The morning Inbox considers the problems of re-reviewing Star Wars: Battlefront II, as one reader asks what on earth Hokuto Ga Gotoku is.
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So I went and saw the new Tomb Raider film, it wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t particularly good either. For the most part I found the movie watchable but by far the best bits were sequences directly inspired by the 2013 game.
I don’t know why the people behind this film didn’t lift more from the game and make a stripped-down survival movie. I’m guessing they were restricted by budget, or common sense?
There are so many thrilling sequences in Tomb Raider 2013, the Hercules crash immediately springs to mind, why on earth wasn’t that in the new film?
I’ve seen online comments criticising the choice of Alicia Vikander to play Lara but I thought she was one of the better aspects of the movie, she nailed the accent and gave the rebooted Miss Croft athleticism and energy.
When Alicia Vikander was left alone and set against the elements, the new film actually threatened to be good. I hope the filmmakers make another Tomb Raider movie, all the inspiration and guidance they need is right there in the rebooted games.
Moderately enjoyable but another missed opportunity, 6/10.
No fun at parties
The Tomb Raider games on PlayStation were one of the main reasons I got into gaming but I’ve found my interest in the series has waned over the years, to the point I’m not interested in the slightest about the prospect of the newly announced one.
I think the biggest problem for me is that I now prefer to play characters that I like and want to effectively ‘hang out’ with. I want a bit of personality and Lara has always lacked that, even more so with serious tone of the current games.
To the gamer currently off work with stress and anxiety, I would recommend just playing games on the easiest settings (so definitely have a break from Nioh!). There’s no shame in just having fun, and as someone who is also suffering from mental health issues I often do this just to escape and have an adventure without the extra pressure that harder difficulties can add. I do hope you feel better soon.
I am really looking forward to State Of Decay 2. So I’ve finally started playing the original game. Having missed it on Xbox 360 I picked up the Xbox One remaster a while ago when it was on sale and have just got round to playing it. I’m enjoying it, really like the survival horror mechanics. Right now supplies are running low, two of my playable characters are dead, a woman is at death’s door, another guy twisted his knee so he’s out of action and another two of my survivors have morale issues for me to sort out. My house is in a real state of decay. So I have to go out, fight through the zombie hordes, clear out some of the infestation, and search for medical supplies and food and materials to build new facilities for our house.
The permanent death really makes me care about the characters, with them having different abilities and roles to play in the group like doctors and car mechanics. Some are influential leaders and some have military training, making them good at fighting off the zombies, so it’s a real blow losing one of them.
So I’m really looking forward to see how Undead Labs have expanded on these mechanics in the sequel and the game looks much better with a bigger budget and in Unreal Engine 4 on a more powerful console. State Of Decay 1 looks and plays a lot better on the Xbox One X and that’s without an official enhanced patch, just the console’s built-in features and extra power boosting everything whereas when I tried it on normal Xbox One it was very rough. Which is why I never got into it until now.
Big Angry Dad82 (gamertag)
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Like a Plough
Do you know if the Fist of the North Star game that was recently released on PlayStation 4 in Japan will be getting a US or European release?
I wouldn’t mind trying to import it but I don’t think the game contains English subtitles.
I’ve been searching the Internet but cannot get any information. I contacted Sega UK and they told me to look at blogs that haven’t been updated in years or their website that has no info about the game.
GC: Bizarrely it’s some kind of crossover with Yakzua, so based on how its other spin-offs have been treated it’ll probably stay Japanese-only. Although it actually seems to be an unrelated game with similar gameplay, that uses existing Yakuza voice actors in different roles. The name Hokuto Ga Gotoku is a play on both the Japanese name for Yakuza (Ryu Ga Gotoku, aka Like A Dragon) and Fist of the North Star (Hokuto no Ken). It’s currently number one in Japan.
Seeing as Resident Evil 7 VR is still yet to appear on PC it was a nice surprise to see Skyrim VR has not only a PC release date of the 3rd of April but lists Oculus Rift as a compatible headset.
Fallout 4 VR worked on Oculus but didn’t have gamepad or touch controller support, whereas Skyrim VR has gamepad support so I guess that’s why Oculus is listed as supported. I’m expecting there will still be no Touch controller support. Which is fine as the motion controls for Skyrim VR and Fallout 4 VR were pretty horrible.
