The evening Inbox discusses the problem with finding enough time to play games, as one reader thinks Sekiro is harder than Soulsborne.
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Out of options
Interesting stats about the UK games industry, which I think is about the only proof we’ve had in years that things are actually doing well. Although I’m not sure how useful it is lumping in mobile games and their microtransactions, because that is very likely masking a decrease in normal game sales.
Physical game sales don’t seem down by much though, so that is encouraging and hopefully a sign that everything’s fairly stable. However, the fall in second-hand sales is both upsetting and unsurprising. Basically, for the sake of no longer having to make you get up to change discs we now live in a world where the game’s you ‘buy’ have no resell value and you’re at the mercy of online sales.
Clearly, Microsoft’s only mistake with unveiling the Xbox One was timing. If they’d just waited till the next gen they would’ve got away with their always-online console without any problem at all. I realise there are benefits to digital sales but it worries me that we will soon be out of options and that once there’s only one way to buy games companies will be free to limit what we can do with them even more.
Perhaps the rise of subscriptions will help to even this out to a degree, but that will only make it even more obvious that we’re only renting games instead of buying them. It was nice to have options but those days are clearly come to an end.
I completely agree with James’ letter about people needing to choose what they do with their time. I have chosen a career path that gives me relatively little time for long games but that doesn’t mean I resent them existing.
I also play guitar but there are songs I will never be able to play because I don’t have time to get to that level of skill. Does that mean that the sheet music should not exist? Of course not.
I’ve seen a lot of letters recently bemoan how having family/work commitments limit their gaming time but surely that’s people’s own fault not the video game industry’s?
Take your time
I’m retired, so theoretically I could be playing games all day. But of course I don’t, because I have other stuff to do and other interests to pursue. I’ve never understood why people pay £50 for a game and then rush through it. Red Dead Redemption ll had barely been out a week before people were bragging that they’d ‘beaten’ it, as if it was some point of honour.
I like to savour the games I play. Some games take me months to complete. I’m currently playing Subnautica and, at the rate I’m going, I probably won’t live to see the end of it but I’m enjoying the journey.
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I have found the letters recently on the topic of gaming taking up too much time really interesting. As I am now in my 40s and recently moved house, meaning I have an hour commute to work each way, my approach to gaming and the games I play has had to change. The Switch has been a godsend on my bus journeys, although it’s not suitable for more technical twitch-based games due to the bus throwing passengers around throughout the journey.
Dark Souls with its need to be ‘in the zone’ and really on point with the controls has been replaced with Yoshi’s Crafted World. I think Yoshi is a perfect example of a game that can be played in a relaxed leisurely manner and its take on laidback platforming continues to be a delight. The music is horrendous though and easily one of the worst soundtracks I can recall in a Nintendo game.
Increasingly AAA games and games that demand an always online daily login are not for me. The indie and retro scene and the ability to game on the go with the Switch is now where I tend to get my gaming fix.
A very interesting article on Kotaku about how Anthem turned out as bad as it did. In a sense it’s pretty much what you’d expect: bad management and EA forcing things on BioWare (primarily the Frostbite engine though, not the actual game concept). It seems like the whole thing was just a massive mess and they didn’t even enter full production until the last year and a half, despite taking seven years on it overall.
Lots of horrible stories about burnout and people having nervous breakdowns as they’re forced to work too hard. Sounds very much like Rockstar, except with better management and a clearer idea of what they want to do.
Apparently they kept taking flying in and out of the game, even though that now seems like one of the main features, and they even changed the name a week before it was announced – despite already, literally, printing the T-shirts – and admitted that nobody really knew what Anthem was supposed to mean.
I think people already felt bad for BioWare but this just shows once again that it’s lions led by donkeys, and pretty much a rerun of everything that went wrong with Mass Effect: Andromeda.
A bit baffled at suggestions Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is a tad easier than the Soulsborne games, I think it’s a bit harder. Maybe because it explains its systems it’s being seen as more accessible but the lack of farming XP, summons, and faster reactions needed make it harder in my eyes. The fights in Bloodborne were heart racing but Sekiro ramps it up further.
I know From have been at great pains to point out it’s not a Soulsborne game, and it’s really not, but the nice thing about extended play is that Ashina is every bit as intricately woven and interesting to explore as Lodran and Yarnham. The game has Miyazaki’s brilliance stamped all over it. Exploring and being rewarded with finding new stuff or lore really is a simple joy, which no one does better than From. Like the Soulsborne games I’ll be doing multiple playthroughs of Sekiro to see everything.
If Borderlands 3 becomes an Epic Games exclusive I think that’s the biggest one yet. People are going to go wild and I really do think Epic are underestimating how angry some of them are getting. Unnecessarily so, if you ask me, but that never seems to stop an Internet outrage campaign.
I don’t care where I buy my games from, or if Epic are buying themselves exclusives. As far as I can see the only difference is what they pay developers, which is slightly more generous than Steam. It may even have the side benefit of making Valve make games again, so as to provide themselves with their own exclusives. Yeah, right.
Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here
Great Reader’s Feature at the weekend. Made me think of my own A-Z. Here it is, no explanations as to keep the letter short. Took about 10 minutes, seven of those picking the S.
Astro Bot: Rescue Mission
Final Fantasy VII
Jet Set Radio
Kingdoms Of Amalur: Reckoning
Left 4 Dead 2
Metal Gear Solid
Quake III Arena
Resident Evil 2 (original)
Tales Of Vesperia
Wolfenstein: The New Order
London’s Trafalgar Square hosts the Games Festival, a free, one-day event on Saturday 13th April, including Play With A Pro with FIFA 19 and a pop-up Kojima Productions Fan Area.
What Remains Of Edith Finch is bloody brilliant, that is all.
big boy bent
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Crinkles, who asks what is your favourite ever video game cut scene?
Whether it’s pre-rendered or something using in-game graphics what’s the most impressed you’ve been in terms of a video game cinematic (including intros)? And were you primarily impressed by the visuals and presentation or the storytelling, or both?
How important do you think cut scenes are to a video game and do you have a limit on what you think is too long or too frequent (or too short?). What game gets the balance just right and what are some of the worst examples?
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