Episode 109: Everything is So Super New

2014 has a nice ring to it, does it not? So does the new Disembodied Voices theme song for the new episode of the new year– and the newness doesn’t stop there! This week’s episode is all about trying new things, spearheaded by a bout of very stupid New Year Resolutions, followed by a chat about The Stanley Parable’s range of unconventional emotions, which is chock full of spoilers and stories to tell. New games that the DV Cast regret trying morphs into a violent argument about Futurama (during which Bryan compares Firefly to “trash”), but the open-minded train finds its open-minded tracks once more to close out the show with a round of Words With Acquaintances based on new words nobody in the world has ever heard before. Unfortunately, Stephen is still stuck in the old ways of 2012 (Animal Crossing, World of Warcraft, Sonic the Hedgehog, etc.) but his daring bedtime redeems some of his fuddy-duddy disposition. Join Disembodied Voices in a new year of zany mishaps yay!

And a big thanks to coda who allowed us to use his 100% delightful song Chalupa Pass from his 100% delightful album Minimap! He didn’t even force a blood pact or anything.

Opening song: Chalupa Pass, from Minimap and composed by coda.

Ending song: The Earl of July, from Minimap and composed by coda. 

Episode 104: Next Gen(erosity)

The fine, familiar, festive holiday of Thanksgiving is this very week, so the DV Cast have decided to talk with each other about video games. This is what they do every week, but this time it’s a holiday. Zachary “Next Gen” Walton explains the technical feats of the PlayStation 4 and the emotional state of himself (the latter of which has been strengthened by a new season of My Little Pony). You’ve got Knack, Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag, Resogun, Ustream– the whole nine yards. The game-playing habits of Stephen and Bryan are still trapped in an all-encompassing Blizzard, but they have a hilarious and outrageous story to tell that is bound to become the biggest family feature film of 2014. (It involves Super Mario 3D World, so you know it has to be lovely.) Speaking of Nintendo games that were released on November 22nd of 2013, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds receives accolades, surpassing its divisive and smelly predecessor Skyward Sword. Lastly, a round of Thanksgiving segments set a warm, generous tone for the end of another episode, with or without sweet potatoes depending on your preference.

Opening song: Funky Bits by Yoann Turpin.

Ending song: So Long and Thanks for All the…, originally from Sonic 3 & Knuckles and ReMixed by Red Tailed Fox.

Random Encounters: Gone Fishin’

A new series born by necessity, Random Encounters picks a random video game from the void and forces the participants to talk about it. This inaugural episode is off to an exciting start with Gone Fishin’, an MS-DOS title that nobody in the world knows about (including the panelists). All sorts of fishing mechanics are explored in great detail, from SEGA Bass Fishing to World of Warcraft, with the entire whirlpool of discussion centering around the classic gem of the good old days, Gone Fishin’. Join Stephen and Bryan for this adventure, listeners. Otherwise they’ll be lonely.

Music: Precious Metals, originally from Pokemon Gold Version and remixed by Benjamin Briggs, Insert Rupee, and halc.

Episode 72: Chickens of Kakrika

Disembodied Voices descends upon the waking world for another podcast about video games, complete with all your favorite characters of the DV Cast. Bryan and Cameron assure the conversation takes a sharp, immediate turn towards StarCraft II as they congratulate one another on military victories and force Zachary into missing the simple days of flat out cheating. Darksiders II is still hanging around thanks to Stephen, a man who wouldn’t know what a Forge Land is if it punched him in the gut, and meanwhile Crysis 3’s silly rope physics are most definitely knot appreciated. A brand new segment called Let’s Pronounce Zelda Things, Woo is introduced to keep the plot interesting, which leads to the startling revelation that Bryan’s middle name is Bob.  Indeed, there are a whole host of inside jokes that can only be understood and tenderly loved should you listen to Disembodied Voices Episode 72, so consider doing just that!

Opening song: Electrolytic Man, originally from Mega Man and remixed by MaJIN_SaN, ambient, and tomatsu.

Ending song: Agahnim Arsenik, originally from The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and remixed by AeroZ.

