Games Inbox: What’s the best Rockstar game?

The evening Inbox has more ideas for games to add to the Mega Drive Mini, as another reader wants FromSoftware to do an open world game.

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Rockstar hype

I’m a little late to the party no doubt, but I’ve recently picked up a copy of L.A. Noire second-hand and have found it a bit of a chore to play. I know it’s many years old and should perhaps be given a bit of leeway but for me the whole good cop, bad cop accuse technique doesn’t work and makes the story last forever. Having to interpret the facial expressions of computer game characters who look more constipated than worried is hard work.

I had to replay one scene about 10 times until I got the desired outcome the game wanted, at which point I was ready to give up anyway. I’ve just recently completed Red Dead Redemption II and enjoyed it up to about halfway, at which point it kind of became completely interminable and the experience of playing both games back-to-back has left me feeling a little down on Rockstar. I’m wondering if they’re at the point where they begin disappearing up their own backsides and believing the hype a little too much.

The more I think about it the more I realise Bully is my favourite game from the company. It was just the right length, was funny in the way the best Rockstar games can be, the quests were as ridiculous (in a good way) as its characters, and best of all it was never boring! It’s a completely underappreciated gem.

I’m almost afraid to hope that they make a new one because I’d worry it might end up a monstrosity like Red Dead Redemption II. The flipside is it deserves to be held in higher esteem, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed that I see another one someday and that they’ve listened to the feedback from their last few games.
Chris in Belfast (giving up on L.A. Noire)


Wacky ideas

In reply to the reader wishing that NetherRealm would do something other than Mortal Kombat or Injustice I saw this interesting interview with Ed Boon where at one point he’s asked about Marvel Vs. DC and says they did actually talk to Marvel about it. I can’t imagine it happening but the mere fact that they thought it was worth discussing – so there must’ve been at least a 1% of a chance – is interesting.

He also mentions a remaster of Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks and says he’d like to do it, but again it’s hard to imagine it actually happening when it could’ve happened anytime in the last decade really. Knowing that they also talked to Capcom about a crossover shows that most of the wacky ideas that fans come up with do get considered at some level, even if they very rarely actually happen.


Like buses

Interesting leak on Switch games. The Zelda leak feels like just a special edition of the new Link’s Awakening, that would include the original A Link To The Past. If it was anything more substantial we’d surely have heard rumours about it, à la Metroid Prime Trilogy HD.

If Nintendo are lining up Metroid and Persona 5 for releases later in the year that gives them an interesting release schedule for this year… Yoshi and New Mario Bros. for six months then Pokémon, Dragon Quest, Persona, Metroid HD, Astral Chain, Mario Maker, Fire Emblem, Zelda for the next. Don’t want to complain about more new games (the Switch is desperate) but you’d think they’d spread them out a bit, especially the big Japanese role-players Pokémon, Dragon Quest, and Persona.
PS: Fingers crossed on Persona 5 Switch, following on from the last Hot Topic Persona 4 Golden is by far my favourite portable game. Forget Pokémon, having P5 portable in time for the Christmas hols would be terrific.
PPS: Any chance of a Steins;Gate Elite review?

GC: Probably not, it’s just too niche.


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From open world

Thanks for doing the Outward review, I was looking forward to seeing what you thought although given the contradictions of the game I’m still not really sure whether it’s for me or not. I hate fast travel and quest markers so I love the idea of a game that doesn’t have them, and would like to support others that are against them, but the thought of the bad combat and boring open world puts me off.

I will still probably get it, especially as I suspect it’ll end up cheap pretty quick, but it does make hope that those rumours of From working on an open world game are true. It seems a next logical step from them and if it ends up exploring some of the same ideas as Outward then all the better.


The unusual suspects

The Mega Drive is one of my favourite consoles and I’m looking forward to what games the new mini version of it might include. Hopefully it won’t just be the same as the Mega Drive collections available on consoles/PC.

