Games Inbox: Will PlayStation Game Pass be better than Xbox?

The Tuesday Inbox suggests an Activision Blizzard name change, as one reader finally manages to beat Demon’s Souls on PS5.

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Why not now?
I can imagine why they wouldn’t want to, but if the PlayStation Game Pass doesn’t feature first party games on day one, or at least within a short, standard period of time like a month, then I don’t see it being anything other than an opportunity for Microsoft to show how they do things better than Sony.

I’d say this was such an obvious pitfall that there’s no way Sony can’t have already thought about it but given how many time games companies seem completely oblivious to the blindingly obvious I’m not sure. Even if Sony are generally one of the more sensible ones.

That Jim Ryan interview was always a bit of a giveaway, that they had something up their sleeve, but what I don’t understand is why it wasn’t released this year. It doesn’t require any development so why let Microsoft have this Christmas on a plate? The PlayStation 5 might be outselling Xbox but Microsoft has clearly made a lot of improvements in terms of public perception in the last couple of months, while Sony has basically been MIA.

Maybe they have something big planned for The Game Awards but if not, I can’t remember the last time we had a major announcement out of them.
Holtz

Half a world
You’re right GC, that was not how I assumed Halo Infinite’s open world worked. In fact, I’m kind of shocked how it is. So it’s only the first half of the game and then you don’t see it again till the end? Isn’t that kind of an admission that it’s not all the great? And if it’s not why could they have split things up a bit more evenly (or less evenly I suppose I mean).

Like another reader said, I wasn’t really sure what to expect of the campaign but while I’m glad it’s not bad I think I’ll wait till the co-op is working till I sit through it. Especially as I didn’t play Halo 5 or Halo Wars 2 and I have no intention of doing so just to understand what is going on.

Some very odd choices in this game and it seems like while the multiplayer team got everything right (I’m going to blame the bean counters for the progression system) the others were letting the side down. Still, at least the multiplayer’s a hit.
Spencer

GC: You see the open world in cut scenes after the halfway point, but you don’t get to free roam in it again until after you’ve beaten the story.

Hex-based gaming
I know you said it wasn’t bad but I’m kind of disappointed by Halo Infinite after seeing the reviews. I was really hoping it would be a full revival for the series, with great single-player and multiplayer, but the campaign just seems kind of waste. I couldn’t care less about what happens after Halo 5 and just assuming you know what happens and who everyone is seems like a really dumb idea.

I can just imagine how all the ‘sci-fi corridors’ look too, even though I notice that’s something they’ve barely shown in the trailers at all, which is all just the open world.

Can I ask, GC, does the open world vary in design much? Everything I’ve seen has just been that dusty brown and green look like the original game, but it doesn’t seem to vary much. What are those strange hexagonal towers about?
Toady

GC: The open world all looks basically the same, yes, with the same colour palette and designs. We don’t think it’s ever explicitly said but the hexagonal foundations are implied to be where the Halo is broken and trying to repair itself.

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Sold out
PlayStation fans may remember the Platinum range that was available on the PlayStation 1 console. I am wondering if this could be brought back for the PlayStation 5 so that PlayStation 4 titles and even, in the far future, PlayStation 5 titles could also be included. On the PlayStation 1, when Sony reduced the price by 50%, for many of their top games which had been out for years, it allowed more people with limited budgets to be able to buy the console and the games.

If this was brought back for the PlayStation 5 in the future, especially during the pandemic, this would ensure a lot more people would buy a PlayStation 5 and more games would be sold, allowing better sales figures and growing the fanbase for both the PlayStation brand and games made by developers. It would also give the competition a run for its money.
gaz be rotten (gamertag)

Internal review
I wonder if Microsoft is happy with the Halo Infinite reviews? They’re good but not great, which seems a bit of anti-climax after nearly four years of waiting and probably much longer in development. I think I read that publishers get people to write their own reviews before a game goes out, to get an idea of what to expect. Although given what big budget games are like I can’t imagine any of them are too scathing.

