The Monday Inbox is disappointed by Black Friday and the disappearance of the Xbox One X, as one reader offers his views on Telling Lies.
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I’ve been reading everyone’s opinions of the PlayStation 5 with great interest and seen that most generally fall into one of two camps: the PlayStation 5 arrived and it’s great or it didn’t arrive/you weren’t able to pre-order it. I’m very much in the second camp and I’m not sure what I’m going to do about it. Even if there is more stock released this year it’s presumably going to be just as hard to get a hold of as it was the first couple of times, which means I still haven’t got much of a chance.
There are consoles on eBay but not only can I literally not afford them, but I resent giving money to scalpers anyway. And yet I really want to play Spider-Man and Demon’s Souls when I’m off at a Christmas.
Unfortunately, I’ve got to face the fact that I probably won’t be able to get PlayStation 5 this year and that, at best, I’m looking at next spring. I think the worst thing is that there’s not really anyone to blame. Sure, Sony could’ve done the pre-orders more fairly but at the end of the day you’ve still got to be lucky and I seldom am.
I can totally understand where the Reader’s Feature at the weekend is coming from in terms of worrying about Cyberpunk 2077. I’d agree with all of his concerns but I’d also add I have absolutely zero idea if they’re going to be a problem or not.
Their concerns, definitely, but will they be a problem in the final game? It’s pure guess work really and that really shouldn’t be the case. Like the feature said, there’s usually only one reason you keep things like this secret and that’s because it’s bad news. But that’s not proof, that’s just assuming the worst without anything else to go on… except for the good reputation of The Witcher 3.
Let’s just say I’m glad you don’t have to worry about pre-orders when it comes to games. I’m still not sure whether I want to play the game now or wait for the next gen version so I’m not going to buy anything until I see some proper reviews. Reviews that I have no idea how they’re going to turn out.
I’ve seen there’s been a lot of issues with the next gen consoles, particularly on PlayStation 5, but I hadn’t experienced a single problem on Xbox Series X until recently. The culprit: Call Of Duty: Black Ops Cold War. I got to a level about midway through the campaign when I encountered two system crashes which shut down the console. I looked online and it appears the issue is rife, even going as far as to brick some consoles. I think this problem is specific to Xbox, which explains why reviewers wouldn’t have picked up on it since they would all be playing it on PlayStation 4 and 5 since Sony has the marketing rights.
As an early adopter you expect some teething problems, but the thought of a Call Of Duty game bricking my console would be the ultimate kick in the teeth. I have a love/hate relationship with Call Of Duty (Warzone is great!) but I’m not taking the risk and will therefore wait for a patch. The developers have responded to the known issue, but I didn’t get any sense of urgency. Can you imagine your shiny new console being bricked by a Call Of Duty game? It doesn’t bear thinking about.
Warzone works just fine though, so there’s that at least. As for Robert Redford and company, they won’t be infiltrating my Xbox until the Cold War against my console is over.
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Having just finished Telling Lies I have to say I’m a bit disappointed. Sam Barlow has got something really special with the video search format he has basically invented but I don’t think Telling Lies is a very good showcase for it. Unlike the sharply focussed investigation of Her Story, Telling Lies just feels a bit all over the place. I didn’t find most of the characters very interesting at all, with the main guy being pretty idiotic and scummy all things told. The mostly one-sided nature of the conversations didn’t work well in my mind and gave the whole game the feel of a very odd dating sim.
Perhaps it didn’t help I’ve been watching the superb second season of Succession at the same time. The writing in Telling Lies is laughable in comparison and Succession shows how to make dubious people entertaining and, to an extent, empathetic. I do think interactive narratives have brilliant potential though, with Black Mirror’s Bandersnatch a good example of TV’s approach to the genre. It has some excellent writing but the drawback of less interaction. Maybe Sam Barlow needs to get together with Charlie Brooker and bring the best of their two projects together.
Last gen haptic
Do you think there’s any chance at all that existing PlayStation 4 games, especially first party exclusives, get DualSense support sometime soon? I want that controller and I want to experience God Of War with haptic feedback, but I suppose Sony would rather sell me a whole PlayStation 5 than just a controller.
I did hear something about Steam compatibility though, and it wouldn’t surprise me if people release some special mods for it.
Owen (NongWen – PSN ID)
GC: No, we don’t think that’s very likely.
So you had a letter the other day regarding your end of year game chart, and if it would include Demon’s Souls or Final Fantasy 7 Remake. Maybe I missed the answer but what did you decide on?
I ask because I assume there will be more remakes in their moulds down the line, recent Bluepoint Metal Gear Solid rumours seem to be stirring right now. Personally, if it totally remakes the previous game, like Final Fantasy 7 did, I reckon that should be included. Demon’s Souls, as great as the new one is, is still basically deep down the same game. But it’s your chart so your rules!
GC: We ended up agreeing with you. We’ll make an exception for Final Fantasy 7 Remake, because in gameplay terms, at least, it’s a completely different game. As much as we love it, Demon’s Souls is an even more straightforward recreation of the original than something like Resident Evil 2.
What a complete non-event Black Friday was! I know people have said similar things but it really brings it home to you how the last gen consoles are already dead in Microsoft and Sony’s eyes! All that talk from Microsoft about maintaining backwards compatibility and you already can’t buy an Xbox One X. It’s been dropped like a stone the instant the new systems came out, almost as bad as the OG Xbox when the Xbox 360 came along.
I guess not many people are going to be that interested anymore, now the new consoles, but buying one cheap during Black Friday should’ve been an option.
Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here
So, I think I’ve had about enough of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. It’s fine, good even, but it’s failed to really ignite any excitement for me and I don’t think I can bring myself to finish the story. Which I don’t think is going to be me missing out on much but even so, it seems a bit of a waste after putting all these hours in.
It’s not even as if I haven’t enjoyed the game but it did all start to seem a bit like video game wallpaper, where I was just going through the motions and only half paying attention. The game’s been a hit, so I’m sure the next one will be just like it, but rather than where it’ll be set the thing I’m most interested in is whether it’ll go back to the old style of playing.
Not just the lack of role-playing, which to be honest doesn’t make much difference to me, but putting a focus back on stealth, assassination, and parkour. None of those things, especially parkour, are a big part of Valhalla and I, for one, would be happy to go back to a more focused approach and get rid of all the bloat.
It can still be open world, all the games always were, but the doesn’t mean everything has to be so endless and repetitive. Personally, my dream game would probably be something in South America or Africa – so a very different setting than normal – and with a smaller but more detailed world map where you get to know everywhere and it all feels a bit more personal.
After having played the PlayStation 5 extensively in the last week or so, I must say the analogue stick positioning is still not as ergonomic as the Nintendo or Xbox controllers. The others just feel better to use. Well, especially on the Xbox.
Sorry to make a negative Hot Topic suggestion in the run up to Xmas but how about everybody’s biggest gaming related disappointment of the year? Mine would have be the complete no show of the already delayed Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course DLC.
GC: We often do that one in December, so probably will again.
This week’s Hot Topic
The topic for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Stone Cold Steve Austin, who asks if you could go back and play one game again, without any prior knowledge, what would it be?
Imagine you could wipe your mind of any knowledge of playing the game in question, which one would you pick and why? Is it simply your favourite game or is there something about it – perhaps a surprising plot twist or a general lack of replayability – that makes you wish you could experience it anew?
Would you worry that there’s a danger you wouldn’t actually like it as much the second time, perhaps because your tastes have changed or video games in general have advanced too much in the meantime?
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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.
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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