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Weekend Hot Topic, part 1: Video games exceeding expectations

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Final Fantasy 7 Remake – better than expected (pic: Square Enix)

GameCentral readers discuss the games that turned out even better than expected, from Uncharted 2 to God Of War.

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

Hype can easily get out of control nowadays, but many were still able to be pleasantly surprised, even when they’ve read reviews or watched footage beforehand.

Threading the needle
To my great surprise I would say the recent Final Fantasy 7 Remake fits the bill here. To be honest I didn’t really know what to expect as there seemed so many ways it could go wrong and almost impossible that they could actual thread the needle between fan service and a good game without some problems. But they pretty much pulled it off and I was very impressed.

The graphics were great, the characterisation was great (most of these characters didn’t really have a proper personality before but I liked almost all of them except Wedge), and I loved the combat. I know there was a lot of worry about the action-y style before it came out but this really surprised me with how fun it was, while still having some depth.

The only bit I’m not 100% sold on is when it starts to deviate from the original story, where it all starts to get a bit too meta for my liking. But it’s certainly earned my benefit of the doubt now and I’ll be getting the second part no question.
Bonk

Fortunate sequel
After really enjoying Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune I was really looking forward to Uncharted 2. It certainly didn’t disappoint! Combat and climbing were blended far better together compared with the first game, it had thrilling set pieces (the train level is still a stand out over 10 years later), and despite Chloe Frazer being introduced the chemistry between Nate and Elena that I so loved from the first game was better than ever!

While the first game was basically just a treasure hunt i’s sequel made you feel that there was far more at stake thanks to the sinister bad guy Zoran Lazarevic.

Generally, I find most games just don’t live up to the hype but I think that’s mostly my fault as I’m pretty picky!
LastYearsModel

Changing opinions
The God Of War reboot would be my pick for this. I went through so many different thoughts about the game before finally realising it was one of the best I’ve ever played. When it was first announced I didn’t care because I didn’t like the originals and hated Kratos as a character. Then the reviews came in and they were much, much better than I expected. But when I played it myself it still managed to outshine my expectations!

I had read a fair amount on the game before I played it, because I wasn’t convinced I wanted to get it, but I didn’t know any major spoilers going in. But I guess I assumed it would be closer to the original games in terms of story and action, but it really isn’t at all. It’s almost a critique of them and the original Kratos, and I love that.

People complain about sequels and reboots and so on but to me it doesn’t make any difference. If a game’s good, it’s good and this would never have got the budget it did if it hadn’t been part of a famous franchise. So even though I had zero interest at first I was very happily surprised by the final product.
Terry Gold

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The future of video games
I would say GTA: Vice City, old as it is. GTA 3 would probably count too but I wasn’t really aware of it before release and only bought it once everyone started talking about it. I was ready for the next one though and it did not disappoint at all.

The 80s soundtrack, the movie references, the very different kind of city to GTA 3… I found the whole thing amazing and it felt like we were living in the future of video games all of a sudden. That seems funny now when you look at how janky it seems now but the memories at the time were amazing.

I remember often wondering how they could cram so much stuff and detail into the game, although we now know it’s because Rockstar were treating their staff like slaves, so that leads a bit of a nasty taste. Still, hopefully they’ve cleared up their act now.
Hicks

Timeless release
The Legend Of Zelda: Majora’s Mask really sticks out to me as a game that met my expectations.

I suppose there wasn’t as much hype for it as with some games that will be mentioned this weekend, on the basis that it was clear from the off that it was going to be quite similar to Ocarina Of Time, so we had a good idea of what we were getting and there wasn’t so much room for expectations/speculation to snowball. That was fine by me though.

It feels a bit stupid to say, but I had loved Ocarina Of Time so much I really just wanted more of the same. It was comforting to me that the core gameplay mechanics and aesthetic were essentially identical to its predecessor, and as much as that was in a way probably quite restrictive for the developers it did at least mean they could focus on creating a load of imaginative new environments and gameplay situations.