Episode 71: More Like Dr. Ro-TALK-nik

Zachary may be woefully AWOL this episode, but the remaining DV cast pull their own weight by talking about video games a whole bunch. Cameron and Bryan have fallen into a StarCraft II hole and can’t get out as Stephen desperately tries to claw his way from a Fire Emblem: Awakening shaped crater in his life. It’s not all strategy game hijinks, however: the adventures of Darksiders II (and misadventures of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword) add a dash of action and RPG to the mix. Your weekly dose of baditude can be found in Shadow the Hedgehog and DmC: Devil May Cry, neither of which feature enough silly acrobatics. As icing on the cake, the PlayStation 4 Minute delivers all the news you’ll ever need about Sony’s upcoming console, unless, that is, you want useful information or developed opinions. So what are you waiting for? Pop on your headphones and enjoy Disembodied Voices Episode 71 today!

Opening song: Electrolytic Man, originally from Mega Man and remixed by MaJIN_SaN, ambient, and tomatsu.

Ending song: Funky Side Up, originally from Sonic & Knuckles and remixed by metaphist.

Episode 70: A Pretty Much Okay Episode

Disembodied Voices is ready and willing to celebrate the Year of Luigi with high-jumping, ghost-fearing enthusiasm– or, at the very least, Stephen clearly is. But hey, everyone else is game to talk about the recent Nintendo Direct broadcast and it’s moderately sized avalanche of announcements, even the conversation eventually bleeds into new consoles and Activision/Bungie’s destiny. The future of the gaming industry is usually a really dumb subject here at Disembodied Voices, and this week more or less proves the point. Nevertheless, despite rampant pessimism and shaky speculation on years to come, Hyrule Historia and Fire Emblem: Awakening swoop in to makes things right again. If you’re looking for a pretty much okay episode of the hippest video game podcast on the ‘net, Disembodied Voices Episode 70 is your first and last stop.

Opening song: Electrolytic Man, originally from Mega Man and remixed by MaJIN_SaN, ambient, and tomatsu.

Ending song: Clash at the Mountains, originally from The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening and remixed by zircon.

The Games of E3 2011: Stephen

It’s funny how caught up we can get in company strategies and the unveiling of new technology when, honestly, those things serve as nothing more– for the non-industry game player– than means to an end. And that end is, naturally, games! To echo Bryan’s sentiments, I haven’t had enough time to rattle on about those very things during 2011’s E3, but that’s all about to change. Even with the questionable wave of shooters and motion controls, a sizable horde of games caught my eye this year, many of which are returns to classic series that were previously looking pretty hopeless. Hope, however, abounds in this place; just browsing through my list of anticipated releases is enough to spark the ember that lights the fire which roars into a blazing display of video game radness!


Sonic Generations

If there’s one game that taps into my inner Being a Kid During Christmas Morning, it’s Sonic Generations. I’ve been a Sonic fan for many years; Sonic CD was one of my first games, I played all the Genesis and Dreamcast installments over and over again (excluding Sonic Shuffle, which I promptly used as a coaster to hold drinks that I hate), and I continue to keep up with the series. It’s been fascinating to watch Sega tinker with the nuts and bolts of 3D, trying to nail the sensation of speed without messing stuff up. The gameplay style of Sonic Unleashed was close; Sonic Colors was closer; Sonic Generations looks to be the best attempt yet. Not only that, but half the game consists of the classic 2D style, which, by all appearances, is convincingly accurate. Of course, everything will be displayed in beautiful HD, so let’s hope the frame rate holds up. Taking trips back to zones like Green Hill and City Escape is a nostalgic, fun-filled offer I shall not refuse. We can only pray for a remix of the latter’s groovy music! Actually, I’m not sure I can think of one improvement for Sonic Generations so far, which… actually seems kind of suspicious. Ah well. Realists are dumb.

 

You can't honestly look at that screenshot and not find it fantabulistic.


SSX

After that bizarre smattering of darkened peaks and military-style action that served as the trailer for SSX: Deadly Descent, my expectations were at, roughly, 0%. Maybe 2% because of the flying squirrel suit. It sure was a relief when EA took a step back and revealed “Deadly Descent” to be one of three modes from a much more upbeat game called simply SSX. While dropping subtitles and numbers for a reboot isn’t anything new, this one has me genuinely excited. I’m hesitant to see the previous lovely-but-unrealistic environments exchanged for real-world mountains, but the freedom and expansive trick possibilities that comes with satellite data sound promising. After spotting some highly SSX3-ish footage, I’ve become convinced that they have a real chance of knocking this game out of the park. Admittedly, it looked somewhat unfinished, but they’ve been letting people glimpse at gameplay since before the textures were in place, so in this pre-alpha stage and a launch window for early 2012, I’m staying optimistic. Besides, Kaori’s coming back!

