Games Inbox: Do you prefer Japanese or Western video games?

The morning Inbox celebrates the soundtrack of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, as one reader tries to predict Capcom’s E3 2019.

To join in with the discussions yourself email [email protected] (which is working again now)


Worlds apart

At the moment it seems the two most popular topics of conversation in the Inbox are Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice and Borderlands 3. It’s hard to imagine two more different games and they’re also pretty extreme examples of the difference between Japanese and Western developers. Borderlands is loud and obnoxious and, assuming it’s like the first two, doesn’t rely on the player needing much skill to play the game.

Sekiro on the other hand is very serious, understated and extremely taxing. Not that all Japanese games are like that of course, or that American games can’t be the opposite too, but even when they’re playing against type it’s always very easy to tell which games come from which country.

If push comes to shove I’d always say that I prefer Japanese made games but I’d also have to say that Western games have a much better batting average overall and better standards in terms of graphics and online features. I like having the two difference though, and would welcome others. What I wouldn’t like is everything becoming the same, only ever chasing after the American dollar, which was what was beginning to happen last gen.


Pleasing rhythm

Personally, I think Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is a good game. It’s not up there with From’s best, but I’d put it ahead of Dark Souls II and almost on par with number three. The combat is more restrictive, it’s true, but I find this gives it an almost rhythm action quality where you’re responding to the tells and opposing moves with exactly the right counter at exactly the right time. That’s different to the other games, but I found it just as satisfying.

I do agree that it could have done with being more different to the Soulsborne games, to avoid the comparisons but I’d still say it’s definitely the best game of the year so far. I also agree it’s been a good year for games so far (and Metro Exodus is definitely not ‘meh’). Maybe not as good as 2017 but it should easily beat last year.


Second Final

Some great news for shmup fans, which I know includes GC: a new team made up of ex-Irem developers are making R-Type Final 2! For reals! Apparently it was announced on Monday and everyone assumed it was an April’s Fool. But it’s not and there’s a crowdfunding campaign starting next month. That probably means it’s a long way off but… add that to the list of sequels you never thought you’d see!

I hope this new studio can find success and go on to make more games. Nothing’s ever going to stop shmups being a total niche but I’m sure there’s some way that the concept can be modernised. Star Fox was going that way but it never really evolved itself. Just like ninjas and robots, games are surprisingly bad at letting you just shoot spaceships like you used to.


E-mail your comments to: [email protected]


E3 vs. Capcom

Now that it’s April already we really are getting pretty close to E3. So having just beaten Devil May Cry 5, and been very impressed, I couldn’t help but wonder what will be next for Capcom. They’ve had a very successful couple of E3s lately so I’m sure they’ll want to keep that roll going.

The top contenders, as I see it, are Dragon’s Dogma 2, Marvel Vs. Capcom 4, Resident Evil 3 remake, Resident Evil 8, Dino Crisis remake, and a new Onimusha. They’ve at least hinted at each one (well, they’ve all but confirmed Resident Evil 3, so that’s just a matter of when not if).

I’d be more than happy with any one of those, except Dragon’s Dogma 2 which I found kind of boring, so knowing my luck that’ll be the one they show. It’s just great that we’re in a position were all are possible and we probably will get all or most of them at some point.


Pack animal

I’ve been strongly considering lately whether or not to buy Final Fantasy XIV, lately. I had a go of the trial version just recently and I quite like it. Much more handsome than the free-to-play competition such as Neverwinter or Tera, but it is still an MMORPG (actually pronounced muh-more-per-guh – fact).

When you’re a lone wolf such as I, these games tend to be too shallow and spread out much too thin. I get the initial buzz of creating my character and beating a few quests but it then becomes too repetitive and the loot never improves fast enough for my liking.

