GameSpot GamePlay Episode 37: Mascara Galaxy

Supergiant Games' fantastic Greg Kasavin joins Kevin and company to talk about the good old days, the good new days, and all the days in between.

GameSpot GamePlay Episode 37: Mascara Galaxy

Editor's note: Discussion from 00:49:00-1:05:00 contains some minor spoilers for BioShock Infinite. Proceed with caution.

The old and the new collide as former GameSpot Editor in Chief Greg Kasavin stops by to debate the merits of accessibility, the joys of both commanding and conquering, and whether Deus Ex: Invisible War gets a bum rap. We also consider calling the podcast the Dark Souls Appreciation Hour, since we can't resist the temptations of Dark Souls II.

Host Kevin VanOrd flashes a heavenly smile on the other members of this killer crowd, which includes the noir-inspired Carolyn Petit, the turn-based Tyler Winegarner, and Boletarian exceptionalist Tom Mc Shea.

You can access all previous episodes on GameSpot here.

GameSpot GamePlay Episode 37: Mascara Galaxy

GameSpot GamePlay Special Edition Spoilercast: BioShock Infinite

GameSpot GamePlay Episode 35: Drink, Hamburger, and Afro Pick

GameSpot GamePlay Episode 34: Junk Deodorant

GameSpot GamePlay Episode 33: Salmonella Commendation

GameSpot GamePlay Episode 32: World of Willy Wonka

Written By

GameSpot senior editor Kevin VanOrd has a cat named Ollie who refuses to play Rock Band because he always gets stuck pla

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Discussion

59 comments
TiberiusJonez
TiberiusJonez

Good Stuff!! Good to hear Greg Kasavin. Him and Jeff Gerstman were my favorite Gamespot reviewers back in the day. I enjoy Kevin's reviews because he is the current Gamespotter most akin to those guys. Linked back to my blog; I think my readers will enjoy this.

push88
push88

It'd be nice if they put the Shadow Hearts games on the PS Vita.  

push88
push88

I love this show!  : D

NTM23
NTM23

I laughed when you guys were about to do the Greg Kasavin round because of Greg's response :P. Furthermore, I believe (which I can check, but I won't) Psi Ops was reviewed by Jeff Gerstmann, not Greg. As someone that's been on this site since its inception (I was very, very young), and listening/watching and reading Greg's reviews, I knew within the first few seconds which reviews they were.

NTM23
NTM23

How come sites don't have more than one reviewer review a game? I mean, there's a lot of differences in opinion as heard from the Bioshock Infinite talk. It'd be nice to have another side to the story; maybe a score to go along with it, and then to equate that score into something depending on what the two or more give it. Of course, an editor that's not reviewing a game will always say that they respect and trust the opinion of the one that's actually reviewing a game, and that's great and most likely true, but it would just be nice to see and hear another side in review format. I'm not sure if you guys only get one copy of a game, so that could factor into why that couldn't happen, but if not... Well, yeah.

jayd02
jayd02

I'm just now coming back to come and finish this podcast and I would like to say people have, will be, and still are effected by what they see.  Two years ago I did a performance of Bernstein's Mass.  It was during one of the last scenes that we made a few people leave the theater and they didn't finish the show.  I say this because just because you don't feel a direct connect to what you may be viewing doesn't mean the next person won't.

j_kizi
j_kizi

@Kevin-V I haven't bought Bioshock Infinite yet and i did not listen to the spoilercast. But the discussion you had where you mentioned the baptism and all, that kinda felt like a spoiler. I hope its not a huge spoiler, but please next time can there be a bit of a warning? Or say skip the next 5 minutes. Otherwise great show guys.

mtait01
mtait01

Thanks for playing my Easter Egg Quiz! XD

mehrdad19872010
mehrdad19872010

After their discussion about Bioshock Infinite, now I am not sure about buying that games. I loved Bioshock and when I read Kevin's review, I thought I would like Infinite but as always with gamespot, nothing in defense of the game once that game and its statements are being challenged (mostly by McShea). If Infinite is in fact, just another shooter, then I don't think I'll buy it. Anyways, thanks for this episode Kevin and thanks for bringing Greg.

Elann2008
Elann2008

There should be more listeners and comments.  Greg, friggin, Kasavin is here..  Come on guys!

