The Thursday letters page contemplates the modern hell of NFTs and live service games, as one reader choose to buy Sonic The Hedgehog again.
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It’s been interesting to read about what everyone thinks is the worst Elden Ring boss over the last few days. I think my least favourite is Rennala, Queen of the Full Moon but I can see why people would get frustrated with the Godskin Duo as well. I’ll turn it around though and instead ask what people think is the best boss?
As much as I love the game, I do have some sympathy with people saying that, overall, the bosses are a bit of a disappointment and not as consistent as previous From games. This seems an obvious case of stretching yourself too thin, given how many bosses there are, but I still think there are a number of top tier ones.
I want to say Malenia, Blade of Miquella is the best, but I think she’s just a bit too hard to qualify. One-hit kill attacks and the ability to drain your health is just too much, especially as it’s relatively easy to get her to her second phase and that’s where the pain begins.
I think my actual favourite is Mohg, Lord of Blood, who I think is actually optional (it’s a bit hard to tell most of the time). I like him because he’s not gimmicky and he’s not artificially difficult, he’s just a big chunky challenge that I really enjoyed learning the tells from and how to avoid all his attacks. When you start off with him, he seems impossible and when you finish with him you’re just dancing around him, almost putting him out of his misery.
That’s the magic of From games for me and I think Mohg and a number of the others gets it exactly right. Game of the Year for sure, probably game of the decade.
It’s now 17 years since Naughty Dog made anything that isn’t an Uncharted or The Last Of Us game and I can’t help but feel disappointed by that. When The Last Of Us was a hit I hoped that they would use that as proof that they can make anything they like and not have to worry about a new IP selling. But no… they took a game that absolutely didn’t need a sequel and made one anyway. And now they’re working on a multiplayer spin-off for it, that nobody asked for.
Not that I don’t think either game isn’t going to be good but the people that work there, surely they want to make something other than the same two games (which are already very similar in terms of gameplay) for the rest of their lives? The news that Uncharted 5 is already underway is very hard to get excited.
What are they going to do with it this time? Changing the main character is not suddenly going to make it seem new and exciting. And neither is the ‘surprise’ cameo of Nate and whoever at the end. I blame the movie for this. If it wasn’t for that Uncharted could’ve had the proper ended it deserved. Now it’ll be dragged out of retirement for another trilogy and Naughty Dog will spend another 17 years making the same two games.
Like Jenson, the Game Boy Advance is definitely my favourite handheld console. I’ve owned a Game Boy Color, DS, PSP, 3DS, PS Vita, and Switch Lite but my Game Boy Advance SP is the only one I still have and regularly play.
I really love the old guy (can you imagine if a console had Boy in its name nowadays?) and he’s ultra comfy for me to hold compared with bigger handhelds. Due to my disabilities I have problems with my hands and wrists and actually found the Switch Lite just a bit too big for me to hold comfortably for long periods.
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Like many others, I have enjoyed Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, but I am surprised that a lot of reviews are overlooking the number of bugs. I can only assume that’s because they’re not playing it on the Switch? I went into it expecting some inevitable compromise on performance, but the cut scenes run terribly. which isn’t really justifiable given the graphics are relatively modest. Also, the game semi-regularly crashes altogether. It’s usually in a densely populated open world area, but the character purchase screen has also caused it to happen a few times.
It’s certainly not been enough to ruin my overall experience, but the game is still unstable enough to create a lack of confidence when attempting anything too ambitious (i.e. changing characters in the middle of a town). Hopefully the issues are patchable because it’s just a shame not to be able to play and enjoy the game as much as was evidently intended.
GC: We haven’t played the Switch version but on PlayStation the game has surprisingly few bugs.
In response to Denton, a lot of arcade machines on sale in the UK aren’t strictly legal, so make sure to do your research before you buy.
I grabbed a machine from Liberty Games which lets you plug it into your PC and stream your games legally, also works great with a lightgun.
Bonus is it’s quite thin yet tall, so doesn’t stick out as much as you’d think.
RE: AJB and Elden Ring. I have never really enjoyed previous From games, as I felt they were too hard. But maybe that’s my impression as on Elden Ring I’ve never had any issues with any specific part being too hard. There is ALWAYS a strategy and millions of guides on YouTube to help. And if you ever get really stuck, you can either find a ‘cheese’ strategy, come back later when you have better gear/higher level and go and do something else in the meantime.
I am about 130+ hours through my first playthrough and still probably have at least 20 hours left. before I then spend 10-20 hours prepping for New Game+.
This game really is fantastic and I cannot recommend it enough. The scale of it is just superb, I just found a whole new area called Subterranean Shunning Grounds going down a random ladder in the capital and there’s a dungeon within this! I wonder how much stuff I’ve missed – it’s this exploration that keeps the game so interesting.
Best £50 I have spent in a long time!
One more time
I hate Sonic. They repackage all the usual old games I already own three times over, add some pretty shoddy new animation and STILL have me interested in this new collection.
It probably won’t even have my favourite, Master System Sonic The Hedgehog 1. I am also excited to see the new movie. The blue blur just has this timeless appeal no matter how few good games there’s been this millennium. I love Sonic.
NongWen (PSN ID)
Welcome to Hell
Interesting news on the Sega reboots. It seems to me that both Jet Set Radio and Crazy Taxi would suit a remit of some ‘super live service game’ quite well. It doesn’t really matter that the franchises weren’t prior hits, Sega are just mining old games for next gen ideas.
Crazy Taxi would transplant pretty easily into a Fortnite type experience, dozens of players zooming around a large city competing for fairs and jostling with each other. With a kind of eliminator idea where the lowest earner after a set amount of time gets bumped out, or literally just ramming opponents out the game, Burnout style. I’m sure there are other ideas that would work too. If they can battle royale Tetris they can certainly do it for Crazy Taxi.
Then for Jet Set Radio a similar, large open city with rival players splitting into gangs, competing to get their spray tags everywhere would work. Also, for Jet Set Radio you could leverage NFTs and other types of DLC and microtransactions for more apparel and equipment for the characters, additional licenced tag types from various street artists, and maybe even the music.
Or sell your own designed tags on a Sega built NFT marketplace. I’m sure Bored Ape et al. would love to leverage their NFTs for the characters to spray onto the virtual city of a future Jet Set Radio.
Sounds like a gaming dystopian hellscape to me but it seems to be the way the industry is heading…
GC: Well, we can’t argue with your final sentence.
I see the Xbox Series X is currently in stock on Microsoft Store.
PS: On Epic Games Store from 4pm on Thursday Amnesia: Rebirth and Riverbond are free. They have not been given away before. I will let you guess which one will give you nightmares!
GC: They are as we type this, as well as refurbished consoles that are a little cheaper than normal.
I know GC agree with me on this but the way companies constantly leak important secrets in job ads is just bizarre. Why don’t they care? Do they think job ads are like imaginary friends and only they can see them?
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Snake, who asks what video game movie would you like to see in the future?
Inspired by the success of the second Sonic The Hedgehog movie, what new adaptations do you hope and expect to see in the future? Do you have any faith they’ll be better than normal for video game movies? Why do you think your idea would work and do you have a cast or director in mind?
Do you think Sonic 2 will end up inspiring a new wave of video game movies and how do you think announced, but not yet seen, films like the new Super Mario and Metal Gear will turn out?
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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 and content.
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.
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