It felt like the most generous expansion pack ever, for my favourite game ever, which was exactly what I wanted at the time.

I didn’t really take in how dark the game was in parts, but this added a really interesting layer to the experience when I went back and replayed the game as an adult, which I feel helps it stand up on its own as a classic. So not only did Majora’s Mask meet my expectations when it came out all those years ago, it’s also really stood the rest of time as well.
Charlie

Hollow praise
Probably not the first game to come to most people’s mind but I would say Hollow Knight. I’m neither here nor there when it comes to Metroidvanias but I do enjoy them and while there was an awful lot of hype and praise for the game I wasn’t convinced by any of the footage.

And then I played it and I was just blown away! An incredibly well made game that’s better than 90% of bigger budget games and definitely far more generous with its price and length. I’d recommend it to anyone.
Olliephant

Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here

First sequels are always the best
One of the few games to reach the pinnacle of my lofty standards was and remains, Mass Effect 2. The first set the expectation of this expansive trilogy of games with memorable encounters, and complex and moving relationships with your crew. And then that ending alluding to the approach of the Reapers! I was hyped to continue this narrative and then the information started to come out on the sequel: a new cast of characters, returning friends and allies, expansive additional content, it was a lot to take in though so I opted to take a more sparing approach in what I viewed.

And then they released that trailer, President Bartlet himself introduced as this elusive looking figure of authority, the use of Heart of Courage by Two Steps From Hell a great choice of music to build up the hype. The suggestion of Shephard’s death in the opening seconds, the threat to everyone’s favourite Quarian outcast Tali and the introduction of Miranda in an outfit that would make the Star Trek cast blush. Needless to say, the hype was very real and tangible and thankfully, the game surpassed all expectations.

I was a little unsure at first with the near absence of the original crew but nearly everyone introduced left a memorable impression and set an unreachable standard for the third and final game with how to resolve this issue. The narrative was tight, the final suicide mission remains one of the best closing acts in a game ever, that felt earned with how it built to that moment.

I loved the connectivity between the franchises, with the ability to bring over a Dragon Age inspired suit of space armour to wear that was taken at face value by those around you. And then nine months later continuing the experience with the release of Lair Of The Shadow Broker and the returning Liara allowing your fledgling romance to continue if you hadn’t opted to pursue Miranda.

Of course, it meant expectations for the final game were beyond measure, I enjoyed it for the most part but certainly the legacy of Mass Effect 3 is tainted both with the ending and fan backlash towards the developers. If you can separate the overall legacy of the trilogy from your memories, the hype, expectations ,and experience of Mass Effect 2 must surely rank as one of the defining games of that generation.
comfortablyadv (Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/Twitch)

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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.

MORE: Games Inbox: Next gen console apathy, Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath launch trailer, and Mafia 2 love

MORE: Games Inbox: Xbox Series X more powerful than PS5, Call Of Duty: Cold War reveal, and NGPX hype

MORE: Games Inbox: The Witcher 3 best RPG ever, Xbox Series X launch line-up, and Forza Motorsport 8

Follow Metro Gaming on Twitter and email us at gamecentral@metro.co.uk

For more stories like this, check our Gaming page.

Elder Scrolls

Games Inbox: Are you tired of waiting for The Elder Scrolls 6?

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Elder Scrolls 6 – a boat has been missed (pic: Bethesda)

The Monday Inbox doesn’t believe rumours about a Legacy Of Kain remake, as one reader congratulates Pac-Man on his 40th anniversary.

To join in with the discussions yourself email gamecentral@ukmetro.co.uk

Not next in line
I found the Grand Theft Auto 6 Reader’s Feature at the weekend interesting and mostly logical in its deductions but the line that got me was when they said that we’d go a whole generation without a new GTA. This is true but we’ll also go a whole generation without a new Elder Scrolls, even though we had two last gen!

I find it completely bizarre that Bethesda could let things go that long without a follow-up to Skyrim, especially as they’ve given no indication there’s been a delay or anything. The only think they’ve made instead is Fallout 4, which was okay but pretty similar to the last game. So what’s going on?