AtheistPreacher
AtheistPreacher

@TomMcShea

Tom, I was a little disappointed that you and Greg didn't talk a bit about Resident Evil 4 when horror games were brought up in the beginning.  You wrote that great article about how it changed the face of horror games for the worse, but I know Greg adored it and gave it a 9.6.  Missed another chance when Greg guessed the RE4 death music.

Great podcast, though.  You guys were all really engaged, no wonder it ran even longer than usual.

lobobastard
lobobastard

Only one person on gamespot finished Dark Souls? wth, I finished it 3 times,  we should gather the people that actually finished Dark Souls and start a new country.  

JOYRIDEME
JOYRIDEME

Tom's comments about them not addressing racism really confused me. Sure they could have addressed racism in the game more than they did but what would be the point? The only conclusion about racism you can safely come to is that "it's bad" and unless they can bring something new to the table on that front it just doesn't seem worth addressing to me. As far as I'm concerned the racism only existed to build a stronger sense that it is the early 1900s by showing real world issues from that time. The new movie 42 is actually a perfect example of a movie with nothing new to bring to the table on the topic of racism that addresses it as formulaically as possible. 

Minishdriveby
Minishdriveby

Only one person in the office finished Dark Souls?! What about the two different people who reviewed it?

oldschoolvandal
oldschoolvandal

Another great episode. Thanks.

And also congratulations to Greg and Supergiant games for creating Bastion. An awsome game that deserves all the praise it gets. Bravo!

kagento
kagento

How about a power-up or special move quiz, Kevin? Both in name and sound effect.

kagento
kagento

Personally, I didn't get through Bastion because I never did get into it. Technically perfect, but it didn't strike a chord in me. It's true that sometimes you buy a game in steam because you want it expecting to get to it in the future... but sometimes you don't get the chance to or there are other games ahead in your priorities

.
About XCOM, I have the sensation that people haven't been playing the games that have been released since Apocalypse (most of them pretty bad, except the free remake Alien Invasion). I love the old original and have been playing it for years but I also loved Firaxis take. Although there are some things that bother me about it (map repetition, enemy spawning among others), I think that it was excellent overall and kept me heavily invested (already one of the games I have more hours on steam).
Great show guys! 

g1rldraco7
g1rldraco7

This was really good and long. Thank you Kevin Vanord.

strawberry9
strawberry9

There is fair points about the Bioshock criticism.... But tell me, what game does racism better? NONE. You're expecting something you would get out of a film from a game. It's not realistic. You're not being fair to what the game is. It's a fantastic piece of art....

norabbitnofun
norabbitnofun

Thanks for the fun, guys!

It would be great if you could add "chapter marks" in the audio flow - so the few people who (whispers) do not like Bioshock (end whispers) may skip to the next part. ;)

RedLegZeff
RedLegZeff

Well something I must say about the daisy fitzroy arc, she kinda did what just about every violent uprising ever did. Start massacring everyone on the other end. French revolution, russian revolution, most genocidal massacres by the uprising side in african countries in history, etc. I can't really think of an example where things don't go that direction, except the american revolutionary war, and the controlling government was never toppled. If another group is the cause of overturning an oppresive government though, say the civil war, world war 1(which ended most monarchy's in europe),  etc, wind up being more peaceful(though not always). Nonviolent overthrow of the current power structure does usually wind up very peaceful though. American civil rights movement, ghandi, etc. I'm interested to hear an argument based on history against my position though. I imagine I'm missing something major.

push88
push88

I am a huge fan of the BioShock series.  Sadly, I agree with Tom and Caro on their opinions about BioShock Infinite. 

push88
push88

I felt your pain Kevin as I too finished BioShock Infinite two days after the release date and was begging my friends to finish it so we could talk about it.  Lol 

push88
push88

Hmmm...  I listened to a podcast from IGN.com earlier today and they also referenced the length of their reviews from the days of old.  However, their reviews, as stated by Colin Moriarty, used to be ridiculously long.  1,000s of words, according to him.  Interesting.

push88
push88

The Tower of Latria.  ; D

skytrot
skytrot

Disagree with Tom on Gears. Vanquish's existence proves how clunky and flawed Gears is. Also, best DMC (DMC3) was made by Itsuno, same guy who created Dragon's Dogma.

