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Episode 182: Everyone's Podcast Selection

by Jonathan Metts - February 7, 2010, 2:10 pm PST
Total comments: 34

I shall stand like a tree in the wind.

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James is thrilled to finally have his Xbox back, but he's also been playing the Symphonia sequel and reviewing Glory of Heracles. Jon gets a special delivery and opens it live on the air, while Greg delves deeper into that one clone of Jet Force Gemini. Jonny brings it home with first impressions of Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, plus the Zelda-esque Assassin's Creed 2.

After the penultimate round of nominees for Game of the Decade, we launch into your Listener Mail. There are suggestions for Wii Player's Choice, worried speculation on the recently teased Metroid: Other M, and a robust chat on inactive Wii owners who aren't buying M-rated games.

Don't forget to play along with us on Super Mario RPG for RetroActive! Leave your comments and join the discussion in the dedicated forum thread.

We're always looking for great Listener Mail to read and discuss on the show, so please send your questions or comments! (We really love seeing your praise and feedback regarding the show itself; however, in the interest of time, we may edit your letter to be read on the podcast.)

Credits:

This podcast was edited by Greg Leahy.

Music for this episode of Radio Free Nintendo is used with permission from Jason Ricci & New Blood. You can purchase their newest album, Done with the Devil, directly from the record label, Amazon.com, or iTunes, or call your local record store and ask for it!

Additional music for this episode of Radio Free Nintendo is copyrighted to Nintendo, and is included under fair use protection.

Talkback

NWR_KarlKarl Castaneda, Contributing EditorFebruary 07, 2010

I've been playing through Assassin's Creed 2, too (recently signed up with GameFly - since there's a distribution center in Tampa, it only takes one business day to get to Miami). I like it a lot more than the first game, which I found ambitious, but ultimately boring. My big problem with the game (though it's much less serious than it was in the first iteration) is that the "strings" are way too noticeable. I mean, if you look hard enough, every game has a very simple formula, but AC's stand out like black on white. The vistas are gorgeous, and when you hit a good free-running stride, it's a ton of fun, but I can't escape the feeling that the game is mostly one "go deliver this item, and then return" exercise after another.

Thankfully, I recently hit a tomb mission, which was fantastic (and very reminiscent of Prince of Persia) - I'm hoping there's more of that as I get further in (I'm in Sequence 5 now). At this point, though, I'd say it's far more of a "like" than a "love."

The tombs are the best parts of the game, so far at least. I'm a little disappointed that Desmond's sequences seem to be toned down, because they were my favorite parts of the first game. Sneaking around, hacking into the computer, etc. was a great thrill, and it was unlike anything I had played before.

KDR_11kFebruary 08, 2010

I don't think Wiimote sideways would work for Other M, remember that the sideways games are from franchises that had their peak on the NES and Game Boy, Metroid didn't really hit its full power until the SNES and frankly if you don't severely neuter the gameplay complexity of the series there's no way it'll fit on a sideways Wiimote without being a clunky mess that'll make you wish for better controls. Even the simple act of switching between missiles and beams is clunky with a NES pad.

NWR_DrewMGAndy Goergen, AlmunusFebruary 08, 2010

Oops.  Credit was given to me for the Phoenix Wright demo impressions, but the proper credit should go to Grant.

D'oh.  That's my bad.

noname2200February 09, 2010

I'm surprised to hear you guys say Tales of Graces has sold well. I thought it underperformed: I believe it's done worse than Dawn of the New World or Tales of Vesperia (PS3) did.

I echo the concerns about Other M. I want to love it, I really do, but the more Sakamoto talks the more antsy I become. Part of this is Team Ninja, part of it is Fusion (which I really didn't like: restricting free exploration until the end in favor of a linear narrative sucked), and a large part of it is that I still have zero idea what it's going to be. Still, I confess to going through a similar cycle with the original Prime, and that turned out great. I guess we'll find out soon which way Other M is going to go! I didn't realize that Sakamoto was that prolific, though.

