The Monday Inbox considers how much has changed in gaming over the last generation, as one reader contemplates Anthem for £7.
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Outer this Worlds
I think a lot of people were not too impressed by some of the developers that Microsoft bought when it was on its so-called buying spree. I’ve never rated Ninja Theory, and who knows what they were thinking buying the people that made We Happy Few. Obsidian are obviously better than that but it’s been a long time since Fallout: New Vegas and most of their stuff since has been hardcore computer role-players.
But The Outer World has been amazing, I’ve just loved it. It’s basically Fallout but not broken and with a sense of humour. I love how much control you have over conversations and how you can talk, steal, or cheat your way out of almost any situation. Even though the action is actually quite good anyway. It’s the best role-player I’ve played in year and I’d say the best new IP of the year, if not generation.
Now, the original was all done before Microsoft buy them so what you’ve got to wonder is what’s next? A sequel, presumably, but will it be an exclusive? And what are Obsidian going to do with their own big team? If Grounded is just a side project then could Microsoft be tempted to give them the budget to make an Elder Scrolls killer as well? I’d love to see it and hopefully it’ll put a light under Bethesda as well.
Pint of gaming
I’ve just been browsing CDKeys and Anthem is £7. I was really disappointed with its poor reviews on release, as it was a game I thought showed great promise before it came out. I was wondering if anyone has played it recently and if improvements have been made by BioWare in response to all the original complaints about the game?
I’ll probably just get it anyway thinking about it, I mean that’s not much more than the cost of a pint, and surely I’ll get at least as much enjoyment out of it as I would from a lager or two?
Change and constancy
I wasn’t playing games as much this gen but am catching up now just as it’s winding down. My, what a difference a generation makes.
Last gen, Japanese developers were dead and in the ground. They weren’t innovating. They were trying too hard to make games for people who were never going to play their games anyway. Shooters and open world games ruled, while Nintendo followed up the Wii with their worst plastic box of all time, one with a first generation iPad made by Fisher Price for the controller. The Xbox 360 was the console of the generation.
Today, Capcom is probably the developer of the generation, a sentence that almost gives my thumbs arthritis as I type it. Dark Souls is not just a game, but a genre. Shooters have reached their next addictive iteration: big free-to-play deathmatches like Fortnite and Apex Legends. Bethesda and BioWare are practically ruined, at least in terms of reputation. A small Polish developer made one of the greatest role-playing games of all time and possibly the game of the generation. Final Fantasy is back and Persona is now a big deal system seller, as is Fire Emblem. People are buying fighting games again, the PlayStation 4 is arguably the greatest console of all time, and a Nintendo system is, once again, the hot Christmas item.
Some things stayed the same, though. Rockstar still makes great games. Call Of Duty is still popular, albeit with a finite ceiling we can all reach out and touch. David Cage and Hideo Kojima are both geniuses who need editors. Konami and EA are still awful.
And Mario and Zelda? Still great. Always great.
David from San Francisco
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Stadia is toast
RE: Toast’s letter on Friday about whether Xbox Game Pass has effectively killed Google Stadia. We’ll have to see, I suppose, but I can’t help but agree with much of what was said.
o put a PC slant on it, last month I signed up for Game Pass (PC). There seems to be a special introductory price available of £1 for the first month. As far as I understand it the monthly price thereafter is going to be £3.99, which seems incredibly good value.
I downloaded The Outer Worlds, along with a nice bag of other stuff. It seems almost unfair to be playing it for £1 but there you go. The library of games is good and as we keep seeing it’s being well supported and expanded by Microsoft.
I don’t see how Stadia can compete, unless they make it free for a few months, or some other ‘too good to be true’ introductory offer.
I really enjoyed the piece on the Capcom Home Arcade, great work.