My assumption is that it’s to do with the graphics, which they’ve always been behind on, and they’re having trouble keeping up with the new standards (especially, as we all know the faces). But I thought Bethesda were a pretty big company, can they not afford to do better? For a whole generation wasn’t there a small time working on a new game engine or something? Or couldn’t they, you know, just use Unreal Engine?

And it’s not even that it’s they’re next game. Starfield is first and we know zero about that, so even at the most optimistic that’ll be announced this year and out in… a year or two? Then more Elder Scrolls a year or two after that? Crazy how they’ve left it this long and it’s only going to cost them because I find my Skyrim itch is being scratched by plenty of other games nowadays and I think the series is losing its reputation.

Personally I’d scrap Starfield and move the Elder Scrolls release date up, we can’t wait this long.
Uncle

Untrusted partners
So this whole Gran Turismo 7 thing seems like a bit of a disaster, eh? Seems pretty obvious that Sony must’ve sent some early info and a logo round to ‘trusted’ partners and some didn’t understand the concept of keeping a secret. How an official PlayStation division can make the mistake I don’t know. Especially as that question doesn’t even make sense. Not only is Just Dance 2020 a terrible game to play on the sofa but what kind of co-op is Gran Turismo 7 supposed to have? Or is that more leaked info!

I am curious to see how the game will turn out though as Forza Horizon has kind of took over as everyone’s favourite serious-ish racer, except it’s not that serious and I’m think that Gran Turismo 7 is going to end up looking a bit boring and fuddy-duddy by comparison. Also, as I understand it’s never been that big in the US.

Sony must be aware of this but the developer is famously stubborn about changing things/hurrying up so it’s going to be interesting to see how the game ends up being pitched. If the graphics are good then it could be a good launch game for the PlayStation 5, but I hope it’s not the only one because it clearly doesn’t have universal appeal.
Klimbe

Seeing is not believing
Saying things like ‘100 times the processing power’ for PlayStation 5 sounds like such an obvious exaggeration I don’t know who can believe it. This is exactly the same sort of talk we see every generation and then it turns out the launch games are almost indistinguishable, if not worse, than the best games from the current gen.

I mean, the Unreal Engine 5 demo looked good, but it didn’t look THAT good! After all, someone was able to copy a section in Dreams just a couple of hours later.

I know some people get into the hype and everything, and I’m sure some of these tech specs make sense to someone but even then they’re all being manipulated – the good parts exaggerated and the bad parts kept quiet.

Even showing us the games doesn’t mean anything as that can easily be faked too, like the Assassin’s Creed Valhalla ‘gameplay’ reveal. When I’ve got the games in my hands is when I believe anything and that seems a long way off still.
Craster

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Unbelievable rumour
So, there are some rumours going around currently, the source being a 4chan post, that Bluepoint will be revealing a remake of the Legacy Of Kain games during the Summer Games Fest, and I don’t know how to feel.

The post is on 4chan (red flag number one), has a few glaring spelling errors (red flag number two), and from the way it’s written is almost implying that Legacy Of Kain is a single game rather than five (red flag number three). Despite this… it’s a bit of a niche series to use to troll people, isn’t it?

I’m trying to take it with a bucket of salt, but I still feel vague murmurings of the bitterest illusion: hope.

With the additional costumes for Lego Super Mario, I still wonder what other toy collaborations other readers might want. As a straight man in my 30s I have only a slight sense of shame when I say I would probably buy Bayonetta Barbie.
Joseph Dowland

GC: Yeah, that doesn’t sound very believable as a source. Although we could kind of imagine a remake of Soul Reaver being a possibility. It’s certainly no less niche than best guess Demon’s Souls. And if it helps, we also would buy a Bayonetta Barbie. In fact we’re now curious to know exactly how beehives work. Is it mostly braiding or hairspray or both?

Never the last
So if The Last Of Us Part 2 is a massive hit despite everyone saying that the story is bad and they’ve cancelled their pre-orders is that the point at which we completely give up listening to complainers on the Internet?

