The evening Inbox is keen to learn more about Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2, as one reader defends The Witcher 3’s combat.
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The perfect partner
Lots of interesting comments in the Inbox about Sony and Microsoft’s positions coming up to the new generation. I tend to agree that it’s Sony that’s in the most difficult situation, despite dominating this gen, with Microsoft benefitting from bigger pockets and a clean slate.
But what I’d like to talk about is Nintendo. As some have already talked about they’re kind of the anti-Google: Where Stadia has no games and is all about the tech, Nintendo is almost the exact opposite. The Switch console is innovative and unique but I’d argue that’s from a design perspective, the tech itself isn’t particularly unique or new.
So what do they do in the next gen? We’re already starting to see exclusive content become the main weapon of war, even just from the battle between Steam and Epic. And in terms of content Nintendo… well, there’s a reason they’ve been going for 129 years. It certainly doesn’t seem like they’d ever want to waste huge amounts of money researching their own streaming tech, so a team-up with Microsoft does make perfect sense if you believe that they do need to get into it.
But where does this leave them in terms of making a Switch Lite/Pro? And do they need to make a next gen Switch at all? Ultimately I don’t think it’s important as long as they keep making great games. They could end up being the kingmakers in the next gen, with whatever other company they support having a huge advantage over the others. Whether they’ll actually allow themselves to be used like that though, we’ll just have to see…
Wasn’t it just yesterday that someone wrote in saying that Sony and Microsoft should do their equivalent of Nintendo Directs? Inbox magic is a scarily powerful force!
I’m glad Sony has taken notice and I’m only surprised they haven’t done it before. They can seem very aloof at times and if they weren’t going to be at E3 then there would’ve been almost no contact between them and ordinary gamers otherwise.
Microsoft has always had Inside Xbox and Major Nelson but I find both to be unwatchably cringey. More importantly I don’t remember them ever actually announcing anything of any importance, unlike Nintendo Directs which are almost nothing but announcements.
I certainly hope that’s what Sony’s livestream is like. If it’s people sitting around, pretending to talk casually on a sofa I’ll fear the worst. If it’s direct and to the point that’s just what we need.
I’ve just got home with my copy of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, I’m very happy with it as well. Obviously I’m not very far in, I’ve just been given a sword and fought my first two enemies. The first went down easy to a sneaky back stab and the second one didn’t give me any trouble either.
I really like it, and despite being a bit edgy about the review embargo I don’t see anything to worry about so far.
I’m very pleased with it and I look forward to seeing the GC review.
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More than luck
Just heard that Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 will be out next year, can’t believe it myself. Having come out the same time as Half-Life 2 was very unlucky but I did play both games and really enjoyed them, and both used the Source engine which was amazing at the time.
I played the Tremere clan, which were warlocks and the abilities were mind control, super speed, and blood magic. The storytelling in the game was excellent and characters were really well written, even the intro music had Massive Attack’s Angel. Getting nostalgic vibes now.
It will be interesting to see what they have made this time round on next generation gaming. Will GC be going to any previews of the game this year?
Genghis1492 (PSN ID)
GC: It was their choice to launch it the same day as Half-Life 2. The game was finished earlier but contractually, because it used the Source engine, they weren’t allowed to release it first. So instead they chose the absolute earliest moment. Companies have always been terrible at release dates. We’ll hopefully see the sequel at E3, if not elsewhere, but today’s reveal was only for those at GDC, which we never usually attend.
They never learn
So I see Remedy’s Control has been given a release date: 27 August… exactly the same day as Shenmue III. What is it with publishers and their completely inability to act sensibly around release dates? Are they all under some kind of pirate curse to give their games the most unhelpful date possible?
I mean, it’s August. I doubt there’s another big game released all year and yet they manage to pick the day the world’s most anticipated sequel comes out on. Amazing.
I am getting very tired of people criticising the combat in The Witcher 3. For me it offers some of the best and most enjoyable combat in any game, but to appreciate it you have to understand that a witcher is a fighter who uses a combination of magic and sword fighting allied to a hit and run style largely based on agility and opportunism.
I would agree that the sword play is poor, but it really does not matter as you shouldn’t really fight that way and are not meant to. To give an example of how to play the game successfully, if there’s a guy with a big shield he’ll be susceptible to wind magic attack, due to the shield size. Therefore, cast a wind spell and stab him a couple of times when he is sprawling about. Retreat when he gets his balance back. The roll/dodge manoeuvre is excellent, ask yourself why.
Probably my proudest achievement in gaming is completing Witcher 3 on the Nightmare setting, but I only managed this by developing a style akin to a witcher and learning the correct tactics to defeat different monster groups. I was 60-years-old when I managed this and as far as I am concerned it is wonderful to have a game like this that does not require lightning quick reflexes and the ability to unerringly hit the correct button on the controller.
With all the talk about games streaming lately I’m surprised nobody has mentioned Nintendo. They have one of, if not the best, back catalogue in gaming.
Imagine having the entire first party NES, SNES, N64, GameCube, and Wii catalogue ready to stream at any time, even on the go. I’d happily pay £10-£15 a month for that. It seems like a no-brainer so probably won’t happen!
GC: You wouldn’t really need streaming for most of those games, given the small file sizes, but either way it would be great. The NES games on Nintendo Online Service may be a hint of further plans, but since it’s Nintendo who knows.
Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here
Better than Dreamcast
As an outsider looking in, I never felt like I had enough reason to purchase an Xbone. Not that it had no unique selling points for me: full mod support for Skyrim and Fallout 4, and Cuphead, are tempters and I did want to see what Sunset Overdrive was like – if I happened to own the system.
But I still needed one or two more killer titles for me to leave my money on the table. Games with actual personality, mind you. First person shooters largely bore me, hyper realistic racers look dreary, and Gears Of Brown may have all the bombast of an action movie but no charm, wit or imagination. Like the average Steven Seagal movie, I suppose.
I go for the offbeat, the wacky, the vibrant and the inventive. Sure, there are indie games like Night In The Woods, Forgotton Anne, and Undertale – but they’re on the PlayStation 4 and Switch, too.
And now Cuphead, one of the games that helped make the Xbone a more unique and appealing proposition to my mind is no longer unique. Now the Switch is going to have it. If Sony relent and allow full mod support for the better of Bethesda’s role-players before the end of this generation (unlikely, but who can know?) then Microsoft will be left with nothing to differentiate themselves! Well, in my eyes.
Sunset Overdrive is hardly essential and I think Ori And The Blind Forest will probably come to Switch soon, too.
What a miserable failure that is, to have such a crassly American and uninspiring line-up of software! And yet, Microsoft have still done well this generation! Let’s put it this way, if Sega had done this kind of business during the sixth generation we might just be up to the Dreamcast 4 by now…
XCOM 2 is free-to-play and 75% off on Steam this weekend.
GC: One of the best games ever made, we recommend it to everyone.
Imagine being an indie dev and being told you can put Zelda and Link into your game. That team must be over the moon!
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Tom Meadows, who asks what Achievement or Trophy are you most proud of getting?
Achievements, Trophies, and similar in-game rewards have been a staple of video games for a long time now, but which did you find the most satisfying to get and how long did it take you? How much do you care about achievements in general and what inspires you to go after the more difficult or time-consuming ones?
What’s the secret of designing a good achievement and what are some of your favourite, and least favourite, examples? Are there any old games you wish achievements could be added to or a modern title that you think missed an obvious opportunity?
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The small print
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