YoshidiousGreg Leahy, Staff AlumnusFebruary 09, 2010

Quote from: noname2200

I'm surprised to hear you guys say Tales of Graces has sold well. I thought it underperformed: I believe it's done worse than Dawn of the New World or Tales of Vesperia (PS3) did.

I echo the concerns about Other M. I want to love it, I really do, but the more Sakamoto talks the more antsy I become. Part of this is Team Ninja, part of it is Fusion (which I really didn't like: restricting free exploration until the end in favor of a linear narrative sucked), and a large part of it is that I still have zero idea what it's going to be. Still, I confess to going through a similar cycle with the original Prime, and that turned out great. I guess we'll find out soon which way Other M is going to go! I didn't realize that Sakamoto was that prolific, though.

My understanding is that Tales of Graces was well received critically with initial sales numbers that were broadly in line with those of Dawn of the New World, i.e. significantly weaker than Vesperia (which has performed very well for a Tales game) but still good. Perhaps expectations were higher than that--I can't say as I was very tuned in to the run up to release on that one.

As for Other M, I do think that whatever it turns out to be exactly, the odds favour a Wii Remote-Nunchuk scheme in general because it offers the most flexibility. For sidescrolling action the setup could mirror that of Zero Mission, with the C and Z buttons on the Nunchuk substituting for the GBA's shoulder buttons. In that case you still have an analog stick for 3D movement if there is some arena battling, and pointer control for first person shooting sequences as suggested by the trailer. Playing NES style and flipping to shoot situationally as we discussed during the show is an intriguing idea, but the diversity of gameplay styles hinted at means that Wii Remote-Nunchuk is much more likely.

Now this doesn't eliminate the potential for Classic Controller support--just look at its inclusion in Sin and Punishment 2, which has highly demanding shooting action that feels like it pretty much requires the use of the pointer. I doubt any shooting segments in Other M could approach that level of intensity, so they could put CC support in and let people deal with using a stick instead of the pointer for any first person shooting if they prefer the feel of it for the rest of the game. 

NWR_DrewMGAndy Goergen, AlmunusFebruary 09, 2010

I am now also playing Words with Friends.  If anyone besides Lindy is up for some EPIC SCRABBLE ACTION, my username is DrewMG.  Hit me up!

ejamerFebruary 09, 2010

Ouch... no love for Baroque this time around, which is especially painful seeing as how you guys apparently didn't put much (or any) time into playing.  But hey, who needs to play a game to judge it fairly!
:Q


Kidding aside, I don't know who the forum fanboy was that stood up for Baroque previously, but am willing to take his side.  Having spent a lot of time with the game over the past couple of weeks, my impressions went something like this:

First hour --> Wow, this is pretty terrible.  Gonna toss it faster than asparagus at fat camp.
...
Third hour --> Hmm... I kinda get it, but still don't understand what's happening here.  So frustrating to die, too!
...
Sixth hour --> More pieces coming together.  Better hold onto this game for a while before trading it in.
...
Tenth hour --> Ah!  Finally making some real progress.  Shouldn't have made that decision though, it didn't help at all.  Better make another run down to the bottom, using my ever-improving skills.
...
Fifteenth hour -->  Wow, this game is a keeper!

Obviously the big problem is why would you keep playing a game that is painfully difficult to start?  I don't have any good answer for that question, and understand that not everyone will enjoy Baroque because of the steep learning curve.  However, I can't think of any Wii game that has been more rewarding as you continue playing it.


One of the loudest complaints about Baroque is having to start over repeatedly and losing all your progress.  This isn't exactly true though... dying does mean you lose your items, but it's far from starting over.

The most valuable asset held over between each new life is knowledge: understanding more about how the game world works and how you can bend that to your advantage.  For most people this learning won't stop for as long as they continue playing, because there are so many mysteries, interactions, combos, and special effects to uncover.

