Games Inbox: How many hours a week do you play video games?

The morning Inbox doesn’t expect to be surprised when it comes to the next Borderlands 3 news, as one reader admires the charm of Golf Story.

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Achievable goals

RE: Rascal’s Reader’s Feature. Games fit in as well as you let them. There is this thing games have that most other hobbies don’t possess; a save system and, to a lesser extent, a pause function. You don’t need to play a game for eight hours per day. In fact, you would have some serious health issues if you did. The games you mention, like Fortnite and Apex Legends, should only be played in bursts. In fact, I only play three games of Apex when I put it on and I don’t play it every day.

My only goal for the game is a kill, not a win. I have championed twice so far, so in my mind kills are the thing. Even though the scoring system gives you the best XP reward for living long, I prefer to just get stuck in. After the three games I quit out and play another game or go out or just watch something.

I’m not saying anyone needs to plan out a rota to enjoy their games but taking your game and making sure you have a goal for the day might help. Take Dark Souls, any of them. Play until you discover a new area or have killed a boss, then quit. Gaming is as you like it. Don’t become obsessed with being the best as you most likely will not be or finishing it in a day. I have been playing Salt And Sanctuary for several months. I’ve seen people finish it in two hours but my only goal is to reach a new checkpoint or kill the newest annoying boss, then I move on.

Whatever you play, you can come up with your own game within the game and not worry about how long you do or don’t play it for.


Expect the expected

I’m not seeing a lot to get excited about with Borderlands 3. It looks like exactly the same game, that they could’ve announced five years ago. Maybe there’s some major change in terms of gameplay but I would think they would’ve mentioned that already. Instead they seemed happy to let everyone assume it was more or less the same as it was before, which is probably is.

This doesn’t bother me as I’ve never had any great interest in Borderlands but I do think it’s a good example of people setting themselves up for excitement and then feeling even more let down when it turns out their expectations were unrealistic.

My prediction for the full Borderlands 3 reveal is that it’s the same game, just with multiple ‘worlds’ to visit and… that’s probably about it. If it doesn’t have paid-for loot boxes I’d count yourself very lucky. Expecting it to be some kind of Destiny-beating multi-million dollar extravaganza is, I think, setting yourself up for disappointment.


Ganon patrols

I read the Reader’s Feature regarding a new multiplayer Zelda game with some interest, because for a while now I’ve actually had an idea brewing of how such a thing could be implemented.

Now one of my few complaints about Breath Of The Wild was how oddly serene everything was. These cataclysmic events happened a hundred years ago that virtually wiped out Hyrule, and yet the people seem oddly complacent. No-one seems to care that this massive Lovecraftian entity is imprisoned on their doorstep and is even starting to seep out into the world. Why take this attitude? What happened between Ganon’s return and Link’s awakening from cryosleep to make people feel so confident that they could get on with their lives untroubled again?

I think a multiplayer game set during the intervening years has some potential. Imagine being able to choose from the various races – Hylian, Goron, Zora, Rito, Gerudo, and even Korok – and then team up with other adventurers during a truly apocalyptic version of Hyrule to prevent the spread of Ganon’s evil. That would be a great setting for a persistent world, for even if a way is found to contain Ganon patrols would still be necessary in case any fragment of him escapes and tries to spread. You’d also work to liberate villages and protect them from raids by moblins and other Zelda enemies, not to mention being able to freely explore Hyrule, trade items and recipes and generally live as a resident of Hyrule.

It’ll never happen, but one can dream, right?
Andrew Middlemas


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Hole in one

Just finished the superb indie game Golf Story. It had both the best golf and surprisingly one of the best stories in any game I’ve played. The dialogue in particular was inspired, I was chuckling throughout and even laughed out loud several times. I especially enjoyed ruining Christmas. If games were judged purely on charm, Golf Story would be right up there near the top.

I think charm is something many games completely overlook in their rush to be taken seriously or be cool. I would much rather explore a whimsical world full of charming characters than be battered over the head with some grimdark world full of detestable people. I’m really looking forward to seeing what Sidebar Games come out with next, do you have any idea what it might be?
Ryan O’D

GC: They’re working on a new game but it’s a secret. There was a limited edition physical version of Golf Story just released though.


The time it takes

Just wanted to comment on this weekend’s Reader’s Feature about games consuming too much time. This is an argument I have heard now for almost 20 years as people choose different paths for their lives. As people get older, they make choices that sometimes take them away from the time required to be a ‘gamer’. I am now 43 and have made a deliberate decision to keep things simple so I can dedicate time to the things that I enjoy. No kids, and a job that gives me plenty of time off allow me to indulge in epic gaming sessions.

