The Tuesday Inbox wonders what an Animal Crossing clone on Xbox would look like, as one reader looks forward to The Medium.
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Interesting article at the weekend about Sony making another PlayStation portable. I don’t think the arguments were very convincing and basically boiled down to ‘I want one’ but dammit it so do I. Since not even Nintendo have a dedicated handheld now though I think it’s pretty obvious that era of gaming is over now.
Which begs the obvious question of which was the best? They were all fairly underpowered (except for the PS Vita, which ironically had one of the weakest game line-ups) so it really does come down to the games and convenience of use.
I’m really tempted to name the Game Boy Advance, with perhaps a nod to the Neo-Geo Pocket. But I think it’s obvious that the answer is the DS. That console felt like the absolute mid-point between the modern and retro age, where games were still being made that were just wacky nonsense and nobody minded. Importing was still a thing (loved Ouendan!) and you never knew quite what the console was capable of or what weird peripheral they’d come up with next.
Technically the 3DS could play most DS games but for me it was a lot more conservative in terms of the games it was offering and it just never felt as exciting or unpredictable. Curious to know what other people think though.
Their own game
Given Animal Crossing: New Horizons has been such a massive how comes nobody else has tried to copy it? I always wonder what Microsoft and Sony think when they see a Nintendo game like that do well, especially Animal Crossing which is so completely different to everything else they do.
If Microsoft is on a speeding spree to buy other developers who would they try and pick up that could make anything like that? I’m struggling to think of anyone except maybe some tiny Japanese or indie company that they could maybe pump full of money and hope for the best. Marvelous, perhaps?
Seems a reasonable plan to me but there’s no sign of it yet and somehow I’m not surprised. I honestly think Blinx might be the last time they tried to make anything that wasn’t just super violent. Sony are a bit more versatile but by downsizing Japan Studio they’re reducing their ability to compete with Nintendo style games.
Presumably they think they don’t need to, that Nintendo aren’t a direct competitor. That might be true but surely they’d make even more money if they tried to beat them at their own game?
You know I’d almost forgotten the PlayStation 5 had even come out until people were talking about it being out of stock again in the Inbox. I don’t know anyone that has one and I haven’t heard any of my friends talk about it either (not that we mingle as much as usual at the moment, of course).
I’m not suggesting that there’s any less demand for the console just that it feels like it’s never come out in the first place and we’re still waiting for the launch. The games aren’t in the charts, Sony hasn’t had an announcement event for three months now and everything feels exactly the same as it used to.
I know there’s a pandemic on, so I’m not blaming anyone, but now that it’s over it feels even more like Sony should’ve just delayed the launch until they had plenty of stock. They may not have lost much by going out on time but I don’t see that they’ve gained anything either.
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I’ve played several gems on Game Pass which were games I would legitimately never even consider buying before. I was the type to buy four or five games a year that were AAA in genres I knew and had high reviews. But, to varying degrees, I very much enjoyed Katana Zero, Bloodstained, My Friend Pedro, Carrion, What Remains Of Edith Finch, A Plague Tale: Innocence, Tetris Effect and many more in the coming years I’m sure.
It’s been a welcome change to the cookie cutter gameplay from Assassin’s Creed Valhalla that I recently also completed. It’s actually given me a sense of excitement in the genre I haven’t had for years.
Maybe not for next gen specifically at the moment, but Game Pass for me is a console seller without question. I feel Sony will surely win the console sales war this gen, but they need to be careful and not let Microsoft achieve an unassailable lead in the subscription wars!
Sale must end
Even without that story of vultures circling CD Projekt I would’ve bet they’re number one on Microsoft’s shopping list. They probably would’ve been away but with their shares down 50%? They’re the bargain of the decade right now and with their stock options in disarray you can bet the execs will be only too glad to sell up and be done with the whole mess. Talk about the mighty falling!
What I hadn’t thought about is that Amazon and Google might also want them, even though I know there were warnings that this sort of thing might happen. So now we start slicing up the games industry until its like the film industry and one company (Disney for movies, probably Microsoft for games) owns almost everything and everyone else is scrabbling around for scraps.
