The RPS Electronic Wireless Show 38

By John Walker on February 2nd, 2010 at 4:19 pm.

Anyone who reads alt-text fancy creating us a new logo?

Jim and John gathered together aboard the RPS yacht to put right all that is wrong with everything that’s ever happened in the universe. Eschewing tweets in episode 38, instead we spoke about the contents of our head, from Mass Effect 2 and dreams of a different BioShock, to DRM and the peculiarities of mining in MMOs.

Have you played drugs on games? We, somehow without being on drugs, begin with a question this inane. Then, after what can only be described as a slow start, we of course discuss gaming news such as the book, The Road. This does lead to gaming discussion, including our desire for a game that isn’t focused around combat. This meandering discussion leads on to fantasy versions of BioShock 2, and John’s crazed dream of first-person adventuring. (Here’s the BioShock article John mentions in the podcast, by the way.)

John discusses his experiences with Mass Effect 2 so far, exploring some of the more interesting ideas behind this game, and the tongue-in-cheek mocking within the game of some of BioWare’s sillier previous moments. John incorrectly recalls a quest from ME1, but he’s talking about this article.

Then things turn to DRM, and especially Ubisoft’s ludicrous new plans. We expose our fury at how idiotic the situation has now become, and how we believe there is a better, more sensible, more positive approach to ensuring sales.

We finally move on from this angry ranting to talk about Mortal Online, and then related tales of MMO mining moments. And then we stop, or we’d still be recording it.

Get the mp3 directly from here, subscribe to it by RSS with this, or get it on iTunes from here.

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67 Comments »

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  1. The Sombrero Kid says:

    i’m sorry but i have to just say this guys a serious douche
    http://bit.ly/9WxFrl

    • qrter says:

      Ha ha.. all those ‘contributor comments’ or whatever they’re called are horrible. But that Bryn guy always ends his in a “what do you guys think”-style question.

      “I have to write up these news tidbits and have to force myself to think of something to add, even when I have little interest in, or no actual knowledge about what I am posting. What kind of job do you think I should be looking out for?”

    • John Walker says:

      Hey! We do that all the time!

      You’ve noticed that right, readers?

  2. Premium User Badge

    Fede says:

    John, you mean a new logo for the podcasts or for the whole RPS?

    • John Walker says:

      Just the podcasts.

    • rei says:

      I’ve been meaning to since I spotted that the last time around, and even downloaded GIMP for that purpose, but it quickly became apparent that I’m not much of a graphic designer.

      Maybe I’ll paint one with oils when I have time and scan it :\

  3. Labbes says:

    The funny thing is, I played Fallout 3 some weeks ago, and I thought that it would be awesome if it were more like The Road, and less like Fallout 3.

    • Okami says:

      Most bethesda games would be awesome if they were less like bethesda games and more like anything else.

      Of course, most things would be better if they were more like The Road..

    • Smithee says:

      I can relate. I began playing FO3 immediately after reading The Road (having received both as presents – it was a particularly apocalyptic Christmas that year), and was never able to get into FO3, in large part because The Road still weighed so heavily in my mind. For as bleak as it sometimes tried to be, FO seemed as light as a feather compared to McCarthy. I guess I should have expected the tongue-in-cheek attitude, given FO3’s (sort of) heritage, and I can’t really blame the game for not being something other than itself. Still, I lost enough interest that I never actually got around to finishing it (though the crap writing didn’t really help draw me back in, so maybe I can blame the game for being itself).

    • Vinraith says:

      Ah Bethsoft hate, how original and interesting. Personally, Fallout 3 and Morrowind are two of my all-time favorite games, if they were “more like other games” I’m quite certain I’d like them less.

      That said, a game based on “The Road” would be awesome, it just doesn’t need to replace anything we already have.

