The morning Inbox sticks up for Bethesdas overall track record, as one reader gives his verdict on Hitman 2 and its levels.
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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.
On the level
Ive been playing it all day and I have to got to say Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is amazing. Im one of those people, apparently including GC, who liked the idea of the series before but never really had much fun with it. The large part of that is that Ive never been able to find anyone that was on my level in terms of competence: they either have no idea whats going on, and dont want to learn or theyre online and beat me without me having a clue whats going on.
So the fact that the game has a decent story mode now is a godsend. Although I shouldnt say decent because it seems much better than that: a huge game map and apparently 30+ hours long? Considering the game couldve happily shipped without any single player at all I think thats a good deal.
Its good to have Nintendo back, after basically sitting out the year, and I hope that this is the start of a much steadier stream of new games. Bit disappointed that Metroid Prime 4 wasnt at The Game Awards but if they can finish off this year with a Nintendo Direct that would be amazing.
Lack of info
At time of writing, Ive had Smash Bros. Ultimate for a day and a half and generally, Im really enjoying it. The new characters (such that Ive seen of them so far) are cool, the new stages are good (the relative lack of them eased by all the 3DS stages included, which are new to me). I like the rejigged Classic mode, while Smashdown is also a lot of fun. The gameplay tweaks are all solid additions to the formula as well, especially the more cinematic Final Smashes. And then theres Spirits mode…
The adventure game part of it seems alright. I still feel like Ive barely scratched the surface of it. But the actual spirits themselves are hard to care about, especially when considered as a substitute for trophies. I totally understand Sora not doing trophies this time given the amount of work they take, but these spirits are just recycled art assets with some spangly effects behind them. Itd be nice if the gallery for them at least came with some display options, let alone the text pieces that trophies had.
Part of the joy of the trophies in previous Smash games was not only getting new takes on old favourites but discovering obscure characters and learning something about them. Spirits certainly has obscure characters – Yakuman for instance – but it does nothing to actually tell you who and what they are. With a game so comprehensive and meticulously designed, it seems odd to feel forced to go elsewhere to get even the basic information on parts of it.
GC: We agree, its very strange. But while the lack of text is a real shame the actual spirits are vastly more interesting than the trophies used to be. How the battles represent each character visually, aurally, and in terms of gameplay is great and much better than a static trophy that doesnt do anything.
Everyone makes mistakes
Cant say the Fallout 76 debacle has changed my pretty high opinion on Bethesdas output as a publisher and developer much. I value their focus on single-player and VR.
This gen Ive played from them Skyrim VR, Fallout 4, Doom, Wolfenstein I and II, Dishonored 2, and Prey. The games have never fallen below very good and extend to sublime for the two Wolfenstein games. Even Skyrim VR, with the last gen visuals and bugs, is a breath-taking experience.
Bethesda got the mauling they deserved for 76 though and hopefully it means the quality control for Starfield will be a big focus, as Im really interested to see what that game will be like. Rage 2 is looking pretty impressive too, as is the next Doom.
It is perplexing though, just what they were thinking releasing such a broken game. I really dont blame punters for feeling angry, even though where given fair warning with the beta and Bethesdas statement. As it does seem their fanbase has been taken for granted. Lessons learned hopefully.
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So Ive finished Hitman 2. Despite its simplicity the games opening level might be my favourite. That big lonely-looking house by the sea looks so ominous, the levels stormy sky also adds to the mood.
After discovering a weapons cache I started chucking around shurikens (Japanese throwing stars). While doing this I realised that the throwing mechanic in the new Hitman games is so satisfying to use it might be more fun than completing the actual missions.
I wonder, do any GC readers enjoy the act of repeatedly doing something in a game just for the hell of it? Is a single mechanic so wonderfully realised that it takes precedence over actual objectives?
I can think of a few examples of this. In Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy, unleashing the mind drain which resulted in peoples heads exploding. This rather drastic type of combat was much more fun than progressing through the story.
The lock-picking in Thief: Deadly Shadows, for some reason I loved doing that. And who didnt adore the power plays in Split/Second: Velocity?
Sometimes it didnt care if I won or lost a race, I simply wanted to trigger Armageddon because the games developers made catastrophic destruction so much fun.
Nothing too dramatic from the Game Awards, but I like the look of The Outer Worlds. Just might have the old Fallout humour and New Vegas Western style.
Instead of limping to the barn with Fallout 76, Bethesda really should have just got Obsidian to do Fallout: New Worlds. Did Bethesda not care for New Vegas or was it something more innocuous (schedules never matched up, etc.).
The Light Knight
GC: It was never clear. They were certainly asked often enough about it but never gave a straight answer. Now that Obsidian are owned by Microsoft we guess itll never happen.
I think its hard not to be disappointed with The Game Awards after all the hype of so many new game reveals (I was really looking forward to seeing the new Alien one!) but what I definitely did like was how much attention was given to indie games. Im not sure they gained much from the trailer premieres but having them nominated, and in many cases win, the actual awards was a great move.
Celeste is definitely my game of the year and Im so glad it picked up awards and was nominated for the big one, it totally deserved it and you could see how happy the team was. I hopefully this will give it more exposure than its ever had and more people will learn to love it. Although Im sure its earned its money back a hundred times already.
Ive never played Return Of The Obra Dinn but I remember GCs very positive review and I will now be checking it out, even though my PCs not top of the line. Indie games are usually the most interesting of the year and it was good to see that acknowledge at such a big event.
Anything to do with crazy driving game like Split/Second, Burnout 2, or Excite Truck! Sick of those boring serious driving or too open/future world!
Would love to see remade, reboot, or new sequel…
Neil P on Solihull
The dying genres of arcade racers, musical instrument games, point and click adventures, and decent Star Wars games have been joined by stealth games and no one saw that coming. At E3 Splinter Cell sadly remained in very distant shadows. However, it must return and, and a cracking warm-up would be remastered versions of stealth classics Chaos Theory, Double Agent, and Blacklist.
Whilst I enjoyed the single-player of all these games, it was the multiplayer that got the adrenaline pumping. Although I enjoy the last man standing shenanigans of other games, the intensity of competitive 2-on-2 or 3-on-3 with those asymmetric delights, accessible on the latest generation, is what I would like to see.
SU DOKU (gamertag)/MyDeadGran (PSN ID)
Kingdom Hearts III is out soon and I cant wait. But my gaming OCD means I only play one game at a time. Just started Tales Of Berseria so Im in that race against time to finish a game before the new one gets delivered situation… wish me luck!
Looks like Fallout 76 was the best thing possible for The Outer Worlds, Im seeing a lot of buzz about it at the moment. Whats bad for one can benefit another!
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?
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.