The evening Inbox doesnt believe anything Reggie Fils-Aimé says, as one reader discovers the joys of Nintendo Labo.
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PLEASE NOTE: Were currently preparing special content to run over the Christmas and new year break, and as usual wed like this to include a number of Readers Features. So if youve been meaning to write one but never got round to it, now would be the perfect time. The topic doesnt have to coincide with the time of year, just anything video game-related that youre interested in and which you think others might be too.
The next five years
When it comes to Red Dead Online what I most want to know is what they intend to turn it into over time. With GTA Online theyve bene able to go crazy with the flying cars and other fantasy stuff but I dont see that happening with Red Dead. But thats on top of the fact that its much more limited in terms of weapons and transportation.
None of that is Rockstars thought but it makes it hard to imagine what the game will be like in five years time if theres so little obvious they can add to it.
My theory is that they wont have a single-player expansion like last time but that they will start to add in supernatural stuff into the multiplayer. I think there are hints at werewolves and vampires already in the game so it wouldnt surprise me if they went that route and tried to avoid zombies again.
Itd stop making it a realistic cowboy game but Im not sure what other choice there is, other than just having the same action and enemies for all the years. Its an unusual situation.
Good assessment on Red Dead Online, its all getting a bit too samey and badly needs more free roam stuff to do. Have you also noticed you can only discard your horse with the local dealer if you want to upgrade? Unless you buy more stable space thats at least $130 hard earnt dollars wasted.
Thats one issue Ive left Rockstar feedback for, another is the lack of a passive mode due to the consistent griefing over and over. Unless I need supplies I avoid Tumbleweed and Saint Denis. From experience Its come to shoot you first before you shoot me no matter what your motives are walking past me and that cant be right. It shouldnt be that much of a chore to stock up on supplies or sell to the towns butcher.
19th century civilisation
30 hours in and Red Dead Redemption IIs graphics are still incessantly mesmerising. And just how overwhelming and grandiose was that moment you first entered Saint Denis?
The almost dizzying scale and sophistication of the architecture and infrastructure. The sheer density and melting pot of its denizens. The flourishing sounds of the hustle and bustle in its market area. The street lights and swanky horse-headed bollards. The bloody tram transport system. This is civilisation!
After all that time luxuriating in the wild and relatively rudimentary settlements, Saint Denis feels claustrophobic and frankly kind of otherworldly in comparison. Saint Denis represents a profound distillation of the progress in America during that period, and Rockstar conveys this transformation with such technical and artistic aplomb!
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Reading that interview with the Nintendo of America boss makes me appreciate GCs interviews all the more. He doesnt so much dodge the question as talk about something completely different, just like a politician. I never liked him to be honest and always felt he came across as a used car salesman, compared to the much more bashful Japanese guys. He just always seems so… American.
I think we can all accept that he was talking absolute nonsense about Red Dead Redemption II but it was the Virtual Console stuff that got me. Why was he talking about discontinuing the Classic Mini consoles as if that was a sane and sensible thing to do? None of the SNES games and a lot of the NES ones arent on the Switch so what exactly is the point?
Theyre obviously selling so what exactly is the point of stopping them? Or alternatively what is the point of not immediately porting over all the Wii Virtual Console games to the Switch and having an instant retro collection? Its not like they need any work doing to them. Ah, but were talking logic and Nintendo again. Or at least Nintendo of America.
Sega: The Movie
Good to know that Segas movie adaptations are just as clueless about the appeal of Sonic as their games. I felt dirty just look at that poster and would be genuinely scared to see the trailer.
It did get me thinking about other movies they could make based on Sega games and I didnt really come up with a lot. As great as games like Panzer Dragoon and Gunstar Heroes are I just dont think theyd make for particularly good movies and wouldnt seem that distinct.
