Episode 550: Strip That Village to the Bone!

by James Jones, Greg Leahy, Jon Lindemann, and Guillaume Veillette - December 10, 2017, 1:23 pm PST
Total comments: 21

Jon "Business" Lindemann's plans lead where even James Jones cannot follow.

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Still bleary-eyed from Saturday's successful telethon, the team reassembled for another milestone episode. James and Greg kick-off New Business with a look at Xenoblade Chronicles 2. From a story standpoint, they aren't that far apart, but James' incessant wandering has created a huge gulf in playtime. Both impressions are early, but it might be possible that some of the impact from Xenoblade's world-building has been lost three games in. Greg then switches dance partners to talk more Skyrim with Jon. Turns out that there are two ways to play Skyrim: finishing it and not. Guillaume finally finished off Metroid: Samus Returns, presumably being lapped well-over 200 times by Greg in the process. He's not enamored with this return to 2D. He also continues his gaming-out-of-time with Tumblestone for Wii U.

After the break, it's time for Listener Mail. This week we handle two emails. One asks us to create Weird Al-style parody songs and the other requests we map out a merely "fine" 2018, in light of Nintendo's 2017 efforts. The first email quickly turns into a chat about Mega Man 11, and the second was continually being complicated by Nintendo's announcements at The Game Awards, which ran alongside recording. You can write us parody emails via the inbox.

This episode was edited by Guillaume Veillette. The "Men of Leisure" theme song was produced exclusively for Radio Free Nintendo by Perry Burkum. Hear more at Perry's SoundCloud. The Radio Free Nintendo logo was produced by Connor Strickland. See more of his work at his website.

This episode's ending music is requested by Derek: "MONOX" (Title Screen Theme), from Xenoblade Chronicles X. Composition by Hiroyuki Sawano. All rights reserved by Nintendo Co., Ltd.


SonofMrPeanutDecember 10, 2017

Here's the real title:

New Super Mario Maker Advance 3: Super Mario Maker Deluxe

KDR_11kDecember 11, 2017

I'll keep pointing at A Robot Named Fight for your feels-like-Metroid needs, doesn't have the "enemies are too slow to kill" problem that Samus Returns and Axiom Verge have.

My worry with MM 11 would be that it has too many gimmick stages, that was the problem with MMX8 where a bunch of the regular stages were vehicle based or autoscrollers and then there were only like 3 Sigma stages, one of which was just an elevator with enemies dropping onto it and another the boss refights.

KobeskillzDecember 11, 2017

James i'm surprised you haven't figured out yet how the systems work as far as specials. You are usually really good at this stuff and i'm terrible at it but it didn't take too long.

You can see youtube videos that explain it as well. It's not a spoiler just helps clarify the system.

I'm really enjoying the battle system and enjoying switching between Pyra and another blade to set up the right combos. I"m in the middle of ch. 3 so probably close to where you were when you recorded this.

You're right though. The game has menus and systems upon systems. Some which i still don't understand!

But i feel the font is bigger and menus easier to grasp than X honestly.

When you go dig in the ground and it fails cause you haven't mastered something is that the skill tree?

So no, it isn't. But also yes it is? Blades have traits, like Water Mastery or Noppon Knowledge. You can view them on the Blade info screen, though you might need to use the shoulder buttons to access that page. You have to have enough points on your active party in order to break that skill lock. You can adjust blades to do it. Those traits increase level via use.

KobeskillzDecember 11, 2017

Quote from: Crimm

So no, it isn't. But also yes it is? Blades have traits, like Water Mastery or Noppon Knowledge. You can view them on the Blade info screen, though you might need to use the shoulder buttons to access that page. You have to have enough points on your active party in order to break that skill lock. You can adjust blades to do it. Those traits increase level via use.

How do you earn these points to break those levels?

KDR_11kDecember 11, 2017

The outer rings contain upgraded versions of the abilities. You have to unlock the ring by getting enough harmony and then do a skill-specific thing to unlock the skill itself (move the cursor over it)

KobeskillzDecember 11, 2017

If Gui likes a game 70% and dislikes it 30% it feels like he spends time complaining about that 30% vs the 70% he did like. lol.

Now before i get crapped on ive heard from others that Metroid Return does have a few issues. It's based on the gameboy game so maybe that limited the game.

I'm enjoying it but ive accepted the fact that is based on a game that was very different from the modern metroid template.

Almost like a Zelda 2 remake probably being different from a standard Zelda.

ClexYoshiDecember 11, 2017

James, whenever you close out Xenoblade Chronicles 2, you should watch the video John Raridin did for the NWR youtube channel about the ending, because there's some STARK revelations he discovered if you don't immediatley catch on to what is going on.

I gotta wait until Christmas to play.


See, one of the things some of the mods I installed on my PC version of skyrim essentially RNG-chooses locked doors, chests, containers, and sometimes even lootable bodies with traps that are pretty debilitating for the long-term if you were to get hit by them, sometimes triggering some pretty elaborate quests in order to fix.

