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 411mania » Games » Columns

Four Player Co-op 4.16.14: Civilization, Dragon Age, Smash Bros, More
Posted by Stephen Randle on 04.16.2014

Daniel Anderson has joined the game.
John Cash has joined the game.
Todd Vote has joined the game.

Quizmaster Greetings, and welcome to another edition of Four Player Co-op. I am the Quizmaster, and I have seen things that you wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost, like tears in the rain.

Start the game!

QUESTION ONE: Just revealed at PAX East, the next Civilization will be fairly familiar to fans of Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, as Firaxis has announced Civilzation: Beyond Earth, which will leave the confines of Earth and head to a planet somewhere beyond the stars, coming out later this year. Sound familiar? In fact, they've basically said that this may as well be a sequel to the popular offshoot of the Civ franchise. Hey, I'm excited, and when I'm excited, you'd better be at least mildly interested. Well, are you?

Daniel Anderson - Part of me wants to say no just to see what happens, but I enjoyed hearing this news.  I did not play Alpha Centauri a lot when it first came out, but I regret that and would love to have another shot at it.  I tend to really enjoy space based games for some reason be it a 4x strategy game or a pure fleet combat RTS or Eve Online.  I say bring on the new Alpha Centauri and give me a reason to buy a PC game again.

John Cash - I haven't played Civ since IV came out, but most of that was from all the DLC they were shoving out and it felt smothering. I'm sure they'll do the same thing with Beyond Earth, but at least its a fresh take on the series. I almost wonder if its going to be sort of a mix between Spore and Mass Effect, which could be either really incredible, or an absolute train wreck. Looking forward to whatever Space Ghandi meme they are able to come up with!

Todd Vote - My first experience with a Civilization game was Whatever the free one Microsoft gave us last month for Games with Gold was. I think it was Civ 5. Anyways, After a few days on that game, I finally got the hang of how to do a little bit of the shit you are supposed to do. I still suck at it, but I found the game to be somewhat interesting. Not enough that I intend to start following the development of the series like I would some of my favorites, but enough that I may check out the new game. Good enough, Quizmaster?

Quizmaster - Daniel plays with fire but avoids getting burned, for 218 points. Seriously, they could just re-make Alpha Centauri, call it Civ: Beyond Earth, and I'd still buy it.

QUESTION TWO: The upcoming new entry in the Dragon Age franchise, Inquisition, will have two interesting features that merit discussion. First of all, the XBOne version of the game will feature Kinect voice commands similar to those found in Mass Effect 3, which I know nothing about since I didn't have a 360, but maybe one of you tried that feature? Also, it has been announced that the game will not feature any additional characters available through DLC, as the developers stated that to do so would require some of the DLC already be on the disc at launch, and they would rather not create dissent by forcing people to pay twice for things they already have. An admirable position, or a disappointment that you won't see extra characters in the future?

Daniel Anderson - DLC does not have to have new characters to be well made.  Good DLC expands on the story in a game (without being required to buy to finish the story or tie up a major plot point) and adding new characters is not essential.  I do think that on disc DLC is making people pay twice for something, and that it is bad practice that only makes fans of a franchise mad.  At least we hear developers finally admitting that it is not a great idea.

John Cash - I was not impressed with the Kinect controls in Mass Effect 3. It worked about exactly as you'd expect, which would be *sometimes*. To be honest, and this may be some kind of weird heresy, but I was far more interested in how Mass Effect 3 would play on the Wii U, with inventory or maps on the gamepad. As an obsessive when it comes to Dragon Age (comics, multiple copies of the games, pre-ordered Dawn of the Seeker and actually managed to enjoy the movie, two giant screen print portraits of Arishok and Knight-Commander Meredith framed on my wall, etc), I can honestly say that the lack of DLC companions is perfectly fine with me. Sebastian in DA2 didn't exactly set the world on fire (for me at least), and it sounds like they are going with 3 mages, 3 rogues, 3 warriors for the roster of companions, and that sounds like plenty to me, on top of all the other "agents" and "advisor" type characters that will help as NPC's strengthen the Inquisition's cause. 

As far as the part with having to put content on the disc and then having to pay for the rest of the character download that is perfectly reasonable. I hope they learned their lesson from putting too much data into Mass Effect 3's demo, it would be a crying damn shame if even after an extra year to finely tune this massive experience, some jerk digs into the code and spoils it for everyone (though I don't think they'd have as big of a debacle over changing any endings this time around.)

Todd Vote - Double-edged sword. Capcom ruined on disc DLC for a lot of other companies who would use it right. The way Capcom just had the stuff already on the disc, but didn't include it at launch is a bit different than having some ground work for what your future DLC will be on the disc. So it is admirable that they don't want to create dissent amongst the gamers, it's a bit of a bummer for the players who may want the new characters. 

Quizmaster - John actually manages to answer all parts of the question, so good on him for 1284 points. When I was writing the question, I couldn't figure out how Mass Effect could use voice commands, but I guess now I have an answer: not well.

