Weekend Confirmed 142 - Bioshock Infinite, Far Cry 3, Guardians of Middle-earth

By Jeff Mattas, Dec 07, 2012 11:00am PST

Today's episode of Weekend Confirmed brings together Garnett Lee, Jeff Cannata, Jeff Mattas, and special guest Nikole Zivalich, and naturally, many videogames are discussed. Cannata delivers some early (and glowing) impressions of the first couple of hours of Bioshock Infinite, Far Cry 3 gets some more time in the spotlight, and the first console MOBA, Guardians of Middle-earth, gets a bit of scrutiny. Before Finishing Moves and the post-show TailGate, the crew also chats about how best to handle Weekend Confirmed's Game of the Year awards. If you've got some feedback, a preference, or some ideas about how you think it should be handled, make yourself heard in the show comments.

Weekend Confirmed Ep. 142: 12/07/2012

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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 - 00:00:38 - 00:15:51

    Round 1 Part 2 – 00:16:49 – 00:29:33

    Whatcha' Been Playin Part 1 - 00:30:15 - 00:58:51

    Whatcha Been Playin Part 2 00:59:24 - 01:28:33

    Listener Feedback/Front Page News - 01:29:08 - 02:05:07

    Tailgate - 02:05:53 - 02:12:18

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Weekend Confirmed @WeekendConfirmd

Garnett Lee @GarnettLee

Jeff Cannata @jeffcannata

Jeff Mattas @JeffMattas

Nikole Zivalich @NikoleZ

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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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  • As to the GoTY discussion, i think jeff mattis said last week that you should do a more granular discussion. i.e. best protagonist, best villain...etc.

    for my money this is the best idea. i could suggest best leveling system, best shotgun, best cutscenes, best chase sequence etc.

    this would create for some really fun discussions, like what makes for a great shotgun, why was CoDs combat shotgun better than the jacobs shotgun from borderlands. or what makes for great story in videogames.

    in my opinion those are the best part of weekend confirmed in general and it would make for some cool and interesting discussions. this is what movies do with best effects and best editing. its a bit more granular, but i think its way more interesting

  • On the show I think Garnett asked about what should be done to make a good prologue segment or "Act 1" of a game. That is: simultaneously explaining the game mechanics while introducing the game's world and characters and endearing them to you before the actual main conflict arises.

    The first example that comes to my mind is Ocarina of Time. The first town -- Kokiri Forest, acts as a sort of microcosm for the rest of the game and it makes no secret of this, as each character in the town blatantly explains the game's core mechanics. The entire child Link segment of the game really just serves to try to endear Hyrule to the player so they actually care about the place and its characters before everything goes south.

    I think straight-up action games are at a disadvantage when it comes to things like this and really directed narrative in general since, as you guys said on the show, you need to get down to the shooting really quickly. I think Gears of War 3 did an okay job, having players walk through the opening area, showing how all the characters live there. Technically the game's opening dream sequence is an action prologue, which I guess is probably a good way for action games to start up -- have the player shooting stuff in medias res before developing the story. I think that in order to get over that hump though, action game players are going to have to accept a little bit of down time. Even action movies like Transformers have talking scenes that try to develop the characters.

    Far Cry 3 on the other hand has started to convince me that open world games should probably have as little directed storyline as possible. All the best parts of that game so far for me have been emergent events that randomly occur while I'm between missions. I think Dark Souls is probably about the right amount of storyline for an open world game -- really just a whole lot of lore spread about the environment.

  • I may be a little late with my suggestion, as you may have already made a decision on your format for GOTY, but I will give it anyway.

    Your goal is to get to the Weekend Warrior Award for the most FUN game of 2012.

    To achieve this goal, bring to the table your top 3 games you personally had the most fun with in the following categories:

    Single-Player Mode Confirmed
    Multi-Player Mode Confirmed
    Co-Op Mode Confirmed
    Always-Online Confirmed
    Mobile Confirmed

    The game that is brought up most on everyone's lists (and agreed on from the group) can be confirmed as the Weekend Warrior of 2012 as the GOTY.

