Weekend Confirmed Episode 16

By Garnett Lee, Jul 09, 2010 12:00pm PDT Everybody's been playing Crackdown 2 but from the sounds of it they won't be much longer. San Diego-based comic Christian Spicer adds his voice to the disappointment Garnett, Brian, and Jeff express over the sequel. But it fares better than Deadly Premonition did with Jeff. Not to worry, ArmA 2: Operation Arrowhead and DeathSpank help Whatcha Been Playin finish strong. A trio of awesome strategy games perfect for a long summer's playcation fills out this week's Cannata-ford a New Game. Your comments on 3DS pricing and requiring a complete game one save to play White Knight Chronicles 2 kicks off the Warning before getting to topics like what makes an MMO good and the viability of an honor system difficulty mechanic in open world games. Brian brings it home in the Front Page with news including the announcement of Dragon Age 2, four DLC packs coming for Red Dead Redemption, E3 Game Critics Awards winners, and more.

Weekend Confirmed Ep. 16 - 07/09/2010

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Weekend Confirmed comes in four segments to make it easy to listen to in segments or all at once. Here's the timing for this week's episode:

Whatcha' Been Playin: Start: 00:00:00 End: 00:30:37

Whatcha' Been Playin and Cannata-ford a New Game: Start: 00:31:39 End: 01:05:49

The Warning: Start: 01:06:53 End: 01:42:15

Music Break featuring Simon Jain's "Feels Like You": Start: 01:42:15 End: 01:45:42

The Front Page: Start: 01:45:42 End: 02:17:11

Music Break features Toronto talent Simon Jain's summer groove "Feels Like You". Beautiful vocals overlay an arrangement that speaks to what progressive house is all about. It's available now exclusively on the 44th & Filth label through Beatport and all other retailers including iTunes, Traxsource, Masterbeat, DJ Download, and Juno Download starting August 3. For more on Simon Jain keep up with him at the official Simon Jain site, Facebook, Twitter, or MySpace.

Big thanks to our guest Christian Spicer.

Original music in the show by Del Rio. Get his latest single, Small Town Hero on iTunes and check out more at his Facebook page.

Watch Jeff on The Totally Rad Show. New episodes come out weekly on Tuesday.

We've also started an Official Facebook Weekend Confirmed Page. It's a work in progress but go ahead and hop in. We'll be keeping you up with the latest on the show there as well.

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  • Okay, I've got a warning question for you guys. I can’t keep this shit short. Sorry. The actual question is the last paragraph.

    I've been playing through Mass Effect 2 again recently and I keep thinking about how strange it is to be playing a role playing game where the stats of weapons and abilities are never directly shown to you. Essentially the game lets you know that your upgrades are making you more powerful, but they shy away from specifying exactly how much. I'm assuming this is to keep you immersed in the game world.

    On the other end of the spectrum, you have recent games like Borderlands or Final Fantasy XIII, which literally have numbers pouring out of enemies when you do damage to them. While this may not be quite as immersive as what Mass Effect does, it does bring the player closer to the mechanics of the game, encouraging strategic thinking and providing immediate feedback to the player's actions.

    Now, in large part, the definition of a pure role playing game would be a game which reveals its mechanics to you. A game that tells you specifically what will happen if you do something before you actually do it. And while games that reveal mechanics to the player typically are more involved and complex, I also feel that it can hamper the immersion of the game world itself. Take another hybrid RPG for example: Bioshock. The first couple encounters with the Big Daddies in that game were terrifying. Not only were they rumbling, hulking monsters, but also, the first time you fought one, it was impossible to tell which weapon was going to be the most effective. Yes, the daddy had a life bar, but it was difficult to tell in the heat of a battle if what you were doing was the most effective way to dispatch the enemy. This brought you into the character: it made you feel unsure and uneasy. If numbers had popped off of him, it would have just been a matter of swapping weapons and counting until you found the highest number.

    Other games have used this to great effect as well. The old Silent Hill and Resident Evil games didn't tell you how much health your character had left or how much ammo was still in your gun unless you paused the game to open a menu. It made playing the game more tense. Some of the most immersive games I've ever played sacrifice surface complexity in order to bring you more into the world. Hell, in Shadow of the Colossus all you get is a jump button, a grip button, a sword, a bow, and a horse for a twelve hour game, but it is in my opinion one of the most immersive games ever made.

    So basically, this is a question of preference. How forthcoming do you guys prefer games to be about their mechanics? Sure, you can answer (like I sort of did) that you like both, but what I'm trying to ask is this: if you want to get heavily involved in a game and immersed in its world, do you prefer having mechanics handed to you up front (like easily visible stats: if you do X, Y will happen every time) or do you prefer being required to sort of get a “feel” for each element? (I'm trying to phrase this in way where it isn't just RPGs versus everything else. I hope it makes some sense.)

    Thread Truncated. Click to see all 5 replies.

    • It all depends ont the game's basic design. The minimalist approach to controls in Shadow of the Colossus would have gotten old and tiresome if that world was full of enemies and you were constantly fighting. It worked because that game was just an open world with 16 bosses. The way combat was presented in that game, it was very different from anything that came before it and even though the controls were simple and basic, you really had to get a feel for the way they were used.

      I think that developers have to change up game mechanics, otherwise, they'd just be making the same game over and over again. I think that having to get a "feel" for each game keeps it feeling new and fresh. I think it's also part of what initally grabs you and brings you into the game.

      That's part of why Final Fantasy is such a brilliant series. Each game has it's own character-level and weapon management systems. Getting a feel for each new mechanic is part of the fun of most of the games in that series. That's why we look forward to each new FF game. We know it's going to be totally different from what came before and we don't really know what to expect until we get into the game.

      Now, that being said, there are a lot of games, especially within a series, where I don't want the basic mechanic to change, but I do want them to build onto it and add new elements to each game. Mass Effect 2 brought in several new elements that were not in Mass Effect, but it was building on the blue-print of the original game. That made it feel connected to the first game, but the new elements that we had to get a feel for, made it feel like it's own game. That's what makes a game feel more like a "sequel" and less like what could have just been DLC.

      Sports games are a good example of how knowing exactly what you are getting into often does not work. Especially with series like Madden. They keep pumping these games out every year and it's like, "I already played this game last year, and the year before that, and the year before that, and the year before that." I got a feel for that game ten years ago, so, it's hard for me to really get excited for any new releases in the series (But, since that game sells a bajillion copies every year, I might be wrong about this). I can get excited for Mario Sports, because I know it will be quirky and offer new mechanics you could never do in a sports sim, and I'm looking forward to having to get a feel for the way that game plays.

      Good topic, as always, FiendishDude.