Games Inbox: What console has the best interface and dashboard?

The Morning Inbox blames Tecmo Koei for Fire Emblem: Three Houses’ graphics, as one reader reminisces over PS1 FPS games.

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KISS challenge

Can’t argue with the guy ribbing on the Xbox One’s dashboard, it is pretty horrendous even after multiple changes. But what would people say was the best? I’m a big fan of the Switch one but I’m not sure that should really count because it’s so limited in what it can do. I know that’s the point, and that’s how they keep it manageable, but it took a year for it to get YouTube and it still hasn’t even got a web browser!

The PlayStation one hasn’t really changed since last gen but I think it works much better than Xbox, even though it’s pretty boring and can be confusing where to go. There’s no danger of selecting anything by accident though and even if you don’t know where something is exactly you can usually guess roughly right and find it pretty quickly.

PlayStation 4 is definitely the best this gen but I still think the Xbox 360 is the best overall and I don’t know why they ever changed it. Switching screens with the triggers worked perfectly and you knew exactly what was going to be on each page and could quickly move between them without actually selecting anything.

The answer, as always, is to keep it simple, stupid. We don’t need to have every single piece of information a console could tell us on screen at once. I’m still not sure Microsoft get that.


Budget cuts

Bit upset to see GC’s review of Fire Emblem: Three Houses but as a fan of the series I’ll definitely get it. I can imagine what they mean about the menus and the dialogue and I’m sure I’ll be fine with that, knowing what the series is usually like. What does disappoint me though, and what’s obvious from the trailers, is the low budget and bad graphics. I often wonder how rich Nintendo needs to get before they’ll splash out on their games properly.

Things like Zelda: Breath Of The Wild and Super Mario Odyssey look fantastic but why does Three Houses look so bad by comparison? Other than, obviously, because it’s lower budget. But I would’ve thought Nintendo would be over the moon such an old franchise is suddenly very popular and use this as a chance to boost its signal even more. But hey, we’re almost back to predicting Nintendo there, and you know how that always goes.

All that money that Fire Emblem Heroes has been raking in and they couldn’t be bothered to make it looking better than a Wii game. Personally I blame the involvement of Tecmo Koei. The graphics look suspiciously similar to Fire Emblem Warriors and the careful strategy of Fire Emblem and the mindless button-mashing of Dynasty Warriors have never seemed like a sensible mix to me.
Benjy Dog


Disruptive influence

I would just like to follow up what Gifford said in yesterday evening’s Inbox about first person shooters. There does not appear to be many new games these days, so I guess there cannot be the demand for new original shooters that there used to be.

I really miss the days of the original PlayStation, there were so many to choose from – some good, some bad – but there was a hell of a choice of titles. Disruptor and Exhumed were two of my favourites, apart from the obvious Doom/Doom 2. I really wish I could remember the names of some of the others.

At the time Exhumed and Doom looked a bit ropey, but I remember at the time being blown away by the graphics for Disruptor and the really cool weapons you had to hand. You never know, maybe things will go full circle and developers may start making games like this again.
captainbloodsnot (PSN ID)


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Making hay while the sun shines

RE: The Dude Abides. The issue with lootboxes or the casino in GTA V is not that adults are gambling. It’s that the gambling is not regulated in any way, shape or form. Real life casinos have regulations about how they operate, as do lottery organisations. I’m sure some bend the rules as much as they can but at least the rules are there and they can be prosecuted for breaking them.

I suspect Rockstar, EA, et al. know regulation will inevitably come but they are going to make as much as they can until that happens. It’s particularly grotesque when it’s a practice which targets and exploits some of the most vulnerable members in society – whether it’s the children playing FIFA 19 or the children playing GTA V.
SuoTempore (PSN ID)


Account required

I’ve been playing Super Mario Maker 2 recently, which is superb. I’ve been playing the story mode, but I was a bit disappointed that you had to have a Nintendo account to download other player’s levels. When I had Trials Evolution on Xbox 360 and no Xbox Live Gold account I was still able to download the user created content for free. I would understand if you did not have an online account and they stopped you from uploading your own levels and playing online.

