Games Inbox: Calling Elden Ring boring

The Monday letters page tries to predict Sony’s State of Play plans for June, as one reader switches from Gran Turismo 7 to Burnout 3.

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Call of Elden
I took the plunge and bought Elden Ring after seeing positive reviews. After the first couple of hours I was just totally underwhelmed, actually bored with the game. I persevered thinking it would improve the more I upgraded my character. But to me personally I cannot understand how it keeps anyone’s attention. There is no coherent story, no way to actually see conversations which give you any idea of what to do next. Most of the conversations are so cryptic as to not matter anyway.

The way to upgrade and mix spells and weapons is overly complex. I don’t mind difficulty in games but to enter a boss fight and it destroy you with two blows gives you no opportunity to learn attack patterns. Most of the tips involve cheesing a boss or exploiting a glitch, which is once again just plain boring. Trying to find a certain character is just plain ridiculous, go to point A but if he is not there it’s because you were at point C first, so go to point B unless you were at point D before that.

How anyone can spend hours grinding to upgrade their skills is beyond me, kill the same enemies over and over, save your game, go back to the same point and kill the same enemies over and over, rinse and repeat. Basically, it’s just ride around and kill everything in sight with no narrative to keep you engaged. If this game was at a normal difficulty I think it would only clock in at around 20 hours. It’s just a short game padded out with ridiculous difficulty.

This game probably appeals to the same people who enjoy Call Of Duty, which is basically what you do in Call Of Duty, run around with no story just to level a character up.

Currently I am playing Cyberpunk, which is totally immersive with a fantastic varied game world and multiple ways to approach each mission. I am also playing on the hardest difficulty.
Sixpacx player ID

Medium Core
Bit disappointed at the lack of game announcements during Star Wars celebration. All we got is a CGI trailer for Fallen Order 2 and Knights Of The Old Republic 2 on the Switch. Kind of disappointing when we know so many other games are in development.

I know it wasn’t expected but it’s still disappointing as I really want to know what Ubisoft’s game is. Or, to be more accurate, I really want some evidence that one of these games is going to be about bounty hunters and/or something other than endless Jedi.

Not that I don’t like Fallen Order, it was a great game, but I’m glad that, in theory, there’s going to be a range of themes to the other games. As for the trailer itself, I’m not sure there’s anything you can say. I have no idea who that is in the tank, other than I think it’s a guy. Probably? If it’s meant to be obvious it has me stumped and I’d say I was a medium-core Star Wars fan.

State of the month
So do we really think Sony is just going to do a series of State of Play events for E3 instead of just one? That seems kind of lame, I don’t see the advantage? Unless it really is to see what Microsoft does first so they can try and trump. But what are they expecting Microsoft to do that they think a change of script can fix? Like many things Sony has done lately I don’t get and I can only hope there’s some kind of logic to it underneath it all.

Best case scenario is they end the PlayStation VR2 event this week with a tease for the big E3-esque event the week after, but I don’t have much confidence that’s actually going to happen. Microsoft are obviously going all out, with a 90 minute show, and I can’t believe Sony won’t try to have something to beat that.

I guess they could just do it a few months later, then both get plenty of time to shine, but Sony’s whole MO has always been about undercutting Microsoft just after they announces something and I find it hard to believe they won’t try that trick again now.

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Those were the days
Having complained last week about the roulette wheel in Gran Turismo 7 and over the weekend realising that the new update erased the Tomahawk glitch (thus returning the grind back to sheer mind numbing tedium) I decided that I’d had enough of it. I then fished out my age old PlayStation 2 and copy of the masterpiece that is Burnout 3 and reminded myself of how great it was and indeed, still is.

It also brought fond memories of pure unadulterated fun. When games worked straight out of the box with no 980GB day one patch. No microtransactions too. I’d love someone to make an OutRun-esque, full sit down arcade cabinet for it. Update the visuals to 4K with a blistering 120fps mode to obliterate the eyes.

There’s only a few games that are close to perfect. I’d class Nex Machina and Advance Wars as two definite ones. I think personally, Burnout 3 is almost too. Everything is top notch, barring the awful DJ. He gets muted instantly but I blame EA for that faux pas. To think that EA actually released a game that was this fun, actually worked, and had no microtransactions. Sadly, I feel that they also wasted Criterion’s potential after the excellent Black.

Wouldn’t hurt
My question to the Reader’s Feature about the wish for better graphics on Zelda games is has it impacted your enjoyment of the games?

As Nintendo proves, time and again, the quality of the visuals is not the be all and end all of their games and they are, generally, more than the sum of their parts. For example, you can still play and enjoy A Link To The Past today, retro graphics and all, and it is immensely enjoyable. You can’t say that for many old games, and it’s the reason their back catalogue still makes money to this day, even if it is dressed up as part of their online service now.

