40 Comments
Posted by tindrum

"they should call hearthstone.... hearthstone should come with some free ipad batteries." -scoops

Posted by JohnJamieson

Seems to be some audio problems.

Edited by LazyEkans

Misspelled Watchdogs you journalist. Yeah, showed you.

Edit: OH CRAP, I DID IT TOO.

Edited by down_and_out

Seems to be some audio problems.

Its way out of sync for me.

Posted by patrickklepek

Any audio issues are the result of Google Hangout trying to reconcile a drop in the video connection. It always figures itself out after a little bit. The podcast version is online if anyone wants that one instead!

Posted by Seikenfreak

I'd like to see some quality fan art of Alex huddled in a corner of a dark room with the glow of the ipad on his face, all wide eyed and scary looking. He's in that corner because that is where the wall outlet is so he's got the ipad plugged in. His hand/finger touching the screen is gaunt, very stiff looking, and the finger has sharp angles like a creepy witch. Maybe have a wallet and credit card on the floor next to him because we know that's going to happen eventually so might as well get ahead of the game.

Maybe black and white picture? Like a charcoal or somethin.

Edited by your_name_here

Have you thought about making local audio recordings and then synching it up afterwards, or does that take time you don't have?

Posted by patrickklepek

Have you thought about making local audio recordings and then synching it up afterwards, or does that take time you don't have?

That wouldn't make sense/be worthwhile for the video, since it would push back it showing up on the site by 3-4 hours, between exporting and uploading. We record the audio locally and produce the podcast version that way. :)

Edited by Benmo316

This spreadsheet really helped me figure out which cards I should choose in Arena. It has the best-to-worst cards for each hero.

Edited by Forceman4077

Btw guys Portillo's is in Buena Park not Anahiem. It's literally right next to the other OC theme park, Knott's Berry Farm.

Edited by Sarumarine
Online
Edited by FoolishChaos

Glad to see that someone on GB knows where the good mass effect is

Posted by MethodMan008

@tindrum said:

"they should call hearthstone.... hearthstone should come with some free ipad batteries." -scoops

that would be a terrible name for hearthstone, wtf patrick :P

Posted by GaspoweR

So Hearthstone is Scoops' DOTO? :P

Posted by Svenzon

For a few seconds there, Alex was speaking with Patrick's voice and it really screwed with my mind.

Posted by Video_Game_King

Wait, what happened to Watch_Dogs?

Edited by TehPickle

I appreciate the iPad specific benefits of super casual play, but still, Hearthstone is no Magic.

Posted by allodude

@patrickklepek: Just a tip, if you're playing Casual games and keep getting outplayed, try playing Ranked matches. You'll often get matched up against players around your skill level. More experienced players like to experiment with different decks in Casual mode.

Posted by Stevesonaplane

They should've dumped those E.T. cartridges down the kola superdeep borehole.

Posted by qawsed

The arena gives everyone access to all the cards, even ones that haven't been unlocked.

Posted by Bistromath

Mass Effect 1 and Hearthstone. I'm feeling it.

Posted by Mr_Creeper

From Software, pls.

Edited by Sweetz

Regarding Mass Effect, I'm about to write a mini-essay and this really isn't the right place for it, but I'd like to get these thoughts written down and Patrick and Alex's short discussion spurred me on.

Immediately after playing Mass Effect 2, I felt the same as Patrick -- that while ME2 was a far more polished on the gameplay front , it was inferior in story and "world feel" to that of ME1, and that overall ME1 was the better game. Then I went back and replayed ME1 and ME2 in quick succession. Then I replayed them again before Mass Effect 3 came out, and then again this year I replayed all 3 in succession.

The conclusion I've come to is that ultimately Mass Effect 2 is the best game in the series. The gameplay in ME1 is far too flawed and the best part of the game is the universe discovery aspect which it has simply by nature of being the first game in the series. When replaying the game, where the discovery factor doesn't apply, I do still find it to have the most engaging story of trilogy (largely a result of it having a strong antagonist in Saren), but that's not enough to save it from the bad gameplay.

Now I should note much of my vexation with ME1 is because I'm a bit of a completionist, and each time I played I did most or all of the sidequests. This was largely because I like experiencing the touchpoints for thise sidequests when playing through the sequels, even if they are as minimal as an email. This meant a lot of driving the Mako around on driving on oversized, craggy maps with no interesting scenery and a lot of entering one of three cut-and-pasted buildings to shoot some guys. The uncharted worlds are awful, truly awful, and consist of over half the playtime for a typical run through.

I'll grant that I ruin the game for myself by insisting on doing those quests, and that the main story missions are largely fine, but the uncharted worlds are a part of the game nonetheless and certainly pertinent to anyone playing the game for the first time.

