The morning Inbox praises Sonys approach to release dates, as one reader suggests a Flash Gordon style Battlefield.
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Thought Id write in to chuck my two cents at the debate on the UK games chart. Without the digital games sales its difficult to draw any conclusions but I was in CeX (around a few in London) recently and there seems to be a relative lack of recent games (from the last year/18 months) on re-sale, which anecdotally seems to suggest a sizeable chunk of sales are going to digital.
This wouldnt cover the huge drops for boxed retail but have a feeling Fortnite and its other smaller free-to-play games like Paladins and Warframe will factor in the long tail of other online shooters like Overwatch, GTA, and Destiny 2 and it seems like thats where everyones time and money has gone.
A letter in the mailbox mentioned that weve been playing the same games for 20 years and that definitely feels true, even Nintendo is guilty of that, and I think a big crash is coming for the old guard third party publishers like EA and Ubisoft. Not because of quality but just because they arent moving with the times.
The current generation (of gamers not consoles) are getting old and buying less classical games (like Battlefield) and the next generation of players are on Fortnite and Overwatch, and I dont think theyll switch to Call Of Duty when they move on from those.
Missing the bullseye
Been playing Hitman over the past week and thoroughly enjoying it. It is shame it may get lost in the Christmas rush.
I can see the logic that much more is spent on gaming at this time of year but a large part of that is non-gamers buying presents. They will go for the familiar Call Of Duties/FIFAs of this world.
In cant be a coincidence that Sony put their heavy hitters out earlier in the year. Uncharted 4 in May, Horizon Zero Dawn in February, and God Of War in April to name just a few. The surprise hits of last year like NieR: Automata also came out when there was less competition.
You would have thought it was a no-brainer that the type of games brought by gamers have a better chance when there is less competition. Publishers obviously have marketing departments crunching the numbers on when is the optimum time to release but from the outside it looks like throwing darts at an advent calendar.
ThePowerFeeling (PSN ID)
Give it time
The Fallout 76 debacle is reminding me of Saints Row The Third. Not because theyre similar games, theyre clearly not – but I remember your review from the time. I had pre-ordered it, impressed by trailers and previews. Then you said that you imagined that many readers would write in saying they really loved it but wondered what theyd think in a few weeks or months.
I really loved Saints Row The Third at first. And then, halfway through, an ill-advised bait and switch style twist occurs. Many things in Saints Row The Third are ill0advised. Then the game turns into a trudge. It wasnt as fun or as funny as the game thought it was. Though saving Shaundi and the other one who wasnt Kinzie to the sound of Bonnie Tylers Holding Out for a Hero was pretty inspired.
Even when giving the game another chance when it was given away on Xbox Live it became unplayably dull at the halfway stage.
And Im seeing parallels with Fallout 76. Even the advocates are coaching their defences with phrases like: Yeah, the character models arent great, but the landscape is pretty!, Yeah, I know its buggy, and Yeah, the combat isnt great. These are not great admissions. I for one have never been convinced, nor will I ever be convinced that Fallout works with any sort of multiplayer. The gunplay is too weak for either competitive or cooperative play, so what foundational mechanic – like either platforming or racing or fighting – is there to build a multiplayer game on?
The best thing to do is conquer the story adventure. Maybe in the future you can have a really advanced role-player where two people can either coordinate their efforts so one could be attacking the Institute while the other leads survivors and synth escapees to safety – or to oppose one another. You might sign up for the Railroad while your friend would prefer to purify the land as part of the Brotherhood. But we are nowhere near that level yet.
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The good, the fiddly, and the great
Red Dead Redemption II is a work of art. I instantly came to this conclusion after the missions that took place in the saloon in Valentine. On both occasions I was blown away with the temerity, hilarious idiosyncrasies, and cinematic verve of what had taken place. Those moments will stay with me for a very, very long time.
When it comes to world building, memorable characters (Arthur is an extremely likable and witty fella!), atmosphere, and cinematic direction, Rockstar are absolutely peerless in this industry. The attention to detail and density of things to see and do in its effortlessly engrossing world is frequently astonishing.
To my delight, after around three or four hours of admittedly struggling with the command inputs, any issues I had with the controls had evaporated and the gameplay mechanics have been flowing beautifully ever since. The shooting, lassoing and horse-riding mechanics are particularly excellent.
I also cant emphasise enough how much the first person and cinematic views enrich the immersion. Not to mention the painstaking realism and micro management, which Ive relished.
However, its certainly interesting that Red Dead II elicits such varied opinions. It has made for some great discussions on the merits of the game on here and the GC Facebook groups.
I can definitely empathise with gamers that are of the persuasion that the game is clunky, the user interface/inventory system counter-intuitive, and the story a tad slow and uneventful in places.
But the questionable design choices are minimised to the point of insignificance by the magnificence of the game most elsewhere in my estimations. Its very much a classic case of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.
As for my progress in the game, Ive just passed the 10-hour mark with 20% of the game completed and I think Ive already played enough of the game to comfortably declare it one of my games of the generation. Hats off to Rockstar for their phenomenal work!
I dont write in too often, but just wanted to share my displeasure with Nintendo around some customer services recently.
I purchased a Switch via pre-order in March last year and bought a Pro Controller at the time. When Im at home I tend to use it in dock mode with the Pro Controller and when Im not I have the Joy-Cons attached and play in handheld mode.