I think the reason Pokémon looks like its going to work is that the world is already fleshed out and its something thats very unique. The only thing I could see being worthwhile is some kind of meta story that somehow combines all their games, with people driving around in a Ferrari and an F-14 Tomcat… like theyre maybe trapped in the game world or something? Itd never happen though, the references are too obscure and youd need a really good script – which isnt a Hollywood speciality at the moment.
Crease and fold
I picked up the Nintendo Labo Vehicle Kit at launch, and just havent had the time to get to it much until the last couple of weeks, but I am loving it. Construction sets of all sorts are a pet hobby of mine, I find something wholly relaxing about starting out with nothing and following instructions to make something spectacular (think more like the deluxe sets of nanoblocks than your average Lego).
And these vehicle bits are nothing short of spectacular! The way the cardboard is cut to fold and fit so precisely is absolutely fascinating to me, with things coming together with the most satisfyingly tight and sturdy connections. It seems like a technical engineering marvel to me, especially when you include all the moving parts and levers of the pedal and the car steering column, etc. I feel like Ive pretty much made an actual engine.
Add to that all the entertaining flavour text in the instructions, which really helps keep the energy going when it says, OK now you gotta crease fold a whole bunch MORE stuff now…
Casualties of Wars
Love all the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate DLC ideas, cant believe how big this game has become now! Lot of very sensible suggestions yesterday and I would be very happy to see 2B from NieR:Automata and Dovahkiin from Skyrim included in there.
My Nintendo choice though would be Nell or Andy from Advance Wars, but I think we all know thats not going to happen. The lack of love for the game, at least from what Ive experienced so far, just underlines how little Nintendo seems to care about it now.
Interesting to read Connies letter about preferring to create a character in games as opposed to being assigned one – Im actually the opposite. I agree that in principle it should be better, being able to imprint your own personality on a blank avatar, but I dont think theres been a game thats done that particularly well yet.
Anytime I create a character from scratch I always feels disconnected in a way that no game has been able to remedy. Like Im not a character, Im just a sort-of window to the world. I move around looking at stuff and things happen around me, but I dont really feel involved. This usually makes it harder for me to engage with the story.
I reckon Mass Effect is by far the best example, but even then youre not truly a blank slate – your character only has a couple of options for backstory, choices, and voice actors. Cosmetically you can create any character you want but in personality terms the game only allows for a couple of options. In one of my Mass Effect playthroughs I was an engineer, which is completely at odds with the story – badass space heroes dont hide at the back of the fight, sending out drones and hacking into enemys armour with their fancy glowing orange watch! This was my choice, and is good in terms of gameplay, but I felt that it jarred with the story.
Compare that to the Witcher, where the whole story is crafted around your character. Geralt also has a couple of ways to deal with most situations, but because he has a strong personality the game can lead you in a certain direction without it feeling out-of-character. Despite being funnelled towards major plot points, I really felt like an active agent in that story.
When developers have the console horsepower to build a world that can truly accommodate any decision you make and have the world react appropriately to that decision, then I think Ill prefer building my own character. For me, though, were not quite there yet.
Just noticed that Argos have Hitman 2 on offer for £19.99 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Which is a nice pre-Christmas bargain!
Cubes (PSN ID)/SW-3654-9259-0500/Kevin M
Hang on, Rambi in Smash Bros. is a grey Donkey Kong? But this is a good thing? Im confused. I need pictures.
GC: A differently-coloured Donkey Kong seems a fairly easy mental picture to conjure, surely?
This weeks Hot Topic
The subject for this weekends Inbox was suggested by reader Alberto, who asks whether you consider yourself loyal to anything in gaming?
Is there a particular console or console maker whose products you always buy? Is there a publisher or developer whose games youre automatically interested in just because of their involvement? Or is there a video game series or character that you almost always get regardless of what others have said about it?
Do you defend whatever it is online or do you try to keep quiet in front of others? How do you feel your loyalty is rewarded by the companies in question and have you ever given up on something you were previously loyal to?
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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.