    • Labbes says:

      (I’m not sure whether the reply function will work or not, so this is @Vinraith to bethesda hate)
      I actually like the Bethesda games, I own Morrowind and Oblivion and like them both a lot. However, Fallout 3 had so much potential. When I stepped out of the Vault, I saw a vast world of nothingness. The first thing I discovered was a farm with stray dogs, where I not only found a mini nuclear bomb, but also a skeleton near a radio and a letter. That was awesome. When I went further, I was attacked by those bandits, and I really had to fight for my life.
      Then came the town, and my interest broke down completely. I’m not saying it’s a bad game, and I will probably continue some time in the future, but it’s the first game that had created such an extremely effective illusion or survival in a hostile world, and I really liked that. I would love that.
      Both Pathologic and The Void go into such a direction, but they don’t come close to being that effective.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Labbes

      OK, that’s more understandable, my apologies for lumping you in with the general Bethesda haters. You might want to have a look at some Fallout 3 mods (Bethesda game’s are wonderful, in part, because you can make them into most anything you want). Several of them are very focused on making the game a more desperate survival experience. I can’t give specific recommendations, as I’ve not tried them yet myself, but when next I have a free gaming moment it’s high on my agenda.

    • Nighthood says:

      @Vinraith: Of all the people who could comment on hating a company or thing irrationally, I think you’re an interesting one. Hypocritical, perhaps?

    • Smithee says:

      To follow up on what everyone else has said, I’m also not hating on Bethesda in particular. FO3’s the only Bethesda game I’ve played, so I really can’t comment much on everything else they’ve done. Fallout still disappointed me, in part because while the environment Bethesda created worked, the residents of that world never seemed believable, and the conversations with them often felt cringe-worthy. Again, put this in the context of my expectations that “apocalypse = The Road”; perhaps I need to try FO3 again, once I’m through my dozen-game long backlog.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Smithee

      Fair enough. Again, if you want a more survival-oriented experience, I suspect there are mods out there that will do the job. Bethesda’s great at providing wide open landscapes with which modders can play, and I think a lot of folks are looking for exactly the kind of feel you’re talking about. Honestly, if you find one let me know. Just because I enjoy the vanilla game, that doesn’t mean a survival-oriented RPG in the same setting is any less appealing.

    • Lemon scented apocalypse says:

      Although I have little in the way of greivences with Beth – Fallout 3 was really quite a sub-par game. -A distinct feeling of deja-vu haunted me throughout and the nagging sense that almost every aspect could have been so much more. Like Oblivion before it, it felt oppressivly bland and generic.
      Exploration seemed rather dull as repetition was rife. (a fault of the engine and rampant recycling of geometry) Granted there were some awesome unexpected nooks and crannys (Like the ‘supers’ nemisis quest, the hidden wood & the Village of kids – the name of which escapes me) But i just couldent really get into it & consequently never finished it. (And I adore the Post Apocalyptic genre)
      Morrowind, however, was truly the dogs bollocks.

  4. Luke says:

    Gotta agree with the DRM chat there, it really is like paying 30 quid to be kicked in the face.
    I’ve still got the boot marks on my nose from buying Spore.

  5. Wednesday says:

    Yeah I heard the folks in Mass Effect 2 talking about asking people in the street and thought it might be a nod to John’s article.

    I loved ME2. It’s like nothing I’ve ever played.

  6. Mark O'Brien says:

    I disagree with John and Jim about games having simple conversation options simply because the history of games was more oriented towards action.

    It is pretty much impossible to code for satisfying conversations without making a human-level AI that could pass the Turing Test. Real people are many orders of magnitude more complex than you could feasibly make an NPC.

    In contrast, it’s easy to get combat reasonably right. There isn’t as much subtlety of nuance or meaning involved. Killing your enemy is simply a mechanical task, of the kind that machine intelligence is capable of performing to some extent.

    I think it will be some time before conversations in games involve more than a set of limited multiple choices with predefined responses. I’m not at all convinced that a conversation-oriented version of Bioshock would have worked at all.

    • Dean says:

      Except killing someone isn’t a simple mechanical process. It’s a heart-rending, awful, consequence-filled miserable endeavor. The military train for years, partly to avoid any such remorse being a danger on the battlefield, yet many still question what they do.

      Games have modeled killing into a mechanical process, one that’s miles removed from the actual act. You could model conversation in a similar way, but the issue is, we’ve all had conversations with other human beings. Most of us haven’t killed anyone. So the flaws are so much more apparent.

    • Mark O'Brien says:

      You’re right of course that for a human killing somebody is not a mechanical process. That’s missing the point completely, however.

