The Tuesday Inbox is baffled by the Assassin’s Creed Valhalla release date, as another reader sticks up for Mass Effect: Andromeda.
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London or bust
So, I noticed that Ubisoft have two games set in the UK this year: Watch Dogs Legion in a near future London and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla in a medieval England. That’s pretty unusual as usually the UK is hardly ever in games, and if it is it’s always London. I guess that’s because there are very few big name British developers anymore, and those that are are owned by big American companies.
So I was thinking what other games are set in the UK? Assassin’s Creed Syndicate (Victorian London), a few Call Of Duty games (all London, as far as I remember), Forza Horizon 4 (whole country), The Getaway/Blood & Truth (London, again).
That is a pretty bad for such a big country and I’m struggling to think of any cities other than London that weren’t just vaguely part of an open world strategy game or something. (I think they must’ve gone to Hereford for one of the Call Of Duty SAS headquarters scenes?). I’m not expecting anything to change, but you’d think just once we get somewhere up north, or at least the Lake District or something.
I’m sure there must be some games set in Scotland but to be honest I’m drawing a blank except for the Total War games.
Oops, it happened again
I know we go through this every time but what is going on with video games companies and release dates? We’ve had the smallest number of new releases this year than any year since video gaming began and yet somehow Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Cyberpunk 2077 are coming out the same week? What is wrong with these companies?!
I can only assume Ubisoft did it on purpose to try and get in first and make sure everyone had enough money for their game first, but that still makes no sense. At the moment there’s three weeks between Valhalla and the previous big release (Ubisoft’s own Watch Dogs Legion – it’s almost a month between that and the next one, Crash Bandicoot 4 on 2 October) so they have plenty of other spots they could’ve picked but they didn’t.
I certainly don’t have enough money for two in the same week and I can tell you’d take Cyberpunk 2077 any day the week over yet another Assassin’s Creed. Except they always sell and people don’t know the Cyberpunk name so now I’m a bit worried. They didn’t know The Witcher either, at the time, but I don’t remember that coming out the same week as another big name game.
Sympathy for the devil
RE: Your response in the Monday Inbox, about finding it odd that people were emotionally attached to Joel and Ellie and them not being heroes. Yeah, I agree with the latter point but I do understand why there would be such an attachment.
This is because they are written sympathetically. It was also shown in their backstories why they changed as people and how potentially they both begin to change back to their former selves. Like William Foster in Falling Down or Derek Vinyard in American History X, who were also written sympathetically to some degree, I’d class these as anti-heroes who go through their own paths of violence and regret to a greater or lesser extent.
Although these examples are extreme, as are the characters’ actions in The Last Of Us games, such well-rounded protagonists will more often than not elicit more sympathy with the player/viewer much more than a one-dimensional hero or villain, in my view at least.
TheTruthSoul (PSN ID)
GC: It’s a good point, although many of the comments you see online don’t seem to acknowledge they’re anti-heroes at all, which is the worrying part. Mind you, we did constantly get the feeling that Naughty Dog were far more sympathetic to them in Part 2 than we, as players, were.
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Co-written by Wu Cheng’en
Forgive me GC; I know that you always say that chances are the game you were thinking of is never mentioned and you are right!
For the weekend Hot Topic just gone, there is a game that has a brilliant story which sadly didn’t seem to get much love sales-wise.
That game is Enslaved: Odyssey To The West. Last gen I played it after reading an Xbox mag which had a list of games to try out.
The game has a great story written by Alex Garland. As you play through the game and see the main characters form a bond and the story progresses you cannot help but become engrossed to the very end.
I’ve been playing it again on the PC and the story is just as gripping as ever.
I was lucky enough to be sent the Evercade by a certain Fun website once it came in stock. They sent me the entire games catalogue for the system and I have to say, I am nothing if not impressed with the retro design passion put into the Evercade.
Brochures, colourful boxes with multiple games on each and cartridges not too dissimilar in size to the original Game Boy (if not a bit chunkier). It really takes you back to that golden Midway day.
Thumbs up from me!
GC: What does Midway have to do with it?
I read, with interest, GC’s comments in Monday’s Inbox regarding gameplay in The Last Of Us Part 2. And fundamentally, I think you captured what I took away as the main issue from an otherwise enjoyable experience.
