The morning Inbox offers a brief(-ish) re-review of Final Fantasy VII on Switch, as one reader admits he’s still playing Red Dead Redemption II.
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Next gen prices
I was reading an article yesterday that says that Sony are expected to start using quad-layer Blu-ray discs with the PlayStation 5, which are – you guessed it – more expensive to manufacture than the current ones. On the one hand it’s good to know that streaming isn’t taking over 100% yet but on the other I’m pretty sure Sony are going to try and pass on that price rise to the customers. So my question is would you be okay with paying, say, £10 more for next gen games?
Of course, I’m sure there won’t be any discount for buying digital and instead the price rise, if there is one, will be blamed on the extra cost of making all the high-res assets and more complex graphics. And a part of me thinks this is understandable. Games aren’t really any more expensive now than they were in the ‘90s, arguably they’re cheaper and you never used to get regular sales back in the day.
Not only that but games have much better value for money and are generally made better and look better, even if you only mean comparatively. Obviously I don’t want to pay more but I do understand that all this costs money and that even microtransactions can’t make up for the shortfall. But will the inevitable gamer backlash put publishers off from doing and instead they’ll try to make more money through something even worse than loot boxes? If it was an option to avoid that I think I’d rather pay the £10. Especially if it means a Horizon Zero Dawn sequel that looks as good as a movie.
Just so everyone knows, but Respawn’s Star Wars game, Fallen Order, is set to be revealed this Saturday at the Star Wars Celebration event in Chicago. Respawn are obviously in a very dominant position at the moment, thanks to the success of Apex Legends so it’s going to be very interesting to see if this is the first great Star Wars game from EA.
I’m excited because it’s apparently a single-player game that revolves around Jedi (it’s set between Episodes III and IV) which sounds ideal to me but obviously Battlefield has tempered a lot of people’s hype for what EA are going to allow. Especially as I bet they try to turn it into a game as a service title anyway.
I just hope the story is good for once though and we get some actually characters we can get behind. I’ll be curious to see if there’s any connection to the new films too or if we’re really going to go the whole sequel trilogy without a proper tie-in.
PS: I believe the first trailer for Episode IX will be released on Friday sometime after 4pm, if anyone still holds out any hope for that.
I have been a reader since the Digi days, but this is the first time I have written in. I have a high spec PC, but none of the current consoles. I want to get into VR gaming. My question is, should I buy a PlayStation 4 and VR headset, or should I buy something for the PC, given that I already own one?
Where are the best VR games? I was interested by the recent letter setting out all the VR games that haven’t been marketed at all.
GC: Almost no VR games ever get any marketing. If you have a powerful PC then a headset for that seems the obvious answer, although you may want to wait and see the results of this weekend’s Hot Topic.
E-mail your comments to: [email protected]
Finally. It’s been a very, very long time, but I think I can speak on this rather special game now in a modern context. I’ve recently started playing the Switch port of Final Fantasy VII, 22 years after I last conquered the game as a teen – I vanquished the notorious Ruby and Emerald Weapon bosses and all – and so far Final Fantasy VII has aged wonderfully, in my opinion.
I love the distinguished cyberpunk-esque dystopian design of Midgar, full of distinctive imagery and memorable citizens. I adore the minimalist goofy, charming aesthetics of the human character art, with their weird, extremely endearing body proportions. I’m really enjoying the lucid and flexible Materia system and exciting combat in general.
Delightedly, the writing and scenarios in the game have been as engaging, entertaining and eventful as I remember so far (I’m at the fateful Shinra building infiltration part). The dialogue and chemistry between Cloud, Barret, Tifa, and Aeris is superbly realised, and I can’t wait to reacquaint myself with the rest of the members of the motley crew.
The story’s themes of rapacious, malignant corporations slowing destroying the world, eco-warriors trying to make the world a safer place, fascinating existential ecosystems, journeys of self-discovery and extraordinary latent potential, calamitous alien invasion, and impending apocalypse, so far, have been potently conveyed.
I’ve also been very impressed with how playful and capricious the game has been with the odd mini-game challenge and highly amusing leftfield moments that still feel fresh and fun today. And the dynamic camera work in the battles and seamless transitions from the gameplay to the FMV (such an antiquated term now!) cut scenes are still, retrospectively, pretty impressive and highly evocative of the game’s cutting-edge cinematic design choices in 1997.
Final Fantasy VII was my first proper Japanese role-playing game, after the more action-oriented (and amazing) Secret Of Mana, and it was a testament to how much of a seismic impact it had on my gaming youth from an artistic, mechanical, emotional, and cultural perspective, that I remembered so much of it so vividly and affectionately. So playing it now it’s easy to empathise with why so many gamers have it as their favourite Final Fantasy, Japanese role-playing game, and game.
My beliefs that the game is one of, if not the greatest Japanese role-playing games, are slowly but surely being reaffirmed. I’m truly having an incredible, rather emotion time with Final Fantasy VII. This is why I’ll always be an avid retro gamer!
I simply cannot conclude this rhapsody without mentioning the welcome liberty of speeding up the action and disabling random battle encounters at a click of a stick in the remaster. Hope we get a Skies Of Arcadia remaster with these same benefits someday!
