Hey! Look! Listen! #57

“When I find myself in times of trouble, mother mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom: let it be.”

Fifty years later, those guys are still smarter than I’ll ever be.

Welcome to the much-belated fifty-seventh edition of Hey! Look! Listen!, good citizens of Riddlethos. I can only imagine the anticipation with which you’ve looked forward to this day.

I can only imagine it because I’m sure it doesn’t actually exist anywhere outside of my imagination. But, I’m not going to let that hurtful little fact bring me down today. As the previous post made clear, I’m back. Bitches. And now it’s time for you to HeyLookListen to whatever I want you to HeyLookListen to!

Heavy Rain Devs Working on Two New Projects

Did you enjoy Heavy Rain? I certainly hope so, it was an amazing title – as should be evidenced by the glowing review I wrote for it. (My opinion, after all, is definitive.)

Anyway, even if you didn’t like Heavy Rain, Quantic Dream is apparently gonna keep on keepin’ on. Speaking to the Examiner, the company’s main man David Cage confirmed that his studio was working on not one, but two “very different projects.”

“After Heavy Rain, we have some credibility in experimenting with new IPs and new concepts,” Cage said. “We are not going to play it safe from now, we are going to use this credibility to continue to take risks, give ourselves exciting challenges and try to invent new ways of playing.”

Sweet. I mean, obviously, that means nothing when it comes down to it, but I’m just glad to know that they’re working on something. Hopefully we’ll see the results in less than five years? (VG247)

LOLocaust: This is How Much the ESRB Cares About Online Privacy

Is LOLocaust in bad taste? I’ve been using it as a phrase for a long time now, but I don’t think I’ve ever used it in a Riddlethos post. Ah well, it’s my first day back, and I feel like doing something controversial. Like combining genocide with an internet meme. Doesn’t get much more controversial than that, right?

Well, as controversial as that might be, I guarantee you that far more people care about Blizzard’s recent (failed) attempt to introduce a new policy that required people to display their full names in online forums. The idea, I suppose, was to cultivate a greater sense of online tact and responsibility; when you don’t have a clever internet nick to hide behind, people tend to act more civil.

But people don’t get on the internet to act civil, which is why everyone proceeded to throw a goddamn stink. In fact, a thousand people went so far as to email the ESRB, crying out for a redress of online grievances. Why the ESRB? Probably because they’ve been a proponent of online privacy in the past, with initiatives such as the aptly-named Privacy Online program.

Well. In a move that positively oozes irony of the most delicious variety, the ESRB responded to said emails.

No, that’s not the ironic part. The ironic part is that when they sent said response, they CC’d all 1000 people.

What that means is that everyone who received said response also received the email addresses of 1000 people.

Kotaku seems to think that whoever sent the email simply hit “reply all,” which would make this an honest mistake. However, Kotaku commenter MechaPumpkin aptly notes that there’s something distinctly wrong with that explanation:

Okay I’m a little confused by this.

It couldn’t have been a “reply to all” unless all of these people were originally in the email NOT in the BCC to the ESRB. They all had to be in the “to” field or “CC” field, right? Like the email to the ESRB was a single email with one source? You can’t “reply to all” otherwise. Or was it an actual petition where everyone signed their email addresses? So it was exposed anyway (I mean you can’t “sign” a petition without giving a name or maybe in this case an email address).

So what this means is the ESRB took the email addresses of all the individual complaint letters and put them in the “to” field right?

Just doesn’t make sense as described in the article. Or am I missing something?

No, Mr. Pumpkin, I don’t think you are. And I’m willing to guess that whoever took the time to CC 1000 people knew exactly what they were doing. Having a laugh at the expense of a bunch of whiny overreactors, perhaps? Hell, I would. (Kotaku)

Here, Have Some Metroid: Other M Videos

I’m still maintaining a fairly palpable level anticipation for Tecmo/Nintendo’s relaunching of the Metroid franchise. I really dig the unconventional mixture of 2D and 3D gameplay styles, I’m tentatively excited for a more plot-driven approach (as long as it’s done *well*), and it seems as if they might be keeping the Metroid atmosphere intact this time around. (Something that Prime 3 did not accomplish.) Anyway, a few new videos were just released. The first one is really gimmicky and promotional, but the second one shows off some meaty chunks of awesome-looking gameplay. Check them out.