      For a machine (an AI NPC) to kill a human (player) really is a mechanical process.

      1) Point weapon at target.
      2) Fire weapon.

      Result: job performed competently in a good simulation of how the process would work in real life.

      You can’t boil a conversation down into such a straightforward recipe.

      The emotional side of it, which you are talking about, is irrelevant because we can’t (directly) perceive the emotions of the NPCs. Even if we could, the process of simulating it would be mechanical because there’s not really too any great complexity. Either the NPC reacts with relief, satisfaction, or remorse. It’s not complicated.

      The emotions of the player will also never get beyond mere excitement unless there’s been some kind of build up to the killing through excellent storytelling. This cannot be achieved in a fragfest.

    • Dean says:

      Hmm, fairy nuff. Though most games don’t even model the mechanics of killing particularly well (ie. generally, shooting someone once will kill them). But if they wanted to, I guess they could. Then again, they can’t really model it exactly.

      Hmm, this is interesting.

      See even with the most ‘realistic’ games with physics and limbs coming off and everything, they really model the result of a gunfight. I mean, most games now register torso/head/arm/leg shots, but I doubt any of them check to see if you’d have hit any vital organs or a major artery, or if the bullet got stuck inside or passed right through… the shooting is still a very coarse representation of reality. It only accounts for a very limited number of player actions and results. Much like conversation trees do for conversation.

    • Jeremy says:

      Honestly, I think one of the problems with current conversational models is that you’re always in control. You have full control and knowledge on how what you say is going to impact a person. You can save every life, make every person see reason, and have everyone like you, as long as you just pick the most reasonable conversation choice (or blue choice). There’s no room for a character to get mad at you and just ignore what you say beyond the occasional inevitable encounter, or beyond the player specifically choosing in their mind “I want this person to be mad at me,” which, in the end, takes away from the compelling nature of true interaction.

      Granted, ME2 does a fairly good job of making it seem a lot more fluid, and thankfully the “Goodbye.” choices are no longer so abrupt (most times),

      Liara: “My mother betrayed me and everything I love.”
      Shepard: “I should go.”

      Then immediately walk away. I kinda feel like in a real situation, a guy would get snubbed after pulling a stunt like that.

    • Jad says:

      This stuff about non-realistically modeling killing vs. conversations has been going through my head recently when I was reading yet another why-are-games-hung-up-about-sex-but-not-killing thread.

      Basically, the act of killing and the act of sex in real life have enormous amounts of emotional, cultural, and consequential implications to them that are very difficult for videogames to explore. Both can simplified in a purely mechanical, abstracted fashion (most violent games for killing, click-to-thrust flash games for sex), but it is considered more inappropriate to do so for sex as it is for killing. And I think that’s because as Dean says, most of us have had sex (or at least romance), and few of us have killed.

      Of course, this is magnified even more when it comes to mere conversation, as we all have had at least one conversation with a live human being (even if its only on RPS comment threads! =)

  7. Kester says:

    I liked John’s new Bioshock, particularly as I finished Mass Effect 2 last night and was thinking the exact same thing about that. The streamlining they did made me think how much further they could take it and retain the core of what the game is, the conclusion being that I’d be perfectly happy if they removed pretty much everything apart from the bits where you choose what to do. It’d be like the interactive movies that were supposed to be the future back in the early 90s, and it’d also be glorious. All other things being equal, guiding a character through a predetermined narrative is always going to be oodles more compelling than just watching the same narrative, because there’s an extra level of identification. Just look at Dreamfall: it managed to consistently hit scores in the 80s despite there being no real game to speak of, just some rails to walk down. But it was an absolutely compelling experience.

    So yes, I would be very happy to see games that aren’t even games, and I think you’d find a market for them amongst people who tend to find games inaccessible or have just never considered “for them”.

  8. vader says:

    I totally agree with everything you guys said about these silly DRM schemes. It feels like paying 30 quid to be kicked in the face. Though I do think it has already begun biting them in the ass, it’s just that they’re too busy playing with pirates to see it.

