The Tuesday Inbox hears from an OAP Fortnite fan, as one reader gives his verdict on the PS5 a year after launch.
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I was going to write in and agree with the Reader’s Feature about Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl at the weekend and then I read that the game has been a major hit, far bigger than I would’ve expected even if it had been good. That makes my suggestion, that Pokémon be taken away from Game Freak, kind of impossible because if they keep bringing home the bacon on cheap, easy to make games then there’s no hope they’ll change.
As the reader pointed out, they couldn’t even be bothered to make this new one themselves, instead handing it off to a studio that doesn’t ever seem to have made a proper game on its own before. It’s cheap and lazy and… people buy it anyway, so what hope is there that things will ever improve?
I also agree with the idea that Pokémon Legends: Arceus probably isn’t going to be some massive leap forward. I just don’t think Game Freak have it in them. I don’t think they have the passion, the innovation, or the technical know-how. As far as I’m concerned, the only way for the Pokémon series to advance is for Game Freak to stop making, or overseeing, games for it. But as long as they keep being successful that’s never going to happen.
I just wanted to write in and say what a lovely article the Resident Evil mental health one was this weekend. I’m glad the writer found a community to help them through a difficult time in their life. Throughout my life I’ve also used games as an escape from difficult times I’ve been experiencing. Just being able to step away from something and experience a space that’s my own has been hugely impactful at times.
As a 38-year-old father it’s still something I need to do on occasion. I’m thankful to the reader for taking the time to put their thoughts together on the subject and hope that other readers who may have struggled at points in their life also found it beneficial.
I have always been strict with my teenage boys and grandsons, before they became teenagers; being so addicted to games and they have a lot of them. But the most popular one is Fortnite. And guess what? Now I play it to, and have been doing so for five years!
I love that game and even though I have five other games Fortnite is my favourite. My grandsons are very good and I’m getting there.
So just wanted to put in a good word from a challenge that takes my mind off stress. By the way, I am 73 years old, thumbs up guys.
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With Elden Ring and Horizon Forbidden West coming early next year I’ve started to look for the hardcover collector’s edition strategy guides for both games but have had no luck from Google search or searching Amazon.
Does GC or any readers who like a nice strategy guide, have any idea of good reputable sites for these? Or is it just a case of wait and see when the games get released?
GC: Surely they wouldn’t be out before the game? They’d be full of spoilers.
Thanks for the Black Friday deals list, I almost got Watch Dogs Legion from Amazon but as I was walking past Smyths Toys I looked at their price and it’s only £17.99 (or pay an extra £2 from Amazon and get three face masks which probably do nothing).
They seem to have plenty of Xbox stock, PlayStation is a little light in some stores. Keep up the good work.
Just one more reincarnation
Wrote in last week looking forward to Shin Megami Tensei 5 and now having picked it up at launch (and put in a ridiculous 15+ hours in 10 days) wanted to throw a bit more love its way. Despite being stuck in its ways in a lot of areas I’m really enjoying it so far. The whole world and environments feel very coherent in a way Japanese role-playing games usually struggle to manage, with the desolate overworld populated by demons pretty much just hanging out. I’d love to see a game set up like this as a true open world… and I’m completely bored with open world games!
The whole vibe is reenforced by the turn-based combat system. Building on the franchise’s usual elemental/chain attack mechanics it avoids the monotonous feel of most Japanese role-playing game encounters. Enemies can easily exploit your own weaknesses if you’re not set up properly for the task, leaving you badly exposed and turn the battle around. It makes combat quite edgy and similar to Dark Souls, your demise is as likely to be down to your own complacency (and maybe an unlucky critical hit).
Though generally I’m not really seeing the complaints with the difficulty curve, there is enough side content in the maps to keep you levelled up and the demon recruiting/fusion is addictive enough (in a Pokémon kinda way) to make doing that grind compelling. It just demands more attention than the usual Japanese role-player to manage your party’s abilities.
There are problems though and the issues are mostly technical. While the game is a Switch exclusive, it looks like a port of a PlayStation 4 game (and rumours from dataminers suggest it is coming to PlayStation 4/5 and PC) where they’ve downgraded the usual suspects to make it fit on the handheld. As opposed to have been built for the Switch.
