The Monday Inbox asks for advice on avoiding VR motion sickness, as another reader admits they were disappointed by Control’s story.
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The new norm
In response to Goshal’s Reader’s Feature on the arrogance of Sony, thinking they can charge a premium for their next generation games, it’s less arrogance and more shell shock. It’s his penultimate paragraph that tells the real story.
How on earth can Sony compete when Microsoft have turned on the money taps and brought about a daring transformation of gaming by opening the gates to the Netflix of gaming?
More than that, they’ve brought EA on board too, giving access to the world’s most popular football game as part of the deal. And it also appears that the Apple TV app will be making an appearance too and, I presume, the usual Netflix/Amazon Prime capabilities.
In effect, they are creating what they probably wanted with the release of the Xbox One back in 2013, when Dan Mattrick disastrously presented their vision in the worst possible way by appearing to disenfranchise gamers with an inferior machine and wildly overpromising when the technology wasn’t able to deliver. Now, they have put everything in place first, proven it works, and then priced it in such a way as to make the deal too good to refuse.
Sony are now the ones on the back foot. Due to the exotic nature of their previous machines, a route to backwards compatibility is nigh on impossible. Sure, they have PS Now, but unless they give it away for free as part of PS Plus, it will remain a niche proposition. What they do have are their first party studios and VR that works, but that’s not something they can bundle up and sell you a subscription too.
No, this isn’t arrogance, this is business and you can bet your bottom dollar that executives at the top of Sony are desperately trying to find ways to enhance their proposition without bankrupting themselves in the process. I really don’t think they expected to be selling their new machine for that low a price and, going forward, they will have to be very creative if they want to be able to maintain that value, whereas Microsoft can continue to throw money like confetti until something sticks.
So, much as we all want healthy competition, in gaming the pendulum has always swung wildly, and always will. Sony won’t be overcome, but it certainly won’t be a cakewalk this time around.
Sick of VR
Can any readers or GC provide any tips on PlayStation VR regarding the motion sickness issue? Up until recently the only game to make me queasy was the flying game Ultrawings or similar but now I’ve been playing through Resident Evil 7 and I can only make it around an hour or two if I push through.
I’ve played games like Arizona Sunshine for ages and Blood & Truth but this is the worst I’ve felt. I have tried using a fan as suggested on YouTube but is there anything else I can try?
Any advice is appreciated.
GC: We don’t think there is anything you can do about it as a player, beyond slowly easing yourself into it at the beginning – and you already seem to be past that stage. The biggest factor is the techniques the games use to limit queasiness. We found Resident Evil 7 hard going too, but it was an early VR game that Capcom made without much experience. We’ll have a review up of Star Wars: Squadrons later today and that has you flying around in space with zero restrictions and we barely felt anything, not because we’ve got used to VR but just because the game has benefitted from several years of experimentation and a decent-sized budget.
Kart battle royale
Nintendo with the battle royale games, I didn’t think Super Mario Bros. would be suited but Nintendo have other franchises that would be ideal.
The first is pretty obvious which is Mario Kart, but I don’t think Nintendo would want sales to be affected for Mario Kart 8. I am surprised Dr. Mario hasn’t been released as it could work similar to Tetris 99. F-Zero could be great, have an endless track with obstacles along the way, a bit like the split/second game. 1080° Snowboarding could use the same principle. Star Fox also comes to mind, have loads of people in space duking it out to be the last spaceship flying.
The key thing here is that none of the above are major franchises. Some are barely getting released on Nintendo platforms and some aren’t even being released on anything. At least they could be utilised in some way.
GC: The current games are also very simple in terms of graphics and gameplay. We could maybe see a version of SNES Super Mario Kart being adapted next. Especially given this famous fan-made video, which Nintendo forced the original creator to take down.
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Been reading a lot about the next gen of consoles, all the debate about the technology and capability is interesting and everything but it got me thinking. Now, this is a rhetorical question as I don’t expect anyone to have a definitive answer, but how many people do you think that read articles every day, comment, debate, etc. make up the console buying public? And how many people who don’t get as involved do? My guess that it’s a 10/90% split, and therefore in the round (in terms of who sells the most consoles) the minutiae of the debate makes no difference to sales.
So as interesting as it is to read about backwards compatibility, performance boost, SSDs, etc. I doubt that would sway the decision one way or another to the more casual buyer. Yes, I agree that big hitting news, such as the initial restrictions on Xbox One and potentially the sale of Bethesda, will seep into the public consciousness and make a material difference, but outside the hardcore the more nuanced details won’t.
Not saying they shouldn’t be debated, I enjoy reading the various thoughts, just an observation.
TheTruthSoul (PSN ID)
GC: Whatever the percentage is we imagine it’s very low. Just as it is for the number of people that follow the movie or music industry in any kind of detail.
After seeing the reaction to higher game prices I have been thinking if £70 is good value or not. Firstly, I compared it to other forms of entertainment A football match costs £40-£70 for a ticket for a couple of hours, with no guarantee of the quality result you want. Cinema sot £10 – £20 depending on showing, plus snacks, etc. for a couple of hours. A concert costs £100 plus for four hours with support acts. Looking at that, a game such as Demon’s Souls that can provide 60+ hours entertainment does not seem bad value.
However, I would be a lot less likely to take a risk on a game at that price, especially if its digital with no resale value. I am hoping the prices will drop after six months or so, maybe to around £55-£60 for a AAA game. I know some Ubisoft games are just over £50 on PlayStation 5/Xbox Series X/S and we don’t know what Microsoft’s pricing will be as they unfortunately don’t have any first party launch games to compare against. We have been lucky that games have not really gone up in price with inflation, they have been around £40-£45 for a long time but costs for making these games have gone up exponentially.
