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Episode 605: Remembrances of Games Yet to Release

by James Jones, Greg Leahy, Jon Lindemann, and Guillaume Veillette - January 13, 2019, 5:23 pm PST
Total comments: 5

Jon is trying to get into streaming. He's going to need some help.

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Last week we did an all-New Business extravaganza. We blitzed through 11 games with the speed and grace of a gazelle. This week it is yet another all-New Business episode, this time with the speed and grace of a matinee. We managed to get through a measly five games, one of which we hadn't even actually played. It's a real return to form for "The world's most important podcast."

Guillaume kicks-off the show with Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom, the newest Monster Boy game that is somehow unrelated to the recent remake of Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap. It turns out that they're both great games, and Gui recommends both heartily. Greg is pursuing a 2D revival of his own, with Mega Man 11. He's already pulverized Dr. Wiley on some outrageous difficulty, and really likes the same game that James called his biggest disappointment of the year. Jon starts his New Business wearing a pair of freshly pressed slacks, as he breaks down the business implications of Bungie and Activision parting ways over Destiny 2 - which coincidentally he has been playing heavily. He also attempts to "live stream" waiting for New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe via a podcast. It goes about as expected. James closes out the show with his thoughts on Octopath Traveler. He's not pleased with the game's pacing, structure, experience and equipment model, and storytelling. It's got a lot of problems, that could be fixed fairly easily; maybe there will be a sequel.

Two big reminders this week. First, send us your emails. Second, the 9th Annual NWR Live Stream will be on January 26.

RFN is going to be all over it:

  • 12:00 Noon: RFN's Annual Predictions
  • 1:00 PM: Production Horror Stories, hosted by Syrenne McNulty and featuring James
  • 3:00 PM: Radio Trivia, hosted by Michael Cole and featuring Greg
  • 5:00 PM: Jeopardy, hosted by Syrenne McNulty and featuring Greg and Jon
  • 12:00 Midnight: Shenanigans
  • 01:00 AM: J&J Alternate Reality New Business, hosted by James and Jon (and alcohol)

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 Road Less Taken, from Persona Q2. It was requested by Syrenne. All rights reserved by Atlus Co., Ltd.

Talkback

ClexYoshiJanuary 14, 2019

I think at this point I have to accept that I enjoy very different JRPGs from the standard JRPG playing members of this show. I LOVED Octopath traveler so much, even if there's some repetition to be had with it's opening hours.

If I had to say what I really love about it, art direction aside, is that it's straightforward in the ways it needs to be and then invites you to just go nuts and be a party of adventurers with different quests who are just hanging out together because it's just safer to go about traveling like that. it reminds me a LOT of the sort of feelings I get playing Dungeons and Dragons a lot of the time, actually. Especially given the path action driven sidequesting, it REALLY can feel like a JRPG lens on my favorite parts about tabletop RPGing.

I also feel like it lets me have freedom to go about exploring without outright crushing your skull in unless you do something CLEARLY stupid. it'd be easy to compare to Final Fantasy 2 on the famicom if the areas weren't clearly delineated.

I love this game because I can clearly see the vision the team had for it and the unflinching way they stand there instead of compromising it to make little tweaks that would appease the sort of people who like conciets like the affinity chart make me smile.

There's a reason I stuck with Octopath traveler and dropped Xenoblade Chronicles 2 like a bad habit.

I feel like I SHOULD play Xenoblade 2 again, but like... I feel like as long as I'm playing Final Fantasy 14 and that continues to be a more engaging experience for me that I won't be able to enjoy Xenoblade Chronicles 2.

Destiny is a great game if you have a dedicated group of friends who want to run the events after the weekly refreshes and attempt the raids.  The core game's story was enjoyable enough to play through as well, but two of my three friends who played dropped off before any DLC hit, which was a disincentive to bother continuing.  I still think the core game story was good fun, but don't know if they've obliterated that with the newer DLC.

NSMBU is a great platformer that visually felt tired at release.  It was the fourth Mario 2D platformer in that style.  While that was happening and since, Nintendo has done creative things with Kirby and Yoshi's look.  It was marked with the same kind of conservatism that hampered the Wii U that in retrospect was a half-measure of what they really wanted to achieve (Switch).

OedoJanuary 14, 2019

I never really had a problem keeping my party properly leveled in Octopath Traveler because 1) they give you the level for each character's next chapter right after you finish the current one, and 2) you can easily get all eight secondary classes at the start of the second set of chapters. The game gives you enough information to know who you should be leveling in the short-term (because their chapter comes soon given the recommended level), and enough flexibility that you can have any character in your party at any given time and not be hindered all that much (outside of some boss battles).

If too much time between chapters is a concern for you, the game also gives you enough flexibility that you can make two separate parties and just run through all the chapters for one party before moving onto doing all the second party's chapters. I didn't do this myself, but I saw quite a few people say it worked well for them with a little bit of planning.

Also, I don't agree with H'aanit being useless without monsters at all. I ignored that mechanic for the overwhelming majority of the game, and she was still one of my favourite characters. Hunter class skills are great both for boss battles and for speeding up a lot of normal encounters (which, yeah, it doesn't surprise me normal encounters are taking you a long time if you think she's not super useful).

As for the structure of the game overall, I thought they did a great job delivering on what they set out to do with Octopath. As Clex alluded to, it really feels like you're on an adventure with eight travelers and the game lets you go about it in so many different ways. I had so much fun with the battle system and building up characters and parties, and just exploring the world and the towns playing as all eight characters as I went. On the flip side, if you wanted to minimize the time between each character's chapters, the game is structured in a way that makes that approach feasible too. It's a super unique and enjoyable experience that stands out to me even like half a year later.

The game sold over one million units in less than a month, and that's with shortages in Japan and in the West, so it was definitely a commercial success. Asano has since said that BD11 is expanding and has hinted that they're currently working on multiple projects (and have heavily teased another Bravely game), so it definitely seems like Square Enix was happy with the result overall.

NullNoMoreJanuary 16, 2019

I loved Octopath, and with my current life I appreciated that I could play for 15 minutes at a time and still feel like I had made progress. I appreciate smaller stories, rather than One Grand Quest To Save Everything (although I hear that postgame....)
 
I only felt under-leveled once, when I ignored the suggested level (did NOT make that mistake again); mind you, I always finished all 8 before moving up a chapter, and I made a point of swapping in the lowest party members whenever possible (for challenge and because I could sense how useful this would become).

I appreciate the honesty and detail of this and other reviews -- I can read between the lines and know which sticking points will be the exact opposite of flaws for me (and vice versa).

Also: shout out for that mmmmmmmusic, gosh it was good. The creepy Frostlands, Primrose's theme, Cyrus' waltz, mmm so good.

TimothylowJanuary 29, 2019

I havent finished this Geekbox episode yet and it is already one the best episodes. Thanks and keep up the good work

Uhm: Jizz in my face??

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