Show #499a: X Gaiden: The Continuing Adventures of Laser Wolf

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This show also known as: David Cage says: fuck books.

We rock some X: The Movie on listener Creaty’s recommendation before answering some twitter questions about why Eternal Darkness is the best, what I like about Dead Space, why God of War continues to suck ass, and could the 2005 version of me be wrong about Fatal Frame III?


Music Selection: You guys remember this song? It’s from Tokyo Babylon at that really cute, upbeat part where the girl murders her dog as part of an arcane curse ritual.

This show is about:



  • Stephen Dillard

    I’ve listened to you guys since 2006, really enjoy the podcast (obviously), but I just wanted to defend God of War a bit.

    Actually, on the grounds you generally diss it on, I can’t really say that much, since your take on it seems to boil down to “it doesn’t force you to press enough buttons.” I know that’s a snarky over-simplification, but not being trained on fighting games myself, I just didn’t come to it with the same prejudices. I enjoy it for the spectacle, though I absolutely think that the difficulty wildly swings from “too damn easy” to ridiculous whenever you up the level.

    I know it’s cliche to call yourself a “hardcore gamer” if you’ve gotten good at Dark Souls, but I have to say I’ve gotten reasonably good at it, in fact I can parry Gwyn enough to kill him, which actually isn’t that tough, but you have to conquer a lot of hesitation to even try. So I don’t think I’m a pussy gamer or whatever, and I still really enjoy the overall experience of God of War, and it somehow isn’t ruined for me by repetitious combat. It might be you guys’ roots as starting with fighting games that spoiled it for you, but I can be distracted enough by a thousand-foot tall titan looming up in the background that the comparatively simply combat doesn’t faze me that much.

    Anyway, sorry this had to be my first comment, it just seemed like a good time to put in my perspective on things. I’m usually confident enough in my tastes that hearing them contradicted doesn’t bother me that much anyway. But thanks for continuing with the podcast, and hopefully you guys keep it going!

  • Quinn

    They totally cancelled X 1999 the manga because it got too violent and story went nowhere.

  • My primary problem with God of War isn’t “doesn’t make you push enough buttons” so much as “doesn’t care WHAT buttons you push.” Just jam on shit, you’ll be fine. Which isn’t to say I need every character action game to be a super technical grueling slug-fest, I just want some indication that my inputs actually matter. This is the same problem we have with Dynasty Warriors. Dynasty Warriors peddles in the same power fantasy of killing a billion guys at once, but it gets shat on less because it’s less in-your-face and has less in the way of aspiration.

    Further problems:
    1) Enemies have 10000x more health than they need too. Big enemies sit there, ineffectually paw at you, and basically don’t react to your attacks at all, while you wail on them for like two minutes before they’re finally weakened enough to be QTEd to death. Fuck up the QTE? Do the last 30% of their health again.
    2) There’s no balanced difficulty, as you noted.
    3) The gore is ridiculous and stupid. I’ll tolerate gore in a game that has stellar mechanics, and in a game where the gore isn’t a primary driving factor/in your face every single second of the game (Dead Space). Leading to the next point:
    4) Kratos is an asshole. Theme isn’t the end-all-be-all of games for me; I’m willing to play through mechanically fun games with piece of shit theme (Gears of War). However, the ceaseless misanthropy of God of War is completely boring whenever it isn’t being mildly offensive. Like, oh isn’t it so edgy/awesome that you’re bashing Hercules’s face in and you have to watch all the gruesome, gory face-bashing bits?? …well, not really…

    And finally:
    5) It’s the series that popularized that time-wasting “mash button to open door/chest” crap, so fuck them for doing that.

    But thanks for your comment! And thanks for keeping it even handed!

  • Eoghan

    In three consecutive podcasts I’ve had messages read out and they have led (directly or indirectly) to 1. getting a link in the blog post for the podcast, 2. the title for a podcast and 3. the alternative title for a podcast. I think that can be counted as a minor personal achievement.
    Also, I was glad to hear you made good your promise, Dave, and forgot how to pronounce my name.

  • Bames

    Listening back to that Twitter question I wrote, my bias on the subject is much more apparent than it seemed while writing. Oh well. I suppose 140 character limits can put some restrictions on keeping things neutral.

  • ThatGent

    All this talk is well and good but there are more important issues in life that need covering, such as how many people can the force of nature, known as Bean Bandit’s Chin, kill in one blow.

  • This guy doesn’t like Akira

    I should’ve spared myself the image search for inuki, since you already described the horrors, but I just couldn’t stave off my curiosity. What mine eyes have seen!

