Weekend Confirmed 159 - Defiance, Ni No Kuni, BioShock Infinite spoiler discussion

By Ozzie Mejia, Apr 05, 2013 1:15pm PDT

In this rare Friday morning-recorded edition of Weekend Confirmed, Garnett Lee and Jeff Cannata welcome in early birds "Indie" Jeff Mattas and Nikole Zivalich. They kick off the show with a look back at the Rock Band franchise and LucasArts' legacy, before speculating on what happens to those properties. The talk then shifts to some games, as the crew wrap up Ni No Kuni and Crysis 3 and touch briefly on Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate. The show continues with some talk about Defiance and Trion's exceptional handling of the game's launch issues and Nikole Z offers up her latest Storytime segment on The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, a game so epic that she can't deliver the whole story in a single week. This week's show wraps up with a special edition of the Tailgate, discussing all things BioShock Infinite and going neck-deep into spoiler territory.

Weekend Confirmed Ep. 159: 4/5/2013

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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 - 00:00:35 - 00:29:33

    Whatcha' Been Playin Part 1 - 00:30:06 - 00:59:37

    Whatcha Been Playin Part 2 01:00:34 - 01:30:02

    BioShock Infinite Spoiler Talk - 01:30:44 - 01:59:54

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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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  • I just finished Bioshock Infinite and it was incredible. It was a damn near perfect experience. The one thing that I felt really pulled the game down was the gameplay. It just didn't fit with the game at all. Brace for opinions and SPOILERS.

    So, when it comes to the art, themes, setting, voice acting and all that good stuff, Infinite constantly makes you forget you're playing a video game and makes you feel like you're living in a world. But when it comes to the gameplay, Infinite reminds you that you're playing a video game. While the story and the world soars above what other games attempt, the gameplay drags it down. Before I start, I want to say that there's nothing about the gameplay that's mechanically broken or unpolished, all of the gameplay functions properly and controls well.

    Here's some of the things that are a stark reminder of just how 'video gamey' Infinite is.

    So much combat. It's like the game has two modes, immersive story mode, and shooting gallery. It's hard to explore themes of shame and redemption and the psychological effects of war and killing when the gameplay is a Rambo simulator. Not only do you find yourself killing hundreds of people the violence is so absurd and comical it's baffling how anyone thought is was ok. Last night I electrocuted a guy and his brain slipped out of his disintegrating body and bounded on the floor. I wouldn't have been surprised if he pulled out a sign that said 'yikes' or Booker said 'take that dick-tits'. The game at times feels like Bulletstorm or a Looneytoons episode. 23 out of 50 of the achievements are about killing enemies. And the AI is dumb and uninteresting, they barely react to getting shot or adapt to your movements. It's a mindless shooting gallery. It became a grind that out stayed it's welcome and I couldn't wait for the combat to end and the story to resume. The game could have done with about 40% less shooting, There's few times where the combat feeds the story in any meaningful way. Aside from fighting the handyman or Lady Comstock, few of the characters had any personality or depth.

    The 'video gamey' nature is at odds with the world. There's been great effort to present some complex themes. Rarely does a game present such strong images of racism and religion (two things that most creative types leave to analogy). Despite holding up an ugly mirror to humanity the game breaks its immersion with video gamey stuff that feels out of place and downright comical. An encounter could go like this: I walk into a new area and look, there's the sniper rifle leaning against the doorway, I wonder if I'll need that ... then using my video game super powers I jump 30 meters into the air to attach to a skyline and then fall 30 meters unharmed into a bunch of enemies, shoot a flock of ravenous crows out of my hands into them, I'm low on health but that's ok because I shoot a man with a pistol that causes his head to vaporise and a fountain of blood erupts from his neck and I'm wearing pants that heal my wounds when I kill someone. Then I survey the bloodied corpses and oh look, one of them was carrying a a bowl of cereal, a cake and a pineapple so I instantly eat them and all of my bullet wounds are healed. Then I head-but a coin block and money falls out of it. Actually, at this point head butting coin blocks wouldn't be the most hokey video gamey element to the game. Why do people leave audio logs just laying around in an alley way? Why do locks cost a number of lockpicks that will be consumed during the picking? It's all so ridiculous and video gamey. I haven't eaten a hotdog to restore my health since Double Dragon!

    All of these elements in the gameplay, the combat, the traversal are as if they were building two entirely different games. One, a hyper violent light hearted tongue in cheek period shooter, the other a deep and riveting story about a man trying to get his daughter back set against the backdrop of religion and racism. It's like this amazing story has two modes, Infinite asks you to soak in this immersive experience and then it routinely interrupts your experience and says 'now go into arcade G.I Joe killing mode'. I don't think irrational know how to make a game that fits with their world and their story. It's like they have this amazing talent for vision and immersion only know how to make Doom games. I'm no game designer so I can't suggest any meaningful ways to create gameplay more appropriate to the story and world but there must be some better ways to interact with this world than what they managed to create.

    These elements really tore the game in two for me. I couldn't wait for the gameplay to get out of the way of the story. I had to wade through the mechanics of this game to enjoy the story. But to Irrationals credit, I came away from Infinite feeling really privileged to have experienced the story. It's really to their credit that their story and world more than compensated for the gameplay.

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