Three Nerds in a Basement - Episode 188 - Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

On this week’s TNIAB Podcast, we check out the Dawn of the Planet of the Apes movie. Then Vince highlights all the big announcements from both SDCC 2014 and WonderFest 2014, while gives his thoughts on huge stack of manga which include both Monster and Gundam: The Origin. Finally, with Blaven still out preparing for the Portland MTG, Tj fills in for the third chair action.

Enjoy the Show!

Starring Anthony Fallucco (@killroycantkill), Blaven Jaramillo (@BlavenBlave) & Vincent Sanchez (@VinceSanchez)

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Three Nerds in a Basement - Episode 187 - Destiny Beta Impressions

It’s a two man show on this week’s TNIAB Podcast, with Anthony and Vince give their impressions on the Destiny Beta. Oreos, Marvel Comics and bears also manage to make their way into the conversation. Remember to wish Blaven the best of luck as he’s off preparing for the 2014 Portland MTG Pro Tour.
Enjoy the Show!

Starring Anthony Fallucco (@killroycantkill), Blaven Jaramillo (@BlavenBlave) & Vincent Sanchez (@VinceSanchez)

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Three Nerds in a Basement - Episode 186

Hello and welcome to the latest episode of Three Nerds in a basement. This week we are short a man and experience some major technical difficulties! So expect a much much shorter show than usual but we still manage to talk about Smash Bros, Tekken, EVO 2014, Magic the Gathering M15 core set and we even read a letter on the air!

Starring Anthony Fallucco (@killroycantkill), Blaven Jaramillo (@BlavenBlave) & Vincent Sanchez (@VinceSanchez)

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Review - The Wolf Among Us

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This is a review for The Wolf Among Us as a whole. The review was done on the PC using the keyboard and mouse for the controls. You can get more videogame news and thoughts from Anthony by following him on Twitter @Killroycantkill.

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Telltale has been the leading developer in the resurgence of older PC style adventure games and using episodic content to space out their releases. The last big success, The Walking Dead is loved by critics and players the world over. Now the company has decided to take a break from zombies and focus on the comic book Fables. A more adult sometimes twisted take on fairy tales you know and love.

In the world of Fables all of the fairy tale characters and creatures have been driven out of their world and forced to live in the human one. In this canonical prequel you take on the role of Bigby Wolf, or The Big Bad Wolf as you might know him better. He is the lead Detective in Fabletown, a little area in New York City that the Fables have made their own. Bigby is trying to turn away from his previous evil ways of blowing down houses and eating grandmothers to help the people. But things turn into high gear when the head of a known Fable appears on the doorstep of the apartment.

The story is dark to say the least, and just like the source material the game is able to strike this balance between grittiness and fantasy which allows for moments of seriousness, especially since something you’ll be talking with a frog in human clothing who is standing upright. Bigby works with Snow White, Bluebeard, Nerissa (Former Little Mermaid) and many other characters to find out who is behind the murder of Faith, a Fable girl who is working in an underground Fable prostitution ring to make ends meet.

Just like The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us lets the player “choose” how the story will unfold. During certain times in character interaction you will have four options to choose from and depending on the choice certain characters may change the way they see you, in turn being more or less helpful in future episodes. But just like in The Walking Dead, after conversing with friends about their experiences you quickly start to realize the game is more on rails than it lets you believe. The choices are more curves in the path rather than major detours. Every chapter will eventually lead you to the same end point, but the choice of being the monster others expect Bigby Wolf to be or not depends on the player. Noticing that these choices do not affect the overall story as advertising may lead you to believe was a bigger disappointment the more I thought about it in The Walking Dead. Though in The Wolf Among Us this gripe seems to matter much less because from the outset the game is very much about trying to tell a linear murder mystery and doesn’t lead the player believe otherwise.

The choices affect Bigby Wolf more than they affect the story. You eventually notice they are all about how you want the town to see Bigby and how they will react to you when eventually trying to get information out of them. I personally took the more pacifist route but there are plenty, PLENTY of options for Bigby to be the villain all the other Fabletown citizens expect him to be.

In-between dialog choices and cutscenes you are given the freedom of walking around areas, finding clues and putting together what might have happened at whatever crime scene or location you are in. Navigation using the keyboard makes for a somewhat clunky experience, and combined with fixed camera perspectives it can be annoying to move around in the environment, especially when moving from one perspective to the other. In these detective portions, finding the right clues and putting them together with what characters have to say is not very hard, but it makes you feel like a part of the world, rather than someone watching it through a computer monitor watching things unfold. Also these clues function as a secondary type of choice that differs from the normal dialog choices. Not finding a certain clue, or not confronting a character on certain contradictions will make other situations more difficult in the future, but the game always allows you to make up for your mistakes if you are good enough of a wordsmith.

It’s a shame that The Wolf Among Us doesn’t change the fact that decisions in Telltale games aren’t as major as they make them out to be. But the use of the Fables franchise is amazing and it lends itself amazingly well to an adventure game. Truly this is the best adventure game from them to date. Yes, even topping The Walking Dead.

4/5

Three Nerds in a Basement - Episode 185 - Sailor Moon Crystal

After 20 long years, the soldier of love and justice has returned. We sit down and give our impressions on Sailor Moon Crystal. Then in the second half, Anthony plays The Wolf Among Us, Blaven gives his take on the Gundam Unicorn OVA and Vince watches CW’s The Flash.
Enjoy!

