The Wednesday Inbox is glad that Nintendo is turning its back on mobile games, as one reader looks forward to Deadly Premonition 2.
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I’ve just finished The Last Of Us Part 2 and I hardly know what to say really, apart from I now appreciate how difficult it must’ve bene to write the review and not actually talk about the plot. Since I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone I’ll say that I think this is a significant improvement on the original, which I always felt was overrated and for the majority of the time shallow in terms of both gameplay and story.
The sequel isn’t any better in terms of the action, although it is very slick, but the story and characters are much more ambitious. It’s harrowing stuff, and I hate 75% of the people in the game but it all works exactly as Naughty Dog intended and in terms of having a serious point to it I’ve never seen a video game come close to this. Certainly not an action game as well.
There’s no denying that it’s an exhausting, depressing experience but then again I don’t feel it wallows in that. There is hope and redemption in the game, just not necessarily for the characters you’d expect…
For me it’s a clear improvement on the first and I look forward to what I assume will be a third and final entry. I imagine it’s gameplay won’t be much different either, but if it has a story that’s at least as good I’ll be there for it.
First of them
It’s rather a grim, but totally compelling, experience playing The Last Of Us Part 2. There’s such a fantastic level of detail in the facial expressions, which makes the emotions really come across, thus creating actual believable characters rather than blank-faced soulless automatons. Did GC however, take time to notice the whites of Ellie’s eyes when you spin the camera around during a stealth kill? Not sure if Naughty Dog intended it to look that unsettling but it’s certainly menacing . She’s got some anger management classes to attend me thinks.
Anyway, just wanted to say your honest review was on the money. It’s flawed in areas but excels in a lot of others and the positives are numerous enough to make the experience a thoroughly riveting, albeit a tragic, journey
Not a bomb
With my wife having bought The Last Of Us Part 2 but not having time to play it due to work commitments, I opted to blast through it – if you call 30 hours blasting – to see what the fuss was about. I’ve mentioned before that I’m neither a big fan of the original or Naughty Dog in general, as I personally feel they think they’re smarter than they actually are.
The story will definitely be divisive and did have a few holes in it but overall, I felt that when taken in the context that it’s told it did make sort of sense.
I will not spoil anything for it’s to be enjoyed as others see fit. My issues with the game wasn’t the story but that the gameplay hasn’t advanced at all in the seven years since Part 1, with the same sneak-loot-shoot mechanics from the original. I also played on the default difficulty and found the artificial intelligence to be basic. But the killer was that all the characters, even the originals, were unlikeable so found it hard to invest in them to the point that I didn’t care what happened to them, or where it goes from here.
What I will say is that the game is bleakly beautiful with some of the best graphics I’ve seen, environments and animation is top notch and you can tell from start to end that a lot of love, cash and crunch overtime – minor bugs aside – has gone into it.
To me, it’s certainly not worth all the accolades it’s getting but at the same time doesn’t deserve to be review bombed either. It will be interesting to see how sales hold up over the next few weeks after the initial record-breaking start. All I’ll say is that it’s a game that needs to be played purely so you can make your own mind up about it.
Now to find something happy to play as it’s going to be a while before I’m jolly enough to start a New Game+
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With the announcement of Crash Bandicoot 4 I’m glad to see the slow return of 3D platformers. We’ve had a number of excellent 2D platforms in recent years (Donkey Country Tropical Freeze, Rayman Legends, Yooka-Laylee And The Impossible Lair not to mention all the indie titles) but apart from Mario, 3D platformers have been hard to come by.
I’ve heard this is due to their difficulty to make and that people can get put off by the more complicated mechanics. But with the original Yooka-Laylee, A Hat In Time, and the remakes of Crash and Spyro, it seems the genre is finally becoming popular again.
GC: As far as we can see from the trailer Crash Bandicoot 4 isn’t any more a 3D platformer than the originals, as there seems to be minimal movement outside of a 2D plane.
Here’s a juicy thought experiment for you all: what games do you play and love now that would have either engaged you as a child or hated as a child? Let’s go as young as five or six and up to about 14 – where you start to hunger more for the ‘adult rated’ stuff anyway.
And let’s allow ourselves to be naughty! I watched the Terminator and Highlander at a very young age… and well, that’s the least of my problems! I enjoyed the action and big metal skeleton, naturally – but was very upset when Reese died. I thought that was his first name as most the other characters kept calling him that instead of Kyle.
