The Tuesday Inbox names The Bitmap Brothers’ best games, as one reader realises he’s starting to get subscription fatigue.
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So with all these Black Friday deals coming out it raises an obvious question: is it worth getting either of the big questions at this late hour? I have a PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One S is now certainly within my means but I just can’t see a point in it. Not given how few good exclusives there are. I’m hopeful and think Microsoft may well come back much stronger next gen, but buying in this late for this gen? I don’t think so.
But if the situation was reversed? I think the PS4 is worth it. It’s going to go down as a classic console and it certainly has Sony’s best collection of first party titles ever. I don’t think that’s me being bias just because it’s the one I’ve got but maybe someone else can chime and see if they agree.
I see already it’s the Xbox One bundles that are the cheapest during Black Friday, but for me I’ll just save the money for next Christmas and then we’ll see what position Sony and Microsoft are in then.
Nothing is impossible
That’s great to hear the news that Rebellion (one of my current favourite developers) have bought The Bitmap Brothers’ brand (my favourite developer from the 80s/90s).
Xenon 1 and 2 were two of my favourite shoot ‘em-ups from that era, even though I can see now that Xenon 2 wasn’t actually that good. They’ve still had a huge influence on the games I play and music I listen to today. To be honest I didn’t even know they were still going in any shape.
It’ll be interesting to see what Rebellion do with the games, be it remasters or completely new games/sequels. I would love to see some sort of Xenon sequel. I actually think The Chaos Engine as a third person action adventure could be really cool. And a proper Speedball 2 sequel too.
Surely anything is possible in these crazy days, when a new Half-Life game is announced and people are actually playing Shenmue 3?
TrevorMcFurr (gamertag/PSN ID)
Reading about Amazon/Twitch streaming plans I wonder how many more readers are feeling subscription fatigue already? I like to think I’m reasonably sensible and discerning in my consumer choices, but I still have five ongoing monthly subscriptions to entertainment services (gaming, TV, and music).
With new services such as Google Stadia, Apple Arcade, and Disney+ adding to existing offerings it feels like we’re entering a period where companies will be fighting for your buy-in and there will be some high profile and costly failures. At least most of them don’t tie you in for 12 months (or more) but who really wants to be juggling subscriptions each month to access the content that appeals most?
ProEvoSan78 (PSN ID)
PS: Thanks for the one-handed gaming recommendation. I’m downloading Dead Or Alive Xtreme Venus Vacation as we speak. I haven’t played this franchise before but am looking forward to some cerebral gymnastics and a high-brow, video game-as-art experience.
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Taking a stand
I couldn’t agree more with Dempen’s feature on Sunday. No amount of online, chest-puffing boycotting will make any difference to publishers without the actions to back-up the bravado.
As terrible as EA have been with lootbox-gate in Star Wars: Battlefront 2 and, likewise, Bethesda with Fallout 76, as soon as Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order was released all was forgiven. Similarly, I expect the same action when The Elder Scrolls VI finally sees the light of day – or maybe sooner if Starfield turns out to be any good.
I am in a minority where, if I don’t like something a publisher has done, I just don’t buy their products. I think Fallen Order looks quite good, but I refuse to buy it because, well… because EA and because I
don’t like their practices. Simples.
But as I said, I’m in a minority but would really encourage others to join me.
So I just started playing God Of War again after a while and started a New Game+. Just wondering if anyone has had issues with the difficulty. So I started on Normal difficulty and the first enemy I encountered, the Draugr, killed me in one hit. I don’t remember this being the case the first time around. Have the developers increased the difficulty for the New Game+ mode? I did drop the difficulty to the easiest but then this was just no challenge at all but the next level of difficulty was frustrating as anything, just one wrong move and I had to start the checkpoint all over again.
I’m considering just starting a New Game rather than New Game + because I want to play the game at a level that is neither too easy or too hard.
GC: We haven’t played the one in God Of War, but New Game+ mode is purposefully more difficult in many games.
A hand to hold
After seeing Metro Exodus go down to £15.99 in the PSN sale I picked up a copy and have been playing through it over the weekend (I use the term playing through it loosely as I haven’t really had much spare time), Now I really liked Metro, but I wasn’t a fan of Last Light so I was pretty apprehensive when it came to Exodus which seems to be a bit of a mix of the two with some added elements that were in neither.
The thing that has really struck me though is the pace of Exodus – it just feels like Artyom is constantly walking through treacle and the boat exploration seems painfully slow and arduous! I’m finding it really hard to get into it if I’m being honest, maybe I’m too used to having my hand-held by other games, but I really struggle to work out where I’m meant to be going or what I’m meant to do – I hate using the little mini map and compass thing!