While I realize that yes, Save Scumming could alleviate the whole mess I'd made for myself, It made me roleplay a bit more and err away from rampant avarice. Another part of the mod made it easier to make money, so it wasn't THAT bad to give up the impulsive need to strip everyone's body naked, but it was an interesting little experiment.

I will leave things to a vague description of said mod's gameplay, however, as i'm pretty sure Shenanigans is a testament to James' hard line attempt to keep things on the internet professional and work-safe.

SorenDecember 11, 2017

I think 2018 is too early for Nintendo to have a "just fine" year for Switch. I think for 2018 they'll be leveraging their handheld franchises for success. We already know we'll have Pokemon and Fire Emblem on Switch. All you need is Animal Crossing and you have your big 3 handheld series leading the way for a rapidly successful console that is selling hard on portability.

Add a 2D Mario, Pikmin and maybe a revival of a series like Kid Icarus or maaaaybe F-Zero? That's already a solid push with Kirby and Yoshi.

KobeskillzDecember 11, 2017

Every episode they ask for emails and I’ve sent serious emails but all they pick is silly emails and questions. So why ask for emails if we send them and not get read? : /

EnnerDecember 12, 2017

Good show.

You don't need to escalate the level of the special (Blade Art or the A button) if you skip a level. The first chain of a Blade Combo just needs level 1 or higher, the second chain a level 2 Blade Art or higher, and the third and final chain a level 3 Blade Art or higher.

For all the world stuff that is locked behind the skill checks (Water Mastery, Lockpicking, etc.) those are all dependent of the Field Skills of the Blades you have engaged (it doesn't count if they are not engaged to a party member). To repeat what KDR_11k wrote, you need to unlock the affinity chart in order to unlock the higher levels of a Field Skill. You can check the Battle Skills and Field Skills of a Blade by pressing the L and R buttons.

It's all so exhausting and sometimes I hate it, but usually I really enjoy the depths of everything that's going on in Xenoblade 2.

Quote from: Kobeskillz

Every episode they ask for emails and I’ve sent serious emails but all they pick is silly emails and questions. So why ask for emails if we send them and not get read? : /

Try not to take it personally.  I've written several emails both silly and serious too, that end up getting passed-over.  Heck, I sent an email very similar to the one they ended up reading about Bomberman's weird cameo playable character DLC.  Don't take it personally, keep sending your questions as they pop into your head.  I imagine at some point, they're weighing between how much bandwidth they have vs questions they think can prompt interesting conversation or that seem like something they haven't fielded before.

I think there's also been a fairly sharp deviation from them talking gaming industry/business, and my impression from the podcast is that Gui doesn't find himself able to contribute much to those conversations, or maybe just doesn't want to speak to those things in general.

ClexYoshiDecember 12, 2017

Okay, so... I have a LOT to chime in on for the Megaman 11 discussion and wanted to make my own post here.

First of all, I'd like to say that I'm 100% at odds with James' Megaman fandom, as I feel like the Inti-creates stuff gets too bogged down in it's own obsession with ranking the player for doing these diehard challenged runs that sap the fun from first-time playthroughs and rob repeat playthroughs of their replay value for the sake of replaying them. Inti-creates also asks a LOT of it's players in a way that gets a bit TOO manic for my tastes. It wasn't until the ZX games where I feel like they really figured out a good balance of what they wanted to do with the Zero games and make them not feel like AS big of a chore (there's a sidequest in ZX that literally has you grinding one level to go through, get a medkit, and bring it back to Guardian HQ like... 5 to 7 times.) Classic Megaman will always be the place where my heart rests with. I think I've documented before  to Neal that my favorite Megaman game, possibly much like Dr. Metts, is Megaman 6.

You need only really listen to the Megaman 3 RetroActive episode to understand my love of Classic Megaman.

Also, you're talking about the Maverick Hunter prototype, which was a Megaman X FPS where they kinda went full-on robot. I would have been down for that if it was pulled off right, but the plug got pulled on that VERY early.

It's probably what lead Armature to make ReCore.


With all that preamble out of the way, let's get down to brass tacks on MASB's email and the Megaman 11 discussion.

First off, Megaman Games as a service exists. although James might have just been referring to the dreadful iOS Megaman X port with redrawn graphics and touch buttons, there's an endless runner Megaman game called Rockman X-Over.

Rockman X-Over used a new design for Megaman who is this time traveling model of Megaman meant to be able to incorporate techniques from classic Megaman all the way to Volnutt in order to combat the combined forces of Dr. Wily, Sigma, Dr. Vile, Master Albert, Serpent, and whoever else they put in that game. It is an endless runner type game where you have a jump and shoot button as well as the ability to activate cards you've equipped to Over-1 ala' battle chips from the Rockman.exe games. the battle chips, of ocurse, are acquired much like any other EA Ultimate Team/Gachapon style game. Rockman X-Over is Megaman Games as a service, and western fans RIOTED at Capcom-Unity so bad that Chris Svenson was like, "Okay, Okay! we won't release it in the west, you win! no Megaman for you!"

