The TBoD Podcast – 84 – False Predictions and Empty Promises

Hello everyone,

Welcome to the the very special two year anniversary episode of our little podcast. We’ve had a blast making the show for this long and today we discuss how we’ve grown over the years and how our attitudes on games and platforms have changed.

False Predictions and Empty Promises

– eremenko

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The TBoD Podcast – 60 – Tribute

Howdy baggers,

The regular TBoD aural assault is here for your listening pleasure.

This week we talk;

Mortal Kombat,

XBOX exclusives headed to PC,

again,

Hohokum,

Terraria,

One way trip,

Uncharted back on track,

Valvetual reality,

Oculus and Samsung pair up,

and our ‘we called the dog..’ section is about a website this week,

got spare money to spend? buy this…..

Enjoy mother funsters….

Tribute <right click and hit ‘save as’ to download.>

eremenko

 

 

TBoD Podcast 58 – With an open hand

Another week, another installment on the TBoD podcast.

The topics on the smörgåsbord for discussion this week are;

Xbox stuff,

Frankie is unhappy,

Will Ubi win E3 for the second year running?

Dinner, Dinner, Dinner, Dinner …. BATMAN,

Middle Witcher, Assassin of Mordor,

Evolve,

Destiny,

in no particular Order,

Google/YouTube is feeling Twitchy,

IFightBears Lumberjack-em-up Fist of Awesome comes to mac and pc,

And Greenlight,

and our Indie game of the week is “Total Chaos“.

As always thanks for tuning in, if you like what you hear leave us a comment or a review on iTunes, if you have a burning question that you need answering in a meandering tangenty fashion by all means give us a shout on Twitter, Facebook or leave a comment here on the blog.

With an Open Hand < — Right click and choose “save as” to download

– eremenko

The TBoD Podcast – Journey Special Adventurecast

We go on an expedition with Justin from Drunken Halo to discuss one of the top rated games of 2012, PS3 exclusive Journey!

Come join us as we trek through our thoughts on the game!

Right Click and Save As to download episode

Link

Like most people, I was anticipating September 17th with moderate (read uncontrolled) levels of salivation. The glimpses of gameplay released showed a beautiful landscape, painted with complex, diverse, and interesting characters. Add into the mix the cutting satire we are now accustomed to, all new mission types, a plethora of drivable/flyable/pilotable vehicles, and we have the makings of something very, very special.

Initially, I wasn’t disappointed. The introduction and prologue provided an excellent starting point, setting the tone of the game, whilst intelligently and rationally explaining the new control features. Granted, following the prologue, there was the obligatory forced driving mission to start off the game proper; this time though, it was a dash through some of the more affluent areas of Los Santos in a choice of one of the two of the nicest cars in the game. Once that was finished with, we met the first two characters, Lemar, and one of three main protagonists, Franklyn. Two small-time hustlers, both ambitious, albeit it in different ways. At first it felt a little formulaic; ok, so here are two young, black guys from the ‘hood, a ‘dogg’ here, a ‘homie’ there (just think of a stereotype and it was most likely there). Throughout the opening stories however, we were shown a different side to Franklyn, a side of youth which is not often publicised in general media, that of a conscientious, honest, and good man. Subtly (and sometimes not-so-subtly) we are shown Franklyn’s more complex character, something I have been yearning for in games. Too often, characters are shown to be one-dimensional products of their environment with no depth, hidden or otherwise. It becomes apparent that Franklyn isn’t just some small-time hustler content with selling a few wraps, no, Franklyn is so much more. This can be demonstrated by the way he car-jacks. I know, it sounds ridiculous but he carefully pulls the driver out of the car; no violence, no screaming. Compare this to Trevor’s method and I’m sure you’ll agree that this was intentional from Rockstar.

Char

This theme is continued as we meet the other characters in the game, and is not merely confined to the main 3. Yes, they have the most depth, but Rockstar didn’t stop there, they added this philosophy to all characters you meet in the game. Be it Devin Weston, the ruthless, smarmy billionaire, who somehow manages to be both despicable and admirable at the same time; Simeon Yetarian, the eccentric crook who prays on the manners and insecurities of prospective customers (just look at how he plays Jimmy in his first scene); or even Dave Norton, the average FBI agent who made a bargain with Michael, and now must deal with the consequential shit-storm. The characters are deep, well thoughtfully realised, and very believable.

