GameSpot GamePlay Episode 48: Final Freedom Force Fighters

We lost someone dear. And so we tell our favorite Ryan Davis stories, admiring the man's work and describing his finest profanities.

GameSpot GamePlay Episode 48: Final Freedom Force Fighters

We remember one of GameSpot's best, with audio tributes and personal recollections. Developer David Gallant is also on hand to offer some important levity, covering such disparate subjects as Pepsi, helplessness, DOTA 2, games full of dicks, and ignorant children.

Most importantly, we learn that some things are bigger than others. And thank God for that. This week's crew: Tom Mc Shea, Carolyn Petit, Peter Brown, and of course, host Kevin VanOrd.

GameSpot GamePlay Episode 47: Floaty Butt

GameSpot GamePlay Episode 46: Banana Hammock

GameSpot GamePlay Episode 45: Popular Tarts

GameSpot GamePlay Special Edition Spoilercast: The Last of Us

GameSpot GamePlay Episode 44: Movement to the Beat

GameSpot GamePlay Episode 43: Slow Boat to Ireland

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Discussion

111 comments
yotaruvegeta
yotaruvegeta

So much to talk about, but I've forgotten some of it. You guys were only involved in Ryan Davis part 1, and not the sequel, but I think you guys did a very commendable job in sharing what made Ryan so awesome. You also have video (audio) of baby Ryan doing his Gamespot reviews (miles away from how we saw him on Giant Bomb); so while you didn't know him as well as others did, you brought some cool stuff to the table.


OK, some notes.


1. Freedom Fighters was AWESOME and it needs a sequel/reboot/spiritual sequel/whatever

2. TETRIS is a fucking emotional roller coaster. It's just pixelated blocks. In the present, I'm playing entanglement. A lot prettier than Tetris, but it's not some visual phenomenon. It's my 2013 Tertris. Graphics are great, graphics are amazing, but you don't really need them to have a great gaming experience, or to tell a better story.

stonefang
stonefang

Meh! smegma... he lives... he lives

loveycheese
loveycheese

Art isn't better art because it's more complex. Final Fantasy Tactics may be the best game ever. To this day it's still beautiful. All this talk about The Last Of Us being about it's looks is stupid. The game is not impressive visually because of it's engine. Like FFT, it's graphics works because of the passion poured into them. Combined with the story and gameplay you get immersed into it's world. For me, The Last Of Us is an incredible game in every respect. Others want a different kind of game. That's fine. But please, realize it's not about graphic engines. It's the love the game is made with that shines or doesn't shine through. Even if a game doesn't look nice, if it's made with heart, you will grow fond of it's appearance.

And by the way, film is the same. There are great movies with big budgets and great movies with small budgets. Doesn't matter how fancy the sets are or how evolved the CGI. It's the emotion it invokes. Bugs me when someone blows off a movie because of it's effects or animation. Heck, some movies aren't even about that. They'll only have a minute of CGI where it was simpler or more convenient. Then people rate it down several points on account of the CGI. Blarg. Guess my point is... don't focus on costs. Experience art with your soul.

While I am not very familiar with Ryan Davis, he seemed like a great person from the things I've heard lately. Sweet dreams Ryan.

Gama_Forever
Gama_Forever

Hi! I just wanted to say that I really love your podcast. I enjoy how you articulate your opinions and the jokes. I find myself quite entertained during my lunch breaks on Saturday at work, listening to your podcast. I also wanted to mention that Carolyn is my favorite at the table. At first, I didn't know what to really think of her. As I've listened to her, I just really respect her views and her place at GameSpot. Furthermore, she pushes games to strive for more than just the objectification of women and violence. As I grow into an older man (21), some of these recurring themes throughout all of gaming are becoming more mundane and repetitive. So hearing Carolyn push video games into becoming a higher form of art, it's inspiring to hear that from someone in the gaming community. More than anything, she's just respectful and eloquent in terms of her language use. Perhaps I've rambled, but I love the podcast and hope to see it continued. 

Also, I just wanted to mention that I've been on this site since at least 2003 and I signed up for an account in 2004. Ryan Davis played an important role in the ascension of GameSpot as a news source in that time period. He will be sorely missed. Thanks for your time ladies and gents. 

