The Wednesday Inbox wonders if Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order has given EA a taste for single-player, as a reader wishes there were less leaks.
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Like many I’ve been a bit underwhelmed by the Black Friday deals so far and haven’t bought anything yet, which is a bit awkward as I actually saved up a budget of £100 to spend on games and whatever else and now I’m not sure what, if anything, to get.
I don’t think the disappointing sales are just games, it seems to be for everything, and I wonder whether the lack of deals may put a dent in the whole concept of Black Friday, just as they’re trying to make it a month long thing.
I wonder what that also means for game prices now? I was really expecting to see Death Stranding for cheap, definitely The Outer Worlds, and maybe even Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. The only I’ve even seen listed is The Outer Worlds and that barely has any savings, which I’m sure is much less than games out at the same time last year.
Now I don’t know what to do with my carefully saved budget. Put it aside for a PlayStation 5, maybe?
Solo: A Star Wars story
So Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order seems to have been a pretty big hit for EA, so I wonder how that’s going to affect their decisions in the future? Are they going to see that as proof that anything Star Wars sells or will they chalk it up to a victory for single-player games and be more for them in general?
I hope it’s the second one as while the game had some problems I really enjoyed it and appreciated the amount of effort put into it. I remember when GC interviewed the devs they said it was their first game together as a team, which seemed at the time to hint that they knew they hadn’t got everything quite right so I would very much like to see them give it another go, Star Wars or not.
It disturbed me when Phil Spencer talked down VR by saying gaming is a social experience. I mean… it can be, but it doesn’t have to be. Single-player games are great too and I worry that Microsoft talks them down just because they haven’t got any and Sony are so good at them. I think it was the same thing going on with EA, how have hopefully now changed their position.
Never go back
I think that reader is on to something when he says that Shenmue 3 has made him stop wishing for a sequel to Skies Of Arcadia. I think sometimes you just have to say an idea was a product of its time and leave it at that. As much as loved it at the time Skies Of Arcadia is a real chore to play through, with endless random battles that pop up almost every few steps.
A sequel could get rid of that, sure, but how much else would it have to change? Including about the ship battles? I’m even hesitant to suggest a remake, as I don’t know who I’d trust to make it nowadays. I’ve heard people talk about Square Enix doing a remake of Chrono Trigger in the style of Final Fantasy 7 Remake, but I just don’t see it working.
The charms of the original is that it was all designed perfectly to take full advantage of the consoles of the time. Final Fantasy 7 was pushing the PS1 to its limit but Chrono Trigger was perfect where it was, and I kind of think it should stay there.
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Cheap enough to try
I wrote in a few weeks back about waiting for Black Friday and other sales to buy games so I thought I would share what I have got in the Black Friday (black week?) sales. I started with Civilisation 6 on the Switch from the eShop for half price.
I have never played a Civilization game before but wanted to take a punt on something new. I have also got good deals on The Outer Worlds, Hitman 2, Yooka-Laylee And The Impossible Lair and Divinity: Original Sin 2 on PlayStation 4. Divinity is not usually the sort of thing I would go for as I am not very good at games in truth and am put off if I think it will be too hard. GameCentral’s praise for it has made me want to give it a try though and I hope I love it as much as you.
A mention for Luigi’s Mansion 3 as well, which I got a few weeks ago. I am nearing the end and have found it consistently brilliant. Game of the year for me so far.
Pigfish2 (PSN ID/NN ID)
GC: Good for you, for stepping outside of your comfort zone.
I visited GAME this week to collect their latest free magazine (also available digitally) and three members of staff went looking in the stock room for a copy. Whilst I was waiting a customer asked a fourth member of staff to price match with their website but the request was refused.
They wanted to purchase a Switch Lite which is £10 cheaper online. I understand stores and website are run independently of each other and the website having less overheads than the stores they can offer products cheaper (although postage and packaging needs to be included), but losing a sale is not good commercial sense and there is no guarantee customer will order online.
Too good to last
Reading about the rave reviews for Xbox Game Pass is oddly reminiscent of the last generation when PlayStation Plus became a standout feature and contributed to the PlayStation 3’s comeback, which eventually led to Sony (just) selling more than Microsoft.
I have to admit, I had deserted PlayStation after the debacle over the many issues that gave the PlayStation 3 such a bad start. Ignoring the Red Ring of Death controversy was reasonably easy when you put into consideration the quality of the online service, the controllers, the multiformat performance and achievements becoming a thing.