I know it won’t be, but it seems every other day ‘fans’ get their selves in a knot about something and then the game comes out and it turned out two people cared, and they ended up buying it anyway. I know I’m still getting it.
St1nger

Bottom of the barrel
Not too surprised that The Wonderful 101: Remastered hasn’t revealed that well. I never particularly liked it on Wii U and was very surprised to see it get such an enthusiastic response on Kickstarter, although now I wonder how much of that can be put down to just general love for Platinum.

The problem is we’re now getting to the dregs of the Wii U’s line-up and I think there’s a point at which Nintendo has got to say enough is enough. Which they’re probably not going to do because they haven’t got anything else out at the moment.

But I would advise against Pikmin 3 as well. It was a really disappointing sequel and while I suppose it’s fine I you haven’t played any of the games before I think they’d be much better of making a new game/reboot. Even by the second one it seemed like they were just treading water and if the fourth one’s big gimmick is that there’s now four player characters I think we’ll know they’ve run out of ideas.

This is a peculiar year for everyone but at the moment Nintendo need to prove that their empty schedules are just because of coronavirus and not, as I suspect, because they’ve dropped the ball with their teams as well. If all we’ve got for Switch this year is remasters I’m not going to be impressed.
Knightsong

Constant improvement
I’m excited for the next gen but I’m one gen behind the current gen. The GC review of Mafia 2, when you guys said, it seemed it was showing it’s 10 years old. Come on, are games really that better now than 10 years ago?

I’m still playing Split/Second. Shout out to Gill Came for corrupting my nervous disposition with Dark Souls.
D Dubya

GC: We mean… yes? The good ones are anyway. And it’s not like there is a current gen equivalent to Split/Second to compare to, more’s the pity.

Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here

Necessary hardship
I’m in a similar situation to Bigmac Kenna in terms of not being that interested in the next gen at the moment, but for different reasons.

Buying new consoles to me is just something that I have to do every few years if I want to continue my favourite hobby, something to be gotten out of the way to get to what I actually want to do: play games. Maybe it’s because I have a huge backlog, so I’m not desperate for anything new to play, or because I’ve seen enough console launches now to know that launch games are rarely that great. I know I’ll get one of the new consoles a few years after they come out, and by that time any hardware problems will have been sorted out and there will be enough games for me to be able to decide which I’ll actually want to get.

All the arguing about tech specs just leaves me cold, to be honest. Any differences between the two are likely to be minor, and the most powerful console rarely wins its generation anyway, which means multiformat games are limited to a degree by the capabilities of the most popular console. 60fps is worth aiming for because it genuinely makes games feel different, but resolution and graphics are just window dressing. A game with an interesting, distinct art style is going to have a longer-lasting impact than something aiming for photorealism anyway.

Based on the recent letters I’m clearly in the minority with these opinions, and it’s fun watching everyone getting excited and passionate about a new console launch, but for me the most interesting time comes two to three years later, once developers have really started to get to grips with how to work on the new hardware.
Sparky the Yak

Inbox also-rans
Crazy to think that something like Pac-Man is older than I am. It was one of the first big arcade games I guess but it makes you realise that video games aren’t the young industry you often think.
Balky

Is it just me or does 30 to 50 hours to beat Ghost Of Tsushima sound kind of on the short side? It’s not bad, but it’s not something I’d brag about either.
Laskel2

This week’s Hot Topic
The question for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Podge, who asks what classic game or franchise have you never played?

With so many formats over the years nobody gets to play every well-received video game that’s released but what’s the most famous one that you’ve somehow avoided? Was it because you didn’t have the right console or PC, because it didn’t appeal at the time, or simply because you didn’t have the money?

Was there any notable game you went for a long time without playing and recently got a chance to try out? What did you think of it in the end and do you have plans to catch up on the other titles you’ve missed?

E-mail your comments to: gamecentral@ukmetro.co.uk

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.

