The morning Inbox thinks more open world games should be like Yakuza, as one reader is impressed by Castlevania Anniversary Collection.
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Sony really aren’t unveiling the PlayStation 5 in any kind of normal fashion, are they? First that weird Wired article and now what I can only assume is an officially sanctioned leak about loading times? Not exactly sexy stuff but I think we can all agree that nobody likes sitting around waiting for games to load. Plus Spider-Man at high speed immediately has me thinking about F-Zero/WipEout.
What was of most interest to me though is that everything Sony were talking about seemed to focus on the console. The whole loading thing, especially the specific times, are something only a console can guarantee and they make several references to a major next gen leap and hardware.
We know they’re thinking about streaming and I’m sure they’ll have their own service, but I’m very happy that the focus seems to be on hardware still. It makes me think the next generation will be a kind of transition where the two will co-exist, which is fine because hopefully by the next-next generation broadband speeds will be at a point where streaming is higher performance and more reliable. I don’t know about anyone else but I’ll be getting a console next gen though.
So, reading the loading time article about PlayStation 5 vs. PlayStation 4, it reminded me of something I read about waaaaay back when Soul Reaver was about to be released. It said there was no loading times between areas because they were streaming off the disc to eliminate them, or something along those lines.
Now I’ve zero idea about technology so I may look very stupid here, but did this not become standard practice to prevent loading screens? And if so, guessing it had limitations?
GC: Yes, the limitations are how fast the data can be read off the disc (or hard drive, cartridge, etc.). The same principle is still used today, in fact that’s essentially what the Sony video is demonstrating: that the PlayStation 5 can read the data off so quickly there is no pause, unlike the PlayStation 4.
Smaller but fuller
I have a solution to open world game fatigue: instead of setting their games in massive, mostly empty worlds that most people fast travel through, why don’t developers opt instead for quality over quantity regarding maps? What I mean is set games in much smaller, denser areas focusing on more unique and varied buildings.
Imagine an Assassin’s Creed game that takes place in a relatively small city where you can chase/be chased through random people’s houses, shops, etc. I’m no expert but would the next gen of consoles be able to handle allowing people to go into any building? What about the technology that allowed No Man’s Sky to have a quackillion variations of planets? Could that be used for the interiors of thousands of houses and what not?
TL;DR developers should copy the Yakuza games regarding their open worlds.
GC: Entering every building is a matter of developer manpower, not technology, so if it was a smaller but more interactive city that could work. The No Man’s Sky idea is interesting though, we’re sure there’d be some way to procedurally generate interiors.
Just thought I’d send a quick message in response to Neil’s letter about what difficulty people choose to play a game on. Like Neil, I always choose to play a game on normal, not just because of time constraints like him (though this is an issue), but mostly because if I play a game on normal and really fall in love with it then the option to play it on the most difficult level gives me a chance to do it again.
I mostly play single-player type games and the urge to play again is extremely rare. In fact, I don’t believe I’ve played through an entire game for a second time since The Last Of Us – which I’ve now completed multiple times because… well I just love it. Suffice to say I can’t wait for the second one while simultaneously feeling trepidatious about it.
I have seen a few people mention the Oculus Quest VR headset recently, so knowing nothing about said device I thought I would have a look into it as the prospect of wireless VR appeals greatly to me. Having now read a bit about it I have to say my enthusiasm has been dampened a little, as it appears to be no more than phone VR with controllers. Some sites are also saying the actual VR experience is a downgrade from PlayStation VR.
The Quest isn’t cheap at £400 (although, as it doesn’t need any other hardware, it works out cheaper than other headsets) so would I be as well just sticking with my PlayStation VR (with it’s rubbish controllers) or is it worth the investment? I look forward to your hardware review of the Quest.
GC: It should be ready this week, but we think you’re already underestimating the device.
Graph paper required
So, I just finished my first play through of Salt And Sanctuary (on the PC, still working through the PS Vita version and might try to finish that if only for the Trophies) and honestly I was glad I got it done. I’m not saying it is a bad game, far from it, but it has one big issue for me. It wasn’t the bosses or the enemies or even the sometimes wonky controls. No, the levels confused me and the lack of map really made it hard to know where I was going/supposed to go.
