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Super Mario Party - one game that encourages cheating

When is too early for kids to start playing?

The morning Inbox offers a suggestion for how to revive Ridge Racer, as one reader thinks the aliens in Prey were a mistake.

To join in with the discussions yourself email [email protected]

Starting age

My boys going to be four early next year and Im thinking of getting him his first console for Christmas. The Switch seems a bit too fragile for him though so I was thinking of picking up a Wii dirt cheap and letting him have fun with that.

My question though is whether people think that three-coming-on-four is too young for someone to be playing video games and if not which games are best to start with. I imagine things like Super Mario are going to be too hard for him at the moment but Im not sure if hell really have the reactions for Wii Sports either.

He already uses a tablet like its second nature though, so I dont know. I certainly dont want him growing up thinking mobile games are all there are, but I also dont want him to become some kind of loot box addict. Its a difficult thing because I remember enjoying games so much when I was young (I dont remember when I started) but things were a lot simpler, and cheaper, then.


Count me as another thats really impressed by Red Dead Online, not least because, as has been pointed out, it manages to work perfectly first time. I havent seen a single bug, and certainly not had any crashes so far, which when you consider how the game looks seems almost impossible.

The one thing I am concerned about though is how many story missions there are. At first it seems like loads but I already seem to have run out and Im not sure if I need to level up to unlock more or if there just arent that many of them.

Its not a problem considering how much there is to the game but it does make me wonder why they dont just make the online game the whole game. All you have to do is make it so other players cant hurt you unless you want them to and I dont see the problem. The worlds so big youd probably never run into them anyway and then youd have the world filled with all this content, with a story that has an ending but all the other persistent stuff as well.

Like, Im not sure I want to go through all that hunting again in multiplayer, which is a shame as thats going to limit what I can wear. Be curious to see what other readers think but I really cant see much of a downside.

Life is slow

So apparently the second episode of Life Is Strange 2 isnt going to be out until January. Thats… a long wait. I get the feeling the sequel wasnt nearly as popular as the first game, presumably because there was no Chloe and Max, but I was really impressed by it. But such a long wait… that is not exactly going to energise new players to want to give it a go.

After Hitman gave up on it and Telltale went bust I think Life Is Strange is the last major franchise thats still using episodic content and I hope its the last. I just dont see the benefit in it. Maybe when Telltale were just starting up and needed the money, but Life Is Strange is published by Square Enix – the money should be there.

If episode three has an equally long gap it could be over a year before the series is completed and thats just silly. Its also going to make people give up on it and jeopardise a third game. Episodic content was always a bad idea and it really needs to stop.



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Better dead than alien

Ive been playing Prey recently (got it very cheap) and Ive been generally impressed. But the more I play it the more I think that it probably shouldnt have any combat in it at all. Everything to do with fighting the monsters is really boring and irritating, and it actively puts me off from moving between areas of the station.

I think it wouldve been much better as more of a survival horror game where you can only avoid or trap the aliens. Or, heres a shocker, maybe have it so that youre trying to communicate with them but its really difficult. Unless its explained later I dont really get what they want anyway. I mean, did they really invade Earth just so they could cosplay as coffee mugs?

Unless its something like Mass Effect, where they can all speak English and basically act like humans, aliens never seem to get much respect in video games. Theyre just bad guys to be shot, which seems pretty unimaginative. Something like Prey has a lot of good ideas but at the heart it just wants you to shoot monsters, and I think it couldve been something more.

Royale mistake

I think the problem with Bethesda coming up with any plan to save Fallout 76 is that I dont think they admit that theres anything really wrong with it beyond the bugs. The bugs are bad, of course, but even if they were fixed that doesnt do anything for the lack of characters, the combat, the bad graphics, or the boring quests.

But even if they do something about the combat (which they wont) I really dont see them basically rewriting the whole game. The whole thin is just a mess and should be swept under the carpet as soon as possible.