MORE: Weekend Hot Topic, part 1: Video games exceeding expectations

MORE: Weekend Hot Topic, part 2: Video games exceeding expectations

MORE: Games Inbox: Next gen console apathy, Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath launch trailer, and Mafia 2 love

Follow Metro Gaming on Twitter and email us at gamecentral@metro.co.uk

For more stories like this, check our Gaming page.

Continue Reading

Games Inbox

Weekend Hot Topic, part 2: Video games exceeding expectations

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Marvel’s Spider-Man – unexpectedly good (pic: Sony)

GameCentral readers discuss the games that turned out even better than expected, from Uncharted 2 to God Of War.

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

Hype can easily get out of control nowadays, but many were still able to be pleasantly surprised, even when they’ve read reviews or watched footage beforehand.

Spidey sense
Marvel’s Spider-Man is probably mine, for the simple reason that it was a licensed game and they’re almost always bad. I’m also not a big fan of Ratchet & Clank or anything else that Insomniac have done before. But when I got the game it blew me away with the graphics, the authenticity to the comics (while still offering its own take), and the gameplay.

I was convinced the web-slinging was going to be dumbed down from the previous ones but this was probably the best since Spider-Man 2 and never got old the whole game. The combat did a bit, admittedly, as it was a bit too similar to Batman: Arkham but it was still fun and there was some good boss battles.

The sequel is now one of my most anticipated games for the next gen and I cannot wait to see what it looks like, which is not what I would’ve expected to be saying before the first one came out.
Tim Rogers

Good and different
I would assume the most popular answer for this will be Zelda: Breath Of The Wild. I know certainly from my point of view I expected it to be good but not that good. I went from thinking it would be just a cheeky Wii U port to seeing it getting some of the best review scores in history.

At that point I knew it would be good but I still didn’t realise how different it was to the normal Zeldas. I actually get a bit frustrated with people who want it to be the same as what they’re used to but I love how different it felt while still having lots of familiar elements and, of course, that amazing sense of size and freedom.

To be honest, it’s the best reboot of anything, game or otherwise I’ve ever played and has been responsible for some of my best gaming memories of recent years. Not only do I not expect to play a game that good in a hurry but I don’t expect to be as surprised either.
The Colt

Scary surprise
Good question and I came up with an answer pretty quickly: Resident Evil 2. Resident Evil 7 was a return to form but otherwise Capcom has been very hit and miss for years now and I wasn’t necessarily expecting much from the remake, especially as I assume the new camera view and everything would turn it into an action game. How wrong I was.

There’s so much love poured into that game I think I was playing the whole thing with just a massive grin on myself (even during the scary bits). The graphics were fantastic, the mix of new and old gameplay was just right, it was actually frightening, and there was just enough cheese left for the old Resi flair to come through.

You can imagine I was expecting the best for Resident Evil 3 but it’s fascinating how much that fell flat, getting everything wrong that the last game got right. It was a different team and you could tell. Just goes to show the real art is in designing the game and putting it together, not just the technology.
Colduron

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Real world setting
Red Dead Redemption 2 was probably the last game where I felt this. You expect good work from Rockstar but this really was amazing. The graphics and the level of realism was just off the charts and I don’t expect to see anything as good until basically GTA 6.

The story and the characters and the whole world just make you feel you’re in the Old West, for better and worst, and I love the commitment to the period detail. For an open world game you want a sense of location and reality and Red Dead Redemption 2 had that in spades.

I know it was huge anyway but I’d love to have DLC for it, but we’ve got Red Dead Online as well and that’s essentially for free. Nobody does value for money like Rockstar.
tdwv1993

Uncharted expectations
I am a big fan of the Uncharted series and for me Uncharted 4 lived up to expectations for me and maybe surpassed it. As I mentioned in the Hot Topic last weekend, it was weird going from what you thought were realistic-ish graphics on the PlayStation 3 but now look cartoony compared to realistic graphics on the PlayStation 4. I enjoyed the set pieces and the gameplay and the characters, and the story was so well written you just can’t believe I have come from Dizzy and Monty Mole (can’t on Amstrad CPC 464 with green monitor to Uncharted 4!).

