The Monday letters page discusses the difficulty of keeping up with long-running series, as one reader suggests Xbox make its own portable.
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So the hype is starting to build for this year’s Call Of Duty, and because it’s a Modern Warfare game and not set in space or WW2 or anything I would imagine it’ll be much more successful than last year. But will it really? A lot of people have been down on the series lately and I have to admit I haven’t played it much since the last Modern Warfare came out.
Maybe I’m just weird but I have instead been playing Battlefield 2042 a lot lately. Unlike the apparent majority I didn’t hate it at launch and while the updates haven’t been game-changers it is slowly getting better.
To me though it doesn’t really matter whether it’s the best Battlefield or not as that style of game just suits me better. The more people in a match, the longer range battles, the vehicles, the bigger emphasis on teamplay – it just all seems much more interesting to me.
As far as I’m concerned, it’s better than anything Call Of Duty has done in the last couple of years and that includes Warzone. I know the numbers don’t back that up but that’s how it is for me. Curious to know whether anyone else agrees.
Smash Bros. Kart
Been playing the new Mario Kart 8 DLC tracks and they are really great. Waluigi Pinball and Kalamari Desert are just fantastic and I like the new Sydney track a lot too. The whole season pass is good value for money too, so I’m happy to just sit back and wait for them to all come out.
I do find the lack of anti-gravity odd though, considering it’s the main selling point of the main game but, like GC says, Nintendo don’t seem interested in that, they just want to promote Mario Kart Tour.
It does make me wonder what will happen with the next numbered game though, as I’d much rather they keep the more realistic graphics from the original game. I’d forgotten just how many non-Mario characters are in the game though, so I’m totally happy for the series to become Smash Bros. but with karts. Considering how long it’s likely to be until we get a new Smash Bros. that seems almost a certainty now.
One company to rule them all
So if Sony bought Square Enix they’d definitely make Final Fantasy a PlayStation exclusive, wouldn’t they? I know that would make less of a difference than something like Call Of Duty or Elder Scrolls, given how much the series is tied to the PlayStation already, it still seems like a bad thing to me. We should be having less exclusives as time goes by, not more.
I actually blame Microsoft for this, since they started this whole business of buying up, not just developers but whole publishers. I realise they haven’t done it yet, but Sony retaliating with one of similar size is totally understandable. Even if I wish it wasn’t happening.
The danger now is that over the next few years we’re going to see every publishers snapped up by someone or other. The companies, or at least their execs who make a fortune out of it, don’t care and I have no doubt no monopoly investigation will stop it.
There’s already talk of EA and Ubisoft going, and after them and Take-Two that’s pretty much it, given how much consolidation there’s been already in the industry. It doesn’t tend to happen so much in Japan but if Sony does buy Square Enix then all bets are off. I can’t wait till Disney comes along and buys whoever’s left…
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Xbox Series P
With the news of the new Tencent portable console I do wonder why Microsoft has never tried to make something similar. They’re not pushing their cloud gaming too much at the moment, while it’s still early days, but I would be very surprised that once it gets going they don’t try to push something similar.
They could basically make their own version of the Switch, except you wouldn’t need the doc, and it would basically always runs games that look as good as a good PC. I’m sure they’ll pick a terrible name for it but other than that I’d be interested to see what Microsoft would do differently to everyone else when it comes to portable designs.
Microsoft kind of lost out to Sony in terms of controller designs this gen so maybe they could try some new ideas out this way. I’d be interested.
The Spider-Man defence
I think the unsaid problem with these Marvel games is the problem deciding who it is you’re fighting. Spider-Man just about got away with this by implying he doesn’t kill any of the goons he fights (even though he totally would given the moves he uses) but in everything else they’re always just fighting robots, which is lame but there’s a reason for it.
I’m sure Disney doesn’t want to portray their heroes as murdering hundreds of hapless humans but that’s exactly what would happen in the average video game. The Iron Man suits are filled with lasers and rockets and who knows what, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him use so much as a tazer. So who’s he going to be fighting? Robots, I bet. It was in the VR game.
