Weekend Confirmed 97 - Nintendo 3DS and Wii U plans, FF13-2, Dustforce

By Garnett Lee, Jan 27, 2012 2:30pm PST

With the holiday lull drawing to a close, Jeff returns to the cast just in time for Xav's last show as an official Shacker. Ariel Angelotti and Christian Spicer also join the show making this a fearsome fivesome with Garnett. There's plenty on the table, too, with Ariel sharing her experience with the Japanese version of Final Fantasy XIII-2 in advance of its US release next week, news from Nintendo's financial briefing including an update on 3DS and Wii U plans, budding love for Dustforce, Insomniac's farewell to Resistance, and more making the time fly by to the wrap-up with Finishing Moves.

Weekend Confirmed Ep. 97: 01/27/2012

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If you're viewing this in the GameFly application, you can play Weekend Confirmed Episode 97 directly.

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:

    Show Breakdown:

    Round 1 00:00:00 to 00:26:56

    Whatcha Been Playing Part 1 00:27:31 to 00:57:24

    Whatcha Been Playing Part 2 00:58:21 to 01:24:55

    Listener Feedback/Front Page News 01:25:55 to 02:03:57

Original music in the show by Del Rio. Get his latest Album, The Wait is Over on iTunes. Check out more, including the Super Mega Worm mix and other mash-ups on his ReverbNation page or Facebook page, and follow him on twitter delriomusic.

Jeff Cannata 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!

Follow the Weekend Confirmed hosts on Twitter, too! Garnett Lee @GarnettLee, Jeff Cannata @jeffcannata, and Xav de Matos @xav.

Remember to join the Official Facebook Weekend Confirmed Page and 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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Comments










  • Hey Garnett, just wanted to thank you for using my comment from last week. I was surprised how dismissive Jeff was of the trends though, so I just wanted to clarify. Sure, he's pointed out how little difference there is between the min/maxing in WOW to casual games like Farmville and Mafia Wars, but to me, that always represented the gameplay limitations in those games, not the ideal. It feels like real gameplay reduced down, and it also pulls back the curtain on too much of the game mechanics.

    For example, you've often complained about "thwack thwack" hack and slash in Elder Scrolls, but I still find that fun when I play Zelda. But in that game I know a fight comes down to my knowledge, maneuvering, and predicting movement patterns. In Elder Scrolls it (often) just feels like who can do the most damage the fastest.


    Bottom line, I have no interest in defeating an enemy or completing a quest just because I've played long enough to have higher stats. That makes your real objective having higher stats, succeeding through those stats is the reward. In the same way, many players grind COD for better weapons or killstreaks, not to win games.

  • On SWTOR, let me just put this right up front so it gets noticed. The game has the most amazing CRAFTING system I've ever seen. Its got a perfect balance of investment to reward, as well as gambling-style random drops. That's another part of the game that is missing early on.

    As Jeff said, SWTOR definitely does not put its best foot forward. The combat is particularly weak around levels 5-10 I would say, right before you get your specialist class. To those of you struggling with this period in the game, just stick it out and play at least into your upper 20s, the game has a lot of amazing stuff that does not even open up until post level 10, such as getting your ship, getting a variety of companions, getting into crafting, and seeing the MASSIVE variety of questlines in the game.

    Contrary to Garnett's point about the stereotypical smuggler story, I think a story-driven MMO like this one necessarily goes into more non-stereotypical storylines than just about any film or novel. It is more like a TV series, driven by the need to constantly invent novel situations. Of course these "novel" situations are limited by the technology/budget available, but still, there is a huge quantity there you won't find anywhere else.

    On Garnett's continuing struggle with SWTOR, I think he is completely right about the combat. In MMO combat there is a delay/lack of connection between the button press and the character action. That dulls the usual sense of interactivity we love from our video games. Tabula Rasa was the one MMO that solved this problem, it had incredibly fun, visceral combat, and yet it flopped.

    However, I dislike this popular assumption that every RPG needs to be an action game. Final Fantasy XIII does not give the player a direct connection to the action either. RPGs were originally about using tabletop/boardgame type combat mechanics, where the player has a very indirect connection to the actions, and the action is slower. This allows more time to think, and in the case of MMOs, communicate with other players. Like I said in an earlier post, it is also less fatiguing over long play sessions (I think). In tabletop RPGs, boardgames, JRPGs, and even modern RPGs like Dragon Age, a lot of it is always left up to the player's imagination to turn the "combat" into an action scene they can enjoy seeing from the inside. Of course I'm not saying its all up the player to "play correctly" and enjoy the game, but it isn't all on the developer either. Especially not in an RPG.




  • On Resistance, I just think that franchise is conceptually a mess.

    First of all you have the WW2 1940s time frame, which is what every shooter ever has done.
    Second, you have aliens---ok that's what every other shooter has done.
    Third, the nature of the aliens is incredibly nebulous, because everyone you're fighting aren't actually extraterrestrials but humans who have been converted by the aliens. So ARE these aliens, or are they zombies?
    Fourth, all the different alien types sort of contradict that initial concept. Because if the Chimeria function by infecting other species, then where do the face huggers and all the other ones come from? If the face huggers spread the Chimeran species, logically there should be some non-humanoid base form of the chimera.
    Fifth, there ARE face huggers---making this canon both aesthetically derivative of Aliens and gameplay wise Half Life.
    Sixth, there is no main character for you to grab on to as an audience member---they went for realism, which is a legitimate alternative to Gears and Halo's style---artistically I think it is preferable, however they didn't develop a personality to Nathan Hale, or anyone else. In Resistance 2 they started giving Nathan Hale super hero attributes, but as soon as that could become interesting they killed him off.
    Seventh, there's a constant tension between the game's serious tone, and Insomniac's sort of Pixar cartoonish nature. Garnet noted how the Sony shooters feel incredibly morose compared to Halo and Gears, but the chimera often feel like cartoonish enemies. I mean in R3 there's that Chimera-giant enemy who attacks the town, but I just don't think he's frightening. He animates like this big bumbling clown. He's well animated, but he looks like he should be in a Warner Bros cartoon or something.
    Eighth, that second game just wasn't particularly well made. It was bloated, the graphics were plasticy. Even that co-op thing felt more like a proof of concept to me than a real developed game mode.