To look at Megaman 11, first I think it's important that we know the Japanese title of the game.Rockman 11: Unmei no Haguruma!! , as I've copy-pasted from the Megaman Knowledge Base, has a subtitle that roughly translates to "Rockman 11: The Gears of Destiny!!". Thanks to the team over at GameXplain (whom we only interacted with a week ago thanks to the Telethon!) they've broken down that the 3 gears underneath Megaman's UI seem to be able to activate a super mode if you have all three. one seeems to make all buster shots charged shots, one seems to increase Megaman's Movement speed, and... mayhapps the third is some sort of defense buff or helath recovery? some sort of screen nuke attack ala' the earlier X games' Giga Attack? regardless, at the end of the trailer, Megaman activates the gear ability and is able to fire off 3 charge shots as the logo for the game gets in the way. there's also a powerup icon that looked like a gear that's in the trailer as well, meaning the gear mode might just be a pickup the developers put around the level kinda in the style of an e-tank, and thus design levels accordingly.

As someone who's actually currently designing Megaman-style levels for a fan game right now,I tried to very carefully examine the trailer, and nothing particularly offensive like with Megaman & Bass is happening there so far. I do have faith in capcom to pull this through, and do so with far more passion than anyone in Yoshinori Ono's teams have left in them.

I don't see Switch games in 2018 going anywhere but down, but I don't mean that as an insult. 

The 1-2 Punch of Zelda and Mario, and how high quality those games were, coupled with Splatoon, ARMS (even though it wasn't my cup of tea), Mariokart 8, Pokken, Xenoblade 2, and the flood of indie titles on the eshop is a hard bar to reach again. 

If I were to guess, I'd expect the flow of indie games to stay as consistent, if not more rapid than before given how well the platform is doing.  I expect Nintendo to take a step back in 2018 while some of the third party developers who sat out during launch year start releasing titles for the platform in 2018 and beyond, and for Nintendo to have a more muted output in 2018 maybe in effort to gear up for a bigger 2019.  Some of the titles from 2017 are probably evergreen in terms of how much they will continue to sell as the Switch playerbase increases. 

An okay year from Nintendo for me?  Animal Crossing, Pikmin 4, Smash Bros "Complete" Wii U port, Nintendo Wii and introduction of whatever legacy library support they're going to roll-out.

F-Zero alone would tip the scales for any year being GREAT, I don't care what that Heretic James Jones says.

kobeskillz, I actually have an email of yours in the chute ready to go. We just spent forever on 2 emails this week.

KobeskillzDecember 13, 2017

Yeah i saw the time stamp for those two and thought that some other emails were in between those just not listed on the time stamp. lol.

Is cool. I should stop posting or emailing in the moment as i listen to the show cause it's when emotions and opinions are at an all time high. lol.

Thanks. : )


KobeskillzDecember 13, 2017

Quote from: Crimm


i would love the guys who did wonder boy on Switch to totally redue some of those old classic games.

ClexYoshiDecember 15, 2017

Right, for reference's sake, I suppose 550 is a good episode number to remember my 2018 switch predictions.

In addition to Yoshi, Kirby, Fire Emblem (in May), and Pokemon (holiday season), we're going to see Monster Games' next project take that coveted late august spot that something gets released in. I also feel like we're going to get some sort of game with a BIG Online hook once Nintendo's Online service hits. Weather this is in the form of New IP or something existing is up in the air. 2018 may also be the year that 2D mario Re-emerges, but in a way that reinvents and invigorates it in the same way Super Mario Odyssey or Breath of the Wild did so.

I think the content flood will continue because we're now living in a world where development resources are no longer divided between 3DS and Wii U... or are very minimalistically so.

I also think we get teased with SORA's next game. a Non-Smash Bros. game that adheres to the idea of a nonsensical control scheme that uses a single button.

I also think we get some sort of eShop game that finally demonstrates what in the damn blue hell is the purpose of that dumb IR sensor on the right Joycon.

Support for the Gamecube controller adapter will accidentally be patched in again and hastily patched out as quickly as possible.

Couple of things:
- The support for the cluster-f sadly hasn't been patched out
- Monster seems to be dedicated to the NASCAR Heat series now, but it'd be nice if that crossed to Switch

ClexYoshiDecember 17, 2017

Quote from: Shaymin

Couple of things:
- The support for the cluster-f sadly hasn't been patched out
- Monster seems to be dedicated to the NASCAR Heat series now, but it'd be nice if that crossed to Switch

See, I thought they patched it in, and then a couple of days later they realized they did that by accident somehow and patched it out again, but i guess I heard wrong. That was more of a joke prediction anyhow.

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