Games Inbox: Is Horizon Forbidden West worth getting?

The Friday Inbox asks why CD Projekt keep making the same mistakes with Cyberpunk 2077, as one reader suggests an online Nintendo museum.

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Ending the drought
So Horizon Forbidden West has ended up reviewing a little better than I expected (I didn’t think it’d be bad, just more of the same) so I think I will try and pick it up on Friday, as long as there aren’t any sudden launch day problems (all these issues with the Cyberpunk 2077 update have got me a bit worried).

I’m expecting a technically amazing, solid open world game, with some fun combat and a boring story. That was pretty much how the first one went, so if the new one is an improvement with much better side quests I should be in for a good time.

It does strike me though that nobody seems likely to ever be calling this game of the year or any kind of classic and that almost seems kind of disappointing given how long it is since we’ve had a big name Sony exclusive. Gran Turismo isn’t really my thing, but I hope the new game tries to do more than just have good graphics. I know Covid has ruined everything but I’m ready for the next gen to kick the doors down and I have a feeling that Horizon Forbidden West won’t do that in terms of anything but the graphics.
PS: I’d just like to say thanks for pushing the £10 off upgrade option for the PlayStation 5 version. It’s a disgrace that Sony has basically tried to hide this, just to make a quick buck.

Scale of good
I know GC can’t say anything about the Elden Ring embargo, because someone already asked, but I’m getting antsy about next week’s release. Having read about the network test I cannot imagine how it’s not going to turn out good but how good exactly?

I’m assuming the floor for all reviews is going to be an 8/10, and probably 9 for anyone that isn’t a contrarian. But could it be a 10? And could it beat Bloodborne to become From’s best game? I have no answers but that’s the competition it’s up against. From haven’t put a foot wrong with these games, as far as I’m concerned, and it’s just a question of whether this is going to be one of the best games ever or just really, really good.

I’ll take either, obviously, and to be honest the real problem here is finding time to play the game properly, because I imagine it’s going to be a long and difficult journey.

Moderate success
I read that Metro Exodus has sold 6 million copies worldwide now. This was presented as a good thing but I can’t help thinking it’s very low for what I consider to be a great game, especially one that seems to have been near constantly on sale for at least the last two years.

I remember GC saying they were surprised it seemed so underrated and I agree. It’s a really great game that manages to avoid almost all the problems of bloat associated with recent open world games but having a mixture of smaller areas and linear sections that works really well.

Hopefully there will still be a sequel but it’s a shame to see really good games go relatively unnoticed, when they’re a lot more interesting and original than a lot of things out there.

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Long way to fall
Just read your bit on EA blaming everything but themselves over Battlefield 2042. I did say months before it came out it would be a flop. I also said Call Of Duty: Vanguard would be a flop, which it was. The problem with game developers is they try and tell you what you are getting rather than asking the gamer what they would like and that’s the problem for me.

The Battlefield 2042 trailer looked too much like Call Of Duty set in the future and Call Of Duty ended up slapping remastered in to get the sales with their game. Maybe the next Battlefield, they will ask what we want rather than saying this is what you’re getting. That’s if there is another Battlefield.
PS: I got my copy of Horizon Forbidden West a day early, only problem is it’s on PlayStation 4. Was going to upgrade to PlayStation 5 version for free but gotta wait till Friday so Sony can activate the PlayStation 5 upgrade section. It’s why I love disc, sometimes you get them early!

GC: Call Of Duty: Vanguard was the best-selling game of 2022 in the US and only second to FIFA 22 here. Battlefield 2042 was fifth in the US and 14th in the UK.

Déjà vu
Having played the first chapter of Cyberpunk 2077 at launch, then shelving it to play when it was ‘fixed’, I downloaded the update for my PlayStation 5 with a degree of excitement. It runs OK, it didn’t crash… but I played for about five minutes before turning it off.

