Games Inbox: Is Halo Infinite the best video game this Christmas?

The Thursday Inbox is not impressed at Ubisoft’s attitude towards NFTs, as another reader manages to pick up an Xbox Series X console.

PLEASE NOTE: As we get our own Christmas and New Year content ready for the end of the year, please consider sending in your own festive Reader’s Feature to run over the Christmas break. It can be on any subject but if there’s something you’ve been meaning to write in about, but never got around to, now would be a good time for it.

To join in with the discussions yourself email [email protected]

Strong finish
Although I certainly agree that Microsoft has had a good few months recently I think it’s silly to pretend it had an almost perfect year, as a recent reader did. Until now the only releases of any note they’ve had all year are Microsoft Flight Simulator, which isn’t a game, and Psychonauts 2. Microsoft has hardly released anything for years now but finally, with the launch of Forza Horizon 5, they’ve lurched into action.

We really need to learn as gamers not to immediately label everything as the best thing ever or the worst. Microsoft has had an average year, with almost everything of note happening in the last two months. Now, that said, I would argue that Halo Infinite is probably the best game of Christmas 2022.

Given how bad Call Of Duty and Battlefield 2042 turned out that’s not that much of an accomplishment, except it is for Microsoft who have struggled to prove they have good quality exclusives. Halo Infinite was also a big risk as under normal circumstances it’s clear it would’ve been left in the oven for six months to a year, but the risk of releasing it half-finished paid off and I haven’t enjoyed anything quite as much all year – at least in terms of the multiplayer.

There’s probably a good argument to be made that Forza Horizon 5 is even better but since car games bore me I can’t really comment. Let’s hope Microsoft keep up the momentum next year.
Gatso

The 1%
What a shocker it is to find that Ubisoft hasn’t learnt a thing from the backlash against NFTs and is going to carry on and do them anyway. Ignoring the fact that Ubisoft are always one of the most blatant money-grabbers in the industry it’s especially disgusting that the reason they want to do it is that, just like microtransactions in general, they make all their money off the 1% of people that spend big and it doesn’t really matter what the others do.

So never mind the environment, never mind the kinds you tempt into wasting money on this rubbish, and never mind the time and effort you spending making digital junk instead of actual games. Sometimes I don’t know why these publishers don’t go off and run a casino or something, considering how little interest they seem to have in how they make money.

No wonder all their developers are fed up of it too and want to leave. More power to them, because they’ve got some good teams but I’m sick of all this games as a serve NFT rubbish.
Srymer

Under the tree
Just wanted to thank GC for all their good work this year but especially in terms of tips for getting a PlayStation 5. I managed to get one via one of your stories in the spring and while Xbox Series X warnings are much rarer I used your recent one to get one of those too. So now I have both next gen consoles and didn’t have to pay over the odds to get either of them.

I’m not going to start anything about which is better (especially as the Xbox Series X is wrapped up under the tree) but it is a shame that we ever have to make a choice between the three or more consoles that are always on the market at once.

I’d much prefer it if Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo were just streaming subscriptions you could £50 or so for a year. I think they’d prefer that too (well, maybe not Nintendo) but now we hear that the pandemic is even ruining the uptake of video game streaming. Is there anything Covid can’t ruin?
Lambert

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Take your time
I understand people’s concern that Zelda: Breath Of The Wild 2 doesn’t look that different in the trailer so far but I think it’s pretty obvious that Nintendo aren’t rushing this thing out. If they rush it any less they’d cancel it! (That’s not even really a joke, they did exactly that with Metroid Prime 4.)

This always makes me more confident in a new game. I know nowadays there’s more than one reason for a delay, thanks to the pandemic, but when I hear a game is delayed it makes me more confident that a game is going to be good and that the publisher and developer are trying their best.

There’s a reason you never hear about cash-in sequels like Call Of Duty and FIFA not being delayed. All that matters to them is the release date, I like to think companies like Nintendo and FromSoftware are aiming a little higher.
Encino

Expansive visuals
Was I the only one that was really disappointed by the reveal of The Expanse game by Telltale Games? I’m glad they’re back, and they seem like a good fit for the series but why are the graphics still so cartoony and bad? Surely they know that that was what most people complained about with the original games?

