The Level Episode 122 (10/2/2015)
Kole talks about attending an Eagles of Death Metal concert. He states that the venue is a prime candidate for DuckCon.
Dennis talks about his vacation to the Dominican Republic.
The Brief (5:48)
Kole (5:54): Mega Man Legends comes to PSN. He states that the lack of easy availability of this game was one of the primary factors for why it hasn't been covered on Watch Out For Fireballs! to date. He mentions that it has been bumped up to the short list for WOFF!, though he can't make any promises about when it will be covered.
Dennis (9:39): The Stanley Parable has a sequel called The Beginner's Guide, by co-creator Davey Wreden. David immediately interjects with his noted dislike of the game, and Dennis riffs off of that by saying that the new game could be either a "follow-up or gain redemption from the first game, depending on if you are David or literally anyone else."
David (12:05): The Call of Duty Twitter account changed its name to "Current Events Ag" and swapped out its graphics to make it look like a news site. Thereafter it proceeded to post fake news tweets about military events in Singapore as tied to the game scenarios, which concerned David as some people may believe them to be true. The tweets don't apparently mention much about the game and therefore also aren't informative. Kole concludes that this campaign is far from the grossest and therefore is acceptable. Ben recalls a publicity stunt related to Splinter Cell.
Ben (19:00): Hitman's release date was delayed to March 2016, but details about release were revealed. The base game is being called the "intro pack" and will be $35. It will be sandbox-style with the missions integrated into the open world. The developer Io will release an additional map pack monthly for 3 months after launch: Thailand, USA and Japan. Dennis talks about how the $60 price for all additional content is the same as for a full game, but you only get access to half of the game at launch. Kole interjects that this is episodic. Ben says that he doesn't have a problem with how this is being released as opposed to Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain which sold a 1-hour demo long before the release of the rest.
This segment starts out with loud crinkling noises as David eats candy corn. Everyone laughs and Kole tells David that he can't eat it while recording because it's so loud. He then generates the title in telling David, "I know that forbidden corn is the sweetest…" Dennis mentions that he came across candy corn flavored cotton candy, which led to discussion about what each is made of. David says that candy corn in pancakes is amazing. Dennis then creates a survey and posts it to the Facebook page to see how listeners feel about candy corn, though he only obliquely says, "I want to see how light on their feet our audience is."
What are some of the most cringe-worthy moments in video games?
Suggested by Eric C.
Joshua S.: Final Fantasy X-2's diva scene, though he admits to somewhat enjoying it. The forced laugh scene in Final Fantasy X.
Carlo M.: The 'love scenes' in Ride to Hell Retribution.
Gustavo R.: Browsing the 'Anime' tag on Steam.
James R.: Bayonetta - that move where the sexy angels are tortured on a spiked hobby horse.
Ollie B.: Metal Gear Solid - spying on Meryl from the air duct.
Kilo P.: Binary morality systems.
Sam B.: Playing Alone in the Dark - the loud, poorly voice acted moaning from the game's combat.
Frans V.: A lot of No More Heroes 2. The seduction missions in Killer is Dead.
Evan N.: Crying at the end of every Yakuza game. See also: the fistfight at the end of Metal Gear Solid 4.
David P.: Anytime a video game tries to do "sexy."
Amanda C.: The Simon sex scene in Indigo Prophecy.
Christopher S.: Accidentally getting stuck humping a door in the Penumbra and Amnesia games due to panic, then getting eaten by a monster.
Kole's answer was the same as Amanda C.'s.
Dennis' answer is Godhand's special grab where you bend female characters over and spank them.
David's answer is that he "generally has no shame" and so this is a tough question. He couldn't recall a time that a game presented a real-life awkward situation but cited playing all of God of War and Army of Two as feeling awkward.
Ben's answer is that in Beyond: Two Souls you can film two people beating up a homeless man.
Dennis interjects the "sub-Multiplayer" survey on how listeners feel about candy corn which he posted during the recording session.
(Editor's note: as of 10/5/15, the candy corn survey is still up with 36 total respondents: 7 love it, 16 are meh, and 13 hate it.)
The Grind (1:06:12)
Dennis (1:06:21): DanganRonpa: Trigger Happy Havoc; DeadCore
Dennis starts off with DanganRonpa, which he borrowed from Kole (as opposed to stealing it). He summarizes by saying that it's in the genre of games where there are people trapped in a place and you watch events unfold with murderous intent mixed in. He describes the main character of DanganRonpa as a high school student who has been chosen to go to Hope's Peak Academy, known for being the ultimate school (as in, everyone who attends this school is the best at what they do). This sets up the game with a lot of strong personalities. When you get there, everyone is sealed in and told that the only way they can escape is by killing someone else and getting away with it. Kole adds that there is a trial system build around that premise, and Dennis expounds: you get to class trials after someone is killed and you click through each student's phrases as they recount what happened in order to find the incongruities or untruths. After this, you fire "truth bullets" which you collect during the story phase in order to disprove what they're saying. Dennis comments that he is very impressed with how the creators write the mysteries as they never totally withhold the evidence from you so if you pay enough attention you can piece it together. Kole says that the characters are written so that you will tend to write off direct clues as quirks, which Dennis fully agreed with. He says that you can choose who to spend time with and can also give them a present in order to improve your relationship with them, so you have to figure out who would like what present. Kole says that since you never know when someone is going to die, it's important to spend time with the characters you wish to learn more about because you will not have as many opportunities to get to know some characters. Dennis and Kole talk about the first death, and Dennis states that after the fact he realized that the murdered character was acting strangely and the behavior wasn't satisfactorily explained. He adds that you can't dismiss anything in light of this being a video game because it is very well-written.
