The Wednesday Inbox is impressed by Xbox’s approach to indie gaming, as one reader is disappointed by Destiny 2’s storytelling.
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We knew it was coming but now it’s confirmed, Sony is shutting down the PlayStation 3, PS Vita, and PSP online stores and along with that goes a bunch of games that you either can’t get any other way or are really expensive and difficult to get – because you have to buy the original discs.
Well known games like Noby Noby Boy and TxK are going to disappear forever and retro titles like Drakengard 3 and the original Resident Evil games are going to go physical only, just at a time when the series have new entries coming out. PixelJunk Racer, Trash Panic, The Last Guy, there are some great games that are suddenly going to get nuked and possibly never seen again.
The really bad bit about this timing is that it comes just as people are questioning Sony’s commitment to backwards compatibility and value for money, so why they chose to do this right now I haven no idea. It just reinforces the idea that Sony are living in a vacuum and don’t care what people are worried about or the way Microsoft is changing the game.
I’ve been a lifelong PlayStation fan but I’m beginning to think I’m backing the wrong horse with the PlayStation 5 and Sony are doing nothing to change my mind on that lately.
A storm is coming
So, I just got an email to confirm that the PSN is closing on the PlayStation 3, PSP, and PS Vita. I think it’s clear that this is a prelude to some big changes from Sony in regards to their back catalogue, but what? An updated PSN to allow more old games on the shiny new PlayStation 5? Some sort of upgrade to PS Now that gives you access to a bigger, older chunk of their back catalogue? Or are Sony just abandoning digital storefronts for these consoles because they’re outdated?
My money’s on a revamped PS Npw, with a refocus on older games that don’t sell like crazy but add value. I hope so anyway, because even Nintendo is treating its legacy games better than Sony at the minute.
Good indie showcase by Microsoft the other day. Their approach to indie gaming at the start of this gen couldn’t be more welcome and different to the last gen, which started with that silly parity policy which insisted a game released on Xbox first or at the same time as other formats. They dropped it but it took a while for Xbox to catch up with PlayStation 4’s indie output.
It’s not that Microsoft has become more altruistic. It’s all business as indies provide good, affordable content for Game Pass and does the same job Sony and Nintendo embraced them for, to fill out their release schedule. Game Pass is now excellent for indie gaming. Of the 30 odd games shown 22 will be on Game Pass day one of their release. Microsoft have a long road to get to any kind of parity with Sony and Nintendo, but it feels like they are putting their house in order.
Halo Infinite is a bit of an acid test for me. Nintendo and Sony both gave fresh takes on established IP with God Of War and Zelda. Halo Infinite needs to hit a high bar of quality.
I’ve faith the shooting mechanics will be great and I’ve liked what I’ve heard about the structure of the game. Much like God Of War, a open world-ish world but with a strong, focused single-player campaign. If they can deliver on that while providing a top tier multiplayer experience, then I’ll be very happy. But until I see it I do remain cautiously optimistic.
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I love retro games.
Everything should come out as collections on all major consoles, including PlayStation 5 and Xbox One. It’s a no-brainer.
Obviously, there’s licensing issues but what a wasted opportunity if it doesn’t happen. Literally thousands upon thousands of games could be sold again at cheap prices because they are only programs and not a physical product. When we get these mini-consoles nowadays with just a very small collection of games one can’t help but feel ripped off, i.e. Sony, Nintendo, SNK, and Sega.
Back and forth
I feel the opposite to Shaw. I think the diversity from modern to historical could be a future healthy balance for Call Of Duty every few years. The nostalgia of the originals still resonates with this thirtysomething gamer. Call Of Duty: WW2 was not without its faults, but in hindsight it was the first modern WW2 game.
No new iPhone is without its faults. If I wished for one thing though it is big battlefield vistas, like Stalingrad from the very first one. New Call Of Duties seem to overkill the first person roller-coaster of something blowing up and then throwing you through near-miss after near-miss. Maybe it’s my age but I miss the seeing the battlefield already engaged before the player… then the thrill and mystery of walking straight into it.
Am I the only one slightly perturbed that, with all this talk of Sony having no answer to Game Pass or Microsoft’s financial clout going ahead into this generation, no-one seems to be wondering what Nintendo are going to do to counter it?
It’s not as if Sony will be the only company hit by Microsoft’s plans. I’m mentioning it simply because I’d be distraught to think that both PlayStation and Nintendo would eventually be simply priced out of the market. I’m hopefully being too pessimistic.
