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Games Inbox: Do you not care about the next gen consoles?



DualSense – do you just not care? (pic: Sony)

The Friday Inbox still hopes that 60fps will become a next gen standard, as another reader meets his video game heroes.

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I have to say I’m not all exited for the next gen of consoles. I can’t remember the last time I was truly wowed by a game.

Some moments that stick out for me are unboxing my SNES and trying to figure out how to do Ryu’s dragon punch, the sense of speed on F-Zero, and the joy of Mario Kart. And the first time playing Super Mario 64 on the N64, the sense of being in a whole new world in 3D was unreal at the time. Stepping into Hyrule Field for the first time in Zelda: Ocarina Of Time and eventually riding Epona!

Playing GoldenEye 007 multiplayer for days on end. First time playing Halo on Xbox and storming the beach, flying in on the ship: ‘Hit it marines!’ I remember thinking how good the artificial intelligence was and it felt like a real step forward in gaming.

I just don’t see the next step forward to make me go… wow. Yes, the graphics are better but I’m not fussed about that, will artificial intelligence get better, will sandbox games be truly interactive?

I missed out on a PlayStation 4 this gen, I think I’ll pick one up when the new console comes out on the cheap and catch up on all the good games I missed. Maybe by then the next gen will have something worth being excited about?
Bigmac Kenna (gamertag)

GC: There’s nothing to get unexcited about yet either, we still know virtually nothing about any next gen games.

Moving standard
Regardless of whose next gen design choices prove to be the slightly more capable I think everyone’s agreed both Sony and Microsoft have gone pretty Biggus Dickus with the specs for their respective machines. I’ve everything crossed it will prove Microsoft are right and it means 60fps will be the next gen console standard. If Assassin’s Creed Valhalla does launch on the next gen consoles without a 1080p 60fps mode it will be a bit of a red flag for me and it will make me look at PC being the device I game on.

Hopefully the powerful specs of the next gen machines means it will always be possible for developers to provide a 60fps option. As the recent Unreal Engine 5 PlayStation 5 demo running at 30fps maybe foreshadows though, the next gen may see many developers opting to push graphics over performance like usual.

I respect both yays and nays camps view on whether 60fps is important to them, I firmly yay. I hooked up my Xbox One X to my 4K TV the other week to play Deliver Us The Moon. The game had the only two options I require on next gen games: 1080p 60fps and 4K 30fps. Flicking between the two and the 1080p 60fps was the easy choice for me. The game is a kind of walking simulator and comes with the slow, laggy feeling controls a lot of those games have. 60fps made them feel smoother and less sludgy. I want the option to play all games at 60fps because I genuinely do find it makes games feel smoother and more responsive.

The nay camp will roll their eyes when I say it but it is a deal breaker for me in choosing console or PC. In 2020 I feel it’s about time consoles made 60 fps a standard by providing performance/resolution options on games. More than ever the hardware will be capable and it’s up to the developers now, the console manufacturers have done their level best in providing the hardware next gen, as a group to make it a standard. Hope they do.

GC: All they’ve said is that Assassin’s Creed Valhalla will be ‘at least’ 30fps on Xbox Series X. Which doesn’t sound promising.

Good, fella
Just writing into say I enjoyed Mafia 1 and 2 a lot. I bought Mafia 1 on PC in 2002 when it first came out and I enjoyed some of the driving, and I enjoyed the shootouts a lot and the well-acted cut scenes and well written story for me at the time. I didn’t have a state of the art computer at the time but the graphics were very good and I played on a keyboard and mouse.

It was a very difficult game but I enjoyed it, and I was wondering if they might make the remake a bit easier with more checkpoints? There was a lot of driving involved in the game and although it was authentic it took too long to get to each mission because of the driving and then home again after the mission. Unlike GTA you had to stick to the speed limit, drive on the correct side of the road and stop at traffic lights. If you didn’t and the police saw you they would pull you over all the time and fine you, and you were only allowed so many fines.

If you tried to run from the police, unless it was part of a mission it took longer to do things, so best not to run outside of a mission. Also, there was a difficulty spike on one of the missions and I had to download a save file to get past it, as I would really have needed a racing wheel for that one mission. I nearly completed that mission but failed at the last second and I had tried so many times so I downloaded the save file to get past it.

I got Mafia 2 quite late in the day as I had tried the demo which I wasn’t enamoured with and the reviews for it were not amazing, but I got it cheap on PlayStation 3 and really enjoyed it. But it was very short and the DLC included was terrible and ridiculously and unfairly hard compared to the main game.

I haven’t played Mafia 3 yet because I was put off by the fact it wasn’t like Mafia 1 and 2 with a strong story and enjoyable missions and it had a lot of repetition in the tasks you had to do compared to the first two games.
Andrew J.
Just completed: Last Day Of June (on PlayStation 4 and it was free on Epic Games Store a while ago too – if you liked The Sexy Brutale you will like Last Day of June) and Monument Valley 1 (Android)
PS: DayZ is free to play on Steam this weekend.

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Trailer spoiler
Back again to complain about Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath. The official launch trailer went live today and it looks like they may have given away how it ends. And if they have, then it is the most eye-rolling way they could have chosen to end it.

You’ll know what I mean the moment you see it. Up there with the ‘It was all a dream!’ ending. It is spoilery, but then again it’s a spoiler that NetherRealm have sent out into the world…

Also, Kitana’s friendship with Mileena is genuinely sweet. The best thing they’ve ever done with her character, really.