For whatever reason I can’t embed the damn things, so head over to this Kotaku page if you’re interested. Apologies, the internet is stupid sometimes.

Dragon Age 2 is Going All Mass Effect On Us

And hey, you certainly don’t hear me complaining. As strong a game as Dragon Age may have been, Mass Effect 2 was undoubtedly the stronger, more polished product on nearly every level.

So, in just what ways is Dragon Age 2 becoming more like its sci-fi brother, Mass Effect? First and foremost, you can say goodbye to the silent protagonist of the original game. Like Mass Effect, the protagonist of Dragon Age 2 will have a voice, a name (Hawke), and a personality. A decision that I’m sure will piss off more than a few, but it’s welcome news to me. Silent protagonists are dumb, especially in an experience as rich as Dragon Age.

Second, rather than keeping the traditional dialogue “tree,” where your exact dialog choices are displayed on-screen, Dragon Age 2 will be implementing Mass Effect’s (much more entertaining and intuitive) “dialog wheel.” Y’know, the one where you choose what’s going through your head, and your character then responds appropriately. I have no idea why the first Dragon Age didn’t do this, and I couldn’t be happier that they’re implementing the feature for the sequel.

Finally – and this change will prove to be the most controversial, I’m sure – the console versions of Dragon Age will feature combat “more tailored to the strengths of the PS3 and 360.” In other words, if you want the same strategic combat style of the original Dragon Age, you’ll have to go with the PC version. Once again, I’m fine with this. PC strategy action is meant for PC games.

So yeah, point being, you’ve got some major Mass Effect in your Dragon Age. This is more or less what I anticipated. Head over to GameInformer’s website for a few more odds and ends (you’ll be able to carry over save data, there’s a new graphical style, et cet).

My word count is now at 1194. No, wait. 1200. Not bad for the first day back on the job, I gotta say. Look forward to more of this in the near future, and until then, I leave you with this question: who else doesn’t really care about Dragon Quest IX?

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28 Responses to “Hey! Look! Listen! #57”

  1. Ethos says:

    I have to admit, it’s great to have you back. All it takes is a month off to come up with an amazing HLL!

  2. SiliconNooB says:

    -Yay, more Quantic Dream adventure games!

    -No, you’re dumb.

    -I dislike every single one of the changes being made to DA:O, especially the goofy, stylised graphics. Bioware have always had their Mass Effect, I don’t understand why they have to do the same with DA:O, I mean it’s not like the game was unsuccessful and in need of a radical overhaul, it was the one traditional RPG they had left in their stable and now they’re ruining everything!

  3. Ethos says:

    I like the changes! Medieval-style Mass Effect plz!

    -Boo, more Quantic Dream non-games!

  4. SiliconNooB says:

    -Ethan you are wrong.

    -Quantic Dreams titles are at least as gamey as flower, there are a scant handful of circumstances wherein you can loose the game, though it’s though both title’s claim to gamehood is rather tenuous …


  5. SiliconNooB says:

    -Quantic Dreams titles are at least as gamey as flower, there are a scant handful of circumstances wherein you can loose the game, though it’s though both title’s claim to gamehood is rather tenuous …

  6. SiliconNooB says:

    **Urgh, I attempted to put a strike through “though it’s” in the above sentence, but your comments thread doesn’t seem to like that.

  7. Ethos says:

    Fixed! I have almighty Riddlethos power. And you can lose in Flower as well. Also, if you don’t meet the requirements, you don’t progress. That is failing in a game more than dying is!

    And I meant that you watch Heavy Rain more than you play it. You make some decisions, sure, but I have a hard time calling it gameplay. Flower is fluffy and not very challenging, but there is a lot to do, and the user controls in which manner and at what speed and to what extent to do it.