This attention to detail in characters has been applied to the story too. The introduction of each character and the story around how they came to know each other is well thought-out and convincing. At no point did it feel contrived or forced, which truly is a great achievement considering the aforementioned complexity of them all individually. I actually started to invest myself in the characters, which is usually a symptom of good literature, not video games. Moreover, the difference in opinion between me and my gamer friends was quite extraordinary and goes a long way to attest to character-realism within the game (listen here to our reaction special)

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In this circle-jerk of detail and depth, it would be unforgivable of me to overlook the graphics and feel of the game, and in this humble writer’s opinion, it has to be one of the most gorgeous games I’ve ever seen. Anyone who knows me can attest to my love of sunsets, and I was astounded by what I saw; the colours, the contrasts, the clouds, all of it. Another noticeable feature is the water; I can’t see how water can be made to look more real; it’s truly incredible. From the waves, to the foam they create and the way the water splashes against the rocks, Rockstar have surpassed themselves, along with many other developers.

So from the opening few hours of gameplay, I was thoroughly impressed. One thing struck me however; after 25 hours or so, I noticed the game completion percentage was quite high. I put this down to the fact that I hadn’t just blasted through the main story, and had taken time to look around, sample some of the leisure activities available, and get a feel for Los Santos in general. More on that later…

After the initial ‘wow-look-at-all-this-stuff-it-looks-amazing’ glow had subsided, the story developed and grew; the missions became more in-depth and exciting. Unlike one of the main failings in GTA IV, the missions are rich, diverse, and most importantly, congruous. The side missions, rather than distracting you, immerse you further in the lives of these characters. Be it the dysfunctional family life of Michael, or the maniacal maelstrom that is Trevor, we understand the characters better, without the missions becoming abstract or arbitrary.

Then it all came to a rather abrupt end.

In some ways, I can understand it; better finish on a high than to string it out for another 10 – 15 stilted hours and end with tame, laboured (anti)climax. I also reasoned that the additional content would be interesting enough to keep me going until online was released (little did I know about the problems we’d suffer from with that however). Ultimately though, it was disappointing that a game filled with such satisfying intricacy came to a thoroughly predictable and somewhat unremarkable conclusion; no twists, no turns, no ‘holy shit!’ moment; just ‘that’s all folks!’.

After the interminable credits (honestly, they must have been 20 minutes long), I settled back into my chair to embark on the quest for 100% completion with my pockets greased with cash (see, only a little spoiler!), and I must say, I was thoroughly unimpressed. I had all but exhausted the Strangers and Freaks missions, the random world events became boring and sparse, and worst of all, the collection missions were an absolute abomination; find 30 pieces of nuclear waste which are scattered along the sea bed; collect 30 submarine parts for a not-so-grieving widow…are you serious?! What is the attraction with collection missions other than to string out game time? Who honestly enjoys this bullshit? Not me, that’s for certain.

Before I get too negative, I need to say that I do genuinely love this game. The looks, the stories, the characters, the freedom, it’s all top-notch. My problem is that it’s too short, and that the additional content is artificial and boring.

My disappointment with the game was tempered by the promises made during the online gameplay trailers and thus far, I’ve not been let down. I’ve spent around 10 hours doing missions, races, parachute jumps, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed myself. I can now only hope that the ongoing content release keeps up pace with our collective appetites.  After all the launch problems GTA Online suffered, it looks like Rockstar need to pull multiple rabbits out of multiple hats for some time.

Welcome (back) to the Jungle

Zoiie and Cartoon Robinson are back in part 2 of their Tokyo Jungle adventure. In a near future Tokyo ravaged by …. something, a retriever and another dog type thing must find food and further their race in order to survive. Things are looking up this time out until a tragedy occurs…..

Like, comment, subscribe.

Also let us know what you would like to see us play next and we will see what we can do.

eremenko

TBoD TV – It’s a Jungle out there – episode 1

Welcome back to TBoD TV, this new series follows the exploits of Cartoon Robinson and newcomer Zoiie as they take to the post apocolyptic Tokyo streets as a pair of dogs trying their best to simply survive and further thier lineage in Tokyo Jungle on ps3.

