Diecast #212: Destiny 2, Critics, Rage 2

By Shamus Posted Monday May 28, 2018

Filed under: Diecast 41 comments

Hosts: Paul, Shamus. Episode edited by Issac.

Show notes:00:04 No Man’s Sky

Hey Diecast-ians!

I just heard about the upcoming multi-player functionality in No Man’s Sky, and wondered if that would be enough to get you back into the game?


06:37 Destiny 2

If you’re curious, here is Paul’s recreation of the Sunshot from Destiny 2. Yes, that does indeed look quite fiddly.

20:37 June Madness

24:02 Mailbag: Critics and TB

Dear Forceimparters on platonic solids,

Since the last time you talked about TotalBiscuit and given the recent news I felt compelled to ask questions in regards to critiquing games.

TB’s style was quite nitpicky and technical, which is now a quite underrepresented niche on YT. What are you looking for in a critique/discussion?
Story analysis, technical information, or game mechanics breakdown?

I personally like nitpicky discussion mostly in regards to game mechanics. Technical aspects are of interest to me if they interfere with other aspects of the game.

Keep up the good work and the nitpicking.
Kindest regards your loyal reader and listener,
Gresman (probably mispronounced) :)

31:01 Rage 2

Hey Diecast. Just was hoping you would share your brief thoughts on the announcement of Rage 2. What do you think of the direction they are taking? How do you feel about them even using the Rage brand given that the first game had a mediocre reception and that this one is being developed by a different studio?

Long Time Listener/Reader, Short time Mailbagger,


Link (YouTube)


From The Archives:

41 thoughts on “Diecast #212: Destiny 2, Critics, Rage 2

  1. Joe says:

    I bought Rage way back when, and only got around to playing it a couple of years ago. In that time, I’d been exposed to Shamus’ articles about it, and Borderlands.

    Story-wise, it suffers from the Fallout 4 problem. You’re never given enough info on why you should be doing what you’re doing, other than that’s the plot. Gameplay-wise, I found level design just the worst combination of linear and confusing. Did I just go through here? No one is shooting at me, so I think so. I don’t know where to go, so I’ll wander around until they start shooting at me again. The big hub city I came to was pretty rough. Took me ages to find the right office.

    Design-wise, it suffers from the worst Max Max influences. No, not Road Warrior. RW is actually quite modest. Thunderdome is where it gets rough. Some of the costumes are ridiculous. Fallout 4 goes for the same vibe.

    Then there was the driving. I admit I’m not a good driver. Nobody wants me behind the wheel. But this didn’t feel at all right. The physics and controls felt, I dunno exactly, just off. In fact, I hit a moment where the next quest involved racing. That was where I gave up.

    That all said, I don’t think Rage is the right comparison for Rage 2. It’s being developed by Avalance, who did Mad Max and Just Cause. I’ve played Mad Max. It’s all right. Better than Rage 1, at least.

    I too am looking forward to seeing Borderlands 3, along with Starfield and Anthem. No promises on if I buy them, I’m just curious to see them.

    1. Joe says:

      Oh, and Destiny. I listened to Blood, Sweat, and Pixels recently. One detail from the Destiny story stuck with me. One Bungie higher-up lobbied to create some kind of fantasy game early on. However, Bungie still needed to churn out another Halo or two.

      But once they were done, the team that was brought on to work on Halo were still Halo fans. So Destiny shifted from fantasy to space opera. That higher-up ended up leaving. Wish I could remember his name, find out what he worked on next. Because I can’t think of anything in a similar vein to what he wanted.

      1. Ozymandias says:

        I think you might be referring to the last minute overhaul of the original Destiny plot, initially conceived by
        Joseph Staten?

        1. SPCTRE says:

          Staten leaving was a separate line of (intertwined) events

          the lead who wanted to do a fantasy RPG was Jaime Griesemer, he was not happy with the direction the project was going in (he was asked to resign at some point)

          1. ccesarano says:

            Both of those exits were also after three major team members left in 2011 to form Moonshot Games in Boston, whose Twitter has been silent since 2015 and whose website doesn’t exist anymore. I’ve spoken with friends a lot that the Bungie that used to exist is not the Bungie that’s making Destiny, with Marty O’Donnel one of the last of the old guard to leave.

            Hearing that a bunch of the younger employees were all Halo fans is no surprise. I remember promotional interviews with the younger developers of ODST that they were excited to bring back the feel of the first game in ways, and you could see a shift as we got to Halo Reach.