TomMcShea
TomMcShea moderator

@NTM23 Time constraints. Having two or three people play through the same game takes a lot of time, and other areas of the site would suffer.

Kevin-V
Kevin-V moderator staff

@j_kizi Sorry about that. I put a note on the page but failed to put something in the audio. Luckily, that particular event occurs in the first 15 minutes of BioShock, so it shouldn't put a damper on your enjoyment, I wouldn't think.

Prats1993
Prats1993

@mehrdad19872010 Having played games all my life especially shooters, I can assure you that Bioshock Infinite is the best story-driven shooter since HL2. It holds a 95 score on metacritic as well, making it one of the highest rated shooters of all time. Pretty much everyone agrees that its a masterpiece. Tom McShea's ignorant.

TomMcShea
TomMcShea moderator

@AtheistPreacher @TomMcShea Ah, that would have been interesting. It's a phenomenal game, and I'm curious what Greg things about its legacy. Maybe next time!

TomMcShea
TomMcShea moderator

@lobobastard Well, I know of three people who have finished the game (Van, Lark, and myself). Only one person on the podcast yesterday (me!)

TomMcShea
TomMcShea moderator

@JOYRIDEME They built a game based around a xenophobic society but steered clear of deeply examining what that mindset means. It would have been difficult, even upsetting, if they showed how a society crumbles when that belief system is pushed to the extreme, but it could have been more affecting, too. I have no idea what the point of creating a game that just says, "racism exists!" without any meaningful points. It's not like they were forced to create a xenophobic society. Once they choose that as the backdrop, they should have done something interesting with it, rather than the superficial result we got.

Kevin-V
Kevin-V moderator staff

@Minishdriveby I spent a hundred-plus hours, and was right up to the final boss. I figured 130 hours was enough :)

LiquidBullet
LiquidBullet

@strawberry9 Their point is that we SHOULD expect the same level of discourse as what movies and books do. Games are equal forms of media, and should be able to hold up to the same level of criticism. (To be fair, I disagree with most of what Tom and Caro feel about Infinite, though I do think it's important that this kind of criticism exists about the game, and also feel that the criticism itself is fair. I just disagree with a few of their specific points)

TomMcShea
TomMcShea moderator

@skytrot Vanquish and Gears are vastly different games and both incredible. I think Gears lost its way after the first one (proving bigger is not always better) but that doesn't detract from the brilliance of the first.

Kevin-V
Kevin-V moderator staff

@skytrot I love Vanquish with the heat of a thousand suns, but I actually really appreciate Gears. Their sense of weight is very different, but there's something really satisfying about Gears' chunkiness, as if you can feel the heft of your armor when fling yourself into cover. I actually like games that have a sense of their own weight; when shooters don't feel right, but you have a hard time putting a finger on why that is, I think this is a main culprit. I like Killzone for the same reason: the game communicates weight. 

push88
push88

@TomMcShea @NTM23 Is there any way you could get more endorsements from advertisers?  Then you could hire more people and maybe have less constraints.  Then again, the economy is not helping anything I suppose.  

j_kizi
j_kizi

@Kevin-V @j_kizi Its all good, I download the show via itunes and there was no disclaimer on that one. Anyway good discussion, i was also baptized at the age of 13, so Im interested to see how that particular event in the game will impact me. Keep up the good show.

cpfast
cpfast

@Prats1993 So because the game has a metacritic of 95 everyone has to just love the game no questions asked?? Others have minds of their own too, and dont need to be told what to like or not, so u dont get to call ignorant to anyone after saying that..

I, for one, didnt like the game all that much and i know others who feel the same.

TomMcShea
TomMcShea moderator

@Prats1993 It's one of the few shooters recently that even attempted a smart narrative, and for that it's worth playing, but I thought there were far too many holes and questionable design decisions to put it in the same class as Half-Life 2 and BioShock.

Minishdriveby
Minishdriveby

@Kevin-V @Minishdriveby Fair enough Mr. V; however, you should definitely go back and finish it ;) Use Iron flesh and Havel's Armor if need be.

Also I definitely agree with you guys. Kevin underrated it, and it's my favorite game of all time. Definitely deserved a 10. The Framerate issues in Blighttown and New Londo Ruins was an extremely small issue for me.

