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We’re doing something puzzling at the following link.

You’ll have to forgive my enthusiasm when talking about The Talos Principle. For those of you long time listeners you no doubt have an idea of how much I enjoy puzzle games. For those of you new to the show: I really enjoy puzzle games. And The Talos Principle from Croteam nails it for me. We spend a large chunk of this episode talking with a developer from Croteam, Damjan Mravunac, about the Talos Principle.

Outside of that, however, we still have time to talk about the delay of Witcher 3, remembering the first games we saved up our money to buy (disappointments be damned), and Nathan giving the rest of us a little something for the holidays.

 

We’re watching 2015 with a skeptic’s eye at the following link.

So, did it feel a little bit like a winter E3 over the weekend? Cause it felt a little bit like a winter E3 to us. Game reveals left and right, more footage of previously announced titles. All of it pretty much pointing to a fantastic 2015. And, of course, let’s hope the delay fest of 2014 doesn’t strike again next year (already has for Witcher 3, but it’s still releasing in 2015…so far).

Given the recent issues with games being released broken or needing patch after patch, it was hard for me to get excited about what I was seeing. I mean, I want to see more, no doubt, and I look forward to the release of all these great things, but I’m doing so while keeping it in the back of my mind that things aren’t always as they seem when being presented in such a way. Save for maybe that Uncharted 4 live demo. Nothing says this is live real working code like a death during an onstage performance with a glitch included.

 

We’re still disappointed in Ubisoft at the following link.

Again, to be the fly on the wall during conversations with corporate would be a wonderful superpower to have. Ubisoft seems to dig a hole with one hand and then fill it with the other, only to dig it back out again. In case it wasn’t clear in the show I’ll try to timeline it a little for you:

Ubisoft sets a review embargo on Assassin’s Creed: Unity for 12 hours after release of the game. Game releases and 12 hours later everyone know how big a bug-filled, unoptimized mess the game turns out to be. Maybe 24 or 48 hours later, the embargo for FarCry 4 ends and mostly positive reviews flood the internet. Why end embargo so late for one but not the other? Or the reverse of that. Then we come to last week and news about The Crew. A game that has NO embargo but won’t be shipped early to reviewers. They give an excuse as to why but it’s falling on deaf ears for myself.

At least we got a Star Wars teaser (for Matt) to talk about.

 

We’re not matching Amazon’s prices at the following link.

Sometimes there isn’t one single topic to dominate the conversation. A segment spent here and another segment spent there. Maybe a call, maybe an email. Whatever the case, when something doesn’t dominate the show, you get a grab back of topics thrown around. Such as the case with this episode. We talk about the games we’ve played, as we always do, but we somehow manage to make that last an hour. I don’t exactly remember how, but I had something to do with, I know. Then we talk about getting deals on games and consoles that aren’t…illegal, really, but may have a bit of moral weight to them.

Whatever the topic and whenever the week, we’ll be here live each Saturday night to talk about them with you. As always, thanks for listening.

 

We’re under review embargo at the following link.

We often talk about being a fly on the wall during certain conversations, though the one that must have taken place at Ubisoft wasn’t likely as interesting as we might make it out to be in our heads. There likely wasn’t any push back saying that Assassin’s Creed Unity wasn’t ready for release. Probably just questions about if a day one patch would fix it or something along those lines. Hell, it may not have been any question at all. Pre-order numbers were probably enough to justify release. Told PR to make sure the review embargoes were far enough out to make any cancellations negligible and then ship it.

Whatever the case may be, the problems with Ubisoft as well as the matchmaking issues and day one patch needed for Microsoft’s big Halo collection on Xbox One made for a pretty depressing week to enjoy this hobby. Nothing works when you pay for it anymore and there’s a chance even after you pay for it, it may still not work.

 

We’re not as excited about Overwatch as you might be at the following link.

Blizzard did a thing and announced some stuff. But no manner of flash, pomp and circumstance could rile the excitement of most of us on the show. Particularly that of Nate and James, the two people on the show with the most experience of what it is Blizzard does.

The rest of us had no real opinion either way, but speaking for myself and what Overwatch showed off didn’t seem like anything new to me, and, in fact, it seemed VERY familiar what with the banging of wrenches to make a thing and setting up portal stuffs. I’ve done that before. I can do it now, in fact. There’s more to be said for Overwatch, particularly after more is revealed and known, but for now…we’ll probably just be watching over it for something to strike our collective fancy to draw us in. Also, we’re keeping an eye on how they’ll want us to spend our money with it as well.

 

There’s no time like the past at the following link.

