Guys, I totally know E3 is happening now, and I also realize all the press conferences are done, however, travel with me back in time. To a simpler time, of last Sunday. Back then, we didn’t know about Fallout 4 details, or The Last Guardian was happening, or that Shenmue 3 was totally a thing happening. Let’s all gather round the glow of the monitor, or the smart phone, or where ever you listen to podcasts and recount Wally and Daron’s E3 hopes, dreams, and predictions.

 

ENJOY

Hello again there beautiful, come here often? No? Let’s change that.

This week Wally discusses Destiny, Daron talks more about Splatoon, Steve dishes on the Witcher, and we all have a big healthy dose of Bethesda predictions. We also give a run down of what we think might be seen at E3, which will probably ultimately be incorrect. So sit back, relax and enjoy our dulcet tones while we lull you off to E3.

ENJOY!

IN THIS WEEK’S EXCITING EPISODE, DARON BUYS FRUIT, WALLY PLAYS DESTINY (trial edition), AND STEVE PLAYS MORE BLOODBORNE. There’s also more news on the PC Gaming show for E3, some Guitar Hero track reveals, and Bowser finally has officially joined Nintendo. Daron also reveals plans for Bullshit. All this and more in this week’s episode.

 

ENJOY!

When you think of a typical Starcraft player, you think of someone with intense, robotic focus, endlessly clacking away at their keyboards with super human speed and accuracy as they wage war across the digital battlefield. They know at what exact second they’ll have exactly enough minerals to construct the particular  building that they would require at that precise moment, as they had it planned out three minutes ago. They thrive to push their APM higher and higher in order to demonstrate full battlefield control, exerting pressure at the right choke point while sacrificing some units to draw attention away from their actual goal. I am not one of those players. I play Starcraft because I like the story. This is not the most popular stance to take, but I can’t mentally take the stresses of Battle.net. Believe me I’ve tried, and in the hours I’ve dedicated to playing, I’ve learned one thing, I’m just not that good. (Warning, spoilers ahead for both the Wings of Liberty campaign and Heart of the Swarm, you’ve been warned.)

What does keep me coming back to this series however is the story, and in their latest offering, Heart of the Swarm, felt a little lacking in that department. The main thrust of the story sees Sarah Kerrigan, no longer the Queen of Blades, returned to human form as the result of the Xel’Naga artifact Jim Raynor discovered and used at the end of Wings of Liberty. Now a prisoner to prince Valerian Mengsk, she begins the story as a research subject, Valerian attempting to use her to control the Zerg to his own ends. Soon, Arcturus Mengsk shows on his campaign to destroy Kerrigan, Jim is captured in the escape and he becomes the motivation Kerrigan needs to rebuild. It feels incredibly old hat and stale, but the overarching story only serves to deliver some memorable side characters and world building that hopefully pays off in the upcoming Legacy of the Void.

The overall mission structure is similar to that of Wings of Liberty, however this time around it feels slightly more restrictive in regard to narrative choice. You’re more or less selecting an order of missions rather than a branching path. At any one point you have a selection of one to three different planets, each with their own set of missions to take part in. Once you select one, you’re locked in for all the missions that planet offers. The missions themselves are quite varied and rewarding in and of themselves, keeping things fresh and new all along the way. There’s even a small Terran side quest in which you control the Hyperion Battlecrusier alone in a few skirmishes in space. These a-typical type of missions are peppered throughout the story and help to keep things fresh. Completing missions will give you rewards in way of new units, new possible upgrades of units and leveling Kerrigan herself as a hero unit. Much like Wings of Liberty Kerrigan levels throughout the story giving you access to new abilities and traits that will greatly change how she performs on the battlefield. I found myself constantly changing up her skills to try new combinations of abilities just to see how they could work together. My only gripe is that there aren’t enough missions once you maximize her level to really find out which of her top tier abilities you like best, you get a chance to try each once, and maybe only keep one for a few more missions, which is a pity. Just like Wings of Liberty you are given the chance to permanently modify your units throughout the campaign to create a custom set of warriors to use throughout the campaign. Where in Wings of Liberty it felt like ordering out of a catalog, Heart of the Swarm makes it feel much more organic. You’ll be periodically presented with evolution missions, hyper specialized mini-missions which highlight two options for the given unit. At the end you’re given the choice between the two and discarding the other permanently. A small touch, but much deserved as it lets you experiment with differing strategies before making a final selection, a feature I’d love to see carried over into Legacy of the Void. At the end you feel like you have an army that best suits your own play style, one that will better enable you to wage war and topple Arcturus.