    Let’s take the friends I play with as an example. Most of them doesn’t give a rats ass about DRM, most probably doesn’t even know what it is let alone that any of their games has some sort of it on them. It’s not like there’s a big red sticker on the box proclaiming what DRM the game is using. Then there’s me and those of my friends that actually DO care about these kinds of things. We refuse to buy certain games because of some DRM, other DRM we have nothing against, it’s highly personal were we draw the line. We of course talk to all our friends, and if it’s a game that, let’s say it comes with a 3 install limit, we tell them we aren’t going to buy it unless that is patched out completley. They’re not going to buy it now either, because they can’t play it with the people they want. We really wanted to play the DLC’s for Borderlands because we had a blast playing that game together, but when we discovered they both had install limits it was a no go, and ended with none of us buying them. It just seems like such a ludicrously stupid way to drive customers away from your products.

  9. Dain says:

    If only all these suits who make all these crazy decisions were as sensible as you guys.

  10. jokermatt999 says:

    That mmo speech story nearly had me in tears of laughter…at work. Well done.

    Of course, the rest of it was good too, but I felt that deserved comment.

  11. Hobbes says:

    Skooma in Morrowind and Oblivion?

  12. terry says:

    Re- Drug games – in the days of running a BBS (2 node ringdown, massive 300mb storage, fidonet echo access!) of yore I remember someone uploading a platform game, sponsored by some anti-drugs lobbying group, in which drug use was an integral part of the game mechanics. From memory, smoking hash made the player predictably unwieldy, but they could conversely hover in the air for some distance. Opium did something similar but would randomly add bottomless pits on the platforms you were considering landing on. Taking LSD would initiate baffling strobing crucifixes and make the screen wibbly. Mushrooms would make your sprite wibbly and the screen shake unnervingly. Drink would reverse your controls, of course. IIRC, taking heroin immediately killed you, which seemed a trifle harsh, after a nicely animated shooting up sequence. I didn’t find/don’t remember any of the other drugs in the game, because the game was a bit crap despite the neat idea. Sadly I also forgot the name of the game.. too many drugs, y’see :—-)

  13. Vinraith says:

    Am I right in thinking that, if I don’t have much of a memory of ME1, I should go back and play it again before playing ME2?

    • Kadayi says:

      I’d say so. It’s not just the big decisions that carry over. There’s a lot of small incidents that do as well.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Kadayi

      Yeah, that’s the sense I’d gotten. It’s odd, I only played the original about a year and a half ago but when people talk about it I can barely make sense of what they’re saying. I remember the main plot well enough, but things like what happened with Wrex, or a lot of the side missions that apparently impact ME2, are completely blank to me.

      I still have my old paragon save. I suppose I could play through once with a renegade, then start ME2 with either save that suited me. Hopefully the renegade playthrough would jar my memory of what I did differently as a paragon.

    • Joflar says:

      @Vinraith

      If you played Paragon then I can understand why you don’t remember what happened to Wrex. If you do a Renegade playthrough your decision will probably be much more memorable.

    • Kadayi says:

      @Vinraith

      Go female Shepard as well, as Jennifer Hale makes for a great renegade ;)

    • Vinraith says:

      @Kadayi

      OK. My first play through was male, so I might as well make a female Shepherd this time.

  14. Flameberge says:

    @Vinraith – Yeah I’ve noticed that. It happens to a lot of companies / brands / games / etc. when they get succesful. Odd, huh? Morrowind is personally my favourite game, I voted for it in the PC GAMER Reader’s Top 100.

    Another vastly (yes, vastly) entertaining podcast. And it’s such a bad thing. I recently have started to listening to the RPS podcast and other such similar podcasts whilst I work at Uni… I always end up giggling to myself like a little girl and getting odd looks. Actually, I never realised how much fun that provides, seems to freak people out in the university library. Though one thing I have noticed is that John is a dirty podcast whore. I swear he is in every podcast ever. He’s probably even in the ones that he doesn’t seem to be in. Maybe hiding behind a chair. Or listening in from outside the window, perhaps.

    But that’s fine. Because my girlfriend informs me that John “sounds cute”. So that’s good.

  15. Kadayi says:

    Good to hear John defend Steams offline mode. The latest Steam Survey thread brought out the ‘Steam sucks’ trolls with their various complaints about how Steam stole their pocket money, killed their cat and shagged their girlfriend. I heartily recommend anyone who thinks to complain about the Offline mode, actually tests it out before posting in future, because they might be presently surprised to find out that it does actually work.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Kadayi

      they might be presently surprised to find out that it does actually work.