Starring Anthony Fallucco (@killroycantkill), Blaven Jaramillo (@BlavenBlave) & Vincent Sanchez (@VinceSanchez)

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I Did It For The Grind - Why I Love The Post-Game

Sometimes there is a game beyond the end game, more content to be had even after the final boss has been defeated. I’m not talking about multiplayer or online functionality, I’m talking about the post-game. An option that has been in JRPGs (Japanese Role Playing Games) and other stat focused games for a long time. They are areas which test the true might of your adventuring party or player skill, they have enemies that will use your own clever tactics against you and with strength to rival or surpass your own puny human brain. These are the reasons I love, hate, and wish more modern games would embrace the post-game.

The great thing about the post-game is that it gives you not only that extra challenge, but if done right it allows you to get more immersed in a world that you enjoy. Final Fantasy is a great series to turn to when citing examples for the post-game. They are a source of both good and bad ways to use extra content and expand the universe people have already invested so much time into.

A recent release that you guys might be playing and I for sure have is, Final Fantasy X HD Remaster. Final Fantasy X isn’t a new game but it has all of the good and bad of a great post game. In the good we have the monster arena, and Dark Aeons/Penance. The monster arena is such a great idea in my mind that I’m surprised it hasn’t been used in other games. It rewards you for searching out all the monsters regularly fought in the game so that you can fight stronger version of them or even all new original creations. These bosses you create each have their own unique strategies required to beat them all. Similar to the monster arena are the bonus bosses like the Dark Aeons but other than being really strong “uber” bosses like in the monster arena they are also integrated in the story after Yuna has been excommunicated from Yu Yevon, it shows other summoners distain for her as a “traitor” and the length they are willing to go, to stop someone that is “evil” in their eyes.

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But there are bad ways FFX executes the post-game. One of these is the sphere grid. BET YOU DIDN’T SEE THAT COMING! The sphere grid is a unique and original way of leveling up your characters, but when you come to the post game and maxing out your stats is a priority no, a necessary action, it makes for a tedious time grinding rather than something fun. Grinding out spheres to fill nodes on the grid is not enjoyable, since you need both a sphere to create a node in an empty space and also one to activate it. This is especially true for the luck stat on your characters, which quickly becomes the most important stat in the game. Those spheres are hidden behind bosses that are fun to fight the first time, but one of the most frustrating ones to grind.

There is a fine line, between making something challenging and fun or making something tedious and frustrating. Games that are able to ride that line are the most successful when it comes to post-game content. We have games like Disgaea which is known as the most hardcore of hardcore JRPGs. Where some players say the game doesn’t even begin until the main story is over. Or an action game like Ninja Gaiden with their mission modes that test your skills as a murder machine by putting you against almost unfair groups of enemies.

As I looked though my collection to see which titles I really enjoyed playing after the main story was over, I noticed that most of the titles are either Japanese or titles that borrow mechanics from Japanese games. And being that North America has become the leader in videogame invitation it is disappointing not to see what they can do with the post ending single player experiences. In my mind western publishers have seen the success of Call of Duty multiplayer have become blind to any other alternatives. There are a lot of instances where people have ridiculed developers for shoehorning in a multiplayer mode where it isn’t needed.

Games like JRPGs and Japanese action games make me wish the post-game was more prevalent in the western world of videogames. I feel developers have forgotten that not every game needs to have a multiplayer experience and it could make their game better by dropping that and putting those resources towards expanding your single player experience with more content that players can enjoy after beating the main story. If they really need that extra content why not use it for post-game content. It gives players more gameplay, and that will dissuade them from trading the game in right after they are done, and also builds on the single player experience that the team has been trying to perfect for years. But then again, I don’t make games.

While I understand not all game types are suited for this sort of content, as I look back on my experience with videogames some of my favourite moments come from post-game content. Whether it is defeating an “uber” boss or getting my Disgaea characters to level 9999 for the 5th time, these are more satisfying to me than shooting someone with the in game name of XxX_WeedSmoker420_XxX for the millionth time. The post-game allows me to continue with an experience I love and proper challenges to keep me playing long after the final boss has been defeated.

How about you guys? Do you like post-game content like I do or do you think multiplayer experiences are the way to go, even in a mainly single player game? Comment below!

Three Nerds in a Basement - Episode 184 - Trans4mers

We’ve got a double feature on this week’s episode as we review Transformers: Age of Extinction, as well as Tiger & Bunny: The Rising. Which is film came out on top? Listen in to find out! Other topics of discussion include Pacific Rim 2, Edge of Tomorrow and Gundam Unicorn.
Enjoy!

Starring Anthony Fallucco (@killroycantkill), Blaven Jaramillo (@BlavenBlave) & Vincent Sanchez (@VinceSanchez)

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Three Nerds in a Basement - Episode 183 - How to Train Your Dragon 2

We’re back to a full house on this week’s show and we review How to Train Your Dragon 2! We also talk about the Book of Life trailer, the return of the Powerpuff Girls and find out what the Pokemon Company actually is.
Enjoy!

Starring Anthony Fallucco (@killroycantkill), Blaven Jaramillo (@BlavenBlave) & Vincent Sanchez (@VinceSanchez)

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Three Nerds in a Basement - Episode 182

Things get scaled back this week as only two nerds show up to record. More surprisingly, they end up talking about sports! Oh, and other E3 announcements that caught their attention.
Enjoy!

Starring Anthony Fallucco (@killroycantkill), Blaven Jaramillo (@BlavenBlave) & Vincent Sanchez (@VinceSanchez)

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Three Nerds in a Basement - Episode 181 - MTG Conspiracy Review

On this week’s TNIAB Podcast we review the MTG Conspiracy Multiplayer set! We manage to talk about other things too!
Enjoy!
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