Beyond that, there are also ways to affect the outside game world based on your actions within the dungeon, either by bringing out items for later use or advancing the plot by performing certain actions.  Once you are good enough, you should never have to start off without a few favorite items - not that you would need them to survive any longer though, as your experience and knowledge should be enough to guide you safely through the tower.


Is it worth pushing through the initial confusion to play this game?  No, at least not for everyone.  But there is a definite market for the game.  Baroque might appeal to anyone who is looking for a game that:

- doesn't spoon feed them, and isn't afraid to be balls hard some of the time
- requires both time AND thought to master
- offers short bursts of RPG action, since each dungeon session is essentially a stand-alone adventure in an ongoing story
- improves the longer they play, instead of getting stale* at the 6-hour mark
- provides a real mystery to uncover and puzzle over, but with a less obtuse timeline than Killer 7


*Ok, Baroque is repetitive almost immediately too.  The difference is depth - I honestly feel that there is more to discover about interactions and events in Baroque's game world than most other games.  You'll be doing similar things, but with different purposes and (hopefully) better results as you learn more about the game.


PS - If you actually read this mini-novel wall of text, thanks for your time.  ;)

Yeah, so it's a Roguelike. Probably not going to get played by any member of this podcast.

ejamerFebruary 09, 2010

Quote from: Jonnyboy117

Yeah, so it's a Roguelike. Probably not going to get played by any member of this podcast.


...or anyone else that doesn't enjoy niche games and have a masochistic streak.

Sure, standing up for Baroque is a lost cause - but those are always the best ones.
;D

noname2200February 09, 2010

Quote from: Yoshidious

My understanding is that Tales of Graces was well received critically with initial sales numbers that were broadly in line with those of Dawn of the New World, i.e. significantly weaker than Vesperia (which has performed very well for a Tales game) but still good. Perhaps expectations were higher than that--I can't say as I was very tuned in to the run up to release on that one.

You may be right: my impressions come exclusively from the Media Create threads on NeoGAF, where I believe the general agreement is that it underperformed. I understand that it's done better than some Tales games, but worse than many others as well, and that the games it's beaten out tend to be the portable titles. I fully concede that I may be wrong though!

Quote:

As for Other M, I do think that whatever it turns out to be exactly, the odds favour a Wii Remote-Nunchuk scheme in general because it offers the most flexibility. For sidescrolling action the setup could mirror that of Zero Mission, with the C and Z buttons on the Nunchuk substituting for the GBA's shoulder buttons. In that case you still have an analog stick for 3D movement if there is some arena battling, and pointer control for first person shooting sequences as suggested by the trailer. Playing NES style and flipping to shoot situationally as we discussed during the show is an intriguing idea, but the diversity of gameplay styles hinted at means that Wii Remote-Nunchuk is much more likely.

Now this doesn't eliminate the potential for Classic Controller support--just look at its inclusion in Sin and Punishment 2, which has highly demanding shooting action that feels like it pretty much requires the use of the pointer. I doubt any shooting segments in Other M could approach that level of intensity, so they could put CC support in and let people deal with using a stick instead of the pointer for any first person shooting if they prefer the feel of it for the rest of the game.

Interesting ideas. I agree with the podcast consensus that Wiimote-only is highly unlikely (although I guess they COULD use the tilt to aim diagonally, a la NSMBWii). I went back and watched the trailer again, and I still don't know what to make of the game. I'm probably going to remain pessimistic until I get the game in hand. That worked before though.  :D

Quote from: ejamer


Sure, standing up for Baroque is a lost cause - but those are always the best ones.
;D

For what it's worth, you have my (ambivalent) support on this one. I enjoy some roguelikes, and I thought Baroque itself was solid. It did have too many limitations for me to endorse it completely though: the lack of blocking and the simplisitic combos in particular kind of stuck in my craw. Being able to save on each floor did makes things much easier though.

In any case, I'm curious to hear if you're looking forward to Shiren 3.