            I feel like the full story of Destiny by time it is finished is going to be fascinating. A troubled production, to be sure, and inconsistent. I’m still curious why Bungie went with Activision. It had to be the best deal for a reason, and you know everyone would have been trying to get the Halo studio signed with them.

            It also amuses me that Shamus insinuates the story to Destiny 2 makes no sense unless you dug around in the lore for the first game. If anything, Destiny 2 and its two expansions feel like the presumably new writers are just tossing that lore away in favor of trying to write… best I can call it is more “traditional” game narrative trash. Anyone invested in lore was immensely let down when Osiris appears and… does nothing. We finally get a Warmind expansion and… you just kill a worm God in a nothing mission. It’s… weird, and no one knows what Bungie is doing or thinking at this stage.

            The mechanics are sound, but I’m really curious to see how the next expansion will sell now that everyone with a season pass has gotten the expansions and… it’s been either disappointing or mixed bag at best.

    2. Echo Tango says:

      I don’t mind the weirdness of the costumes from Thunderdome, or from Rage 2. The problem I have with them, though, is that they only went half-way. The game looks photorealistic, and has grit and greyness everywhere, but then has these costumes which look like they should be painted in neon colors. The weird wackiness looks like it’s out of a comic-book, but everything else in the game looks like it’s trying to be a gritty, completely serious, realistic game. Borderlands pulled off the comic-book thing pretty well, but Rage 2 just seems to have half of one game and half of another, and the two game types don’t mix well. :S

      1. Echo Tango says:

        I actually skipped the ending of the Rage 2 trailer the first time I watched it. Now I’m even more perplexed. The ending picture / box art shows the kind of colorful thing that was only vaguely hinted at in the rest of the trailer. This makes it seem like there was one art team who was constantly being beaten down, so the rest of the company could shove in more grimy grey-brown into the game. (I thought we were over that trend…right?)

    3. Redrock says:

      Avalanche’s biggest problem is that their open worlds usually feel quite empty and by-the-numbers. They suffer greatly from the Far Cry syndrome – you get a map full of very simillar generic tasks (capture outpost, destroy this and that, etc.) and very few side-quests with a story or characters worth a damn. Main story they can do okay – at least in Mad Max it was pretty decent.

      At the same time, the minute-to-minute mechanics of their games are usually quite satisfying. The car combat and general driving in Mad Max was amazing, as were the grappling hook shenanigans in Just Cause. Overall, optimistic on that one.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Avalanche’s biggest problem is that their open worlds usually feel quite empty and by-the-numbers.

        And here I thought it was dexter being criminally insane*.

        *100 nerd points to anyone who gets that reference.

        1. Socks says:

          That boy needs therapy.

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            You win 100 nerd points!

  2. Ivan says:

    Is Rage 1 not open world? My understanding was that it was open world, with like, driving and such.

    1. Shamus says:

      It pretended to be open world, but it was more like a completely linear chain of levels with a hub area between them. It wasn’t open world in the sense that you could just plunge out into the wilderness looking for adventure on your own.

      1. Ivan says:

        Well now, that’s interesting, because it puts me in mind of open world games overworlds, when loaded from the wrong side of a door, or similar. I.E; the empty shell world, devoid of detail, that might be left so as to be seen from the window of an interior cell, for example.

        Is that what we’re talking about here? By which I mean, does it seem like Rage 1 was intended to be a full-on open world game originally, but they ran out of time and/or money to flesh it out with ‘content’?

        I haven’t played it, obviously, but I’m curious if that impression is accurate.

        1. Hector says:

          Short answer: Not really. There’s nothing out in the “open world” except some bandits, which you fight from a car. The major gameplay element is the shooting and it’s almot 100% separated from the world. You can’t enter zones before being told. It’s possible to stop and pull out the handheld stuff in the open world, and a handful of quests involve this. But we’re talking about a few minutes of side stuff out of the entire game. In fact, the quests actually teleport you to the spot, so it’s still separated from the open world.

          I’m not aware that they intended anything else in the game from the beginning, either.

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            If I remember correctly,and I may very well not,it was intended to be much more linear,but was turned into this node based thing later because open world games were all the rage at the time.

  3. Paul Spooner says:

    Having watched the trailer, Rage 2 looks like everything I want in a game.
    Wait, that didn’t come out right. Nothing I want in a game. It looks like everything I don’t want.
    Rage 2, no please.

