The Wednesday Inbox wishes Gabe Newell would explain his Xbox Series X love, as one reader recommends the Cris Tales demo.
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I wouldn’t argue with most of the complaints being levelled at Microsoft at the moment. It’s probably too early to judge any of the games, as good or bad as they may or may not look, but the overall messaging and presentation of what they’re doing has been a real miss.
However, I am not convinced that Sony really has anything better in the short term. The only real launch exclusive (exclusive in that it’s not on PlayStation) is Halo Infinite, but that is a big name game and I have a reasonable amount of optimism that it could still turn out all right.
But versus that Sony only has Spider-Man: Miles Morales and it’s not a full game. Sure, Spider-Man itself was the best-selling exclusive on PlayStation 4. But this is like saying the Xbox Series X is launching with a new Halo, when what you really mean is it’s Halo 3: ODST but only a quarter of the length.
I can imagine people buying the game and the PlayStation 5 without realising (Sony seem very happy to encourage that mistake) but it’s still a very weak line-up given how many other games they were talking about.
As far as I’m concerned the best solution for all of this would be a gentleman’s agreement between Microsoft and Sony that they don’t launch their consoles until next Christmas when they’re actually ready. It won’t happen, of course, and we’ll just end up with the usual two years of cross-gen releases and rushed tech demos but it’s nice to imagine a more sensible arrangement.
To the extreme
Okay, so I’m going to do my best not to sound condescending here, because I really don’t want to, but some people will always take what I’m about to say that way, but…
To all the people saying ‘I don’t understand how someone can be so blinkered/invested into X console over the other’
Here’s a reality check, the only reason people write in is because they have a strong feeling/reaction to a piece of news, positive or negative. If you are just ‘meh’ to something you aren’t going to take the time to write out a letter.
This is why you only ever see the extremes of opinion, fanboy and the like online, as they are the only people invested enough to take that time out of their day. It is very rare you will get an objective opinion from anyone other than a paid writer.
I hope this offers some commenters some perspective or offers an insight into what they read.
More than a pass
I just felt the need to reply to kingshomari, to say that Game Pass is a fantastic thing and it’s not all about AAA games. In the last year I have only bought on game (Assassin’s Creed Odyssey) and the reason for this is Game Pass. I have played so many games I would never have bought in lots of different genres: Minecraft Dungeons, Moving Out, Golf With Your Friends, Old Man’s Journey, both Ori games, Two Point Hospital, Untitled Goose Game, Outer Worlds, Hellblade, Riverbond, Supermarket Shriek, What Remains Of Edith Finch, Gardens Between, and Thomas Was Alone to name some, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all of them.
I haven’t even tried some of the bigger games like State Of Decay or Gears Of Wars and I feel I‘ve had my money’s worth and more. Roll on all of the games announced last week, a lot of which I was quite excited about – Avowed and Everwild being two, plus the games announced at the first showcase everyone seems to have forgotten about and I think the future of Game Pass is looking incredible.
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If there’s any Suikoden fans out there wishing for a new instalment, the series creator and head writer of Suikoden 1 to 3 has set up a Kickstarter for a spiritual successor. Has a cool aesthetic somewhat reminiscent of Octopath Traveler and some top flight composers onboard. At time of writing (six hours after it opened) it’s already raised over £620,000 and caused Kickstarter’s entire site to crash three times!
I would like to bring to everyone’s attention that Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes is now available to back on Kickstarter. What is Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes, I hear you ask? Well, it is a spiritual successor to the Suikoden series, created by many of the original staff who worked on the Suikoden franchise.
The game has already been backed in a matter of hours and briefly crashed Kickstarter when it went live and is now working its way through the stretch goals including a console release. The funding ends 28th August so you have plenty of time to donate.
Eyetunes (PSN ID)
GC: It’s already reached the console versions stretch goal, so that’s great news.
Thinking Zelda: Breath of the Wild is similar to Far Cry is a depressingly common argument. Far Cry has towers on the map, enemy camps, and spreadable fire = ‘Breath Of The Wild doesn’t offer anything original.’
Another common – and correct – argument is if Nintendo had stuck with the usual Zelda template for one more iteration it would’ve ended up been about three too many and treading water to that extend could’ve potentially stalled the whole series for years.
