The morning Inbox likes the sound of Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs Legion, as one reader sings the praises of Sekrio: Shadows Die Twice.
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I’m not sure that this really proves anything but IGN did a poll to see what next gen console they were most interested in and half (52.8%) went for the PlayStation 5. 28.5% said Microsoft, 14.2% said Nintendo (even though they don’t seem to have any next gen plans yet) and 4.4% said Google.
Nothing very surprising there, considering Sony are the dominant current gen company and they’re the only ones to say anything in detail about their plans. But I really hope they take the poll again after E3 to see how people’s opinions change.
As another reader said, Sony’s absence from E3 is strange because they’ve really benefited from it in the past and not being there gives the other companies an open goal. I suspect they’ll come to regret the decisions sooner rather than later. Obviously they’re not going to ‘win’ E3 but even though Microsoft will have no direct competition I think they’ll smash it anyway.
Starting from scratch
The Fable IV set-up is so hilariously on the nose I don’t know if that makes it more or less likely to be true. So they’ve got the problem that nobody liked the last one and that it moved the time period forward too much, plus they don’t want to be tied down to the old maps or characters. So… they say an asteroid hit the planet and set everybody back to exactly where they were in the first game? That’s so lacking in subtlety it’s almost genius, although I think everyone would’ve been perfectly happy just saying it’s a reboot and not sweating the details.
It’s still the game I’m most looking forward to from E3 though and I’m very curious to see whether Microsoft will try to make it their big budget single-player adventure to rival Sony and Nintendo or whether they’ll try and turn into some game as a service title riddled with microtransactions and unwanted multiplayer options. Sad to say I expect it’ll be option number two but I’m interested to see what’ll happen.
With the rumour that Ninja Theory are working on a multiplayer game too I’m curious to see whether Microsoft will invest in any single-player games at all, as they seem to be going out of their way to avoid it. When Gears 5 is as close as they get you know something weird is going on and I’m curious to see whether Fable IV will continue the trend or finally start offering some other options.
So I see the week before E3 is the usual minefield of spoilers, which is inevitably going to cause everyone to be disappointed when everything’s officially announced. Not there’s really been any major surprises so far though, with Ubisoft sequels being almost as predictable as the sun rising in the morning. I do quite like the sound of Watch Dogs Legion though, even though I severely doubt it’ll have the guts to talk about Brexit. Although Watch Dogs 2 was a little more thoughtful than other Ubisoft games, so if any of them was going to tackle serious issues I’d say it was that.
Fable IV sounds relatively promising too, although the details so far are vague enough that they don’t really say anything about it’s quality. I think Microsoft realise the game’s importance though and have probably put in a lot of work (and money) to make it good.
What’s going to be most interesting though is the Google Stadia details later in the week. That combined with whatever Microsoft is going to unveil are going to be by far the most important aspects of this E3, I think, and interestingly we still don’t really know what to expect from that at all.
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I’ve been seriously considering placing a pre-order on Sega’s Mega Drive Mini console. I have been holding back for the last few games to be announced. Just this morning I thought to myself if Strider is on it it is a done deal and even considered sending in a letter this morning in hope for a sprinkling of Inbox magic! GC beat me to it!
Looking at the complete listing of games I think Sega have done a pretty good job, especially with getting some of those third party games in there too. There are a few which seem overfamiliar after a number of Mega Drive compilations on various consoles, but there’s enough on there for me. It is also good to see that they haven’t swamped it with multiple sequels of the same game just to fill the numbers. Hopefully the emulation and options available will be up to M2’s usual very high standard.
Time to place that order and wait until the 19th September!
For the fans
I feel Jojo needs to reconsider what they are expecting Shenmue III to be. I don’t think anyone who backed it ever expected ‘the best-looking game around with resources to spare’. The first game was so expensive as it was, so much more detailed than anything else we had seen at the time. I don’t think Yu Suzuki has ever promised that the third entry is intended to push the envelope like that again.
And not sure what is meant by ‘reasonable sized open world’ either. Certainly it will be nowhere near what we have in modern open world games, but nor should it be. This is Shenmue, not GTA. In a way, your letter demonstrates quite well what the game’s real problems are likely to be.