This seems to be a big issue for me with the Souls type games, Bloodborne in particular caused me so much grief and unnecessary frustration due to the simple lack of a map. I’m not sure I could have finished these games without the use of YouTube/GameFAQs to tell me where I had to go. But these games are about exploration some people might say, aye but explorers made and used maps I would reply. Give us a bloody map. I don’t want an easier game, just a friggin’ clue of where I need to go next. Sorry ‘bout that.
GC: You could make a physical map yourself? Or try Etrian Odyssey for the joys of making your own virtual map.
Two for one
I saw the reader’s letter last week about Zelda: Breath Of The Wild being game of this generation. I agree, but I wondered whether it could be classed as this generation, given that it was released on Wii U as well as was originally intended to be Wii U if I’m not mistaken.
Going by this logic, couldn’t you also argue that GTA V and The Last Of Us could be considered as the best game of this generation due to them also being released in two generations of consoles? I suppose you could say Zelda is different because it was released on both at the same time, but so were games like Metal Gear Solid V and Alien Isolation. I’m not saying either way of thinking about it is right or wrong as there are bigger things in the world to worry about, but just wanted to here GC’s and the readers thoughts.
GC: The Wii U is a current generation console.
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I downloaded the Castlevania Anniversary Collection on my Switch last week, after reading your review. I’m playing a couple of the games at the moment and looking forward to getting into the others soon.
M2 are really becoming the go to company for retro compilations. They really put the effort and love into their games. You only need to look at the Sega Ages games to see this. I’m really looking forward to Virtua Racing getting a European release on the Switch soon, as that looks very good.
I noticed that Sega have listed more games for their Mega Drive Mini console. My understanding is that M2 have been involved with these ports as well and with Sega actually making the machine themselves this time, I am seriously considering placing a pre-order for it. Sega has a solid line-up of games for it too, with the likes of Capcom and Konami already on board. I’m a little surprised at the inclusion of Street Fighter II Special Champion Edition as the console only comes with the three button controllers as opposed to the six, which from what I understand was far better for this game, but this is by no means a deal breaker for me.
I also thought the artwork for both the Gradius (Arcade Classics Collection) and Castlevania collections were spot on. The artwork for the Contra collection is also looking good and seems to be based around the SNES Alien Wars game. The artwork for all three games is very much in keeping with the ‘80s and ‘90s style. If I recall correctly the Gradius image is very similar to the box art used for the Commodore 64 and Sinclair Spectrum conversions released in the 1980s and it’s great to see it again.
A really pleasant blast from the past.
GC: M2 are great, they’re basically a seal of quality on any retro release. And yes, the Gradius/Nemesis artwork has been around since the original coin-op. It’s glorious.
My hope for E3 week is for Rockstar to announce a PC version of Red Dead Redemption II. As I remember it though Rockstar are not just shy, but E3 shy too? My anticipation for it has been piqued once again by a recent article on Eurogamer which says Red Dead Online is finally moving in the right direction.
GC: Rockstar are always at E3, behind the scenes, so they could easily pop up at someone else’s conference. Although we like the reader theory that they’re waiting for the next gen consoles before they also announce the PC version.
Can we have a Hot Topic on favourite indie games please?
GC: Yes, okay. We haven’t done that for a while. Although it’ll have to wait until after E3, as it’s favourite Nintendo exclusives next week.
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Xane, who asks who is your favourite non-playable video games character?
Whether they’re story-based or not most games are filled with NPCs (non-player characters), so we want to know who your favourite is and why? Do they have a big role in the game and are they a serious, dramatic character or more of a comic relief?
Is it their dialogue or appearance that you like, or perhaps their function within the game? What makes a memorable NPC and are there any that have elevated an otherwise mediocre game, or one so annoying it’s almost ruined a good one?
E-mail your comments to: [email protected]
The small print
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