Qt3 Games Podcast: Hurricane Halo

Title Qt3 Games Podcast: Hurricane Halo
Author Tom Chick
Posted in Games podcasts
When November 7, 2012

This week we talk about the aftermath of Hurricane Halo and the detritus left behind..

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I'm the guy who loves Desmond. Well. I should qualify that. At this point I've only played the first and half of the second Assassin's Creed, and the stuff where you run around and do platforming and keys and such outside of the Animus really hasn't been a thing. Maybe I'll hate that. And maybe that's all you guys mean. And Desmond himself I can take or leave as a character. But the single most frequent complaint I've heard about the series since day one has been "why do they feel the need to wrap this nifty historical city-climbing dude-stabbing sim in all this silly scifi gobbledygook and constantly take us out of that context? I hate it and I wish they'd stop." And if that's the sense you mean, I am the guy who wholeheartedly disagrees with you. I mean, I'm not saying that the series wouldn't be interesting without that metalayer. It probably could be. But that layer is easily the most exciting thing about the plot to me and I love all the conspiracy stuff and hint-dropping and secret marks and weird stuff around the Pieces of Eden and so on. Maybe they fumble that down the line. Wouldn't entirely surprise me. But I absolutely do not want it gone. Heck, I even enjoyed their silly Project Legacy Facebook game, because it hinted at some intriguing backstory elements to the series.

You're still on the Desmond honeymoon. Wait until you have to play the Tron puzzles and put up with the whinging and sit through his home movies and generally deal with his crap for another two and a half games. :)

I do appreciate your comment, though, because it's nice to be reminded there was a time when Ubisoft could have done some cool stuff with the conceit.

Oh, I also hate Desmond because he's not Nathan Drake. Poor Nolan North did such a great job with the voicework in Uncharted that he basically ruined himself when I hear him in other games!

Did you like the bit where the game decided you'd been having fun as Altair for too long and decided Desmond needed to go to bed? I loved that bit*.

*By which I mean threw my hands up in disgust and gave up on the game.

Loved the discussion on game reviews and scores. I'm with Tom on this. Reviews need to be more diversified as movie reviews are. And like he is with movies, I'm that way with games. I won't read reviews of games too much as it has the potential to spoil me. I remember playing AC:R and Uncharted last year and then decided to look up how others thought of the game and was a bit surprised but not shocked that all the scores were basically in the same 9.0 plus range with very few exceptions. I saw that Tom's was one of them and gave it a look and actually sent him an email about it and had a nice back and forth exchange on the subject. Some games are just bad, even if they're if cost tens of millions to make and have a lot of publicity behind it. Just like movies, you could have a hundred million dollar game or one with very high critical praise that is terrible regardless of the hype.

One thing that McMaster mention is something I always do when looking at reviews, whether it's games, movies or products. Looking at bad review will tell you what the potential faults and problems of the product could be. So sometimes the bad reviews are the ones you want to pay more attention to instead of the overly positive review that just tells you what you already know.

That was never arbitrary. You'd accomplish your mission, and then you'd get another chunk of the "real world" plot, and then you'd get to go back into the Animus. I thought that was a perfectly smooth pacing and didn't mind it in the least. It's not like you ever had to spend very much time as Desmond.

Yeah people just read reviews to reinforce the opinion they've already formed. Looks like that's what went "wrong" with the Halo 4 review. I remember reading the review of Medieval 2 on CGW and it only got like... 3.5 stars? I hadn't played the game yet, but remember being upset that a publication I liked as much as CGW could possibly conceive of giving it less than 4.5 stars. Then I actually got the game and played it and... well... yeah. The CGW score was justified.

I still played the game a lot and enjoyed it, but that's when I started down the slow but edifying road of trying to temper my hopes and expectations with views I didn't necessarily want to agree with. It is a helpful mindset to have, even outside of the realm of video game reviews. Maybe ESPECIALLY outside of that realm. But who does anything other than play games? Ammiright?!

I'm really enjoying NFS: most wanted as a spiritual successor to Burnout Paradise. There's a few things though, firstly I do like how each car has their own set of races but they always happen to start at someplace I'm not. Say what you will about BO: Paradise there always seemed to be a thing to do close by.

Secondly, I like checkpoints as sort of directional way points, they're pretty lenient but also kind of restrictive. In BO: Paradise it showed you the start and finish point and finding the way there could be problematic until you knew your way around the city. Then you could cut corners, take short cuts and alternative routes with ease. In Most Wanted I find myself mainly sticking to the main roads with the AI. Although accidentally flying off road through a bunch of gates and bursting through debris and dust back onto the main road to find your impromtu short cut has netted you a lead, is awesome.

Just a note on BO: Paradise I think they did a stellar job updating that game with a ton of free content (including a reset race option in an early patch). It was some pretty impressive post launch support by criterion.

I am shocked and/or appalled by the lack of discussion about Hotline Miami and Cargo Commander. You've posted some preliminary thoughts on both already, Tom, but this dearth must be rectified, either by review or by podcast!

I really, really like Cargo Commander. I need to play Hotline Miami

I too like the Desmond sections, if only because that's where the insane B-movie plot is happening. Those weird Pre-humans, the 2012 apocalypse, the daddy issues - ok, I guess I could do without that last one, but I want to know if everyone is going to get a really deep tan. Plus, I got vertigo from that skyscraper sequence, and that's always cool.

CC is really growing on me; it could be the game that helps me "get" asynchronous competitive play. If I may suggest an arbitrary connection between it and Hotline, I would say that they're both about making the best of a bad situation. And dying...a lot.

There's a scyscraper sequence? That could be cool I've only played 1 & 2, where Desmond is all about walking around in a confined space. I don't mind the crazy time travel plot, but it's also not at all what I like about the games (which are the fantastic, unique, open settings), so it just gets in the way for me.

I'd love to play both, but ... SO. MANY. GAMES. It's been an unusually good fall (Guild Wars 2, Torchlight 2, Borderlands 2, XCOM, Dishonored) that's already added to my (far to large) backlog. It's a good problem to have, but frustrating.

Well, I don't think I'm really spoiling anything since you play through the "bleeding effect" in AC2, if I remember correctly, where Desmond learns Italian while he sleeps. Or something. But yeah, you get to play some parkour with Desmond and it's kind of cool seeing this taken to present day.

I'm not worried about spoilers, just happy to see that there's *something* redeeming in the Desmond storyline.

There are still tons of psp games getting released in Japan. It's actually hurting the Vita quite a lot.

Pretty sure Roseanne was not running for anything...ever.

Sound Shapes is gorgeous, but, man, it doesn't even really start until you get to the deadmau5 and Beck levels.

I think my curiosity reveal would be "Be sure to drink more ovaltine"