I like to reminisce over old GC reviews or, if I try a game that’s been out for a few years, Google search your review of it. It’s nice when they come up, but I think they go back as far as 2009-10 (presumably around the time of the move from Teletext to Metro). Do you have an archive of all GameCentral reviews? I think one of your first, if not the first, was of Resident Evil Zero on the GameCube in 2003.
Is there an archive of Digistiser’s reviews too and are they available anywhere? Ah, what I’d give to read something like the Jet Force Gemini review again. It got 93% in 1999 – I liked it too at the time, now it’s deemed unplayable. Yes, I can remember a score from 20 years ago, but can’t remember what happened last week. Any assistance in helping someone unable to let go of the past would be greatly appreciated.
GC: We think No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise was the first on the Metro site, but the formatting on those old articles has been ruined over time and some are almost unreadable. If it helps, we always thought Jet Force Gemini’s controls were awful.
Instant game library
Just letting people know, if they are looking to get a Nintendo Switch, that EE are offering a free Switch with certain phone contracts until the 25th of November. If you work for the NHS or the emergency services you can also get a further 20% off.
I’ve taken advantage of this offer. I’m hoping that Black Friday will bring some offers because I wouldn’t mind getting a few games but can’t afford to spend 40 or 50 quid a game at the moment.
If anyone knows any websites that have any decent offers on at the moment that would be great as I’m looking to get one or two of the following games: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Luigi’s Mansion, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and Zelda: Link’s Awakening.
GC: Nintendo games are almost never discounted but Black Friday is your best chance. Or Switch Game Vouchers are relatively good value, if you want to sign up to Nintendo Switch Online.
Falling for next gen
Enjoyed the Reader’s Feature about Titanfall 2 at the weekend. I’m also not much of a big multiplayer player but I loved that game and still play it occasionally. I know none of the games have been big sellers but I hope there is a Titanfall 3 eventually.
Respawn must’ve earned themselves some Brownie points with Apex Legends and I imagine Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order well as well. But it’s more Titanfall 2 I want to see. Imagine it on the next generation!
Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here
So, I’m really sorry I missed the Hot Topic, but I didn’t think I had anything radical to add to the sequel debate. There are some obvious answers which got brought up, and I really enjoyed reading other people’s opinions. But reading this through on Sunday, I suddenly thought of one that no one would bring up!
Metroid Prime 2: Echoes. Now the reason no one brought this up is because for most people the first one is undeniably better – and I really sympathise with this. The first one is superb. One of the best games ever. But when I first played these games as a teenager, I found that the second game improved so many of the mechanics I’d found troublesome. It also racked up the difficulty a bit, which I found a lot more satisfying. The light/dark world could be frustrating, but mastering it was so rewarding. And giving the supplementary beam types ammo gave a tactical dimension to the game.
But, do you know what? I’m really on the fence about it. Because I love the loneliness and sense of isolation in Metroid Prime – it was much more palpable than the second. And the environments and atmosphere were just beautiful.
But the second one I found really engaging and I felt like I had to think things through so much more. Moving across the landscape was always a challenge and a puzzle (one of the things that made Zelda: Breath Of The Wild so much fun). I was desperately concerned after the first Metroid Prime that the second would never live up to my expectations, and it is perhaps for this reason that I enjoyed it more than others apparently did.
Anyway, that’s my contribution! Thanks to everyone else for theirs!
Since it’s been mentioned a couple of times recently I just thought I’d mention that Metal Gear Solid 3 was 15 years old on Sunday (in America, it took till March to come out here).
Oh, hey. Microsoft. I remember them! Don’t know where they’ve been this generation but nice to have them back. That was a decent show so bring on the next console war!
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Xane, who asks whether you have a favourite console manufacturer?
Do you consider yourself loyal to Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo or anyone else and how far would you take that loyalty? Do you only buy their consoles or do you also consider other brands? If you only buy one or two consoles per generation how often do you switch loyalties and did that happen this generation?
Do you already have a preference for next generation, despite there being no concrete information, and are you prepared to give your favourite a certain amount of leeway before considering buying a competitor?
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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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