GC: Nintendo is barely in the same business as Microsoft most of the time, so while there is certainly cause for concern they’ll likely persevere in the same way they always have.
Second to last
So I’ve reached the penultimate boss in Dark Souls 3, the twin princes, and I’m really struggling.
It’s taken me a few attempts to beat most of the bosses, but I’ve been stuck on the twin princes for over a week now. The problem seems to be the camera and lock on.
I like to roll behind them and attack but every time I do, I lose the lock-on and sometimes they teleport and I can’t see them. I’m frantically adjusting the camera to find them only to get hit by a ranged magic attack!
It’s starting to infuriate me because I know how to beat them but the lock=on and camera are letting me down.
On another note will you be reviewing It Takes Two? Most reviews have been very promising and it’s on for the bargain price of £17.85 for the digital version at ShopTo.
GC: Our review is up today.
I first wrote to you a few years ago after I platinumed Bloodborne, just because I enjoyed it so much and had to tell someone who’d understand. I absolutely played it to death, it’s probably still my favourite game on the PlayStation 4 and as a follow up, I asked GC whether I should try Dark Souls Remastered or skip straight to the newer, shinier Dark Souls 3.
On your recommendation I went for the original and it was… OK. I’d tried it previously on the Xbox 360 and had a similar experience, understanding why people liked it but certainly not why they loved it, and both times giving up fairly soon after the first bell. Unlike Bloodborne which has fast, agile, and aggressive combat, I just found Dark Souls to be slow and unresponsive. Most disappointingly, there was none of the skipping and dodging through the slaying like I had in Yharnam, my guy rolled over so slowly I could butter, slice, and eat an actual roll quicker than he was getting out of the way of sharp pointy things. So that was that, just not for me and on to something else.
Fast forward to last December and I’m loading up Demon’s Souls ready for another go. It looks fantastic, the weight of the combat and force of impacts is great but I’m still finding the same old issues with my supposedly all conquering knight trudging and moving around, hitting a fairly early wall with the Tower Knight and ready for a break. Then, I happen upon a build guide on YouTube and discover the concept of fat rolling…
What is fat rolling then? Well, it’s only the thing that nearly cost me two classic game experiences. I had been trying to live out my fantasies as an armoured-up knight with a big sword without any understanding that there’s some hidden weight mechanic that’s making him react to threats to life slower than that confused blonde fella on the telly who stands in front of all the flags. Play around with my gear and suddenly I’m leaping around the place like a ninja and he actually is doing ‘everything he could’ to sort these fellas out now. And it’s good… really, really good. New Game+++ why didn’t they finish that sixth archstone and give me more of this?
Of course, you can now guess where this is going. I start Dark Souls for the third time, on my third different console, I go for a dex build and I finally I get it. Two bells down, currently working my way through New Londo and I’m enjoying every second (well, mostly, it is still Dark Souls) and in it to the end this time. After nearly 10 years I’m going to finish it and it turns out the only reason it didn’t click with me like everyone said it would, like Bloodborne did, was entirely my fault all along.
And I’m genuinely curious, has anyone else nearly missed out on a classic only to discover a simple mechanic, option or move that once discovered, changed the whole experience?
Excited about the Nier Replicant remaster coming up but I’m surprise we haven’t heard anything about a sequel to Automata yet. I know these games don’t get direct sequels as such but surely Square Enix has more planned?
GC: Given the sales of Automata and the effort put into the Nier Replicant remaster we’d imagine it’s almost a definite.
I’ve got back into Destiny 2 a bit lately, after not having played it for a few years, but while I’ve enjoyed it in general I’m still really disappointed by the story. I thought it had got better but it’s still mostly ignored and completely uninteresting/overcomplicated. Bungie used to be so good at this stuff with Halo, I really don’t understand it.
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was inspired by reader Bacon, who asks which retro video game would you most like to see get a boost from next gen emulation?
The FPS Boost, which increases the frame rate to 60fps, has already proven popular on Xbox Series X but isn’t available for all games and there’s no direct equivalent on PlayStation 5. Other upgrades can include higher resolution and the removal of issues like screen tearing, so which older game, from the PS1 era onwards, would you most like to see get an automatic remaster?
How important do you feel this sort of enhanced backwards compatibility is and how much of an advantage do you feel it gives Microsoft over Sony?
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The small print
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