The Thursday Inbox is surprised at another American/European review score split, as one reader falls in love with Sayonara Wild Hearts.
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So, another day another very mixed response to a big new game. I wasn’t sure what to expect from Pokémon Sword and Shield as it’s not really my sort of thing, but obviously I’ve heard about all the death threats and complaints so I was curious to see what the final verdict would be. Seems like the whole pokédex thing didn’t really play into it and a lot of the sites were giving it top marks. So… is that going to get the ‘fans’ upset? Are they going to start boycotting GameSpot and IGN and issuing death threats against them?
Even I don’t even know if I’m joking or not, considering how crazy things have got. I still haven’t heard an explanation for why Spanish fans were review bombing Death Stranding but I have seen some Kojima fans getting very defensive and angry online, which would normally be something I’d find funny, if I didn’t now realise how seriously people take all this stuff.
Getting this upset about a game or a review is madness. I’d like to think that was obvious but clearly it’s not to some people. I can understand being disappointed a game didn’t score as highly as you hoped, but only in the sense that it means the game is probably no good. Getting upset at the review itself is crazy. I mean, that is obvious isn’t it? I’m not sure I know anymore.
Great review of Pokémon Sword and Shield, GC. I appreciate it must be difficult reviewing something like this, where there’s been a huge uproar about something that, as I always suspect, is actually pretty trivial. Or if not trivial doesn’t really affect the quality of the game. Or at least that’s the impression I got from your review, that it didn’t have any bearing on your verdict or score.
All that noise and anger, including death threats, for something most people won’t know or care about. Sometimes I think gamers purposefully only get annoyed about trivial things on purpose, daring themselves to care about something that clear doesn’t matter or is unreasonable.
I’m still upset the game didn’t turn out great but I may still get it anyway. I agree that Game Freak could definitely do with some technical help though, as it’s always been obvious that’s not something they’re good at and the graphics already looked ropey in the previews. Not that Pokémon has ever been about the graphics, but it could be.
GC: Dexit didn’t negatively affect our view of the game at all. As we implied, we’d rather have had more new pokémon and less old ones if that was an option.
Hideo Kojima might have been imagining a split between American and European reviews of Death Stranding but I can’t help but notice there is a very clear divide over Pokémon Sword and Shield. You, Eurogamer, and VG247 all gave it amongst the lowest scores on Metacritic and seemed to come to quite similar conclusions. Although I think you liked it the best and Eurogamer the least.
I wonder what the reasons for this might be? (Before anyone starts with their conspiracy nonsense, I’m sure it’s not bribes.) I’m sure different countries do have different taste in games but is there anything about the American psyche that would give Pokémon an easy ride than Europe? Or if Hideo Kojima is right would mean they don’t like a weird, mostly non-violent game like Death Stranding as much?
If I didn’t know better I would’ve thought Pokémon was too cartoonish for anything but very young Americans but clearly that’s not the case. Maybe the cartoon was bigger over there and there’s more of a nostalgia thing? I’m not sure but I think it’s the biggest difference in opinion I’ve ever seen over a review. I wonder if Nintendo is going to blame it on Europeans finding it ‘difficult to understand’? (Joke)
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I’m not sure I necessarily believe anyone when they say 40 cars on the track would be impossible on any other format (didn’t Daytona USA have that many?) it is good to see that Stadia are trying to show some kind of difference between their versions of games and everybody’s else’s. It’s the sort of thing they should’ve been emphasising from the first moment but as far as I can tell this is just some minor detail that slipped out in an interview.
I still can’t believe Stadia hasn’t prioritised exclusives in any kind of way as surely they realise that’s what people look for most in a new format? They sort of implied that Baldur’s Gate III was an exclusive and then we found out it wasn’t, and then they don’t seem to have even really mentioned the concept since. Seems a very weird way to go about things.
Unlike others I’m still interested in Stadia and am willing to give it a go but they’re going about promoting it in a very odd way which looks worryingly like they’re either hiding something or have no idea what they’re doing. I’m not sure which is worse.