Like, comment, subscribe … etc

(and I apologise for the piss poor vocal audio quality. eremenko)

Thanks!

TBoD Podcast – Episode 7 – Bi-Planes to X-Wings

We are joined by guest host CartoonRobinson from ArtHeroes.co.uk for the first of two casts this week!

In it we talk;

– HD remakes

– The week in X720 rumours

– The prefect length for a game

– Day Z Dev blog and some interesting rumours

– The effect of the recession on Scrouge McDuck

– An interesting marriage proposal

– Girl scouts ……. erm.

– Star Wars

– Microsoft to reward MSP for playing …. in Japan

All while avoiding spoilers on Tomb Raider and saying “like” a lot.

So if your lugholes tire from the sounds of life have a little listen and as ever let us know what you think. You can rejoin the three of us later this week for our Bioshock Infinite SpoilerCast special NB it will have spoilers in it … the clue’s in the name.

As always you can listen right here on the page or hit the download link below. (also on iTunes, OneCast and so on)

Right Click and Choose ‘Save Link As’ to Download this Episode.

Out of this World


Ni-No-Kuni-Logo

RPG/Movie studio crossovers are few and far between there have been but a handful of titles that have had massive names attached to them. One early effort from Square Enix and Akira Toryiama produced one of my all time favourite games Chrono Trigger a brilliant RPG with gorgeous artwork and character design from the father of Dragon Ball. Toriyama teamed up with Level 5 latterly for the brilliant Dragon Quest 8 : Journey of the cursed King. Not to be out done Disney have also had a go with the hit and miss Kingdom Hearts series featuring a lot of Square enix’ favourite characters from the Final Fantasy series not to mention an .amazing cast made up of some real big hitters (Haley Joel Osment, David Boreanz, Mandy Moore and the legend that is Christopher Lee) I loved Kingdom Hearts and the sequel but I think that ship has sailed now. Continue reading

When there’s no more room in Hell …..

The dead will walk … in space!?! 


Dead Space 3 cover

Dead space was a fantastic addition to the survival horror genre when it was first released back in ’08, genuinely scary, atmospheric and original. Winning a plethora of awards that year. It’s not hard to see why it has inspired a sequel, a comic and two feature length animated movies. Now we have a third installment just around the corner I picked up the demo and played through the new co-op mode with a friend.

Dead Space 3 coopSurviving is less terrifying with a friend … right?

There’s not much to go on, it only took us about twenty minutes to crack the demo but here are my thoughts anyway. For me I far prefer enjoying games with friends to playing them alone but at the same time I do feel the atmosphere and terror of a survival horror title is something that lends itself more to being played alone at night with the lights off, it’s just not as scary when you know you have a capable partner watching your back although that can be dependent on the title in hand. Resident evil 5 for example just wasn’t scary, not alone, not with a friend Dead Space 3 on the other hand still had my palms sweating and me jumping out of my chair once or twice even though I had back up. It’s testament to the games design that it can still provoke this reaction from the player even in it’s third iteration, the creatures are really horrific and the fact that they can appear from anywhere at any time really adds to the tension if not the realism.

Dead-Space-3-PS3-co-op-2Clarke and Carver, They’re not friends …. yet.

Issac Clarke the series’ main protagonist returns once more to reluctantly take on masses of necromorphs but this time he has a buddy. John Carver joins Issac on a mission which they hope will finally put and end to the menace that threatens the entire universe. The demo doesn’t reveal too much about the relationship between Clarke and Carver but it does suggest that things are tense, Issac has a lot of experience battling with space’s equivalent of Zombies and he knows what they are capable of, whereas John seems to be something of a gung-ho marine type who is over-confident and almost the exact polar opposite of the games main hero (I’m sure they will work out their differences and become bosom buddies by the end don’t worry). It worries me somewhat that this relationship may detract from the games atmosphere and that the narrative might descend into a buddy movie/bromance of less than epic proportions but we will have to wait and see.

dead-space-3

And he’s just one of the little ones wait til you meet his mum

Gameplay wise nothing much seems to have changed apart from the addition of a needlessly complicated weapon manufacturing and upgrade system which I can already tell is going to get really frustrating during co-op playthroughs, there is nothing worse that waiting around while your partner spends half an hour organizing their inventory and crafting weapons when all you want to do it get back to dismembering dead heads (as we were taught by Dead Island). That said however the weapons you can create do look to be as lethal as the predecessors amazing equipment, I just think that the mechanic could be streamlined somewhat. Another gripe I have with the demo is that at one point we find ourselves fighting against other humans and the game turns into something of a sub par Gears of War style third person cover shooter, even as the necromorphs appeared these soldiers (or whatever) continued to fire on us rather than turn to face this far more terrifying alien menace. We can only hope that these sections are few and that they are well interwoven into the story.

