The morning Inbox looks forwards to Nintendo at The Game Awards, as a newcomer to the series is very impressed by Shenmue II.
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PLEASE NOTE: The GameCentral team are away at a press event today and so there will be no evening Inbox. Normal service will resume tomorrow.
Just a couple more weeks to got until Red Dead Redemption II and I couldn’t be more excited. With Rockstar you know you’re guaranteed a level of quality and having loved the first game I can imagine there’s any chance I’m going to be disappointed.
But the real reason I’m excited is I’m just looking forward to sinking into another giant-sized, big budget open world single-player game. I haven’t really done it since God Of War and to me the pinnacle of video games is being able to just veg out with a top quality game where everything is happening around you and for you. Forget multiplayer games where you’re constantly being reminded you don’t have the same reflexes as a 13-year-old, for me the ultimate form of video game is a single-player game whose only goal is your entertainment.
I also notice that the week it’s out is when the clock’s go back and I wonder if Rockstar actually chose that release date because of it. Because when the nights draw in and it’s dark and cold outside that adventure out in the Wild West is going to look even more inviting!
It’s good to see Microsoft finally taking the initiative in the console war, it feels like they’ve been asleep and irrelevant basically this whole generation. It sounds like they’ve got the tech side of things covered with streaming and new consoles and I like that they’re buying up all these different developers – even if I agree they’re not really expanding their reach very much and they really need to make some Japanese buys.
I’m now really looking forward to whatever they’re going to announce in November, although I suppose there might not be much that is that specific since they don’t want to put anyone off buy an Xbox One this Christmas.
I am curious to see what they’re going to do in terms of VR and AR as well, as it’s obvious they’ve been experimenting and they’d be silly if they let Sony get any further ahead on that side of things. Like others have said competition is good for everyone and I’m actually quite surprised and impressed that Sony hasn’t done anything silly or arrogant with their massive lead this gen. I’m not sure how long that’ll last though without Microsoft pushing them.
After seeing some American previews of Fallout 76 I’m still not convinced by the game. Three hours of previews is not much to go on so I think I’m going to wait to see what the final reviews are like first. This isn’t Bethesda’s fault but the big problem with online-only games is that there’s no way to get an advance review and yet you worry that you’re going to fall behind the curve if you don’t get it straight away.
I don’t know that’s really anyone’s fault but I’ve been burned before and it’s made me very cautious about it happening again. There’s a beta as well, I know, but I don’t really trust them anymore than demos, which is basically what they are.
What I wish they would do with games like this is make them free-to-play for the first few days and only then charge you for it. I don’t know if MMOs still work like that but to me it makes sense for a lot of online games. It seems like something that lots of other industries use but games are always about grabbing your money while you know as little about it as possible, which always puts me off.
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Someone wrote in recently to say that, as someone that hadn’t played the games before, they weren’t too impressed by Shenmue but as someone in the same position I’d like to disagree. Although I admit that the first game is kind of clunky and a lot of it is boring I was still impressed by the scale of it all and the level of detail. Especially running on a console that was barely more powerful than a PS1.
But it’s Shenmue II that’s even better and I wonder whether the reader actually played that one or was put off by the first? The pacing is a lot faster, the characters are more interesting, and there’s a lot more variety in locations. The graphics even still manage to look impressive at times and I can only imagine how they must’ve seemed to people at the time.
I’ve no idea how Yu Suzuki convinced Sega to spend so much money on the game, but the mega budget shows in every element of the game. I will definitely be getting the third game as a result of playing this and I hope it can live up to the spectacle of these games that were very much ahead of their time.
The new norm
Although people are probably right to be cautious about Project xCloud and streaming in general I still think it’s an exciting development. It’s been something people have been talking about for years and it sounds like Microsoft has the structure in place to really make it work.
We all want gaming to accepted as a normal mainstream activity and the more people that can play proper, non-mobile games the better. That combine with what looks like the cross-play between formats becoming commonplace I think it’s going to lead to a lot more people experiencing games and seeing them as a normal thing and I think that can only be fore the good.
End of year preview
So there isn’t a PSX this year but I’m right in thinking that The Game Awards is still happening in December, right? Assuming Nintendo are only going to talk about Super Smash Bros. Ultimate from here on in I really hope that we see more of their plans before the year is out. I’m desperate to see what Metroid Prime 4 and Bayonetta 3 look like, and although I appreciate they like to get things right before showing them off I need some reassurance that these games are still coming and the Switch still has plenty to look forward.
I appreciate Animal Crossing is popular and a lot of people are looking forward to it but it’s just not my thing so I’m still a bit worried about next year, especially as I don’t really like Fire Emblem either and neither Metroid or Bayonetta has been guaranteed for 2019.
At this rate we’re likely to get the redesigned Switch before anything else, although I guess they probably wouldn’t launch that if they didn’t also have a big name game to go alongside it too.
GC: It’s already confirmed that Nintendo of America’s Reggie will be at The Game Awards, so you should some kind of annoucement or demonstration of something.
Brief history lesson
Weird to see Nintendo releasing what is basically a hacked version of Zelda on the Switch. I guess they’re really going all in on the NES side of things and just totally ignoring the other consoles. I still hope that they’ll start to introduce them because although I don’t consider the online service to be a big rip-off I really don’t find any of the NES games very playable at all.
They’re interesting to see the history but I’ve usually had enough after five minutes and I can’t believe I’m the only. Especially anyone that didn’t grow up with them (I’ve never even seen one in real life!).
Count me as another that’s pretty pumped for Call Of Duty: Black Ops 4 on Friday. I’ve pre-ordered it too, and played the betas, and so far it’s looking great. Personally I prefer the less realistic entries. WWII was fine and all but it never surprised me and I found a lot of the weapons kind of boring. I know a lot of people don’t like the sci-fi stuff but the truth is we’re living in a sci-fi world right now so while we might not have jetpacks and stuff like that we certainly do have railguns and drones and other things that would’ve seemed like just fantasy a few years ago.
To me the Black Ops games understand they’ve got to be a game and so they can bend the rules a bit more and make sure everything is there just to be entertaining and not realistic. It’s a balance and while some Call of Duty games didn’t get it right I think others have.
The only thing I am upset about though is the story campaign. I get a lot of people don’t play them, and maybe it does seem odd to have it in a game that’s best known for multiplayer, but I’ve always found them really well done and I enjoy them a lot in a dumb action movie kind of a way. It just seems like part of the package and part of the video game ritual of the year. I kind of wish they’d add it as DLC but I think that would be too expensive, it’s a shame.
I would also like to recommend Mark Of The Ninja (although I’ve not played the remastered version – although it sounds like it’s only technical changes) and Invisible, Inc. They’re great games and I’ve never met anyone else that’s played them!
Slightly late to the part but I’ve just beaten Marvel’s Spider-Man and have been super impressed by the whole game. Sure it’s not original, but there’s not a second of it I haven’t enjoyed. Good work!
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Ishi, who asks what is your favourite video game soundtrack?
The game can be from any era or format but we’re interested in which game had the best overall soundtrack, not just one good song. What is it you like so much about your favourite soundtrack and how well does it work together with the game? How much difference do you think a good soundtrack makes to a game and have any been ruined by a bad one?
Do you own the soundtrack separately and if so how often do you listen to it and other video game music on its own?
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The small print
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