About two-thirds of the way through, the plot becomes much more interesting than the gameplay. The huge range of accessibility options for controls ensure the experience can – to a certain extent – be tailored to personal preference. But the quality of the script (whether you love it or loathe it) and the performances starts to excel, while the traverse dilapidated building-hunt down enemies-rinse-repeat gameplay plateaus and simply gets in the way of the storytelling. It’s a unique predicament, because I can think of plenty of games where tiresome cut scenes get in the way of the action, but far less – if any – where it’s the other way around.
I don’t think it’s necessarily a case of having less gameplay and more cut scenes though. If there is another game, my hope is that Naughty Dog run wild (literally) with the post-apocalyptic theme and match the extraordinary level of detail with the same degree of imagination. Move away from crumbling buildings and blocked stairwells and start to imagine the scale and scope of what a largely uninhabited world would look like, with varied environments that constantly challenge what the player has to interact and deal with.
Today’s the day
Just the quick question of when is your review of Ghosts of Tsushima please?
I’m currently on the fence about an early purchase and your review will likely tip the balance (no pressure).
Thanks as always for your high quality and hard work. Also, a word of appreciation for all the recent reader articles and Hot Topic contributions.
PS: Currently playing Warframe (as always) and the mostly excellent Rise Of The Tomb Raider, currently free on PS Plus for those that weren’t aware.
GC: The review embargo lifts this afternoon. And yes, the Reader’s Features have been especially good lately.
Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here
Far out stories
RE: NeoClassicalNerd and enjoying Mass Effect: Andromeda. The storyline is not great, but functional enough to carve a game which in some degrees works. The above game would usually be put in a Hot Topic about, liking a game which didn’t get the critical applause it was hoping for.
I personally agree with NeoClassicalNerd and enjoyed the adventure, the battles, mingling with sci-fi characters in bars and spaceships, and exploring strange new worlds in the Andromeda galaxy. A dream from a younger kid, many a moon ago.
Metal Gear Solid 3, Final Fantasy 6 and 7, the lore of the SoulsBorne games, the overall story arc of the three Final Fantasy 13 games, are literally as deep as the Mariana Trench. The above games have me thinking huge thoughts in regards to inner and outer dimensions, sentient emotions, quantum physics, other worldly life forms, the self being, and the multiverse theory.
As you can see, a personal experience, but also great gameplay or enough of it to get me through some intriguing concepts and far out ideas. I am a grounded person but also open minded and favouring the weak anthropic principle as opposed to the strong anthropic principle! Unless some cosmic entity or event of some kind blows all current scientific method theories out of the water!
In conclusion, I get my good stories from books mainly, as they will always have the greatest. But from a game point of view it would always have to be Final Fantasy 7. The characters, locations, huge concepts of how life and the soul works, with the life stream affecting the planet as it does.
So I definitely respect gamers’ take on a video game stories, as there are a lot more factors possibly involved.
For this new generation of game consoles all I ask for is a new Legacy Of Kain, a new WipEout, an Earth Defense Force game that’s new and refreshing, a new Castlevania, a new Wild Arms, a sequel to Resonance Of Fate, and a reboot of Might & Magic. I know I’m not asking for much but I’ve been a good boy.
GC: Are you sure that’s all? Actually, there was a Might & Magic game during Ubisoft Forward and Earth Defense Force: World Brothers is out on PlayStation 4 and Switch next year.
I have had an idea for a Hot Topic which I think is new. (Cue GC pointing to 10 similar Hot Topics). So the topic is: ‘What is the most embarrassing gaming related anecdote you have?’
GC: What kind of embarrassing are we talking about here? Getting a body part stuck in the cartridge slot?
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Ollie who simply asks what 2020 game are you most looking forward to in the second half of the year?
The year’s over half done now, so what games are you planning to get from now until Christmas? Do you already have a plan (and a budget) or does it all depend on the next generation console announcements? How many more games do you expect to buy this year, in total?
Our release schedule lists the confirmed dates of most major titles but there’s also others without a date yet, such as Call Of Duty 2020, Halo Infinite, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Deathloop, and the rumoured Super Mario remasters (which we’ll treat as real for the purposes of this Hot Topic).
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.
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