I expect (especially as it was crowdfunded) that it will be similar in feel to the early games. For fans like me, who understand and accept that, it’s great as I love Shenmue. But I can’t see it pulling in new players as it will be judged against modern standards of what open world adventures SHOULD be. It’s just the way it is, for better or worse.
I purchased Watch Dogs 2 on PlayStation 4 on 28th November 2016. I played it for a bit and then ignored it until recently, when I tried to go back to it.
It had been so long since I played it that I decided to delete my save game and start over.
This was where the fun started. The disc seems to be faulty and it will either not get past the initial loading picture or will freeze at the title screen. It has been looked after and has been in the box all the time.
Anyway, I contacted Ubisoft who ultimately have said there is nothing they can do. I was sort of hoping for a replacement disc but no such luck. I was prepared to send the other one back and can show my receipt from Amazon but there you go.
All my other discs seem OK, incidentally…
I don’t expect you to be able to do anything but just wanted people to be aware. Maybe downloads are better after all! I personally will not now be playing Watch Dogs 2 or Watch Dogs 3 or any other Ubisoft game. I always buy games and don’t pirate anything. But I can’t help feeling that honest customers are treated shoddily while pirates just get away with whatever they like.
GC: That doesn’t sound like it has anything specific to do with Watch Dogs or Ubisoft, just a bit of bad luck.
King of VR
I was recently playing Peter Jackson’s King Kong on the PlayStation 3 (one of my favourite games ever) and I was just thinking how perfect it would be for a VR remake. The first person action might be a bit nauseating as it’s quite fast paced but seeing all them bugs and dinosaurs would be amazing in virtual reality, but that could be fixed as it has been in other games.
But the third person sections were you control Kong would be perfect, sort of like Astro Boy. The game has aged great too. What other games would people like to see get the VR treatment?
GC: We always felt that game was terribly underrated, although we preferred the first person sections.
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The hierarchy of Soulsbornes
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is really, really special. Near the end now and this is verily one of the best games I’ve ever played in my 30 years as a gamer. The equal to Dark Soul I and Bloodborne in the hierarchy of Soulsbornes in my estimations (I’ve yet to play Demon’s Souls however).
Rather amusingly, Sekiro surely must effortlessly be the best game Activision have ever been associated with as well. Certainly, the finest since Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare.
Much to its credit, the game transcends the Soulsborne affinity, and evokes echoes of Tenchu, Otogi, Ninja Gaiden, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Onimusha, and even Bushido Blade. The unique deflection and parrying mechanics are an art form in and of itself.
More importantly, it has a plethora of novel ideas to truly call its own. It’s also a an outstanding artistic achievement with some of the most evocative, intricately designed environments, and finely tuned game play mechanics I’ve ever experienced.
Sekiro’s combat systems is a complex, visceral beast, a technical and rapier-like triumph. The frenetic cadence and pinpoint precision on display here is stupendous. Miyazaki Hidetaki’s prodigiously talented team at FromSoftware are currently in my top five active game developers.
What a stellar year 2019 has been so far for video games. Sekiro and Resident Evil 2 remake are tied as frontrunners for my game of the year thus far!
PS: I’d like to invoke Inbox magic for remasters of the criminally overlooked, visually arresting Otogi games. FromSoftware’s exquisite cult classics felt almost as much a spiritual predecessor to the Soulsbournes and Sekiro as the King’s Fields in terms of atmosphere, destruction physics, visceral combat, and tremendous sense of place.
I love Void Bastards.
Currently playing: Void Bastards
I have a digital copy of Kingsman: The Golden Circle for any reader who sends in a usable Inbox letter and would like it.
This week’s Hot Topic
With E3 due to start in just a few days the subject for this weekend’s Inbox is obvious: what are you expecting out of the show and what are you most looking forwards to?
What are your predictions for the major announcements in terms of games, hardware, and things like new streaming services? What do you expect to hear from the likes of Microsoft and Nintendo and what games reveals are you most anticipating?
What are you resigned to not hearing about and what do you think will end up being the biggest news from the show this year? What unannounced games do you think might be revealed and what previously unseen ones do you think will make the biggest splash?
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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.
You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word 4Player viewer features at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.
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