AtheistPreacher
AtheistPreacher

@Kevin-V @Minishdriveby

Still seems unbelievable since you're such a huge fan of it!  I've beaten it five times now.

But man, it was a great podcast.  For one, it was obviously great to hear Greg's voice again on Gamespot.  That made me totally unreasonably happy.  Please please have him back again if possible.  Oh, and bring on Alex Navarro!  He's still working for Giant Bomb, right, and Giant Bomb is now a part of Gamespot, so you should be able to get him on here.  C'mon now.  If he gets on this podcast then all three of my favorite former Gamespotters will have done it (Gerstmann is the other).  Make my day again.  And he has to talk about his Big Rigs review!

Kevin, about "the Capcom effect": I understand what you're saying, but I also think there's a place for those animations that seem overly long.  Yeah, it's a little dumb in Monster Hunter when your guy drinks a potion and then has to raise his arms in the air.  But obviously the point is to make healing yourself a calculated risk, and a choice that involves some skill.  I was actually bothered by the fact that in Dragon's Dogma -- another Capcom game -- you could heal as much as you want within a menu instantly.  You could be knocked flying by a monster, then open a menu and drink 10 potions with no time in between.  That's just moronic, because it means if you bring enough healing items then nothing is ever really dangerous (don't get me wrong, I quite liked DD otherwise).

Anyway, it's always a matter of degree, but IMO some of the long animations like the ones in Monster Hunter are there for a purpose and I wouldn't want to change them.  And sure, you'll occasionally have bad luck and get caught by a second attack while getting up that there was no way to avoid.  But you know what?  The player gets to do the same thing to the monster.  That's life.  So I appreciate that great amounts of control are important, but I don't think that excludes the legitimacy of lengthy animations, at least in certain situations.

Kevin-V
Kevin-V moderator staff

@unreal101 @TomMcShea @Prats1993 Guys, guys. I love you all, but Half-Life 2 is the greatest shooter of all time, and BioShock Infinite is pretty great too. 

What do I win?

unreal101
unreal101

@TomMcShea @Prats1993 

I'd put Bioshock Infinite (along with Bioshock 1) way above Half-Life 2. Infinite may have a few holes in its logic, but it's still much more imaginitive and thought-provoking than HL2. I'm sure that many would disagree with me, but I find the Half-Life plot rather dull. 

AtheistPreacher
AtheistPreacher

@Kevin-V @Minishdriveby 

Fair points.  I think it just sounded in the podcast like you thought the new X-Com was better in most every way and preferring the old one was just completely irrational.  But the old X-Com really is one of those games that's fun even today -- one of the few.  I played it just last year and it's as good as it ever was.

I'm happy you pointed out that Dark Souls has some of the same long animation stuff that Monster Hunter does -- it occurred to me after I posted the comment that I should have said that myself.  That's one of the reasons I really like both games -- they're hard, but without deriving their difficulty from needing reactions faster than the speed of light.  In general I'm not crazy about games that are hard just because they happen fast.  Both Dark Souls and Monster Hunter have very tight controls, but both the player and enemy animations are a bit slower and longer than similar games, so it's more of a strategic fight and less of a twitch-fest.  It's more difficult to balance that kind of system well than it is to just speed everything up to make it harder for the player to react in time.

Also, regarding Capcom and From Software, it's funny... I thought about it and my four favorite games/series are all by these two developers: the King's Field series and the Souls series, the Monster Hunter series and Res Evil 4.  Japanese game development has a bad name these days, but between Souls and Monster Hunter they're doing fine from where I'm sitting.

Kevin-V
Kevin-V moderator staff

@AtheistPreacher @Kevin-V @Minishdriveby 

I agree that there is a place for that kind of animation-heavy combat--I just think that Capcom's believes it belongs in every game, whether or not the game surrounding that combat supports it well. I actually love Monster Hunter, because it feels built around that kind of play. (And Dark Souls has a similar kind of feel, to a lesser extent; the combat is about managing animations and stamina.) On the other hand, Lost Planet 2 (and other Capcom games) suffered heavily because of this design philosophy, because the level design, the AI, and so on didn't mesh with all those long recovery animations. I am not against the idea--I just think the game has to be built around it. Making it a core design philosophy regardless of the game it appears in is where I think the problem lies.

