
Reluctantly, I think the Switch is going to do really well. Before launch the people I tested on barely knew about it existing, but since launch it’s definitely been more recognised already.
Plus I think the “better version of a DS” thing is compelling. People aren’t going to be able to resist Pokemon. As a console I think it would die, but one of the big things about the Switch’s word of mouth is, people don’t have to hear the Switch is great, they see it when people take it with them. Which sells the portability instantly.
Maybe it will result in less PS4 games going open-world, to make it easier to cater for the Switch. That’d be net benefit to me
I think it’s really up in the air still. The Switch has the potential to do really well. But the execution is really, really lacking. There’s a lot of niggling details that make it way more annoying to own than other consoles, like the complete lack of save data management. And in some ways the Switch is worse off than the Wii U, because Nintendo’s reputation with consoles is much worse now than it was going into the Switch.
If Nintendo can up their devops game and get these issues sorted out, than they have a fighting chance. Otherwise, they’re going to be an also-ran for yet another generation.
I really don’t think the Switch is a replacement for a 3DS either. The form factor is basically a tablet, and so people are going to automatically compare it to a tablet. The DS/3DS line was established before consoles became big, and escaped that comparison.
That said, it does probably depend on Pokemon. If the Switch gets Pokemon in its first year and a price drop/bundle for the holidays, that could be game over for the 3DS. If it’s later than that, if the price stays this high…maybe not. 360 for a new Zelda game is still causing problems among hardcore gamers. 360 for a new Pokemon game is not something most parents are willing to spend. It’s a different market.
Josh could probably team up with Noah Caldwell-Gervais for a car repair/gaming podcast.
Baychel, this seems relevant to your interests.
Regarding car talk; I highly recommend getting parts from a junkyard. You can get all sorts of barely used parts from cars that have been in accidents. It’s possible to breathe a lot of new life into an older car using all matching parts from the exact same make and model car.
For example, I bought my car used. One of the issues was that the driver’s seat were really worn out to the point it was too uncomfortable to drive. (A major reason why it was so cheap.) $20 at a wreckers and an hour and I put in new seats myself. I added to it new side mirrors and a bunch of other minor parts like a hubcap and carpeting all for a pittance. It’s why I never buy seat protectors or anything like that. Protectors cost a lot more than a full replacement.
It also needed some real functional work done (breaks, exhaust etc) that I paid for at a mechanic. In the end I was offered $800 more for the car than I paid including the cost of all repairs. Not bad for ~6hrs my time over a couple of weekends. (I kept the car.) Josh, if it was just a window then I’d suggest getting a matching door and cannibalizing the window or simply swapping the door. Josh’s car sounds too far gone. Time to put that out of its misery. But if anyone is planning to buy a used car it is good to keep in mind: exact matching parts made of plastic, glass and fabric are all dirt cheap at a wrecking yard.
No idea where to post this but… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsx87LxrxOs
This guy just cleared up a few issues I had with Fallout 4.
Considering he behavior of Shaun in Fallout 4. Baby Shaun was radiated when the bomb went off in the beginning. As Game Theory says, radiation travels at he speed of light, so
the institute did not get “pure” DNA and it might explain why Shaun develops cancer later..
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