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Over-compensating much?

In short, the fear is still there, the game looks fantastic and the design of the weapons and creatures is as visceral as ever, there are some issues but hopefully they wont plague what has already proven itself to be a fantastic series too much. And maybe … just maybe it’ll make for as good a co-op survival horror experience as the somewhat obscure … ObsCure.

Hail to the <space> King. Baby!

eremenko

Game Scone

Apologies for the awful pun

gamescom 2012 playstation cologne

With Dosser covering PAX and our upcoming visit to the EuroGamer expo just around the corner I decide to belatedly blabber about the Gamescom footage I took time out to watch. Starting with the Sony conference.

I want to point out I love my PS3 there are some amazing titles including some of the most beautifully rendered well manufactured games but this years conference wasn’t about them it was all about Innovation!

Seriously how many times/ways did the boys at Sony want to tell us how their new IP‘s are going to be compelling and vivid? Quite the list of titles on display this year chaps but are we really supposed to believe that this is all so new? Ninty started the motion control fad with the release of the Wii in 2006 yes the PS3 has better graphics, yes some of the titles look really impressive but Sony are selling Move like it’s a new idea.

Continue reading

Extremely Exciting Event

Or maybe Elth is Extra Excited? I dunno come up with your own hilarious E related aliteration.

So E3 has come and gone despite being criticised for being a year of sequels there were a lot of gems on show if unlike me you could stop watching the Halo 4 footage on repeat. Said footage has been deeply analysed by the good folk over at dust and echoes and flawless cowboy has been on the ball over at the little English halo blog so I highly recommend checking both out because we are not here to talk about the Master Chief today.

Five games really stood out for me at this years show, without further ado onto the list.

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The last Guardian 

Those of you following the progress of this game starring a small boy and his giant dog, bear, koala, griffin thing, may have been as miffed as me by its absence at this years show and the noises coming out of Sony right now are not necessarily good ones as Worldwide president Shuhei Yoshida reassured fans that the game is still in development, but has been experiencing “technical difficulties” he goes on to state that the title will eventually see release but only once it is completely ready. I for one admire such an attitude and fully believe this game will be a rewarding experience well worth the wait. We have all seen what can happen if a game is forced to be released before it is ready <*cough* dragon age 2 *cough*>.

I promised the next four will actually have made a showing at e3.

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Beyond: Two souls

Quantic Dream rule the roost as far as cinematic style scripting goes so it’s little surprise that the latest creation from David Cage and co features Hollywood talent. Starlet Ellen Page plays Jodie a young girl somehow linked to a mysterious entity known only as Aiden. The game promises to deliver all of the depth and cinematography of Heavy Rain and Fahrenheit but it appears as if it will be more action packed than Quantics previous offerings.

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Tomb Raider

Yup Our favourite desiccator of crypts is back but this time things are different. That’s right it’s an origins story we join a 21-year old Lara and a group of unlikely survivors struggling to escape from a gang of unsavoury types. The game has spouted something of a shit storm in the media in the last couple of days after executive producer Ron Rosenberg passed comment suggesting Lara would escape a “would be rapist” causing an out roar among the usually entirely rational, pro video game British media…… erm, let’s be fair though it’s not as if you ever see that or worse in a film right….. right?

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The Last of Us

You could be mistaken for thinking this is another game starring Ellen Page but I’m reliably informed (by sources other than my eyes) that this is not in fact her and that chap on the right is not Nate Drake with a beard either. Naughty Dog are the studio behind the aforementioned Nate Drakes trilogy of adventures on ps3 and they have not disappointed thus far, from the looks of it this title is set to impress. Looking even more graphically impressive than the Uncharted series with an added layer of brutality this action adventure meets survival horror has an epic feel to it throw in a city setting that looks like something straight out of I am Legend and we are looking at a game of the year contender right here.