Looking back too, Nintendo tried keeping up with the Joneses with the GameCube. It was a powerful little beast, but it didn’t stop them from coming last in that generation, as the hypnotic power of the PlayStation 2 was too much to overcome. It’s telling their next console, the Wii, was just a slightly more powerful GameCube, with a different control method and the hook of family gaming, and it sold gazillions of units. And now, they’ve hit their sweet spot in the market with the Switch, while Microsoft and Sony have to play the power game.

To conclude, Nintendo play to their audience in their own inimitable fashion. I have no expectation that they will ever produce a cutting edge machine and that is borne out by Switch sales and the profit that has generated for Nintendo. My wish would be that it didn’t take five years to make a game, but I’d rather have the greatest games of all time than the unfinished messes that some developers see fit to let out the door these days that need massive patches to fix later.

Trailer required
I’m really surprised that CD Projekt is even going to bother making an expansion for Cyberpunk 2077. It might have got over its launch problems but I don’t really think it’s a very good game. It’s not terrible or anything but I have no yearning to go back and speaking to friends that have played it most couldn’t even be bothered to finish it.

Crazy how something can go from most anticipated game to most hated but glad to see there’s some kind of punishment to releasing broken games. Problem for CD Projekt is it’s sullied their reputation as well as just Cyberpunk, so I’m not sure how excited I can get about The Witcher 4 either. (I’m sure all it’ll take is a teaser trailer).

Out of targets
I have played all the Sniper Elite games and bought Sniper Elite 5 on Thursday for the PlayStation 5 and while I am really enjoying the game, having played the first two levels, my criticism of the game is the lack of enemies.

On the first level the coastal town seems strangely empty of enemies, while you would expect it to be crawling with Germans. I strolled around and there as hardly any enemies there, the second level seems the same, even setting off an alarm brings about four or five reinforcements which is strange. No wonder Karl is a one-man army as the Germans don’t seem to have much of an army.
David Clixby

Once a marketing person, always a marketing person
In response to Kernel’s excellent Reader’s Feature over the weekend. I too would love to see a photorealistic Zelda. Not for it seemingly to be better but just for wonderment sake. Although the history of the Zelda series will tell you that they go for a different graphical art style every time, regardless of how powerful their hardware is.

Twilight Princess was probably the most realistic graphics they went for, considering the horsepower they had to play with, and although at first it looked good over time, for me personally, it’s probably the most boring Zelda to look at.

Kudos to you though, it’s not easy writing a Reader’s Feature. I’ve spent hours writing a few myself and not all of them got in. Yet people, mostly in the Underbox will break you down word for word to put their point across. Which is fine but feel free to write a Reader’s Feature yourself guys and put yourself out there to be picked apart.

That’s your opinion and you’re not wrong in asking for better graphics. After all it’s the first thing gamers are going to want to see when the PlayStation 6 is announced.

On another note, on the whole Switch 2 theory. After reading Reggie Fils-Aimé’s book, the start of chapter 15 and I quote (sorry to sound like Dot Cotton quoting the bible): ‘Nintendo’s innovation mentality is rooted in defining new experiences that can delight the player but that cannot be achieved with existing hardware. This is different from the traditional competitors in the video game space who first consider technology, such as higher definition visuals and greater computing power’.

Taking that into account and looking at their past consoles, I wouldn’t expect the next generation console from them to be anything like the Switch of today. Which is probably why they are so hit and miss over the years.

Anyway, as far as Zelda is concerned I would rather like another cel-shaded big screen number. Not so much like The Wind Waker but somewhere half between that and Ōkami. Then I’d be a happy bunny.
freeway 77

Inbox also-rans
RIP Ray Liotta who played Tommy Vercetti in GTA: Vice City (2002) and, of course, Henry Hill in Goodfellas, I bought GTA: Vice City launch day on PlayStation 2.
Andrew J.
PS: The mystery free game on Epic Games Store is The BioShock Collection.

I know not many people will care but I used to really like Top Spin, so I’m glad to hear it might be coming back. I’m surprised they’re doing it though, I assumed sports games like that just didn’t sell anymore.

This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Carter, who asks what is your favourite sci-fi game?

The genre of the video game doesn’t matter as long as it can be described as science fiction in some way, but which is your favourite and why? How much do you enjoy sci-fi as a setting, and do you prefer it to be more serious or more fantasy led?

Are there any concepts or licences you feel haven’t been done well before and how would you handle them? Which games do things like spaceship combat and futuristic weapons best and what concepts, like zero gravity and alien planets, do you feel remain underexploited?

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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 via email or our Submit Stuff page, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

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