  • How I would like to see Game of the Year done.

    First, start with a list similar to the New York Time Notable Books of Year which isn’t really an award but more a list of what the reviewers feel were excellent books released over the past year.

    From this list of Notable Games, six would be then shortlisted for Game of the Year contention with one taking home the big prize. I don’t feel that the MSRP, team size, budget, length of the game, or any other factor should disqualify or diminish any games opportunity from contending as Game of the Year. If a two hour downloadable game gave the panel the one of the best gaming experiences they had that year, there is no reason that it shouldn’t be in the discussion. Braid was certainly one of the best games of 2008 and Journey should be in the discussion this year with FTL making a strong case as well.

    Finally, recognize individual games for the excellence they brought to gaming in that year. This would allow the games that have really stood out to be acknowledged for that specific excellence. This recognition would also stand the test of time as almost a list of milestones for the industry and games that others will be compared with going forward.

    Imagine had this Recognition of Excellence been in existence over the past six years, we might have a partial list looking something like this:

    In Recognition of Excellence in Storytelling: Bioshock (2007)
    In Recognition of Excellence in Co-Operative Play: Left 4 Dead (2008)
    In Recognition of Excellence in Motion Control: Flower (2009)
    In Recognition of Excellence in Art Design: Kirby’s Epic Yarn (2010)
    In Recognition of Excellence in Sports: NBA2K11 (2010)
    In Recognition of Excellence in Writing: To The Moon (2011)

    So in the end there is a list of the games that the panel felt were truly strong and worthy of attention (Notable Games of 2012). There are nominees for the Game of Year award with the winner awarded (Game of the Year). And there would be a handful of games that have brought something special to gaming being acknowledged for their achievement (In Recognition of Excellence).


  • So this GOTY talk has reminded me of a conversation I heard on the Bill Simmons Report about the Oscars last year. Bill and his podcast guest, Alan Sepinwall I think, were talking about how the Oscars get it wrong for the major categories. (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, etc.) They both brought up the point that a films, actors, or directors impact can't be properly judged a few months after a films release.

    We all know the Oscar travesties over the years, you know classic films like Casino, Goodfellas, and Shawshank Redemption didn't win but nameless films like Shakespeare in Love wins over Saving Private Ryan. A movie that has served as the de facto way to do war movies and has served as the basis for modern videogame FPS. (The last part shouldn't count but still...)

    The point of their discussion was that there should be a longer waiting period, they thought five years for films, so that a movies true impact could be judged. Thinking about it I think there is something to that. Would Social Network lose to the Kings Speech if given more time, probably not. As far as games I think two years gives us enough perspective to properly judge a game's impact.

    Looking back at 2010 the three best games of that year were Red Dead Redemption, Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Mass Effect 2. At the time I honestly believed that Super Mario Galaxy was the best of those three. It definitely had the highest metacritic score of the three and the most perfect scores. How many gaming websites gave that game a Ten? Red Dead was my runner-up. Loved the way the game portrayed the wild west. The horse riding awesome and the story, with the notable exception of some of Mexico, was awesome. That being said, Mass Effect 2 was the best choice. We still talk about that game today. The characters were more memorable, the missions were more awesome to do, especially the suicide mission, and most of the sidequests were just so much fun to do. It was a game that many of us didn't want to end and a game that many of us replayed several times.

  • GOTY I'd like to see/hear individual top lists rather than an amalgamated list. That's what's important to me. I want to know what games Jeff C loved playing this year, and what games Garnett loved and Jeff M etc. For me, that specificity is important because having listened to the show I know where my own tastes overlap with those of you all.

    When JC talks about an MMO my eyes glaze over but when he talks about a Dishonered or an Diablo3 I'm keen to hear his opinion.

    I want to know what crazy indie games Jeff M loved.

    If you amalgamate everyone's individual list into one super-list, we lose all that contextual knowledge.

    Just my 2 cents, thanks for another year of great podcasts

  • A game came to mind when Jeff was discussing the idea of taking the "intro" of a game like Farcry 3 and stretching it out longer before "things get bad".

