The Monday Letter Page is not sure what Xbox’s next step is to promote Game Pass, as a reader demands a decent Ghostbusters game.
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A night of horror
So it will be Halloween by the time you read this and I’m going to guess that most people wore their fancy dress this weekend and probably won’t be out partying tonight. Which means… video game time! I fully intend to put on a horror game but I’m not quite sure what. I was tempted to buy Signalis and maybe still am, but I’m generally not a big fan of fake retro games.
I was also thinking of maybe Silent Hill 2, as it will be ages before the remake and I doubt how we will turn out anyway. It’s been ages since I played it too, plus I seem to remember it being relatively short and not very difficult.
The Resident Evil 3 remake is also short, but to be honest that’s a fault not an advantage and I don’t think I liked it enough to replay it. So yeah, I think I’ll go with Silent Hill 2, unless someone else can suggest some other quick/good survival horrors in the comments?
It’s hard to argue against a lot of what was said about Xbox in the Reader’s Feature this weekend, because it’s all based on things Microsoft has actually said. I’m not sure if they’re panicked as such, and yet I can imagine sirens going as they whizzed past their goals for the second year in a row, by a wide margin.
The interesting thing for me is that I’m not sure what Microsoft’s response to this is. They can’t make it cheaper, if they buy more companies they’ll be the entire gaming industry by themselves, and it’s impossible for streaming to be that successful right now because of broadband speeds.
I think they will push play on your phone and through things like Samsung TVs, but I don’t know how much that will push the needle. Maybe if Starfield is the next big thing that will make a difference, but does anyone who played Fallout 76 at launch really think that’s likely?
Call someone, anyone
I have never agreed with GC more than when they described their dream game Ghostbusters, where you actually get to run Ghostbusters as a company. I can’t even think of an unofficial indie game (not saying there isn’t one) that does this. And yet we live in a world where farming simulators and trombone playing are a thing.
It wouldn’t need very good graphics or anything. Although I imagine the guys who make Two Point Hospital and that would be a good choice. Change their usual art style to something more realistic, throw in a few more action elements in there – maybe some kind of XCOM style element when you capture the ghost – and the thing basically does itself.
Since video games don’t grow on trees, I guess this will never happen, or at least not anytime soon, but I’d like to hear a good reason why!
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Three essential things
I think it’s pretty obvious that Resident Evil 9 is going to be a third-person game at this point, but I’m going to predict that it’s going to be a big all-stars game with all, or most, of the main characters either playable or as allies/in cameos. Capcom missed the game’s 25th anniversary due to Covid but I bet that was totally the plan before the pandemic started.
They could still do it now though I think it would go very well. I’ve enjoyed Resident Evil 7 and Village but they really underutilized all the great characters that are a huge part of the series. The only old school they had was Chris and he is the most boring. He’s just a blank slate, no personality at all.
But Jill, Claire, Leon, Wesker, hell even Barry Burton, those are iconic! You don’t even have to worry about the story of how they all meet because none of them or dead or anything, except for Wesker, and well… who cares about the story in Resident Evil? I just want cheese, gore and awesomeness.
As a fan of the Song Of Ice And Fire books and FromSoftware, I can absolutely agree that there is not the slightest hint in anything from Elden Ring that suggests anyone outside the company helped with the game or its story. There is barely a story and in the usual wonderful style it is filled with contradictions and unexplained plot elements, with no explanation of what happens or even how it ends.
So what exactly did George RR Martin do? I realize he’s always looking for some excuse not to work on the next book, but I don’t think it took him more than five minutes to come up with some names and leave it at that.
Back and forth
So right after the Xbox One came out and I was playing Far Cry 4 and Batman, etc. I was disappointed to see that it still looked scary. After seeing my friends run the same game at 60fps I sold up and spent £700 on a modest setup and spent the next few years enjoying PC gaming. But being the geek that I am, I found myself playing around with settings to get that solid 60fps in all my games and am not ashamed to say I wasn’t really playing anything I couldn’t.
