The Monday Inbox looks forward to next gen consoles SSDs eliminating load times, as readers heap praise one the most recent Nintendo Direct.
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So, the wait for Borderlands 3 is almost over, as someone that’s been impatiently waiting for five years or so I’m genuinely excited now.
The reason I’m writing in though, is to ask fellow gamers if they’re as fed up as me with developers/influencers/publishers that seem intent on spoiling almost everything before you’ve even opened the box on launch day.
This past month or so I’ve had dozens of emails off Gearbox, asking me to go check out countless trailers, or check skill trees, or pick a reward weapon for a game I don’t yet own. Then because I watched Borlderlands 2 loot location videos on YouTube I’ve had dozens of vids recommended to me of annoying Americans that have been playing Borderlands 3 for weeks, posting hour-long gameplays cos they have 1K followers on Twitter and they’re deemed as influencers. Even reading the title of their vids give major details away.
I don’t mind a preview like here on GC, or as they were in the mags of old, but why are they so intent on showing as much as possible before the game is even on the market? I’ve avoided as much as I can, yet I’ve still seen far too much. It’s going to sell well, do they anticipate that many more sales by giving details away that only current Borderlands fans will care about anyway? A new player won’t even know who the characters, never mind care that they’re returning in 3, so why on earth spoil it for the fans who would be buying it regardless?
I know the protagonists, I know the four characters and their main skills, I know the returning cast members, I know who’s been fired and is being voiced by someone else, I know roughly how many locations there’ll be and I even know about the end game content – and as I’ve said, I’ve avoided as much as possible and still seen all that. It’s flipping hard to read a page on Twitter, etc. and somehow miss spoilers you aren’t aware are there till it’s too late.
Roll on the 13th, so I can spoil all the surprises myself by playing the game. I’m so glad Shenmue III isn’t nearly as anticipated, as nobody seems to be talking about that. However, that may change closer to November and I have already seen a prominent character in a screenshot, so obviously they’re in it (as well as someone I thought was dead after Shenmue I – cheers to whoever uploaded that pic). If someone spoils the story I’ve been waiting nigh on 20 years for, I’ll track them down and give them my very best tut and admonishing look.
Seriously though, stop spoiling everything please publishers. A little info goes a long way in building anticipation, another few weeks of this and I may as well not play the game, stick with Borderlands 2 and just watch Billybob Neckbeard play through it, being as he’s had it a month already to ‘influence’ us.
By comparison Red Dead Redemption II did it so well. I didn’t care a jot about the game, so had no issue with spoilers about it pre-release, yet I still didn’t see anything spoilery until long after it had been out. The only thing I knew pre-release was something about horse balls and the guy was named Arthur.
I’m currently getting stuck into the Gears 5 campaign (thanks, cheap Game Pass Ultimate upgrade!) and so far, I like what I see. I’m sure the story isn’t the top reason for most people to buy the game, but what I’ve loved about it, is the fact that over the last 10 years plus, there have been changes to the characters as they live their lives.
I can’t think of many other game franchises which let you see the passage of time so vividly. People grow old, and die, in the real world, but not many games let you see this in their sequels.
Right now, the only prominent example I can think of is Mortal Kombat, which now has the sons and daughters of the original cast in the character line-up. (Another game where the story isn’t exactly the selling point!)
ttfp saylow (gamertag)
Now playing: Gears 5
GC: Resident Evil is another, in fact it may be the longest running story-based franchise never to have a reboot.
I’m enjoying Gears 5 a lot. The graphics are great and the weapons feel weighty and distinctive. The open world bits work well and the story, to me, is interesting and well-acted. However, it has a really annoying bug. It often doesn’t save the game properly and you have to shut the whole game off and restart from your last proper save.
This has resulted in having to re-do major battles several times. I hope this is patched out soon because otherwise the game is great fun. I actually bought Gears Of War 4, so the fact that this is on Game Pass is a real bonus.
