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Nerds Without Pants Episode 169: Coffee Talkin' About Robot Dinos

Nice.

 Nerds Without Pants is back again, but we’re still getting back into the swing of things. Since we were on a six week hiatus it’s time to catch up on a ton of games that we’ve played since the last time we recorded before break. That’s right, folks, it’s time for an all Consumption Junction edition of NWP! But be sure to get the Stage Select topic and the announcement of the first Great Game Giveaway of 2020 at the top of the show.

Man, we talk about a lot of games this episode! From Frost Punk to Coffee Talk, Afterparty to Devil May Cry V, there’s probably something for everyone to love in this show. Friendly note to listeners: we end the show with a nearly hour-long spoiler discussion on Horizon: Zero Dawn, so if you’re planning on playing that game maybe save that part of the show for later. Oh, and Julian forgot to throw the Secret Code Phrase in during the episode, so it shows up in the outro (hint: around the 3 hour mark), just in case you are skipping the Horizon section.

NEXT EPISODE:

STAGE SELECT: What are your top 3 games of the past decade? (Ranked 3-1, no honorable mentions)

SUBMIT YOUR STAGE SELECT COMMENTS BY 8:30 Central Time on February 21 to be on the show!

 

FEATURED MUSIC

Ninja Sex Party- 6969

VA-11 HALL-A- Neon District

Devil May Cry V- Pull My Devil Trigger

Horizon: Zero Dawn- Main Theme

Judgment- Your Song


 

Comments

SanAndreas

02/12/2020 at 09:15 PM

Stage Select: Top 3 games of the 2010s.

3. Fire Emblem: Three Houses

SRPGs are tje one genre where I have very clear gold standards. For a long time, that standard was Final Fantasy Tactics, because it laid down a very good template for turn-based grid combat, carried over from Matsuno's earlier Tactics Ogre, with a srtory full of likeable characters. Then in 2008 came Valkyria Chronicles, which really upgraded the genre by giving it full-on 3-D graphics and a viewpoint of the battle through the eyes of your soldiers, as well as having your party members pretty well individualized. VC was my favorite 7th gen game. It was a pretty high water mark for the genre... then Three Houses came out. It not only upped the battlefield game, but fleshed out the world outside of the battlefield. The characters, especially Edelgard, were extremely likeable and playing through multiple story paths gave the game huge replay value. And thanks to Koei Tecmo, the series got a nice new 3-D console graphics look. You can switch between the omniscient view of the classic Fire Emblem games or even play the game from a soldier's-eye perspective, just like VC. 

2. Dragon Quest XI S

DQXI is another example of a game which took a long-running series and made it better. I've been invested in the world of Erdrea and the story of the Luminary for quite awhile, The game keeps the story moving along nicely, and while all the conventions in the series that have deliberately been in place since the beginning  work pretty well, and the developers did attempt to modernize it with a fair deal of success. Dragon Quest XI S is a charming, epic game that works on so many levels. The entire cast is again, quite likeable each in his or her own way. And the game looks and sounds gorgeous to boot. The Switch version took an already great game and made it a truly sublime experience with the extra story and gameplay content, and the symphonic suite version of the music.

1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 

When I first played the original Zelda in 1987, it was a marvel of a game where I could roam the countryside, fighting monsters and finding treasures. It captured my imagination completely. In my mind, I was Link roaming through full-sized forests, mountains and deserts. Breath of the Wild is that long-ago dream brought to life.  I often spent hours just riding and fighting my way through the countryside and seeing new sights, not really paying attention to the main quest of releasing the Divine Beasts. I really felt lost and vulnerable in remote areas in the mountainous, forested, and desert regions of Hyrule. And the world really felt dangerous. With the Ancient Guardians that destroyed Hyrule tracking you from long distances, it was an adrenaline rush. And the Lynels... whew. The Lynels never stop being dangerous, just like the Lynels in the original game. The blight-corrupted Hyrule Castle was the best final dungeon in the series to date, with its graphics, great theme music, enemies, and layout signalling that this was an epic struggle for the fate of Hyrule. The Zelda series is far and away my favorite game series of all time, and Breath of the Wild is a perfect distillation of what makes Zelda special to me.

