Games Inbox: What is the best horse in video games?

The Thursday Inbox wants to know whether the PS5 and Xbox Series X have an optical port, as one reader tries to understand Dr Disrespect.

To join in with the discussions yourself email gamece[email protected]

Horse play
Two things that stuck out to me with the Ghost Of Tsushima reviews is that it’s the worst example yet of getting an unfairly high Metacritic score because so many of the more intelligent websites (Eurogamer, Polygon, Kotaku, etc.) don’t do scores anymore. I’ve no idea why not, they seem to think they’re above that or something, but all they’re doing is unfairly inflating the scores of games.

All those sites have given reviews similar to GC’s verdict and so would’ve ended up given it 7 or less, but because they didn’t give a score they can’t have any influence on the Metacritic score. This seems to be a very negative influence to me and I’m not sure why they don’t see the problem they’re creating.

The other, less controversial, observation is that this is yet another game with a horse in it. There have been so many lately! Not complaining, love a good bit of horse-riding, but it begs the question: which is the best video game horse? The obvious contenders, for me, are Epona, Argo from Shadow Of The Colossus, and Roach from The Witcher 3. But there are lots more, from Metal Gear Solid 5 to The Last Of Us Part 2.

Is it just the one horse in Ghost Of Tsushima or are you using different ones all the time? I like just having the one all time, that I can name and customise.
Gadget

GC: You get a pick of three different ones at the beginning and can give them one of a few different names. Although you can also steal Mongol steeds.

Game of the times
Nice review of Paper Mario: The Origami King, although I can’t pretend I’m not disappointed that it’s not a role-playing game. I really don’t understand why it isn’t though, given that it would’ve instantly solved the problem of the combat being ‘pointless’ and it’s not like it was going to be Morrowind or something – I’m sure it would’ve been very streamlined and accessible.

I like the idea that it just sounds like a happy and cheerful game, which frankly we need at the moment. Or at least I need it. Animal Crossing did so well because it was happy and careful and I suspect Paper Mario will do well for the same reasons.

Once again you have to wonder though why other big publishers, especially and Sony and Microsoft don’t do this kind of game. The only other similar thing you ever get is from indie developers and I have no idea why. How much money does Nintendo have to make before others realise that maybe they’re onto something?
Scorpio

Kids today
Just because I like reading about what’s going on in the gaming world (particularly the excellent GameCentral, can you send me any free stuff?) I have been reading about Dr Disrespect. Without wanting to give myself away as a bit of a gaming fossil (I’m sure any of my previous e-mails would have revealed that anyway!) I have never really understood the appeal of watching people livestream, even less paying to watch them do it. I can get the idea of watching for a short time to see how a decent player does things, but in my mind it’s no substitute for playing the game yourself and learning it.

I sometimes watch videos of games I’m interested in but haven’t been able to play and I watched the last Fortnite event via a livestream because I couldn’t get into it in-game but that’s about it. This is not me having a pop at people who like watching livestreams, I honestly would like to know the appeal of watching streamers from people who do enjoy it.
John (AKI)
PS: Does anyone remember when your gamertag consisted of the three letters you could input on the arcade machine?

GC: This is not a question we can answer.

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Cheap is relative
Just wanted to ask if any readers have used any cheap wireless controllers for the Switch? I have a Pro Controller but want cheap ones for the kids, as the controller will get thrown around a lot.

The cheapest licensed one from Power A is for £35 on Amazon, which is a bit much for me. Anyone tried some of the unlicensed ones? I am avoiding the cabled controllers as I know the console will be toppled over at some point.
Alek Kazam

Bad connection
I have been trying to find out what connectors are on the back of the PlayStation 5.

In particular, I need to know whether it has an optical port. The reason being, I have a 4K TV, but not a 4K receiver. As such I have to connect my PS4 Pro directly and the audio via optical cable into my receiver.

I really don’t want to have to buy a new AV receiver to have surround sound on my PlayStation 5, so I really hope it does have an optical port.

