The morning Inbox tries to imagine the next generation of video game controller, as one reader recommends Firewatch on cheap.
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The spring rush
It might be a bit quiet at the moment for new releases, but by the end of March I see we’re going to be right in the thick of it again, with Sea Of Thieves, Far Cry 5, Yakuza 6, and God Of War. The one I’m most looking forward to though is Ni No Kuni II. I absolutely loved the first one and all the previews, including yours, have been very positive.
The way I see it this will be a final prof of whether Japanese games have been accepted back by the mainstream, and if a game as obviously Japanese as this (I do agree they should’ve probably changed the name) can be successful then I think we really will have turned the corner.
I’m a little worried it’s sandwiched between Sea Of Thieves and Far Cry 5, which probably have much bigger marketing budgets, but I’m hopefully it can still be a hit. It certainly looks more interesting than any Final Fantasy game has been for years, but really the more games that are different from each other that can be successful the better!
Super remaster bros.
Been playing Super Mario Odyssey recently. For me personally I think Super Mario Galaxy 2 is the better game. There doesn’t seem to be the extra wow factor that Galaxy 2 had when I first played Odyssey. Apart from Jump Up Superstar, the music isn’t as good as Galaxy either in my opinion. Also, I have a real problem with the humans in New Donk City, it just doesn’t go. Why didn’t Nintendo make the people look stylised?
I am not sure of anyone else but I wouldn’t mind a remastered/rereleased version of both Galaxy games, but at a budgeted price of £20. This could fill out a barren release schedule. Would it be possible? Do the Joy-Cons have pointers? Similar to the Wii remote.
GC: The right one has an infrared depth sensor, but we’re not sure if it could be used in the same way. But then Galaxy’s use of the pointer is pretty trivial. What is impossible though is the idea that Nintendo would remaster both games and only charge £20 for them.
Keeping pace with technology
I knew that Secret Of Mana remake was a wrong ‘un the second I saw the first screenshot. I swear that series is cursed, the way Square Enix treat it. The first one (okay, technically it’s a sequel!) is fantastic and they’ve never managed to follow it up with anything even halfway decent. Especially not now.
I have very fond memories of playing through the original with my mate, and while I’m sure it does all seem very repetitive now I would’ve been fine if the graphics had stayed tip-top. I think that’s a lot of the problems with these retro inspired games. They forget that at the time the graphics that seem so simple and cute to us now where the best you do at the time. So unless the remake also has the best graphics possible it’s not a straight comparison.
I haven’t played it, but I imagine that’s why Shadow Of The Colossus works but this doesn’t. Maybe Secret Of Mana will have better luck on its 30th anniversary (it won’t).
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After this weekend’s Hot Topic and many people advising they have less time to game, and big games can be off-putting, I just wanted to recommend Firewatch to those who want a great story driven game that doesn’t take forever to finish. It’s also currently £6.40 on Xbox, or was on Friday when I purchased it. I bought it on a recommendation from a friend and really enjoyed it.
As the name suggests the character you play as, has the job of keeping a look out for wild fires so hot shots can burn the area to stop it spreading, although the game doesn’t really have you doing this. You have contact with a woman on walkie-talkie who will send you on errands to scout areas, and investigate sightings from the towers. I’m probably not that good at selling the game to you, but recommend you give it a try
Here is GC’s review if you missed it first time around.
PS: I actually liked the story and agree the storytelling is very good.
GC: We’re not sure our review is going to sell it to anyone either. But at £6.40 you can’t really go wrong.
Hopefully this doesn’t come across as too crazy but when people were talking about real-time strategy games it made me think of a problem I’ve often wondered about: how restricted we are in games to the controllers we use. Many consoles players don’t really realise but a mouse and keyboard is much more accurate than a controller and when you get to a strategy game, or anything with a cursor, a joypad is almost useless.
But surely there’s got to be something even better than that? Something with the versatility of a mouse and keyboard but the accessibility of a gamepad? It’s often said that it’s the twin sticks on a controller that put off casual gamers the most so I’m surprised that nobody has ever tried to get away from that.
I suppose Nintendo did with the Wii remote, but that technology was nowhere near good enough to be a complete replacement. I know Microsoft are rumoured to be working on some sort of AR headset but I’d love it if they hadn’t completely given up on Kinect and were instead doing some kind of next gen controller that combined the best of everything. Something you could use like Minority Report, but still had some feedback because you’re actually holding something.
I think people forget that it’s not the complexity of games that puts ordinary people off them, but the complexity of the controller.
I know you guys are one of the few outlets that use the full 10-point scale for reviews, without prejudice, which is great.
Does each score relate to a one-word description either officially or unofficially? Something like:
10/10 – Legendary
9/10 – Incredible
8/10 – Great
7/10 – Good
Have you dabbled with other scoring systems in the past or would you consider changing it in the future?
GC: It’d probably work out as something like that, yes. We’ve never really thought of using any other system though. Percentages are too arbitrary and out of five has always seemed too simplistic.
All or nothing
I can understand why people are starting to get a bit antsy about what Nintendo has planned this year but, as if it needed saying, I really don’t think there’s any point getting worried. Last year showed they understand what they needed to do, and I think they only way they make a mistake this year is if they just don’t have the capacity to make any more great games.
I don’t think they’d be stupid enough to put all their top game makers on Labo, or to just think they can by on what they’ve already got out. So either they can’t make any more or they’re just being their usual secretive self. I mean, their E3 stand looks as big as ever and they can’t be using that for just Labo as it’ll already be out by then. That’s my guess anyway.
One size fits one
It doesn’t seem to get talked about much on here, but I would just like to say that I think Ubisoft are handling Rainbow Six Siege very well and I’m not surprised to hear it’s had a sort of second wind and they’re now going to keep it going for years (although I agree 10 is probably pushing it).
The basic gameplay is already spot on and the graphics are already good so in that sense there’s no need for a sequel. You need new modes and characters sure, but that’s what these updates are adding and I’m more than happy to stick around for it.
But for me this just illustrates that every game has got to tackle these problems separately, according to what suits them best. The problem with the games industry (and everything really, I guess) is that everyone just goes around copying whatever the last successful thing was and never tries to get ahead of the game themselves. Ubisoft’s plan for Rainbow Six works for that game but not necessarily any others. That should be the lesson companies are taking away: don’t copy, innovate!
Personally, I’m glad GC reviews Dynasty Warriors, and all the other rubbish games. Those reviews are often the funniest. Did anyone write in with hate mail for you on this one?
GC: They didn’t actually, which must be a first. It seems even hardcore fans don’t like that one.
Am I the only that doesn’t really like The Witcher 3? I hear it being talked about as this all-time classic but I don’t like that I can’t change the character and the combat is rubbish.
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Gannet, who asks what do you think is the most overrated video game?
You don’t have to think the game is actively bad, just not as good as its reputation suggests. But do try and describe exactly why it didn’t live up to your expectations and what it got wrong. Was it just a good game that was hyped up too much, or do you feel it has flaws that were brushed over in reviews?
Was the problem that you were expecting it to be one thing and it turned out to be something completely different? Or was there some other personal preference that meant you couldn’t enjoy it?
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The small print
New Inbox updates appear twice daily, every weekday morning and afternoon. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length.
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