The Thursday Inbox hears from the first people to get an Xbox Series X, as one reader recommends Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales.
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The longest week
So now begins the longest week of my life. The PlayStation 5 is out everywhere except Europe on Thursday and we have to wait a whole extra week, a fact which I’m sure the majority of the internet will completely ignore when it comes to spoilers, etc. Do we know why we’re the only place not to get it in time? I mean, not to be funny, but surely we’re a bigger market than somewhere like Australia but they’re getting it this week?
I suppose I should say I’m not really serious and can easily wait another seven days (I’ve just realised that some people have probably complained like this and meant it – maybe thrown some death threats in while they’re about it). It’s going to be a tense time though, especially as reviews for a lot of the games aren’t out yet, so we don’t know exactly what they’re like.
Can you say when you’ll have reviews of Demon’s Souls and Godfall, GC? Godfall seems to be getting some mixed responses already, which isn’t a big surprise to me, but I’ve no idea how Demon’s Souls is going to turn out. Well, I suppose, based on Shadow Of The Colossus, it’ll probably be good but I’d like to know for sure.
GC: It just seems to be a logistical thing. They’re big consoles, think how difficult they must be to transport around! As for the reviews, we didn’t get Godfall or Demon’s Souls until quite recently. Sackboy either, although that came in a little earlier and we’re hoping to get it done for Friday.
Xbox One X2
Well, today is the day my Xbox Series X arrived.
Booted it up and I have to agree with your review… everything just feels the same, this could be the Xbox One X2 for all it matters. It’s fairly underwhelming. Currently waiting for Forza Horizon 4 to update (64GB!) to enjoy the lovely sights of that game in 4K 60fps and that’s about it.
I knew I was going to get one of the consoles at launch but I was never going to get a PlayStation 5, the design is just ugly for the disc drive version (I quite like the cut down and more balanced drive-less version). I’m basically waiting till the PlayStation 5 slim for a full version that just looks a little better.
I’ve been watching reviews of the DualSense and it reminded me that, although games never really use them, the speaker and the gyroscopes on the DualShock 4 are a great idea and adding haptic feedback is a winning combination that hopefully games will start to use.
But considering I have to shell out £70 per game on a couple of titles (one of which I already own) just to enjoy the PlayStation 5 experience I am happy to wait a couple of years to buy in Sony’s offering.
So this brings me to the real reason I’ve gone with the Xbox Series X, I’ve still got three years of Game Pass and a whole heap of games to play with improved loading times and hopefully graphical enhancements (thin on the ground at the moment).
Enhancements or not, the three games I’m most looking forward to are The Witcher 3, Fallout 4, and The Outer Worlds where the improvements in loading times will really boost the experience. Add to this I’ve just seen that Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order has been added to EA Play on Game Pass, so it’s currently downloading too.
irve77 (gamertag/PSN ID)
Playing Xbox Series X day one hasn’t been an earth shattering experience but still very good. The improvements in the controller are subtle, though the improved latency is noticeable. Build quality of the controller is a nice step up too. Everything is super-fast concerning the console. The lack of any showcase next gen titles is definitely a bummer. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla looks good but nothing different from previous games. I am enjoying the story though.
It wasn’t until I loaded up Gears 5 was I floored. The game already looked good on Xbox One X but the upgrade is immediate. No Digital Foundry nit-picking needed here, the upgrades are plain to see. Global illumination and the ramp up in detail, as well as a rock solid 60fps, the game now looks amazing. On my LG CX OLED it looks impossibly good. I’m just glad I never got around to finishing it previously.
Cyberpunk 2077 is the game I’m most looking forward to, though I’m now wondering whether I should hold off until they apply the next gen upgrades? Who knows, it may delay again anyway.
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They’re all bad
I’ve just been reading about everyone’s poor experience with Amazon and would like to say I feel your pain. I ordered mine from GAME on the 22nd of September and paid £9.99 for delivery on release day. I spent the whole of Monday refreshing my email waiting for a shipping notice. By mid-afternoon I was worried, so I reached out to GAME using a contact who had dealt with a previous complaint.
They responded quite quickly and assured me it had been shipped. They gave me a tracking number for my Xbox and also Assassin’s Creed, which I had only pre-ordered the Friday just gone. Around lunch time yesterday my Assassin’s Creed had arrived but the tracking for my Xbox hadn’t updated since the prior night.
I tried to make contact with GAME on several occasions and they only replied in the evening, saying it could still arrive that day even though Royal Mail said the last delivery was 15:00. It’s now due to arrive at 14:00 on Wednesday but I’ll be working having already taken a day off on release day. This whole experience has left a bitter taste in my mouth and I probably won’t use GAME ever again.
The Witcher 3.5
I’ve enjoyed Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales on the Switch recently.
It was the story about it not selling well that reminded me I wanted to give it a try. It doesn’t surprise me that it hasn’t done good numbers, it didn’t seem to get promoted much at all, I was only vaguely aware of it myself. It isn’t the best-looking game at times either which doesn’t help.
But it is really pretty good. The music, storytelling, and voice-acting are all well above average (perhaps that’s slightly generous to the voice-acting but I liked it) – it basically has very similar quality production values to The Witcher 3 in those areas, just not the visuals. Some changes are made to the Gwent rules to beef it up into being a more major aspect of the gameplay, they were a little jarring at first but I got used to them quickly.
But it was the storytelling and general world building I liked the most about The Witcher 3 anyway, so if you want an opportunity to go back to that setting (and didn’t hate Gwent) I’d encourage checking Thronebreaker out.