Before...

...After! Yay!


Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception

Here’s a real shocker! Who would ever think to put this game on a list like this? It’s clear that Sony is proud of their talented developer, and darn well they should be! It’s a terrifying task, topping Uncharted 2, but Naughty Dog are a terrifying bunch of people– terrifyingly genius, that is! I already expected big things from this game, but some of the setpieces they’ve shown have been mind-blowing. When a leak sprung and water started leaking into the cruise ship’s interior, sloshing around and slowly filling the room in real-time, it was impressive. When the entire boat flipped over, the floor became the wall, and everything (water, crates, cars, an unfortunate Mr. Drake) went with it… has something like that ever been done in a game before!? The trailer got me even more pumped, displaying the signature Indiana-Jones-type movie setting and a large gathering of awesome moments. This Katherine Marlowe seems to be a refreshing change from the two-dimensional villains of the previous games, and I’m so very pleased to see Sully in a leading role. Finishing off with Nathan clutching a fluttering tarp strapped to the back of an airplane (currently taking off, quite naturally) sealed the deal: I can’t wait for Uncharted 3. As long as it continues to dish out superb gameplay along with its explosive setpieces and story, I’ll be ecstatic.

Just thinking of the possibilities a city like that could provide is getting me hyped!


Luigi’s Mansion 2

I didn’t think anyone cared much at all about Luigi’s brief stint as a very thorough house cleaner, and now Nintendo is creating a sequel? How cool! I sort of wish it was coming out on the Wii U (I can only imagine what it would look like with all that power and HD sheen), but I’ve got to say, the trailer on my 3DS looked exceptionally good; the fixed camera treats the 3D effect well. It brought back memories, watching Mario’s younger brother shuffle his way through dusty rooms as he fought both terror and ghosts (and usually both). All the same, I can’t help but wonder if the original game’s spirit (HA!) can be reproduced. It was the little things that made that game memorable: Luigi’s tepid whistling when the lights were on and his fearful cries for Mario when they weren’t, the goofy use of the Game Boy Horror, and the wonderful theme song that always comes to mind when I see a handheld vacuum cleaner. By all that is haunted and infested with gold coins, that song needs to come back!

This looks WAY better on the 3DS, so I'll take a video of it and put it on YouTube for you to see.


Rayman Origins

Speaking of goofy cartoon characters making returns that I didn’t see coming, here we are with the large-nosed man vegetable thingamajig we’ve come to love. Although, I must admit, there hasn’t been much to love about him as of late. Whether you throw your lot in with the rabbids or not, Rayman himself has been entirely overshadowed by the screaming freaks. Having an entire series hijacked and taken over by mutant side characters is a fascinating and weird turn of events (just like Sonic the Hedgehog, ZING, am I right?). That’s why it’s so joyous to see an all-new platformer hit the scene, free of bunnies and rich in straight-up fun. It wasn’t long before the demo I watched had me smiling along with the stupidly exaggerated Rayman and Globox as they hopped around and slapped each other. Why, the whole game seems bursting with life and energy! I have a feeling the co-op will be delivering plenty of grins come this fall.

They look like they're having so much fun!


Halo Combat Evolved: Anniversary

I much prefer the original Halo trilogy to ODST and Reach, as fine as those products were. It’s that part of the Halo universe that grabs me; that story, those vivid landscapes, those fishtailing warthogs, and– perhaps most of all– the always awesome Master Chief. I have my doubts about Halo 4 extending the fight that was promised to be finished four years ago, so I can’t wait to revisit those good times all over again. I originally thought Combat Evolved: Anniversary would be the original game with some sharper graphics, but not! No, not at all! To my sheer delight and surprise, the entire package will get a total overhaul, replacing the aged visuals with material that sits comfortably in the Xbox 360 library. Also, with the press of a button you can switch between the old and the new– and that’s really cool! Online support is another bonus, but even considering the integration with Reach’s multiplayer, I’ll miss skidding warthogs across ice and sniping with the beloved pistol. Without the original engine, it just won’t be the same. Even so, I’ll take any excuse I can to replay this genre-defining classic, and this seems like a darn good one.