I work away a fair bit, and thought Id be clever and sort a temporary dock for use in hotel rooms. This works well, except I discovered my left Joy-Con had the connectivity issues which were widely reported at the time (connection freezing/dropping even over very short distances) but which I had never discovered.
I sent the left Joy-Con back to Nintendo, who, two weeks after it was posted, came back to me and said I needed to pay £29 for a repair to its operating system. When I called up and mentioned that it was a widely reported problem, which Nintendo themselves had fessed up to at the time, I was told this didnt matter because the product was out of warranty. I could understand that if it werent a design issue but am surprised they didnt make this an exception. The fact that I could buy a brand new Joy-Con for the same price was also deemed irrelevant.
Ive bought another pair and asked them to just post it back unfixed – it sort of works so long as Im sat nearby, so figured Id take the opportunity to have the old ones as spares. I love the console but just wanted to warn any others in the same boat – make sure you test it out and get it sent back for repair in advance of the warranty expiring!
codename8ball (PSN ID)
GC: That does seem bad. Although it may be a different problem than the initial desynching issue, which wasnt dependent on the distance from the console.
Darker, more mature
Amongst the suggestions of new Battlefield settings in the weekend feature was a sci-fi concept.
Im sure that could happen at some point but I always wonder why developers and gamers choose a relatively grounded kind of sci-fi for a first person shooter when the retro stuff is much more interesting.
Im sure the Call Of Duty and Battlefield guys wouldnt do this because it doesnt fit with their dour and gritty portrayal of warfare but its interesting how no-one else has ever made a shooter set in a Flash Gordon style universe with the old school ray guns, freeze rays and brightly coloured rocket ships.
I think that would be great fun and a refreshing change from the usual first person shooter stuff.
GC: We think theres supposed to be a new Flash Gordon film coming, so that might provide an opportunity. Although no doubt thatll be some grim n gritty reboot itself.
In before the bin
Dont know about you consolies but on Steam Hitman 2 is available as a trial. You can test out the Hitman 1 prologue in the new engine. And as a bonus if you have purchased Hitman, then you can play all the original levels free of charge. Which means I can test the connection and hopefully unlock all the content I missed first time round.
Heres to hoping the connection is stable. Ill buy the gold edition if it is. I hope IO gets some solid sales before the inevitable bargain bin.
Always in threes
So far we have seen a few ports of various PlayStation game series, such as Crash Bandicoot and Spyro The Dragon, where three games are included in the collection. There are a lot of great PlayStation 1 franchises and games series that have not come to the next generation, that I feel should be released on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 respectively. Granted there are reboots of these games but I feel the originals would justify 30 fps 1080p port, these are as follows. Tomb Raider 1, 2 and 3; Resident Evil 1, 2, 3; Destruction Derby 1, 2, and Raw; Ridge Racer, Ridge Racer 2, R4: Ridge Racer Type 4; Street Fighter Alpha 1, 2, and 3.
These are my selections of the greatest PlayStation 1 franchises I would love to see come in a remaster trilogy, just as Crash Bandicoot and Spyro have, and I would like to know what everyone would choose to be ported from PlayStation 1 as a remastered trilogy? There are a lot of PS1 games too numerous to list that I would also like to see potentially come back in a remastered trilogy as both Spyro and Crash Bandicoot have been released in a trilogy which shows there is still demand for many PlayStation games to be remastered.
Im not sure if Sony and Rockstar would be willing to get into negotiations to discuss the possibility of doing this for the three Grand Theft Auto games to give us the 2D GTA universe in a trilogy with 1080p 30fps visuals or if this would ever happen but as a GTA fan this personally feel should eventually happen maybe an upgraded version of the Collectors Edition which would be ported into 1080p 30fps. This would also be a good trilogy to have remastered and to allow those to enjoy the nostalgia of this great franchise as the first Grand Theft Auto is appearing on the PlayStation Classic due to be released this December so it could happen in the future.
gaz be rotten (gamertag)
GC: That sounds like an awful waste of developers time. Many of those have been remade or re-released recently anyway, especially when you include the PlayStation Classic.
I pre ordered my copy of Civilisation VI on Switch ages back but would have returned it if it was another City: Skylines. Its just as well IGN, then you and Nintendo Life give it a 9. Rubbish fact is though mine was sent out last Friday and Im still waiting.
GC: If it helps, we still didnt get a copy from the publisher and had to buy ours.
That new Switch rumour sounds believable to me, but also not particularly interesting. Its already pretty thing and I dont really want it any smaller (or bigger), and while the screen may not be state-of-the-art I wouldnt pay for a better one.
This weeks Hot Topic
The subject for this weekends Inbox was suggested by reader Anton, who asks how many online games are you currently playing?
Games as a service is one of the big buzzwords of the moment in gaming and means any game which is constantly updated with the intention of keeping you playing for months and years to come. Theyre almost exclusively multiplayer (and include MMOs), but the problem with their rising popularity is theres not enough time to play them all – so which ones are you favourite?
How regularly do you play the games and when did you start? How long do you expect to continue playing and how much time do you have for other games, whether multiplayer or not? What do you think of games as a service and how many can you generally have on the go at once?
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The small print
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