Games Inbox: Is GTA: San Andreas still a good game?

The Friday Inbox discusses the perfection of Into The Breach and XCOM 2, as one reader learns the history of Qix.

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Smell the roses
So I started playing GTA: San Andreas via Game Pass at 3pm. I was looking forward to it because I had happy memories of the game and I definitely finished it back in the day. All I can say is that my rose-tinted glasses have been well and truly removed.

The graphics are terrible and distracting. The voice acting is pretty good, but the dialogue and story are really dated. The gameplay seems unchanged to me: sloppy gunplay and combat, terrible driving, etc. I’ve given it a couple of hours and doubt I’ll go back. Maybe it’s just me and everyone else will be delighted, but I’m just disappointed.

Intelligence before charm
Regarding a reader’s question of what you consider to be perfect games other than Advance Wars, the Super Mario Galaxy games aside, I would have to add two other turn-based strategy games, Into The Breach and XCOM 2.

I don’t want to speculate on how many hours that I’ve sunk into this trio (many more than the superlative Zelda: Breath Of The Wild, despite completing it twice). All perfect distillations of form, all endlessly replayable, super addictive (honestly, they should come with warnings, maybe even banned!) and different every time.

Nothing is ‘perfect’, of course, but this is a close as it gets. Advance Wars could definitely do with better artificial intelligence, though, which is why I prefer the charmless Days Of Ruin.

For all my love of Advance Wars, I can’t say that the delay on the reboot has ruined my Christmas. I can already play iterations on my 3DS and at £50 it needs to do a lot more than update the graphics. Converting Days Of Ruin to the art style of the originals with all the original characters in place and including that would certainly make me part with my pennies.

Qix cubed
Just heard of this game called Cubixx on the MetalJesusRocks video on YouTube recently, it is a bit like a game I used to play on the Amiga but this version is in three dimensions, where you have to fill up an area without coming in contact with the enemy, it’s hard to explain but when you play it, it makes more sense.

The graphics look like Geometry Wars but it a different game to that. Here’s a trailer.
Andrew J.
PS: Outcast and SteamWorld Dig 2 are currently free on GOG for a short time. SteamWorld Dig 2 is also free on Steam.
PPS: A Juggler’s Tale is on sale for £8.99 on PSN Store currently.

GC: We’re not sure what the Amiga game was (possibly Maniax?) but they’re both based on classic arcade game Qix.

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Out of control
Having a relatively modern PC, I was looking forward to having some fun on Forza Horizon 5.

Personally, I am finding it unplayable due to graphical issues. Blurring, pixelation, pop-in.

The developer has acknowledged the issues apparently and is ‘working on it’ – this according to what I can find on forums and with others having the same issues.

I am sick and tired of buying games for good money that aren’t fit for purpose on release. It’s unacceptable. It’s nothing new but come on… enough is enough.

I get with PCs there are thousands of combinations of hardware and set-ups and that everyone will play it at different levels. But upon reading, owners with of all GPU and CPU types have the problem. It’s not fair and it’s got completely out of control. I want my money back.

Never enough
I think the time has come that I’m going to have accept the pain and buy the storage expansion for my little Xbox Series S. With games like Forza Horizon 5 coming in at over 100GB and the nature of Game Pass letting you try a lot of games, it’s a regular decision on which game gets cut next. A problem that will only get worse as I’m well aware the nine currently installed include seven much smaller games from the last generation. I have visions that when Halo Infinite comes out it will just be Halo and Forza that fit!

Even with a 1TB expansion I still have a feeling with games getting bigger even that won’t take long to max out! How are the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X users finding storage? Is it enough, or do you suffer the same constant battle of having a couple of games you want to keep installed and a tough decision on if you’re really done with some others?

Share alike
I’ve got two accounts on my Xbox. One is from the old 360 days, the other is a new one I made in March to get the Gold to Ultimate conversion offer of £1. I been playing the Games Pass version of Forza Horizon 5 but picked up the premium add-ons bundle on the new account for the DLC packs and VIP pass which gave you early access, a free house, some cars and other handy bits.

You get a crown flair next to your gamertag to show you have VIP access – VIP costs about £15 standalone I think. Anyway, both accounts have the crown flair next to the names meaning they both have VIP access. Game sharing is a big plus of a digital library where two people can be playing the same digital copy of game at the same time, but it’s extra nice when additional content like the VIP pass are shared too.

