Weekend Confirmed 138 - GTA V, Assassin's Creed 3, NFS: Most Wanted, Forza Horizon

By Jeff Mattas, Nov 09, 2012 11:00am PST

On this week's episode, Garnett, Jeff, and Jeff are joined by special guest Jason Paul from Naughty Dog. Cannata and Mattas explain why they're both enjoying Assassin's Creed 3 quite a bit, before everyone jumps on hype train for the recently released info about Grand Theft Auto V. Racing games Forza Horizon and Need for Speed: Most Wanted also get some "compare and contrast" discussion, and then the show wraps up with some Finishing Moves and a brief NFL Tail Gate.

Weekend Confirmed Ep. 138: 11/02/2012

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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:

    Show Breakdown:

    Round 1 - 00:00:36 - 00:12:36

    Whatcha Been Playin Part 1 - 00:32:50 - 01:03:20

    Whatcha Been Playin Part 2 01:04:21 - 01:32:30

    Listener Feedback/Front Page News - 01:33:26 - 02:04:43

    Tailgate - 02:05:28 - 02:12:15

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Weekend Confirmed @WeekendConfirmd

Garnett Lee @GarnettLee

Jeff Cannata @jeffcannata

Jeff Mattas @JeffMattas

Jason Paul @jmpaul

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Original music in the show by Del Rio. Get his latest Album, Club Tipsy 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.

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  • So, uh, this might sound weird but....Black Ops 2 single-player mode is actually pretty damn fun.

    The "Cold War-era" missions are still your usual CoD fare, but with some added twists like playing near an entire mission on horseback close to the beginning.

    I'm having a lot of fun with the "future setting" missions, though. The soundtrack is electronic and space-y like something you'd hear in a game like Deus Ex HR (though not AS good), and you get some neat abilities...like cloaking, that give it an almost Ghost Recon-type feel. The only thing reminding me it's CoD is the actual gunplay, which is good like always.

    The multiplayer seems to have changed the least, but that new "pick 10" system is pretty damn cool. There are a ton of new ways to build your class to actually suit your play style this time around.

    It's been a long time since I've actually enjoyed a CoD single-player, so I'm sort of impressed.

  • When I heard fishing for an example of '...someone trying to innovate on single player racing...' I just started screaming the words ‘SPLIT SECOND! SPLIT SECOND!!!’, and praying someone on the show would bring it up, but it didn’t happen. That’s what I want more of in racing games-racing not only as part of a competition, or to escape the cops, but also to survive-and as much as people didn’t seem to like NFS The Run, there was a bit of that present there. I think the stage was called ‘Independence Pass’, where you were not only racing, but avoiding debris from an avalanche too?-that was pretty awesome.

    As someone who doesn’t care about anything that is multiplayer related, so far I’m not having a ton of fun with the new NFS MW- as stated, the single player experience feels hollow, and I don’t like just driving up to cars and getting them instead of earning them. Also the extra stuff like breaking fences and billboards is kind of boring to me. The best thing about it is just getting on the highway and weaving through traffic-do you think I might like Forza Horizon? Is it just as ‘arcadey’ as NFS MW (Don’t like realistic driving games at all).

  • So more on the GTA zapping system, I think the advantage of being able to zap between characters, will be to cut the fat out of making one's way through a GTA campaign. On one hand it sounds like you will be able to look at the different protagonists doing random things between missions, but on the other hand, it seems like the purpose of the zapping is to create deliberately more elaborate sequences that synchronize with one another so that the player can stay attached to the action of the story.

    So the problem with the notion of applying co-op in that situation, is that the game would essentially have to make players wait in a certain spots, and perform a specific set of actions, like pieces in a rube goldberg machine, to complete the set piece mission. And if one person gets something wrong, the entire mission would have to be reset. Basically it would be like trial and error times 100 because all 3 players would impact the progression of the game.

    If you don't do that the only other option is basically to start deinterlacing the missions which would defeat the whole purpose of what Rockstar is apparently trying to do. All of a sudden you wouldn't be able to force these characters to interact, and you'd have to give them their own missions---which would probably be really boring in comparison to the heists.

    The whole zapping system in general isn't going to be about creating some great AI. Its going to be about creating meaningful scripted moments between the characters, while letting the player manage the mechanics. If I compare this to old Resident Evil games, they are more like a sort of pseudo precursor to asynchronous multiplayer. What this GTA system actually reminds me of, is the Active Time Event system in Final Fantasy IX---where at points in the game, when your party would disperse in a town, a little menu would pop up, giving you the option to temporarily control one of the side characters in like a mini-episode/vignette. It was incredibly effective at fleshing out side characters in that game, and it goes to what I always say about video games having as much in common with novels as they do with films---because like novels, video games are not a temporal medium and you can deliver loads of information to the player (like clicking X on an NPC to get them to repeat a line of dialogue), but like films they have all they have all the trappings of cinematic story telling to move the audience.

  • So, who's playing the new Paper Mario?

    I downloaded it last night and started playing first thing this morning, and while it's probably no shock to anyone here that I'd be enamoured with a Mario game, I could barely put it down to eat.

    Even with all the press this game got, I found the concept rather baffling. How do you make a turn-based RPG with no experience points, levels, or even stats? Isn't it just an adventure game minus the pointing and clicking at that point?

    Having put in some hours, I get it now. It's not about the stickers, it's about the coins.

    Basic attack stickers are in absolutely no short supply. The thing is that stomping a bunch of goombas will get you nothing, but stomping goombas with finesse gets you coins, which you can use to buy better stickers in order to fight bigger and stronger mobs with greater finesse. Also, the more coins you have, the more you can pump into the battle spinner, which gets you bonuses as well as letting you use multiple stickers at a time.

