Games Inbox: Is buying a PS5 on launch day a bad idea?

The Monday Inbox is surprised to find that Assassin’s Creed Valhalla runs best on PS5, as one reader enjoys the new Mario Game & Watch.

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Year Two
I can totally understand where the Reader’s Feature at the weekend is coming from. I haven’t ordered either console for this month and if I did I imagine I’d be feeling the same way. I’ll agree the PlayStation 5 does seem to be turning out better than expected, but still not enough for me to not wait at least six months till I get it, and probably till this time next year.

I swore long ago never to buy a console day one, after having my PlayStation 2, Xbox 360, Nintendo DS, and 3DS all break down or have problems withing the first few months. Not to mention the Xbox One completely changing its pitch over its first few weeks. I don’t appreciate acting like a console company’s test department and it makes much more sense to me to wait and see how things settle down.

The Xbox Series X is an easy pass given the lack of games, as you’re literally missing out on nothing, but the PlayStation 5 I feel also needs to make it clear how many games are going to be next gen exclusive for the next few years and offer some kind of alternative to paying £70 for a new game – which to me is just too much.

I’ll never buy a console on day one again and I’m certainly not going to change my mind with this new generation.

The hype lied, again
GC, have you seen any of the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 side-by-side technical comparisons yet? The results have been pretty surprising, considering the hype of teraflops and SSD speeds. However, as I suggested in a Reader’s Feature a while back, it’s all marketing spiel. The reality is the two consoles seem to have virtually identical performance at this point in time.

From what I’ve seen on two comparisons of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla the PlayStation 5 bizarrely seems to perform better, although it’s possible that something unrelated to the hardware might be at play there. It will be interesting (for some) to see if any differences emerge under scrutiny once the developers are more accustomed to the machines. In any case, from a layman’s point of view, these machines seem to be more similar than ever. Not that that will stop any console warring.
Twiggy Smalls

GC: That’s the least surprising thing we’ve ever heard. Tech specs are always worthless in terms of predicting what games will look like in reality, since raw power is only one part of the equation. As long as the specs are relatively similar (which they are in this case) then there was never going to be much difference between multiformat versions of the same game.

Prepared earlier
The reviews are in for the Xbox Series X/S and there’s a general theme of hardware being great but the fact that it’s only really the box that’s new makes it less exciting. This seems to in part to be a result of Microsoft’s approach of continually iterating and releasing, which they do across the whole company. So I ask people this, would you have preferred Microsoft to have delayed the release of things for this launch rather than have got them when we did?

For instance, one complaint is the dashboard is the same. The main look of it came out in 2018 and it had another larger update in February this year, should they have kept it for now?

The Elite 2 controller only came out last year and what about the last year of Microsoft games? Should any of Gears 5, Ori And The Will Of The Wisps, Tell Me Why, Battletoads, Bleeding Edge, Wasteland 3 have been delayed to be a launch game?

GC: We would have preferred they’d spent the last seven years making sure they had some launch games ready for this month, especially as half the games you’ve listed weren’t made by internal studios. Delays shouldn’t have to come into it.

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Stealth Dragoon
Did anyone know that Panzer Dragoon Remake has been released on PlayStation 4?

I only just found out because it’s currently on sale for around £13 on the PS Store.

It’s an injustice to the Sega Saturn that people want a Dreamcast Mini without a Sega Saturn Mini first. And the excuse of hardware emulation just doesn’t fly anymore because there already is a fully licensed PolyMega console that can play Sega Saturn discs.
Oni-Samurai (PSN ID)

Gamer grandad
I’m nearly 60. I’m a grandfather. I do old man stuff… complain about game soundtracks being thrash metal and how my thumbs get arthritis. But I’m a gamer grandad. I’ve played most, beaten quite a few, and excelled enough at a couple to be on the dev’s consultation lists for future games.

I’ve bought two PlayStation 4s two years apart, and sold both when I realised I’d been an idiot. Fabulous piece of kit, the PlayStation 4 but the games? Whoah… so much Japanese rubbish… thousands of them. So, I sold them both, lost a little, and go back to my Xbox. I’m no fanboi gramps! I don’t care about console wars. I care about what’s best for me. I own a Switch, never use it. Animal Crossing was great fun, as was Mario Kart… but seriously? The games? Pfft… no thanks.

So, as a true Xbox user, am I the owner of the new black box? Or white one? Nope.

Unlike your other reader, who seriously regretted buying a day one Xbox Series X, I and millions of others thank people like him… for being beta testers. Of course, there’s nothing yet to blow away new owners. It’s all Xbox One upgrades or backwards compatibility. What was he expecting? Elder Scrolls 6? GTA 6? Cyberpunk 2077 (Hah! The 77 was the year it was first advertised… 1977) I have a strong feeling the reader bought his new Xbox hoping it would change his life but, if it didn’t, he’d make out like a bandit selling it to idiots with more money than sense.

Real gamers rarely buy day one consoles. Too many gripes, bugs, farts, and whistles.

