The morning Inbox wonders if a Nintendo Switch XL will be out this year, as one reader insists that Shenmue III looks great.
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Best of all time
Just to let everyone know but Chrono Trigger has just been released for the PC on Steam. It’s only a port of the mobile version, so not really a remake or even a remaster, but to my eyes it still looks better than that cheapo Secret Of Mana remake. More importantly, it leads me to ask the important question: is Chrono Trigger still the best Japanese role-playing game ever made?
I think you could make a good argument for Persona 4 or 5, but they’re pretty different from the norm, and NieR: Automata isn’t really a role-playing game at all. But if you’re talking JRPGs I honestly think Chrono Tigger can’t be beat. It’s certainly miles ahead of other older games like the vastly overrated Final Fantasy VII, and the only one I’d really allow to even be in consideration is Suikoden II.
But in the end I think it’s an easy win for Chrono Trigger, and it’s largely down to all the ways it’s different from its peers – not that it does the same thing but better. It’s not a 100 hour epic but instead a sensible-length game that has a story to tell and doesn’t outstay its welcome or suffer from excess padding. It’s constantly introducing new locations and characters and the combat doesn’t overwhelm the game and is fast and exciting.
The characters are likeable but unpredictable and there’s plenty of optional twists and turns to discover. The only thing I’d say it lacks is a stronger villain, as the whole thing with Lavos is a bit vague and underwhelming. But otherwise it’s one of the most perfect video games ever made, and the fact that it’s still being released today in almost exactly the same form it first came out kind of proves that.
RE: Rolph, who’s currently playing Zelda: A Link To The Past. Yep, some games were difficult, frustratingly so, back in the old days. Fancy a challenge when you’ve finished the game? Try the two N64 Zeldas. Ocarina Of Time is a huge game; not too difficult, but you’ll lose 60 to 70 hours playing it. Then play Majora’s Mask. Get every mask in the game. No walkthroughs allowed, mind. Now that is difficult. Best games ever? Maybe.
Oh, by the way, Tomb Raider 3 is rock hard as well (the PlayStation version, not PC). All PS1 Tomb Raiders are highly recommended.
PS: I’m planning to buy a Nintendo Switch in the next few months, mainly to use it in handheld mode. Is it safe to do this for, say, the next six months? Do Nintendo have any plans in the pipeline to release a bigger, better, XL version of the Switch in the near future; as they have done in the past with the DS/3DS?
GC: There’s certainly no hint of a new model at the moment, which would suggest nothing for at least six months, but there’s never any way to be sure.
With this generation, not only did Microsoft shoot themselves in the feet with the E3 unveiling of the console but the PlayStation 4 was both more powerful and cheaper than the Xbox One at launch (mainly due to Kinect).
As has been discussed, the least powerful machine of a generation often does well. The main reason for this is probably that up until this generation it was also the cheapest.
As far as I am aware Nintendo has always had the cheapest portable console of a generation, which is great for that market as these are often used by younger children who can be quite clumsy. This is also good for poorer families who cannot afford to give their children their own televisions.
GC: The PlayStation 1 and 2 were both less powerful than their Nintendo and Xbox equivalents, but they were never notably cheaper. The Switch is currently slightly more expensive than the base model of either of the other consoles.
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No free gifts
Not written in for a while, but a thought arose on a tipsy way home, can we gift games to others in a relatively easy way digitally?
By that I mean if I own a particular console (or indeed own none) is it obvious how I could buy a game for someone else when it’s neither a format I own nor understand it’s infrastructure?
Your excellent Moss review started this thought process, as I have my nephew’s birthday coming up. He has PlayStation VR and wouldn’t naturally buy the game… But as a gift I feel I’d like him to experience it.
Yes, I could give him physical cash, online credits, etc. But I want to give him this game as a present.
Maybe there is a way to do this and maybe it should be obvious to me as a gamer, but God only knows how the uninitiated feel, when I don’t have a clue!
GC: It’s easy on Steam and Xbox One, but there’s no official way to do it on PSN. You can buy the game on an online store and give them the download code, or give them a PlayStation Store wallet top-up card, but that’s the closest it gets.
After all the good press regarding the Switch and a pretty decent back catalogue built up I took the plunge and bought one (not had chance to get it out of the box yet – hopefully soon). Got a pretty good deal on the Tesco website so all was good… but now feeling a bit of buyer’s remorse with the review of Payday 2 and mention of not many games due for release in the near future. Hope I haven’t jinxed it!
Do you know if The Sexy Brutale was ever patched for the Switch. I read it was supposed to get one but couldn’t find out if it was patched…
GC: A patch was released for The Sexy Brutale earlier this month, but we haven’t had a chance to try it.
Read with interest a few letters about console games graphics and while some strong points were made I’d like to give my views on this.
To me console graphics in games should be done with amazing performance and quality. In both the Xbox and PlayStation next gen consoles their own independent GPUs have great advantages with being used with specific software technologies in games which should actually use these GPUs at their full potential to make many games perform and look spectacular. At the moment very few games developers on the market are utilising the many software technologies available to them.
A lot of games can look dated without using very specific software for them, and instead the wrong type of software. Also, I’m hoping that unused resources on console GPUs could be utilised by games developers for other things in the games like faster loading times, better draw distances, clearer sharper menus, etc. to help games look spectacular.
There are ways for developers to use a GPU’s resources that would normally lay dormant and instead should be put to use to make games a bigger and better enjoyable experience as well as utilising any unique features to a consoles GPU.
gaz be rotten (gamertag)
GC: What technologies, specifically, are not being used? This all sounds extremely vague, and we can’t say we’ve noticed an influx of dated looking games lately – quite the contrary.
OK, OK, I’m man enough to admit when I’ve been wrong. I shouldn’t have given the big gun and said Monster Hunter: World required little finesse.
This pink Rathian has had me over so many times I’m near ready to chip. The online community is nowhere near as helpful or forthcoming as found in From Software games though, which has really stunted my progress.
Ranny2011 (PSN ID)
GC: They usually are if you ask. For example, there’s an unofficial adopt-a-hunter scheme that is specifically set-up to help new players.
It’s meant to be like that!
I’ve just seen the fresh batch of screenshots released for the eagerly awaited, hotly debated, from dream to reality, cast and created, Shenmue III. And personally, I’m super impressed with the art direction of the game so far.
I really hope the finished article retains the same distinctive, almost positively retro, look of it all. It looks amazing to my eyes.
I’d hate for the game to look more realistic and homogenised, keep that quintessential aesthetic of the Dreamcast cult classics I says. Who’s with me?! But I digress…. your time is almost up, Lan Di…you nefarious individual!
GC: Err… OK. We’re not sure not having any facial animation really counts as art direction though, more like a lack of money and experience.
Nintendo SNES Classic Mini console is back in stock at Argos for a reasonable £69.99. I request the digital copy of Blade Runner 2049 donated by Andrew J.
GC: Your story checks out, we’ll send the code over now.
RE: gameplay versus story. I would always go with gameplay. I’m really lovin’ Nex Machina’s pure gameplay, fast and furious. As for story tellin’ I really liked SOMA, mind-bending and thought-provoking. Despite what people say I think The Last Of Us is the closest I’ve played that has both.
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.
You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word 4Player viewer features at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.