I get that good graphics cost money but surely they can do better than this? Maybe if they spent less money on big name licences and more on the technology that might work out better for them.
Jonesy

Best graphics ever
I was looking at some new screenshots released for Horizon Forbidden West via Game Informer and it definitely is an amazing looking game. I don’t think there’s any question that it will be named the best looking one ever when it comes out next year (please let it come out next year!).

Ignoring Microsoft Flight Simulator I don’t think there’s any argument that Forza Horizon 5 is the best looking game on Xbox Series X but it’s odd to me how little Microsoft is making of the console’s graphics, since they originally said it was the most powerful ever.

I’m sure it is but the only game I’ve seen so far that comes to showing it is Hellblade 2. But like many I wasn’t all that impressed by the recent ‘gameplay’ trailer, as while it look good it barely seemed like a game. I hope they announce something soon that’s more exciting and looks at least as impressive. My hope is that game will be the Fable reboot.
Focus

Bully tactics
I forgot about Bethesda and all that nonsense about not having games with Prey or Scrolls in the name. Some publishers are such [censored – GC] and it’s always little developers they’re bullying too. Do you think if EA or Ubisoft had a game with that in the name they’d try and sue them?

It’s still going on too, with Take-Two stopping It Takes Two from using its name. As if anyone is going to confuse an award winning co-op game with a giant publisher who never even uses their actual name in games or packaging (it’s either 2K or Rockstar).
Gefferson

He who shall not be spelt
Regarding Ed Hooks’ comments about acting in games, I personally feel that both the acting and the animation in games has come along leaps and bounds in the PlayStation 3 and 4 eras.

Thinking back to Max Payne’s ever more constipated look back on the PlayStation 2 to the first Uncharted game on PlayStation 3, take the scene when Elena busts Nate out of that jail cell and he blinks in surprise when it dawns on him what’s about to happen. Nate felt so alive and expressive.

‘Many, if not most, video games hide the characters’ eyes behind masks and dark glasses’, well what about the characters in God Of War, Horizon Zero Dawn, Days Gone, Red Dead Redemption 1 and 2, GTA 4 and 5, The Last of Us Parts 1 and 2, The Witcher games, the Uncharted games, the Assassin’s Creed series – even the recent Spider-Man games have mask-off times and Spidey’s mask is expressive anyway! These are just a few games that I thought of off the top of my head and might be varying in animation quality, but all don’t involve masks!

Saying games are overwritten is not considering that they are a different medium to film. Most films you can watch in one sitting but most games you can’t. I remember listening to Amy Hennig talking about this regarding the Uncharted series and saying that they have to but little prompts in as the player may not have played the game for a while, so it serves as a reminder of previous events.

Also, sometimes characters will talk so as to give hints to the player as what to do next.

And then of course there are the moments that aren’t about dialogue, just excellent acting and beautiful animation, such as the look on Ellie’s face at the end of The Last of Us or the look of loving pride on Elena’s face at the very end of Uncharted 4!

Oh, and who on earth is Benjamin Cumberbach (I think it should be Benedict Cumberbatch!)?
LastYearsModel

GC: You think wrong, it’s Benedictine Cabbagepatch (internet custom holds it that his name should never be spelt correctly).

Inbox also-rans
I have never played a Saints Row game before but as Saints Row 4 is currently £2.44 on the Switch eShop I thought I’d give it a try. Based on a fairly brief initial play I quite like it.
John Atkinson

When are you going to pack up for Christmas, GC? When will be the last Inbox? Just wanted to thank you for all your hard works this year in what are, once again, less than ideal conditions.
Franky

GC: If enough people write in then the last Inbox will be on Friday. We currently don’t have enough for the Hot Topic though, so unless a lot more arrive today that may have to be cancelled.

This week’s Hot Topic
Since this will be the last Hot Topic of the year we want to end on a positive note, so the subject for this weekend’s Inbox is your favourite video game related memory of 2021.

If it’s a moment in a game try to be specific about why it was so memorable and if it’s something that happened in real-life, but was video game related, try and explain a bit about the backstory of what it meant to you.

Overall, was your year with games better in 2021 than 2020 and how important was gaming in help you to get through the tribulations of the pandemic?

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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