Maybe, if COVID doesn’t kill me I’ll get one for Christmas 2021? Until then? It’s Forza Horizon 2, 3, and 4, Gears 5, Fallout 4, and of course… Skyrim.

GC: For someone that claims to be a ‘real’ gamer you don’t seem to embrace much variety in your game choices.

New console
Forget the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox. The console that I was looking most to was the release of the Game & Watch. As a piece of nostalgia it’s brilliant. The plastic sleeve packaging is great. The negatives are that the screen is too small to make out at times or I am turning in to an old fart squinting all the time to make stuff out, though the screen is super sharp.

The biggest issue I have is why they didn’t have a stand for clock mode or even a kickstand.
Alek Kazam

Any port in a storm
Regarding Game of the Year awards and remakes. If you include Final Fantasy 7 Remake does that mean you also have to include Super Mario 3D All-Stars because of everything done there to improve it?

That said, I’ve been going through Super Mario Galaxy and happily reached 120 Power Stars. The graphical style of it holds up really well still today and I never felt I was playing something outdated as such (I appreciate 64 and Sunshine are different in this respect). I only played docked using a Pro Controller, which again worked fine as all pointing was handled adequately by the motion sensors. It didn’t feel that different to aiming with a bow in Zelda: Breath Of The Wild.

I briefly tried handheld mode, but it wasn’t practical. Weirdly, the only thing that irked me was the presence of the old Wii style menus for saving. These already looked outdated at the time of release and felt like a relic from the past each time they appeared.

The game itself is utter perfection. It feels fairly small and tightly focused, having come from the sprawl of Odyssey. I reached 880 Power Moons there, which at times felt like a chore. I think possibly Odyssey could have been the better game if it trimmed some of the excess away, but both are essential.

Now for a port of Super Mario Galaxy 2 please, even if it is bare bones. I won’t complain!

GC: Super Mario 3D All-Stars isn’t a remake; it’s barely a remaster.

Fantasy qualification
I haven’t played the Final Fantasy 7 Remake but have read a few articles and seen a few videos only to find out, as you said, it’s a very different game.

In fact, I’d argue that the remake in the title isn’t a description of the statues of the game, but a clever subtitle about the story.

As such, I think it would certainly make sense to allow it into the Top 20.
Joseph Dowland

GC: We agree on both counts.

Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here

Distant memory
I thought I’d give it a couple of days after getting my Xbox Series X to give my initial thoughts, rather than moan straight away. As seems to be common consensus it was extremely underwhelming to switch it on and get an almost identical machine to my Xbox One X. The menu and controller barely updated, I’m just glad I use an Elite controller.

It hasn’t been helped that there are no first party games to launch beside it and I can’t say I’m enjoying Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, who’s combat and skill tree is basically broken (hit and stomp move) and graphics indistinguishable from last gen. I’ve no doubt that it will eventually be a worthwhile machine and I am really looking forward to Scorn, couple that with other first party games – when they drop – and Game Pass and the value begins to tally up.

I’ll have my PlayStation 5 next week with Demon’s Souls and Spider-Man and I hope I’ll have a bit more enthusiasm with that but some comments from Bluepoint around the mechanics of Demon’s Souls being the same as the PlayStation 3 version has me worried as it’s definitely the worst of the Souls games. On the plus side, I can’t wait to try the new controller to see if it lives up to the love it’s getting.

I appreciate this is all a bit negative and you’ll ask why I bought them but I’ve bought every console within a few days of release since the SNES/Mega Drive with the only exception being the N64 and that was only as I’d heard a rumour at the time that the price was dropping within weeks.

These are my initial thoughts and I do believe that both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S will live up to and exceed expectations. When the games start churning out that are far superior to what we have now then these complaints will be a distant memory.

Inbox also-rans
What are the chances of getting a PlayStation 5 at launch?

GC: That is the question of the hour. There should be a chance. At the very least big online retailers like Amazon and GAME are likely to get stock in again on Thursday.

They should remaster Need For Speed Underground, the first one. I can’t find it anywhere.

GC: We do find it odd that EA keeps remastering and remaking different Need For Speed games but they ignore Underground. When the series started to fall into decline we felt sure they’d try to revive it with Underground 3, but nothing…

This week’s Hot Topic
The topic for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader CarrotCakeIsYum (PSN ID), who asks what are your unpopular gaming opinions?

What things in gaming do you disagree with the majority opinion on, in terms of the quality of games, developers, consoles, or anything else?

Do you tend to disagree with a lot of accepted wisdom or are these examples exceptions to the rule? What’s the most surprised or disappointed you’ve been by something you expected to be either very good or very bad?

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

You can also leave your comments below and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter.

MORE : Weekend Hot Topic, part 1: Are you getting an Xbox Series X or S?

MORE : Games Inbox: PS5 DualSense best controller ever, best looking Xbox game, and Tetris Effect: Connected

MORE : Games Inbox: PS5 UK release date, Xbox Series X games line-up, and best Switch co-op games

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