    Better stickers can lead to better coin bonuses, but the game is balanced such that, at least at this point, I've yet to find a way cheese the system into giving back more coins than what it cost to buy the better stickers, so there's a good push and pull of just fighting regular goombas and koopas with basic stickers to build up coins to use in more urgent situations. At the same time, enemies are visible on the map and are very easy to simply avoid, should you prefer.

    The humour is still there, and it's a breath of fresh air to play a game with actual wit and wordplay rather than just regurgitating tired references and internet memes. (okay, so someone did shout "hey, listen!" at me once already, but I'll let it one incident slide)

  • My comment is for Jeff Cannata.

    I'm glad you're enjoying Assassin's Creed 3 but I must ask you. Don't you think that with every irritation it seems like the dev team are getting further away from what the core of AC games. Ship battles are fun and and all but what does it have to do with being an Assassin?

    The game just seems to become more like a comic book story and less about being a lone assassin fighting against a group of people hell bend on world domination. That's why to me the first AC will be the the purest (read, not the best) in the series.

    It just feels like every game game in the series is trying to 1Up (sorry for the pun but I couldn't resist) the one that came before it. I would not be surprised if the next AC you will be commanding a huge army. I have a feeling the next game in the series will be set in the US civil war time and Abraham Lincoln will be featured.

    I just feel like they are getting further away from the creed of the AC game. I hope they give the series a long deserved rest once Watch Dogs comes out.

  • MMO exploration died post Everquest and coding in exploration with achievements and world events that are all specifically scripted aren't really exploration they are illusions.

    Instead of accepting the player base as the dynamic force in the world (ala EVE) other modern MMO design has deemed that every player needs to be the star of the show at every moment to line up with other video games. What this does is drown all those moments into a deluge so that nothing stands out as being truly unique or dynamic and you see right through it all.

    WoW's greatest success was it found out how to make the elements of MMOs more readily visible so that a mass audience could get into it, it was also the greatest weakness for the genre because now nothing is hidden or new or spontaneous everything is pre-planned and waiting for you to walk up to it.

  • As someone who completed AC3 I actually thought the first half of the game was much better than the second half. I think maybe the two Jeff's will agree once they play further into the game, because all of the characters from the beginning play such huge roles in the rest of the game and unlike what Jeff Cannata had said I actually wished the first segment was actually longer not shorter.

    As far as Connor's story there were so many holes with big plot points that it was very frustrating to see how often the developers just missed the mark on really telling a great story. Honestly it felt like they just skipped over huge plots in the story and just passed it off as common knowledge between the characters to the point where when there is a confrontation between two major characters I was actually surprised when one of them didn't know about an event that happened to Connor in his youth. Not to mention by the end of the game you really wonder what is Connor even fighting for, a why he would do some of the things he ends up doing.

    One thing I really did like was this was the first Assassin's Creed game where I would have an assassination and actually feel bad about who I killed and really wonder if Connor was actually doing the right thing by killing these targets. By the end of the game I was left wondering if the Templars not the Assassins were really the good guys after all.

    What's everyone's feeling on this? Try not to spoil too much, I'm sure many have yet to even begin this game.

  • Weird. I've always seen the ghost cars of friends in Horizon's Rivals mode. I wonder if you have to hit a certain number on the leaderboard for it to upload your ghost replay for others to see?

    Also, you failed to mention Horizon's lack of traffic in online multiplayer, Garnett. Point to point street races and free roam aren't just the same when there's only the max 8 real players and you aren't weaving around traffic like the single player mode. The world is almost entirely empty.

    There's more than just races with the playground modes as well. King is a lot of fun, Infection is okay, but Cat & Mouse just isn't the same with the arcade style physics that bounce cars away upon contact. PIT maneuvers that were natural in the past Forza proper games are nigh impossible to pull off in Horizon.

  • Garnett I want to take you to task about knocking on SWTOR and its F2P, and hopefully you address this in your next show.

    I currently am active in the SWTOR PTS (Public Test Server) and have tested the f2p just so you know where i'm coming from.

    1) What's up with the axes? I admit Jedi's running around with axes is kinda hilarious however they are Gamorrean axes. (Pig Guards from Jabba's Palace) to you that may mean nothing but to some star wars fans who play the game its a cool nod.

    Uniqueness in MMO's - One of SWTOR's problems was the weapon itemization, every jedi/sith runs around with lightsabers for most of the game (understandably so as this is the weapon they use) but at the end of the day it is a game and makes players feel the same to all the other players, so this is a way for Players to add uniqueness to their character and no matter how outlandish it is for jedi's to run around with axes, being different in game is important players especially in mmos. The weapons are fully modable as other "orange" items so basically serves as a weapon skin that doesn't depend on character level. The axes are not going to draw people to play its the story but the item shop is a nice addition, Bioware is giving previous players retroactive coins for months paid so showing the items or the fact that there is a cash shop is a way to draw them back and reward them with some currency for previously subscribing. Also current subs will get a monthly allotment...this is fairly normal with mmos that are f2p.

    Double Standard - Many F2p mmo's have cash shops with vanity items and thats the norm. They aren't selling Power so vanity items such as the many gear skin sets, pets, mounts etc...is the way to go. We don't complain when League of Legends sells skins some for as high as 9 dollars each.

    Will F2p make SWTOR more profitable? - Yes it will, I thought it was odd when you all laughed at the idea. The reason they are going f2p is because the subscription model is not working for them and they know they will make more money/profit for it to be f2p..they aren't doing it out of the kindness of their heart, they are doing this to make it more profitable.