  4. Smejki says:

    TB liked Rage. He especially adored how the enemies reacted to hits.
    I’d also add I loved how the enemies moved through the more packed levels. There was a lot of hanging from stuff on the walls and ceilings, side-jumps and whatnot. it was all so well and seamlessly animated my jaw just dropped back then. Too bad it was the basic zombies who did this best.

  5. TehShrike says:

    I wasn’t surprised to hear that you didn’t think NMS was worth 60$, but I was surprised that you thought the game was fairly universally panned – other than your critiques, which sounded reasonable to me, I’ve pretty much only heard positive things about the game.

    I’ve heard there’s an army of haters out there, but in the set of Thought Leaders I Choose To Follow, I got mostly positivity. I liked Matt Lee’s Cool Ghosts video. See also hbomberguy’s “rant”.

    I assumed there was a large crowd of people who enjoyed the game who just weren’t as noisy as the “the developers lied to us!” crowd. Considering how commercially successful it is, I was surprised to hear you talk of it as universally unappreciated.

    1. Shamus says:

      Huh. I suppose this is the result of me not following enough AAA critics. The NMS conversations I see always revolve around what a disappointment the whole thing is. The PC version has a 61 on Metacritic, which is pretty harsh by AAA standards but doesn’t really qualify as “universally panned”. SOMEBODY out there did indeed like it.

      (The user scores are brutal, though.)

      1. TehShrike says:

        I don’t know if I follow many AAA critics. I don’t really read reviews.

        My view could be slanted too, I mostly just follow critics like you and Campster and mrbtongue who say interesting things about games, and talk about indie games as much as AAA games.

        I did get the impression that NMS was polarizing! But it was one of the best selling games of 2016, and still has thousands of concurrent players per day on Steam, so it must be doing all right.

      2. Zekiel says:

        I thought a metascore of 61 for a videogame was code for “universally panned” isn’t it? Given the sort-of-accepted scoring system of 90+ = amazing, 80-89 = great, 70-79 = OK and anything under 70 is rubbish.

  6. Smejki says:

    Rage 2 is being made by Avalanche, and since it’s now an open-world it will probably be this: Alanche’s Mad Max but as a first person shooter, hopefully dropping the open-world collectathon-y template, hopefully retaining Mad Max’s driving model and vehicular combat.
    The main fear I have is that the shooting will end up subpar since Avalanche never made a good shooter. However they claim IdSoft is on the consulting hotline, so… fingers crossed.

    1. Redrock says:

      I’m mostly optimistic on that count. The driving in Mad Max was vastly superior to that of Just Cause 3, which shows that Avalanche can learn to do certain mechanics very well if they consider those mechanics to be integral to the core gameplay. So there’s reason to expect that when building an actual shooter they’ll make the shooting part quite decent. More simply put, they excel at making certain core actions very satisfying on a kinesthetical level. In Just Cause it’s movement and blowing up stuff, in Mad Max it was driving and combat, which, while being more simplistic then Arkham or even Shadow of Mordor, is my favorite iteration of that style due to its sheer ferocity and visceral feel. All in all, I have a pretty good feeling about it, despite not being all that interested in Rage 2, to be honest.

    2. Andy says:

      I’d actually pay money for a game that took the Mad Max car stuff and added Doom shootiness for the base takeovers and such…

  7. evilmrhenry says:

    If you want to buy Destiny 2, you can get it for $12 for Humble Bundle in the next few days; it’s the teaser game for the current Humble Monthly. (Sign up for month-to-month, then immediately cancel.) You also get other games as well.

    …Which makes No Man’s Sky $60 price look even higher.

    1. Redrock says:

      Ah, Humble Monthly. The best way to buy great games you’ll never play. Bloating your backlog since 2015. Still can’t muster the will to unsubscribe. It’s like a gym membership, really.

  8. Daemian Lucifer says:

    TB’s style was quite nitpicky and technical, which is now a quite underrepresented niche on YT.

    Its been underrepresented even when he was doing it.Other than TotalBiscuit,I cant really name a single big reviewer that would go through the games menus and examine all the options,let alone one who would fight for such things as vision impaired settings.

    And while its easy to joke about “Wheres the 60 fps?”,the beginnings of his videos were as objective as you can get without crossing into parody.Looking at the options,seeing if they impact performance,checking out if they allow people with disabilities to enjoy the game,and which disabilities they cover.It really is something I wish got more traction.

    1. gresman says:

      Daemian, I am totally with you. You are correct in stating that TB’s was unrepresented even while he was doing his stuff.