Did LittleBigPlanet 3 on PS4 have the same restrictions as Super Mario Maker 2? I will get a Nintendo online
account at some point to download levels but the only thing is if my online account expires do I lose access to the levels I have downloaded? The reason I ask is I have Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Switch and I can’t afford to get an online account for all of them every year.

Currently I have an Xbox Gold account only for online co-op with a friend.
Andrew J.

GC: Since we have permeant accounts we’re not the best people to ask, but it’s probably just Nintendo being a skinflint. Although the Nintendo Switch Online service is much cheaper than the other two.


Massively single-player

I have been playing Final Fantasy XIV since it launched back in 2013, it can definitely be a time sink and being surrounded by other players can also make you feel rushed, even though it shouldn’t.

But because it’s a Final Fantasy, it’s hugely story-oriented (the latest expansion being one of the best Final Fantasy stories in a long time) and I don’t see why it can’t be played in three to four hour bursts. I spend way too much time on it, but there are also months where I have left and gone back to it when a new patch comes out.

Being an MMO can still feel like a single-player experience like Skyrim or The Witcher, you just happen to be doing it in the same world as a lot of other people.

I’d say find out whether Lord of the Rings will have the story you are looking for, and if so, dive in and treat it like a single-player game.
TheMachineInside (PSN ID)


Time sink

Just reading yesterday’s letter pages and I must say I haven’t played an MMO for years!

I used to play City Of Heroes back in the day.

I think the problem is the amount of time you need to invest to keep up with the expectations of any guild etc., to really achieve very little.

I do however have a friend who plays Lord Of The Rings Online and thoroughly enjoys it.

I prefer either single-player games or online racers myself.
The Dude Abides


Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here


Fresh line-up

For those wondering it looks like Street Fighter VI is not going to be announced any time soon, according to series boss Yoshi Ono. I don’t think many thought it was all that likely but I could definitely see it being announced late next year or early the one after, so that it has coverage for the whole of the generation.

What they’ll do with the game I have no idea though, beyond the obvious of upping the graphics and not launching without an Arcade mode. But if I had to make a suggestion I would advise going the Street Fighter III route where almost all the characters are brand new. We’ve had two games now with only minimal new characters and I don’t think there’s any long any novelty in having all the old characters rendered in slightly better graphics anymore.

I know Street Fighter III wasn’t very successful but I’d put that down more to the state of arcades and consoles at the time and I don’t think there is anything wrong with that general approach. Of course, making new characters is hard, as I don’t think many of the recent new ones have caught on that well, but that’s no reason not to try.

As for what will be unveiled at Evo 2019, I imagine it’ll be something really anticlimactic and dull. I can imagine Sony wanting a Smash Bros. equivalent but announcing one right at the end of the generation is not going to happen. Marvel Vs. Capcom 4 is the most interesting it could be, but I don’t think that’ll happen.


Inbox also-rans

Gutted to hear about the death of Rutger Hauer. Can’t believe he was only in two video games, he had such a distinctive voice and plenty of nerd cred. He obviously didn’t mind being in them so it’s a shame companies never asked more when they had the chance.

Didn’t know about this until a friend sent me a tweet but there’s a spiritual sequel to Ecco The Dolphin underway and it looks pretty good. I just hope it’s not as difficult as the old ones.
Taylor Moon


This week’s Hot Topic

The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Xane, and asks what multiplayer game have you played the most overall?

No matter when it was released what multiplayer game, including the same game on different formats, have you played the most? What do you like so much about it and how often were you playing it at your peak?

Would you say you were good at the game and how much did that matter to your enjoyment? Who did you generally play against, in terms of friends and randoms, and were you playing mostly online or local? If you don’t play it much anymore what stopped you and what would get you back?

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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.

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