And who’s Black Panther going to be fighting? Maybe they could get away with the Spider-Man defence, but he can’t web people up or throw them out of the way. He’s just got wicked big claws that only really have one use. So… probably robots again.
The only other option is aliens but that’s barely any more justifiable if they’re all going to be shout and screaming like people when you kill them. At least with Thor they can have monsters and demons, which are harder to feel sympathy for.
With the talk of backlogs in the Inbox recently I’m trying to clear my backlog of PlayStation VR games in preparation for selling it and getting PlayStation VR2 next year. I’ve recently completed GNOG which is an excellent puzzle game that can be played in VR or non-VR, and it is published by Double Fine. One trophy left to get!
I have also started MaskMaker, which is a very clever puzzle/mystery/adventure by the people who made a Fisherman’s Tale, which was excellent but very short. I’m hoping the PlayStation VR 2 will be backwards compatible for games I have missed and also hopefully it will up-res the games originally made for PlayStation VR,1 as on some of the games the resolution is a bit grating as it is so low.
I haven’t got Moss: Book 2 yet, after enjoying the first game as I was hoping to get a physical version like I did with the first game. The motion controllers on MaskMaker can be quite bad at times, but I hope with the new PlayStation VR2 that the new controllers will work more precisely.
PS: The free game on Epic Games Store currently is Unrailed! it is an interesting game where you play co-op with friends trying to lay a track to keep the train moving, where the scenery is procedurally generated. I did like Railroad Tycoon on the PC 20 years ago so this game sounds quite interesting.
Super, smashing, lovely, great
I have to say I’m really impressed by MultiVersus. Considering the quality of most free-to-play games and how much they like to rip people off it really doesn’t do much wrong.
The most surprising thing is that after all these years of copycats the only one that gets Super Smash Bros. is a free game with Batman and Shaggy. I wouldn’t say it’s better, there’s not quite the same depth or slickness to it, but it today deserves the comparison. Who knew that bothering to make your game good might pay dividends?
Having finally got around to playing Halo Infinite, I am going to have to have a whinge about gaming lore. I am not talking about creating deep backstory and environment for a single game, I am talking about the lore that stretches over multiple games and other media.
A story that spans a number of games is bad enough. I am nearly 50, I sometimes forget what I did last week let alone be able to remember what the plot was of a game I played four or five years ago. Having to remember characters and plot points that stretch back to the days of the original Xbox is just a non-starter for me.
Then you add in the other media. Plot developments that happen off screen in books and graphic novels. I love a good game, but none has really enthralled me enough in plot and character to want to read books about them.
The end result of this is that I was enjoying some elements of Halo Infinite, but I had very little idea what was going on. A quick look on YouTube showed that I need to watch an hour or longer video just to get the history of Master Chief.
With triple-A game development times getting longer, I can only see this getting worse and I can only imagine how confusing this can be for a new generation of gamers who were not around for the original Xbox releases. Even something as plot lite as Gears Of War now requires a reasonable knowledge of what happened across the previous games to follow what is going on in the latest one.
Going forward, if you are developing a series of games based on one narrative structure, please limit it to a trilogy and then reboot or call it quits or make each new game more self-contained or, at the very least, include an option to see what has happened so far before you start on a new adventure.
It’s only taken me 14 years, but I have just realised why the main character of Mirror’s Edge is called Faith. Leap of Faith.
I would be totally up for Nintendo turning Zelda in a role-playing game, at least for one game, to see how it works. These people wanting it to be the same exact thing every time would kill the series if Nintendo ever listened to them.
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Cosmo, who asks what’s your favourite video game universe?
Which game or franchise do you think has the most interesting fictional universe? Is it because of its lore, its characters, its art design, gameplay, or something else? What makes a good fictional world and how has your pick elevated the games it’s been in?
Have you explored the game world in media outside of video games, such as books and comics, and do you feel it’s interesting enough to be adapted as a TV show or movie?
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The small print
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