The Thursday letters page is thankful for indie games filling the gaps between major releases, as a reader enjoys Steelrising despite its flaws.
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So we’re finally stumbling towards the release of God Of War Ragnarök, after a summer games drought that seems to last forever. I feel like I can blow the dust off my PlayStation 5 and hope that 2022 was just a short break in what has been a great run for the console so far.
I don’t mean this is a fanboy that ‘all other consoles suck’ is a bit of a way, I just think the PlayStation 5 has had a very good first couple of years and if the pandemic didn’t start biting this year was probably even better been.
I would go further and say that no other console, or at least not one in the 3D era, has had such a good first two years. Seriously. It had a good launch and then a stream of really good games, at least every two or three months, until the slowdown around April of this year.
The only rival I can think of is the Switch, but while the first year was great – better than the PlayStation 5 – the second year was pretty bad, and it’s only gotten worse since then. I don’t know if this will make the PlayStation 5 the best console ever or anything, but I think it already is in terms of other hardware at the same point in their lives.
Given some of the crap Embracer has already committed, I’m pretty sure there will be another Saints Row. It might be another reboot, but I don’t think they will give up on what used to be a pretty big franchise. I’m surprised the CEO said it didn’t make a lot of money, with the implication that it took a lot of money to make because my lasting impression was that it was incredibly cheap.
From the bad graphics to the unnamed songs on the radio, the whole thing looked like a BBC production compared to the big-budget Hollywood equivalent that is GTA. As GC’s review said, if it tried to do something different it wouldn’t matter, but it doesn’t.
Maybe that’s the lesson they’ll learn if they do another one, but given the obvious mistake that had to be made, I’m not so sure.
It’s coming to my mind that the Switch 2 is about to be announced, probably sometime next year or early 2024. I might even agree with the fan theory that Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom is meant to be the bookend for the current Switch.
Someone said the Switch still sells well, which is true, but it sells less than it used to, if only for a relatively small amount. That’s always the signal a publisher is looking for, in terms of pushing their next console. Now I’d be surprised if the Switch 2 doesn’t come out at least by Christmas 2024.
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Can I just say how much I enjoy Steelrising? It didn’t get great reviews, but I had nothing else to play and I love Soulslikes, so I gave it a shot and I was pleasantly surprised. Sure, it’s not nearly as polished as From-game and the level design isn’t nearly as good, but I still enjoyed it a lot.
A big part of that is the odd setting and art design, which I think invests you (or at least me!) in a game, despite other flaws it might have. If this had just been generic fantasy or whatever it would have never held my attention, but weird French steampunk? I can forgive quite a bit for that.
Some people say the story is important to them for a game, but to me it’s not the plot but just the atmosphere and feel of a game that’s important, not exactly what’s going on.
King of Pac-Man
The ‘King of Kong’ and controversial American arcade record holder Billy Mitchell was at Elephant and Castle last Friday night, where he validated one of his disputed records and achieved a perfect score in Pac-Man after playing 7.5 hours without losing a life. !
The five co-owners of the Four Quarters arcade in Elephant Park were in attendance. I recommend that you contact them. I was just a gambler. Here’s my report and my friend Toby posted these photos.
hope for more
I hadn’t played the first two, but after all the positive reviews I took a chance on Splatoon 3 and… are you okay? I really like the controls and basic concept, but the game seems so bear bones that I keep thinking there’s something else I need to unlock.
When I read that the others were missing even more content, I’m amazed that the series ever got this far. Although that explains why it has never been so big in the West. I don’t know why Japan likes it so much, but maybe they just don’t like serious/violent shooters, which is fair enough?
The fact that you have to play for so long to unlock anything but one mode is crazy to me, especially because by the time you get to the others everyone is really good and at least I suddenly start to struggle. Salmon Run is really good but again it’s really limited. There isn’t much variety and even though there are different cards, they still look the same.
I’ll wait and see what the DLC looks like, but this feels like a rough sketch game and someone keeps forgetting to color it.
It might be different in China, but I really don’t think we’re in a position where portable cloud streaming consoles make much sense anymore. I’m sure my broadband at home is fairly stable, but on the road? No chance. I can play my Switch on a boat, on top of a mountain, or on the beach (and I have!) but I’m pretty sure I’m not getting enough WiFi to do that with this Logitech/Tencent device .
Also… they couldn’t at least try to do something other than the Switch. In fact, it looks more like a counterfeit brand than the Steam Deck.
India to the rescue
Indie gaming makes up the bulk of my gaming diet these days. The shorter run times and more experimental and creative directions are big factors. The quality bar is also very high these days.
All three console makers have embraced indie games with zeal at one point or another. Nintendo and Sony are also working out their early release schedules and now it’s Microsoft’s turn to fill out Game Pass.
It has resulted in an impressive lineup of indie games on day one for over a year and has also meant Xbox has seen many high quality indie-timed exclusives such as Tunic, Death’s Door, Unpacking and Rogue Legacy 2. The announcement of Hollow Knight: Silksong is a Day One Game Pass release and sums up for me how good indie gaming is on Xbox right now. This month only, Game Pass features Metal: Hellsinger, Tinykins, Immortality, Beacon Pines, and Moonscars.
Last week there was an Inbox letter saying it must be a miserable time for Xbox owners due to a bare release schedule. On the first batch front it was 100% accurate, but the only reason I can think of why Microsoft isn’t getting the level of criticism that Sony or Nintendo would get if they had such a barren first party year is because Microsoft is killing its gamblers. very happy with Game Pass for now.
My Xbox Series X hasn’t been out all year and it’s been a rich and fun year to play on it. My Xbox Series X is much more used than my PlayStation 5, which is now a Sony exclusive box.
However, Microsoft clearly needs to regulate their first party output. With the mess that is Halo Infinite, there’s still a big question mark if they’ll ever reach Sony and Nintendo levels of consistent quality first party output, let alone whether they can match the two at their best.
As much as I appreciate Microsoft’s offerings now, I’m not sure if they have any God Of War or Zelda: Breath Of The Wild in them. However, they have bought some very talented studios so a consistently high quality bar should be the goal and Starfield, Redfall and Forza Motorsport all look promising.
Inbox is running too
Is GTA a disappointment already? No. Absolutely not. I can’t imagine anyone being disappointed by what they saw in the leak. It’s like judging a Marvel movie based on shots from behind the scenes of the green screen.
GC: That happens all the time, often based on just a few paparazzi-esque photos. People can be strange.
I’ve had issues with FIFA over the years but I have to give credit where it’s due and I like that EA is fully committed to this year’s game even if it’s their last and you could have imagined that they would make it on purpose badly to ruin the reputation of the name on the way out – as FIFA will reuse it for their games.
This week’s hot topic
After last weekend’s Inbox on favorite fantasy video games, this week asks the related question: What’s your favorite sci-fi game?
It can be a licensed game if you want, but also try to include a game that started in video games. How big are you a fan of science fiction in general, and how much of a distinction do you make between relatively grounded settings and space fantasy?
Do you think there are too many or too few sci-fi games right now and what kinds of games would you like to see more of, including specific genres like space battle simulators and sci-fi horror?
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The fine print
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