PS: I also started playing Creature in the Well, this is a weird game. Any plans on reviewing it GC?
GC: That’s odd, we never had that bug. Maybe it was the result of a post-launch patch. And yes, hopefully we’ll get round to Creature In The Well.
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Not in love
I’m on board with Sony and Microsoft about SSD being a bit of a game changer for consoles.
Long load times significantly interrupt the flow and enjoyment of a game and are now at some epic levels on current gen consoles. I’ve been replaying Fallout 4 recently, as I’ve not gotten past finding Kellog is my two previous tries. The reason for this are twofold, one it’s a game I like and dislike in equal measure, the second is that it has bad load times on PS4 Pro. Not played it on other formats.
You fast travel to a location and are treated to a sometimes very lengthy load screen. You get to your destination, immediately enter a building which produces another load screen. It’s nothing but a one room pharmacy with a stimpack and RadX in, so you leave almost immediately, which requires another load screen. Once outside you are mini-nuked by a lurking super mutant and die, which then requires another load screen before you can go on your merry way.
Drastically reducing or eliminating load times is an extremely worthy goal in my book and something I’m looking forward to in the next gen. Sony pointed out, as well, that SSD can improve frame rates too, which is a nice bonus.
Why I like and dislike Fallout 4. One of many main story arcs you’re first run into, the Minute Men, is extremely dull, which mainly requires a lot of busywork doing errands for settlements. The crafting element is not much fun and I felt like a post-apocalyptic dustbin man going round the Commonwealth for the trash I needed to craft things. A lot of the side missions are boring and the game could do with being a bit more focused at the start before opening up. The trek from Sanctuary to Diamond City has too many distractions early on.
But just traversing the Commonwealth seeing what is what is an enjoyable activity, with plenty of welcome unexpected happenings, and there is just about enough good side mission to keep you interested. I also spent three happy hours going around in my pants, locking-picking stuff as it was something the companion I was with, Cait, seemed to like very much. Never did get her to love me, this time though maybe.
GC: Fallout 4 was always very odd about requiring a load screen before entering any building, not matter how small.
Arcade in your hand
I’m not sure if people are aware but a retro gaming system is about to be launched called the Evercade.
The marketing blurb states that it’s a perfectly legal gaming system that those who grew up in the eighties and nineties can enjoy.
It seems to be modelled like the Nintendo Game Boy Advance and uses a cartridge system. Pricing is available now and costs £80-odd for the system plus one game.
Compilations of old games come on cartridges that slot into the back. So far there are Atari and Namco cartridges with the old classics.
Seems reasonable enough and I am very intrigued, especially that you can plug the system into your TV and play. Plus, it appears to bypass the legally grey area of ROMS and emulators.
Worth staying up for
I know you’ve already had a lot of emails about the latest Nintendo Direct, but it really was bloody good. I stayed up to watch it live and was questioning whether it would be worth it, but those fears dissipated within the first few minutes.
The big one for me is Deadly Premonition 2. I played the first one solely due to GC’s recommendation and adored it. I never would have guessed that a sequel would be made. I’m tempted to get the original on the Switch but am a little worried about bugs and all. Have any readers bought it?
Return Of The Obra Dinn was my favourite game of 2018 and that will work perfectly on the Switch. I agree with the other reader that the Switch may be Nintendo’s greatest console. The amount of good games for the system is getting ridiculous. I currently have Smash Bros., Dead Cells, Super Mario Maker 2, Civilization VI, and Splatoon 2 all unplayed, mainly due to a lack of time… and Tetris 99. Plus, Luigi’s Mansion 3 and Zelda: Link’s Awakening will be on my Xmas list.
SNES games were welcome, and I love the wireless SNES controller. If that can work with normal Switch games I’ll probably get one.
Friendly reminder that if you have Amazon Prime you can link it to Twitch and get up to a year’s free subscription to Nintendo Switch Online for free. The offer is ending in a few weeks.