I find myself still playing Red Dead Redemption II for several hours each week, slowly sauntering through the world. I’ve restarted the single-player and rather than ploughing through the missions, I’m taking my time, exploring everything that the world has to offer. I realise Red Dead Online is where most people might be, but I have no interest in sharing my experience with others.
Am I alone or are there others out there who are still playing the campaign so long after release?
Bit late but since I only started playing the story mode on Sunday, I’ll let myself off. Marvel Vs. Capcom Infinite has some daft and entertaining cut scenes, from Rocket Racoon taking possession of Dante’s handguns Ebony and Ivory to Frank West shouting ‘FAAAAANTASTIC!’ to Mike Hagar giving Nemesis a belly-to-back suplex, it’s like a love in for fans and comic nerds alike, with loads of cheesy dialogue and cameos from the extended universe(s).
I didn’t fancy it when released, but it was put on Game Pass and hey ho… so far so fun, although the online community seems as dead as the extended cast from Frank’s native game!
big boy bent
I’ve read that you will have to hold the Switch screen up to your face, with the Joy-Cons attached, to play Zelda: Breath Of The Wild and Super Mario Odyssey. Do you know if it’s possible that you could use a homemade strap of some sort to attach the screen to your face and use the Joy-Cons as a normal joypad?
It’s going to be very tiering on the arms otherwise?
Currently playing: Horizon Chase Turbo (Xbone) 9/10, Tetris (Game Boy) 9/10, and Super Mario Bros. 3 (SNES) 9/10.
GC: Yes, everything to do with Labo is meant to be customisable, especially as it’d just be a strap. Not having one allows them to have a lower PEGI age rating for Nintendo Labo.
Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here
Microtransactions: The Show
Last Thursday I thought I would give this new comedy on E4 called Dead Pixels a try. I taped it on our Sky Plus box and watched it with my housemates – the gimmick being that the central characters are hooked on this MMO called Kingdom Scrolls.
It started okay, I laughed a few times. But it wore out its welcome before the first ad break even. Written and created by the memorably named Jon Brown, it quickly became clear that it was irredeemably awful. Main character Meg liked to keep saying how horny and desperate for bedroom antics she was. The first four times she did this, in very crass terms, were funny. By the fortieth, uh, not so much. Comparing her to say, Michelle from Derry Girls who has a similar thirst that cannot be quenched, Meg feels so fake and poorly drawn.
This guy clearly labours jokes as badly as Seth MacFarlane. I know that heel characters can be very funny for comedy – Fawlty Towers, BlackAdder, Rimmer from Red Dwarf and so on – but everybody was so thoroughly loathsome. One character, who is a father to a young daughter, was so invested in the game that he wouldn’t administer her eye drops when she needed them. But again, the joke was drilled down into the ground harder than sandworm dives through the dunes of Arrakis. He would ignore her again and again, the child in distress offscreen – not even in the lounge playing with him or watching him play and he had put a lid on her playpen and nailed it down so she can’t get out and presumably cause trouble for him.
He only describes this. Because actually showing us it would hopefully be unbroadcastable. In the main plot, a new ‘hot guy’ comes into Meg’s place of work and she ropes him into playing the game – which looks like a boring cross between World Of Warcraft and Minecraft. The rest of her party are appalled at this ‘filthy casual’ but realise he’s willing to spend big money on microtransactions. So do they pretend to be nice to him in order to encourage to buy nice things for them? Well, at least it’s not that predictable.
No, they lure his avatar into a cave and kill him and loot his corpse! Which was shocking, sure – but just repulsive, not actually funny. Seriously, this show is so mean spirited and ugly it makes Green Wing look like Netflix’s Hilda. Which everybody should watch, by the way. But Green Wing was clever and witty and could offset all its meanness with the oddly sweet moment here or there.
I won’t be coming back to it. Luckily, I managed to wash away all of Dead Pixels’ badness by viewing the much superior Brooklyn Nine-Nine immediately afterwards. I can only imagine that this Jon Brown fellow has some dirt on somebody to get this travesty green-lit and I would wholeheartedly recommend that everyone avoid this show like the pox on humanity it so clearly is. I thank you.
Rez Infinite is £12.49 currently on PlayStation Store in the sales, normal price is £24.99. I’m going to get it at that price as I never have played Rez before and I had a Dreamcast years ago but never played it on that and also for the VR element. Also, A Fisherman’s Tale is £9.29 usually £11.99.
GC: Both of those are excellent VR games. Rez is one of our favourite games ever.
I have to admit the intro to PS1 classic Soul Blade still gives me goosebumps every time the song kicks in. I’d have to nominate it for best game intro ever.
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Ishi, who asks what’s the best VR experience you’ve ever had?
With even Nintendo now embracing virtual reality we want to know whether you’ve ever played VR on a modern console or PC and what you thought of it. Were you impressed by the technology and what did you think of the games you played?
What’s your favourite VR game and how much does that have to do with the virtual reality experience alone and how much to do with the gameplay? How close do you think VR is to being mainstream and do you think companies should put more or less emphasis on it than they currently do?
E-mail your comments to: [email protected]
The small print
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