Chapter Select

Chapter Select

Every two weeks, Jens Dietrich and Randy Isbelle get together and discuss a video game that they are both playing. Think of it as a book club for video games. The two break down the game in every aspect, from gameplay to story, side characters to bosses, music to the atmosphere, and more.

Episodes

July 17, 2021 47 min
This week the guys watch Netflix's new Dynasty Warriors adaptation and argue over the quality. Randy remembers how many times he had to change his pants when facing Lu Bu in the games. Jens tries feverishly to find the soundtrack. The big question is, is the movie any good?

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While CyberConnect2’s spectacular interactive anime (and sometimes rail-shooter or brawler) Asura’s Wrath wasn’t a success upon its initial release, over the years it built up a loyal and dedicated following. Among its fans is Jens, who decides to risk sharing yet another favorite with Randy, in the hopes it will yield better results this time.

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Almost exactly twenty years ago, the only aspect of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within critics praised without reservation were its groundbreaking computer-animated visuals. There have been countless entries in the ever-evolving sub-genre of CGI anime since, so The Spirits Within no longer has the advantage of novelty. The last time they respectively saw it at the time of its initial release, Randy loved Hironobu Sakaguchi’s passion...
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June 25, 2021 45 min
After years of studying abroad, prodigal daughter Kaitlin returns to her familial abode, The House on Arbor Hill, only to find it mysteriously deserted. She feels a pit form in her stomach and sink to its deepest depths. What tragedy befell the household she so cruelly abandoned? Who hid the bodies? And is she truly alone or is she haunted by the specter of her abusive grand uncle Oscar?

“Aha,” Jens exclaimed. “Another clue!”
“It’s a...
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June 16, 2021 58 min
"And in the end, the fire and the plagues will come at the behest of the Lord, and the sores and the boils, and the intestinal ulcers and testicular tumors shall befall all of humanity, except for those who hide like rabbits below the ground. And you shall know when the final day of reckoning begins because on that day, a tiny entertainer will be raped by 1,000 monkeys."
~ Dave's bible, Chapter 11, Psalm 23

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June 11, 2021 43 min
On this week's Chapter Select, Randy dives into LucasArts' Loom, one of the defining games of Jens' childhood and of the Adventure game genre and finds it just kind of boring. Meanwhile, Jens twists into a pretzel trying to justify why it is in fact one of the Greats(TM), even if it doesn’t completely hold up to his lofty memories.

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Jens and Randy meet back up in an exact location at the exact time they need to be so they can review Angelina Jolie in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. Does the movie, now 20 years old, hold up to the expectations of the two or should it stay in the ruins of time until the next planetary alignment? Find out on this week's Chapter Select: At The Movies.

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May 27, 2021 89 min
This week on Chapter Select it was Randy’s turn to pick a game and he picked Resident Evil Village. Jens didn’t even get far in Resident Evil 7 but nonetheless (like most of the internet) was drawn in by 8.5 foot tall vampire mommy Lady Alcina Dimitrescu. Will this survival horror novice regret his decision? And how will series veteran Randy interpret Village’s third act narrative turns? Listen to find out.

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May 20, 2021 40 min
For this latest installment of Chapter Select at the Movies, Randy and Jens examine Duncan Jones’ 2016 big budget adaptation of WarCraft, or as Jens likes to call it “the prettiest fan film ever made.” Jones clearly loves the material he is adapting and is trying his best to do it justice, but can he condense all the lore he wants to include into an entertaining two hours? Listen to find out.

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Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir is complete. Jens and Randy attempt to discuss the merits of its story. Jens loved it but is drawing a blank at key elements, while Randy just does not care.

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The Internet is divided over the perceived quality of first-time director Simon McQuoid’s new adaptation of the Mortal Kombat IP. Some have declared it a masterpiece, others say it’s as bad as Annihilation. Randy and Jens find both of those positions needlessly hyperbolic, but they also still find plenty to disagree about.

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“After all… why not?” Jens remarked while perusing his backlog. “Why shouldn’t I make Randy play a VanillaWare game?”

Jens was, of course, a long time fan of VanillaWare and Atlus. He had fond memories of playing the original Odin Sphere fourteen years prior. He’d long internalized it as one of the “Great Games.” PVC representations of its cast of characters adorned his shelves, not far from his still unopened collector’s edition of...
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April 22, 2021 38 min
Long before Paul W.S. Anderson was a Wife Guy, when he was but an ambitious young filmmaker with a single independent hit (Shopping) under his belt, he managed a surprise smash hit that would come to define his career as a blockbuster director. That movie was Mortal Kombat. Derided by critics but embraced by fans at the time, it made $122 million worldwide on an $18 million budget. It is still regarded by many as one of the best vi...
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April 16, 2021 56 min
Randy and Jens finally get back into just the type of game the Chapter Select show format was made for: a charming little puzzler of scale with a universally recognizable story about love and loss. A spirited discussion ensues on whether this Maquette is fully fleshed out or whether it is still a preliminary model.

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This week, Randy and Jens finally examine a relatively well-regarded video game adaptation. W2MNet's Marc Morrison calls it "one of the top 5 best video game adaptations." Meninists call it "the one that beat Birds of Prey." It made 320 million dollars worldwide. Is this exalted status justified? Jens has a laundry list of reasons why the answer is "no," but Randy's gut says "maybe." Listen f...
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April 1, 2021 44 min
In these dark and troubling times, we stay sane by appreciating the little things in life. For instance, at no point during the 2.5D puzzle platformer The Pedestrian did the main character die of thirst or break their weapon. And isn’t it nice being able to fit a game into a single satisfying evening? Jens and Randy discuss.

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March 23, 2021 33 min
Paul W.S. Anderson’s Monster Hunter follows the tomboyish Captain Natalie Artemis who, along with her team of wise-cracking UN soldiers, is whisked away to high adventure in The New World, where they encounter monsters, magic, epic battles, and perhaps even romance? Severed from their everyday life, Artemis’ troubles compound exponentially when she is rescued and befriended by a handsome man known only as “The Hunter.” Now, inexora...
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March 11, 2021 55 min
Randy and Jens have each put about eight hours into Dark Cloud. Randy is enjoying himself. Jens hates his every second of playing the game with a fiery passion. Will the differences between them become irreconcilable? Could this be the tragic end of Chapter Select? Keep listening to find out.

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The final battle for the fate of humanity is upon us, and so is the end of our journey. It was long and arduous, full of pain and confusion, but its purpose has finally been revealed. After a four-year sabbatical to hone his narrative craft, Paul W.S. Anderson pulls away the curtain one last time like a master magician to show us just how everyone’s fates, desires, and destinies are intertwined. We learn Umbrella’s true design, the...
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Previously on Chapter Select, Jens challenged Randy to complete Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order on Jedi Master difficulty within a fortnight. That time is now up for our intrepid hero. Will Randy emerge from his ordeal with his head held high and an appetite for more? You’ll have to listen to find out.

In the episode’s B plot, Jens harbors the delusion that the show’s newfound sponsors imbue it with legitimacy, causing him to go overbo...
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