This episode was due out many days ago.  As it is now only hours before the next broadcast and we’re too old to remember what happened a week ago, we’ll just go ahead and publish this thing with many apologies and zero summaries.  Enjoy.

 

We agree to disagree at the following link.

We obviously don’t agree on the specific qualities of games at all times, but we could honestly stand to disagree a deal more than we do.  One of the effects of spending so much time with friends of the same vintage is that your tastes, which were probably similar to begin with, have aligned even further as time rolls on.  The conflicting opinions keep the conversation interesting, and the friendships keep them civil.  It’s too bad, then, that we find so many reasons to tell one another how right they are.  Of course, if Scott continues to enjoy his time in Destiny as much as he has, there will be no shortage of material to fight about.

 

We’re talking shop at the following link.

It’s nice to detour around the discussion of actual games from time to time in order to talk to one another about the ergonomics and hardware of playing them.  We’ve only ever grazed the issue, but there are nearly unlimited variations on the theme of gaming hardware, and there are loads of things to be said about how each of us chooses to play and what interfaces we choose to use.  When and whether we use controllers or mice or keyboards or speedpads says a lot about our tastes and priorities (and budgets, sadly.)  It’d be lovely if we could make it a regular part of our conversation, though the last thing we need is to add a hardware backlog to the one we already have.

 

We’re dismantling exotics at the following link.

Destiny, in case there was any doubt, is very far from perfect.  We continue to play and assess the game so that we may, every week, tell you in detail how broken, shallow, or disappointing any particular mechanic happens to be.  But we do keep playing it, don’t we?  That phenomenon is hardly unique to Destiny, and it’s hardly new.  Broken (or mildly sprained) mechanics can’t quite suppress the pleasure of solid moment-to-moment gameplay.  Wrong or right, it’s hard to ignore and not at all worth the effort of denying, though it’s probably time to look away to some other game that has no hope of living up to its hype.

 

We should forfeit our lives at the following link.

We’ve done enough work in Destiny by this point to justify a shift away from a ravaged future earth and toward the strife and conflict in Middle-earth.  We haven’t made that move yet, but it’s becoming harder to avoid with every stream, review, and friends list testimonial making it clear what a great game we’re missing out on.  We generally can’t stand being late to a party, but it’s looking more and more like we’d be fools to wait much longer.  There’s every chance, then, that by next week’s show we’ll have hung up our guns and strapped on our swords in their place.

 

We’ve got our noses to the grindstone at the following link.

More Destiny talk tonight, and more to come, it’s safe to say.  Surely we should have categorized Destiny as either a write-off or a god-send, but neither classification is a just fit.  Destiny is second-to-second, bullet-to-bullet satisfaction coupled with a broader sense of disappointment and disaffection.  Magnify this by the grand budget and much grander expectations and you’ve got a working plan for a perpetual conversation machine.  The only thing that can stop us at this rate is a crowded holiday release schedule…and would you look what’s coming our way.

 

We know where it comes from at the following link.

We can only guess at what the process has been like for Bungie in the years they’ve been working on Destiny.  There’s sure to be a lot of stories that would generate sympathy in critical circles and further devotion among the fans.  But there are no doubt also troubling things we could learn from the sausage making, and plenty enough of it to put us off our games…for a while, at least.  For now, there’s just no stopping; bounties and heroics won’t clear themselves, and there’s always more Hive in the cave.

 

We’re back on our feet again at the following link.

We’re not entirely sure now what Destiny means to us as players, or what it might end up meaning to the game playing public at large.  There are a lot of opinions about what the game has and hasn’t done right, and there are a lot of emotions invested in those opinions.  We’re still trying to muscle through the story, such as it is; we’re hard-bitten guardians slowly fighting our way through the various ruined landscapes of the solar system.  We might be able to offer a consensus in a few days, but it’s a frustrating game to think and to talk about, even while it’s perfectly entertaining to play.

We take a break from infighting and the dispensing of career advice during the second hour to share some time with Casper Van Est of Double Dutch games, maker of SpeedRunners, the finest friendship destroyer I’ve played in ages.

 

We’re on the mend at the following link.

Scott has, as usual, returned home from PAX bearing the gift of pox and illness for us all.  There are nearly as many strains of plague attacking his system as there were indie games and discussion panels for him to lost track of.  He had a swell time, allegedly, so I’m sure it was worth it in the end.  He has also returned having borne witness to a long list of desirable and sadly far-distant games, most of which we’d love to own and cherish right this very minute.  Until we can, rambling stories from a sick man will have to do.