      All I know is that it didn’t work over Thanksgiving. If they’ve fixed it in the last couple of months, that would be great. I haven’t had reason to test it in the intervening months.

    • terry says:

      FWIW Burnout Paradise resolutely refuses to work for me in offline mode.

    • Kadayi says:

      @terry

      That’s because Burnout Paradise requires an active internet connection according to the blurb I’ve read.

    • Vinraith says:

      @terry

      I think that one’s EA’s doing, they’ve got their own online weirdness going on with that game.

    • El Stevo says:

      It’s a long time since I’ve needed to use Steam in offline mode, so on your recommendation I decided to test it (specifically, whether you change to offline mode while offline, which was the problem I had in the past). It worked! That was my only real criticism of Steam. Aside from the fact that you can’t maximise the window, but I’m sure I can live with that.

      Fantastic news. (Well, it’s news to me at least.)

    • terry says:

      Hmph. According to the store page that’s for “online features” which I don’t give a rat-ass about. God forbid I try to play my singleplayer game without EA leering over my every move.

    • Kadayi says:

      @El Stevo

      Glad to hear it and spread the word. It’s been quite functional for quite some time (over a year and a bit at least), but this meme that it ‘doesn’t work’ just won’t go away because certain internet trolls won’t drop it.

  16. SpinalJack says:

    You take drugs in the fallout games, even the latest one but then give them made up names so that’s okay. Would you call the plasmids in Bioshock a kind of drug? It’s a substance that you inject that has a mental and physical effect on a person so I guess it would be.

    • Joflar says:

      Phonies! You didn’t mention zyme in Deus Ex! You’ll need to rerecord that entire section.

      @SpinalJack Definitely would count plasmids as drugs. The way they fleshed them out in Bioshock was interesting, instead of merely being power-ups they offered something tangible to the story.

  17. Larington says:

    Yeah, one thing that annoys me about say, DRM evangelisers, is that they seem to think they can tell me what is good for me. “Oh but you can have all your save games in a cloud, PC gaming is saved!”

    No, it isn’t, I never asked for cloud save games, I’ve never wanted them. I’ll decide what’s good for me, I’ll decide what I do or don’t enjoy, thank you very much.

  18. Kadayi says:

    One thing I found odd was that John didn’t like the beginning of ME2. What’s not to like about that opening John? Without getting into spoilers, did you not find it pretty dramatic?

    • John Walker says:

      Oh, the actual opening, yes – that’s fantastic. But then once you start playing after that, it takes a long time to warm up.

    • Wednesday says:

      I think if I had to nominate a best intro for a game, it’d be ME2’s, it’s got a real “you’re not in kansas anymore” feeling. Those piano strings just set the whole thing in frame.

    • Kadayi says:

      @Wednesday

      I liked that they had a couple of conversation beats in there as well, which was a nice touch. But yeah, pretty epic.

  19. IvanHoeHo says:

    Man, I just finished ME2 (one of the upsides of being unemployed), and assuming you you didn’t blow [the thing] up, one of the dialogue choices with the illusive man is going to be either “SHUT UP” or “yes we do need each other.”

    So there I was thinking, “Well gee, shut up sounds pretty rash and immature. What’s stoping me from just playing along with him for now? Afterall, I have the only ship in the galaxy that is capable of reaching the [thing I didn’t blow up], with most of the occupants on board loyal to me. I’ll just finish up this conversation, and then go warping around, shouting at everyone about my great big discovery. ”

    So I click on that second option, and the next thing you know, the credits start rolling.

    And that’s why I’ll never play another BioWare/Bethesda again. Ever.

  20. Taillefer says:

    ME2 is strange. It does almost nothing well (hold the anger for a minute…). The weapons and powers aren’t balanced, the cover system is unreliable, your companions do stupid things in combat, I can walk on scenery and get stuck, the mini-games are so dull and omnipresent that it negatively effects the game. The plot is silly and doesn’t integrate that well into the game. And yet, the strength of the characters alone somehow makes it worthwhile. Their acting and dialogue is superb; the actors actually seem to understand what’s going on, it’s brilliant. I shouldn’t be enjoying it, but I carry on for the sake of my companions, to learn about them. I wanted to finish the game just to ensure their safety ’til the end.