Past, present, and future games
Couple of things, GC: I’m surprised nobody has written in to express their opinion on CrossCode since your review. I’ve downloaded it and have beat the first two chapters. I’m quite impressed. But didn’t you think the controls were a bit… fiddly? Not a deal breaker by any means, it just felt that the dodge should be one of the face buttons – instead of the right trigger. It just feels a little weird. It made fighting the bosses a little more awkward that they really should have been. But, like I say, not enough to ruin the experience.
Also, have you heard of Cris Tales? I’ve just bought the most recent Edge magazine which ran a preview of it and lo and behold, there’s a demo of it for the PlayStation 4! (I assume you can find one for the Switch and Xbone too as it will also be released on those formats.)
It plays mostly like a side-scrolling Japanese role player and you control a girl by the name of Crisbel. My Anglo-fied ear desperately wants to add an ‘a’ in the middle as it just doesn’t sound right otherwise, but no matter. The main hook is that Cris can observe and manipulate events in the past, present and future. Very early on, the screen is split into three to depict this with what looks like a Dairylea cheese triangle in the middle. The left of the screen is the past, while the right is the future. Even in this short demo, it manages to be quite poignant without any dialogue! It’ll be out in November and I for one am most intrigued…
GC: It does sound interesting, but we’ve never heard of it before. And no, we didn’t have any problem with CrossCode’s controls.
The horse’s mouth
I’ve been interested in purchasing the game Lonely Mountain: Downhill, especially after reading your review GC. Yet I noticed with other reviews of this particular game there has been issues regarding slowdown and juddering during gameplay? I’ve read it’s on all the other formats, not just for the Nintendo Switch.
I emailed Megaton Industries regarding this issue and the very next day I received a nice email from Daniel Helbig stating that these particular slowdowns in the game have all been fixed with an updated patch. So I’m going to purchase the game now and top marks for their customer service to!
GC: We were going to say, we didn’t have any problems with slowdown.
Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here
Just a few comments on some of the previous Inbox letters.
In regards to the negativity surrounding the recent Xbox reveals. I get where people are coming from and myself am already planning to get a PlayStation 5 over the Xbox One Series X, having owned both a PlayStation 4 and Xbox One S this generation. But price could be a huge factor for a lot of casual gamers, who have little interest in exclusive games. Also, if I am not mistaken the Xbox Series X boasts more power, which even though I doubt will have any real impact over the PlayStation 5 this could also sway some who are on the fence.
On the subject of games prices, I also have concerns over rising prices. I totally get that games prices haven’t gone up much over the years, and the rising production costs, but don’t understand how a brand new DVD or Blu-ray of a multi-million pound blockbuster costs £10-15 but a video game with a similar budget might cost four or five times that amount. It doesn’t help that supermarkets don’t seem to sell video games anymore, they used to do some great deals on new releases if you spent x amount on your shopping.
Finally, I also don’t understand video games trailers at times. Not only people getting hyped by a trailer that shows no real details or gameplay but also trailers for games coming out a ridiculous time in the future. If you see trailer for a film or TV show it’s usually ‘coming next month’ or ‘this summer’. I’ve never watched a trailer for a film and gone ‘that looks good when is it out? Oh what in three years’ time’
GC: Video games still generally have lower budgets and many more people watch movies than play games. For now, all films really are coming out in a year or more’s time, but otherwise we’d agree.
I wish Gabe Newell had gone into some kind of detail on why he rates the Xbox Series X. What kind of comment is ‘because’? I assume it’s the stats too but surely he, of all people, knows how small a part of the story that is.
Beneath A Steel Sky is free to download on Steam now, just search for it and click on Play Game to install it.
This week’s Hot Topic
Given the Xbox Games Showcase last week the topic for this weekend’s Inbox is an obvious one: how do you think Microsoft are doing with their next gen plans so far?
What did you think of the games that were shown and will they be enough to convince you to get an Xbox Series X? Do you think the complaints about Halo Infinite’s graphics are fair and how do you think that game in particular is looking? If you were the head of Xbox right now how would you handle the launch of the console?
If you want to address similar points in the weekday Inbox then please indicate whether your message is meant for the Hot Topic or not.
E-mail your comments to: [email protected]
The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length.
You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.
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