Yes, these games are all from the past couple of years. But these three games were fantastic by any measure, and being released in the first part of the decade probably wouldn't have changed my mind. Ni no Kuni and Witcher 3 were great games, but these three games hit all the right notes when it comes to the gaming experiences I enjoy the most. And to be honest, I thought the first part of the 2010s sucked. Trends set during the late 00s continued. Angry Birds and Candy Crush were what was getting all the attention. Good games were few and far between then, and a lot of them were on the DS or PSP rather than the consoles. 2013, a great year on the PS3, actually rekindled my interest in gaming,  But it was in 2017 where I got into gaming in a way I haven't been since I was a kid. The Switch has been an absolute joy of a console for me, combining Nintendo's best with a lot of the best third-party games and a full-blown Japanese renaissance that was hinted at with Ni no Kuni in 2013. So I stand by my choices for my top 3 games of the decade. 

Casey Curran Staff Writer

02/18/2020 at 06:09 PM

3. Sonic Mania Plus- Made me realize how much I missed the Classic Sonic formula. The way levels are designed to encourage exploration to find the fastest route and special stage secrets is so unique and the five characters have just enough differences to give me a new experience each time. Add Encore Mode, Time Trials and the first time a Sonic game had special stages I enjoyed and I'm still playing it over two years later.

2. The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild- A game so good it ruined the entire sandbox genre for me. I can't think of another game I spent over 100 hours playing without getting tired of it at the end.

1. Mass Effect 2- The last Bioware masterpiece. I wasn't a fan of all of its leveling and structural changes, but I can't deny how much I loved the story, combat, and characters. I played this game a dozen times the past decade and can see myself doing the same next decade.

transmet2033

02/19/2020 at 06:30 AM

For once i did not want to have my normaly brevity...  too bad I have a new infant who demands my attention.

1.  Bloodborne

2.  Witcher 2:  Assassin of Kings - The choices I made in this game still haunt me.  Did I make the correct decisions?  Plus, I like the more narrow scope compared to, say The Withcer 3.

3.  Shovel Knight

Booky

02/19/2020 at 08:51 AM

Official Top Three Games! Number three, horse racing: The Sport of Kings! Number two, duck racing: horse racing, parentheses, of the skies. Number one, Kino, the casino game with statistically the highest house edge. That means the worse odds (and you don't even have to rig it like duck racing!).

What? *Video* games? Of the 2010s? Uhhhh, MarioGalaxy2DishonoredFromSoftwareGameswhateverIguess. When's wrestling coming back you're costing me mon---I mean, always great to patronize the Nerds Without Pants Podcast! Thank you.

Exrian Contributing Writer

02/19/2020 at 01:49 PM

So glad hiatus is over and were back for Stage Select! Top of the decade is tough but I'll give it a shot. 

 

Stage Select:

3. Mass Effect 2: This was an amazing sequel to an amazing game. It delivered in pretty much all ways I wanted. I did miss some of the RPG mechanics of the original but outside of that I feel this one was near perfection  Most notably is I finally got to confess my love for Tali, who may be my favorite videogame character ever. Sure I didn't get the beloved Fem Shep voice actor but it was worth it to finish the game with Tali romantically by my side.

2. Divinity Original Sin 2: Damn was this sequel another amazing leap past the original. Although I liked the first one, it didn't grab me. This one pulled me in deep and I'm constantly thinking about this game. The RPG battle mechanics is like D&D come to life. The many ways to play and handle each situation is so interesting. If I'm correct you can kill everyone in this game and it'll find a way to continue on. 

1. Dark Souls 2: I know this may be blasphemy to Souls fans since many look down on this sequel but I absolutely loved it. I cant necessarily say it's better than the original but I just love it more. I've replayed it more times than the others and always had a blast. When it finally rereleased on this gen, it mixed things up a bit and felt like the first time I played Ocarina of Time: Master Quest. It took a favorite game I was intimately familiar with and made it feel a bit new. That was the cherry on top for replaying my favorite game of this decade.

Jamie Alston Staff Writer

02/20/2020 at 02:06 PM

Stage Select
While I definitely played my fair share of games over the past decade, many of the ones I enjoyed the most happened to be released within the last few years of the decade. Nevertheless, I was able to dig up at least one game from the start of the decade that made my top 3 list. Here we go...

