We're back! Our first show of 2010 offers looks at Divinity II: Ego Draconis and the Star Trek Online beta. Plus, we answer your letters about adventure games, lazy developers, insta-DLC, and games of the (last) decade. With Chi Kong Lui, Brad Gallaway, Mike Bracken, and Tim "Not Roy Scheider" Spaeth.

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Please send feedback and mailbag questions to podcast (at) gamecritics (dot) com.

Tim Spaeth

Tim Spaeth

Cleveland native Tim Spaeth grew up in a happy household – a household with a father whose major client happened to be an Atari games distributor. This led directly to Tim's first nickname: "The kid who got Atari games before anyone else." Indeed, he knew Pac-Man and E.T. were colossal bombs weeks before the rest of the world, and the resulting celebrity brought him great pleasure.

Through the years every aspect of Tim's life has been touched by gaming. He mastered typing thanks to Space Quest, honed his poker skills on The Sierra Network, and learned to hate after a particularly traumatic game of Tecmo Super Bowl.

Today, Tim lives in Chicago with his three kids and strives to find that perfect balance between family, career, and Warcraft. He enjoys broadcasting, martial arts, rock and roll, growing and shaving his beard, singing show tunes to the homeless, and losing at Mario Kart to his lovely, talented, and amazing girlfriend.

In late 2008, Tim became the producer and host of the GameCritics.com Podcast, and he's thrilled to be bringing GameCritics' unique editorial voice to a brand new medium.
Tim Spaeth

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13 Comments on "GameCritics.com Podcast Episode 29: Divinity II, Star Trek Online beta & Listener Mailbag"

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Odofakyodo
Guest
I know this is a little late, but I’m catching up on the podcasts after having a kid. 😛 Brad, around 39:40 you give a rant about save points before bosses. I just wanted to point out that the lack of save points before the bosses is probably going to be the nail in the coffin for me on Demon’s Souls. Despite all the game’s other strengths, this laziness on the part of the developers is a grave hindrance to progression and enjoyment. My time is so precious to me right now, I’m seriously questioning whether or not it’s worth… Read more »
Mike Bracken
Guest

Eel,

You definitely took it in a direction I was heading, but I didn’t have time to really go in depth. I’m strapped for time tonight too, but I’ll definitely be back to respond to this or we’ll address it on the show.

Mike

eel95
Guest
Mike, This might be a skosh left of where you were going with it, but your comment rang a few cherries. I’ve had the same problem lately of just wanting my game experiences as painless as possible. I don’t know if I feel like I’m suffering through what I play, exactly (since I just game for myself, I don’t really have any titles forced on me), but I’ve been impatient as hell, and it’s getting to the point where if the game doesn’t autosave every five minutes, I feel like the developer’s declaring war on my free time. I don’t… Read more »
Li-Ion
Guest
…the easiest is just to say ‘Ion’. I put the ‘Li’ in front just because ‘Ion’ as a username is often taken already. After a while I got used to it. Beside my awesome name: I’m in favor of autosave with a generous amount of checkpoints. Save anywhere is ok too. I hate nothing more than games that only allow you to save every hour or so. Sometimes I have to leave home rather abrupt and don’t have time looking for a savepoint for the next 20 minutes. I usually don’t go back to another save if something didn’t work… Read more »
crackajack
Guest
I am a PC-gamer and i agree with quicksaving is not always the best thing. My favorite is autosave. Just stay focus on playing and when failing, pop out at the save spot and just go for another try. Sure, i don’t have to press F5, but that’s hard if you just beat that room and are afraid of dying and don’t want to play it again. But by pressing F5 you release the suspense without reward. That is a thing the developer should not give into the hands of the gamer. The script should stay in there hands. If… Read more »
Mike Bracken
Guest
I completely understand where you’re coming from in terms of save scumming, but at the same time, that’s sort of on the individual. It seems wrong to punish everyone else because some people will take advantage of the “save anywhere” system–particularly in single-player games where no one’s hurt but the player anyway. I don’t know–maybe it’s me getting old. Years ago I would have called anyone who wanted to save anywhere or wanted an opportunity to save between boss fights a pussy. Now, I just feel like I want most games to make their experience as painless for me as… Read more »
KCalder
Guest
Just a bit more on cut scenes.. I find them welcome before a tough boss fight as long as they’re short, interesting, and more about action than speeches. Sometimes they can get the blood pumping. But yes, often they are just aggravating. My most hated recent cutscene was the one prior to fighting Sepulcher in Silent Hill Homecoming PC. You could only skip each individual line the characters spoke leading up to the battle, none of the dialogue choices seemed important, and it was at that point that I realized I should have played the game on Easy, or at… Read more »
Kcalder
Guest
As someone who loves to check out games from past gen systems, thanks for the clarification on Drakan 🙂 — About save points and cut scene skips – I disagree. Sure, sometimes lazy companies should have implemented these standard mechanics on their otherwise by-the-numbers game. But whenever people suggest that ‘games have to have an industry-wide standard,’ I tend to disagree. I know it’s anti-immersive to me if I surf through an easy stage, save right before the tough boss, and then cut-scene skip to try the fight 4 or 5 times. If that stage as a whole was fun… Read more »
Mike Bracken
Guest

Yeah, my bad. Draconus was a Dreamcast game that I kinda liked. Drakan was the game I meant, though. I’m retarded, but anyone who listens already knew that.

Trent Fingland
Guest

I thought Brad’s definition of soul was pretty spot on. I kind of struggled with the concept in my New Super Mario Bros Wii review, and it was good to hear something that was in line with what I ended up going with.

And I couldn’t agree more with Brad’s thoughts on Bionic Commando. I totally caught myself doing that aimless, glassy-eyed nodding people do during a particularly moving sermon, and felt momentarily embarrassed. I guess it’s only appropriate considering BC was the closest thing to a religious experience I’ve had in a while. 😛

ckzatwork
Guest
Great podcast, as always. Keep them coming. Regarding adventure games, I don’t think they need to evolve to anything, because their true audience doesn’t expect to see them simplified or mutated. Let’s see how many relatively high-profile traditional adventures were released in 2009: Machinarium, Ceville, Memento Mori, Professor Layton and the Curious Village, Time Hollow, Still Life 2, Broken Sword Director’s Cut, Tales of Monkey Island, Monkey Island SE, Sherlock Holmes versus Jack the Ripper, Mata Hari, Secret Files 2: Puritas Cordis, Dark Faul: Lost Souls, The Whispered World and, arguably, The Path and The Void. The thing is, most… Read more »
Brad Gallaway
Guest

Just a note to listeners, during the Divinity II segment, Mike brings up a PS2 game called “Draconis” and I respond to his question, but what we both actually meant was DRAKAN: the Ancients’ Gates.

Sorry for any potential confusion. = /

Richard Naik
Guest
First, let me cast my lot in with the TNG bunch. Kirk is just an ensign compared to Picard. Second, as far as multi-stage bosses go, I actually like it when they aren’t broken up into save points. Part of the challenge (for me) is being able to run the gauntlet so to speak and beat all the boss’ forms in one life. The concept of save points in general doesn’t bother me either, as it’s the same concept. Totally agree about unskippable cutscenes through. Third, I think there’s lots of hope for the adventure genre, although it is difficult… Read more »
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