Weekend Confirmed Episode 34

By Garnett Lee, Nov 12, 2010 12:00pm PST Call of Duty: Black Ops dropped this week and we've been playing it along with, oh, a few million other folks around the Net. It hoards the spotlight in Whatcha Been Playin? and fair warning, there are some spoilers in the discussion but with a clear disclaimer beforehand. Battlefield Play4Free and the Vietnam DLC for Bad Company 2 also come up as shooters rule this week's show. In the Warning your counter-points to the idea floated last week of 2-3 hour games get us started and we also open the question of how susceptible to fatigue Call of Duty looks to be? News of Rock Band developer Harmonix hitting the sales block, a handful of new game announcements, and more wrap it all up in the Front Page.

Weekend Confirmed Ep. 34 - 11/12/2010

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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: 00:30:10

Whatcha' Been Playin and Cannata-ford a New Game: Start: 00:31:14 End: 01:04:29

The Warning: Start: 01:05:34 End: 01:37:29

Music Break featuring "Line 'em Up": 01:37:29 End: 01:40:40

The Front Page: Start: 01:40:40 End: 02:05:20

NFL 'Tailgate': Start: 02:06:20 End: 02:16:10

Music Break this week features "Line 'em Up" by Final Gravity. This track is from their "4 Pack" EP available on iTunes and CDBaby. For more from them check out the official Final Gravity site. And if you're in the LA area, Final Gravity will be opening for rock guitarist Gary Hoey (who, if you don't know the name, shreds) at the Brixton on the Redondo Beach Pier, Thursday, December 16 at 9pm.

Original music in the show by Del Rio. Get his latest single, Small Town Hero on iTunes. Check out more, including the Super Mega Worm mix and other mash-ups on his ReverbNation page or Facebook page.

Jeff can also be seen on The Totally Rad Show. They've gone daily so there's a new segment to watch every day of the week!

Our Official Facebook Weekend Confirmed Page is coming along now so add us to your Facebook routine. We'll be keeping you up with the latest on the show there as well.

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42 Threads | 211 Comments

  • The autolog feature in Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit is INSANE.

    It totally brings a social network mentality to the game without actually using any of the established networks. Instead of spamming your Facebook or Twitter accounts with status updates, you get to choose whether or not to publish your performance in a race to your wall. Only your friends see the wall, and there's a constant rivalry to see who can top the most races.

    And I mean CONSTANT. Autolog is one of those features that completely changes how you even approach playing the game. Like, on the level of how achievements changed the way we play games. Same principle, but even better, because instead of intangible and largely worthless space-points you get bragging points among your friends. So when you're just cruising along, progressing through the game, and then that message comes up on your wall saying so-and-so beat your time by four seconds, you can immediately jump back to that race and try to take the record back.

    I've put 8 hours into the game and barely unlocked half the events, simply because of the pull of those wall announcements and the constant competitive between friends. Even when you're playing single-player, the game feels like a competitive multiplayer experience.

    EVERY racing game needs this feature. Hell, add it to shooters, action games, anything.

    Oh, and btw, the racing is actually really fun too. :D

  • Maybe I would have enjoyed "A Very Special Episode of Weekend Confirmed: COD:BlOps" if I was interested in the title, and while the commentary and opinions were great, I hope in the future you won't spend so much time on one title. Granted, it's the largest release in video game history at this time, but it would be great to see the podcast devote more time to smaller titles with less buzz like Assassin's Creed:Brotherhood, RDR's zombie DLC, or other new releases or upcoming titles.

    I was disappointed that Jeff finally finished Fable 3 and the result was a minute or two discussion and you moved on. I'd have loved to hear Jeff's opinion on the unusual design for the end game and if he was prepared for what was coming since I think regardless of the politics, it was the most unusual ending of a video game in recent memory.