  8. SiliconNooB says:

    I still think both Flower and Heavy Rain are more gamelike than the Sims (and probably many of those other Simlike things).

  9. 7thCircle says:

    I’m going to wait until I actually see the results of Dragon Age 2’s tweaks rather than getting offended early on some sort of “changes are always bad” principle. From what I’ve read, the drastic OMG medieval Mass Effect thing has been a typical internet overreaction — the only change they’ve mentioned that could seriously impact gameplay is the battle system one, and I’m pretty confident that 100% of gamers who played DA:O thought the battle system was the weakest part of the game… so… yeah, I’m fine with them changing that up some.

    The silent protagonist in DA:O was distracting at times, as was his/her lack of a name and the how it required everyone in the game to noticably talk around it. Right now, I’d say DA2 is promising to tweak the few things I didn’t like about DA:O, and I don’t expect the end product to have much in common with Mass Effect any more than Fallout 3 felt like Oblivion with guns. Silly internet people, getting all upset over nothing.

  10. SiliconNooB says:

    -I really liked having full control over what my character said and thus much prefer the traditional approach to the conversation wheel. Making decisions based on emotions or several word previews as seen in Mass Effect raises the likelihood of frustrating unintended responses significantly, which really saps much of the fun for me.

    -I enjoyed combat in DA:O quite a lot. It felt like the FFXII battle-system, albeit with a few fixes thrown in there to make the player more involved with the action. My only complaint was that there was no real way to conveniently use the full breath of your skill list.

    -Fallout 3 sort of did feel like “Oblivion with guns”. I’m not saying that is a bad thing, or that Fallout 3 didn’t bring anything unique to the table, but as a brief description of the game “Oblivion with guns” is rather apt.

  11. Ethos says:

    -Nah, I found the ME Wheel to be far more intuitive, and in the two entire games, I maybe came across two instances in which Shepard said something slightly different than I expected. Never was it far off.

    -I don’t know, it really just felt like a dumbed down version of the PC version. Clunky and held back. I’d far prefer a reworked version suited for consoles. I’d play the PC version if I wanted that system. And who knows, it might still resemble a reworked FFXII system, just not so PC-ized.

    -I haven’t played Oblivion, so I can’t be contrary to that one!

  12. SiliconNooB says:

    -I find that every so often I have to reset the game when using the conversation wheel, because the character does or says something that I don’t want them to. Several times with ME (the sequel seems a little improved), many times with Alpha Protocol (but then that game was inexpertly designed). As far as role-playing is concerned I definitely find the traditional dialogue trees to be more immersive, whereas Mass Effect seems more filmlike, with the trade-off being a loss of control.

    -Have you played the PC version? I struggle to see the resemblance. The redesigned battle-system isn’t really an element that phases me though, just pointing out that I thought the first one was quite decent decent.

    -Not saying that’s all it is, but as far as descriptions go it’s a pretty good one.

  13. Ethos says:

    I can see how that would frustrate you if s/he was saying something you didn’t intend. I felt more in control because I felt like Shepard was an extension of me. She would vocalize my feelings. In DA:O I was taken more out of the experience because I was trying to make a decision that would benefit me as a player.

    Yeah, the battle system was decent enough, I just feel like it could benefit from being designed from the ground up for the console.
    I didn’t play the PC version, but I did see lots of video. No, they didn’t look the same, but judging from the two, it seemed like they tried to squish in the PC system to the console instead of rethinking it. I didn’t have a major problem with it either, I’m just excited to see what they come up with. I want it to be more interesting that the ME2 combat though. It was fun, but a little dull and watered down.

  14. SiliconNooB says:

    It was designed from the ground up for console. The PC has click controls, with a number of available spells, items and skills in tabs along the bottom of the screen. The console version on the other hand has mappable buttons and radial menus for choosing spells/skills, really not at all alike. (not sure whether gambits were in the PC version, but I don’t think so due to the greater degree of control offered players)

  15. Ethos says:

    No, I’m well aware of the differences. That still seems to me like they made the PC one and then were like “what’s the best way to take these abilities and skills and make them as accessible as possible for a console player”. Not “let’s make a console battle system”.