      To be honest disability focused reviews are generally underrepresented and underappreciated. Most people just think of red green colourblind men when talking about visual impairment. But there is so much more to it. Even I am slightly visual impaired. Not colourblind mind you or slightly blind just a bit shortsighted with issues in focusing.
      To me it is quite important that games or software offers options to increase textsize without lowering the resolution and a high contrast mode for text.
      In boardgaming there is one page I know of which reviews games with focus on accessibility and that is important. Too bad that it is only one.
      Even in development circles especially in smaller studios there is no time or thought for what to do with visually impaired folks. For three games we used a green-red friend-foe system without an option to change it.

      Maybne we do not need more reviewers doing in depth options reviews or performance reviews. But we definitely need more reviewers discussing accessibility and highlighting it. There is for certain a market for that as is for performance evaluation especially in regards to the fact that console cycles get longer .

      @Shamus: Good work with my name. It was almost correct. You only got the one thing wrong everyone gets wrong. The a is like the a in rather.
      Thanks for putting a short grin on my face you two.

      1. Shamus says:

        Reading this, I’m wondering if there’s a guide out there for developers interested in accessibility. (I mean, I’m sure there are, but it’s impossible for an outsider to tell if they’re any good or not.)

        Text size, color, readability, alternate control schemes, closed captioning… there’s a lot to know and I imagine a small developer would have a hard time doing it right unless they personally know someone with these sorts of needs.

        (The only accessibility issues I have is that I need a strobe warning and a way to disable strobe effects. Triggers migraines / nausea / confusion for me. Very rarely a problem in the genres I follow.)

        1. gresman says:

          If you check out gamasutra you will find a lot of quite in depth articles on that.
          There was one where a one man dev team revamped his game to make it accessible for visually impaired players.
          For these kinds of issues are at least some software solutions to simulate them.

          I think the game was called “she remembered caterpillars”

          Some other thing like text size, high contrast and strobe options should be sort of self evident and good practices.

          But more often than not devs do not think of them if they do not need it.

          Is similar to the story I once heard where a dev omitted a save feature because he thought everyone would finish the game in less than two hours.

        2. Smejki says:

          Don’t know about guidelines, but there’s at least one company that specializes in consultations in this regard. I believe Noclip made a short documentary with them…

  9. bigben01985 says:

    The Games Done Quick shows run for about a week (sunday to sunday mostly)

  10. Gordon says:

    I’m surprised Cyberpunk didn’t come up during the E3 discussion.
    I’m really looking forward to Borderlands, the wife and I have literally hundreds of hours of co-op in that series. But Cyberpunk…
    CD Projekt have set such a high bar with Witcher 3 and they’ve put sooo much time and money into Cyberpunk. It’s easy to imagine it coming down anywhere on the scale from genre defining classic to the disaster that ends them as a studio. So I’ve a lot of nervous anticipation around seeing how it’s shaping up.

    1. Baron Tanks says:

      Si. The Witcher 3, everything it does right and my enjoyment of it is why I both eagerly anticipate and absolutely dread the eventual release of Cyberpunk. Schrödinger’s hype? The only thing that gives me some comfort is that they at least are taking their sweet ass time and I rather see it when it’s done than rushed at any point.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        `The team knows their stuff,as all of the witchers show.So the game will be narratively very good.As for whether its going to be a good game as well,chances are it will since they have shown steady progress on that front from witcher 1 to 2 to 3.Though it could get bogged down in the vehicle combat if they decide to tackle that,so who knows.

  11. Naota says:

    I would be quite interested in joining in watching E3 – just like that one time on the Diecast stream where I first caught new-Prey and the PC show was shameful and overlong!

    If you’re interested in making things additionally awkward, we could watch the Ubisoft stream, where I have actually zero idea if the IP I’m working on is going to appear. Just, you know, for bonus entertainment value.

  12. Daemian Lucifer says:

    but what’s the actual damage of premature optimization?

    Simple answer:Half life 2 episode 3(or half life 3,if you wish).

    If valve werent so pedantic about optimizing their project before it even started,trying to think of THE ONE TRUE perfect way to make that thing happen,it wouldve happened 2 months after episode 2 concluded,and we would not have this awful cliffhanger hanging over us for all these years.Thats hardly wasting time of just the programmer.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Whoops.Posted this in the wrong place.Delete please.

  13. default_ex says:

    I was just thinking of GDQ while listening to the podcast, every year I remember to check the dates around this time. Then you brought it up immediately after, right as I loaded the GDQ page in another tab.

  14. thomas says:

    Bungie weren’t PC developers before teaming up with MS. They were Mac developers.

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