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ZombiU

Maybe …. just maybe I’m getting a little over excited a little to early with this one but watch this video and see for yourselves just where Ninty are going with this survival horror. Now I freely admit I am a zombie fan boy but it’s not the monsters on show that impress here the control system and real time scan, hack, snipe and inventory features which could really add a new level to gaming that has never been seen before. Nintendo may have been criticised for a lack of software at the show for the new console but this effort proves (to me at least) that they have not forgotten the hardcore gamers that made them who they are today.

Anyway that’s five so I’m going back to Dragons Dogma for the night  if there’s anything you think I’ve missed hit me up in the comments, alternatively feel free to tell me you think these games look pants.

Cheers

Elth

Don’t stop believin’

So we haven’t posted in a while but since I’ve just spent my bank holiday gaming I thought I’d give you all an insight into what I’ve been up to. We’re talking about the rise of downloadable games on consoles having recently been playing Journey on the Psn and trials evolution/walking dead on xbox 360.

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I’m gonna start with trials as its a game that needs little introduction you’re a bloke, you have a motorbike, you ride, you balance its all great fun. The introduction of multiplayer gives this one an edge over its predecessor but its essentially the same balance of frustration and satisfaction. Trials hd more or less set the bar for early xbox live arcade titles and this addition certainly does not harm red lynx’ claim to the crown of best arcade producers.

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The walking dead is a great tv series (admittedly season 2 features way too much talking and not enough zombie stomping) and with the recent popularity of zombie games it made sense that it would arrive on consoles sooner or later. To be honest this game surprised me the gameplay, storyline and graphical style were not at all what I expected that said I loved it. Not a run and gun/smash zombie shooter as you would expect but a really cleverly put together game that has more in common with monkey island than left4dead. The graphical style owes more to the comics than the show but I for one think that’s a good thing and it shouldn’t put any of you non comic readers off. Little more than two hours of story driven point and click esque adventure and I cannot wait for the next part. Telltale games are really onto something with this episodic installment idea. Well worth 400 Microsoft pacmen.

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Finally we move over to the ps3 for their spin on the downloadable game. Journey, the latest title from thatgamecompany (the developer known for a more artistic direction) whose previous titles flow and flower, while solid games never really set the world alight, have crafted a gem here. So beautiful to look at, emotionally invoking and a joy to play this brilliant (if short) title will leave your jaw slack with amazement (much like Kayley Cuoco’s skimpy outfits on the big bang) I don’t want to give too much away because you really should experience it for yourself. I met a few other players through the course of my 1.5 hour playthrough but I really connected with my final partner (I dubbed him four-stair) whom I met halfway through and saw out the rest of the game with. 10 squids may be a little steep for a short experience but I found it to be well worth it and I think the whole affair will stick with me for much longer than even your average 60+ hour rpg offering.

These titles make the dlc on offer from studios such as bioware look embarrasaingly over-priced. In short the future is bright for download gaming.

Elth out.

The Pillar of Autumn congestion

So here we are once more at what is undoubtedly the busiest time of year for gamers which is both exciting and depressing at the same time. So to help you all out we decided to do a quick round up of all the games we are going to be playing in the build up to the festive period.

Ico and Shadow of the Colosus Hd 3d– I may be late to this party but don’t underestimate my excitement I loved both of these games first time around and can’t wait to see this new, even more beautiful edition.

Uncharted 3 Drakes deception– Yup Drake’s back and since his last two outings were probably the best games on the ps3 and possibly the best looking console games of all time I’m literally drooling at the prospect of returning to the tomb raider inspired shooter with a side order of puzzles in all of its 3d glory.

Battlefield 3
We played the beta and are hitting the main game right now and despite the frustration of dying every couple of minutes its destructable enviros, vehicle combat and massive maps have you respawning back for more and more …. and more.

Skyrim-
Nuff said really. Seriously though oblivion was easily the best rpg of this generation and skyrims new engine promises much and I (elth) feel confident that bethesda won’t let us down and that we will be immersed in a world of snow yetis, swords, bows, magic and dragons for a long while and we might be able to finally wash the foul taste out of our mouths which was left by the frankly appaling dragon age 2.