    Finally, I feel like you guys dance around this week after week, but can we just concede at the start of every discussion that Brian is a results or skill-based gamer and Jeff is narrative-driven. We get that Brian loves to replay multiplayer titles to rise in the ranks, improve his skills, and enjoys competition while Jeff prefers a good narrative with accompanying solid game play over playing online. There is nothing wrong with either approach but I feel that so much of the disagreement on the show comes from having to rediscover and rehash this on a weekly basis.

    Considering Brian and Jeff's different approaches, it's only logical that Brian won't see COD falling out of favor any time soon while Jeff would question its long-term narrative viability. And they'd both be right since yes, gamers will get bored with the single-player stories but still love the hell out of the best multiplayer on the system. How many people never played COD:MW2's single-player drawn in by their online friends invites?

    I love a good narrative; I hate online multiplayer not because I suck but because I get bored raising transparent stats---I realize that single-player is based on raising less transparent stats against A.I.--- without any narrative benefit. However, I greatly admire the competitive Starcraft and Halo folks because of their incredible skill.

    Gaming needs both of those types and every other type but I think we should just recognize their is no right way to game and move on.

  • I ended up playing some COD BLOPS with some friends (locally) this weekend and got an interesting perspective on the franchise fatigue thing. My friends are the types who play one or two games a year and they thought MW2 was the best looking, best story, best multiplayer in a game ever. We played a little COD BLOPS and they all commented how it was the best looking, blah blah.... In my mind the game looked average, the gameplay was the same COD gameplay but I play a lot more games. They only know COD so to them it is the best game. I find a lot people fall into this category and won't be looking for something better because they are more than happy with what they get from COD. There's also a domino effect to this. If I lived in a bubble I wouldn't spend $60 on COD but since everyone else has the game I'll be picking it up sooner than later.

    PS: liked the music break this week. nice pick.

  • Wow there were so many topics touched upon that I want to comment on and I have limited time right now (I'm typing this on a netbook in a gas station parking lot before I run in to get my donuts for breakfast on my way into work (I took an hour of leave this morning)). I literally should be leaving right now but I want to comment on some of the stuff (I'll comment more when I get home I think).

    I agree with some of what Brian said about CoD:BLOPS multiplayer (I love that acronym...its perfecttion). I disagree about the run and gun aspects of the game though...and I think what it comes down to based on past discussions on here is that Brian and I just have different preferences in our multiplayer (and oddly...CoD is a sort of game that appeals to a lot of different people). I really view multiplayer FPS games through the prism of Quake (and really DOOM2 to some extent...as in many ways I felt that had the most sublime weapon set in any FPS game ever...though Quake's Rocket Launcher and Lightning Gun were amazing and there was something very nice about the Railgun in Q2 even though I was always torn over the impact of that weapon (I felt it made Q2 too defensive...whereas in QW being either really aggressive or really defensive were both applicable approaches)). Shit I told myself I wasn't going to get off on a tangent given limited time...so back on topic. I tend to see the abilitiy to react quickly and think quickly and run and gun as the pinnacle of multiplayer FPS games...hell deep down I still have it in my head that standing still gets you killed and that you should always be moving just as you should always be building units. I realize that this is more or less just something thats been ingrained in me and is driven by my preferences (and that in the past I always associated someone standing still to shoot with a lack of skill and experience because that was what people did in DOOM DM when they started out...so I have this weird gut reaction to that aspect of modern games that often punishes running and gunning that I've had to work to get over...I really have gotten over that, but I'll always prefer games of the oldschoole even though I've learned to appreciate and enjoy other styles of FPS games as I've grown older). Its actually hilarious in a way...because as I've lacked a decent internet connection in my home (I literally have to drive 15 minutes into town with my huge gaming laptop to play games online at either burger king or the local shooting range/sporting goods store) and have had less time I've lost a lot of the skills suited to the games I most enjoy (and in general actually)...so I completely suck now...and I sometimes feel like I'm basically wishing for games to punish me more.

