The evening Inbox continues the debate over video game difficulty, as one reader worries at the popularity of single-player games on Xbox.
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Reasons to be happy
A reader mentioned it the other day but just to clarify the Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order reveal will be on Saturday at 7.30pm UK time. Not a very convenient time but I’m sure there are plenty reading this that will be tuning in regardless. Not sure how much really information we’ll get, especially as this isn’t really a game event, but I’m hoping for that best.
The most positive things at the moment are that a) it’s by Respawn, who haven’t made a bad game yet and b) it is apparently single-play – which makes no sense given the Visceral Games’ cancellation but is obviously not something to argue against.
There’s also some other positives, including leads from God Of War III being heavily involved and the writer of Knights Of The Old Republic II and Fallout: New Vegas. Apparently the tone has been described as ‘dark’ but like ‘Force Unleashed without the Mountain Dew qualities’. I’m not entirely sure what that means but I think it’s meant to imply it’s dark but not full-on Zack Synder edgelord dark. Which seems good.
If it’s basically Rogue One tone but with Jedi I’ll be super happy. And that’s face it, that hasn’t happened a lot lately if you’re a Star Wars fan.
State of play
The Xbox weekly gameplay chart at TrueAchievements seems to sadly paint a picture of why there are not as many single-player games anymore.
The top 10 games for the week to 7th April, in descending order, were: Fortnite, Apex Legends, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, Call Of Duty: Black Ops 4, Grand Theft Auto V, Minecraft, Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, Roblox, FIFA 19, and Rocket League. It looks like the highest placed single-player game is Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice at number 28!
I would like to think the PlayStation 4 chart is more diverse, and expect that it is to some degree, but my money is on a similar picture being painted.
PS: RE: John a few weeks back. I have to agree that the remasters of Crash Bandicoot, and Crash Bandicoot 2, are terrible and unforgiving games. The third had better platforming and was fun to play. I have no qualms about the Crash Team Racing remaster, though, as I played the original on my PS Vita just last year and it holds up very well as a Mario Kart clone.
RE: Spoon and most pointless game peripheral. I’ve had quite a few, I had a Power Glove as a child, that never saw much use. I vaguely remember a plastic board thing that went with a Mario Paint game I don’t remember playing. A truly awful cassette loader for my C64 that required you to fiddle with a knob to get lights to flash up so as to heighten the chance of the game loading (I don’t think it ever actually worked).
The worst one – or at least the most expensive to buy versus time it got used anyway – was the turntable peripheral that was used with DJ Hero. If I remember correctly, I paid £90 for that and the game, and I played with it for about half an hour before realising I preferred Guitar Hero. I still have it somewhere in the box and I don’t think it ever got used apart from the first play. I had the Guitar Hero peripheral for the DS too and again that got very little use, but more than the DJ one at least.
Ask me the question in a few years and I may be inclined to say the PlayStation VR, save for Moss (four hours), Resident Evil 7 (three to four hours) and Astro Bot (10 hours tops), I’ve not enjoyed anything else longer than 10 minutes and it’s currently just living in its box. I definitely have buyer’s remorse with that. Well over £350 for three games enjoyed, all of them combined adding up to less time than I’ve spent on The Crew 2 in the past few weeks, a game I got for £4.
GC: That’s a surprising comment about PlayStation VR, we’ve found it to be one of the most consistently exciting formats of recent years.
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V for victory
Devil May Cry 5 has completely smashed my expectations. It’s devilishly good, with aspects of the combat so forceful, sophisticated, and inventive that it could actually challenge Bayonetta’s crown in these type of arcade action games for me.
In hindsight, I can’t believe I had strong reservations, sadly even an overly entitled, vitriolic attitude, towards the game’s tone, art, and direction after the debut trailer because it didn’t look ‘Japanese’ and pre-DmC enough. The fool I was, and quite the inexplicable lapse in my judgment, admittedly.
Fortunately, I grew increasingly more confident about the game’s quality leading up to its release, and to my delight the game is stunning to behold and tremendous fun to play. V is such a bold departure for Devil May Cry convention, that feels so fresh and exciting to fight as with his demon delegation discipline.
Amazingly, I’ve only scratched the surface of the combat potential in the game as I’m getting to grips with Dante and his new moves!