The game still has problems beyond the uncharted worlds of course, the equipment being the next largest issue. There are still some people that lament the limited weapon set introduced with Mass Effect 2 and I have to wonder what they're thinking. The differences between the weapons of the same level in Mass Effect 1 are largely vestigial. Whether one brand of weapon was 2 points lower in accuracy and 2 points higher in damage didn't notably affect the combat at the end of the day. More than anything, ME1's excessive glut of barely distinguished equipment just gave players the illusion of choice. Going between levels of weapons did make a difference, but the weapons were generously doled out in accordance with character and enemy level progression and so swapping out higher level weapons as you received them was similarly just busywork that didn't require any real decision making. The system they switched to in Mass Effect 2 where you had a smaller set of weapons that were notable distinguished from each other in appearance and behavior was a far better way of doing things.

I wholeheartedly agree with Patrick that in a gloriously ideal world, we'd get a Mass Effect remastered trilogy that took the best gameplay parts of all 3 games and applied them to the whole series. ME1 would unquestionably be best game in the series if that happened, but it obviously needs the most work. While I'd like to think it wouldn't be that difficult to bring in the guns and armor systems from the subsequent games, the question is what do with the sidequests. I think they should take the 5 or 6 most notable ones and build out unique, small maps for them the same way that sidequests are handed in the sequels and then scrap the more incidental ones. I feel like Mako should still factor into a sidequest or two to maintain the "flavor" of the original version of game; so maybe they could have a couple sidequests dedicated to driving the Mako similar to the Firewalker (hover tank) missions in ME2.

Mass Effect 2 and 3 can remain largely untouched, assuming that story changes are out of the question. However, I would port back ME3's weapon system to both ME1 and 2. Though the weapon system in ME2 was far better than it's predecessor, it still sucked that you were limited to certain weapon types based on class. ME3's system of allowing any class to use any weapon, but then having a class specific encumbrance and having that encumbrance affect your skill cooldown time was brilliant. It motivated the more skill heavy classes to carry fewer weapons, but they weren't forced to, and it gave you a lot more variety of gamplay for a single class as a result.

Edited by Dan_CiTi

Dark Souls 1 is pretty flawed and generally overrated for its novelty. Dark Souls 2 is not as hard or as good in some ways as 1, yet in some ways it is superior. Both games are still great games.

Watch Dogs, you just need to adjust your expectations to it being Red Dead Redemption in Future Chicago, as opposed to open world Deus Ex. But it definitely doesn't seem like what it seemed to be when they first showed it, but they never really told us what it really was in the beginning anyway.

Also Mass Effect 1 sucks after the Citadel. So many badly, boring designed environments, awful clunky combat, and completely unlikable characters like Kaiden, Ashley, and most of the NPCs in the game. Saren was an interesting villain, but the game was too short for him to develop as much as he should have. It was interesting because it was a new Bioware RPG, but like Jade Empire(which I probably prefer to ME1 in most ways), it had its obvious quirks and cool moments that amounted to an enjoyable game that I dearly wished for a more polished sequel that met the potential of the original's world and premise.

I hope they go and recycle most of the ET cartridges.

Posted by TheHT

Yeah! I knew that E.T. thing wasn't some urban legend, but already known to have happened.

Posted by subyman

I'm glad to hear Alex and Patrick not being super excited about the ET stuff, I thought I was alone. Who cares about some cartridges for an old crappy game? I rarely hear of the story and I've been following games for nearly 15 years, so obviously it wasn't that big of a "legend."

Posted by President_Barackbar

Btw guys Portillo's is in Buena Park not Anahiem. It's literally right next to the other OC theme park, Knott's Berry Farm.

Glad to hear SOMEONE finally say it. My grandparents live right over by there in Buena Park and for some reason Jeff and Co seem to think its in Anaheim or LA alternatively. I mean, Anaheim is the next city over, but its still in Buena Park.

Edited by Adaptor

This video is all kinds of broken for me. Apart from the constant freezes it also automatically skips to random places and then stops playing...

Posted by Wolferey

Only version that worked for me was the youtube version. All the others stop at 00:15 when the audio skips :/

Posted by ThePantheon
Posted by SDHero

My AM was appropriately and definitely bombed. Thanks to Patrick and Alex for continuing to do such a great show.

Edited by soimadeanaccount

ME1 is a discovery/introduction story, the world building is fresh and new, and the game spend the most time in that compare to 2 and 3, it has to since it is the first of a series.

ME2 is a character story with its recruiting mission, loyalty missions and their conclusions are all very personal. The overarching story line in ME2 is pretty simple, but serviceable. One of its climatic moment that pushes a critical piece of the story forward is the Normandy crew getting abducted, which is again, a personal heart string the game is trying to pull, they are taking YOUR crew which you had numerous banters with and have done side missions for to upgrade YOUR ship. To be honest ME2 and ME3 both skipped out on what could have been the most interesting part of the story; when Shepard and Cerberus have their fallout; was sadly left as a fade-to-black-ish "while between the two games this happened..."

ME3 starts off with an uphill battle with what could have happen in ME2, since almost anyone in ME2 could die, ME3 can't have a lot of the same cast play major roles, and the cast of ME2 IS pretty much the crux of that game, although ME3 did exceptionally well with what they can with the previous cast. Personally for me the best parts of ME3 is when the cast of ME2 shows up for critical reason, curing the genophage with Mordin and Wrex, Thane shows up to save you, Legion and Tali.