I feel I should be really angry about it but to be honest indie gaming has been my primary interest in games for a long time now and as long as they aren’t affected that’s all I really care about. I mean, I do care this is happening but what can any of us do about such huge companies and unchecked capitalism?
So after only having a Nintendo Switch for over the last two years I was lucky enough to get an Xbox Series S in December and I think it’s fantastic.
I initially cancelled my first pre-order of the console, hoping to get an Xbox Series X or a PlayStation 5 but after it became apparent that wasn’t going to happen I was very fortunate to purchase a Series S online.
I love how small, quiet and well built it is, the SSD with quick resume is a game changer.
I haven’t got any next gen games for it yet, I’m really looking forward to The Medium in a few weeks.
What I have been able to do tho’ is catch up on a lot of games that weren’t on the Switch, so far I’ve got the Resident Evil 2 and 3 remakes, NieR:Automata, Devil May Cry 5, Crash Bandicoot 4, A Plague Tale: Innocence, Dark Souls 3, and Ori And The Will Of The Wisps.
Needless to say, they are all top quality games. My only issue is the 512GB SSD just isn’t enough and I have two options, one is to buy the 1TB expansion card at £220 or wait till the Xbox Series X is available and trade my Series S in for that…
GC: Ori And The Will Of The Wisps is on the Switch.
I don’t think it’s just me but that talk about Bayonetta 3 from Platinum does not sound like it’s particularly close to being finished. Basically, he said, if we’re lucky, we’ll get to hear about it this year. Surely if there was any hope of seeing it out this year he’d say something? And if he’s pessimistic about it in January that seems to be the end of it as far as I can see.
I know Platinum can take their time sometimes, and I’m fine with that, but I wonder if it might mean that it’s being held back for the Switch Pro? Platinum games often push the hardware pretty hard and I can imagine Bayonetta 3 being just the sort of thing to be used as a showcase for the new console. If, you know… it exists.
More: Games Inbox
Running into problems
Well, I’m several hours into Ghostrunner and my personal death toll is well into the hundreds. I’m greatly enjoying it though, I’m not great at “twitch” games but give me one that’s more or less fair and my OCD will kick in and I’ll keep at it. It’s reminding me of Celeste, which I also spent hours (days) on. The only thing that’s a little incongruous are the frankly comedy deaths where I forget which button does what and faceplant into something, which happens all too often and rather breaks the invincible cyborg ninja vibe.
What I wanted to ask the community though, is whether I should return to Divinity: Original Sin 2? Like many of you I’m sure I’ve been revisiting my backlog and I’m not sure whether to give it another go. I enjoyed aspects of it greatly, but the inventory management system just became too frustrating. I gave up a year or so back after reaching an area with several merchants a good distance away from each other, and the prospect of walking back and forth, continuously switching between my party members to perform comparisons and then making sure that the one with the best speech stat did the deals was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Am I doing it all wrong?
If someone can convince me that it’s not a big deal then maybe I’ll try again and figure out a better way, but otherwise it’s staying on the shelf. I don’t mind a little gear optimisation, but I got depressed at the inventory screen to lighting people on fire ratio in the game.
Cyberpunk 2077 is epic. I think it’s the other developers are running scared at the depth of the game. 92 hours in and loving it.
GC: What have other developers got to do with anything?
I used to enjoy the comments sections but they seem to have gone, is that right? Thanks for all the content over the years, the only gaming news I read.
GC: No? We had over 90 on the Inbox alone yesterday. Perhaps there was some brief outage or a problem with your browser.
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Gannet, who asks what do you find the most annoying cliché in gaming?
The cliché can be anything from gameplay mechanics (forced stealth missions) to game design (climbing up a radio tower) to character and story moments (amnesia in Japanese role-playing games) to anything else that annoys you, from marketing to voiceovers.
Is the problem because the concept is overused or that you didn’t think it was very good to begin with? Which cliché do you secretly enjoy and hope never goes away?
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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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