Wait it out
I’m not sure I really agree with Keegan saying Microsoft’s speciality is hardware. They started as a software company back in the day and that continues to be their main seller in the real world. They have the word ‘soft’ in their name…

I had PlayStation 4 this generation, and Xbox 360 time before, and can’t really say I have a dog in the next gen fight. Sony make the better games but other than the graphics I found their big holy trinity (Marvel’s Spider-Man, Uncharted 4, and God Of War) underwhelming in terms of providing a new experience.

While the battle over teraflops and ray-tracing rages on I think I’ll stick to my Switch for a year post next gen launch and let the dust settle. Cyberpunk 2077 on PlayStation 4 should help with this.

Sony and Microsoft need to earn my money with games worth buying, not with promises. Given that production times have ramped up so much, just look at new Elder Scrolls, this could take some time.

Old logic
All this anniversary talk on The Witcher 3, I’d actually just finished playing through the game recently thanks to lockdown. I picked it up on Switch late last year (though had played it for a few hours on PlayStation 4 years ago). The game is definitely the pinnacle of that old open world design, full of great storytelling in the layered side quests… but that design has definitely aged in a post Zelda: Breath Of The Wild’ world and kind of feels old next to the open environmental storytelling ushered in by the SoulsBorne games.

The world building and sense of adventure all comes from the story and characters, i.e. watching cut scenes, and not from existing in the world itself. It too often falls into the Skyrim or GTA trap where you follow an arrow halfway across the map just to speak with someone who sends you to an arrow halfway across the map to kill a monster/pick up an item… looking at the map as much as the actual world. Sure, there are plenty of secrets, but they just don’t seem to feel that natural. I guess I’m trying to say the game seems to lack a fun imagination in its moment to moment gameplay.

After all that I’d still say it’s a great game mind… just one of its time.
PS: In response to Panda, I’m a little concerned about the Take-Two Switch ports coming up too. That they’ve dumped them all out on the same day is pretty suspicious (that and the fact the cartridge releases are just 8GB token gestures with big downloads), they’re not even on the eShop yet and we’re less than a week out. Switch ports have come a long way recently and Metro/Alien Isolation have me hopeful Bioshock will be at least a match for the previous gen versions. XCOM 2 though… even with Civilization 6 being good work I’m not confident, not confident at all.

Brand expectations
Very excited to hear of the upcoming PGA golf game being released in August by 2K. It’s been a long time since we had a good golf game and I have no doubt this will be good. For me they make the best sports games and I remember playing their last golf game many years ago and it was brilliant.

Their basketball games are always very good and I also remember when they made the ice hockey games which were also excellent. With the official license of the PGA Tour this looks like the golf game fans have been waiting for.

Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here

Hero worship
I was wondering if any of your readers have met any of their gaming heroes. I’ve met a few of mine, although when I say ‘met’, some I only asked a question at a Q&A session. One of these was Mathew Smith, programmer of Manic Miner. I asked him if there was one game that he wished he had programmed, and he said Doom.

Archer Maclean, programmer of Dropzone, IK+, and Jimmy White’s Snooker also restores classic arcade machines. I asked him what his most satisfying restoration was, and he said he once restored a Missile Command for someone, and when it was finished, it looked like it was brand new straight out of the factory.

I was at a Q&A with Mr Biffo and Iain Lee a couple of years back. I said to them both, if they could own any three arcade games, what would they be? Iain said Pac-Man, Defender, and the Mario Kart arcade machine. Mr Biffo said Atari Star Wars, and the huge Ridge Racer set-up where you have to sit in a real car to play it. I can’t remember his third choice!

I met Jeff Minter of Llamasoft at Arcade Club. He was a lovely guy, and I chatted to him about the arcade machines he has owned over the years. He currently has a Tempest. In the ‘80s he owned a M.A.C.H. 3, which was one of the best Laserdisc games. He also owned a cockpit Atari Star Wars, which he ended up giving away to a friend when he moved to the US to work for Atari!

The best though was meeting Eugene Jarvis, creator of shoot ‘em-up classics Defender and Robotron 2084. I didn’t ask him anything, I was too star struck! I did tell him that I was going to buy an original Defender machine though, which I did, and it worked for about an hour before something blew on the PCB!
Tim Keeling

Eugene Jarvis is a genuine gaming hero (pic: Tim Keeling)
Jeff Minter, aka The Hairy Yak (pic: Tim Keeling)

Inbox also-rans
As long as the PlayStation 5 launch game isn’t another Killzone I’ll be happy. When I went pick up my PlayStation 4 at launch they said they only had the Killzone Shadow Fall bundle, so I was kind of strong armed into it. Wasn’t the best start. Luckily all uphill from there.

For anyone interested with all the talk of The Witcher at the moment, The Witcher 2 is currently only £3.74 for Xbox One backward compatibility, where it’s normally around the £25 mark.

This week’s Hot Topic
The question for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Comp, who asks what highly anticipated game has come closest to meeting or exceeding your expectations?

Hype can get out of control sometimes but what game turned out to be as good, or better, than you were expecting? How often does it happen that games live up to your expectations and how upset do you get when they don’t?

If the game was better than you expected how did it manage that? Did you purposefully avoid too much information about it or had you got the wrong idea from the marketing and reviews? Or were some of the details purposefully kept secret?

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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.

You can also leave your comments below and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter.

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