My reversal in gaming affection was triggered by a desire to sample the ever-growing list of exclusives (especially Naughty Dog’s output). I still used both consoles regularly and always purchased the multiformat games on the Xbox 360. However, the real turning point was signing up for PS Plus. Now back then playing online on the PlayStation 3 was free (and with good reason, as it was mostly terrible) but they introduced an extra service which gave out exclusive themes, discounts for games, and other various perks.
The biggest incentive to sign up though was free games each month and these invariably were off very good quality. I remember particularly Burnout Paradise being one of the first I downloaded and it became a very enjoyable wait every month to see what Sony were offering each time.
Of course, as the next generation started and Microsoft decided to shoot themselves repeatedly in the foot, Sony’s need for gamers to sign up for PS Plus just to play online shifted the importance of free games as a killer app. At one point there were six games being offered free each month across all formats.
Now they are back down to two a month and they usually are a lot less desirable than they used to be. So as streaming services become more viable and popular, it seems Microsoft are trying to achieve a similar feat with Game Pass, which is almost too good to be true.
This could shift gamers outlook on the next generation, though the lack of first party exclusives is the potential flaw in that strategy. If they fix this issue, Microsoft may finally win a battle with Sony at last.
baby machine-5 (PSN ID)
I agree that the constant barrage of video game leaks is bad, although I’ve no interested in seeing people arrested or fined over it. Advance news of a game a year or so away from release can often be fun, because a lot can change before it’s out, but that isn’t how the majority of these things work nowadays.
Now it’s just a T-shirt or a poster or something that some shop put out two days before it was supposed to and suddenly all the big plans for the unveil are ruined. The stuff with the PS4 devkit and cartridge have been fun because we don’t really know if they’re true or what exactly they are.
Having some scrub looking for 15 minutes of Internet fame by scanning a Pokémon strategy guide a week before the game comes out isn’t exactly the same thing.
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Personally, Xbox Game Pass is a killer app for me, i.e. I bought a console because of it. I bought an Xbox One S last Christmas as a media/streaming/Halo multiplayer box. But my PS4 Pro was the console I gamed on. Picked up a year of Xbox Live Gold and and Game Pass for £85, which was converted to Ultimate until November 2020 for an extra pound as part of Microsoft’s E3 promotion thing. Game Pass got better and better until it hit a critical mass of must play titles with The Outer Worlds, so I traded the One S in for an One X when it was on an eBay deal for £295 new. Plan to see out the gen on the X and Game Pass, oh and Elden Ring.
Like many I came to Game Pass through heavy promotional deals but I will renew at full price in November 2020 if it maintains its current quality. It’s changed the next gen conversation for me too. I’ll be getting a PlayStation 5 but whereas before Game Pass it was at launch it might be later now. If Sony don’t release PlayStation 5 with a stonkingly good exclusive in the Bloodborne or Zelda: Breath Of The Wild mould and Halo Infinite is good I can see myself picking up an Xbox Scarlett and Game Pass before the PlayStation 5.
It’s a complete reversal of my feelings towards subscriptions services a year ago. I recognised their immense value but felt that significant time was needed to extract that value. I’ve learnt to rotate subscription services so I always get enough value from each to merit the cost and find it a decent approach. You get a lot of quality content for your money plus spare change to buy one or two select titles not on Game Pass. Who’s going to be able to resist Elden Ring? No one, that’s who.
Nintendo has never given a bargain to anyone ever (saying that, those SNES games for 20 quid a year is decent). Sony have already stated that they feel their exclusives are too good for a sub service, God Of War gets removed from PS Now on the 2nd of January next year. Stadia doesn’t want to follow the Netflix model Game Pass is. So I think Game Pass will remain a killer app for Xbox as it will be a unique selling point.
Side note: Having been on Xbox for almost a year now, after a lapsed period of six or so years, I’ve found its network reliability to be no better than Sony’s. Better download speeds but when it comes to sign in problems, etc. I’ve had more issue on Xbox. Think Sony get a slightly unfair reputation in this area. Both work very well and have very occasional issue’s in my experience.
This is a good offer with some good Sonic games, and some not so good ones, a Sonic Humble Bundle.
Just completed: Untitled Goose Game (Switch) – I highly recommend it.
I have completely turned around my view of Stadia now I know I can get a free copy of Farm Simulator 19 out of it. Oh no, wait, I’m being sarcastic.
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader ‘Daley’ Thompson, who asks what game that you like now did you not initially get one with?
Some games take a while to get into, but do you have any where there’s a particularly marked difference between what you thought of it at the beginning compared to how you feel about it now? How long did it take to change your mind? What caused the initial problems and what finally brought you around?
How patient do you tend to be with new games and how long do you usually give them before giving up? What do you do with the games then and are there any you keep meaning to go back to but never have?
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The small print
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