As for gameplay, I don't mind ME1 combat too much, in some sense I miss the all powers recharge individually. The inventory was horrible tho, equipment comes down to, try to get spectre weapon cause they are the best of all stats and then you can stop fumbling around with them.

ME3 I played adapt so I always keep cool down to shortest possible, so I rarely get to bring anything other than a SMG.

Posted by bigstrat2003

@sweetz: I am one of those who thinks that ME1 gameplay was the best in the series (ME2 gameplay was a huge disappointment, ME3 was a step back in the right direction but still not as good as ME1), and I think you've missed the point of why people like the equipment and stuff that ME1 had. The equipment (along with the much superior skill system) means that ME1 is the game in the series which actually feels like an RPG. ME2 doesn't even feel like an RPG gameplay-wise, it feels like a shooter with dialogue trees and an unusually involved story. ME3 gets back in the right direction (weapon mods, branches in the skill tree, earning XP in smaller chunks rather than "you finished a mission here's a skill point"), but it still feels like a shooter first, an RPG second. And that's a goddamn shame.

The side planets in ME1 weren't well done or interesting, but as far as I'm concerned that game was the pinnacle of the series otherwise. Best gameplay by far, best overall plot, best story beats... that game had everything. I wish Bioware hadn't dropped the ball for the other two games. :/

Edited by Sweetz

@bigstrat2003: You're not making meaningful decisions when you fiddle with equipment in ME1 though. It gives the illusion to depth for those who obsess over numbers and min/maxing without being able to see the larger picture and realize that at the end of the day it means they kill an enemy a second or two faster at most. The differences between weapons of the same level are largely meaningless and there's no thought required to swap in weapons of higher levels that are doled out in accordance with general game progression. You're doing thoughtless busy work to accomplish what is essentially just the weapons getting stronger as you level up - which in the sequels happens directly without the grunt work. It was there to fulfill people's idea of what an RPG is supposed to be and give the illusion of making meaningful choices, but it was ultimately pointless because even at that point their game design was that of a shooter.

ME1 didn't feel like an RPG in the traditional sense at all to me, because at the end of the day you're still aiming and shooting at stuff in real-time and you weren't making meaningful decisions with the equipment as elaborated. To me it felt like a shooter with a bunch of largely vestigial elements crammed in that accomplished little more than simply slow the game down. When they did away with the meaningless busy work and fully embraced it as an action game with a light skill system (and dialog tress) in the sequel, it was a better game for it. Still I'd agree maybe they went a little too simple in ME2, which is why the weapon system from ME3 is the best balance of having a smaller number choices that have meaningful gameplay differences while not having a glut of barely distinguished equipment that require no thought because you're just swapping in the one with the higher number.

PS Just to point out again, I formed these thoughts over quite a number of playthroughs. Coming off my initial playthrough of ME2, I had a similar opinion of ME1 being the "deeper" game (but really it's not).

Posted by bigstrat2003

@sweetz: I'm not arguing that there was meaningful depth in those choices (there wasn't, really), but the important thing is that those choices were fun and flavorful, even if they weren't super deep. Your arguments aren't without merit by any stretch of the imagination - but to me (and, I would guess, to most who prefer ME1) they miss the mark. Those things, even though they weren't deep, were integral to the game and made it actually feel like what ME was supposed to be: a shooter-RPG hybrid. There are any number of elements in most games which add no depth whatsoever (think achievement pop-ups or loot explosions), but would those games be as fun without them? No, they wouldn't.

This isn't just my distorted memory of the game talking either. Similarly to yourself, I have played through both ME1 and ME2 several times post-release (recently, even), and I still stand by my statement that ME1 has by far the superior gameplay. It was a proper RPG, with gear, stats and XP gain. ME2 was, like I said, barely even an RPG any more, and while I enjoy the story/characters, the actual gameplay continues to be disappointing every time because ME1 is just so damn good in that respect. :(

Edited by Sweetz

@bigstrat2003: Swapping equipment that doesn't make real differences to the combat doesn't add fun or flavor for me. I only see it as pointless busy work because it never requires any thought or skill. I just can't see from your perspective how fiddling around in an overly cumbersome inventory system makes one an RPG and the other not when at the end of a day Mass Effect 1 is still about aiming a gun at things and pulling a trigger - and that part is unquestionably better in the sequels.

What I'm getting at is that Mass Effect 2 and 3 are far better at being shooters in relation to other shooters than Mass Effect 1 is at being an RPG in relation to traditional RPGs. I'd rather play a really well done shooter with light RPG elements, than a shooter that's pretending it's an RPG and is worse at being either as a result.

Posted by Y2Ken

I'm glad that, with the release of the iPad version and Patrick diving into it, Hearthstone is finally getting its hooks into some GB guys. Both cause it's a cool game and I've been interested to hear what they'd make of it, and because I think that game will likely deserve at least some discussion in end-of-year awards categories.