The Wednesday Inbox is very impressed by Control’s psychic abilities, as one reader thinks the chances for Half-Life 3 have never been better.
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Curious to know if anyone else here has been playing World Of Warcraft: Classic? I pre-ordered it out of nostalgia, because I used to play it quite a bit in the day but haven’t touched the modern game in probably 10 years. It was certainly a trip down memory lane but I think there were some interesting things beyond just the nostalgia.
One was the fact that people were actually talking to each other, which is so rare in online games nowadays and I find that a real shame. The other was the fact that you get very little help with quests compared to modern games. As soon as I got a quest I expected to see a blip on my mini-map or maybe a quest marker in the world itself (it has been a long time since I’d played it so I didn’t remember the specifics).
Instead you just get a description and are expected to work things out for yourself. And to be honest that is a lot better as far as I’m concerned. Hand-holding, to give it it’s most polite term is the biggest blight on modern gaming, in my opinion. Loot boxes and all that are awful, I’m sure, but I don’t play that kind of game. But every game now explaining every single thing you have to do at every moment is taking the fun out of everything.
Red Dead Redemption II reads out what sounds like sets directions at you and most games have replaced actually puzzles with a set of instructions that are slowly and carefully read out to you, often with big flashing signs telling you where to go. That’s not gameplay, or even interactivity, that’s just doing what you’re told.
A console for everyone
It’s looking increasingly certain that Overwatch is coming to Switch, so I wonder how whoever put that carry case up early feels now. (I often wonder what happens in these cases but I imagine Amazon couldn’t care less and wouldn’t sack one of their staff over something like that.)
Overwatch is clearly a good match for the Switch and its audience, with the downside being it’s a bit past its best now in terms of popularity.
The Switch is definitely get some good third party support now though, better than at any time since the GameCube, maybe even better than the N64 (obviously none of those were great but they did get versions of a lot of the big games of the day).
I wonder whether that will have an effect on what Nintendo plans for its next console/Switch model. The more powerful they make it the more third parties they’re going to get and I’m sure they’re aware of that. The Switch has already become the format of choice for indies and I think it could be for everyone if only it was a bit more powerful.
PS: My predictions for the final two Super Smash Bros. characters are Tracer from Overwatch and the Doom Slayer. Book it!
Grey, grey, and more grey
Having never played a Remedy game before, and after being wooed by the many positive previews prior to launch, especially the notes regarding passing similarities to Psi-Ops (the mechanics of which I remember loving at the time), I was excited to experience what Control was all about. Although I’m only a few hours into it, the beautiful art style, cool destructibility of the environments and, most importantly, the immensely satisfying nature of the psionic powers in tandem with the snappy gunplay have really drawn me into its unusual world.
The thrill of tearing a block of concrete from the walls and hurtling it towards an oncoming group of enemies, followed by unloading your weapon into them recalls for me the similar satisfaction of throwing and retrieving Kratos’ axe in God of War, a gameplay mechanic that never felt old or overused throughout my playthrough.
The only slight downside is that because it is so enjoyable, the slower moments of exposition become a little frustrating, as I’m so keen to get to the next exciting encounter! It’s certainly the most original game I have played for a very long term, in terms of its art style and the unpredictability of the environment and story, so all credit to the team at Remedy for that. I hope it’s a success for them so we might get to experience more of this unhinged and beautiful world.
GC: You found the environments unpredictable? We find that surprising.
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In response to Gaz be Rotten’s letter, a year or so ago I would have scoffed at the idea of a Half-Life 3.
But now I think the chances have increased somewhat. Valve have been raking in money for years via Steam, effectively having a powerhouse monopoly on the PC games market. Now though, Epic came along and a war started, with Valve having to change how much money they charge devs to use the Steam platform. Epic have been pushing games exclusivity deals along with reportedly charging the dev’s lower amounts.
So for the first time in years I can quite imagine Valve bosses scratching their heads trying to think of a good marketing deal that would catch people’s attention. What better way to do that than Half-Life 3 and Left 4 Dead 4? They would provide a perfect response to Epic’s exclusivity strategy.
Generally I think the chances of seeing the games is still quite low, but it must have occurred to Valve since Epic started moving in on their business.
The real problem though is where they would take a Half-Life 3 now, because so much has changed.