Zelda on the Switch was the only game I was willing to accept and even then I feel like it would have been better if it ran smoother. But I have to admit other readers and GameCentral’s attitude towards it has shocked me lately. I was lucky enough to sell my old PC parts for quite a profit, given their age and the amount I originally bought them for, so I’ve gone back to consoles – namely the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5.
Spidre-Man is beautiful in Performance RT mode but I really don’t like it at 30fps. It makes me feel sick when I play and strain my eyes quickly. Obviously these are modes I avoid so I won’t be trying Gotham Knights. I guess my point is that I can see a huge difference in 30/60 fps and for me it’s a deal breaker if it’s locked at 30 (in 2022) and not just for racing games with shooters. I think all games just look and feel better this way.
Maybe I’ve been spoiled, and my eyes can’t go back, but if consoles go that way again, I’ll jump ship again and get a PC again. I always thought the PlayStation 4/Xbox One gen was premature and underpowered. I expected more this time around and hope now that the cross gen is coming to an end we can start getting consistently higher prices but with the Xbox Series S coming under fire lately who knows. Although I’ve enjoyed both consoles so far and would like them to keep my habit going by actually building some next gen games.
PS: 60 fps is king.
It always amazes me when a game gets something as simple as a menu system wrong, especially when it’s a big budget. I imagine the job of making it in Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 involved several people, including those who looked at it and said it was okay.
And yet, as everyone has said, it’s absolutely terrible. It’s the little things that can sometimes be the most frustrating and this was an unforced error.
A Plague Tale: Requiem was an enjoyable 20 hour game. It is a game focused on the story, characters and the journey. There’s a lot of walking (often that annoying forced slow walk), talking and cut scenes to watch.
The graphics are breathtaking and the reason why the game is only new gen. Rather than the stunning scenery being the problem for the latest generation of machines, it’s the hunting sections with the rats where the developers said they could step things up. These chases are impressive, with massive amounts of rats and destructible scenery crashing around you as you escape.
I’m a little loathe to mention the graphics as a central draw of the game, as many have spent the last few generations getting upset about the industry’s pursuit of photorealism and graphics. Part of the context for the 60fps furore is a rejection of this and wanting to emphasize the importance of graphics. Performance suffers with the focus on graphics, but it also means less time, money and resources for gaming. This is where Requiem has not progressed. It’s the same thing only on a larger scale.
The combat is mechanically sound but shallow and often slips into frustration and irritation. The rats or puzzle sections are simple and the next generation hunting sections just require you to push forward on the stick and press a button. It would have been nice if a little more time was spent creating more compelling battles and engaging puzzles.
30 fps is a bummer but no more. As a slow narrative eye candy game, the added smoothness and responsiveness of 60fps isn’t critical to enjoying these aspects, which are a lot of fun. I played it in 120Hz 40fps mode and apart from some camera lag I found the experience to be extremely solid and impressive.
Inbox also runs
Keep up the great work, I couldn’t get through a day without my daily fix of Metro GameCentral. I may have missed it, but are you planning to review Beacon Pines, as it looks interesting and I really trust your opinion. If you are not, can any reader comment?
GC: Thanks, but since it’s over a month old now, we think we’ve missed the boat on that one. We’re sure a reader has played it though.
Have to agree with people who said the first Witcher was boring. I get CD Projekt celebrating their first game but I’m not sure a remake will be of interest to anyone but themselves.
This week’s hot topic
This weekend’s inbox topic was inspired by reader Rackam, who asks what’s the oldest video game hardware you still use?
Most retro games are relatively easy to play on at least some modern devices, but what’s the oldest original hardware you still have in working order? How long have you had it and does it still work as well now as it did originally?
Do you prefer to play older games on the original hardware or would you prefer to play everything on the same machine? If you’re simply using older generation consoles, why haven’t you upgraded yet and when do you plan to?
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