QUESTION THREE: One of gaming's biggest legends is officially set to become a documentary, as later this month, a group of people with too much time on their hands will be taking an entire day to travel to New Mexico and attempt to find the remains of thousands of ET Atari game cartridges, long rumoured to be buried there shortly after the massive video game industry crash left them worthless and impossible to get rid of. And, of course, the entire process will be filmed, so would you be interested in watching such a thing, and which are you rooting for: a successful recovery, or the humiliation of hours spent digging in the desert with no result?

Daniel Anderson - If the documentary is free, then I will be watching it.  I might not watch it immediately upon its release or anything like that, but one day when I am bored and see it, I will check it out more from curiosity than any pressing interest in ET.  It doesn't really matter to me one way or the other if they find anything, as long as the search is entertaining.

John Cash - I'm rooting for not necessarily failure, but prolonged progress where they have to come back later. The sooner they find those cartridges, the less hype there will be for the Angry Video Game Nerd movie (which deals with the titular Nerd's phobia of the game and finding out whether or not the urban legend is true) whenever it comes out. It would be pretty deflating if they found them immediately and then it took another year for the movie to come out, not that the movie wouldn't be funny and goofy anymore, but it's like that one kid that when you go out with a bunch of little kids to go "snipe hunting" and the kid tells all the other kids that there is no such thing as s snipe before you even turn your flashlights on.

Todd Vote - I would probably watch this. I mean we've all heard rumors both ways, I think it has been confirmed that the dump site does really exist. But I would be curious to watch just to see what condition they were in once they get dug up. Also, what is the plan after they dig them up? Just bury them again, and go back home? What's the end game?

Quizmaster - I like Todd's return question, so he gets 2184 points. What is the plan if they find them? I'm fairly certain they won't be in any sort of playable condition, even if you blow on them really hard. Plus, I'm sure some environmentalists would be upset if they just buried them again.

QUESTION FOUR: And Nintendo has announced the release date for the next Super Smash Bros game! Well, sort of, because it's actually two release dates, as they will be releasing the 3DS version of the game this summer, and the Wii U version...sometime in "Winter 2014", presumably before Christmas (but let's not hold them to that, just in case). Does it seem odd to you that Nintendo would choose this strategy of releasing one of their most popular and anticipated first party games first on their already-successful handheld console, and then six months later on their home console that has been struggling mightily due to a perceived lack of games? Is this just the latest sign of Nintendo distancing itself from the Wii U?

Daniel Anderson - I see this less as Nintendo moving away from the Wii U and more towards them trying to maximize the sells on a potential release date.  I feel safe in saying that most people who have a Wii U are going to pick this game up no matter what. Therefore, releasing the game around Christmas will possibly also get people to see the game and possibly decide to buy the system as well to play it.  Christmas is as good a time as any (and better than others) to get people in the mood to consider buying a Wii U.  I don't think it will work, but at least they are trying something instead of just delaying the game for the next console (whatever that may be).

John Cash - My snap reaction was "HOLY COW they're really giving up on the Wii U!", but having time to mull it over now, it seems like a somewhat decent decision. A 3DS copy sold in July could lead to a  Wii U sale in January (I think it'll come out after the holidays), what with all the exclusive console themed stages and the super sexy HD graphics (I mean did you SEE the Substitute doll that Greninja threw out?) It will certainly be a risky thing to do, but at the same time I feel like putting my faith in Nintendo this one last time. And if it truly is the last time, well, at least we'll have Tomodachi Life to obsess over for a long, long time.

Todd Vote - Looks like Nintendo is really hoping this game will serve as a "Christmas shot in the ass" for the Wii U. Why else would they delay the release so far after the hand held version? My guess, if they do release it for Christmas, is that they are hoping it is a console seller. 

Quizmaster - While everyone makes basically the same decent point, my issue is that Christmas is over eight months away. Eight months! What's coming out for the Wii U in those eight months? Anything? Will there be anyone with a Wii U by Christmas to pick up Smash Bros? John's right, this is a pretty big risk by Nintendo, so he'll get 3834 points.

BONUS QUESTION: Is winter over where you are yet?

Daniel Anderson - Yeah, it has started to get warm in my area.  Of course, they are now calling for a 20+ degree drop in temperature for the end of the week so it isn't fully over yet.  Until then though, I will enjoy temps in the lower 80's and enjoy the amusement park I am headed to on my days off this week.

John Cash - As I sit type this, it's 11:30pm, and it's 75f/24c degrees outside. It went from 40f/4.5c yesterday to 88f/33c today, which signifies it's time for Tornado season in this neck of the woods. So winter is gone here, unless your definition of winter is so loose it contains "frozen water falls from sky", then winter will be throwing us some nice softball sized curveballs through our windshields in the weeks to come.

Todd Vote - It was, then it came crashing back this past Sunday evening. Screw you, Winter!



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