The Thursday Inbox looks forward to Cyberpunk 2077 launch day, as one reader offers a tip on how to acquire pokémon Zarude.
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I know it might be deflating the hype for some people but I’m really looking forward to The Game Awards this year, exactly because we don’t know what will be in it. I know the obvious, and probably most likely, answer for that is because nothing much is going to be unveiled but I’m going to be optimistic and hope we get some real megatons. I mean, last year we had the unveiling of the Xbox Series X and the first PlayStation 5 game, in case anyone forgets!
I think there’s a really good chance for Elden Ring being there, and God Of War or Horizon Forbidden West from Sony. Could also be Final Fantasy 7 Remake Part 2, Starfield, Overwatch 2, and maybe even an end to those Silent Hill rumours? Probably more Hideo Kojima too, seeing as he’s friends with the presenter.
It’s hard to say about Nintendo, as always, but Zelda, Metroid, or Bayonetta do seem possible and I’d love it if they were there. At the very least I’d expect some more Super Smash Bros. DLC.
Next gen disappointment
Now that I’ve had my Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 for the best part of a month I feel that I’m in a better position to give my opinion now than after a few days. To be honest I’m pretty disappointed with both, with the Xbox being barely different from my Xbox One X and the PlayStation 5 failing to deliver. As good as Demon’s Souls is, it’s a virtual carbon copy of the PlayStation 3 game with even enemy placements being identical and I found Spider-Man no better than the PlayStation 4 version.
I also find the DualSense pretty gimmicky and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s only Sony first party games that take advantage of it. On a plus side, as I realise this is all a bit negative and makes me sound ungrateful, especially when both are near on impossible to buy, but I do believe both will eventually deliver outstanding gaming.
Just to chip in on scalpers, the only way I can think of – other than raffles – is to simply not release a console until enough have been produced to satisfy demand. As most tax years end March 31st then releasing in late January or early February would still allow time for massive sales.
I don’t buy the Christmas market argument as you can’t get either and this would allow excess Xbox One and PlayStation 4 stock to get a final boost. I understand why they do it, as selling out increases demand and allows both Sony and Microsoft to tell everyone that’ll listen what a massive success it’s all been.
GC: A bit negative? You’re acting as if the consoles were forced upon you or that you had barely any idea what you were buying. Demon’s Souls is a remake, the enemy placements and level designs being the same is the whole point.
Father Christmas is my neighbour
Christmas has come early to the Manic Miner household. A neighbour who has managed to get a PlayStation 5 has lent me his PS4 Pro with loads of the exclusive games I’ve missed due to having an Xbox One and Switch.
So I thought I’d start with The Last Of Us Part 2, having played the original back on the PlayStation 3. Wow. what a game the sequel is. The story and graphics are amazing, and I was shocked by how badly Microsoft exclusive games compare (except Forza). Some of the scenes are like watching a really great movie. It’s made me really think if I should get a PlayStation 5 at some point, when the exclusives start appearing over the next few years.
I’ve got God Of War, Spider-Man, Horizon Zero Dawn, and Until Dawn to play after I finish it. Think I might give Death Stranding a miss though.
Manic miner 100 (gamertag)
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The old ways
One thing I just don’t get about trying to order a new console is why you can’t order it and they will send it to you as and when they receive it. That’s how things used to work.
I’d be happy to order and forget on something like Amazon and hoping I don’t get a bag of rice. But rather than that, if you’d like to get your hands on one before Xmas you have to trawl a bunch of websites instead to be met with no stock.
Old school reviews
Some interesting reviews of Cyberpunk 2077 coming in. I can’t say I’m surprised by them. Some of the old school sites were guaranteed to give it 90% plus scores and since some of the ‘forward thinking’ critics (like Giant Bomb or Eurogamer) don’t give out scores the Metacritic was bound to be pitched high.
You do have to ask what some people were expecting though, given The Witcher 3. That game was a great experience sure, its world building is some of the best out there with great side quests that immersed you in the lore. But if I really thought about it I’m pretty sure I spend about 80% of my time awkwardly riding the horse between two cut scenes helpfully marked on a map and the other 20% in the terrible combat.
It was also a buggy mess when it launched on the then current gen consoles, with the necessary patches not arriving for months. As an open world it was made to look very dated just a few years later by Zelda: Breath Of The Wild. However, if Cyberpunk replicates the Witcher’s world building and just fixes the moment-to-moment gameplay, that’ll be a win for CD Projekt. I’d certainly wait for next year’s next gen updates though.
Polygon’s sub-heading ‘dad rock, not new wave’ summed up my expectations rather well… and in the right mood there’s nothing wrong with dad rock. I didn’t expect Cyberpunk to show the future of gaming, in the same way a Marvel film doesn’t show the future of movies. They can’t take the risks on those budgets, but they execute a template to perfection and give everyone a great time doing it.
GC: As of Wednesday afternoon, Eurogamer and Giant Bomb (who do give scores) haven’t reviewed it yet.
