Waypoint Radio Discussion Thread

Me, yelling at my phone:

Rob, you can get all of Destiny on Gamepass! No need for platform hopping shenanigans!

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Except during certain missions!

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Dammit. First Souls, then a nerdy wargame strategy thing, then Destiny. That’s three strikes for me. I don’t play any of that stuff and don’t want to.

I love this podcast.

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I find it a little amusing that both Patrick and Austin were surprised by people that clean up side quests before tackling the main story when both have worked with Vinny Caravella in the past. :grin:

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Listening to Rob’s emotional roller coasters every week, I’m so glad I’m not a Souls guy. I can handle that shit once or twice in a particularly great game, but I really don’t want that feeling continuously.

Not every boss has to be Riku-Ansem, you know?

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One of the reasons I bounce off Souls game so much is that I RAGE real hard when I die in those games.

Like, I’ve seen the Sekiro monkey faint, where he comes back after you beat him. If I had played that naturally, and the monkey I had spent hours on just CAME BACK with full health again? I’d be furious.

I don’t like feeling mad. I don’t like feeling pissed. It’s bad for my mental health and I feel like I’m far too vocal when I’m mad at a game.

That’s why I avoid them.

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I’ve definitely been in that state of anger and frustration when I tried Bloodborne, and like you I don’t like feeling that way and stepped away. However, the weird thing with me is that I play games all the time where losing is expected, namely battle royales and rogue-lites. Apex and Slay the Spire are probably my most played games this year, and I never reach that level of frustration with those when I constantly lose. Why I can’t reach that level of zen with souls-likes is a mystery, and kind of makes me sad that I can’t experience the same joy as folks who are into the genre.

Austin cannot, under any circumstances, utter the phrase “Fast and Furious lore reasons” (even if he means “for reasons pertaining to the Fast and Furious lore”) without granting us a Fast and Furious Lore Reasons.

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Every time someone says “Game Base” it sounds like a far right gaming site.

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Does Rob finish Cold War in this podcast? I really wanna know his take of the ending.

https://www.twitch.tv/videos/808692069 Sorry if you know about this but he discusses it here with Matthew Gault and Rick Perlstein of Nixon/Reaganland fame.

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“Hard” games live or die by implementation and theme. Soulsbornes work because of the theme, but obviously that can be a double-edged sword. The implementation always makes me side-eye them, though, because people talk about being one-hit by an enemy hiding around a blind corner and losing a ton of souls and I just sitting there thinking “that’s not hard, that’s bullshit”. Versus something like a Bayonetta where you get as many continues as you like that let you just jump straight back to the same fight you lose and the only penalty is that the game lightly mocks you with a dumb-looking statue when you finally succeed.

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I honestly think that the discourse around these games is more at fault for this than the implementation of their systems. Souls games have never been the type of hard people usually make them out to be and they’ve always been unfair. They’re extremely anti-player and they’ve always been about you memorizing their tricks rather than complete mastery of their combat systems. So many of the talking points you hear post Dark Souls, like “the enemies play by the same rules as you” and “oh this game is a huge test of player skill” have always felt dishonest to me. The enemies cheat by design. The games are looser than most people give them credit for and you can often mash, block, and roll your way out of tight situations. Cheesy tactics against bosses and bigger enemies feel like intentional solutions to bullshit problems. To me the difficulty is more about trying to predict what unfair shit the game is going to throw at you and internalizing how your character’s relatively limited skillset can help you get past it as efficiently as possible more than testing your mettle in hard combat arenas like Bayonetta.

(fwiw because this post sounds pretty negative upon rereading lol: I love Souls games and often find my “zen-like” state in them. I absolutely love the loop those games provide, whereas DMC or Bayonetta’s gameplay loops can get so busy with broad/additive movesets and combos that I’m much more likely to get angry or frustrated with the game upon failing, because its usually because I literally can’t keep everything the game expects me to know in my head at all times. In Souls your character’s skillset is so consistent through the whole game that adapting to new enemies and areas becomes much more satisfying personally and I get into a good rhythm.)

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I feel like it’s worth remembering that Demon Souls and Dark Souls were midrange projects, without the degree of polish and testing that AAA projects get. There’s lots of bits that are bullshit and cheap, but it’s important not to confuse failure of execution with failure of intent. Perhaps if From had the level of QA that Valve games get, every trap or ambush would have a clue that a reasonably observant player could spot; perhaps they’d have gone back and asked “why is this character hiding in the rafters?” or “how can the player know this enemy has a grab?” but without that, it’s hard to say how much of the original games is an intentional design choice vs a less considered fill in.

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I do honestly think it’s intentional on their part though — I always felt like it was supposed to destroy any illusion of control you might have over your fate in these games, and make the world feel less constructed around your goals and objectives. Like kicking you in the knees whenever you start to feel like you’re getting your balance. Reminds me of an interview with Miyazaki where he talks about making these games for himself as a masochist lol

Compared to say Sekiro, which still tries to fuck the player up on occasion but also is more explicit about hints, because now instead of a somewhat hapless zombie it wants you to feel like a indomitable resurrecting ninja. And also the resurrection mechanic turns surprise deaths into immediate opportunities for revenge.

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So to clarify, I feel like can be true, in different cases. Putting you in unfair or cruel situations does help the world feel more like a place separate from your own goals and desires, but conversely placing clues to upcoming ambushes encourages you to treat the game world as a consistent place.

The balance between the two is important, but the games still have plenty of moments that fail at both; ambushes that make no sense, traps that consistently miss just from poor luck, as well as the ever-present cheese tactics.

My point not to discount any of these moments or what they might say about parts of the gamse, but to caution against applying them to the whole, when the games remain so inconsistent in their delivery.