Episode 452 - The Gremlin Zone

We're back from the holiday break and we're here to share our experiences being tiny little gremlins. Patrick was the least gremlin of us all at first, playing through The Forgotten City in a normal, non-gremliny amount of time. Cado was his usual MOBA gremlin self, just a bit more than usual over the break. Rob's become a nog gremlin, as well as a tactical naval combat gremlin in Highfleet. Patrick re-entered Halo gremlin mode with Halo Infinite, just on Normal mode this time, while Rob is gremlining it up over in the Master Chief Collection.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://shows.acast.com/vicegamingsnewpodcast/episodes/episode-452-the-gremlin-zone
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Defunctland did a good video over the Alien Encounters ride!

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Just a quick correction about Patrick’s description of The Forgotten City’s prologue:

Patrick and Rob describe the walk through the ruined city filled with terrified looking golden statues and Patrick surmised that the golden rule had been broken before in this city. The reality is you’re passing through the aftermath of the events of the main game and you go through a portal in time back 2000 years right before the golden rule is broken.

I only bring it up because the time travel part is important context in the true ending in my opinion for anyone planning to play it. BTW play it, it’s on Game Pass.

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Listening to Patrick’s experience with Halo Infinite, it’s remarkable how different our times with the game have been. I am thoroughly ambivalent on the grappleshot now I’ve finished the game. It’s clearly the default equipment that you should have on you at all times, which leads to the game leaning on it to compensate for some of the deficiencies in the level design.

I actually wish it was much more limited in the main game than it currently is, and I think Heroic is balanced so that you can’t abuse it as much as you can on Normal.

It’s totally okay to play games in the way that makes them fun for you, but I really hope 343’s takeaways from the game’s reception aren’t ‘this is now the grappleshot game’. Honestly I think the execution is perfect in the multiplayer and I wish that’s how the equipment was implemented across the campaign as well.

Welcome to the goblin.zone

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I can’t speak to the tuning on Heroic, but I found liberal grappling hook use absolutely essential on Legendary. There was no way to abuse it, as I’d have to pick my moments to be cavalier with it or else be gunned down real quick. But I still used it a ton and found the upgraded short cool-down to be perfect. Zipping around like Spider-Man as a brute chased me around with a hammer was a joy once I got the hang of it. And frankly the only way to fight some of the bosses. I’m definitely team grappling hook—if they scale it back in the next one I’m entirely off the series again.

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To each their own obviously. I definitely did need to lean on the grappling hook during the frequent difficulty spikes in Infinite, but that just added to my ambivalence in the end. To me, Halo is about pickups, the act of switching up what you’re carrying to adapt to the situation. Having an all-purpose out-maneuver the enemy tool available to you at all times with a minimal cooldown feels like Titanfall to me. Love me some Titanfall, but it feels like 343 found the fun button and rebuilt the game around it. Now they’re stuck with the prospect of either limiting or taking away that ability for future games, which will disappoint a lot of people, or having to make the next game with a very similar moveset. Ultimately, I think it’s a problem for whatever has to follow Infinite. Maybe they can switch things up for whatever expansion content they have planned.

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To me the hook fit into the pickup gameplay nicely because I could grab weapons, vehicles, etc. No more repeatedly loading an unfortunately timed auto-checkpoint with low ammo and the wrong gun, to run out of cover to pick something up, retreat until the game saves another checkpoint, the way I’d have to do sometimes with the harder difficulties in the old games. But it’s a fair point, and I’ll admit I’m a sucker for a grappling hook. My expectation is that we’ll see expansions to Infinite long before a sequel, so I don’t think it’s going anywhere just yet.

The Forgotten City’s shortcut systems are so nice and seems to be the key that got me into it where games like Deathloop and The Outer Wilds left me cold with all of their repetition. The game does a lot right, but I agree with the guys that this is the core of its secret sauce.

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Going to spoiler tag this just in case:

For the life of me I can’t understand why Al Worth was a golden statue. The course of the game proves that suicide isn’t a sin, so did he gang himself right as the rule was broken and have the world’s worst timing? Did the statues turn a corpse to gold for the sake of being thorough? If these are the ruins of the city before you go through a portal 2,000 years in the past, how does Sentius know about it? Those few threads I could never make work in my head but it’s entirely possible I’m overlooking a very obvious explanation.

Forgotten City spoilers:

I believe he was made gold at the same time the rest of the city was due to some unspecified other crime happening. The entire city pays for the sins of one, so he was shot with a golden arrow whilst hanging is my understanding. I remember reading a log saying something to that effect. He may have already been dead when he was made gold, don’t think you necessarily need to be living, just organic matter, right?

More Forgotten City spoilers:

I assumed that everyone still breathing is turned to gold, Al could have like us learned the people are alive inside the gold and trying to avoid that fate ran to hang himself but was turned while in the throes of his suicide attempt. Alternatively and maybe more likely, he fucked around in his investigations and on one loop was lynched for poking around Malleous’ plans and his killing was the last rule break before you enter for your loops. Given the nature of the portal and how the loops work he would no longer come out of the portal and you going through means he didn’t die 2000 years ago and once the portal closes 2000 years ago he could have never went through it and why he’s there when you get back out in the true ending.

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