    Which strengthens the point about a combat-less game. It could definitely work. Mass Effect could easily be some sort of space drama, concentrating on discovering things about the lives and history of the crew (and the universe). Developing relationships or conflict. It felt that’s where Bioware’s focus was anyway, and they basically threw the other things in because they felt they had to. I found Jack the most endearing (who was played to near perfection), and I’d be happy with a game about our adventures through space.

    Also, regarding Jack. Initially topless, do you think? Then they chickened out?

  21. Sarlix says:

    I listened to the podcast last night and wanted to tackle John on a few of his points. Although the chance of anyone reading this now maybe a bit slim.

    I agree with what you were saying John about Day of the tentacle etc and how it could be improved upon. However just putting an adventure game into a modern 1st person perspective wouldn’t necessarily make it any better, even with the addition of physics etc. I don’t think it would really add or improve much on the format. As much as I think it would be cool to go around the edison’s house in full 3d.

    I mean weather you pick up the sweater and it gos into your inventory then you click on the washing machine, or you physically pick it up and carry it to the washing machine and throw it in, how has that really improved the upon game?

    I think the formats need to be mixed up more, blend old with new. I am going to use DOTT as an example here:

    OK so take Bernards level, you could have that done in the modern type adventure game style, like Machinarium or the new Monkey Islands games. Then have Laverne’s level done in a modern 1st or 3rd person style and Hoagie level done in the classic 90’s style.

    I know that would only work with DOTT because of the past, present, future mechanic but my point is why does it always have to be from one perspective, why can’t we mix 2d with 3d?

    I’ve been replaying Baldur’s gate 2 recently, and it’s still as immersive as ever. And I know I’m not the only one who finds that style still expectable, after all that period is called the golden age of PC gaming for a reason, so why did it all get left behind so readily?

    Again I think what needs to be done is keep the best of what was and mix the best of what is. I think story telling is done best in the BG style lots of text with visual cues like character portraits etc, it lets the imagination flex it’s self more. But then when it comes to action I think a modern approach is better, the fast fluid action of oblivion for example.

    I mean how cool would it be to go on a classic BG style adventure only to be suddenly thrown into a fast fluid oblivion style battle when you enter a cave or dungeon, then back into classic RPG style game play. I think a successful mix of formats is the way forwards.

  22. Clippit says:

    am big fan of RPS, obviously. more so after interesting talk about subtracting combat from games like bioshock (like bioshock? ok, games with interesting ‘worlds’, premises, games with IDEAS that get BLASTED to kingdom come along with all the other nice bits like history, characters, art direction, music and clever writing). I thought of it first of course :)

    what next? oh yes: now listening to waffle about apparent ‘goodwill’ and generosity. One of the things I first found ‘exciting’ about the indie games scene (please forgive use of that word) is just that – goodwill towards the people who make this stuff. I hadn’t actually felt goodwill towards developers at all, until mods like Dystopia and games like World of Goo, Defcon, TF2 and Live For Speed came along. I actually want to show my appreciation for this stuff to such a degree that I’d do crazy irrational things like buying their merchandise or pre-ordering their unfinished game. I’m more sceptical of hype in general (I think that’s just part of growing up) but at the same time I want to projects to succeed when I can feel some connection to the people involved.

  23. Schmung says:

    I never bothered with the original Mass Effect because peoples comments about the driving sections and fudgy combat persuaded me that I’d probably not hate it. I gave the sequel a go because of all the positive reviews and I was just blown away by it. It’s just so much fun. I do occasionally feel like I’m missing out on bits and pieces by having not played the first, but it’s handled in such a way that I don’t mind too much. I know there are references I’m not getting and events that I’m supposed to be aware of, but it stands really well on it’s own merits IMO.

    I do agree with what other people have said about aspects of it being weak – certainly the combat is not perfect and the minigames are a bit pointless, but taken as a whole it’s wonderful. You can forgive another slog through a bit of generic corridor combat because you know it’s going to do something interesting again soon.