Overall, for me it would depend on the game Demon’s Souls. Yes, I would pay the money as I know I will get my money’s worth but Destruction AllStars would be a no, as the risk would be too high. I will probably still buy the disc version of games rather than digital simply so I can resell any games I don’t want, and I still like to have the physical version.
I will pick up an Xbox Series X next year and sign up for Game Pass, which means I can try a lot of games I maybe would not pay full price for and would not normally play.
Keep up the good coverage.
BOB1972 (PSN ID)
Sound and Furi
More gamers should experience the incomparable merits of Furi as far as I’m concerned. The Game Baker’s steezy production is essentially a boss rush game following an inscrutable warrior that is freed from his cell by a mysterious figure in a purportedly impossible and impassable celestial prison, and has to overcome a succession of formidable foes to escape.
Combat is simple, intuitive and precise, with no long streams of combos required to commit to memory, or complex inputs for those that find excelling in the likes of Bayonetta, Astral Chain, Metal Gear Rising, Devil May Cry, Ninja Gaiden, etc. a daunting prospect. But mastery of the evasion and parrying mechanics are imperative if the player is to prevail.
The way the game fuses hack ‘n’ slash gameplay with bullet hell/twin stick shooter sensibilities feels unique and very accomplished. There is an elegance to the combat that I find utterly compelling, with a literally reinvigorating dynamic to healing your character by parrying attacks.
The character art is done by Takeshi Okazaki, of Afro Samurai fame, so is naturally distinctive and oozes style. The art design also evokes the kaleidoscopic, biblical hidden gem, El Shaddia: Ascension Of the Metatron for me. There’s a rich, introspective quality of the narration of the story that resonated with me, with some excellent voice acting as you slowly traverse the dream-like environments to reach your next opponent.
Combined with the excellent boss designs – which are right up there with the very best the Western world has to offer in terms of creativity and challenge, the 80s like electronic soundtrack stands out and the way the tempo and rhythm of each track fits with the nature of each boss is excellently judged. In the credits the developer specifically thanks the likes of PlatinumGames, Treasure, Shinji Mikami, Grasshopper, and a few other Japanese influencers, so no wonder the game is as good as it is. Furi elicits joy!
PS: It’s a shame that you guys never reviewed Furi but it would be nice if you could review the upcoming Haven, which is from the same developer.
GC: Steezy? But yes, we’ll try to take a look at Haven when it’s out.
Out of Control
I agreed with the Reader’s Feature about Control at the weekend. And with GC’s review at the time, which I wish I’d paid more attention to. Despite all of Remedy’s hype about the game being really crazy and weird it really isn’t. 90% of the game is you shooting ordinary guys with guns in what looks like a multi-storey carpark/boring office building.
It’s a real waste because if the story had been weird that would’ve been cool and it’s got one of the best combat systems in any game for years. It’s definitely much better at being a Jedi game than any official Star Wars game. But it just goes to show that you’ve got to have everything for a game to really click, and for me Control doesn’t.
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Well here’s the thing. Christmas is coming and it is decision time on whether to purchase the new Xbox or PlayStation 5 for my eight-year-old son. He has been an Xbox player ever since his hands were big enough to hold the controller. Yet this time he is open to the possibility of switching to PlayStation, as his best friend at school will be getting a PlayStation 5. Game Pass Ultimate is extremely good value but you know what kids are like, they follow friends.
In my humble opinion both parties have missed a massive trick when developing a new console. What has always been, and always will be, the biggest issue in a console is storage. Now, at the present time he has a 1TB Xbox One S. This is all well and good but straight off the bat you lose over 200GB with stuff already installed. Now this gives you the option of installing roughly 10-12 of your favourite games, especially when a game like Ark: Survival Evolved consumes 112GB.
Now the new game sizes will be more and this will give a frustrated eight-year-old the choice of which game they need to uninstall. As you can imagine, after a long day at school this is the last thing he wants to be faced with. Xbox and PlayStation are still going to be faced with the same problem. So their uncanny solution is you have to spend an extra £220 on the storage card. So now you have to tell the already frustrated eight-year-old that he has to wait for his birthday to get it, when you can afford to fork out the extra £220 that is definitely going to be needed at some point to enjoy the full potential of the speedy console.
This makes both consoles over £600, realistically, so that’s why I think they’ve both dropped a massive clanger. The solution is simple: release the new console with 2TB as standard. If either one of them had done this it would of been a game changer for them. No extra £220 to spend and no need to uninstall games. Would people have chosen one console over the other because of an extra terabyte of storage? You bet your life they would.
GC: We’re not sure we understand. Increasing the storage would’ve just increased the price of the console by largely the same amount? Or are you suggesting Microsoft and Sony just write off £220 with each console sale?
Do you think the growing relationship between Microsoft and Nintendo will make the possibility of an N64 Mini with GoldenEye 007 and all the other N64 era Rareware games closer to reality?
GC: We’d have to say probably, yes. Although GoldenEye would still require them to sort out something with the James Bond film licence, which currently no other publisher owns.
After seeing the fuss about Among Us recently I decided to give it a go and it is actually a lot of fun. A really clever little multiplayer game.
This week’s Hot Topic
The topic for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Xane, who asks how many video games do you currently own?
Both physical and digital copies count, although it’d be interesting if you were able to give separate figures for both. Digital games that you’ve paid for separately definitely count but games you have access to via a subscription like Game Pass do not.
How important do you think owning a game is compared to selling it on after a while or playing it as part of a subscription? Do you prefer owning physical or digital copies and is there anytime that you’ve owned more games than you do now?
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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.
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