Games Inbox: Are you interested in Apple Arcade?

The morning Inbox tries to work out what FromSoftware’s secret third project is, as another reader gives a cautious thumbs up to Firestorm.

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Getting games

So now Apple has got a subscription service too? (Several if you count their other non-game announcements on Monday.) I don’t think I’d be the only one to say it was a bit underwhelming. Half the games weren’t exclusives and, as GC said, using Outland as one you spent the most time on, even though Nintendo announced it last week, seems rather embarrassing.

Even more so than Google you could tell that Apple don’t really ‘get’ games and everything was just a bit to corporate, like your dad trying to act cool in front of the kids. Maybe it just takes practice but the difference in tone with something Microsoft or Sony would do was obvious.

I have zero interest in subscribing, but if it’s all indie games and not some awful gatcha game then I guess I approve of it. And I guess by not being a streaming service or a new console, and thereby overcomplicating the next gen before it’s even starts, it’s actually good news. So yes, well done Apple. I’m glad you announced something I’m not interested in.


Hyper violence

I’m not sure I’ve really seen anyone talk about Mortal Kombat 11 on the Inbox, which surprises me as it’s out quite soon. As a causal fan of the series I’m not sure I’m actually that interested in it. The ultra violence seems to have evolved into hyper violence to the point where it’s kind of… sinister? Like, you begin to wonder about the people who’s job it is to sit around all day and think up elaborate and gory fatalities.

I also don’t really see what they gimmick of the game is. Is it just that you can fight older versions of the same characters from back in time? That seems a bit desperate doesn’t it? What do they do next time if this one is taking a time out from doing anything new?

Hmm… this has already turned out more negative than I intended but just write this out I realise I’m just not drawn to anything so far. Or maybe it’s just the fact that Ronda Rousey is in it that’s putting me off…


Familiar battle

I’ve played Battlefield V Firestorm a bit and I think it’s pretty good. But why did they choose the first map to be such a boring snow level? I guess maybe the white ground and grey skies were supposed to contrast with the firewall? Well, I guess but for 90% of the time it just looks really dull and samey.

The gameplay’s good though. I’d be happy with even more vehicles but I like the little mini-objectives tempting you to skirt close to the firewall and I liked that I very quickly started to get into the top half of the table once I learned the basics. Although really, at this point who doesn’t know how to play battle royale?

I’m not sure if it’s going to make much of a difference for Battlefield V though, considering you have to play the base game to play it. I’d suggest they make it free-to-play but with Apex Legends already out there I don’t see that happening. I feel sorry for DICE as they do a lot of good work, but they just seem one step behind at the moment.


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The third project

I was always surprised that Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice turned out to be a Hidetaka Miyazaki. I just assumed it was from the B-team that did Dark Souls II and was a little shocked when I found – purely because I thought he would be working on their next big franchise. (Glad to see Sekiro at number one, but let’s face it, it was never going to be that big at an other time of the year.)

It got me thinking back to those rumours of From working on three new games, and I’m still not sure where Sekiro fits into them. ‘A brand new IP that’s ‘something different from what the company has been doing previously’ and ‘a bit weird’ is presumably Déraciné.

But ‘an action role-playing game with a dark fantasy setting’ doesn’t sound much like Sekiro. I mean it could be I guess, at a pinch. But since it’s obviously not option three, which was a reboot of an old IP (presumed to be Armored Core at the time) it’s obvious not that. Unless Sekiro was at one time meant to literally be Tenchu?

It’s hard to figure out, especially as the comments were so vague anyway. But I am disappointed not to see the sci-fi Dark Souls we all thought we were getting. Sekiro looks fine, don’t get me wrong but already I want to know what comes next.


Worth the risk

I took the plunge and pre-ordered Yoshi’s Crafted World for Switch. I don’t usually buy games before your reviews but I know my girlfriend will play this game with me in co-op and first party Nintendo games are generally worth the risk. I do have a feeling the gameplay won’t be quite as good as Woolly World and I’m going to guess a 7/10 from GC.

Also, I had a fun few evenings on Ape Out last week.

Now I need to find time for The Messenger, Baba Is You, and Nuclear Throne! Oh and Cuphead!