The Right Hand of Doomed
I don’t know if Gorf wrote in before seeing the very latest Hellboy reboot trailer, seemingly released in the last 24 hours (at time of writing) and I like to think I’m not squeamish about violence and a bit of claret in films but eeeew! There was really no need for that at all unless NetherRealm are going to have ol’ Anung Un Rama (Hellboy’s actual name for non-fans) guest star in Mortal Kombat 12 like he did in Injustice 2.
Who are they making this film for? The reviews are going to have to be off the scale now for me to see it at the cinema. At least it’s going to feature the best named comic book character ever, Lobster Johnson!
PS: I remember the opening CGI cut scene to Resident Evil – CODE: Veronica, where Clare Redfield channels the spirit of John Woo being well received and pretty spectacular at the time.
GC: The levels of gore are just as misplaced as the humour from the first trailer. As fans of the comics it’s really disheartening.
Not a hero
Anyone thinking of trying Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice but are put off by all the horror stories of difficulty then please don’t be.
I’m 43, with no real superhuman gaming skill, and even I have managed to kill fives bosses and make some considerable progress. In fact, I’m ashamed to admit I even fist pumped at one point!
There is always something new to try and a different approach. Very rarely have I actually had to sit there with no options to progress further into the game.
You always have complete control and mistakes come from player error, not bad game design. In fact, I’m now becoming pretty damn good (if I do say so myself).
The feeling of progression, skill, and satisfaction is truly something FromSoftware have made their own.
There’s no need for an easy mode in the Souls games because the tools for making them easier are already included, like the Drake Sword and the plunge attack in Dark Souls I and, of course, the bow which was my go-to weapon in all of them. That’s all I needed, plus the ability to think outside the box, i.e. use my imagination and, when that failed, I summoned, either computer characters or other players.
Apologies if the above sounds arrogant. I do not mean it to but I’m by no means a super-skilful player, quite the reverse.
Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here
RE: Dark Souls easy mode. I’ve played many games on normal and then on harder modes for a hard challenge. Halo on Legendary and God Of War on Give me God of War are great examples. But I feel Dark Souls should not offer an easy mode.
They exist as purposefully hard challenges. Sometimes this is an elitist endeavour to find the best of the best. Often though it’s to provide a challenge for normal folk to rise to and find levels of dedication, perseverance, and accomplishment they never knew they had until they were tested. Dark Souls falls into the latter and the sort of admirable qualities I believe From were looking to engender with their games.
If you provide settings to meet gamers in their comfort zones then you lose the struggle and the point. Marathons are run by people of all skill levels but they all finish the same race. Just like in a marathon it’s most rewarding to see the less capable take on the challenge of a Souls game and beat it.
There are smug elitists in gaming that use hard games as a childish one-upmanship but in my experience most Souls fans are more like the well-meaning supporters who line the route of a marathon and cheer people on.
I can see value in both sides of the argument, I just side with the nos. The most annoying thing I find with the debate is the portrayal that everyone who agrees with no is a whiney elitist who feels they will be robbed of some childish sense of achievement by an easy mode. The challenge exists for noble reasons, has value, and for me is central to the DNA and point of Souls games, which would be lost with easier modes.
Not everyone will find this approach entertaining, worthwhile, or enjoy the challenge. I do, as do many others. I don’t think it’s elitist to place value on these qualities or to say just play another game if it’s not your cup of tea, out of some childish notion of diminished personal achievement from the addition of an easy mode.
Come on Nintendo/Microsoft now you’re both talking, again can we have a new Diddy Kong Racing? A remaster, sequel, or even just a port of the original for now please.
PS: On any platform, thank you.
I was wondering if you know if there will be a future multiplayer option for Dangerous Driving? I am looking for a successor to Split/Second to play multiplayer at home, and it looks quite promising.
GC: Yes, it is mentioned in our review.
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Ishi, who asks what’s the best VR experience you’ve ever had?
With even Nintendo now embracing virtual reality we want to know whether you’ve ever played VR on a modern console or PC and what you thought of it. Were you impressed by the technology and what did you think of the games you played?
What’s your favourite VR game and how much does that have to do with the virtual reality experience alone and how much to do with the gameplay? How close do you think VR is to being mainstream and do you think companies should put more or less emphasis on it than they currently do?
E-mail your comments to: [email protected]
The small print
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