Games Inbox: Is Elden Ring the best game ever?

The Friday letters page thinks Ubisoft should start making smaller and cheaper AA games, as one reader suffers like G did.

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Put a ring on it
I’ve done it! After over 200 hours I’ve finally beaten Elden Ring. I don’t know how, because I swear Malenia is impossible even after I’ve defeated her, but I have and I couldn’t be happier. Maybe it’s just the excitement of my victory but I am pretty much convinced that it’s the best game ever.

I’m not saying that just because I’ve beaten it though, it’s something I’ve been thinking since at least the halfway point. It’s obvious the game is great from the first hour but what impresses me is that it just keeps getting better and better. Just when you think you’ve seen more or less everywhere you realise there’s even more and it’s just as wild and imaginative as the rest of the game.

The boss battles are great, the more frequent checkpoints are very welcome, and I love the camaraderie of the multiplayer and the messages. The game looks amazing too. On a technical level it’s not particularly advanced but the art design, level design, and just general ambiance is amazing. I just love the whole thing and I wasn’t even a particularly big Dark Souls fan before this. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had with video games and I think it’s pretty clear it is an all-time classic at the very least.

Sheev’s saga
Your review of Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga was pretty much spot on; I am absolutely loving it so far.

It does seem to have been made with genuine affection for the Star Wars franchise but simultaneously gently take the pee and there have been a few moments where I have laughed out loud, mainly involving the Emperor.

I’ve only finished the prequel trilogy in story mode so far, so I still have the Death Star trench run and battle of Hoth to look forward to, great game.
John Atkinson

You can’t win
I was disappointed that your 4/10 review of The House Of The Dead: Remake didn’t take the opportunity to say that the game made you, ‘Suffer, like G did’.

Though perhaps you’re saving that gem for a review of The House Of The Dead 2: Remake (if it happens), where they’ll surely have to include that iconic scene.
Billy Bunter

GC: We purposefully didn’t quote it because we didn’t want tons of emails correcting us about it being from the sequel!

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ARG, give us more information
I love these stories about GTA 6 ‘teasers’. There’s just enough in them to make you half believe them but at the same time it seems impossible that Rockstar would put so much effort into so meaningless a hint. If this new photo is from the new game what does that mean? It tells you nothing except, maybe, possibly it could be set in Florida.

It’s almost like an ARG except without any real puzzles and you’re sure if the game even really exists. What happened to ARGs anyway? I remember being obsessed with the bee one for Halo 2 but they seem to have fallen out of fashion more recently.

That doesn’t really seem Rockstar’s style though so I imagine we’ll just get the usual teaser trailer a year or so before release, which pretty much guarantees nothing this year. I wish it was sooner, I’m sure every fan does, but we’ve waited this long, what’s a couple more years between friends?

Slim chance
It’s been a while since the consoles came out so is there any word on a slim version of the Xbox Series X? I’d love to consolidate my consoles down to one that runs all my games from Xbox 360 and Xbox One consoles.

Any chance in the next year or so?

GC: It seems very unlikely. Slim models generally don’t appear until at least three years after the initial launch and given the stock problems (even if they are lessening for Xbox) that only seems likely to extend the wait. But who knows, it’s hardly been a typical generation so far.

Sticking to formula
I think the problem with Ubisoft is that they’re stuck in a rot where they’ve got a formula that works (the open world ‘Ubisoft formula’ and yet nothing else they try ever seems to work. The more it doesn’t work the more they have to rely on the formulaic stuff to keep the money coming in and the less confident they get about trying anything new. To the point where even something like Watch Dogs, which is still basically the same game as the rest, is probably not coming back.

You see this with lots of publishers though. 2K and EA are very similar and Activision has become so resistant to doing anything other than Call Of Duty that I can’t even remember what was the last non-COD game they published. Crash Bandicoot 4? Which didn’t do quite as well as they hoped so they seem to have abandoned the whole franchise.

Hopefully things will change now that Activision in charge but it may be a long time before they’re able to ensure any real change, and that probably goes for all the workplace problems as well.

Basically, companies need to get better at trying new things. I can see they wouldn’t want to just splash $200 million on an unproven idea but that’s all the more reason to make smaller, cheaper games. Bring back the AA games and use that to experiment. But people have been saying that for years now and they never seem to take the hint.

I am interested to see what happens when all Ubisoft’s live service and mobile games fail though. At some point they’ve got to say enough is enough, but what happens then? They just get bought by Microsoft as well?

Instant update
Looking at Xbox Game Pass I noticed Two Point Campus has disappeared from the coming soon section. Looks like it’s been delayed from its original release of 17th May for nearly three months to 9th August.

I was looking forward to playing it. Oh well, I can wait. GC, you still have it down for its old release date.

GC: It got delayed on Wednesday, at least give us till our weekly release schedule update on Thursday!

Simply not good news
I believe that Simply Games are in voluntary liquidation, as of 24th February 2021, based on what is available at Companies House. The link to the trading company, Vogue Corporation Limited at Companies House, is here.

Neil Tiernan Muspratt is the director at this company, and he was originally the director at Simply Games Ltd. A voluntary liquidator was appointed on 24th February 2021 and, as you state in the article, they are ‘not trying to cut and run’. This ties in with the voluntary liquidation.

The ‘Liquidators’ statement of receipts and payments to 16 February 2022’ link was filed on 24th March 2022 and implies that the company effectively ceased trading on this day (16th February 2022) – which also ties in with the issues since February.

My emails from them show Boss Distribution Ltd as the parent company and the same liquidators (Fortus Recovery Ltd) are in charge here. The filing dates of the voluntary liquidation on 24th February 2021 and the ‘Liquidators’ statement of receipts and payments’ were also filed on 24th March 2022 – as you will note, the same two dates. Neil Tiernan Muspratt isn’t the director here, but he is the ‘Person with significant control’ – share ownership of 50% or greater.

Sad times, as I have used Simply Games multiple times and never had any issues. This is all public information, and it goes without saying that this is not confirmed, just very likely.

Inbox also-rans
Thank you to Joe and Manic miner 100 for their suggestions regarding keeping the PlayStation VR in my PlayStation 5 set0up. As ever, the GC community steps up. One of the reasons I love reading these pages every day! Thanks again.
Not the Cable Guy

Nice to hear that Max Payne 1 and 2 are getting remakes, I loved those games originally. The only thing I don’t like is being reminded how old they are now. It’s been 10 years since Max Payne 3, for pity’s sake, which seems wild.

This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Gannet, who asks what’s your favourite game that isn’t a classic?

It doesn’t have to be a bad game but what title do you enjoy even though you know not many other people think highly of it? Why is it you like it, and does it have anything to do with nostalgia, a famous licence, or the game having some greater meaning to you in terms of when you first played it?

Do you regard it as a genuinely good game or a mediocre one that you just happen to enjoy? Does its reputation, or lack of one, bother you and do you think it is unfair earned?

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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, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

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