Has there been anything released showing the back of the machine yet? How about the Xbox Series X for that matter?
StevenskiChan (PSN ID)

GC: We haven’t seen the rear of the PlayStation 5 yet. We have on the Xbox Series X though and it doesn’t have an optical port.

Beyond criticism
I will never understand the fascination with Hideo Kojima. Each to their own, of course, but Death Stranding sounds like the most boring thing possible and a complete self-indulgence. I have played a couple of Metal Gear games in the past and while I found the gameplay quite enjoyable all the endless talking and nonsense plot was more than I could bear.

And yet I do agree with the part in GC’s review where the congratulate him for getting people to give him money – a lot of money by all accounts – to make purposefully weird games that were obviously never going to be big sellers. I wish more developers would use their fame and clout for that, so on that account I cannot criticism him.

I wish other developers were as ambitious. I’m one of those people that would’ve preferred there was never a second The Last Of Us game and while I did end up liking the new one Naughty Dog were basically in the position where they could’ve done anything they want after that and all they opted for was a sequel. I just hope their next game is a new IP and not a third game.
Badgerman

Peas in a pod
It’s funny how well Lego and Nintendo seem to get on as companies, and how similar they probably are in a lot of ways. I would’ve never dreamed of buying a Lego set as an adult but I am seriously tempted by that NES set, with my primary concern being not just the money but where to actually put it.

I’m very curious to see what they will do will other franchises, as I’m certain they must be planning things for Zelda at least. In any other instance you’d just expect a big castle model, maybe the Temple of Time, but now it could be anything. I love the imagination and ingenuity that goes into these things, it’s what video games are all about.
Maximus

Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here

Going through the motions
I can see Insomniac becoming Sony’s leading studio. Whilst I was reading your Ghost Of Tsushima review, specifically comments regarding the lack of innovation, I couldn’t help but be reminded of some reviews on Marvel’s Spider-Man upon release.

I didn’t have high expectations when I played it. I had read that it was a typical sandbox, with familiar sandbox quests and Batman: Arkham style combat. Nothing exciting but probably fun.

In reality this became probably my most enjoyed PlayStation 4 game. If I had to replay any of the Sony exclusives it would be Spider-Man. The traversal and combat are ridiculously satisfying. On top of that it has a great story. God Of War and The Last Of Us are amazing no doubt, but they don’t trigger memories as positive as Spider-Man can.

I wonder if the rushed playthrough for review can underserve games which don’t slap reviewers out of the ‘going through the motions’ trance with their ingenious creativity. I don’t expect Ghost Of Tsushima will surprise me as much as Spider-Man did but I bet it’s better than it’s made out to be. Given the success of Spider-Man I think this franchise is going to be a system seller going forward.
Twig Lebowski

GC: Why are you assuming anything was rushed? We had the game for two and a half weeks before the embargo. That’s the case with most Sony titles, including Spider-Man – which we were much less enamoured with than you.

Inbox also-rans
RE: Penfold and games set the UK, I think the first Resistance game on PlayStation 3 was set in the UK, with some controversy at the time because of shooting aliens inside a cathedral! I also vaguely remember driving bits in Cheddar Gorge of all places!
LastYearsModel

Torchlight 2 is free on Epic Games Store from today at 4pm.
Andrew J.
Currently playing: ReCore Definitive Edition (Xbox One X)

This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Ollie who simply asks what 2020 game are you most looking forward to in the second half of the year?

The year’s over half done now, so what games are you planning to get from now until Christmas? Do you already have a plan (and a budget) or does it all depend on the next generation console announcements? How many more games do you expect to buy this year, in total?

Our release schedule lists the confirmed dates of most major titles but there’s also others without a date yet, such as Call Of Duty 2020, Halo Infinite, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Deathloop, and the rumoured Super Mario remasters (which we’ll treat as real for the purposes of this Hot Topic).

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.

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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