Are there any tips that can help improve the experience for me or given my early criticisms do you think that It just isn’t a game I’m likely to click with?
Rickandrolla (PSN ID)
GC: It just sounds like you don’t like the game, there’s nothing wrong with that.
The little details
Yay, it’s another Pokémon letter! First as a preface, I haven’t played Sword or Shield yet. I did hear, however, that you can inspect a pokémon after you catch it. Apparently if you look at the bottom of a polteageist, 10% of them have a blue maker’s stamp on the bottom, the other 90% being counterfeit china.
It strikes me as very strange to have put in so much effort and detail into that part, while leaving the world as hollow and empty as you and Eurogamer have said.
PS: I found it funny on Monday morning that a writer claimed Horizon was just good and God Of War was a classic – if anything, having played both of them, I would completely invert that. Yes, God Of War was good, but Horizon felt much more polished to me.
GC: We love that sort of thing and it’s clearly where Game Freak’s talents lie. As we implied in our review, we’d much rather they took an overseer role and left the technical side to someone else. We’re on the God Of War side of the fence though.
So it’s mooted the PlayStation 5 (devkit) is more powerful than Project Scarlett by someone. Yay?
Seriously though, the details mentioning things about software and things being in a more advanced state for the PlayStation 5 should be no surprise to those who have followed some of the next gen consoles’ development news.
Sony’s Simon Pilgrim, a software engineer, was working on compilers for Ryzen last year, before it was known what the hardware was going to look like. Considering the time frame and nature of the things reported at the time one would certainly hope it was beneficial to Sony.
Plus, the rumour that Navi was made for Sony. If this is true, then even more reason to think Sony have an advantage in the software side of things.
Personally, still somewhat dismayed by the sort of language we’ve heard about next gen with 8K and ray-tracing. All rather gimmicky as far as I’m concerned. Let’s hope the games are interesting enough.
GC: Did you mean to say Sony have an advantage on the hardware side of things? It’s usually Microsoft that excels at software.
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I think Xbox Game Pass would only be a killer app for those who feel there’s no value for money and/or worthwhile software elsewhere. If I’m already spending less than, say, £150-200 a year for games I can cherry pick and I barely have time to fully get through all those. I’m not going to be motivated to spend more for access to games I haven’t been inclined to rush out and buy. With that in mind, I haven’t spent a penny on Black Friday this year because most of the stuff I bought during the last two November sales haven’t even been started as the games I’ve prioritise have been in the way.
We should also remember that the £1 deal, while readily available now, is part of an early stage offer. But if we accept that not all the games we want are going to be on the service and, of those that aren’t, we barely have time to fully play the best ones, even that £1 is still a waste of money for some of us (although that’s taking the point to extremes).
Unless I weigh it up and decide I’m willing to give up all the games not available on Game Pass in the name of value for money, which would only happen if either my finances hit the skids or there’s a downturn in general software quality tantamount to an industry crash.
For a lot of us, even the worst business practices in gaming – including loot boxes and microtransactions – are bad not because we don’t want to spend any more money but because they have an adverse effect on how the games are designed. I don’t see how Game Pass could constitute a killer app if it’s not offering anything special beyond the sales model.
I’m glad it exists, as it’s encouraging for a number of reasons, but the appeal of a platform for me will always, always be about the quality of games available on it (and the availability of the best games around). A great value deal for those who don’t feel they’re having to overspend as things stand is way less important.
GC: A killer app is simply something that convinces you to buy a console (or whatever). It’s easy to see how Game Pass would fit that bill for some people.
Oh boy, Stadia is turning out to be such a disaster. Like GC said, what was the rush for all this? Microsoft keep saying they’re in no hurry and Google have thrown something out there that barely seems to work just to say they’re first. I think they’re gonna regret that because it’s just mistake after mistake.
It’s so obvious that PlayStation VR needs a good replacement for PlayStation Move. At this point I’m much more interested in Sony announcing that rather than a new headset. This needed to have happened like four years ago.
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader ‘Daley’ Thompson, who asks what game that you like now did you not initially get one with?
Some games take a while to get into, but do you have any where there’s a particularly marked difference between what you thought of it at the beginning compared to how you feel about it now? How long did it take to change your mind? What caused the initial problems and what finally brought you around?
How patient do you tend to be with new games and how long do you usually give them before giving up? What do you do with the games then and are there any you keep meaning to go back to but never have?
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The small print
New Inbox updates appear twice daily, every weekday morning and afternoon. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length.
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