Unless they can think of something new and (to an extent) groundbreaking again, I think Half-Life 3 is unmakeable.
GC: We’d go along with all of that.
Bigger than big
Borderlands 3 being advertised from within Fortnite is properly weird in my books. Like, imagined if Call Of Duty had a week where there was a map promoting Battlefield? Maybe Borderlands and Fortnite aren’t exactly the same kind of games but I’d say they attract a very similar crowd and I’d bet that when Borderlands 3 comes out there’ll be at least a temporary dip in Fortnite.
But that’s why it’s so incredible that Fortnite has allowed it, and only goes to show how successful Fortnite must be compared to any normal video game (and how much Gearbox must’ve paid them for the ad). I imagine this will probably become a trend in the future, especially with non-shooter games.
We always used to talk about the Call Of Duty and FIFA gamer but I think there must be a whole group of people out there for who even that’s too hardcore. They’re all about Fortnite and nothing else. That’s the true face of mainstream gaming and even something as big as Borderlands can even dream of being that popular.
In answer to Watson in Tuesday’s Inbox, regarding Zelda: Link’s Awakening; I say different strokes for different folks.
He cannot justify the cost seeing as there’s lots of other titles out (as per usual at that time of year). But personally speaking, the Zelda title is one of the only things I WILL be buying. I don’t play multiplayer games or the identikit annual releases so Link and Luigi’s Mansion 3 will tide me over just fine. And I’m happy to pay full price for it (which in itself is unusual as I feel games are massively overpriced given how quickly they get discounted. But that’s a letter for another time).
Knowing Nintendo, this game certainly won’t get discounted a great deal – if at all – so if he wants to play it I can’t imagine it will cost much less than £40 going forward.
As I say, different strokes….
Third in line
It is disappointing that the Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey game proved to be rubbish, as it was one of the more interesting concepts.
I guessed it was poor when you stated that you had prioritised the Astral Chain and Control reviews over it. Was that due to game quality or due to Astral Chain and Control offering greater mainstream appeal?
GC: We prioritised the others purely because they were higher profile. We knew very little about Ancestors, and hadn’t played it, before starting the review, so had no preconceptions about it.
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RE: Kimpton. I completely agree with you regarding your comments about TrackMania Turbo. I remember buying it when it first came out after reading all the positive reviews, it was like a breath of fresh air! I’m not into realistic driving sims personally, like Forza and Gran Turismo, etc. However, if you’re like me and remember the original Destruction Derby back on the original PlayStation then I can assure you pal, Wreckfest definitely takes you back in time, but ramps it up by 1,000% with better gameplay, and graphics.
The collision damages are amazing and the online feature is the icing on the cake! Why on earth, after all these years, nobody has ever made a game like this before is just beyond me? The only downside, like GC said in their review, is the loading times, they can be a tad slow at times but it’s not a deal-breaker.
I’m just using a bog standard PlayStation 4 so I don’t know if the game loads any faster on a PS4 Pro? This game is a steal and you can purchase it for around £30 new. Well done to Bugbear for such a wonderful achievement and giving us something that’s actually different and refreshing for a change. (Wreckfest has to be up there for being one of the games of this tear, surely?). Trust me Kimpton, if you decide to buy Wreckfest you won’t be dissapointed.
GC: We played it on an Xbox One X and the loading was very slow on that.
If you absolutely had to choose, which is better Astral Chain or Devil May Cry 5?
GC: We knew someone would ask this. It’s a tricky one, as they’re both excellent and relatively similar. But we’d go for Astral Chain. It’s just so unique and imaginative.
Just to add to the list of Gaz be rotten I’ve also been waiting years for a Portal 3. Half-Life 2, Left 4 Dead 2, and Portal 2 would all likely make my top 20 games of all time, so it’s frustrating that Valve seem to have just given up actually making games…
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Tomen, who asks what is your favourite story campaign?
Despite all the talk of single-player going out of fashion they continue to be made and often play a role even in multiplayer-focused games, but which one do you think is the best? You can nominate any campaign from any year or format, whether it’s single-player only or if the campaign is just one part of a larger game.
When games have a mix of multiplayer and single-player which do you primarily buy it for and do you ever ignore one or the other?
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