YoshidiousGreg Leahy, Staff AlumnusFebruary 09, 2010

Sadly, the only reason why Baroque stuck in my memory for me to mention it as an earlier RPG on Wii is because I read some quite exceptionally unfavourable reviews of it back when it released--I think the Official UK Nintendo Magazine, which seems to skew towards positive reviews compared to most outlets, even had some very unkind things to say about it. And yes, given the kind of game that it is as well, I was never going to pick it up to see for myself. But it's interesting to hear from someone who did find the game rewarding and get some insight on why it may not have reviewed very well.

ShyGuyFebruary 10, 2010

This was a pretty good show. I hope the Japanese Wii gets put to good use. (hint:TRACE MEMORY WII)

KDR_11kFebruary 11, 2010

Why would you use a Japanese Wii for that? The story is much easier to follow if you use a European Wii. Here's a better use for that Japanese Wii.

SundoulosFebruary 11, 2010

Loved the Game of the Decade picks during this episode guys.  I thought Zack did a particularly good job in presenting arguments for his choice, considering the criticisms that have traditionally been made towards the game.

ejamerFebruary 11, 2010

Quote from: noname2200

For what it's worth, you have my (ambivalent) support on this one. I enjoy some roguelikes, and I thought Baroque itself was solid. It did have too many limitations for me to endorse it completely though: the lack of blocking and the simplisitic combos in particular kind of stuck in my craw. Being able to save on each floor did makes things much easier though.

In any case, I'm curious to hear if you're looking forward to Shiren 3.


My much-better-than-expected experience with Baroque convinced me to buy Chocobo's Dungeon (which I've just started playing) and has placed Shiren firmly on my watch list.

I look forward to trying Shiren eventually, although have enough backlog that it might take a little while to get there.  The early review comments I've heard are mostly favorable, and it sounds like the developers really tried to make it more accessible and easier for players to get started.

NWR_DrewMGAndy Goergen, AlmunusFebruary 11, 2010

Agreed, Zach did a bang up job with Wind Waker. 

NWR_DrewMGAndy Goergen, AlmunusFebruary 11, 2010

Quote from: ejamer

I look forward to trying Shiren eventually, although have enough backlog that it might take a little while to get there.  The early review comments I've heard are mostly favorable, and it sounds like the developers really tried to make it more accessible and easier for players to get started.

I received the NWR review copy of Shiren just last night and played for a few hours.  It's my first Mystery Dungeon experience, but I genuinely enjoyed my time with it so far. 

Thanks, gents. For what it's worth, I was really struggling with my script until I heard Andy's take on Majora's Mask.

ejamerFebruary 11, 2010

This might be an odd question... but are there any plans for an entire podcast or special episode that splices together all of the Game of the Decade pieces?  Or maybe break them out and post them as separate audio reviews after finishing the whole series?

These retro-reviews have been a great addition to the podcast, and have provided great commentary.  If nothing official happens, then maybe I'll just need to dig through the shows and extract them manually.
:)

NWR_DrewMGAndy Goergen, AlmunusFebruary 11, 2010

I'm not the final authority on this, but it shouldn't be very difficult at all to provide MP3 files for each of the segments. 

SundoulosFebruary 11, 2010

I loved all of the Game of the Decade picks this week, and I look forward to seeing which games survive the culling of the lists.

I thought Zach did a particularly good job; he gave very articulate arguments that address many of the criticisms levied against his pick for the decade.  I never disliked that game, but I've come to appreciate it more over the years.

NWR_DrewMGAndy Goergen, AlmunusFebruary 11, 2010

Same here, and I think the reason why is that the visuals age MUCH better than something like Ocarina or Twilight do.  In 15 years, Wind Waker will still look fresh and new, but I wouldn't say the same of Twilight Princess.

Twilight Princess gets some undue flack for its graphics. I agree that they are certainly less vibrant and memorable than those in Wind Waker. However, TP wasn't going for true realism; it was more an evolution of the style in Ocarina of Time, which was actually stylized in its own way. The character designs in particular are clearly not attempting to be lifelike. Also, don't forget that Twilight Princess uses its own version of cel-shading for Midna and everything else related to the twilight. While the overall effect may not be as striking, I think the game deserves some credit for successfully combining two disparate art styles in a believable way. In fact, one of my criticisms is that you see very little of the twilight during the long middle portion of the game.