    To speculate, I have to think Insomniac was pressured to make a game that they just weren't suited for, in a set genre that stifled their creative instincts.
    Sony's success in the industry has never been about a flagship franchise. They made the Playstation big by disrupting the whole concept of a mascot who is synonymous with a box. Perhaps in desperation to oppose Halo and the 360, they tried to imitate that style of console marketing with Resistance, but it apparently did not pan out.



  • Great show folks, as always!

    With regards to four-player couch games, I wanted to mention the technical hurdles of pulling that off. When I play Mario Kart Wii, it looks noticeably worse when you have two people on a screen, let alone four. Effectively, the single-screen game is 60 fps, but that gets divided in half when you go to two player. I remember the same thing happening with CoD: World at War, Killzone 3 and Resistance 2 when I'd try playing with two people on a screen.

    So, I don't know how the engines work, but it seems like there are definitely sacrifices to be made in the game experience when you try to push your console to provide single-player graphics to four-player screens.

  • I was very happy to hear that Ariel liked Bayonetta (even if commentary on it did get shuffled off to Finishing Moves due to time constraints). I remember a few shows ago she said that she was going to play it, and I thought to myself, "Okay, the things that may disgust her are the introduction scene for Joy, and then the Joy torture attack with the wooden horse." So when Ariel started describing the "one across-the-line moment", I started saying, "Yeah, I think I know what this is; is this about Joy?...Joy torture attack? Yeah! I know that moment!" (laughter for 15 seconds). That was certainly part of why Bayonetta got a CERO D rating in Japan. I remember the first run through the game, when I'd died in the first Joy fight, but then built up enough magic, and said, "Okay, I've had enough of you; it's Torture Attack time!" Then suddenly I see Bayonetta summon a wooden horse and a chain whip, and I think, "Wait, is she going to use that to... yup, she's going there... keep hitting square... okay, that was over the top. Moving on..."

    I was bummed at the motorcycle and missile stages getting called "horrible" by Garnett and Ariel. They were a drastic departure from the core fighting mechanic, but they were also homages to Sega classics. The motorcycle part ("Route 666", Chapter 8, Verse 3) is an homage to Out Run (specifically the low-angle 3rd-person motorcycle racing perspective) and After Burner (the music is a remix of the After Burner II theme). I had played almost no Sega games back in the 80's and 90's, but the one that I did play was arcade version of Space Harrier (though not very long; I kept getting hit by shots). The first two verses of Chapter 14 ("Isla Del Sol") are a full-on recreation of the first stage of Space Harrier. I was confused the first time I saw the intro, but as soon as Bayonetta conjured up a headset and said, "Get ready!", I thought, "I know that! That's from Space Harrier! Awesome!". I had to change the controls to normal Y-axis (you can do it for this stage in the settings menu), and you have to dodge enemy shots, but hey, in the original Space Harrier, you couldn't dodge anything or fire magic hair stiletto heel missiles.

    Platinum's gradually translating a series of videos with Hideki Kamiya playing through Bayonetta with commentary on production. The latest episode is at http://platinumgames.com/2012/01/23/bayonetta-developer-commentary-part-42/ , and it's a really nice one in Chapter 12 ("The Broken Sky"), with a cinematic and a fight against Jeanne.




  • I like the discussion on I Am Alive's A.I. and its possibilities.

    I really hope with next-gen consoles, developers put more emphasis on artificial intelligence. I feel like there's greater opportunities to have a conceptually interesting game when A.I. is one of the highest factors in design. Just look at the Brothers in Arms series and the success it had early on. It would be more or less irrelevant if that game carried an A.I. system similar to Call of Duty or most shooters on the market.

    On the flip side of that, we justly criticize Skyrim for it's combat system because its A.I. is, like most games, standard; it performs all the necessary functions, but at their most basic level. All the enemies just attack you head on. There's no real differentiating in the various types of enemies other than them either attacking you from afar (dragons, bow-casters, mages, etc.) or attacking you up close. And unfortunately, that's probably Skyrim's greatest weakness.

    Just coming off the heels of finishing Batman: Arkham City, I can honestly say that that game has the greatest combat system of all time, not only do to the fluidity and overall badassness of the combat, but the A.I. And this is where I feel that Rocksteady's Batman is sort of under-appreciated. For the most part, the A.I. doesn't stand around and wait to be attacked. They'll come at you while you're beating up one of their helpless comrades, they'll pick up a stronger weapon if one is near, and they'll sometimes cower for mercy if they're the last one standing. I mean, it wasn't completely exceptional A.I. but it was a small, yet important piece that is too often overlooked in games.





  • To answer Chritian's question about the younger generation having the split-screen experiences like he (and I am guessing most of you) had when he was a kid, I for one definetly have, I'm fifteen and most o my favorite experiences are couch co-op. Halo 3, Reach, Borderlandswere amazing and even split screen competitive multiplayer. 007 From Russia With Love, got it for 8 bucks on the GameCube and my whole family played it non-stop (I am ranked 1st on it) and before I had my 360 I only had a Wii and a GameCube and when my friends came over we always played Red Steel (Does anyone even remember that game besides me?) So yeah Christian Split-Screen isn't dead. Not even close.