In case you end up using this as a Hot Topic in the future, I’ll just use Grand Theft Auto as an example. Child me, probably up to 12-years-old, would not have been interested in the least and would be bored to tears inside half an hour. You don’t play as a hero, you do some pretty unpleasant things, and there are no clear lines of good or evil anyway!
Even as an adult I find the series lacking in meaningful purpose, but then I’ve never had any desire to have my own criminal empire. I still prefer to be the definitive good guy and fight something that is unmistakably evil. And have boss fights. They’re very important.
RE: fman00 and PlayStation Now. The streaming service is incredibly unreliable. My internet speed is 120mbps and I often have problems when streaming, even when no one else in the house is using the internet. The fact the quality worsens and then you have 30 seconds before the game automatically closes down is frustrating.
I recently purchased a year of the service but with the intention of downloading and playing the PlayStation 4 games, rather than trying to stream the older titles. I attempted streaming NASCAR Heat 4 (we were waiting for it to download) so my son and I could play multiplayer, but gave up on that due to the same issues, so we had to wait for the download instead.
The delay in showing in the subscriptions is also strange, I had the same thing when logging in until it decided to show my subscription a day later.
If the service is to exist on the PlayStation 5, I hope they address the streaming options of the PlayStation 3 games and allow you to download them instead.
Zach is worried
RE: Deadly Premonition 2. So, in a little over two weeks the sequel to one of my favourite gaming experiences will be seeing the light of day. I still can’t quite believe it. I truly want it to be as memorable as the first, but I must admit to being very wary.
It all seems to have gone extremely quiet and I’m preparing myself for a low scoring GC review. Are they sending out review copies in advance? That would calm my nerves somewhat.
GC: We imagine so, although we haven’t got it in yet.
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The review bombing is plain silly but The Last of Us Part 2 has set sales records anyway. Before I give my two cents, I’ll say I haven’t played the original or the new one, but I gather that you can summarise it as follows:
- It’s violent and long
- It looks amazing and the story draws you in at first
- Its mechanics are basic and unoriginal
- It doesn’t expand on the original much
- By the end it resolves quite little
- It is a memorable journey that stays with you
It might not seem my place to be able to offer my opinion, but I do suspect that this game might not age well. Sometimes six months or so is needed to be able to assess the reception of a game. Right now, The Last Of Us Part 2 is still on its honeymoon but I can’t see it being considered a classic for very long.
It also brings into light the question of what makes a good game. Once upon a time gamers used to rant about gameplay being the most important thing, and a purist might still point to the ‘fun’ factor above all. The Last of Us Part 2 is clearly a good game in a very 2020 way. Its average rating is 95+ and yet would you say you ‘enjoyed’ the game, GC?
The real conclusion to be drawn is the nonsense that is Metacritic. The three publications I regularly read except GC (Polygon, Kotaku, and Vice) all had issues with the game that would certainly give a ‘try before buying’ warning, yet those magazines do not award final scores. We’ve always known the trouble with scores as a communicator of value, but these esteemed publications’ careful reviews might be left out of consumer purchase decisions and developer bonus sums.
Personally, having always been intrigued by the series, I certainly won’t start with Part 2 but might one day try the original if it’s on sale.
Owen (NongWen – PSN ID)
GC: If you haven’t played either of them we’re not sure where you’re drawing these opinions from, as the original has aged perfectly well. A good story is far less likely to age than graphics or even gameplay.
Nintendo giving up on mobile games is the best news I’ve had all year! Long may they… not return.
$60 million to play Fortnite at you? I will never understand streaming. I don’t resent Ninja and the other guy though, they clearly made sure they were covered making the jump from Twitch and have made a mint from Microsoft’s latest failure.
This week’s Hot Topic
The question for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Cranston, who asks what’s the hardest game you’ve ever beaten?
What game are you most proud of beating and is it one that’s generally regarded as difficult or just your own personal nemesis? What made the game so difficult for you and how did you overcome it? Did you look for help online and how much time did it take before you beat it?
Are there any games you’ve given up on because they’re too hard and how do you generally feel about difficulty and the level of challenge you’re comfortable with in a game?
E-mail your comments to: [email protected]
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.
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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