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GameCritics.com Podcast Episode 113: Shovel Knight, Watch Dogs, TWAU Episode 5

Richard Naik's picture

Back from our lengthy hiatus with a lengthy rundown of what we've been playing lately. The gang dishes on The Wolf Among Us Episode 5, Watch Dogs, Shovel Knight, Dark Souls, 1001 Spikes, and so much more. Our Watch Dogs analysis will shock and amaze you! (no it actually won't)

Featuring Richard Naik, Chi Kong Lui, Brad Gallaway, and Mike "your enjoyment must be approved by me" Bracken.

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Platform(s): Xbox 360   PS3   Wii U   PS4   Xbox One   PC   iPhone  
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Topic(s): Celebrity   Pop-culture   Humor   Business   Game Design & Dev  

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This week's podcast

Glad to see the podcast is back. A few comments:

Mike Bracken, for the love of all that is holy, please stop swearing so goddamned much. I’ve said this repeatedly, and I know other people have complained about it as well. It is really distracting. Seriously. Stop it.

I enjoyed Brad’s discussion of 1001 Spikes and the notion of difficulty in gaming. I agree that there a difference between a fair challenge that comes from a well-designed system based upon solid controls, game physics, and predictable enemy behavior (perfect example: Super Meat Boy) versus “unfair” challenge based on arbitrary rules. A well designed game, such as the Souls games and SMB, is not necessarily “hard” or “cruel” but does present persistent demands of the player. I would support a general ban on the use of adjectives like “hard” or “cruel” or “difficult” to describe gameplay in a non-relative sense, as in, “Dark Souls is really, really hard.” In itself, that sentence tells us nothing. Is the gameplay system fair? Is it interesting? How challenging is the game in comparison to similar titles? That’s what makes an interesting review.

I always enjoy hearing Chi talk about MMA and musou gaming, both subjects about which I know little. Chi, are you excited about the new Zelda musou game that’s coming out for the Wii U?

I was shocked that the panel managed to spend about 20 minutes talking about Shovel Knight without once mentioning its most important gameplay innovation: its checkpoint system. It’s true that Shovel Knight is an 8-bit style game with modern sensibilities, but you guys never really elaborate on what those sensibilities are. Shovel Knight lets you demolish the checkpoints in exchange for a cash reward. More cash lets you upgrade much faster at the expense of greater risk: having to start from the beginning of the level. The whole “increased risk = greater reward” equation comes straight from more modern games like Dark Souls. Shovel Knight isn’t perfect, and is more than a little overpraised, but this checkpoint feature is very clever and worthy of discussion.

Finally, I was pleased to hear Richard challenge Brad’s constantly disparaging opinion of Dark Souls’ narrative. I agree that Dark Souls’ narrative is very strong, and that it harkens back to the 8-bit era of storytelling where designers told stories through subtle context. In this regard, Dark Souls is much more “retro” than games like Shovel Knight. I disagree that a FAQ is necessary to learn about Dark Souls’ narrative. I think you can learn plenty just by reading item descriptions and listening to NPC conversations. I’m puzzled why Brad in particular doesn’t talk about Dark Sun Gwyndolin more often, one of the most significant LBGT characters in a Japanese game since…I dunno, Poison?

Good job, guys.

they're back

Great to hear the best games podcast back online. The bash E3 GC podcast is legendary. I have no idea why one person missing is a good reason to ignore the rest of GC crew opinions.

That Dark Souls lore conversation bored me to tears. Almost as badly as playing through Watch Dogs. Stealing genres and making them worse to engage from those genres you stole from is a fucked up time waster and patience wreaker.

Sleeve, Go fuck

Sleeve,

Go fuck yourself.

Love,

Mike Bracken :p

Tom, I have a love/hate

Tom,

I have a love/hate relationship with the E3 show every year. I love that people enjoy listening to us be cranky bastards about the biggest gaming event of the year, but I hate that it always winds up being an outrageously long episode to record. I thought I'd be happy to skip it this year -- but I actually wasn't. I wish we'd done it.

The problem with E3 this year was that we had a hard time getting everyone together to record it in a timely fashion. I mean, even if we'd covered it in this show, it was going to be over a month late. Would people still listen to us talk about E3 after everyone else has forgotten about it? Probably. Although, I don't remember much of E3 at this point.

It really is funny, though -- if only because this was the first year where I was going to say kind of nice things about Nintendo. Those guys just can't catch a break on this show, apparently. :p

sleeve wrote: Mike Bracken,

sleeve wrote:

Mike Bracken, for the love of all that is holy, please stop swearing so goddamned much. I’ve said this repeatedly, and I know other people have complained about it as well. It is really distracting. Seriously. Stop it.

Swearing saved this show. That's a fact I kid you not.

sleeve wrote:

I always enjoy hearing Chi talk about MMA and musou gaming, both subjects about which I know little. Chi, are you excited about the new Zelda musou game that’s coming out for the Wii U?

Thanks bro, glad my talk of men grappling each other and trying to get the other to tap isn't putting you to sleep. ;-) As for Hyrule Warriors, yes, I'm pretty psyched for that one. I've been on a bit of a Dynasty Warriors trip lately so a Zelda-theme one should be right up my alley. The co-op play off the gamepad should be pretty sweet as well.

E3

Just to clarify, we *will* be discussing E3 eventually, most likely on the next show, when we can have Ashley and possibly another E3 attendee on. I know it will be late, but we need to do it to fulfill that part of the Game Podcast Contract.

Sleeve> I haven't talked

Sleeve> I haven't talked about that person because I don't know about them.

I played Dark Souls pre-release, so there were no guides, wikis, or any general knowledge about the game at the time other than what a person found for themselves. I had a pretty unhappy time with the game and never came back to it once I finished it, and I never went to read up on it once I was done and the wikis started popping up.

Until you mentioned it, i had no idea such a character was in the game, but i'll go check it out now.

Gwyndolin

This is the character in question Brad:

http://darksouls.wikidot.com/dark-sun-gwyndolin

Like most of the game, his existence isn't made apparent unless you know he's there or if you take a very specific set of actions. He's actually a pretty significant part of the lore, but like everything else, the game doesn't bother to tell you about him.

My balls

Normally I don't grant my balls the autonomy to write into podcasts but you guys were gone for so long I made an exception.

Tims balls

If the fake Tim ( human Tim ) can't do hosting duties due to life demands ( and Fake Tim was the best games host out there ), then there no excuse for the newly revealed conscious life form of Real Tim's balls, to share the hosting duties as a trio with Sinan and Richard.

What say you Tim's balls ?

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