The Wednesday letters page worries that Nintendo is becoming irrelevant, as one reader wants more open world games where you can fly.
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The big day
Am I the only gamer really looking forward to the PS Plus revamp launching here in the UK this Thursday?
While it is a shame that Sony’s promotional push for it is shambolic, I’m so glad we finally have a decent Game Pass style competitor for the PS universe – about time Sony!
The first four games I’m downloading are the PlayStation 5’s Returnal, Ghost Of Tsushima, Death Stranding, and Demon’s Souls, all of which I desperately wanted to get at launch but couldn’t stomach paying the frankly astronomical (but unfortunately now standard) PlayStation 5 price of £69.99!
Maybe Sony doesn’t want to push the PS Plus revamp globally, as it believes there are consumers still willing to pay full price for these games outright, perhaps?
An example of this is a member of staff at Smyths who I was talking to in the video game section, who said there are plenty of customers who still buy physical copies of Microsoft Flight Simulator, Halo Infinite, etc. despite all these being on Game Pass, wow!
I don’t think it’s very controversial to say that Sony has lost control of the narrative in the last month or so. Microsoft was the only one to put an effort into an E3 style event, so far at least, and for some reason Sony has been secretive and odd about its PS Plus revamp – which I think most people assumed they’d make a big thing of while they didn’t have any games out.
I really don’t think it’s a problem though. You’re only as big as your last game and all that, and neither Microsoft or Sony has had any games for several months. As soon as one of them comes out with something good they’ll be the dominant company and the other one will start sweating, until the situation is reversed, and the cycle continues. It is the way of things.
As far as I’m concerned, the only problem at the moment is waiting until that moment when someone actually releases a big game again. It feels like it’s been ages.
Fly the world
Here’s a question I’ve wondered. Why is flying so rare in open world games? I hope it’s in Zelda: Breath Of The Wild 2 because it’s one thing I always hope for as the ‘final ability’ and it almost never is. I guess it’s because on older hardware the game can’t load the graphics in fast enough, like happened with the bike in Zelda?
I hope that means that in the next gen it’ll become much more common and we can start to move away from the horse as the vehicle of choice for these games. Don’t get me wrong, horses are cool, but at this point I’d much rather be riding around on a dragon or Pegasus or something.
As usual, all the next generation seems to have brought so far is slightly better graphics but I’m hoping that once the second wave of titles kick in we’ll start to see some that would’ve been impossible until now.
GC: Immortals Fenyx Rising and Horizon Forbidden West let you fly, so it does happen. But you’re right in thinking it’s a mixture of technical limitations, as well as not wanting to make the game too easy and retaining a structure to player progression.
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As seen on TV
Maybe I’m just a crazy person but I’m actually looking forward to The Last Of Us remake. I understand the issues people have with it but the only one I think is reasonable is that probably Naughty Dog does have more urgent things to be working on but other than that I am all for it.
The graphics are definitely an improvement and in particular the faces, which are now as good or better than the sequel. Maybe it doesn’t matter to other people but I like the idea of a game constantly updating itself with the best graphics available.
In fact, I’m surprised that’s not more common in general. Sure we get remasters, if a publisher needs to make a quick buck but even ongoing games like Fortnite and Destiny 2 rarely seem to improve their graphics from how they started out. Just imagine how The Last Of Us is going to look now, going from the TV show to the game – at some point it’s going to be seamless and this gets us a good way towards that.
All or nothing?
I seem to remember that when Ghost Of Tsushima was first announced it was just a pre-rendered trailer and we didn’t get anything more on it for ages after that, so I don’t see why it couldn’t be the same for the sequel, which I agree is blatantly in development. (What else were Sucker Punch going to do? Make another inFamous?)
I just can’t work out though, whether Sony is now purposefully holding back a bunch of reveals, to have a mega State of Play in the near future, or if the reason they’re saying nothing is because there is nothing. I think the sensible assumption is that it’s option number two though.
It’s the rule of E3: always expect less than you think and you won’t be disappointed. Just look on the bright side, at least the weather is good right now. Maybe by the time it’s turned there’ll be some games to play again.
Never look back
This may be considered as sacrilege but I really don’t enjoy playing retro games. Every time I try to go back to an old 16-bit game I’m frustrated by how difficult they are, despite the charming graphics, and going back to a more recent game, like my once beloved Resident Evil 4, is genuine depressing once I realise how bad it looks and plays compared to modern games.
I’m all for watching old movies and listening to golden oldies but I do feel that with video games you’ve always got to be looking forward. Anything beyond about 10 years really starts to show its age and even more recent than that can quickly pale compared to brand new games.
It’s easy enough to ignore, I know, but it worries me sometimes how much money and effort goes into bringing back these games which I don’t feel are useful for anything beyond maybe rough inspiration for modern titles. As a society I feel we’re too stuck on nostalgia and in games in particular I think it does us no favourite.
I’m really hoping that NetherRealm will do something for Mortal Kombat that isn’t a one-on-one fighter for their next game. Seeing that Street Fighter 6 will include open world sections I’d love to see something similar for Mortal Kombat.
It’s much too late for a Shaolin Monks 2 but a spiritual sequel could still work. Something with simplified combat but much more options in terms of movement and exploration. They’ve got all these great characters that I’m sure could work in all sort of other genres. Hopefully there’s a chance too as I have a feeling they’d rather Mortal Kombat 12 come out after Street Fighter 6, so they can see what that’s all about.
We’ve had people talking about Sony are losing their grip on gaming but I’d ask what about Nintendo? It feels like years since they released anything relevant and it’s obvious that the new Mario Strikers and Fire Emblem game aren’t going to change that at all. Or Xenoblade Chronicles 3, no matter if they give it it’s own Direct or not.
I know the obvious excuses, about Nintendo’s way of working being hard hit by the pandemic, but they’ve had time to compensate for that now and still they don’t seem to have anything interesting coming up. Or at least anything that’s not going to appeal to anyone other than existing fans and owners.
To me it feels long past time the Switch should’ve been replaced with something more powerful, to kickstart a new set of games. Instead Nintendo just seems to be working their way down their list of less important franchises, with predictably unexciting results.
They might not be direct competitors to Sony and Microsoft but they still need to keep themselves relevant and I’m not sure that’s happening right now.
There are nine Monster Hunter amiibos currently in stock at the Nintendo UK store, three of which are new for the latest game Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak. They look very good.
PS: The Halo TV series starts on Channel 5 tonight.
Now that I think of it, it’s odd that Sony hasn’t crossed over their PlayStation and TV business more. I know they have occasionally but you’d never guess that before PlayStation they were best know for their TVs.
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Gonch, who asks what’s the easiest video game you’ve ever played?
The debate over games that are unusually difficult will never end but what about the other end of the spectrum and games that are a lot easier than normal? What do you consider to be the easiest game you’ve ever come across and is it being easy a generally held belief or did you happen to be unusually good at it?
Do you enjoy easy games and what, if any, problems did its difficultly level create? Did you enjoy the game and do you think it would’ve been better or worse if it was harder?
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The small print
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