I developed epilepsy after a cycling accident and although I don’t suffer photosensitive seizures (I have what used to be known as petit mal) that’s not the reason I’ll be avoiding Cyberpunk 2077. It’s more to do with being sick of games being released in such an appalling state with the promises of ‘to be patched at a later date’. Why does this have to be such a common issue?
I don’t go to the cinema and wait for the actors to be ‘viewed in the movie at a later date’ or buy a book and have to wait for the words to be eventually inserted. Open world games are hardly a new phenomenon. San Andreas ran on a PlayStation 2 without endless bugs ruining it. I’m aware that odd glitches may appear here and there but judging by the PC Gamer and GameSpot review the game is infested with them.
If the game doesn’t run then don’t release it until it does. The day one console patch is allegedly 40GB and this tweet put out that it irons out all the bugs found on the PC version is nonsensical. Why have the PC version reviewed first if it’s in that state? I’m rambling I know but it really has become something I’ve grown to detest about the last few generations. Stories with timid attacks on corporate greed brought to us from companies riddled with corporate greed is another but that’s another five pages worth of grumbling so I’ll save that for another time!
GC: Although we agree with your general point, Cyberpunk 2077 seems to be more a case of it not being finished until the absolute last minute – no doubt in a rush to make the Christmas deadline, which we’re relatively sympathetic about given the pandemic. Hopefully the day one patch will fix most of the problems.
Kojima on the cheap
Death Stranding has been reduced to 16 quid in the latest PSN sales, till the 22nd of December. So if you’ve been reluctant to play Hideo Kojima’s eerily prescient game about isolation and the concerted effort to endure a pandemic, then now is as good a time as ever to make the leap of faith and explore what I consider to be an outlandishly original and engrossing experience.
PS: Death Stranding’s ladders are clearly a… step up from other ladders in gaming. I mean you can use them as makeshift bridges and everything!
GameStop, I choose you!
There is a distribution for the pokémon Zarude going on at the moment. This started in mid-November, but I only learnt about it last week (despite being on various mailing lists that really should have told me) and it ends Sunday 13th.
Of course, the UK distribution is being handled by GAME and to get a code you have to go in store (during a pandemic and lockdown) or they will make it available on the website ‘soon’ (i.e. never).
Due to their ridiculous but completely unexpected incompetence, I instead resorted to using GameStop in Ireland to get mine.
If anyone else is at risk of missing out, I recommend using the same solution.
Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here
Gone but not forgotten
I noticed the other day that Xbox 360 era game El Shaddai: Ascension Of The Metatron is due a Steam release. This one passed me by at the time despite being intrigued by its unique art style and now I have another chance to completely ignore it. Only joking, interminable backlog permitting I’ll no doubt pick it up at some point when it’s on sale (the irony being that Steam sales are a huge part of how gaming backlogs get so unwieldy in the first place).
Anyhow it, got me to thinking about a potential future Hot Topic. Ignoring the emulation route, what game (or if that’s too restrictive a short list of games) that has been long since lost, perhaps due to the original publisher going belly up, losing a required license or both, would you love to get a release on modern, easily accessible platforms? No, Aliens Versus Predator – high quality of parts notwithstanding, the space-devouring Capcom Home Arcade doesn’t qualify as an easily accessible platform in my opinion.
This is less of an issue for Xbox owners but even then, the support for the hard-to-emulate original Xbox on Xbox One and Xbox Series S/X is a fraction of the titles you could play on the Xbox 360 even if they’ve since been scrubbed up with a 4K brush. Or if you wanted to sample the Xbox Live Arcade/PSN exclusive OutRun Online Arcade then you’re out of luck due to it long being pulled from the marketplace after Sega lost the Ferrari license. Once you start considering arcade games that never saw a home conversion that rabbit hole gets mighty deep, fast.
GC: El Shaddai was great at the time, we’re curious to see how well it’s aged.
I got Cyberpunk 2077 a day early from ShopTo, nice to get when I missed out on a PlayStation 5 console at launch. It’s good what I have played so far of it, never played a CD Project game before. It takes a while to install from disc on PlayStation 4 and a big 46GB update. Can’t remember how big the update GameCentral said is tomorrow for day one. I really should be playing this game on a 4K screen and not a 1080p screen.
PS: Pillars Of Eternity and Tyranny are free on Epic Games Store from today at 4pm.
If EA aren’t making a Mandalorian game right now I give up on them entirely. Even the director of God Of War said it was a no-brainer!
This week’s Hot Topic
The topic for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Grackle, who asks who is your favourite video game protagonist?
Regardless of the quality of the games they’re in, which hero (or anti-hero) do you enjoy playing as the most and why? How much does their visual design and gameplay abilities play into it, compared to their personality and storyline?
How important is it that you like the hero in a video game and have you ever bought one – or avoided one – based purely on the main character? Do games in which there is no pre-made character appeal to you less or does it depend on the 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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