  • Stephen Dillard


    Actually I agree with your comments overall, I just mean I can overlook the clumsy combat in favor of the some of the, in my opinion, awesome spectacle they give you in the game. But I have the same problems with the combat, when I’m forced to pay attention to it. Enemies, even more the various mini-bosses, are ridiculously difficult when you play on higher levels, at least to me. I had the same problem with Arkham Asylum, the difference between normal and hard were various street thugs taking 5 haymakers to go down, and then 20 goddamn hits to even react.

    But thanks for responding, I know you guys don’t have that much time to read every comment, I’m sure, and to be honest I was going off of previous podcasts, I hadn’t listened to this one before commenting (never a good idea). On the gratuitous violence, again I absolutely agree, especially with God of War III – it was really perplexing what they were trying to appeal to with all those brutal murders you perform – it would be too kind to call them “battles.” Someone must have been in a foul mood when they designed it.

  • Xenomorph is a funny thing. I’m sure it wasn’t born out of the mere convenience it now offers to those who don’t want to say ‘the alien from Alien,’ (because its such a dumb-sounding word) but it is useful.

    But Alien is such a beautiful title for the ’79 movie, given the mystery of the creature. Just a shame that it is also technically generic


    To Dave and Joel

    Fuck My computer crash and you didn’t comment FUCK!

    Short version

    X the anime TV show the characters losing there power… Manga flip the character who dies at the end of the move.

    Clamp is doing a DC Version of there anime now… XXXHolic and other show they do now are just like DC Mutiverse.

    Riley Scott is the one whom change the Ailen name to the Xeromorph he did it in one of his books. and that shit become history. Also Preaders are or was in War with the SpaceJockey…

  • OtherSideofSky

    The problem with God of War’s combat isn’t that it makes no difference what sequence of buttons you press, because it most certainly does, it’s that there’s only one sequence of buttons that’s ever worth pressing (maybe two, in a few specific situations). The additional weapons are almost always less useful than the default weapon, so God of War is just an endless string of ‘square, square, triangle’ followed by a QTE that you got sick of seeing after the first time it played which totally breaks the flow of combat.

    Honestly, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow was probably a better game than God of War even though it had pretty much the same combat problems (predictable enemies with too much health, repetitive QTE finishers, tons of combos that aren’t worth using, etc.). It had a much larger variety of enemies, so that you were actually fighting different things in different areas, some of the later enemies were actually fun to fight (although the werewolves that take up the first third are just abysmal), it had some good puzzles (I especially liked the stage inside Baba Yaga’s music box), it chose to do its giant boss fights Shadow of the Colossus-style rather than have you hack away at a hand or a tentacle while your ‘massive’ enemy sits in the background and might as well just be a texture, the two types of magic actually made for an interesting mechanic and added an extra layer of depth to some of the later boss fights, the protagonist was at least trying not to be a complete douchebag, and the ending was one of the funniest things I’ve seen in current generation gaming (albeit unintentionally so). It also had Patrick Stewart reading his creepy stalker diary entries about you on all the loading screens, which was a nice touch. At the same time, it would probably have been better served by giving the player a single melee attack button with a more limited range (say, straight in front instead of a big arc) and significantly reducing the health of larger enemies.

    As bad as the God of War trophy names are, I can’t bring myself to get worked up about them. I just can’t be shocked or surprised by this shit after seeing the things Kratos did to unarmed civilians pleading for help back in God of War 2 just because they were in his way. That was one of the reasons 2 was the last God of War I bought (I only got through it because I had a pair of sarcastic, slightly drunk friends next to me to riff on it as I played), and it honestly seems kind of disingenuous to me that so many people are getting shocked and outrage about this now, when the series has been so bad about this sort of thing for so long.

    Dynasty Warriors, on the other hand, I will actually defend. The quality varies from game to game (Ken’s Rage 2 was, as you have mentioned, terrible), but they’ve generally gotten better at making the hordes of faceless enemies more active and more of a threat. The characters have reasonably distinct styles of play and there are most certainly meaningful differences between the different moves. They aren’t the most intellectually demanding games, but they are fitting successors to the arcade brawlers of the nineties and they generally make for an enjoyable co-op experience. That said, I think I’m coming to prefer Sengoku Basara 3 to Dynasty Warriors. It has fewer moves per character, but the way they’re mapped to the buttons makes them more accessible. It also features more elaborate stage gimmicks, which make for a more varied gameplay experience.