Games Inbox: What’s the best Christmas 2021 video game?

The Friday Inbox asks whether you’d swap your console for another if given the chance, as another reader is down on the Saints Row reboot.

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Christmas list
So now that we finally have a release date for Halo Infinite we’ve got what is probably a final line-up for the rest of the year, at least in terms of big name games. It’s not what I’d call busy but it’s a bit better than last year and there’s at least a couple of games I’m potentially interested in.

The biggest sellers are obviously going to be Call Of Duty and FIFA, as usual, along with Battlefield 2042 and GTA 5 on next gen consoles. I’m only really interested in Battlefield 2042 out of that though. I don’t have an Xbox Series X, so Halo Infinite and Forza Horizon 5 are irrelevant to me. I do have a Switch though, so I’m interested in Metroid Dread and Shin Megami Tensei 5, depending on the reviews. I might try Advance Wars too, but the Pokémon remakes aren’t really my thing.

The only third party games left after all that are Far Cry 6 and Dying Light 2. I’d need to see the receipts on Dying Light 2 being any good, as I’m deeply suspicious of that, but I’ve always like Far Cry so that could well make my list. It is a fairly short one and I could actually see myself getting more in the spring than now.

No fun
A decent Gamescom on Wednesday. Nothing too mind blowing, and it probably would’ve been better if it was half the length but I like the Marvel Midnight Suns game and despite it all I’m starting to feel a little optimistic about Halo Infinite.

Horizon Forbidden West is obviously a shame, but to be honest I thought its delay was already confirmed so to be honest it was more confusion than disappointment at that announcement.

I have to agree that Saints Row looked pretty bad. It seems to be aimed at a worryingly young audience and it all looked kind of bland and empty with no real personality. I get that the old games got too silly but this just doesn’t look any fun to me.

Christmas swap
So here’s an interesting question, as we get closer to the Christmas rush who would swap the console they currently have now for a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X? I’d suggest it for a Hot Topic except I guess the letters wouldn’t be that interesting just the answer itself.

For myself I have a PlayStation 5 and I’m kind of wishing I had an Xbox Series X, if only for this year. I want to try out Psychonauts 2, Forza Horizon 5, and Halo Infinite and with no Sony exclusives due anymore I feel now would be the time to give it a go.

I’m a bit down on the Christmas line-up otherwise, as other than Battlefield 2042 there’s nothing that really interests me. At this rate I might even end up getting a Switch just to finally try its games.

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Colour me disappointed
So, Sega have announced that the physical edition of Sonic Colours is delayed ‘indefinitely’ across Europe, the Middle East and Africa due to ‘unforeseen logistical issues’… but what on earth does that mean?

I know Covid has caused a lot of issues during the last 18 months, but on the whole it hasn’t impacted the actual delivery chain of games (which I will take a moment to applaud). Surely Sega haven’t stumbled upon an issue that every other company has managed to avoid? And it feels too broad a region to blame on Brexit. Perhaps there was unprecedented demand for the free Baby Sonic keychain?!

At least Sega have identified it ahead of time and hopefully it will amount to days, not weeks or months. All the same, you can’t help but despair at the fact that they literally had one (remastered) game to mark Sonic’s 30th anniversary and now even that seems to have gone wrong.

Movie magic
There are a few games that have had official movies made for them, which leads me to wonder if we will ever see an animated Broken Sword movie. I have been a big fan of Broken Sword since the PlayStation version and have played all of the games. The best games, I found, were the first and second games, while the other games were also pretty good and enjoyable.

What I would love to see Revolution Software do is launch an official animated movie for Broken Sword, as there is still many adventures George Stobbart and Nico could go on. One way that an animated movie could be made is the story to be based on the sons of Khan and Karzac joining forces to avenge what George did to their father, while George and Nico once again join forces with the help of some friends to save the world from a great threat.

Broken Sword 5 was done with a Kickstarter campaign so I’m sure fans wouldn’t object supporting an official animated movie.
gaz be rotten (gamertag)

Walking into it
A bit late to the party but having finally got around to playing What Remains Of Edith Finch recently, I just wanted to say how much of a powerful experience I found it to be.

I was always something of a purist with regard to narrative-led games, very much adhering to the Shigeru Miyamoto school of thought which considers story to be of secondary importance to gameplay. However, and despite still broadly subscribing to this philosophy of game design, the level of psychological depth the developers achieved with Edith Finch was astonishing; as a father to a young son, certain stories really hit me hard (and unexpectedly so).

Despite my initial cynicism toward the ‘walking simulator’ genre, the game has opened my eyes to the potential for games to evoke powerful responses in players beyond traditional means. I eagerly anticipate what the developers do next.
Mark Fitz
PS: I found your review of Psychonauts 2 very insightful and I’m keen to give it a go but would GC (or any readers) advise playing the original first? They’re both available on Game Pass.

GC: It’s still perfectly playable but if you’re worrying about the storyline, it’s not really any more engaging having played the first one. And besides, a lot of the sequel revolves around what happened in the VR game.

Controversial opinion
I want to say something shocking and original here: I hate scalpers. But seriously, £1,000 for a differently coloured Xbox Series X that they don’t even have yet and are just trying to get people to pay them for on the promise that, probably, they’ll get sent one when they’re released. Disgusting.

As usual nobody will do anything about it. I don’t even know why eBay is allowing it considering they’re not really selling anything, just the promise of something in the future that they may or may not be able to deliver on.

Street fighters
I’m totally on board with the Midnight Suns game, sounds a great idea in terms of both making strategy games seems cool and doing more with the Marvel licence. Although I agree that the Avengers heroes being in it seem a bit of a mismatch.

It got me thinking of what else they could do Marvel-wise, considering they’ve already got a Guardians Of The Galaxy game on the way to cover the cosmic stuff. The obvious other direction to me is the street level of heroes. Spider-Man kind of gets into this a bit but he’s too powerful to really count. I’m thinking more Daredevil, Moon Knight, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Punisher.

They haven’t done anything with these sort of characters in any big budget games and I think that would be a great excuse to try and bring the old scrolling beat ‘em-up concept into the modern age. It’s never really been done, or even attempted, but this seems the perfect example to me.

I’d just generally like to see more superhero games. It’d just be a nice change to have characters that are, generally, friendly and positive instead of the normal grimdark stuff, which does get me down sometimes. Sometimes you just want to save the world instead of blowing it up.

Inbox also-rans
The thing that got me about Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, apart from the fact that the portals aren’t really in it that much, is that they’re not instantaneous anyway. There’s a good second or two pause before you get into them, which is fine, obviously, but it wasn’t quite what I was expecting.

Saints Row The Third Remastered is free on Epic Games Store now.
Andrew J.

This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Simon Ashworth, who asks what video game reviews have you disagreed with the most over the years?

It can be one of ours, or from another source, but which one sticks out to you as being either too harsh or too lenient? What score would you have given the game in question and what elements do you think the review was wrong about and why?

In general, how accurate do you find the reviews you read to be and how important are they to your decision to purchase or play a game? What’s the best example of a review putting you onto a game you didn’t think you’d like or helping you avoid a game you later found out was no good?

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 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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