The biggest issue is the absolute lack of variety in the models, both cars and non-player characters. Having them so outlandish looking only drives home the problem. That was probably also in The Witcher and GTA or any other open world game.

Rather than background characters in neutral colours they chose ‘bright yellow leggings girl’ who is then repeated four times in one small street… or the outlandishly fat men in orange leather vest tops that you can see four of whilst stealing one of what feels like 10 car models in the game. It totally destroys any immersion that the city creates and breaks the game for me worse than any bug.
Nuggettim (PSN ID)

Virtual history
Along with the announcement that the 3DS and Wii U eShops will be shuttered next March, Nintendo have launched a site that collates your most played games on those platforms into a graphic, provides some basic stats on your most played genres, and lets you pick your most memorable game on each. It’s pretty lacklustre, but it got me thinking back to Microsoft’s 20 Years of Xbox celebrations, which did something similar, using players’ gamertags to generate an individualised exhibit as part of their virtual museum.

Whilst the Xbox Museum was flawed, it was at least an interesting and fairly immersive way to bring a sense of the medium’s history to gamers who might not think much about it otherwise. Given that Nintendo is probably the most storied developer/publisher, I can only imagine how amazing a well-designed virtual museum of their work would be, and how broad an appeal it could have. Since a real-life Nintendo Museum is set to open in Kyoto next year, a virtual counterpart would be especially welcome for international fans unable to make a trip to Japan. Anyone got an uncle I can talk to about this?

Also, a quick PSA – whilst the eShops aren’t closing until 2023, your ability to add funds to them via credit/debit cards and gift cards will end this May and August, respectively. So don’t wait too long if you’re planning to pick up any games that are trapped on those systems!

Disaster masters
Does CD Projekt not own any consoles to do testing or something? I’m struggling to understand how a company that nearly went under because of its terrible console ports has somehow managed to turn its big comeback into a clown show.

I have never heard of half of this stuff happening with any other game and yet everything to do with Cyberpunk 2077 seems to be a constant stream of disasters, with everything seemingly rushed out the door at the first hint of it being ready.

EA may sound a bit pathetic trying to explain Battlefield 2042 but they’re clearly not the only ones that haven’t coped well with working from home.

Making it easier
I know I’m a bit late to the party with all this, but I thought Nintendo absolutely knocked it out of the park last week with their Nintendo Direct.

I know Nintendo advised or warned, depending on which way you look at it, not to expect any games to be covered over the second half of the year of 2022. So not to see Metroid Prime 4, Bayonetta 3 or the new Zelda was not really a shock to the system and if we did, it would have probably broke the internet.

The one game that did stand out to me that didn’t get mentioned was the new Mario + Rabbids Sparks Of Fury game, I really enjoyed the first one and was kind of expecting it to be released in the early part of this year but, alas, it wasn’t.

Still, like the great Shigeru Miyamoto once said, ‘A delayed game can eventually be good, yet a rushed game will forever be bad’. Words most of the gaming industry could learn a lot from.

Anyway, currently playing Metroid Dread on Rookie, yes I did complete it the first time round but there wasn’t a single fibre in my body that thought to myself ‘Do you know what? This game could do with being a bit harder’.

Who are you people on the other side of the difficulty spectrum picking Dread mode? Why would you even want to do that to yourself? You crazy cats, you!
freeway 77

Inbox also-rans
Just to let the reader from yesterday know that this very day Crunchyroll has been announced for Switch. I know it’s not Netflix or Disney+ but that is some quick work on the part of Inbox magic. Never doubt it!

Wordle is a game to test you. I been doing the puzzle for 24 days now and have completed every one. Make it too easy and it’s not worth doing.

This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Futterman, who asks what is your favourite indie game of recent years?

From the last two generations, what indie game have you enjoyed the most and why? How often do you play indie games and what do you see as the key differences between them and AAA titles?

How important do you feel indie games are to the games industry as a whole and what do you think bigger publishers could learn from their smaller counterparts?

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 and content.

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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