We Are Error Ep. 27: Back From the Dead | One of Us

We Are Error Ep. 27: Back From the Dead

12 Submitted by on Tue, 07 February 2017, 10:59
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Jon Romo and Christopher Herman talk about their favorite dead video game franchises that they wish would be resurrected. They also discuss some new Nintendo Switch & Wii U news, the ZeniMax lawsuit against Oculus, the video game industry’s reaction to Donald Trump’s Immigration Ban, the recent passing of Namco founder Masaya Nakamura (The Father of Pac-Man), and some encouraging details about Star Wars: Battlefront 2.

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While braving the snow-swept wasteland of Buffalo, New York for 18 long years, Christopher Herman developed a love for geek culture. A child of the 90s, he was raised on the valuable lessons taught by Batman: The Animated Series, Hey Arnold and Animaniacs. Eventually discovering a passion for movies, books, comics and video games, Chris began hoarding his knowledge of geekdom. Whether it’s Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, Mass Effect, Firefly or Avatar: The Last Airbender, he’s always willing to discuss the intricate worlds and stories of geek properties. Chris currently resides in San Marcos, TX.
  • birdy the critic

    Okay, are you guys ever going to talk about story vs gameplay? I feel that as video game reviewers you guys really should at some point discuss the proper balance between effective story and good gameplay. For example, Uncharted games have good story and characters, but the gameplay is a boring, repetitive slog and there seems to be no sign of them ever updating it. Is that a good thing? Shouldn’t gameplay match story and not bore you?

    • Chris Cox

      Wow, tastes sure do differ. I’ve always thought the gameplay was one of the best things about the Uncharted series.

      • Michael Vanderpoel

        Agreed. I think it has a great balance between story and gameplay. Lots of fun.

      • birdy the critic

        The puzzles and action set pieces are fine, but the shooting always seems to get bogged down in crouching behind chest-high walls and shooting or throwing grenades. Considering how scripted and kind of on rails most of the big action set pieces are, you would think the game wouldn’t get bogged down in lazy third person cover shooting considering everything else is so fast paced and exhilarating. I know there are stealth elements to the combat but it often feels like the enemy AI isn’t designed to really allow for proper stealth. Everything else is so polished that it almost seems sad that the gunplay is so mundane and dull.

    • Jon Romo

      Oh yeah birdy, this is something worth discussing in large. I’ve always thought the Uncharted games had a good balance though (perhaps discounting the first).

      I’m curious, what specific games strike the balance for you?

      • birdy the critic

        There isn’t really a set system for me because the same system doesn’t work for every game. I guess to name a few: Mass Effect 3 (best gameplay in spite of its problems with the conclusion; 1’s too clunky and 2’s too streamlined), the first Dishonored (dialogue’s boring but good worldbuilding and powers that allow for diverse game play and fit the story’s mood), Tales of the Borderlands (one of the least clunky of the Telltale games; also I’m a fan of the premise), Jak 2 (1 is too basic a platformer and 3 has some mechanics that just feel like time-sinks or distractions), Golden Sun (one of my favorite JRPG’s, and no one talks about it anymore. kinda like Hermann and Wild Arms), Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag (One of the few I want to play more than once; the others are either broken or feature awful story and characters), Donkey Kong 64 (MONKEY RAP! But seriously great platforming with diverse characters), Dino Crisis (A Resident Evil imitator that I actually like better than Resident Evil).

        Honorable Mention to Bethesda for great worldbuilding and fun gameplay as basic as it is despite how broken and glitchy most of their games are and how their narratives are basically forgotten about for most of the game by most players.

        For me the balance of story and gameplay comes down to game mechanics matching narrative intent. If the story is mostly on rails, don’t include mechanics that kill pacing or mood. If a narrative’s structure is more open and loose, design your world, mechanics, and progression to encourage moving through the game while also including a diversity of challenges that fit the game mechanics.

        • Jon Romo

          Okay, I can see what you’re saying. We actually decided that this discussion will be the main topic for our 29th episode. So if you have any other examples you think we should bring up feel free to shout them out!

          • birdy the critic

            The big two I forgot to mention is Psychonauts and Portal. Psychonauts has some of the most brilliant design ever conceived. Levels that exploit character and narrative for design aesthetic and challenges that force you to use the many different game mechanics creatively. Wonderful boss fights. VERY Funny even now. I don’t think I need to explain Portal to anyone.

            Maybe Rogue Galaxy? I cannot remember how well the two elements interact but I remember enjoying both. The main character being one of the rare instances in JRPG’s of wielding both guns and swords at the same time during combat. It also features a dog man with a giant axe and a cyborg machine gun arm.

            The only Naughty Dog game I’ve never played is The Last of Us, but that does seem to have a pretty good balance from what I have seen. I have a PS4 so I will probably pick up the definitive edition soon.

            There are a lot of Steam games I should mention but honestly there’s too many to mention. PC gaming tends to be where the most innovation takes place.

            I’m pretty sure you will mention the first Kingdom Hearts. It’s the only good one in terms of narrative and gameplay. 2 has good gameplay but the world designs often feel like the game is coming to a halt for bullshit side quests or just to watch scenes from the Disney movies. The first one avoided that.

            Also, as a joke, look up Earth Defense Force 2017. There’s a game that is great because it doesn’t work. The gameplay is glitchy and bug ridden and the story is ludicrous and all over the map. It’s also best played as a two person cooperative experience even though friendly fire is on all the time and you are far more likely to blow your partner up. The result is one of the most unintentionally entertaining experiences ever put in a game. This is proven by the fact that they fixed everything in the sequel and nobody wanted to play it.

    • This is a topic we’ve considered doing an episode on. Thank you for the suggestion!

  • Michael Vanderpoel

    Some I’d love to see make a come back. Contra, Golden Axe, and Onimusha.
    And Herman. I know you’ve complained a few times about the layout of the PS4. And understandably so. Do you know you can now create folders to break up the menu? It has helped mine look more organized.

    • I did not. I’ll look into that today. Thanks for letting me know! 🙂

      • Michael Vanderpoel

        Sure thing. It was something added in with the last update