  24. Hugh says:

    Hi RPS,

    Really enjoyed your latest podcast but there was one thing I thought I’d mention. I’ve played mass effect 1 but nowhere enar to compeltion (i borrowed it from a friend). I did not use my save from ME1 for ME2.

    Thi, apparantly, makes me mentally unhinged. Thanks for that RPS. There are a couple of reasons why I didn’t complete/get ME1 before playing ME2. I couldn’t afford the purchase of two games, as a student. Secondly, if I only have the money to buy one of them I decided to get the one that’s combat system didn’t suck and that I felt (and read) would be the better game. Spending 20+ suffering through a game and then not have the money to buy the next one seemed stupid to me.

    I understand that the 2nd game may make more of a connection to you if you palyed the first game but I picked up the story easily enough and never really felt like I was missing out. Alot of the criticisms levelled at it in your podcast seem superficial especially about the character creation. Why not let people who improt their characters edit them a bit? I’m sure after playing ME1 they might want to just make at least a few changes to his apperance.

    Note that I’m not against the Character importer, its amazing for people who owned the first game, but I didn’t and can’t at the moment, and that’s that.

    I’m really enjoying the game so far and hope to complete it for ME3.

    • Deano2099 says:

      Well we knew ME2 was on the way and the first game was like £3 on Steam over Christmas so it’s not too harsh a comment.

  25. CaseytheBrash says:

    Enjoyed the podcast, was my first. I’m some sort of Luddite nerd it seems, I’ve never really bothered with the things until I got this new “smartphone.” Also; people who tend to make podcasts seemed to be douchebags, like bloggers. Present company and all that. If it helps I’m also fairly anti-blog.

    That being said I had a good laugh at the banter and the discourse was right up my alley. The idea of a non-shooty game is appealing on some level but so complex and time consuming in it’s making I don’t see anyone doing a proper job of it. In shooting you add some ragdoll physics and some form of hitbox damage modeling this or that and you’re cutting edge. How do you improve upon reality, of which we’re all experts, politicians aside. And let’s face it, most of us will never mow down thousands of Nazi-zombies in our given lives so it’s abstract at best, all we need to know is vaguely which end spews the bangy bits.

    A game based on not shooting at things would be picked apart by our brain at every step. “That’s not how you make ramen!” “Why can’t I just smack object A with object B, why the hell do I need to find object C?” “Kick everything over!” “Why won’t half this crap move?” Where as in the shooting game all you have to usually do is apply said shooting thing to said object/person/objectified person and shoot.

    Blathering aside, Portal seemed to fair ok, but it was more about puzzles and you quasi-shot things. With gravity. I also believe cake was mentioned.

  26. deanimate says:

    These podcasts are rather good :)

  27. The Dark One says:

    Seeing as how you wrapped things up mentioning Mass Effect 2 and Chuck, how much time do you actually get to spend with Adam Baldwin’s character? The man might be crazy in real life, but I love hos characters.

  28. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    John discusses his experiences with Mass Effect 2 so far, exploring some of the more interesting ideas behind this game, and the tongue-in-cheek mocking within the game of some of BioWare’s sillier previous moments. John incorrectly recalls a quest from ME1, but he’s talking about this article.

    Actually, it was this article he was thinking about. The couple in Mass Effect 2 sending up the earlier quest are located in the Sirta Foundation on the Citadel if anyone is interested in tracking them down.

  29. Tom Camfield says:

    In the podcast you talk about genres blending, mixing FPS with RPG, and I wanted to say that this has been happening for a long time, mixing FPS with platformers (like in Half Life where a load of the game was navigating the environment and not falling off stuff) and FPS with stealth (Thief etc) and FPS with, er, RPG (Ultima). I mean, obviously you’re talking more about mixing FPS with Diablo drops, but even so, I just wanted to make sure we’re on the same page.

    I’ve also found it odd in the past when John doesn’t seem to recognise the lineage of adventure games in other genres, like action games and RPGs. Resident Evil and Zelda, for instance, two massive franchises, which both include combine this with that puzzles and use the right item here type stuff. Now, clearly this isn’t a pure adventure game, but then stuff like Indy always had a punch-em-up side to them.