Never mind about not knowing much about Sonic the Hedgehog. Why couldn’t anyone just see that the ‘thing’ they created before was creepy looking and ugly? Even if it wasn’t supposed to be something else it just looked terrible. Maybe the director knew they didn’t have much of a budget and just thought it was the best they’d be able to manage?
Anyway, the movie looks terrible whether it looks authentic or not and if Pokémon wasn’t much of a hit I don’t see how this is going to be either. I think people would rather just play games themselves (or watch someone else play them for you).
I could see Nintendo announcing Zelda: Breath Of The Wild 2 for next year. They can turn things around pretty quick when they’re committed to something and I think if we see it at The Game Awards this year then it’ll be a shoe-in for next Christmas.
I’m very curious to see what will be at The Game Awards this year as it’s a transition year and you’d think maybe they wouldn’t have much to show off, with the next gen and all. I’m definitely hoping for Zelda and a new Smash fighter, but also the new Batman game and some next gen reveals from Microsoft.
I doubt Sony will get too involved, as they like to pretend they’re above appearing with anyone else nowadays, but it should still be good. Lots to look forward to next year and this should only add to it.
Falling back in love
Just had my longest gaming session in a long time. After being disappointed with everything Fallout related since Fallout 3, I was looking forward to The Outer Worlds and so far I’m loving it.
Funny, deep, and with surprisingly good combat, I’d recommend it to anyone
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Sayonara Wild Hearts is an artistic tour de force. Simogo’s evocative tale of a heartbroken woman’s journey of self-healing has cast a spell on me. The way the music, visuals and action coordinate is magical. The effect is not unlike the synaesthesia inducing sensations of Rez, Child Of Eden, and Thumper. Great company that.
Although the dreamlike journey feels ethereal I was enthralled by every second of it. Most every level has a new idea and as you progress the game becomes increasingly more outlandish and outstanding in its high-energy execution.
The cinematography and choreography in particular is a thing of precision and beauty, and I loved the references to classic games like one that was clearly a love letter to one of my favourite arcade racers of all-time.
Definitely my choice for the most innovative art design and best soundtrack this year from what I’ve played. Arguably the most original game as well, it certainly is a masterclass in minimalist game design too. I implore the GC readership to give it a go because it’s such a breath of fresh air. And only £11!
PS: When can we expect your Shenmue 3 review? And keep up the tremendous work.
PPS: Funny how every negative letter I’ve read about Death Stranding so far is from contributors that have yet to play it. I’ve just started it myself and first impressions are favourable to say the least.
This goes for most games, but Death Stranding especially is one of those games that you have to experience for yourselves to determine whether it’s for you or not because of how divergent the reviews have been.
The polarising reception reminds me of how confused I was with how the likes of killer7, Deadly Premonition, El Shaddia, Gregory Horror Show, God Hand, Shadow Of The Damned, and a few others were received. But thankfully those turned out to be firm favourites of mine. Hopefully they put out a demo for those still on the fence.
Perhaps I’m being a bit harsh but Hideo Kojima just seems to be a living example of someone believing their own hype, someone who believes he is right and everyone else is either wrong or uneducated!
GC: He’s never struck us as someone that takes criticism well, let’s put it that way.
The Messenger is free on PC on Epic Games Store from today for the next week.
Just to say thanks to Lost-Sock- and yourselves for the suggestions about couch multiplayer, I shall give due consideration them all.
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader NL, who asks what is the best video game sequel you’ve ever played?
As a flipside to last week’s Hot Topic about the worst sequels, what do you feel has been the best? Was is it a major overhaul for the series, a return to its roots, or simply a minor upgrade that nevertheless made it the best there’s ever been?
What sequel has been most effective at reinventing a series or rejuvenating interest in what may have been an ailing franchise? To be clear, anything counts as long as it can be generally counted as an official sequel, follow-up, or reboot.
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