My problem with Twilight Princess' art style isn't so much that it tries to be realistic and fails. It's clearly a further evolution of Ocarina's aesthetic. However, I get the feeling that there was no clear art design concept from the get-go. The art direction is all over the map as a result.

And I agree--I would have liked to have seen much more Twili characters and Twilight environments. They had a very alien look to them.

ShyGuyFebruary 11, 2010

Quote from: KDR_11k

Why would you use a Japanese Wii for that? The story is much easier to follow if you use a European Wii. Here's a better use for that Japanese Wii.

DANG IT EUROPE STOLED IT FROM ME

SundoulosFebruary 11, 2010

I actually love the art sytle of Twilight Princess, though I agree that time will probably be much kinder to the Wind Waker art style.

I guess I haven't read enough forums to know.  I didn't realize that there was much criticism of Twilight Princess' art style.  Perhaps if the game didn't have so many "me, too" moments borrowed from previous games, that particular sin would have been overlooked. 

The Twilight Princess hype train also lasted way too long.  Looking back at that history, I think it makes sense that Nintendo has been playing so many things close to the vest during the last year or two, at least in regard to some of it's titles.  Say what you will about Spirit Tracks, the late Zelda as the Phantomreveal sold me (or suckered me, depending upon your POV) into buyingthe game.  I wasn't even considering it because I had lukewarmfeelings towards Phantom Hourglass.

Part of me hopes that the Zelda we see revealed at E3 will kind of be another completely unexpected turn of events on par with the Wind Waker reveal, though I don't know that we'll ever get that kind of shock again.

noname2200February 11, 2010

Regarding the GotD feature, I think whoever pitched Pikmin had the most creative pitch. I don't necessarily agree with the selection, but he did a great job in presenting his reasoning.

Game of the Decade... I don't do this often, but I feel like teasing a little bit for the next episode, which we just finished recording. We started at 7:00 Mountain and finished at 10:45 or so. There's roughly half an hour of New Business, and the rest of the episode is pure GotD madness. I personally found the whole discussion to be impassioned and exhilarating. It was probably the most fun I've ever had recording the show. If you like our special retrospectives on Ocarina of Time and Super Metroid, think of the GotD episode as a super-sized buffet version of that, in which we talk about a dozen or so of our favorite games ever. We managed to keep it pretty positive overall, while successfully cutting the list down to a manageable final set. You may not entirely agree with the list we came up with, but I think we made an earnest effort to go through the selection process in a fair, methodical way and gave due consideration to a very diverse field. Finally, I would highly encourage RFN listeners to make it through the entire episode before voting in the poll.

I'm really quite giddy with this whole thing and can't wait to hear the polished version. After we finished, I told the guys that I felt like I had just run a marathon -- exhausted, nearly ill, but strangely ecstatic.

Killer_Man_JaroTom Malina, Associate Editor (Europe)February 12, 2010

Very nice. I'm looking forward to the discussion. Hopefully, you'll be able to keep most of it during the editing process - even if it exceeds 3 hours, I would love to hear it all, as this is a pretty momentous occasion.

As an aside, a talk about the Games of the '00s would, in my view, not be complete without Super Mario Galaxy. I'll have to wait and see if that is mentioned on this episode, but I really do believe the game is a contender for sure.

KMJ, I think you'll enjoy the moment when Jon argues that Galaxy (a game he barely played) may be more deserving than RE4 (which he has beaten at least twice, across multiple platforms). I'm not giving any hints as to the final list, though!

Yeah, the episode we just recorded was pretty epic.  Very, VERY grueling selections, and since all of the games are top-notch, we're really getting down into the smallest of comparisons.

D_AverageFebruary 12, 2010

man....I wanna hear this new show NOW!!!

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