TheProRookie
TheProRookie

BTW, Smash Bros. was by far my favorite stream at EVO today... but it very well might be my favorite game of all time so I'm biased :P

TheProRookie
TheProRookie

Instead of playing The Last of Us, I'm playing Final Fantasy 7 and Fire Emblem 7... umad Tom?

chechak7
chechak7

Kevin's view. is always great he is really critic 

max-hit
max-hit

I always find my view of gaming very close to Kevin's view. But I Think Crysis 3 was one of the bad games I played this year and it would be a horribly regrettable purchase for anyone else. Because regardless of the gameplay being good or bad the campaign spans only 5 hour on the hardest difficulty level, and the online play is hardly noticeable.

Toysoldier34
Toysoldier34

I bought Katamari Damacy today after remembering how good it is. 

AtheistPreacher
AtheistPreacher

Another good episode, but this was one of the particularly good ones.  Lots of interesting topics and good back-and-forth.

pal_080
pal_080

Oh yea Freedom Fighters was awesome!  My favorite multiplayer game of that era, the only flaw was a lack of maps.

MuggyTadpole
MuggyTadpole

So refreshing to read a comments section on GS and not curl up into a tense ball of incredulous rage, sadness and disbelief.

And no this is not sarcasm, not after reading the comments on Carolyn's TLOU article and the new Xboc chief news piece.

deadpeasant
deadpeasant

Kevin and Tom, That has to be the best back and forth argument ever in gaming journalism! So entertaining!

push88
push88

I hope this isn't in poor taste.  I was just wondering if anyone knew how this lovely man past away?  He seemed awfully young.

g7o7
g7o7

"No David, don't interrupt, this is great" Thanks Peter, had the same reaction listening to that surreal argument xD

I'm happy with the unedited episodes though, there should be an outtakes one for the others!

Lord_Python1049
Lord_Python1049

Just saying, but Carolyn better be the one who reviews GTA5... she seems to be the only one who "gets" it. ;p

ExtremePhobia
ExtremePhobia

A good episode today. Just the lack of the intro and outro set a tone. Ryan Davis was properly celebrated and then nobody won the podcast. I'll be happy to get back to normal next week though.

June-GS
June-GS

Wait, what?! Ryan Davis is... ? Jeez, I'd been away again, and didn't even know...

 Sigh, rest in peace, good sir.

DarkFrankhs
DarkFrankhs

I feel like I'm a bit of weirdo for this but.... I can't stand GTA. I'm so bored of the routine-ness of it all. 

g1rldraco7
g1rldraco7

55:26 I know exactly what you mean Kevin, I currently have a HUGE crush on a GameSpot editor and you don't know who he is. Rest in Piece Ryan Davis, best moment was watching him call Tom McShea and Peter Brown idiots, such a great man. See you next week and this week is so sad.

Necrotron
Necrotron

I enjoy immensely whenever Ryse comes up in discussion simply for the reaction it gets.

eiji1
eiji1

I think you guys are completely wrong-headed in your approach to Ryse. Asura's Wrath showed that you can make an exceedingly enjoyable and entertaining experience using minimal combat gameplay and unfailable QTEs.

My second problem is that you directly went after Chavat, in a rather repugnant manner. I think if there's one thing I'm trying to take as a life lesson from Ryan is not to be mean to people if it's not in jest. Ryan had an amazing ability to criticize without having to antagonize, and I think it's something we can all do well to emulate.

TomMcShea
TomMcShea

@deadpeasant Thanks! We should do a livestream of Crysis 3 on the lowest possible settings :)

Toysoldier34
Toysoldier34

@Lord_Python1049 I wish that Gamespot allowed second opinions on games. Where they have the main review like normal, but also any staff member that has played the game can chime in with a smaller review section. Seeing how multiple interests like a game could be helpful.

I know the staff is busy and they don't have time to have multiple people playing a game it could just be done on the side when a staff member plays the game on their own.

ExtremePhobia
ExtremePhobia

@Lord_Python1049 I think any of them would be good for reviewing GTA5. Each will have their own section of the game that they'd probably like more than the others but I don't they'll find any major fault. I feel like that might be a KVO pulls rank kind of game though =). If anything would tempt me, GTAV certainly would!