I did avoid a lot of information about the game before I played it, as I have done with Naughty Dog’s incoming next release, which did help. I watched the first full trailer for both and then didn’t bother with any other trailers or information to avoid spoilers.

Uncharted 2 on the PlayStation 3 was another game that lived up to expectations for me. I bought a PlayStation 3 to play it after the great reviews, the great trailer that I still watch to this day on YouTube and the TV advert.

I never played a game where I enjoyed the gameplay and the cut scenes were so good, and character rapport was so good too. I am sure there are other games that have been good too but those two are the ones I remember the most.
Andrew J.

Zero to hero
Given it’s in the news at the moment I’ll say The Witcher 3. I’d never heard of the series before but when I saw the early screenshots and videos it seemed to good to be true, like you’d only see that level of graphics on PC. But no, the PlayStation 4 version was amazing and is my favourite game of the generation.

It’s the way you can talk to people that’s the most impressive part, it all feels so real and natural. Yes, the combat isn’t great but the feeling of being in the world is better than anything.
Gadfly

Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here

A fair release
I remember a Scottish video game show on BBC2 a while back called VideoGaiden, talking about the word ‘hype’ and exploring what this means in a satirical but also a very true explanation of the term. The funny thing about this was that it had the original Assassin’s Creed gameplay footage playing in the background.

This is what hype can do to a game and can potentially damage a game’s reputation even if it didn’t deserve it as much as what it eventually got. The problem is that games like the original Assassin’s Creed and No Man’s Sky had a product which appeared to break new ground in either concept or a graphical/gameplay style, which was the equivalent of a runaway train in excitement and the huge thrills of possibilities.

The games were OK and playable but no more than that. No classics in the making and no boundary-breaking experiences that would change the world in any big way. Hype just killed them, and if there was no or less hype, these games would have been perceived much differently and accepted more.

Ironically, the above games made up for it with continuous updates, new content and fixing gameplay issues, etc. which has made No Man’s Sky a much, much better game than was originally released. Assassin’s Creed 2 also turned out to be a far better game than the original, and also one of my most memorable games ever played and experienced.

Super Mario 64 in my opinion and The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time for the N64 are definitions of games hyped up and then were probably even better than most gamers could have possibly dreamed.

One of many beginnings and causes for the hype train, is development taking forever to finish. Having an endless amount of time waiting for the game with no release date is a dangerous game to play, and I would rather keep major information about it quiet, until it’s definitely on the way to being released soon.

If the marketing or promotional/advertising teams are more careful with the release of information, so as not to over promise or over exaggerate the game in a false way, then that would be one way to make sure the intended game has a fair release.
Alucard

E-mail your comments to: gamecentral@ukmetro.co.uk

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.

MORE: Weekend Hot Topic, part 1: Video games exceeding expectations

MORE: Games Inbox: Next gen console apathy, Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath launch trailer, and Mafia 2 love

MORE: Games Inbox: Xbox Series X more powerful than PS5, Call Of Duty: Cold War reveal, and NGPX hype

Follow Metro Gaming on Twitter and email us at gamecentral@metro.co.uk

For more stories like this, check our Gaming page.

Continue Reading

Games Inbox

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

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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.

To join in with the discussions yourself email gamecentral@ukmetro.co.uk

Insufficient input
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.
Simundo

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.

E-mail your comments to: gamecentral@ukmetro.co.uk

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.
DMR

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.
GarionBroke

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.
Marc
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.
Anon

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.
Ranny2011

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.
Mr.Saveloy

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?

E-mail your comments to: gamecentral@ukmetro.co.uk

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.

MORE: Games Inbox: Xbox Series X more powerful than PS5, Call Of Duty: Cold War reveal, and NGPX hype

MORE: Games Inbox: The Witcher 3 best RPG ever, Xbox Series X launch line-up, and Forza Motorsport 8

MORE: Games Inbox: PS5 launch game list, The Last Of Us Part 2 violence, and Shenmue 3 slowness

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