The Friday Inbox is worried about the negative effects of the video game streaming wars, as one reader has had enough of Resident Evil multiplayer.
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One of my most anticipated games at the moment is Elden Ring. To my surprise it was actually at E3 and even got a release date, of early next year, so it’s not even something I have to vaguely hope will be out in the next couple of years. However, I’ve seen a lot of talk lately about whether it, and From games in general, should have an easy mode and I have to say… I wish people would just leave it up to those that make the games.
For me, this argument shows how little respect most people have for video games as art. All the creativity and imagination that From pour into their games, making them purposefully challenging, and someone thinks they should just come along and dilute it and make it easy, when the whole purpose of the game is showing people that they can beat games that are hard if they just have a little perseverance.
I don’t know where this idea that everything has to be for everyone has come from. I’m basically locked out from enjoying games like Call Of Duty in multiplayer but that’s fine, I’m not angry about that. It’s just not for me. Why isn’t that enough of an answer for people that complain Dark Souls is too hard? Call Of Duty is the way it is on purpose and so are From’s games.
Saved for later
With all the speculation about the Switch Pro I’ve been trying to work out what this means for the games. Are we at that point in the generation yet where Nintendo start holding back obvious sequels until the new console?
If that Donkey Kong game isn’t real, then what has the Super Mario Odyssey team been working on for all these years? And if the Switch never had its own Mario Kart will there be a brand new one or will that just be left till the next console?
They’ve said they’ve got a lot of games in development but, and this isn’t entirely their fault, the Switch feels more like it’s winding down at the moment rather than getting ready for a major influx of new games.
It’s easy to forget just how many streaming services there are already: Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and now Netflix. And weren’t individual publishers like Ubisoft supposed to be doing their own too? Sony already has PlayStation Now but how long until that’s turned into a full streaming service as well?
Personally I haven’t used any of them yet, as I feel I have no need for it, but I haven no problem if they prove reliable. Or, more accurately, if broadband proves reliable. What worries me though is how much money these companies are wasting on the whole thing, when it’s obvious there’s only going to be one, or two at most, that survive the competition.
You’ve got Netflix and Disney+ but I think even that is pushing the limit for most people, without putting multiple game subscription on top of it. In the meantime all these mega rich companies are busy buying up developers at a whim and then discarding them when things don’t work out. It’s already happened with Google and Amazon, with their miserable failures at making their own game, but how many more teams will suffer the same fate?
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I don’t normally have a strong opinion about Phil Spencer, or any exec, but his recent rant about game preservation struck me as very disingenuous. What’s going to happen to all these online games that Microsoft are making nowadays when their servers are switched off? That’s going to happen one day and then what?
There’s a good article on it on IGN India that talks about DRM and the CMOS problem, all of which adds up to the fact that most modern games are probably going to be unplayable in 10 to 20 years time. Like you literally won’t be able to turn them on.
It’s pretty obvious that Spencer is only going on about game preservation because he knows Sony doesn’t care about it and he can make them look like villains while painting Microsoft as heroes. Once again it’s made obvious that companies aren’t your friend and everything they do is only to make themselves look good and make more money.
I don’t know if this counts as Inbox magic or not but just a day after someone complains about EA always being at the forefront of anti-consumer moves and here they are making Battlefield 2042 always online. I guess they didn’t think people would care because it’s multiplayer-only but it’s totally needless and smack to me of testing the water. Get people used to it in a game that doesn’t really matter and then start sneaking it into others later.
Whatever broadband connection you’ve got, no matter how you game, always online is a terrible idea. It’s used for DRM and making sure the publisher has total control of when and how you play it. You don’t own an always online game, you’re just allowed to play it – for a while, until they decide to switch off the servers or your internet connection blinks out for a second and suddenly you’re registered and offline and can use it anymore.
Ball and chain
I have been having difficulty getting into Astral Chain. I’ve got to chapter 3 but it isn’t gripping me. It feels very subdued and even conservative when compared to Bayonetta – like Platinum are pulling their punches a little. The combat is good, but it’s not enough to carry a game for me.
I liked the look of the Astral Plane… at first. Now I’m already finding it drab. Do you remember that old PlayStation 2 game, Crimson Tears? It was like a dungeon crawler where you could pick between two anime girls and a boy and then fought your way up a tower. It got monotonous very quickly and felt like it would never end. Astral Chain has a similar visual style.
Another reason I ask if it’s worth persisting is that for almost a year now I’ve had a nagging shoulder and neck injury that can flare up when I play something even a little demanding. For example, playing Super Mario Galaxy and anything that requires much in the way of precise motion controls like being on the ball or blowing bubbles could cause me some not inconsiderable pain.
So power through or sell on?
GC: You’ve been to the doctor about the shoulder, right?
Interesting debate about Skyward Sword and the other modern-ish Zelda games. I agree that none of them are classics but it only makes it more obvious to me that Ocarina Of Time needs a proper remake. Something from the ground-up, not just a light remaster.
Nintendo has done remakes before, although they’ve always been 2D portable things like Metroid: Zero Mission. I’m sure everyone would welcome such a thing and it’d help to cement that it really is the best game ever made, since the only way to play it at the moment is on the 3DS.
So many indie, so little time
Yesterday’s DuckOfDeath82 letter has kind of stolen my thunder a bit with this one. Have been playing Umurangi Generation on Switch and do recommend it… in a sale. The graphics capture the retro polygon look that seems to be getting popular at the moment, the photography mechanics are well implemented and the subtle visual storytelling, that you slowly unpack through the gameplay, sets the game up nicely.
However, it’s quite short and basic for the near £20 price tag, for a tenner it’d be a must buy. I haven’t played Wildermyth but think it’s Metacritic’s game of the year so far? So hope it comes to Switch at some point.
Looking at the GC best of the year so far list the other week (and the Hot Topic) did get me thinking that for indies… it does seem to be the luck of the draw whether or not enough critics pick up a game that it can gather enough momentum to be included in these things.
Genesis Noir was something that stood out, a good game that I enjoyed earlier in the year, but it does feel that there are an awful lot of indies around of a similar quality (such as Umurangi) to it that just miss the bus and so miss the hype. There’s also Boomerang X and Ender Lilies reviewing pretty well in some places at the moment, I’ve added them to my watch list for a sale.
Maybe some kind of indie round-up would work? Shorter reviews after the event for games that missed the boat on release? Like GC has with mobile games.
PS: As a side, why are so many Japanese role-playing games coming out on the Switch this month!? Ys 9, Monster Hunter Stories 2, NEO: World Ends With You, Cris Tales, Disgaea 6…
GC: Wildermyth has an 89 on Metacritic, as do many other games this year. We do now have a review underway though. Catching interesting indies is becoming increasingly difficult due to the sheer numbers and the difficulty in predicting which will be of interest. We’ll see if a round-up is feasible, but the problem is the time it takes to play them, just to end up telling you that they’re not worth bothering with.
Syberia 1 and 2 is free on GOG. Here’s the link.
I don’t get why Capcom keeps making these Resident Evil multiplayer games. If they were filled with microtransactions or something I could understand but there seems literally no point to them.
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Futterman, who asks what game are you must frustrated that you don’t enjoy?
Are there are any games or franchises that you’ve tried to play but you just couldn’t get into? What exactly was the issue, and did you try the game because it seemed like something you’d like, because it reviewed well, or for some other reason?
Did you try and force yourself to enjoy the game and how much time did you spend playing it? How often are your expectations of a new game confounded and do they usually turn out better or worse than you hoped?
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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 and content.
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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