I think it would be interesting to have one of the UK people to do it. Mark Walton would probably be my pick for GTAV. He's a good critique but he also seems appropriately excited for it.

max-hit
max-hit

@DarkFrankhs In the first 4hrs of a GTA game you barely get to become familiar with the basic elements of the game. A little patience could have change you're opinion. GTA 4 is a great game I'd say give it another shot.

TomMcShea
TomMcShea

@DarkFrankhs Nothing wrong with that. The only universal game is Tetris. If you don't like that, than something is wrong with you.

TomMcShea
TomMcShea

@eiji1 Ryse doesn't have QTEs.

Sun-Tzu-GE
Sun-Tzu-GE

@eiji1 I wouldn't have liked Asura's Wrath if I wasn't an anime fan.I only enjoyed it because it was reminiscent of Dragon ball.

Necrotron
Necrotron

I always loved when review magazines had second opinions.

eiji1
eiji1

@TomMcShea Well, then what were you referring to by "You can't fail"? Because from what I heard from the folks over at Shack News, the not dying thing was because it was an E3 demo, and isn't part of the complete game.

Toysoldier34
Toysoldier34

@Necrotron GameInformer was the magazine I recall doing it and I always liked them. Especially when a game I was looking forward to didn't get an amazing review but the second opinion gave it a better score from a person that liked games more along the style that I do.

Though I know the Gamespot staff well now and can gauge their opinions to mine and can get a better idea about a game now than I could before when I read GameInformer.

DarkFrankhs
DarkFrankhs

@SebCrakpot1234 @DarkFrankhs I just don't like the premise of GTA so much. The gangsters, the guns and cars... It was exciting when I was 14 - I just no longer find the tasks interesting - or the story. 

SebCrakpot1234
SebCrakpot1234

@DarkFrankhs @SebCrakpot1234 I find it hard to understand you can be bored of routine-ness if you played so little and haven't played a gta game for years.

All fps and rpg have a ''routine'' too, I don't know what kind of games you play... Personnally I haven't played for a long time so it will feell good to play plus it seems like there's more things to do now.

TomMcShea
TomMcShea

@eiji1 @BRiDeath I will not preface my opinions with "in my opinion." Everyone else realizes what opinions are without those disclaimers.

eiji1
eiji1

@TomMcShea @BRiDeath Not surprisingly, we also disagree on this.

And BRi, please use subjective phrases like "I didn't find it to be...", "It wasn't ... to me.", etc. when you're giving an opinion.

Because if I enjoyed it (and I did), then your phrasing cannot be factually correct.

eiji1
eiji1

@TomMcSheaI'm not looking for reasons to get upset, man. I don't have that masochistic tendency (at least as far as I know). What rubbed me the wrong way is the way in which you presented your opinion, which seemed intentionally inflammatory (albeit completely honest), and outright dismissive of a whole company.

I brought up the review policy as a question of standards and practices at GS. Saying something with the sentiment of "This product is a horrible, misguided attempt to appeal to gamers with a casual attitude towards gameplay in general, and challenge in specific" is something that belongs in a review or less official impression of an actual product you've actually played in a sufficient capacity to evaluate.

Now, if you have had the opportunity to get hands-on with the game yourself, or someone else at GS has, someone whom you've discussed this with and who gave you enough information for this opinion to be based on a sufficient basis of fact, then I apologize and rescind my criticism, because then you'll have relayed a subjective assessment of facts given to you by a source that is of sufficient availability and trustworthiness to you that I can trust in the clear-headedness of your assessments.

But if that is not the case, then you've overreached greatly in your assessment. You're free to voice your opinions on a product which you have not yet played. Free to say that if it turns out like it's looking right now, then you assert that it would be a horrible product that you wouldn't recommend to your worst enemy. But without couching it in such uncertainties, you've pre-judged this game and the intent of its creators as "cynical" and "manipulative", and what's more, professed your wish for it to fail.

If it's the second, then your statements as you've put them in the podcast are themselves cynical and manipulative, as you've had no real time with the product by which to assess it properly. And while you're not reviewing the game in the strictest sense, proclaiming that you wish for it to fail is a statement that is far harsher than most reviews ever go, and thus should be approached with a similar gravity.

But, again, if you have had actual time with the game yourself, or with someone who's played the game, and you asked him all of the questions you found you needed, and came to this conclusion from that, then I rescind my criticism.

