USgamer's RPG Podcast Recaps the Best RPGs of 2016

AXE OF THE BLOOD GOD: Kat, Mike, and Jeremy get together to discuss Horizon: Zero Dawn, Final Fantasy XV, Zelda, Dragon Quest, Nier, and many more.

Article by Kat Bailey, .

Axe of the Blood God is our weekly RPG podcast hosted by Kat Bailey. You can find the previous episodes here.

In this week's episode of Axe of the Blood God (download link here), I expend the last of my energy to recap the RPGs of E3 2016 alongside Mike and Jeremy.

Our discussion runs the gamut from Horizon: Zero Dawn to Dragon Quest VII, with plenty of conversation about E3 in general in-between. We're all a bit loopy from the show - a week spent running around covering games will do that - but we manage to stay just coherent enough to make it through the end. Alas, I wish I could say that we get to rest now; but in reality, we've still got lots more to write. The glamorous life of a game journalist, am I right?

Next week: Grand Kingdom? Tokyo Mirage? More E3 chatter? Nadia returns as we get back to normal following E3.

Where to find us (Subscribe, rate, and review!)

Show Description

Kat, Jeremy, and Mike come together to discuss RPGs including Horizon: Zero Dawn, Persona 5, Dragon Quest Builds, and of course, Zelda in their post-E3 wrapup show. Lots and lots of RPGs to cover as the USG crew finishes up yet another E3!

Music from Axe of the Blood God is courtesy of Lena Chappelle, who has also contributed the themes to Active Time Babble and Roleplayers' Realm. I also use music from the RPG Music Pack over at Check it out!

We're at E3 next week, covering the year's biggest gaming event. Be sure to check out all our coverage on our E3 2016 hub!

This article may contain links to online retail stores. If you click on one and buy the product we may receive a small commission. For more information, go here.

Comments 13

  • Avatar for hiptanaka #1 hiptanaka 2 years ago
    Fun episode! I'm curious if any of you played Tyranny, Cosmic Star Heroine or Bloodstained, and if so what did you think about them?
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Kuni-Nino #2 Kuni-Nino 2 years ago
    Kat echoed some of my concerns with the new Zelda especially because there's a rumor going around saying we're only getting four dungeons. When it comes to Zelda, dungeons are by far my favorite aspect of the game because the puzzles are incredibly satisfying to figure out and the atmosphere of those places is unrivaled. They're so intricately designed and it shows. To hear they might be replaced by those trial places, uhhhh..please tell me that's a lie Aonuma.

    Anyways, we'll see. Jeremy brought up a good point about the NPCs. I was worried that because of the focus on player agency instead of story, we wouldn't get the same amount of memorable NPCs that Zelda is known for. But, thinking back on Wind Waker and the type of games Aonuma enjoys, those memorable characters should be in the game. Aonuma likes story and adventure games so it should be unlikely that he strips them out completely. They might not be as prominent but they'll play an integral part of the experience.

    Anyways, enough Zelda talk. Really loved the episode. I'm glad you guys are withholding judgement on FFXV. I still think it's too early to make any definitive statements about it and RPG demos rarely go over well. A lot of what makes RPGs appealing is the strategy employed in battles and the choices you see come to fruition over the course of many hours with the game. How do you capture that in a ten minute demo?

    One last thing (Hot Take Alert!): I think Tokyo Mirage Sessions looks better than Persona 5! Even though I wanted Jeremy on that review, I'll take Mike's thoughts in a couple of weeks. Really, really looking forward to that one.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Kat.Bailey #3 Kat.Bailey 2 years ago
    @hiptanaka I played Tyranny. Look for thoughts on Tuesday (couldn't talk about it on the pod). Jeremy played Bloodstained
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for hiptanaka #4 hiptanaka 2 years ago
    @Kat.Bailey OK! Looking forward to it.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for nadiaoxford #5 nadiaoxford 2 years ago
    The Treehouse team addressed the dungeon thing, I believe. There are regular Zelda-style dungeons (I think the number four did indeed come up), and over a hundred Shrines. The Shrines, however, aren't all the little challenge rooms we saw in the demo. The Treehouse team said that while they start off simple-looking, they actually vary greatly in size and theme through the rest of the game.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for manny_c44 #6 manny_c44 2 years ago
    My love for the model and texture work for FFXII is unreasonable, they are just so nicely done. I cannot wait for this remaster, more than the all new releases!
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for philodygmn #7 philodygmn 2 years ago
    My immediate worries with Wild center on my distaste for its destructible weapons (what is this, a free-to-play MOBA?!) and the severity of how limited Link's inventory capacity was (though I assume it must increase as things progress) pestering me with a menu prompt literally every few seconds to decide whether or not to take some new thing versus keep what I had! Crafting must not claim too high a proportion of play versus striking out into the world and conquering dungeons(/shrines).