A few games I’d like to see included beyond the usual stuff you expect are:

Street Racer
Cool Spot
Earthworm Jim
Thunder Force IV
Dune II: Battle For Arrakis
Rocker Knight Adventure
Mega Bomberman
Rock N’ Roll Racing
Lotus Turbo Challenge 2
Mortal Kombat 3
Super Street Fighter II

I’m not going to get my hopes up, as I presume there would be licensing issues. And the fighters really need the six-button pad, so that rules them out. I just hope they don’t pad out the rest of the 40 games with a load of rubbish, as the Mega Drive has got a decent selection of games to pick from and with the right choices it would make the mini Mega Drive a must buy for me.
Dan H


Defensive suggestions

Reading Kehaar’s question about a first person Tower Defense game, it immediately made me think of Sanctum. Although not sure if that’s what he meant as Sanctum (and its sequel) is first person at all times, not just between rounds.

Made by that same team, Coffee Stain Studios (also famous for Goat Simulator of course), Satisfactory has just released on Early Access, but is easily their most polished game to date, and the response from those playing it (from Reddit, Twitter, etc/) is almost universal gushing praise. Is this a game GC will look to cover, or is the Factorio inspired genre too niche?

Kehaar really didn’t give much to go on but one of the games sounds like it could be Sanctum 1 or 2, the space shooter sounds a bit like Sine Mora, but probably not since that’s more just a shooter than a space shooter.

GC: The problem is we’ve never reviewed either Sanctum game.


Zero interest

That Pacer game looks pretty good, pretty much an unofficial WipEout by the look of it. As frustrating as it is I have to admit that Sony has give WipEout a decent try over the years and it’s just never really caught on after the first couple. WipEout Fury and the VR update were fantastic but there just didn’t seem to be enough people that cared. Maybe because of the general downturn of interest in racing games?

I still hold out a hope that one day Nintendo will make a new F-Zero but they tried too. I mean, F-Zero GX is one of the best games ever made and it was a complete flop. I’d love a remaster though, that would be amazing.


Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here


Board phase

I’ve been a video-gamer for about 30 years now, ever since my parents bought me a NES with Super Mario Bros. But over the last few months or so, I’ve discovered the wonders of modern-day board games. Not the Monopoly and Game of Life of yore, but wonderfully little headscratchers that rely less on luck and more on planning and strategy and interesting mechanics.

I’ve been hoovering up video reviews and how-to-plays, and Reddit posts like mad. This past Saturday night I hosted my first board game night for some friends who hadn’t played a board game in 20 years and it went down a treat, which has just fed me more into wanting to get some of the bigger, deeper, longer experiences as well. There’s co-op games, and competitive games, card games, board games, dice games, gambling-ish games, the list goes on.

Thing is, long story short, this has somehow dulled my interest in video games. There are board games out there with the depth, complexity, and even length of video games in some instances. And the shift away from a screen experience to something tactile and physical, along with being somewhat more social sitting round a table discussing options or rueing the day someone blocked a move or took something someone else was coveting.

So that Sunday I was trying to get into the Resident Evil 2 remake and it just wasn’t clicking. I was particularly frustrated that putting down a zombie didn’t mean they were permanently put down (I didn’t mind the multiple headshots to put them down, just didn’t like that you could leave and come back and they would wake up again). Then tried a game or two also in the backlog and they just weren’t holding my attention. But I could watch an hour and a half of board game reviews (each like 15 minutes long) no problem.

The latest casualty was Middle-Earth: Shadow Of War, which I started Sunday night and was the first that seemed to groove with me. It was basically a cross between a Batman: Arkham game and an Assassin’s Creed game. But then it opened up too much too quickly, and the amount of regions available, map icons on screen, tips and tutorials that were popping up just became overwhelming. I was looking forward to the Final Fantasy XII re-release but unlikely to get that now too. Am about ¾ through Yoshi’s Crafted World, which is still entertaining, partly because it’s easy to achieve something in 15-minute chunks.

Has anyone else been distracted by another hobby to the detriment of gaming? Is this just an ebb and flow thing, and I’ll get back into ‘em soon? Is this just a phase?!

Having said all that, really looking forward to Borderlands 3! Bring that on!


Inbox also-rans

I have no idea if that makes them more or less likely to be true but those Best Buy listings have now gone from their computer system. Roll on the next Nintendo Direct!

A £10 price hike for Xbox Live Gold is pretty severe really, welcome to the future of Britain!


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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The small print
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