As for XCOM, I actually agree the original was more groundbreaking, and that was part of why I felt that Enemy Unknown was great, but not quite a 9-range game. My point in the podcast was more that a lot of things players point out as losses are, to me, very sensible choices that take away tedium without sacrificing depth. You make some good points, but a lot of folks complain about one missing feature or another that had nothing to do with depth, but was a weird arbitrary obstacle. It happens a lot in PC gaming, and Lord knows I have been guilty of it too. But I've reached a stage where I realize that my memories of old games are sometimes all I need, because returning to a lot of games I thought were the best things ever at the time, I discover that parts of them were dumb, boring, frustrating, or unnecessary. A lot of the things we hold beloved are very, very flawed, and while it's easy to get worked into a tizzy when a sequel messes with such sacred cows, the games are often better for it. 

AtheistPreacher
AtheistPreacher

@Kevin-V

Oh, I forgot, I wanted to mention a few of what I think are legitimate criticisms of X-Com in relation to the original.  Not saying the new one is bad, just that the old one was better! :)

1. You cannot fire, then move with a unit.
Previously, Time Units allowed you to perform literally any series of moves or actions, in any order, provided you had enough time units. Even crouching had a Time Unit cost.
This game simplified things. You basically have three options: a) special action (like firing a rocket launcher), b) move, then action, or c) move twice. Inexplicably, there is no option to fire from your current position, then retreat.
This is obviously very limiting tactically, and there is no reason I can fathom for its exclusion.

2. If you sight an alien, you cannot change where you are moving to.
In the original game, if you were in the middle of moving to a spot and you sighted an alien, your movement would cease and the game would warn you that you sighted an alien. You could then continue to where you were going, or alter your path.
In this game, there's no such thing. Your move is your move, and sighting an enemy cannot change it. This seems to be a limitation of the 2-move system, but it seems like they could've found a way around it (Valkyria Chronicles' system was actually a much better way of doing basically the same thing this game is trying to do).

3. The amount of protection cover appears to offer has nothing to do with what it actually offers.
In the original game, if you had a wall between you and an alien, you could count on that wall to take one shot before it was destroyed, unless the alien used an explosive weapon.
In this game, that wall may provide you no protection at all for no discernible reason. In this game, a low wall will say it provides you "half-cover," while a high wall provides "full-cover." But that's not always logical. So a bit earlier, I had a guy crouching behind a low stone wall which was on top of an elevated platform. There was an enemy on the opposite side of the wall and *below* the platform. Logically, he has no line of sight and couldn't possibly hit me (or even see me). But, by this game's logic, I was in "half-cover," so he magically hit me and killed me THROUGH the stone wall (without doing any damage to the wall).
How am I supposed to plan my movements when basic laws of physics don't apply?

4. Aliens can arbitrarily move on your turn, and even prematurely end your turn. Seriously.
Needless to say, in the original game, the aliens played by the same rules you did. If they had enough time units to fire on your turn, they could fire on you. But that was it.
In this game, as soon as you sight them, they get to move into cover. Secondly, an alien will sometimes just take a move, out of the blue, on your turn. So you may use two of your four units to move, then an alien arbitrarily cuts you off, then it's back to your "turn," and you can use any of your four units again.
How am I supposed to plan my tactics properly when I don't know when my turn will actually end?

5. You can't fire anywhere you want anymore.
In the original game, you could fire anywhere, often creating a hole though a wall that you could move through, or blowing up a building you thought aliens might be in.
In this game... nope. You can only fire if you see an alien.

6. There are a finite number of maps. Plus, they tend to be small.
No more randomly generated awesomeness to keep you on your toes like the original.
Instead, they are all pre-constructed. So if you play the whole game, you already know the entirety of the terrain on any given mission, which just feels like cheating.

7. The ship-to-ship combat minigame has been eliminated entirely, in favor of the computer randomly generating an outcome.
Yes, that's right. In the original game, you had some rudimentary "aggresive," "standard," "cautious," and "disengage" options to finesse that alien craft to the ground.
In this game... there's zero control. You send an interceptor after an alien craft, and then the game tells you whether it worked or not. The end.