    It took me a while to put my finger on it, and it probably isn't the exact scenario Jeff had in mind, but bare with me here.

    Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

    While not exactly "care free" the first 30-40% of that game is spent running around friendly villages, riding your horse across rolling hills under a warm summer sun, talking with townspeople and princesses. Yes, you fight monsters and explore dungeons, but there is a distinct "lightness" to the mood.

    But then you travel forward in time, and everything changes. The reason I found that game so compelling when it came out is that I wanted desperately to return my world to the state it had once been in. I was attached to that world because I had spent so much time in it. It was very powerful.

  • So I have a question for Jeff C (or anyone else who's had hands-on time with Bioshock Infinite).

    I'm excited to hear that you loved the experience so much. You also made specific mention of the shooting mechanics (that they were good and felt "fun").

    My question is this: How would you compare the shooting mechanics to the original Bioshock?

    For me, the original game was an amazing setting, story, and scenario, but the moment-to-moment action killed any enjoyment of the game.

    Do the enemies in Infinite display any form of artificial inteligence? Is there more to fighting them than chasing them in circles around pillars?

    Infinite sounds incredible, but I just worry that I'll have the same problems with the combat mechanics. I'd love to hear your thoughts on how they compare to the original.


  • OK,GoTY.Here's the absolute easiest way to pick it,but first things first.I find it ridiculous that there's actually a GoTY,for the fact that there are waaaaay too many game that come out per year,too many game genres,and most of all,with too many game genres,all of those games are so subjective to t he audience that I feel like there's no way to really determine what the best game to come out in a year is.

    For instance,there's nothing that no one can say to tell me that there was a better game to come out this year than Darksiders 2.But here's the real problem,I haven't played every game that's come out this year,so the best game to me is the best game that I've played,and moreover,a lot of games that some people might think are awesome,I have zero interest in.Sleeping Dogs,AC3,ME3,I really don't care about any of them,so how could anyone tell me that any of those are the "best" game to come out this year? I'm not a Muppet that will go out a buy a game that I'm not interested in just because some outlets say that it's the GOTY.

    Anyway,that's my personal rant about that,but now I digress.

    There's an amazing site called Flickchart.com that basically pits two movies against each other,and you pick which one is better.You can narrow it down to specifics like decade,genre,directors,but in essence,it basically chooses two completely random movies and you use whatever personal criteria you want to pick which one you like better.For instance,one matchup that may pop up is Groundhog Day vs Back To The Future.You pick which one you like and the next match up is another two completely random movies.

    Inevitably what happens after hours of match ups,a list is compiled on the left of your screen ranking the movies that would be determined as your favorites.It's starts off somewhat inaccurate,like it may say something like Encino Man is your all time number one movie,but the more you work the match ups the more accurate it becomes,and it's accuracy is based on you and nothing else.

    This whole formula can be used to pick a GoTY.Compile a list of your top 20 or so games,match them up randomly round by round until there's a clear cut number one game.Personally,my determining factors for a game is how many hours of enjoyment I got out of it,how much I thought about the game while I wasn't actually playing it,How likely I am to pick it up again after finishing it,but you guys can make up your own criteria that suits you.

    Anyway,hope that helps.

  • This is my first time commenting in the threads, even though I have listened since episode one. Guys and Gals you do a great job bringing interesting discussions and I look forward to my weekend confirmed podcast every Friday.

    Cannata I also am loving Guardians of middle earth (GOME) and having dabbled a little with league of legends I like GOME more because of the freshness of the community. I like the feeling of everyone being new in the console MOBA space. I think it is less intimidating to jump in and start learning characters because no one is yelling at you like in League of Legends or DOTA.

    On that note, was wondering if there is anyway to meet other shacker's or any of you, to play this great game with? Most of my gaming friends are buried in Halo 4 or COD Blops right now and I would love so other people to play with. Being new to the forums not sure where I could find people who are just as interested as me. Hope this game continues to be supported :-) and keep up the great work guys!