Brings back memories. Sometimes I ran those guys over, so they're not all good memories.


Journey

This is something that focuses on one of my favorite video game aspects: exploration. In the vast expanses of sand and more sand, a mountain alighted with some mysterious glow catches your eye; you must get there. That’s more or less the setting in its entirety, and that’s what intrigues me. You need simply wander, and that’s the game. Even if you bump into another player online, he or she (or whatever they are under those concealing cloaks) won’t jolt you out of the experience. There’s no voice chat or gamertags or any of that rubbish to get in the way, which somehow goes against natural tendencies to put multiplayer games into categorized boxes.

“Ah, two players, you say? It must be co-op?”

“No doubt certain areas can only be accessed with multiple people, eh?”

“I’ve got it! You can fight each other! The multiplayer is killing other dudes!”

But no, as far as ThatGameCompany has revealed, other people are just… there. I’m sure you can interact with them in some fashion, but it comes down to whether you wish to wander with them or wander alone. Either way, you’re still wandering, looking for that mountain. Unlike so many games these days, there isn’t a dotted line to follow. It’s the sense of open lands to explore and the tinge of mystery that interests me so much. The fantastical visual style of flowing deserts and characters that glide with a smooth elegance doesn’t at all hurt its appeal. The aesthetics and gameplay philosophy are combining to create the atmosphere of a very tiny person lost in a very large world, and that should be worth seeing alone.

I'd probably purchase a wallpaper pack of this stuff, so you can bet I'll try the actual game.


Kirby Mass Attack

This little game was tucked safely away in the virtual shelves of the internet, and I didn’t notice it until after the whole trade show was packed up and ready to trundle off. A new Kirby game for the non-3DS piqued my curiosity, so I watched the trailer that nobody knew existed and instantly became enamored with it. The hungry hero has seemingly been cloned, and there’s a gaggle of Kirbys running amok! They’re akin to Pikmin in that they can be tossed about as well as coordinated to bypass tricky areas and take down foes of hefty size. The pleasant sprite-based graphics and SNES-esque music brought warm bubbles of happiness from the pit of my inner being (which isn’t half as disgusting as it sounds), and the music– oh my goodness, the music! Let me tell you, it’s positively adorable in every way. Mass Attack promises to be a pure, joyful video game that has me in eager anticipation.

Kirby AND Pikmin! Great Scott, they've taken cute to a new level!


The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Okay, enough cute. It’s time for mountains. Dragons. Skyrim! I’m not sure I can describe my excitement for this colossal game, but I suppose I’ll have to try. Otherwise this portion will consist of me typing “skyrimskyrimskyrimskysrimskyrimskyrim” ad nauseum. Every time I watch the gameplay trailer for the fifth Elder Scrolls entry, it starts with my enthusiasm rising, rising, rising, until… the dragon shout! Then I literally get goosebumps and the rest is incredible. Jeremy Soule has struck gold with that song like he hasn’t done since Morrowind’s theme. Todd Howard and his fellow Bethesdanites (that’s what they call themselves, isn’t it?) are making practically every smart move I could think up: a Nordic setting, dual-wielding weapons, dynamic sidequests and NPCs, a minimal HUD, less straightforward terrain than Oblivion’s, improved third-person, and so much more. The only bit I’m worried about is the effort to streamline the series, and while that can be a good thing, these days it often translates to “dumbed down”. But I trust Bethesda with this, and Skyrim is coming along gloriously. At this point, I know about as much as I want; the true adventure begins when I insert the disc, lean back, and enter a world of blustery winds laden with ice and endless adventure on the horizon. What I do next is up to me!

There are wooly mammoths in this game? Are you kidding me?? HURRY UP, NOVEMBER.

And that, directly above, is my Official Favorite Game Featured at E3 2011.

11.11.11. Just you wait.

But really, all of the games up there look wonderful, and I can hardly wait for them to come out. For a tad of clarification, this list is not a precise guide to my “most anticipated” releases or whatnot. They’re simply games that caught my eye during E3 and made me markedly more pumped to try them for myself, and I’m sure there are some that I missed. Some runners-up include Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Paper Mario 3DS, and Tomb Raider. I’m highly interested in these games, mind you– perhaps even more so than the ones on display– but I either have my doubts about them or the show didn’t highlight anything special enough to warrant inclusion. But yeah, that’s it. Games! Games that I want to play!