The resolution is especially poor, giving it the extreme blur of The Witcher 3 or Doom 2016. I guess the use of Unreal Engine does make it more scalable, with any upgrades for other formats or future Switch iterations easy to patch in.
I accept the game most definitely isn’t for everyone, being an old school Japanese dungeon crawler at heart, and like Metroid Dread it’s a restatement of the core genre design without pushing it forward. But it’s one of the best Switch games of the year for me.
Been loving Metroid Dread. On the final boss now but yet to beat him. Such a good game in terms of level design and the controls are just perfect.
I’m considering playing Psychonauts, having never played either of them. Would you advise playing the first one or skip and go straight for the second?
GC: The first one is still very good but to get the full backstory you’d have to play the VR game Rhombus Of Ruin as well.
Can’t believe it’s already been a year since the PlayStation 5 launched (and that they’re so elusive and difficult to secure from major retailers), so here are some thoughts on my intensive, eight game spanning, 11 weeks with the PlayStation 5 hardware so far.
irst of all, my oh my, is this thing enormous. I had no option but to lay it on its side to slot it in, almost Tetris style, into my increasingly cluttered, double tiered TV stand. In spite of its size however I still firmly believe the PlayStation 5 has a highly aesthetically pleasing space age like design. I love attention to detail with the tiny PlayStation symbols adorning the faceplates.
Next up is the DualSense, the culmination of nearly 30 years of refinement, this game controller feels ergonomically flawless in the hands. The more subtle and elegant light indicator is a smart iteration of the occasionally distracting Dualshock 4 light bar, the touchpad feels like it has more depth to it than its predecessor, and the haptic feedback creates the desired tangible effects like with the pitter patter of the rain drops in Astro Bot and Returnal, or discharging your powerful weaponry in Housemarque’s brutal yet mesmeric game.
The adaptive triggers are the real revelation here though and have already imbued the controls with an extra layer of tactility. I love the sensation of the pressure sensitive feedback whenever I activate the alternate firing mode in Returnal, or climbing up the precarious stones with the monkey exo suit in Astro Bot. The DualSense’s adaptive triggers have built tremendously on a horribly neglected technology that I first experienced with Nintendo’s GameCube controller.
As for the SSD…wow. So brisk and seamless. The dark days of waiting upwards of 30-60 seconds for a game to load are hopefully forever behind us. Splendid. I also really like the new user interface and sleek dashboard design. And as someone that takes photos liberally in games, I appreciate the snappier screenshot capturing function on the PlayStation 5.
The 3D audio capabilities of the console are also very impressive and I’m glad Sony have just released the console update that allows players to experience this immersion enhancing feature from their speakers. 3D audio headphones are still the optimal way to appreciate the enveloping properties of this tech though, the official Sony 3D headset is very comfortable and well made.
So smitten with the PlayStation 5, it’s an incredibly well made console, and I’m still incredulous to the fact that the utterly wonderful Astro’s Playroom is built-in software and completely free of charge. I would’ve gladly paid £20 to £30 for it.
Naturally, I’ve come to embrace the backward compatibility with PlayStation 4 games and welcome the performance/visual fidelity boost for certain high profile games. Still find really baffling why Bloodborne – aka, the best PlayStation 4 exclusive – hasn’t received a PlayStation 5 upgrade yet though.
Now I just wish more gamers could get their hands on this awesome piece of tech. I ran out of patience and purchased my console from eBay for £530, and nearly three months on I have zero regrets!
So EA have got so hubristic that they think licences like FIFA and Star Wars are stifling their profits? Those licences are the only reasons people put up with their terrible games!
Anyone looking for bargains head to ShopTo. They currently have plenty of offers across lots of games and subs, and if you use the code EXTRATEN at the checkout, you get another 10% off. I picked up 12 months of PS Plus for under £30.
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Focus, who asks what’s the most successful video game franchise you don’t like?
From Pokémon to GTA, Fortnite to League Of Legends, what big name video games do you have no interest in and why? Have you played the games yourself and have you ever gone back to try a new entry, or update, despite not liking one of the previous ones?
What game’s success do you struggle to understand the most and is there anything it could do to change, to get you interested in it?
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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 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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