    Speaking of which, 4 is an awfully low number, no matter how elaborate, though I hold out hope Nintendo will fill them with enough play to feel substantive, I'd just be surprised if they felt like epochal, world-changing shifts the way a new item did in Link to the Past (which I guess I'm still _mostly_ OK with, if it doesn't). I want to give Zelda room to breathe and invigorate or even reinvent itself from what's become a tired, rote dungeon > item > boss trod, and only a great deal of time with the game can render an accurate topology of which elements sculpt its features, how they inter-mesh, and whether or not there's a satisfying through-line to be had.Edited June 2016 by philodygmn
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for SatelliteOfLove #8 SatelliteOfLove 2 years ago
    Keep in mind Tactics Ogre's arrangement was amaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazing.

    We don't have to worry about anything.


    He seems to get new weapons out the yin-yang, though.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for philodygmn #9 philodygmn 2 years ago
    @SatelliteOfLove Your comment leaves me nonplussed: a constant slurry of weapons is a bug, not a feature, in my eyes, let alone the incessant need to menu through inane decisions of which to keep for the next 30 seconds. I really, really love Wild's ambience so I just recoil all the more at the thought it'll be marred by relentless, myopic menuing and other minutae the demo gave every indication will mediate the experience :-/
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for SatelliteOfLove #10 SatelliteOfLove 2 years ago

    Kinda comes with the territory though. My more specific question is "is this more like Ultima Online's equipment where there was a much shallower hierarchy (in this case, stolen instead of broken) or is this like a KMMO where the good stuff is heavily striated and breaks constantly too?"

    If its the former, picking up new whoopin' sticks is no problem for me.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for philodygmn #11 philodygmn 2 years ago
    @SatelliteOfLove We mostly agree, I think, inthat I may feel content enough if the decay falloff declines sharply after the first baby-step items.

    It worries me not to see a recipe book form as you discover viable ingredient sets for future reference, to constantly feel progress quite literally undercut itself, and see menus become nearly instantly and inescapably ubiquitous for virtually every last iota of interaction with the game's systems, especially when all that friction is _completely unnecessary_. I see zero fun, interest, or advantage to players or to storytelling and game design through the choices they've made where the experience is taken away from players in these ways—Nintendo doesn't even have the excuse of free-to-play, either!

    I dearly would prefer to simply let the experience of the world speak for itself, and manage the gameplay aspects of negotiating a playthrough of the game more pragmatically. They let players skip to the end already; why not skip busywork, too, when and as we wish? It's great to have it organically support questing, but if it's the sole means at full length then it's in the way at least as much, potentially, as I see it.

    My anxious rush to voice my concerns is out of my abundance of affection for a core game experience strong enough to stand on its own two feet without crafting and equipment management's inclusion much less prominence much less ingratiation. I hope Nintendo finds a way to tailor the impact of those mechanics streamlined as individual players see fit just as much as they've done for world design in the year left before release, which should be entirely doable given all these detestable encumbrances are almost entirely cosmetic.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for amiliaperez16 #12 amiliaperez16 2 years ago
    Test your mics please. Only Kat was audible. The other guys were very difficult to hear.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for brunoo #13 brunoo 2 years ago
    I never play game RPG before, only Pokemon Go right now ;')

    RPG to hard for me
    Sign in to Reply