I certainly was hoping for a better response for Halo Infinite but on the other hand I could imagine a much worse one. I think we’re going to find that Microsoft’s best developers are the ones they’ve recently bought, not the ones they’ve had for years making Halo and God Of War. Except Playground Games and Forza, they seem pretty good.
Baker

Name change
Are Activision trying to break some sort of record for the greatest number of sleazy stories in one year? After this latest one about dunking on the QA people I don’t think I’d play another of their games again if they paid me.

A part of me does feel sorry for the developers involved that haven’t done anything wrong but all of this coinciding with the least interesting Call Of Duty in years is some awkward timing, to say the least. I really wonder if Activision are going to go under after this.

I mean, they’re not short of money or anything but their name is dirt now and nobody wants to work for them/everyone’s leaving in droves. I predict they’ll break up Activision and Blizzard and change one or both of their names. That’s got to be the minimum I think, there’s no way they’re just going to keep a low profile (they basically only make one game) and come back next autumn with a new Call Of Duty and pretend nothing happened.
Winston

Perfect timing
Getting quite excited about the idea of a new BioShock. I know it’s divisive but I enjoyed BioShock Infinite and I’m looking forward to a game that’s sensible enough not to set itself in Rapture again.

I don’t know how much it was intended, but the idea of waiting this long for a sequel is perfect. Long enough for people to miss the games but not so long that you forget what they were. I hope to see an announcement maybe this month or next.
Brosman

Soulful ending
Finally finished Demon’s Souls after just under 63 hours of play time and I had such a great time with FromSoftware’s groundbreaking action role-playing game.

The game is such a hauntingly beautiful and atmospheric, meticulous, adventurous, visceral game with some of the most memorable level and enemy/boss designs I’ve ever had the privilege of experiencing in a video game.

It’s so easy to see why many fans still proclaim Demon’s Souls represents the pinnacle of the Souls games, but boy does the omission of an equivalent to the bonfires and Estus flask in Dark Souls render the proceedings brutal!

I was really impressed with how many of the bosses confounded my expectations too. From the blind fury of the Old Hero, to the self-duplicating shenanigans of the Fool’s Idol. You could add the painfully contrived, but visually spectacular, Dragon God to that list of leftfield battles.

Playing the game in performance mode had also amplified my appreciation of the precision and fluidity of the combat in a Souls game. Everything just feels so much smoother and responsive; the feedback of nailing the timing of a roll dodge or parry has never felt more satisfying.

Demon’s Souls certainly features some of my favourite environments in a Souls such as Upper Latria, with its ominous thunder-rumbling dark clouds, treacherous gargoyle infested narrow pathways, and that grotesque pulsating organ at the centre of the vicinity. The classic grimdark imagery of the opening Boletaria Fortress level with its imposing battle-worn architecture and terrorising dragons will stay with me for a very long time.

The final boss fight with (false) King Allant was highly enjoyable and challenging. The animations of his dash and jump attacks reminded me of Devil May Cry for some reason, he was quite the kinetic beast. That ending was quite surprising and poignant too…

That World Tendency concept is a bit confusing and unnecessary though, eh?
Galvanized Gamer

GC: Yeah, we don’t think anyone would’ve complained if Bluepoint had left World Tendency on the PlayStation 3.

Inbox also-rans
Never mind being barred, I’m shocked that Activision were up for any Game Awards in the first place. Warzone really isn’t that great.
Jonesey

I wonder when we’ll hear what Luigi’s Mansion 3 developer Next Level Games is working on now? It seems ages since Nintendo bought them. Much as I love Luigi I hope it’s a new IP.
Benson

This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Korbie, who asks what game have you thought about the most while not actually playing it?

While stuck at work or school it’s common to daydream about what you’ll play when you get home, but what game has filled your thoughts the most and why? Were you planning out new strategies and tactics or just imagining what it’d be like to get further?

Have you ever literally dreamt about a game and how did that go? Did the dream place you in the game world or was it something related to the reality of playing it?

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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 and content.

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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