Missions usually took between ten and thirty minutes, but I found it difficult to put it down in the middle of running through an entire planet. I had played through on the Normal difficulty and never really ran into a difficult challenge. There were a few hairy moments, but nothing that just balling up all of my units and throwing them at the enemy wouldn’t fix. The sense of scale during these battles was impressive as well, and they capture the feeling of controlling The Swarm fantastically. Once you have a group of one hundred or more units you do feel as though nothing can stop you, and on Normal that certainly is true, just don’t expect the AI in the campaign to put up much of a fight.

Heart of the Swarm feels like a narrative lull in the greater story that is the Starcraft II saga. It feels as though Blizzard is stalling in order to get certain characters into positions that are needed for the conclusion that are at odds with where they ended up at the conclusion of Wings of Liberty. At its core it’s still a Starcraft game and is incredibly fun to play. I found myself awake and much later hours than I am usually just to play “one more level”. As a package it felt somewhat short, but at the current price of $20 I can’t complain. If you’re one for the multiplayer aspect, that’s an extremely attractive price for one of the best strategy games around. I’ll admit I dabble against the AI, and it’s just as rewarding to swarm them in multiplayer arenas as it is in the single player campaign. If you’re a fan of the genre, pick up Heart of the Swarm, there’s a ton to like here, and if you’re on the fence about RTS in general, I’d still recommend it for the single player alone, it could serve as a good introduction to the genre.

4/5

As many of you are aware, last night was David Letterman’s final night hosting The Late Show. The suddenness of this realization came as a shock to me. Not that he was retiring, I knew that, but the fact that it happened LAST NIGHT. I’ll be honest I haven’t watched the show in years, but I’d be damned if I wasn’t going to watch this one. It’s a final nod of respect to a man that helped me understand so much about myself.

I started watching The Late Show during my early high school years. During summer vacation I worked as many of us do, night shift at the local fast food place. I would get out around ten thirty or eleven and make it home either before or during the monologue. What immediately caught my attention about David Letterman was his incredibly self deprecating style of humor. (A style I would later learn was cribbed from Johnny Carson.) I had never seen anything like that before, and Letterman sold it. He had me convinced that he believed his show was horrible, which made it funnier for me. His showmanship is unrivalled.

He also gave me a fine understanding and appreciation for what I like to call The Divine Stupid. With segments like “Will it Float?” (a segment in which a random item would be dropped into a tank to see if it floated) , “Beat The Clock” where they would find people dining outside and invite them to beat the clock with no other instructions. Some would begin eating faster, others would make fake running motions,  others would sit confused, none would win. My personal favorite was always “Psychic Sandwich” in which a local psychic would be placed in Rupert Gee’s Hello Deli and be asked to psychically ascertain the sandwich Rupert was making behind her. She was never right. These segments were simply inane, simple, and ultimately just stupid. It was the simplicity of the premise and the reactions of normal people in these unusual situations that instantly clicked in my mind. Comedy is simply the unexpected. For a sixteen year old boy coming to this realization it simply blew my mind. To this day I strive to find The Divine Stupid in my every day life, and my life is richer for it.

Thanks Dave

Holy Hell guys! It’s been what, like a year? Two? Who knows, but we’re finally here again. Wally, Daron, and the newly minted Steve sit down to discuss all things geeky. We meander this week through Bloodborne, Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Heart of the Swarm, and Mad Max. We also are counting the days to E3 and the inevitable announcement of Fallout 4. So sit back and relax while we serenade you with our stupid.

ENJOY!

Ever need help with something, and it seems like you can’t find help anywhere? Yea, those days suck, and they happen quite a bit.  But, what if, instead of being left out, high and dry, you had something that would summon someone to help out! Wouldn’t that be great! Well, that’s an Assist Trophy fine ladies and men less attractive than me.  Today, we talk about the varied Assist Trophies and what we would like to see, what characters should be full characters and not just assist trophies.

EPISODE 22

So, something’s happened.  Not just to Wally and I, but to all of us.  The Holidays.  They’re sometimes a bitch because you can’t do the things you normally do.  But, you do get to see your family and get free shit, so I guess it’s a wash.  Anyway, Wally and I have been busy with this crazy thing called the Holidays, so we haven’t been able to record.  Well, we’re back.  And this episode is just to get caught back up.  Please Enjoy it, or skip it, whatever, not like I care, I have to go sleep off a gallon of egg nog and a metric ton of cookies.

EPISODE 21