TomMcShea
TomMcShea

@eiji1 They did say "more precise button mashing" though not in those words. If you hit a button right when the prompt flashes on screen, you perform a flashier death. If not, you still kill them, but it's less flashy. The game is the embodiment of "style over substance." Who cares if you earn more experience points in a game that you can mash to win? 

I have no idea why you've take such offense to my views on Cryteck and Ryse. There is nothing I can say to make you like my take on them. I think making graphics by far the most important aspect of games is a bad thing, and that's their whole design philosophy.

Also, not sure why you're bringing up our review policy. I haven't reviewed Ryse. You're just looking for reasons to be upset.

Necrotron
Necrotron

@push88 @TomMcShea @eiji1 Exactly the point of the disappointment in Ryse.  That, and the lack of meaningful interaction from the player from everything we've been shown so far.

eiji1
eiji1

@TomMcShea @eiji1 And aside from all of the other things I wrote, because of my arguing about this on twitter with you guys, some Crytek PR dude started following me on twitter, and I don't know what to feel about that.

eiji1
eiji1

@TomMcShea@eiji1 Not comparing Ryse to GoW. I'm just saying that there is an element in common besides the time period, and that Crytek's approach could have interesting ramifications.

"More precise button mashing" Isn't what they said. Again, you devolve into needless inaccuracies instead of just talking about the reality of the situation. They also said that being more precise in those sequences would have rewards other than gorier death animations, but possibly health restoration, gold, or whatever.

Again, you're being either willfully ignorant of the situation or ignoring parts of the given facts in order to somehow build up your argument.

An argument that, in the podcast, sounded a lot more like "I hate Crytek and they should fail and go out of business because I don't like the kind of games that they make" than any sort of reasoned treatise about the design itself.

More and more often recently, Tom, you devolve into needless hyperbole which isn't fitting for a man in your position and with your degree of experience. More importantly, you seem to have no mechanism by which to recognize any other eventuality than the one you have painted in your head right now.

Whatever your wishes are for the industry as a whole,  your rhetoric and attitude regarding Crytek and Microsoft in previous podcasts ensures only one thing: If and when there's an actual conversation to have regarding all these issues, there will be great reluctance to include you in it. Someone as vitriolic and downright malicious as you've been isn't someone you want to speak to at all, much less turn to when it's time to analyze your faults and reset for the better.

You're free to have your own opinion, but it's ridiculous to present it as any sort of judgement (which you have, repeatedly) when you've had no personal exposure to the product (which I'm assuming, because all of your statements are based on other people's analyses of the game at previews and "what Crytek has shown", which I have to assume is all the publicly available footage, etc.)

I can't believe I'm even writing these words, but you *know* you have to have actually been exposed to the full product in order to judge it as completely and pseudo-objectively as you are so keen to do. You know this because that's part of Gamespot's review policy.

So before we even get to that phrase, no, you aren't allowed to *judge* this game based on "what crytek has shown", especially since you're actually judging it by Mark Serrels' impressions.

You have to check yourself, Tom, and realize that there's a level of rhetoric that you can't use when your opinion is based on second-hand experience, whether it's videos or talks done by the company or a hands-on preview done by a previewer from another outlet, which I *have* to assume isn't available for you to get out of him any and every detail you need to make an actual informed decision. 

More and more, the media at large has no concept of "The benefit of the doubt". You see it practically everywhere. Including here. And it causes me to have less respect for you as a writer and for your opinions if I know that you make them several months in advance.

push88
push88

@TomMcShea @eiji1 Failing is a part of gaming isn't it?  If you can't fail, it's not really a GAME then is it?  A game has to have a win or lose situation right?  It doesn't feel good to win something if there was no possibility of losing to begin with.  You may as well just go watch TV or something.

TomMcShea
TomMcShea

@eiji1 @TomMcShea I read it the first time. I am basing my views on the game on what Cryteck has thus far shown, and it looks like a cynical attempt to reduce games to nothing more than gory death sequences. To compare it to God of War is laughable. Cryteck has not even hinted at an in-depth combat system. They only talk about how more precise button mashing leads to gorier death animations. I think this is abysmal game design and am not scared to state my views.