I was also tempted by your Elder Scrolls Online: Elseweyr preview. But last time I had it, I ran into the same problem. Also, the early enemies were very difficult to kill. Not in terms of skill just that they were joyless damage sponges. Should I go back again? Is it worth it for I, the lone wolf player? I who must walk the moonlit forests alone? I who must forever move onward, never staying in one place? You get the idea.

How much would all the expansions set me back on Elder Scrolls Online now? Is there not like an ultimate edition or something?

GC: The Elsweyr expansion contains everything, or you pick up one of the earlier editions for less than £10 online.


Name that game in one

At the risk of being a nuisance could you guys help me remember the names of two games you reviewed quite a while ago?

One was a Tower Defense game in which you could walk around your defences in first person between rounds. The other one was a space shoot ’em-up which had a mix of 2D and 3D stages.

We’re probably talking previous gen here and I know you have a review archive but I’m not sure of the exact release dates so I was hoping these brief descriptions might jog someone’s memory.

Thank you for your help.

GC: Those descriptions are very vague, especially if they’re old games. The Tower Defense game almost sounds like Star Fox Guard but we don’t think it is.


Unexplained absence

So Borderlands 3 really is… Borderlands 3? No Destiny style makeover, no major new features, just Borderlands 3? I’m not necessarily saying that’s a bad thing but what was the huge delay about in that case? Why wouldn’t they even talk about it until now? The whole thing seems a bit odd to me.

Will you be talking to them anytime soon, GC? Although if it’s that Randy Pitchford guy I imagine the chances of a straight answer are pretty low.

GC: We’ve got an event with them coming up at the end of the month.


Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here


Ultimate soundtrack

Following an enormous 80 hours of play time now, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has truly exceeded my wildest imaginations for what this franchise can become. Seriously, some of the scenarios you experience in the World Of Light campaign are the stuff of retro-gaming dreams, that further solidify the series as the ultimate in vehement gaming crossovers/assimilation.

The level of craftmanship that has gone into this most handsomely generously-sized mode is mindboggling. The final battles were especially subversive and climatic. I’m also still frequently in awe of the madcap, dizzying permutations of the battle arrangements in Spirit Mode, the untrammelled creative freedom on display is remarkable.

Graphically, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is such a feast for the eyes on the big screen that thankfully loses very little in the transition to handheld mode. It still blows my mind how stunning the game can look and feel to play on the small screen, and the more nuanced and pronounced lighting and texture detail is utterly exquisite.

The soundtrack is also just phenomenal, despite one of my only minor gripes with an otherwise near perfect game – alongside the complete absence of any meaningful, contextual information for the Spirits, and the rather intermittent net code – being that the process for unlocking all the music in the game can feel glacial to say the least.

There are so many fantastic tracks on Ultimate’s play list that have provided me with a cornucopia of musical delight, and quite frankly the game could possibly have the single greatest soundtrack I’ve ever had the profound pleasure of listening to in a game. The parsimonious Final Fantasy VII representation in this department is lamentable, however.
Galvanized Gamer
PS: I’m still optimistic that the release of Joker in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will align with a Switch announcement of Persona 5 R. The fact that the official reveal of the latter is scheduled around the same time as Joker’s arrival in Smash can’t be a coincidence, surely? Thoughts, GC.

GC: Did you not see yesterday’s news?


Inbox also-rans

The Witness is free on Epic Store on PC from today.
Andrew J.
Currently playing: Batman: Arkham VR and Celeste (PS4)

There’s zero chance, but I hope Rocksteady’s next game is based on Doom Patrol. The best thing DC has put out in terms of live action since the Nolan era!


This week’s Hot Topic

The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Crinkles, who asks what is your favourite ever video game cut scene?

Whether it’s pre-rendered or something using in-game graphics what’s the most impressed you’ve been in terms of a video game cinematic (including intros)? And were you primarily impressed by the visuals and presentation or the storytelling, or both?

How important do you think cut scenes are to a video game and do you have a limit on what you think is too long or too frequent (or too short?). What game gets the balance just right and what are some of the worst examples

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]


The small print
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