Dennis then moves on to discuss DeadCore, a "gun ballet platforming-centric speedrunny shooter." In this title, your gun is called a "Switchgun" and is used to turn switches on/off from a distance. The setting is striking - you are climbing an exploded tower where all the parts are separated and floating in midair; it isn't so much a cohesive structure as it is different objects in orbit. The story is vaguely hinted at and is not the focus, but the music is perfect speedrunning. He mentions that you have double jumps, dashes and rocket jumps and unlock new skills as you progress. He has beaten the game once but comments that he feels that if he beats it faster there will be extra content, explaining that the Switchgun has a running clock on it. He says that the levels are very well-designed and challenging. In addition to the main game there are speedrun obstacle courses that you can unlock. The game is all about feeling good about how your skills improve.
David (1:29:38): Destiny: The Taken King
David has been playing The Taken King expansion of Destiny, which came with both of the previous DLCs. He says that he has one more mission to beat in House of Wolves (the second DLC) so he hasn't started The Taken King yet. He explains that although you don't have to do everything in order, you do have to be level 25 and he was at level 24 before he bought the expansion so he's working through the DLCs because it goes somewhat in story order. In The Taken King, a woman named Eris Morn went up against an evil monster and all of her squad was killed off. She spent years hiding in the tunnels of the Moon and is the local prophet of doom that enlists you to take out the monster that killed her friends. What David likes about this is that although you are preventing the resurrection of a villain you are also helping her with her hit list. He says that the way it's written emphasizes Eris' personal vendetta. David says that previously you would beat one mission and then the next would unlock but now there is a quest log; they also added quests for sub-classes where you are sent on various tasks by the leader of your class. David adds that he does enjoy some of the scripting of incidental characters. The game uses the sci-fi trope of a robot sticking around long enough that it develops a personality and so the local mail clerk-bot has a personality that amuses him. The weapons dealer is one of the Exo race (robot people) and is hundreds of years old, thus one of his traits is that his memory is full of history to the point that he developed a type of robot dementia. These types of story beats generate a certain level of charm that allows for good graces when the macro-story is less interesting.
Ben (1:41:16): Risk Legacy; Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Ben begins by mentioning Risk Legacy, the newest version of the Risk board game. The main change in this rendition is that the first 15 full games you play will shape how the map and the races you play as turn out. There are 15 spots on the game board which the winner of each game initials in order to keep track of who won. He reports that there are many video game mechanics in this game, then proceeds to explain. You begin by choosing a race with each having a unique ability. As the game progresses there are achievements to be unlocked: as you unbox the game there are packages that read, "open when you " and has conditions attached to them. Scar Cards are modifications for the countries and refer to the changes to the topography through the battles enacted during the game. When you play Scar Cards, you place a sticker on the board and thus it becomes permanent and for every game thereafter that Scar Card remains in effect. This physically codifies house rules and makes each game board unique. Ben asserts that the game is self-balancing and if a certain country is overpowered it can be knocked down over the course of the game and whoever wins gets one upgrade that they can add to the map in addition to signing the board. Ben urges listeners not to look up what the upgrades are because most of the fun comes in the surprise of each unlocked component. Kole and Ben then discuss this game being much improved over the original Risk.
Ben then transitions to Metal Gear Solid V, saying that he hasn't dug too far into it yet, having beaten ~20 missions. He has seen the evolutionary endpoint of the base which he found interesting and he is looking forward to playing more. Kole asks for highlights of his recent play and Ben recounts figuring out how to use a tank during a mission and getting the "second buddy" with an eyepatch.
Kole (1:53:26): Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Kole hasn't 100%ed it, but has finished chapters 1 and 2. Chapter 1 is "probably his GOTY" because it draws to a very satisfying conclusion. He likens Chapter 2 to the second disc of Chrono Cross in that it is a bunch of very cool disparate segments separated by BS play. Although he enjoyed this content, he says "Chapter 2 is a real mess." He said it can either last 50 hours or 15 - what they are asking you to do isn't less fun but he was Metal Geared out and he almost wishes that it was two games so it can be compartmentalized rather than being "a Kojima game with a bunch of filler." He ends by saying that he loves this game but wishes that they'd had a chance to finish it. Kole is satisfied with the high points, but thinks it overstays its welcome.
Kole mentions both PRGE and the Ohio Game Developers Expo, where he, Gary and other hosts will be presenting/attending.
Potential Titles (2:05:35)
Titles for this show are based on commentary made organically during each episode. The following is the list of options selected by the hosts. The winner for this episode was "Forbidden Corn."