Games Inbox: What’s the best video game for Christmas?
The Thursday is disappointed by the story in Hyrule Warriors: Age Of Calamity, as one reader gives up on getting a PS5 and upgrades his PC.
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PLEASE NOTE: This will be the final Inbox of the year but as usual we’ll have plenty of content over the Christmas and new year break, so please keep tuned in. The first Inbox of 2021 will be on Tuesday, January 5 when we’ll return to normal service. Merry Christmas and a happy new year to everyone!
Christmas presents a problem
‘So this is Christmas, and what have you done?’ Well, sat inside playing video games mostly. A familiar complaint I would imagine for most people around the world this year (it makes me wonder if everyone is going to be absolutely sick of games by the time the pandemic is over or if they’re going to be permanently addicted now).
I’m not quite there yet though and I’m actually a bit upset because I haven’t really got a game to play this Christmas. Given what’s happened with Cyberpunk 2077 I’m glad I waited for the reviews but what else is there? This year’s Call Of Duty sounds a dud, I never liked Assassin’s Creed, and Nintendo hasn’t got anything new out.
The only choice I can see is Immortals Fenyx Rising which I think I might go for as it is cheaper now, but I can’t say that the idea of a knock-off Zelda: Breath Of The Wild fills me with much excitement. Oh well, I’ll just have to get drunk and eat a lot as a back-up plan. Have a good one everyone! Merry Christmas!
Those top 10s of 2020 charts for the UK, US, and Japan are pretty funny in how cliche they are: the UK is football mad, the US likes shooting things, and Japan likes weird cute stuff. I mean… it’s more complicated than that but it does seem to sum things up pretty well.
I always find these charts slightly depressing though because they just make it clear how most people just don’t really care about video games in the same way as probably most people reading this do. The charts are always the same three or four games (FIFA, Call Of Duty, Assassin’s Creed, GTA) and then a bunch of stuff from last year. And that’s it. Any of the interesting stuff doesn’t even usually get a mention.
I wish we had digital sales for all countries too, or at all for the UK. If boxed sales are barely a third of the total then the chart we do get is pretty pointless.
I don’t know why really, just my love of Breath Of The Wild really, but I ended up buying Hyrule Warriors: Age Of Calamity despite all the obvious warning signs and… it’s kind of bad? I’ve played a couple of Dynasty Warriors games before, and I guess it was better than those, but it’s all so janky and badly made. It feels like the opposite of a Nintendo game even though it looks like one.
I think the worst thing is the story which I was hoping would make up for the so-so gameplay but it’s a complete missed opportunity as far as I’m concerned. It isn’t really a prequel at all, so you don’t really learn anything new about the world from the original and there doesn’t seem to be any hint about the sequel, which is another thing I was hoping for.
I know neither were promised exactly, so there’s nothing for me to really complain about, but weren’t these obvious things to do? The whole story as it is comes across as pretty pointless, when it could’ve saved the game if it’d been interesting.
GC: Yeah, the whole thing was a bit of a waste. If there’s a reference to Breath Of The Wild 2 it wasn’t obvious to us.
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Console yourself with a PC
So, like a lot of people I tried to get a next gen console and failed! My credit card company cancelled my Xbox Series X order as they thought it was fraud (the irony if you consider what new software was released) which I wasn’t awfully bothered about. And then my boss called me as I tried to snap up a PlayStation 5 on Amazon – massive FromSoftware fan so I was keen – but hey, where there’s failure there is opportunities!
I needed to get a PC for the family as my kids now need something a bit more for school, so I upgraded the PC purchase to have a Ryzen 7 processor, GeForce RTX 2070 Ventus GP, 16GB RAM, SSD and it even has a fan that changes colour (when did this become a thing?).
So what have I been playing? Company Of Heroes, Rome: Total War, and The Long Dark – all basic enough from a visual perspective, which I probably, barely need dedicated graphics for, but the first two games I think are amazing and have always wanted to play. And The Long Dark has shown me how immersive it is to sit in front of a monitor rather than a few feet from a TV.
But beyond that, the price of games! Just got an email that Supreme Commander is £2.99! Is my PC backward compatible? Yes, of course it is – they all are! The other three cost less than 30 quid in total, even though I paid eight quid for The Long Dark while it was free on Epic (!) but it’s well spent in fairness.