Glad to see everyone getting hyped about the next gen and actually not very much console wars going on, although I like to think the Inbox crowd are largely above that. I’m not getting either console this year because I can’t afford it but I do hope to next year, probably the PlayStation 5.
But now both machines are nearly out I’ve started to wonder what the next steps are? Do we know when to expect more game announcements and do Sony have more first party games yet to reveal or is it going to be a case of just slowly getting more information on what we’ve already heard of?
I know E3 is supposed to be on next year but I have a hard time believing it will be. So what’s the next big event and what do you think the companies will be aiming for next? Sony seem to have quite a bit planned for spring already, so I assume they’re not going to just drop them on us without any warning.
GC: The next event, and probably only remaining one for 2020, is The Game Awards next month. It’s possible you might have a PlayStation State of Play or Nintendo Direct before Christmas but that’s probably a long shot.
I expect you will be able to free up some space on the PlayStation 5 SSD when you have completed Astro’s Playroom and deleted it as it comes pre-installed so that is one of the reasons why the PlayStation 5 has less free space compared to the Xbox Series X, among other reasons.
PS: The Textorcist: The Story Of Ray Bibbia is free on PC on Epic Store from today at 4pm.
GC: It’s a short game, it’s not taking up that much space.
Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here
So I write this as the proud owner of a brand spanking new Xbox Series X (and Seagate 1TB extra storage). It arrived yesterday afternoon from Amazon (I was watching my iPhone all day closely/hopefully that I wouldn’t be let down like so many others). For me, the unboxing was a treat, like it always is with a new console. The machine itself wrapped in a black wrapper and presented neatly in a box with the writing ‘Power Your Dreams’ on the outside and on the inside. The power cable for the first time is just a simple cable without a huge brick of a transformer (like a modern TV power cable).
The controller feels more weighty than the previous model, but with that familiar feel of perfection. One little downside was the fact that my previous Venom rechargable battery packs for my old controller don’t fit (well the battery itself does but the casing doesn’t so it’s not possible to charge it on an old Venom charging dock).
Switching it on and setting it up with the Xbox app was easy and the download speed (from my admittedly very fast internet connection) reaches far better speeds than my archaic Xbox One was ever capable of. Having already inserted the extra storage, I started to transfer a few games over from my old external hard drive (not super quick due to the old technology of my hard drive).
As I didn’t have a huge amount of time I only managed to try out two games. The first was Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare (multiplayer) and seeing it in 4K was impressive, but the load time was next to nothing and the gameplay silky smooth (much better than on the standard Xbox One). The second game I tried was Wreckfest. I used to love this game but the immense load times really put me off, so I thought that this would be an ideal tester to see the power of this thing. The load times are now much less of an issue and absolutely no slow down during races, so much better in my opinion.
The other huge positive is the quick resume function. I used to only ever have one game running at a time, and would never start a new game without finishing the current one, but now this changes things for me. I have now downloaded No Man’s Sky and Halo: The Master Chief Collection from Game Pass (I never got around to playing No Man’s Sky and wanted to give it a go since all their recent and historic updates which I hear improved it a lot). I look forward to having these both on the go so I can enjoy more games as my old habit has locked me in to Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare for ages and I haven’t bothered trying anything else (no one’s fault but my own).
As far as the lack of a truly next gen experience with a new exclusive: I completely agree that it is a huge loss not having a good launch game or two, but for now I’ve got this whole back catalogue to enjoy, with little/no loading times and silky smooth gameplay, so I’m almost glad I’ve waited to play some older games until now.
I guess Microsoft’ss new machine is aimed at gamers like me, someone who has been invested in the Xbox ecosystem for many years (playing on an original Xbox One) who wants the newest technology. For me personally, the difference between the original Xbox One and the Xbox Series X is night and day and I don’t mind waiting for the games which will be designed from the ground up for the Xbox Series X.
I have no doubt that this machine will have its day and I have a feeling that those games will be properly next gen. I think the future should be very bright (no matter how far ahead that is). For anyone sitting on the fence about the Xbox Series X, once you actually play the thing it’s impossible to consider going back to the old console.
Trying to convince my girlfriend to get a Switch for Christmas between us, instead of some nonsense that we’ll never look at again in the new year. We would definitely get Mario Kart and Snipperclips but what other two-player games could you or the readers suggest that will persuade her?
GC: That depends what she likes but the best co-op games include Overcooked 2, Diablo 3, Lovers In A Dangerous Space-Time, Luigi’s Mansion 3, Streets Of Rage 4, and Yoshi’s Crafted World.
Reading JAH’s email, where they report receipt of an Xbox Series X for one son with a PlayStation 5 due to arrive for the other on release date next week. If JAH is ever in the market for adopting a 34-year-old who can make a mean avocado smash then please get in touch!
GC: You can’t be doing too bad yourself, if you’re that dab a hand with an avocado.
Appreciate it’s a v. busy time right now, but will you guys be reviewing Fuser? I used to love DJ Hero and would like to see music games make a comeback!
GC: It’s on our list, but unfortunately quite a way down.
This week’s Hot Topic
With the Xbox Series X and S releasing this week the weekend Inbox asks the simple question: are you getting one and if not why not?
If you’ve already got one then what are you initial impressions and are you satisfied it’s lived up to your expectations? Are you also getting a PlayStation 5 and if not why did you pick one over the other?
What do you feel are the most important features of the new console and what games have you, or do you want to, play on it? Please make sure to mark your emails for the Hot Topic and not the normal weekday Inbox.
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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