The morning Inbox thinks it’s going to be a quiet year for Sony and Nintendo, as one reader suggests an alternative Final Fantasy VII remake.
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I’ve been reading all the comments about Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice with interest and they remind me of the regular arguments people got into when a new Soulsborne game is released. I very much respect those games but I have neither the skill nor the time to play them and I always feel left out.
That does not mean I want them to change but I do wish they had an easy mode and I do not understand any argument against it, if you assume that the normal hard mode is unchanged and available from the beginning. Hard games used to have an easy mode, I remember Viewtiful Joe and Ninja Gaiden in particular and even though they gave them insulting names to tease you they were a totally legitimate way of playing them.
It’s only the rise of FromSoftware that’s made easy mode a dirty concept and while I think every game should have the option I wouldn’t even mind that much if From games were the exception. But instead their policies has influenced other games and now it’s very common to have no easy mode, permadeath, and rock hard difficulty – all things I cannot, and do not want to, handle. I just don’t see what’s wrong with other people having fun too.
For the fans
The reader asking about Final Fantasy VII the other day was funny because I had forgotten it had got a remake, despite its announcement being such a huge deal. I’ve no idea when it is going to release but I’ve very little confidence in it being something I’d enjoy. What little they’ve shown so far looks so different from the original game it might as well be something completely different.
Which brings me to my point. We’ve had a lot of remakes that either upgrade PlayStation 3 era games with modern graphics (Shadow Of The Colossus) or completely revamp older games (Resident Evil 2) but I can’t think of anything that has tried to update a game but still kept some of the limitations.
The Resident Evil 1 remake is probably the closest but what I would’ve done with Final Fantasy VII is kept the gameplay more or less exactly the same, just making things more accessible where needed, and update the graphics to something close to PlayStation 2 level. Any better than that and I think you lose the charm and tone of the original. Plus the game becomes so expensive to make it has to be changed to suit the mainstream instead of the fans, which is what seems to be happening.
I doubt any company would do this but it seems to me a much more cost effective way of pleasing fans and making your money back without having to worry about anyone else.
Never mind Capcom at E3 I want to know when we’re going to hear something from Sony. I know they’re not there this year but surely they’re going to announce something around the same time? Aren’t they? Or are those little Nintendo Direct style videos all we’re getting all year?
Some people have said that 2019 has been a good year for games, and that’s probably true, but it’s been a bit of a non-event so far for Sony. They only thing they’ve got coming up is Days Gone, which looks like the weakest thing they’d done almost all gen.
Perhaps they’re just keeping their powder to me but it looks like the perfect time for Microsoft (and Google and whoever) to pounce. We could be in with another PlayStation 3 situation where Sony get complacent and have the lead stolen away from them. Especially if this year ends up being as dead for them as it’s looking at the moment.
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I think that Zelda: A Link To The Past listing must be a mistake or something. I don’t see what they could do with it if they’re already releasing Link’s Awakening. They can’t just re-release it, as they’ve already been selling it for around £5 online, but it’s a much bigger game than Link’s Awakening so they can’t be remaking it either, or it’d be a bigger deal than the game the one it’s supposed to be bundled with.
To be honest I think that reader is being a bit optimistic when he says Nintendo are going to have a great second half of the year. A lot of the games he mentioned were just remasters and if Nintendo follow standard procedure half of the other ones will end up being delayed into next year.
We keep hearing about Nintendo combining their home and portable teams but there’s been zero return from that so far, and I’m beginning to worry there won’t be until their next console. I’d still rather have quality than quantity, but as usual the opposite doesn’t really seem to be an option anyway.
Comparing Japan and Western games, I had been playing Skyrim again on Switch (given the lack of big releases lately) and was quite shocked how badly the game has aged… especially in the face of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild.
GC picked it up in their re-review and while it looks great in portable mode It’s just so unimaginative, not only in the stock fantasy world it creates but the (lack of) interactivity and the mission design. I’m about 10 hours in and I’m essentially fast-travelling around ticking endless nearly identical items off a to do list, it’s more like work and I could feel my gaming creativity dripping away. Compared to the joy of Zelda there’s just no sense of discovery.
I had to give up the game and go back to the still brilliant Dark Souls Remastered, which has barely aged a day I might add.
Personally, I agree that Rockstar Games are definitely too much in love with their own reputation. I also found Red Dead Redemption II to be extremely dull once you got over the initial wow factor of the graphics. It’s also an extremely old-fashioned design, that you can tell must’ve been started years and years ago. I wasn’t really impressed by any aspect apart from the technology, and that includes the story which was horribly bloated and made the cardinal sin of telling and not showing why each of the characters acted the way they did.
In terms of which is their best I do think Bully is up there but I think Manhunt has it beat. It’s a much smaller game than the ones they’re best known for but for me it nailed what it was trying to do perfectly and has the strongest gameplay of any of their games. The sleazy tone was also spot on and a lot more honest than GTA.
In terms of their open world games I’d say the best one was still probably GTA: San Andreas, with the first Red Dead Redemption in second place. They’re both a little bloated but at the time they seemed fresh and exciting enough that they could coast along on just that.
I have to agree that Outward sounds like it has sale impulse purchase written all over it. There’s no way I’m picking it up at full price but half price or close to it and I’ll give it a go. I’d never heard of the game until now and I’m kind of surprised this sort of low budget (I assume) game is still being released by normal publishers and not just put out as a pure indie title.
Not that I’m complaining but I wonder what the developer got out of the deal that was better than just doing it all themselves and keeping all the profit? I assume they must’ve been given some money to get it finished? I think it was mentioned the other day that it’s surprising more indie don’t find the funding from elsewhere. I’m sure they’d be better off with a venture capitalist trying their luck, that doesn’t know anything about games, rather than a publisher that knows exactly what it’s doing and how to screw over small studios.
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Surprising just how much of a failure Battlefield V has been, I don’t hear anyone talking about it and Firestorm seems to arrive with out a inch of hype or any notice from my friends list. It’s hard to say why though really. The Second World War setting is old hat but it would have been same with almost anything else they did. The focus on the story mode was weird but I don’t think would’ve necessarily put that many people off. And while I’d like to think people were punishing EA for Star Wars: Battlefield II I don’t think enough ordinary players knew or care about the controversy.
So why did it flop? I think it’s simply that it wasn’t Fortnite and shooters like that are starting to seem old school now. Even Call Of Duty: Black Ops 4 saw sales drop, even though it had battle royale and seemed to be well reviewed. I think that kids, who I assume are the biggest audience for online shooters, are just getting used to playing these games for free and aren’t going to pay (or ask) for anything unless it’s something radically new.
That means just setting Battlefield 6 in the modern day, or making it Bad Company 3 or whatever (Fortnite kids will have no idea what that means) is not going to work. Can EA make the game a success as free-to-play? Probably but they’d blatantly use that as an excuse to bring back loot boxes and that’s what would put me off, never mind the kids.
Really excited by that Pacer game, it looks great! Always preferred WipEout to F-Zero as well, although I’ll settle for any future racer now given how rare they are.
Not happy about that Xbox Live subscription increase, that is a lot. And they do this just as they’re trying to get Xbox Live on Switch and other formats? That’s going to put a lot of people off.
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Crinkles, who asks what is your favourite ever video game cut scene?
Whether it’s pre-rendered or something using in-game graphics what’s the most impressed you’ve been in terms of a video game cinematic (including intros)? And were you primarily impressed by the visuals and presentation or the storytelling, or both?
How important do you think cut scenes are to a video game and do you have a limit on what you think is too long or too frequent (or too short?). What game gets the balance just right and what are some of the worst examples?
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