Cheers and happy Christmas from a Digitiser long fan.
PS: Any tips on a real-time strategy game that would push the graphics card?
GC: There hasn’t been a decent new real-time strategy in years, but the Command & Conquer remaster is very good and so are the more modern Total War games.
Not one penny
Interesting reading about the GHA study on the effects of loot boxes on children. Thank you for the link, as it led through to their website and I had a good read.
What I found disappointing though was their conclusion that loot boxes, whilst being a form of gambling, should only be banned in games intended for Under 18s. That’s wrong, they should be banned outright.
If we leave any opportunity for loot boxes in a game that children want to play they will have access to them and use them. When I used to work in an electrical retailer, we had so many parents who wanted to buy Grand Theft Auto and other over 18 games for their children it was ridiculous! Explaining the content made no difference whatsoever, and most of the time I got the impression they would just buy it from elsewhere and claim it was for them.
So, let’s say FIFA still has loot boxes and they make masses of money for EA, are they going to remove them and stop that source of revenue or have the game classified as 18, knowing full well that parents will still let their children play, regardless of the consequences later in life?
No, the only way to deal with this is by government intervention and I’m no fan of the nanny state, but only they can override a corporation with legislation. This may, of course, lead to higher software prices, or missing features on UK games, but I’d rather have a complete game for my money, than half a game and a load of microtransactions!
And, while they are at it, they could deal with the mobile free-to-play market too, as that one is even worse. Just look at Mario Kart Tour. It looks like Mario Kart 8 and that’s it. Everything else is riddled with loot boxes, gold passes, and rubbish play mechanics that are nothing like the original. If it was like Mario Kart 8 and Nintendo charged £40 for it on my phone I’d say take my money. As it is, the answer is not one penny!
To conclude, do us all a favour, get rid of loot boxes and get back to playing with skill and determination and, most of all, enjoyment and a sense of achievement. They are worth more than any loot box any day of the week.
Sackboy: A Big Adventure recently had an update with online co-op matchmaking and cross-play with PlayStation 4 and 5 users.
It’s one of the best online experiences I’ve had interacting and teaming up against the tougher enemies, while also finding some hard to find collectables.
Koyomiwa (PSN ID)
I’ve had Control on my PC for quite a while but have only just got round to playing it as I was waiting for a proper ray-tracing graphics card. Having managed to get hold of an RTX 3070 I’ve reached the end and I think it’s… okay.
Don’t get me wrong, Control itself was actually really good with, to my knowledge, quite an original plot and scenario but what I found just okay was the actual ray-tracing.
Nvidia called it a big leap in gaming technology and the holy grail of computing but it seems to me that what’s going on behind the scenes with the coding and advancements of RT cores in Nvidia’s graphics cards are more impressive than the actual results. The biggest issue I found is that you have to keep turning ray-tracing off in order to appreciate what it looks like on and even then, I could see the difference but it wasn’t mind-blowing like the hype is trying to convince everyone of.
While playing Super Mario 64, you didn’t have to keep referring back to Super Mario World to see the leap between the two games and when using a VR headset you don’t have to keep removing it and looking at the monitor/TV to be able to see the difference.
Having watched videos of ray-tracing in other games I’ve never been overly impressed but the one that stood out most was Minecraft RTX. I’m not a Minecraft player but was aware of what it looked like before they added ray-tracing and in that game, this new lighting technique did make quite a big difference however, you do have to question if the implementation of ray-tracing in Minecraft would have looked so dramatic if Minecraft had better lighting model in the first place.
I’ve yet to play Cyberpunk 2077, the latest game to feature ray-tracing and have not seen videos of that to avoid spoilers but I’ve heard some people think the ray-tracing in it is great and others can barely tell the difference.
Another problem people have with ray-tracing is the performance impact which is not really surprising if you are trying to push the boundaries of technology but what I would say is, at this point in time it doesn’t seem worth it to me to buy a new graphics card (or console) specifically for ray-tracing.
Currently playing: Control (DLC) and Overwatch
Merry Christmas to GC and al its readers, well done for keeping everything rolling through such a difficult year and let’s all hope things get better soon!
Merry Christmas and a happy new year to everyone reading this. Despite it all it was a pretty good year for games and that’s something at least.
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