  16. DarthGibblet says:

    Just to clarify on this story, they’re only talking about re-working the console combat, right? I played DA:O on the PC and enjoyed the combat immensely (even if I did end up relying on kiting enemies more than anything else), but I did hear that the console versions were quite inferior (@SN: They did have the gambit-ripoffs in the PC version, but I never used them beyond very basic tactics). In either case, I’m not going to condemn or embrace anything until we know more details, but I trust Bioware for the most part, so I have faith that whatever they’re doing, DA2 will be worth playing. And if not, then I won’t play it. Simple as that :D

  17. SiliconNooB says:

    @Ethos: Nothing has changed. They’re still using a similarly complex battle-system for PC, and then they’ll find a new way to dumb it down for us console owning proles. I’m hoping they allow us to map skills onto more buttons this time around, because let’s face it, the dpad and shoulder buttons would be perfect for this.

  18. Ethos says:

    “Nothing has changed” is pure speculation, you understand. Of course any of my theories are too. I know it’s largely marketing speak, but one would assume that the details mean that they’re rethinking the console controls in a more drastic way instead of modifying the PC system which seems like they are going to leave largely unchanged.

    But I agree that more skills need to be mapped. Let’s wait and see what they actual come up with.

  19. SiliconNooB says:

    I thought they indicated in game informer that the PC version would be using the same battle-system as the first game, that means a similarly complex array of functionality that they need to shoe horn onto a gamepad, and that is what I mean by nothing has changed, they are still looking at ways to implement a PC experience on the consoles. Some people at Cat Fancy also seem to think that the console versions will have a combo system for melee classes, though I don’t know whether this has been concerned for a certainty, or whether it is just someone’s wishful thinking.

  20. Ethos says:

    Probably wishful thinking, but the impression I’m getting from the announcement of changes is that they’re not going to try and shoehorn this time, that’s the point. It sounds like they’re going to ignore the PC version and do their own thing. That’s the impression I got. Again, everybody is just speculating at this point.

  21. SiliconNooB says:

    That’s not necessarily the impression that I got, though I wouldn’t completely discount it as a possibility. IMO it would be a bad move though, I don’t want the console versions to have fewer available skills than the PC version.

    What I took the announcement to mean was that they were going to redo the input interface to make the console versions more involving by making it easier to access skills and more satisfying to select attacks (like the afore mentioned combo system). If they choose to reduce what the system is capable of, then it will be a terrible decision.

    Ultimately I think it will still be a case of how can they manage to better implement the PC versions functionality on console.

  22. 7thCircle says:

    So, I guess unlike the two of you silly, ignorant speculators, I actually have the Game Informer mag in my hands. Here’s a terse summary of the battle system changes:

    PC: Changed to be more customizable and to encourage party member coordination and strategy. It sounds like DA2 will be more strategic and, hopefully, less about each character having 3 useful skills and spamming them all game regardless of what each other party member is doing.

    Console: Tactics will be minimized to make the gameplay smoother, faster, and more responsive than it was in DA:O. The awkwardness in DA:O where you would hit a button and then the command sat in a queue for a while will be replaced with something closer to a full-out realtime action game.

    I approve of both of these changes. If you want deep pause-and-play, get the PC version. If you want an action game, get the console version. Makes sense to me.

  23. SiliconNooB says:

    Sounds like the console version’s a bad bet, looks like I’ll have to wait until I can afford a new PC …

  24. Ethos says:

    Sounds like a good bet to me! I’m with Glenn.

  25. Ethos says:

    And Glenn, only idiots buy paper gaming mags.

  26. 7thCircle says:

    It was free! All I had to do was pay $15 for a Gamestop membership.

  27. SiliconNooB says:

    Then it wasn’t free was it?

  28. Ethos says:

    I’m going out on a limb and assuming that Glenn was aware of the irony. And even trying to hide behind it to avoid further ridicule!

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