3. Pac-Man Championship Edition DX (2010) - I instantly fell in love with this game because Namco gave Pac-Man something I always wanted but never thought would ever happen-- the ability to eat ghosts in a chain higher than 4. There's just something very satisfying about seeing Pac-Man gobble up an insane number of enemies and hearing that chime steady rise in pitch as you eat more ghosts. Not to mention, the updated graphics and thumping music further sold me on the game. It was just what I needed at the time.

2. Tetris Effect (2018) - While I don't want to over-hype this game, and I realize that it's just Tetris with music, I couldn't help but to really enjoy it. I've been a big fan of games designed by Tetsuya Mizuguchi ever since having played older games like Rez and especially Lumines. He has a knack for taking block puzzle mechanics and blending it with a musical score that really speaks to the part of my brain that thrives on that stuff. Tetris Effect was without question one of the most fun and beautifully produced games that I have played during the past decade. It's probably the closest thing I've come to having a spiritual experience in a video game. I throw on some headphones, and the world around me fades away. And no, I wasn't high while playing it. LOL!

1. Dragon Quest XI (2017 / 2018) - Dragon Quest is a series that I'm still playing catch-up with. But DQ XI was the perfect game to bring me up to speed with the series in terms of its world and characters that inhabit it. I really enjoyed the contrast of current-gen graphics mixed with super simple battle mechanics. Forging weapons was challenging enough to be fun without being overly complicated. I was sold from the get-go of hearing the orchestrated DQ theme over the opening sequence (with I watched far more times than I skipped). This game reminded me of Dragon Quest V with its deceptively lighthearted tone that gave me a few gut punches along the way, like the stuff with the mermaid looking for her lover or that thing with Veronica late in the game (you know I mean Julian). I laughed. I nearly cried. In the end, Dragon Quest XI is one of the best games I've played this decade.

daftman

02/21/2020 at 04:42 PM

I was going to sit down and pour over lists of the games from this last decade and carefully weigh my choices for Stage Select...but it's the day you record and I'm out of time, so I'm doing this by the seat of my pants! (Yes, wearing pants. Sorry.) But I guess it's the games that stick out in my memory that should top my list anyway, right?

3. Super Mario 3D World (Wii U, 2013). I love all the Mario platformers but I've always preferred discreet, contained levels over an emphasis on exploration (I liked Galaxy better than Odyssey, for instance) but something about 3D World really grabbed me. The levels are varied and inventive, the cat suit power up is awesome, and the music is soooooo good! My wife and I played through the whole game—including all the postgame content!—when it first came out, and I've played bits and pieces of it multiple times in recent years with my kids. I could play it again right now.

2. Deus Ex: Human Revolution: Director's Cut (Wii U, 2013). I played and loved the original release of this game, but it had problems, particularly the boss fights. The developer had contracted out the bosses to a different studio, so while levels were intricate affairs offering lots of options for how you wanted to approach any given situation, the boss fights were brain dead battles of attrition. Fast forward a couple years and the Director's Cut of the game fixed all that. The boss fights were completely redone in-house and now stack up with the rest of the game. Plus the Wii U version makes excellent use of the GamePad. Yeah, it's mostly the menus and loadout and stuff but it does so much to keep you immersed in the game when you don't have to leave the on-screen action to take care of that stuff. I love the cyberpunk setting and story. I love trying to be stealthy but having the option to blow everything up if/when I get spotted. I really enjoyed the sequel, 2016's Mankind Divided, but I think the Director's Cut of Human Revolution is the stronger game.

1. Graviy Rush 2 (PS4, 2017). No game from this last decade grabbed me quite like Gravity Rush 2. The gravity-shifting gameplay still feels unique and fresh and the addition of multiple fighting styles, based on how light or heavy you make the gravity, helps alleviate potentially repetitive combat. The world—two large Ghibli-esque cities that look like idustrial revolution Europe...in the sky!—are a joy to fly through and explore, and the stylized graphics and music fit the game perfectly. I enjoyed the story and characters and ended up putting in the extra time to platinum the game, and it's not short either! It's not a perfect game and I think for me it was greater than the sum of its parts, but I think all those parts are very well made. I wish more people had played it.

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