I wouldn’t have taken the chance on half the indie games I have but thanks to GC I have a great collection!
Fatys Henrys

GC: That’s gratifying to hear.


Launch delay

I think it’s pretty obvious that Death Stranding, The Last Of Us Part II, Ghost Of Tsushima, and probably others (Dreams as well?) are all going to be released for the PlayStation 5. They’ll probably come out on PlayStation 4 as well but considering the amount of PlayStation 3 remasters we’ve had this year it seems a no-brainer. You don’t release two of the most anticipated games around a year or less before your next console without some way for people to play them on it.

And I’m fine with that really, even though I imagine people will complain about it anyway. It’d be silly to otherwise really if you accept any creator wants the maximum number of people to see their work and for it to be presented in the best way possible. I also understand why Sony doesn’t want to announce the PlayStation 5 until they get past this Christmas.

My only hope is that they don’t rely solely on these games or delay any of them to be launch titles. I know Nintendo did that with Zelda: Breath Of The Wild and got away with it but the Wii U was hardly in the same position the PlayStation 4 is now.


Made for TV

Can’t argue with the logic that a portable-only Switch in time for Pokémon Sword/Shield is a no-brainer not even Nintendo can ignore, hadn’t really thought of it that way. I shall be considering my answer for this week’s Hot Topic carefully because I have always loved portable gaming and do consider it quite separate to home consoles.

You can tell on Switch which ones feel more portable than home and I tend to play them that way even if I’ve got the TV to myself. Curious to see which way Luigi’s Mansion 3 will land as that’s been portable-only for a while now but seems like it’d be best on TV.


Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here


Not well gel

Judging by the Inbox reaction so far, I must be the only person who’s come away from my initial time with Sekiro extremely disappointed. I really, really wanted to like it, but it feels like the game’s elements are all at war with each other and leaving behind a maddening experience.

I wasn’t expecting it to be exactly like the Dark Souls games (which incidentally I’m currently playing through) or Bloodborne, but it feels like From tried to shoehorn elements from those games into a Tenchu-like stealth/action hybrid and the result is a bit of a mess, in my opinion. Where it all falls down for me is the combat; it feels so rigid, more reliant on rote memorisation with no room for using a style that’s comfortable for you. It feels more like a rigid quick-time event.

Don’t even get me started on the total absence of any sort of crowd control (none that I could find, anyway). I suppose it also doesn’t help that the combat is so reliant on deflection and parrying, the things I’m the absolute worst at in any of the Soulsborne games, but here there’s basically no alternative. It’s a case of ‘Do it this way or die’, which isn’t fun for me.

The nail in the coffin is that the punishment for dying is way, way too harsh. At least in the Soulsborne games there was a chance you could get your progress back. In Sekiro, if you die, that’s it; you lose half your stuff permanently, and dying too many times means there’s even less of a chance that you’ll be able to hold onto it. It basically eliminates any idea of progressing your character, nor can you tailor them to suit your playstyle, and it basically destroyed all my motivation to continue.

I think it’s safe to say that I’ve given up on Sekiro. It’s not gelling with me at all, not because it’s hard, but because every death feels unfair, something I could never say about the Soulsborne games.
Andrew Middlemas


Inbox also-rans

Would definitely echo GC’s review for Nuclear Throne, it’s been one of my favourite games for years and I still play it now and again on my PS Vita!

I got ARMS for the Switch on the weekend as it represented an intolerable gap in my fighting game literacy. It’s somewhat light on content but I would never sell it on, though. Not just because I like it, but it would also make me… and ARMS dealer! I’m not sorry.


This week’s Hot Topic

The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Onibee, who asks what is your favourite portable game ever?

With the 3DS’s lifetime coming to an end what handheld video game have you enjoyed the most? It can be from any format, including dedicated portables such as the Game Boy Advance and PS Vita, as well as smartphone games, and Switch titles (assuming you played the game in handheld mode the majority of the time).

How much do you enjoy portable games compared to home console and PC titles and how would you describe the difference? Are you worried that if portable-only consoles disappear a certain style of video game may disappear forever?

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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