TomMcShea
TomMcShea

@eiji1The impetus to Cryteck's response was a Kotaku article that states, "Maybe it’s a bug I think, but no. Next time I deliberately press the wrong button. The kill goes ahead, no consequences. Then I try hitting no buttons whatsoever. The kill goes ahead. I put the controller on the table in front of me, the kill goes ahead." So, yes, this is a game that plays itself, and Cryteck is proud of that.

 Ryse is cynical because Cryteck thinks that the act of playing gets in the way of games. 

From Kotaku: 

 “We don’t want the player to feel frustrated,” I am told.

Well it didn’t work. I didn’t work at all because I feel frustrated. I am frustrated because I am being denied the opportunity to be frustrated, denied the frustration that will motivate me to learn the game, to adapt.

It's the nadir of game design.

eiji1
eiji1

@TomMcShea @eiji1 Yeah, so literally nothing in there about Not Failing. Having heard things to the contrary elsewhere, I'm gonna have to see some direct quote somewhere before I buy that, and I haven't been able to find any in a cursory Googling.

Also, Mashing to Mastery seems to mean a gradation of visual and gameplay rewards versus amout of effort put into mastering the games system.

I can certainly see why that would confuse you, since the "to" in "Mashing to Mastery" could read like an "in order to achieve", rather than the range indicator every other thing they wrote seems to imply.

From everything I've heard about Ryse (and, granted, I haven't had much active interest, because it feels like that Jason and the Argonauts game if the player characters were Call of Duty soldiers), it's not a cynical ploy to get at people's money or whatever it is you said on the podcast.

It's an approach to game design that, even if you may not like the idea of it, it's almost reprehensible for you to presume it's going to fail, and to speak of it in the way you are, using words that imply a willful intent by Crytek to take advantage of people wanting to "Look at the shiny-shiny" is disrespectful of Crytek, as well as gamers at large.

To remind you, God of War, one of the best action games to have ever been constructed, had a button prompt over weakened enemies heads to kill them, and for the scrubs, there never was a QTE involved.

This *could* be making that subsystem more involved and interesting.

It's all about, as it has ever been about, the rest of the game and what they put in there. If all that's there is combat sequences with a minimal, uninteresting story, then of course it's not going to be a hit. If, like in the E3 demo, you're going to fight one or two enemy models for an entire level, then of course it's not going to be a contender for GoTY, if all the game is is going to place A, Kill group of enemies B, trigger object C, kill group of enemies D, move on to place E, then of course people are going to get bored with it very quickly, and it'll be thrown aside like week-old pizza.

Maybe it's a mistake to imply further interactivity within an execution move, while having the interactivity only be a modifier, rather than a success-condition. Maybe the enemies won't present any actual challenge because of one reason or another, making the game in its entirety rather dull. Maybe the story is just a Greco-Roman CoD tale, with nothing particularly interesting to say beyond "look at all this blood - isn't it cool?"

The thing is - we don't know yet. And we won't know for a few months. But you're talking as if you're already decided against this game, on principle or whatever other cognitive-dissonance-based excuse you've come up with.

It's perfectly legitimate to say that you aren't interested in it, or that you aren't excited by it, or that if "if it ends up being as we assume here..." then it's going to be a terrible game, or that you don't see any depth to the system right now, or that the graphics look ugly, or that you didn't see enough things to do, or that you didn't like the look or the presumed feel of how the gameplay seems to line up.

But I don't think it's legitimate to say that it's a cynical manipulation of people who just want to see great graphics.

Not to mention the fact that from a design perspective, it's more difficult, in terms of content-creation and programming, to create QTE-esque sequences with gradation of result. It's factually, mathematically provably more difficult, even if only by a slight margin.

It's not something that can be born out of laziness or a cynical disregard of gamers. It's something that you have to put in the effort to do because you think it's an interesting twist on the formula or that it makes the QTE aspect of GoW type executions more involved and interesting.

I'm not saying Ryse is some incredible thing that cannot fail. I'm saying that it *hasn't* failed *yet*.

Toysoldier34
Toysoldier34

@eiji1 @TomMcShea Think of it like press button 1 or 2 to do 20 damage, but when a prompt comes up on screen to press button 2 at a certain time it will do 40 damage instead.

Similar in God of War many creatures have a contextual kill animation when they get low enough on health that starts a type of QTE which if you fail you often take damage. Though you can choose to ignore it and keep hitting that enemy and most of the time they will die normally without the flashy kill.