    Brian mentioned preferring a slower paced and perhaps more defensive FPS game and that really makes things sort of make sense. I've never been particularly fond of Halo and Brian loves it and I think it comes down to the sort of differences in preference. I like that CoD:BLOPS allows for run and gunning (and I think that at a high level players may not be blindly running around...they may simply be very aware while moving at a high rate of speed...plus I like the sort of wasp and spider in a jar matches that allowing very different approaches encourages). I do think that CoD4 probably struck a slightly better balance wrt this...I could run and gun with my AK and steady aim or whatever in hardcore mode...or I could use a more careful approach with a G3 battle rifle and nail guys at a distance. I generally play Hardcore Domination (lol) though...and I've found that you can get temporary fronts set up at times (at least in CoD4...I need to play more BLOPS to get a better idea of the general play patterns there).

    As to CoD2...its weird as I was never a big CoD2 fan...I always felt that I was very obviously being pushed to always move forward...I think I once described the game as being like the old SMB3 levels where the screen scrolls in a direction and you need to keep moving to keep up. I felt that its best moments were when you'd get to a point where you'd have to clear the house or something and it didn't have the very rinse and repeat formula of "take cover...pop out and kill...rush forward...repeat" that the CoD games have always specialized in. BLOPS has a lot of that too...but for some reason it doesn't bother me as much. It may be that they're mixing it up so far (I've not finished it yet) well enough not to annoy me or it may be that I've just grown to expect that from a CoD game. I will say that its not as infuriating as MW2...at times I felt like it was this shooting gallery where the enemies would spray random fire at me and I just had to power through it...I remember literally dying and reloading my check point to die again and again and I'd see the same patterns again the only difference being where the random spread bullets went...I had to play that game in a really weird way at times that seemed counterintuitive and more like I was trying to break the thing to proceed. BLOPS hasn't been as bad that way (and the story isn't the single most stupid thing ever...whereas MW2 was just horrible story-wise...I mean Uwe Boll)...but I haven't finished it so it may take a wrong turn.

    It may be that I inadvertently got in a horrible situation with MW2's checkpoint system once where I got myself in the wrong place at the wrong time when it saved because I was playing around trying to get myself killed...and then I played through the same 4-5 minutes of gameplay about 40 times over (maybe more...I would literally spawn and die immediately about 60 percent of the time so it may have been in the triple digits the number of times I reloaded over a couple days)...I realize that perhaps I should have realized the game was more fragile than I iniitally thought and I shouldn't have been treating it as a playground at that point...but it made me see the game as broken and it really gave me a close up view of the systems in MW2 and how predictable that game could be (I saw guys 4 minutes in literally do the EXACT SAME THINGS even when I took different approaches defending that building) and if I wasn't so damned OCD I wouldn't have powered through that part. So I'm probably going to be more forgiving of BLOPS in comparison than a lot of people unless it breaks down like that (I did enjoy MW2...I just don't see it as being the amazing game its made out to be).

  • I think the word Garnett was searching for when he was trying to describe the difference between firing high-end, modern weapons and old-school Vietnam era weapons was 'analog'. That analog feeling is one of the major reasons I've been clamoring for a great Vietnam war game for so many years. It's also one of several reasons I really enjoy Black Ops and can't wait for Bad Company 2: Vietnam.

    For me, it's analogous to how fans of hard rock or metal music (like me) can still appreciate and even seek out unplugged versions of their favorite songs. The underlying experience is the same, but its a slightly less refined version of it. A little more raw, less digital. There are rough edges and approximations, missed notes and missed shots. Everything is a little bit 'dirtier' and a little bit more raw.

    Obviously, you could argue that WW2 weapons are the ultimate example of that lack of precision and refinement, but that era is almost TOO unrefined for me in terms of weapon capabilities. Vietnam era is this perfect middle-ground, when the weapons felt modern and lethal, but there was no fancy technology between the pull of the trigger and a kill. Just nerves of steel, and dead aim down the iron-sights.