  • What about some GOTY categories that focus on elements exclusive the medium of video games?

    I could imagine things like

    Best Character Creation/Customization
    Best Achievement/Trophy
    Best Tutorial sequence
    Best Vehicles
    Best Cutscenes
    Best DLC

    I think these are important aspects of video games that other mediums don't replicate and should be talked about. For example, Sleeping Dogs, while not my game of the year, had really great tutorials. The scene in which you learn gunplay was great, you're at the crime scene aftermath of a gang shoot out and you must replicate the events that took place and in doing so you're learning how to aim, lock on, vault over cover etc. During the whole sequence as you shoot imaginary bad guys your commanding officer casually walks among the battle, piecing together the events as they had unfolded.

    You could even go a little more granular or comical with things like Best Grenades, Bst Box Art, Best Death Animations, Best Auto-Log, Best Loading Screens/Menu/Maps/HUD.

  • Jeff Canata, sometimes I feel like you're a clone of me with some of the things you say. I thought I was the only person who plays intros to games like Far Cry and doesn't want it to end. There's something really appealing to playing the intro to a game where nothing is going wrong.

    When I played Doom amd you arrive on Mars and get the orientation and you're shown the ropes and then have to go check on some malfunctioning equipment, I kinda wish all hell wouldn't break lose and instead I went and found the problem, reported it to maintenance and everything was fine. When I played Alan Wake I wished the intro never ended and I spent a bunch of time with my wife putting away groceries in the cabin.

    I feel like that makes me weird.

  • Garnet I really did not think you explained your opposition to doing GOTY awards by genre. Genre is the only way that makes the results useful to gamers. I use GOTY results to decide what I need to go back and play, or what to recommend to friends. For example, I picked up Red Dead and Saint's Row III ONLY because of Giant Bomb's GOTY discussion around those games. Hearing someone passionately defend their choice really motivates you to go check a game out.

    Why by genre? Because frankly, most gamers do not enjoy all types of games. I think you game journalists are unique/rare in your love of everything from platformers to shooters to text adventures to MMOs. Most gamers I know stick to one or two types of games. Sports games? Don't care. Racing games? Don't care. IOS games? Don't care. Etc.

    The fact that it can be difficult to decide whether a game is action, adventure, or RPG is no problem at all. First, a game DOES NOT have to fall in one category! There's nothing wrong with saying Red Dead competes in the action/adventure, RPG, open world, and multiplayer categories, or whatever. Second, the discussions around what genres are game falls into are themselves important! If I like RPGs, but not so much action, then when you tell me about all the great RPG elements in Red Dead, my ears perk up. Its useful information!

    I get that certain games like Journey are hard to place in a genre because they are almost in their own genre or something. Well, if you feel it deserves it, just create a new genre to describe the type of experience the game gives you, and have it win that genre! Journey does seem like a new type of game and there's nothing wrong with recognizing that, just like "MOBA"s are their own genre. There are lots of mini-genres that should get more recognition, like my current favorite type of game is "multiplayer simulation" (World of tanks and Mechwarrior Online). I have had more fun playing these games than just about anything else this year, and its mostly because I just like this TYPE of game. They feel way more complex and tactical than the typical multiplayer shooter.

    The other ways of doing it are strange. Basically any categorization where you add caveats doesn't make sense to me:

    "Its really good...for a $25 game."
    "Its really good...for an Xbox game."
    "Its really good...for a downloadable game."

    Price point? GOTY isn't about value for dollar, its about the BEST. Platform? Many hardcore gamers own more than one platform. I bought a PS3 specifically to play Uncharted, again based on GOTY discussions.

    Genre isn't a caveat. You wouldn't say "Skyrim is really good...for an RPG". Gamers prefer certain genres, gamers get in the mood for a certain genre. I don't think gamers get in the mood for a game of a certain price point "I feel like playing a $10 game today!" or certain platform, except to the degree that those things actually refer to genres/styles of games like "I'd like to play a Kinect game" or "I'd like to play an artistic platformer (i.e. downloadable game)."