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G&P Podcast: Hearts and Arrows on Game and Player

G&P Podcast: Hearts and Arrows

The Editors  //  February 14, 2011

Halo remade, Skyrim ascendant, and a funny thing called love.


f rumors of a remade Halo: Combat Evolved are true, what could such a game be like? Bethesda Softworks has been making incredible statements about The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim — can the developers deliver? And what better time than Valentine's Day to reflect on pixelated romance? Michael Ubaldi, Ed Kirchgessner, James Day and Heather Richtmyre discuss.

Music is "Fever" by Helix Eternal.

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Download the podcast (mp3 | 45:45 | 42.8MB | 128kbps).

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Lee Kelly // February 15, 2011 // 12:04 PM

I wonder if the "Combat Evolved" subtitle will be dropped. It never made any sense. I dislike the proliferation of subtitles in videogames, and so you can guess where my preference falls.

With regard to "The Library" chapter, I actually enjoyed it most on the "Legendary" difficulty setting, because only then did it become a real test of skill and concentration.

One should remember that a lot of people never played the first Halo; a straight port would be especially jarring and off-putting to more recent fans.

Lee Kelly // February 15, 2011 // 12:26 PM

Skyrim is shaping up to be more awesome than a skateboarding rhinoceros. Oblivion was both deeply flawed and inexplicably captivating; it has soaked up more hours of my life than I care to reflect on and I still haven't seen everything it has to offer. If Skyrim is half as engaging then it'll be worth the entrance fee; Bethesda is on incredible form at the moment.

I usually played as a stealthy archer in Oblivion. While the stealth is rather unsatisfying compared to more specialised games, once I reached about level 20 I rarely had an issue with bows and arrows being underpowered except against high-level tanks, e.g. ogres. That said, I am pleased Bethesda are rebalancing the archery gameplay in favour of fewer arrows, more difficult targeting, and more damaging hits. The best implementation of bows and arrows I am aware of can be found in Thief III: the experience is satisfyingly tactile and strategic, with arrows doubling up as both weapons and gadgets. If Bethesda manage to emulate Thief III in this respect, then I would be excited beyond all measure.

Lee Kelly // February 15, 2011 // 12:31 PM

This may seem shallow, but I am excited to see Skyrim in motion for its animation. Bethesda claims to have implemented superior animation software (developed by Havoc), and since this was such a disillusioning and subpar aspect of both Oblivion and Fallout 3, I really hope they make significant improvements on this front.

Lee Kelly // February 15, 2011 // 12:44 PM

Okay, last comment. Sorry!

When I first played Knights of the Old Republic, I had little idea of how open-ended it was or that any romance could happen at all. My ignorance made the experience far more powerful than it might otherwise have been, because I really didn't know it was possible to engage in the relationship. My foreknowledge of romantic potential in Mass Effect 1 & 2 took some of the excitement away, though I was still quite smitten with Liara.

One of the better romances in a videogame is between the Prince and Ferah in Prince of Persia (PS2, Xbox, and GameCube). I can't remember the details; i just remember than I found it enjoyable and satisfying.

Currently, I am replaying Dragon Age: Origins for all six origin stories simultaneously (whether I finish all of them is another matter) and will attempt a romance with each of the characters at least once. It'll be interesting to see how Bioware handled each.

I also liked the love story between Marcus and Dom in Gears of War, or was I the only one who noticed?

Michael Ubaldi // February 16, 2011 // 12:49 AM

Hey, don't apologize, Lee! It's great to have someone enjoy the discussion as much as we did.

In order: as I said, my sheer enjoyment of the game and the nostalgia it brings (I'm cradling a memory of The Library on Legendary right now, in one of those sublevel hallways) conflicts with the lack of appeal those sections hold for so many.

On Skyrim, I do hope a similar sense of value is invested in many other things. I don't want to pick up my third jeweled shortsword in the space of five minutes; apart from typical weapons and belongings, the treasures I find should be distinct and rare.

On thieves, my favorite end-quest was for the Thieves' Guild. Time-travel! Puzzles! It was wonderful. I seem to remember, however, doing most of my dirty work with a short sword. New mechanics are quite welcome.

Liara was my choice in the first game, too — looking back, how could I have chosen otherwise? In the sequel, I took a liking to Jack but as the girls began to add up I hemmed and hawed a bit. Very impressive.

James Day // February 16, 2011 // 4:05 PM

Still waiting for the ep to go up on iTunes :/

James Day // February 21, 2011 // 11:13 AM

I'm going to look into my sound quality. It seems to get worse with every episode we do. First I'm going to try a different headset rather than the clunky old one I'm currently sporting.

Remind me to try really hard to cut down the stammers and "umms", "erms" and whatnot. I sound like a less cogent Hugh Grant most of the time.

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