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Games Inbox: Is story ever more important than gameplay in a video game?
Life Is Strange: Before The Storm – one of gaming’s rare storytelling successes

The evening Inbox calls Zelda: Breath Of The Wild overrated, as one reader is unfortunately unsurprised by Metal Gear Survive.

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

Gameplay is overrated, apparently

So when I sent a letter in to the weekend Hot Topic and mentioned that I seemed to be in the minority when voting for gameplay over story in a recent poll by GAME on Facebook, GC seemed quite taken aback.

See the present standing here; 62% to 38% in FAVOUR of story after nearly 9,000 votes!

It would seem that being able to actually PLAY games isn’t so important these days.
Phil Spearpoint

GC: We are very taken aback.

Games Inbox: Is story ever more important than gameplay in a video game?

Why so serious?

I get Marlble’s feelings on PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. I used to feel the same, but all my friends insisted it was the best thing since sliced bread. And then I suggested we play it a bit differently. Instead of trying to win, we began playing for fun.

No hiding in houses just rushing from zone to zone looting and eliminating. We’d drop in hot spots and race for weapons. Sure, the first hundred times you do it you die but eventually you start to get a few back. It made the game a lot more fun, especially with friends, as we’d laugh at each other’s stupid mistakes and coordinate scare tactics on people hiding in buildings.

I recent started to play Fortnite and it’s a much more fun game. It’s less serious in tone and a lot more fun (in my opinion). I’ve even bought the PvE mode and I’m having a blast.
Anthony Daniels

YouTube fad

In response to Marlble. I fully agree with you. I bought PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds on the Xbox One and also have Fortnite. Played both a fair bit and don’t get it. At all. I find both games to be incredibly boring at best.

You can spawn in and die straight away or kill a couple of people and try and camp? How is that a fun game?

I really hope this type of game doesn’t replace a traditional competitive shooter, as nothing bores me to tears more than both of these. I have no interest in playing either again after trying them out for a while, and just don’t get the hype. I’m going to guess a part of it is YouTube fad? It’s what it seems like anyway.

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Everything ends

I’d just like to say that in counterpoint of R1CH5TER’s take on Minecraft, the game does have an objective. You need to reach the End and kill the Ender Dragon – a single quest that would take most gamers months to achieve.

The beauty of Minecraft is that, yes, you can build to your heart’s content and never see the End. Spend an age mining, crafting and building if it so pleases you, but if you tire of this and need some focus, killing the Ender Dragon is a huge challenge, and certainly one that will take more time than half of the open world games out today.

If you can reach the End, I doff my cap to you. I’ve never done it in five years, and have yet to meet someone who has.

My hair is a Wavebird

I was going through some old American comics I picked up recently and saw an advert for The NES Double Player – a set of two wireless controllers for the NES, made by Acclaim but officially approved by Nintendo. And apparently including the typical slow motion/turbo fire gimmicks common in many third party controllers.

The comic was from about 1990, so more than a decade before the Wavebird! It doesn’t look like they were ever released in the UK, although a quick eBay search turns up a couple available second-hand, for what seems like not entirely unreasonable prices (at least compared with modern controllers…)

I’d never heard of these before, so thought I’d share this little curio with the rest of the class. Plus, the advert was so gloriously ‘90s I had to include it!
Sparky the Yak

GC: Those are some serious haircuts! But wireless controllers aren’t a new thing at all, we remember having one for the Amiga. It was extremely unreliable though, which we suspect was the problem for these and other pre-Wavebird devices.

Games Inbox: Is story ever more important than gameplay in a video game?

One surprise

Have to agree with your review of Metal Gear Survive, GC. As a diehard fan I got it on Tuesday and just finished it off over the weekend. My main thoughts are that there’s almost nothing about it that has anything to do with Metal Gear, either in terms of the gameplay or the story, and that it’s all very drawn out and unexciting.

That doesn’t meant it’s irredeemably bad, but it is a very hard game to feel any strong emotions about it. I just don’t know what they released it for really. Like you said in your intro, what did they think was going to happen? That the world was crying out for a weird survival/horror/zombie game that reused old maps from Metal Gear Solid V?

The whole pitch doesn’t make sense and it feels like some sort of rushed out move tie-in, or something that was being made for contractual reasons. We all know Konami has lost their mojo but seeing what was my favourite series reduced to this… I just never would’ve believed it 15 years ago. At least it wasn’t a surprise though, I’d been fearing the worst.
PS: At least you get a bit of a bonus in the close credits: the original Metal Gear music comes back. Not sure whether that means Konami has solved the legal problems with it though. If they had, wouldn’t they have used it more than that?

Punished Link

RE: Overrated games. I’ll have to throw Zelda: Breath Of The Wild into the mix here. Outstanding video game but is made out to be the second coming.

My main issue revolves around the combat and durability of weapons. Combat itself is fine, but with no XP and low durability it felt counter-intuitive to actively engage in combat, especially when the rewards from the skull boxes were usually a worse weapon than had just broke. I felt punished for using one of the game’s core mechanics.

I would have liked the option to repair weapons at the very least. It seemed like a major flaw ignored by many of those singing its praises.

Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here

Ordinary sales

While I agree it is bad how the games industry basically tries to keep it a secret whether games sell well or not I do hope they keep the retail-only chart next year, because it does show one thing really well: what normal, casual gamers are buying.

Basically, there are only two types of people that buy from a shop, particularly a high-street shop, nowadays: casual or non-gamers looking for a present or an impulse purchase, or gamers in hunt of a bargain. If you assume the bargains are mostly old games they don’t have much influence on the charts so what you’re see, in pretty undiluted terms, is exactly what ordinary people are buying.

And what are they buying? FIFA, Grand Theft Auto, and Call Of Duty. Just as you’d expect. I don’t say that to criticism anyone but sometimes it’s worth having a wake-up call about what the wider world actually thinks is important in terms of video games. I am not at all surprised to see something like Bayonetta or Kingdom Come drop out of the charts after a week.

The only thing I am impressed by is that Shadow Of The Colossus is still hanging in there, which I put down to the power of the Sony brand to sell any exclusive. Which in this case works well for everyone.
Ashton Marley

Inbox also-rans

RE: John of the Ninja. Depending on your era, but I feel the best ninja game comes from 1984/85 and is Way Of The Ninja it was MASSIVE on C64 and Speccy and made a mint. I think there were three or four follow-up games.
trollboff 97 (PSN ID)

GC: There is no game called Way Of The Ninja. Do you maybe mean The Last Ninja? (Which apart from anything didn’t involve any actual stealth or other ninja-like activities.)

Batman’s a ninja! Surely that makes the Arkham games some of the best ninja games around?

GC: Whether you meant that seriously or not, the Arkham games probably are. At least in terms of the sneaking about and ninja-like gadgets.

This week’s Hot Topic

The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Cranston, who asks what one video game do you think most deserves a remaster or remake?

With an unusual number of video games already having been reworked and re-released this year, we want to know what other game you’d most like to see get the same treatment. It can be any game from any console, but we want to know why you think it deserves the attention and what changes you’d make to it.

Would it just be tidying up the graphics or would you want to see more significant changes? What else would you change about the visuals, and would you alter anything about the gameplay or controls? Do you think the remaster would be widely popular or would only existing fans enjoy it?

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

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.

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