GC: We’ll be doing a review of Deadly Premonition Origins but there haven’t been any review copies sent out yet, perhaps because – as you predicted – there are some serious bugs.
The new Nintendo band controller thing looks a lot like a Pilates resistance ring. Having enjoyed many a Yoga class I once tried Pilates and was surprised when handed one and expected to hold it, squeeze it and manipulate it whilst contorting about. Loads of the movements in the video are similar to that and yoga in general, although admittedly we never have a HD rumble pack strapped to the inside of our leg at the time!
Looks like a direct Wii Sports successor to me too. If Nintendo can inject an element of fun to it in addition to the straight exercise element, and I’m sure they can, I reckon they have another winner on their hands.
AWB-78 (PSN ID)
PS: Expect your tummy to ache after you review that bad boy!
GC: Thanks for this, we gave you a credit in our story on the controller.
Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here
For me the Switch does indeed have a look in for best ever Nintendo console. Some might look at the SNES, and maybe even the N64, and call that sacrilege and you do need to consider those earlier platforms and their best games in the context of their time. What Super Mario World, Zelda: A Link To The Past, Super Mario 64 and Zelda: Ocarina Of Time did for their genres – and for gaming as a whole – is undeniable.
But also consider the Switch in the context of modern gaming. Arguably the best entries yet in Nintendo’s biggest franchises including – and this is pretty important for me – some games that are absolutely screaming to have microtransactions and loot boxes take them over completely. Particularly Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Splatoon 2.
And yet all that seems to happen to appease greedy short-sighted shareholders is an under-the-radar ‘free to start’ Kirby game and a bunch of mobile games that don’t even get a look in on their Direct videos. Yes, people complain about how high some prices seem to be in comparison to rival consoles but if it helps keep the wolves from the doors of the actual game content, it’s worth the odd additional £10-20 for some products.
An important point for me is also how, when most new consoles generally replace one predecessor, the Switch seems to have replaced three: the Wii U, the 3DS, and… the PlayStation Vita. Not only is it the first time since before the Game Boy that they haven’t had to spin plates in terms of more than one dedicated gaming platform but it’s probably the first time since the SNES that the gaps between the best first party games on a Nintendo platform haven’t been that glaring (if you have a good range of tastes) due to so many high quality third party games. That wouldn’t be the case if not for indies but, as with the Vita, they’ve found the perfect home for this generation and everyone seems to win from it.
None of that is even mentioning how much more home console gaming I get done because of its portability or how, finally, there seems to be synergy between what the public is encouraging and the quality of software Nintendo is putting out (something particularly missing from the N64, GameCube and Wii, where the best games accompanied lukewarm hardware sales and the embrace of ultra-casual non-games misdirected Nintendo’s attention for what felt like years).
It would take all day to consider every factor for why it is or isn’t the best and how there’s still so much room for improvement on the hardware, services and commercial fronts but it feels so uncharacteristic to see them get so much right that I struggle not to regard this as a golden era for them at the very least.
Has anyone else noticed how similar the clothing is between the main character in the Blair Witch game and James Sunderland from Silent Hill 2? Even down to the badges on the left arm of the coat.
GC: Good catch, we hadn’t noticed.
River City Girls made me chuckle. We watch River City up here in Scotland. And the girls in that are tough, real tough. Go’on the gals.
GC: We had no idea that River City was a show, has there ever been any hint that the writers are aware of its namesake?
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Korbie, who asks what features immediately put you off a new video game?
It can be anything from what genre the game is to a relatively trivial element like the user interface or a mute main character but what puts you off a game instantly, no matter what the rest of it is like?
Are there specific settings, like sci-fi or zombies, that you always avoid or perhaps features like loot boxes or always-online play? What’s the most minor reason you’ve avoided a game and what’s the quickest you’ve ever given up on one?
E-mail your comments to: [email protected]
The small print
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