It comes at a good time, as the momentum VR built at the end of last year with price cuts seems to have slowed dramatically this year. Moss is the only notable title so far with high profile PSVR releases Bravo Team and The Inpatient disappointing.
I’m hoping that the extra power of the PC will fix a lot of the technical problems that Skyrim VR had on PlayStation VR. I stop playing it early on that format and moved over to the Rift, in part to have a better VR experience from the extra horsepower. Fingers crossed too that Bethesda will finally add gamepad support to Fallout 4 VR as I’ll be happy to give it another go, after getting it refunded due to lack of Touch controller support, if I can sit down and use a pad to play.
The naked eye
I know there’s some relatively good quality rumours about it now but I still can’t believe that Sony would think of releasing a PlayStation 5 for at least three or four years. There’s just no point. A lot of people still haven’t got a 4K TV and the PS4 Pro makes very little difference. Even PC graphics don’t seem to have advanced much in recent years, or at least I can’t remember the time I last looked at them and thought it would be completely impossible on a console.
I guess they might be Planning a Super PS4 Pro in a couple of years, but it’s pretty obvious that sort of thing is just a niche release for hardcore fans.
Perhaps I’m just seeing things the way I want to but what worries me is Sony getting obsessed about hardware again and side-lining the games. They were terrible for the first two years of this gen and Microsoft has been awful the whole time, and are maybe only getting it out of their system this year.
Just stop it with the endless new hardware! It makes much less difference than a good game that takes advantage of what it’s got. I mean, what would you rather have? Bloodborne 2, Horizon Zero Dawn 2, and a bunch of new franchises or virtually nothing and two years of arguing about hardware stats that make no difference to anything people can see with the naked eye?
There’s no shame in it
I don’t know if this has been mentioned before, but in Poundland I have started seeing PlayStation 4 and Xbox One games. They are very old, like FIFA 16.
There may be a few bargains to be had, as I think I saw a copy of Deus Ex. Not sure which one but all these games were sealed but sadly not £1, the most was £5.
PS: Yes, I am poor for shopping at Poundland.
Reviews of the future
You’ve stated that you’ll probably re-visit Star Wars: Battlefront II after the various changes have been implemented, which is fair enough – I think you did this with a previous title but can’t remember if my memory is playing tricks on me.
Anyhow, got me thinking. If games as a Service becomes what the major publishers want it to be, how does that sit from a professional reviewer’s standpoint? If the model is to release a base game, that gets added to with free DLC funded by microtransactions, which materially changes the game over time, how do you review that?
You can only review what’s put in front of you at any given time, but if that model becomes more prevalent then it could make day one reviews, not redundant, but less relevant. This happens now, with quite a few games that have improved way beyond the initial release, but will probably become the rule rather than the exception, for the big budget titles at least.
I suppose this question is rhetorical, there’s probably no straight answer. And it’s most likely moot too, as Battlefront aside, there seems to be little correlation between critical and financial success when it comes to AAA games (affects Jim Sterling voice).
TheTruthSoul (PSN ID)
PS: I know you’re sci-fi film fans, have you seen Annihilation and Under the Skin? Both slow burn cerebral films that I’d highly recommend, albeit with the caveat that they’re Marmite, particularly the latter.
GC: We haven’t had time for Annihilation yet but Under the Skin is excellent. So is the book, although it’s very different. As for reviewing service games… day one is still the point at which you pay over the majority of your money, so in that sense the initial reviews are still important. But as you say, re-reviews and updates are inevitably going to become more commonplace.
My children pooled some pocket money last week to get a used copy of Splatoon on Wii U. They’ve played it nearly constantly over the last few days, having great fun. Perhaps surprisingly, there’s still plenty of people playing it online so there’s lots of online matches. We’ll make sure we get the sequel when we get around to getting a Switch
half_empty80 (PSN ID /NN ID)
I have an unwanted code for Assassin’s Creed Unity for Xbox One to give to any reader who’d like it.
GC: That’s very good of you (no matter what we think of the game). As usual we’ll give the code in exchange for a useable Inbox letter.
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader R1CH5TER, and asks what is your most played console or computer?
What video game format have you spent the most time on overall, over the years, and how comes? Do you count it as your favourite format and do you still have it plugged in, ready to play, today? Do you keep your old consoles and if not do you regret getting rid of them?
How interested are you in retro gaming and what benefits, if any, do you feel there are in owning the original console itself – instead of a replica or just an emulation of its games?
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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.