Or, and heres an idea, turn it into a Battle Royale game. Theyve got the big map already and being a technical disaster never stopped PlayerUnknowns Battlegrounds so I say go for it, its not like theyve got anything else to lose.

All or nothing

Talking of the PlayStation Classics odd refusal to include the original Ridge Racer, I wonder what happened to that franchise? That was another one that was kind of an unofficial mascot of the PlayStation and it was just sort of left to fade away and be forgotten.

There were some rumours about a Switch revival, that obviously never happened, and thats been it. I always wonder with these sort of things why they dont do smaller download-only games to at least keep the series alive in peoples minds. The Ridge Racer games never were big on content, so no one would mind if they were a fairly small deal and that would probably help it to be more like its old self instead of trying to modernise and become something else.

This would work with lots of Sega franchises too. Sure, it probably doesnt make much sense to do a big budget new Golden Axe, but what about a medium to low budget one? Something with modern graphics but similar gameplay? But no, everythings got to be the biggest thing ever or its not worth doing…

Showing their age

So Im very interested in the Sega Mega Drive Classics collection for Switch but I was wondering, how do the Phantasy Star games hold up as RPGs? Are they still perfectly playable now?

Are there any other role-playing games in there worth playing?

GC: Theyre 30-year-old Japanese role-players, so it really depends what you were expecting. But the sci-fi setting and first person view always made them relatively unique. Theres also The Story Of Thor and Landstalker, which are quite good, and Sword Of Vermillion and Fatal Labyrinth, which are not. Plus, theres all the Shining Force games, which are very well-regarded strategy role-players.



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Switching reality

After much deliberation I decided to trade my Switch for a PlayStation VR. I picked up a bundle at GAME for £230 with Astro Bot, Resident Evil 7, and a Move controller. After two weeks with it I have to say Im hugely impressed. Despite the hit the graphics take I havent experienced immersion like this for a long time.

Resident Evil 7 is probably the scariest game I have played and Astro Bot is a joy. Im not sure if Sony are calling time on VR but I am pleased Ive had the opportunity to try out VR gaming and do not regret trading my Switch.

I tried a tech demo in GAME about two years ago and paid for that privilege and it really left me sitting on the fence regarding VR. I wear glasses and now realise the headset was poorly fitted, I also played Driveclub standing up, which isnt the best way to experience a VR driving game. I thought my glasses had got in the way of the experience. Obviously not and I am now amazed that PlayStation VR isnt a bigger deal. If the demo two years ago had been better I think I would have purchased one at full price. Hopefully there will be a surge of interest now its more affordable.

Anyone considering getting one should go for it. All that talk of spending money on experiences, PlayStation VR is a whole package of them. I may be fortunate but havent had much motion sickness, although Scavengers Odyssey knocks me sick. I got a headache on first playing but have remeasured my pupil distance and havent had another.

Oh, and DiRT Rally is missing in a lot of best of PlayStation VR lists, insane. Its amazing in VR. Hope VR is here to stay and doesnt go the way of the Dreamcast.
Tiddleydwarf (PSN ID)

GC: Scavengers Odyssey always got us really bad too, so if you can survive that you should be fine.

Inbox also-rans

Anyone else kind of regretting their Black Friday purchases now? Ive bought so many games I already know Ill probably never play them all properly, or if I do itll be years from now before theyre all beaten. I think Ill try and sell them on eBay. It feels wrong to just having them sitting on a shelf.

Is a remaster of Gods really a good idea? That game was lame even back in the Amiga days, and I dont remember anyone that liked it. Was I running in a bad crowd?

This weeks Hot Topic

The subject for this weekends Inbox was suggested by reader stanley71, who asks what do you think of the current generation of console so far?

The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are five years old this month and both are expected to be superseded by next generation models within the next two years. So what do you think of them so far, in terms of their games, their hardware, and the changes theyve brought to the industry?

If you include the Wii U and Switch as well what do you think of the generation as a whole and is it better or worse than previous ones? How do you think it will be looked back on when all is said and done, and which companies have done the best and worst overall?

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]


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