I’m sorry if your choices do not allow this but please don’t expect single-player experiences to be diluted to fit a lifestyle you have chosen. After all, you wouldn’t expect 18 holes of golf to become three holes or a two-hour film to be shortened to 30 minutes. We have to choose hobbies that suit us. I also think maybe the feature writer is looking at games in the wrong manner.

Yes, something like Sekiro is tricky and takes time to master but nobody said you have to finish it by the first weekend of its release. I for one don’t want to end up being limited to mobile device time fillers for my gaming needs.


Always on hand

I love portable gaming but I don’t tend to play on public transport or in the car. I mainly play portable games whilst watching something on TV that doesn’t require much attention, like a football match or a documentary. By doing this, and especially since the Switch came out, I have completed a lot more games. I play the Switch exclusively in handheld.

Before the Switch though was the PS Vita, which I adored. By far my favourite game I played on it was Hotline Miami. The Vita was the perfect platform for it in my opinion, due to the pick up and play nature of the Vita and the game could be played in short bursts and felt like you made at least a little progress. I even ended up getting the platinum Trophy, which I would never had done if it had been played on PC or console. But as the Vita was always at hand, even if the TV was occupied, I could always have a few more goes on a level.
Angry_Kurt (Twitter)


Rung up

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is great and all. I’ve been darting and jumping around for seven hours and thought to myself, ‘Where are the ladders?’

It’s fun to have a grappling hook and wall jumping but they missed a trick by omitting ninja ladder climbing. In fact, I don’t recall seeing one ladder. What happened to player choice!

GC: There was a huge ladder in an indie game we played the other day. We’ll have a preview on it shortly.


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Engendering passivity

Following up from my previous letter about my initial, not-good, impressions of Sekiro I got to thinking about my progress through the Dark Souls series over the past few months. Since I got Dark Souls Remastered for Christmas I’ve been steadily trying to play through the series again, and have indeed finished the first game. Though I’ve had moments I really wondered why I was playing the game (the Tomb of the Giants nearly made me angry enough to throw my controller at my TV). I enjoyed the journey immensely. I’m also enjoying my journey through Dark Souls II: Scholar Of The First Sin, perhaps even more than the first game.

Oddly enough, I think it was my experiences with Bloodborne that showed me a way of playing the Dark Souls games that I’m finding much more fun, and that’s this: get rid of the shield. Sure, the first game emphasises its importance and there are certainly some parts you’ll get stuck without one, but I recommend avoiding using it wherever possible. Bloodborne encourage a more aggressive approach to gameplay, with more emphasis on dodging and parrying, and this approach works well for the most part in Dark Souls.

It works better in the second game, in my opinion, since that game’s generally more open-ended and gives you more options on how to tackle a situation, but in general I found the games much faster-paced and more fun by adapting the Bloodborne style to them.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that there are one or two shields in Bloodborne, but they’re basically useless. Also worthy of note is the phrase ‘engendering passivity’ in the item description. This suggests that From weren’t really happy with forcing a certain playstyle on the players, and Bloodborne and the latter Dark Souls games felt like a response to that.

I think this was why I wasn’t too happy with how Sekiro basically forces players into a specific playstyle in order to get anywhere, and that I felt the punishments for dying are far too harsh. I felt like I’d hit ‘the wall’ far too early in the game. Still, I don’t doubt I’ll give it another try one day; after all, I’d already written off the Dark Souls series, and now I’m giving it another chance. Anything’s possible.
Andrew Middlemas

GC: From are adamant that Sekiro is not a Soulsborne game. We think you’re criticising it too much for things it was never trying to do.


Inbox also-rans

Have you any idea why no one is allowed to show a video of Mortal Kombat 11 on the Switch? A possible Nintendo Direct so they can show it themselves maybe. Or is it something more serious? Wondering minds want to know.

GC: The graphics are simplified on the Switch, to maintain 60fps, so they probably don’t want footage to appear until the last minute.

I read the article you published on Borderlands: Game Of The Year Edition and Borderlands 3 and I’m very excited about it the news. Do you know how to pre-order the remaster in the UK, as I can only find pre-orders for USA and Canada?

GC: There doesn’t seem to be anywhere yet, which is a bit odd. GAME even has a page about it, but no pre-order option.


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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