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Bloodborne

Bit of Play: Western Role Play

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Bit of Play: Western Role Play

We discuss Bloodborne, Pillars of Eternity and the role of the Western RPG

The role playing game can take a myriad of forms depending on where you go. Henk Rogers created the first Japanese-style RPG with The Black Onyx, while across the ocean, Sir-Tech developed Wizardry, the first Western style RPG. But these names are fluid, and don't represent a genre as much as a spectrum of role play. Despite its emphasis on shooting, Mass Effect feels more JRPG with its focus on conversation and world-building. Yet the original quintessentially foreign Dragon Quest takes after Wizardry, showing just how blurred the lines can become. 

No where is this more evident in Bloodborne, which is among the most North American style games to come out of Japan. Its lore is similar to Dungeons and Dragons. There's an emphasis on atmosphere and building a story as you going along. As opposed to being a passenger on a plot roller coaster, like in most recent Final Fantasy games, you're given an open world, only enough lore as you're interested in exploring and a focus on statistics and growth. 

In this episode, we take that role play and compare it against one inspired by an actual Dungeons and Dragons game, Pillars of Eternity. We see the parallels and where the games come together, despite vastly different origins.


The theme is from the Free Music Archive: "Ghost n Goblins" by Thiaz Itch.

BUILT TO PLAY IS A PRODUCT OF THE CJRU RADIO STATION IN THE HEART OF DOWNTOWN TORONTO. IT WAS PRODUCED AND EDITED BY ARMAN AGHBALI AND WRITTEN BY DANIEL ROSEN.

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Built to Play 38: Delayed to 2015

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Built to Play 38: Delayed to 2015

We travelled all the way to our computer screens to watch E3 2014 unfold before our very eyes. For the most part, we were pleasantly surprised.

Last week was E3 with all three major press conferences, plus EA and Ubisoft. Microsoft showed off a shocking number of games. EA demonstrated that they understood what game was conceptually, and played videos about where game designers get drunk. Ubisoft had Aisha Tyler share a stage with a line up of exceptionally short men. Sony gave us a taste of Project Beast, and revealed that they also want to get into the TV business. And Nintendo thought we really liked Robot Chicken in 2009, plus the conference was only mostly cashing in on nostalgia. 

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You can catch our live tweets of those conferences on Twitter, or our storifies for more detailed coverage. However, in lieu of recapping every single press conference in this one page, here's a couple highlights.

Daniel and Arman were both impressed and slightly annoyed with Scalebound, which looks like Monster Hunter but made by Platinium and with a Shinjuku-esque protagonist.

We had very little to say about Call of Duty, but were interested in its attempts to distance itself from its predecessors. Also that new game from Playdead had a great aesthetic, but drew too much on the studio's last game Limbo.

We didn't have much to say about EA aside from the shocking number of games that didn't seem to exist beyond short videos and wireframe models. Their Mass Effect announcement was essentially playing the theme music to build up to excitement, only to drop that excitement off a cliff when they revealed that was all they had. The publisher had shockingly little to say about Dragon Age: Inquisition. Arman enjoyed the first one, while Daniel seems to like neither,

 Ubisoft had a few more games in concrete form, several of which piqued our interest. Neither had much love for Assassin's Creed Unity, especially thanks to the comments on the lack of female protagonists. Arman has some lasting curiosity about the Division, though after Watch Dogs, most of that has cooled. Ubisoft did seem insistent on making their gameplay trailers sound like radio plays, which both of us loved immensely. By the way, Valiant Hearts is probably the best looking game about the First World War we've seen.

As for Sony, both Arman and Daniel were pumped for Bloodborne, and but Sony showed off a couple games that seemed worth the while. No Man's Sky was an easy pick, although they didn't show much new from last year. Also Sony probably shouldn't have spent 20 minutes talking about Powers, before showing off the new crazy looking, but depressing sounding Metal Gear Solid V.

Nintendo had the best show for us, if only because it was the shortest. Take that as a lesson publishers. If you can just show games over and over again for 40 minutes, that will impress people. We enjoyed the new Zelda video, but that is not a game. That is a tech demo with a 10 second trailer. Splatoon and Codename S.T.E.A.M. were more impressive that they existed at all, and weren't another old retread Nintendo property. Daniel still wishes they were Metroid though. Nothing can fill the void.

Game of Show: Bloodborne and Splatoon

Game we will actually play: Valiant Hearts. 


We only used one song this week, from the Free Music Archive. It's called "Dream Land Attack" by Thiaz Itch. If you believe your music was used inappropriately, let send us an email.

This episode was written by Daniel Rosen and edited by Arman Aghbali. Please leave us a review or comment so we know how we're doing and can improve the show. Thanks for listening. 

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