Wrong year
I was just wondering, has anybody ever had a refund from the Nintendo eShop, after purchasing a game by complete mistake? Like me, when I accidentally purchased Football Manager Touch 2021 on November 8 when I actually should of bought the new Football Manager Touch 2022 instead?

After talking to a Nintendo customer service rep I spoke to a friendly guy called Joel who unfortunately couldn’t help me, as the game was originally purchased on the Nintendo eShop, so he helped me complete the refund process email on the official Nintendo site.

At the end of the day I hold my hands up and admitted it was my genuine mistake and nobody else is to blame, but me. (Next time I will remember to put my glasses on using the Switch Lite!)

Driven to pay
After coming away from Forza Horizon 4 not so long ago, I was wondering what it was that’s keeping me so hooked on Forza Horizon 5 in a way that the previous game never could with me.

I ask myself, is it the graphics? The draw distance? The better handling of the cars that I like to drive? The authentic engine sounds? The location? The new cars that I’ve never heard of before? The cacti? The dunes? The salt plains? The car interiors? The buttons on the car dashboard that’s I’ve never seen? I don’t know if there’s a TVR on there yet because I’ve unlocked less than 100 cars, but I remember not ever seeing a kill switch in a car before and as far as I know that’s TVR only – it’s to do with the battery, I think. I saw that on Forza Horizon 4 and knew a TVR owner so I questioned him about it.

I was an early adopter and bought the premium edition even though I have Game Pass because if you believe in a game then why not pay for it? And I wanted to own it outright.

I already got the ride and seek achievement for covering every road and let me tell you now, it’s beautiful and big and varied and the cars are made for the roads they’ve built this time, in a way it never felt before. There’s a car for everything, It’s just a pleasure to drive anything if you find the right roads it’s built for.

Anyway, excellent game. Great review by GC. The only things I didn’t like as a car fan is my ride being damaged.
Nick the Greek

GC: Really? The lack of serious damage is the only thing we didn’t like. Forza Horizon 6 needs better crashes.

Double nostalgia
I had no interest in GTA: The Trilogy until I saw the trailers and realised it did actually look a lot better than I expected it.

It’s only really Vice City I care about but I realised it’s odd; I am mainly interested in the nostalgia of playing that game which I loved in 2002, a game which when originally played was all about nostalgia of the 80s. It’s nostalgia inception!

Lost faith
Glad to see BigAngryDad82 is enjoying Forza Horizon 5. I haven’t played it yet, but I absolutely loved Forza Horizon 4 on PC.

One thing I picked up on is his comment about Playground Games, ‘they’re at the top of the racing genre with nothing else coming close’.
I’m going to sound like a right miserable pedant, but when it comes to RACING games there are many better developers. Kunos (of the Assetto Corsa series) and Codemasters (including Slightly Mad Studios, with the F1, DiRT (normal and Rally), and Project CARS series) both make better actual racing games than Playground.

What Playground excel at are beautiful looking open world/sandbox arcade car games, where you can do what you want, some of which may be racing. And you know what? The video gaming world is a better place for it.

Next point: review copies. Video games companies not releasing review copies is no different to film studios not pre-screening for critics. A practice that has long been held to mean the company has no faith in its product.

In fact, it’s even worse with video games, because a film critic can watch the film the morning of its release and have seen it two hours later. A video game needs many, many more hours of playing before you can write the review.

It’s a poor practice by companies with no faith in the product. The irony is the Call Of Duty reviews I’ve seen aren’t even that bad! Certainly no one’s calling it an absolute turkey… kust pretty generic.. Anyway, I agree it’s a shoddy practice and needs to stop.

As ever, whatever you are playing, enjoy!

Inbox also-rans
Just a quick question, are you planning on reviewing Chorus, or Chorvs as it is on their website? I’ve just done a google search for it after seeing it on the GC release schedule. it seems like it might be decent.

GC: Since it’s a space combat game, definitely. Although we haven’t seen anything of it since the reveal trailer.

Just in case anyone hasn’t checked out the North Point Mall in GTA: Vice City Definitive Edition they should go and do so as upgrades have been made and you can check these out via screenshots here.
gaz be rotten (gamertag)

This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Fellows, who asks what is your favourite boss battle of the modern era?

Which game from the PlayStation 3, 4, or 5 era have you enjoyed the most and why? How do they compare to older style boss battles and what do you think of the current standard of boss fights – especially those from Western developers, who traditionally aren’t as good at them?

Are boss battles still an important part of gaming for you and are there any games that don’t have them that you wish did – or games with them that you wish hadn’t included any?

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

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 and content.

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.

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