The Wednesday letters page debates the importance of first party console exclusives, as one reader brags of being an actor in Andor.
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The next Call Of Duty
There’s been some back and forth on Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 recently but I stand with the group who think it’s a good game. The campaign is the only thing I would say was a disappointment, as I think the rest of it is very good and while similar to Vanguard a massive improvement in every way, not least because it’s set in the modern day.
Today sees the release of Warzone 2.0 and I, for one, am looking forward to that as well. It’ll have the same combat and, I think, weapons so that’s automatically guaranteed it’ll be interesting. But there’s going to be a new open world map and additions of things from Modern Warfare 2, like vehicles and underwater swimming. All wrapped up in a battle royale that is also free? I don’t see the negative.
Even if the new DMZ is bad it’s only a part of the game and at worst a failed experiment. So by the time you read this I will have already downloaded it (or am still waiting for it). I’m certain it’ll be worth it and can’t wait to waste the whole weekend playing even more Call Of Duty.
Am I the only one that never replays games, especially long ones? It’s not that I don’t have any spare time at all, but I’d rather use what I do have in playing something new than repeating a game I’ve already seen the end of. Elden Ring took me 300 hours and the thought of doing all that again… I just wouldn’t know where to begin.
I mention it because while The Witcher 3 next gen update sounds intriguing, and I did enjoy it the first time round, I just don’t know if I’ve got it in me to do it all again. That is a long game, with quite a lot of what could easily be classed a padding.
It’s not that I think any less of the game now then when I first played it, it’s just that I want to experience something new. People who talk about completing the same game half a dozen times… I salute them but that’s not how I like to do things at all.
Left in Limbo
Having been anticipating Somerville’s arrival on Game Pass for a while I downloaded it today and got stuck in. I was a little surprised to see the end credits after just over four hours, it’s a short game. Sadly, it was also a pretty disappointing game.
The opening is compelling and sets the scene for what looks like will be an epic journey. But it mainly involved pretty unchallenging physics puzzles that would sometimes irk as the character movement and interactions with objects is a bit clumsy.
There’s no dialogue and the story telling is visual. It does throw up some great scenes and settings but halfway through the story gets pretty left field and I’ll admit I didn’t really have a clue what was going on at the credits. With so many other good games to play right now, like Return To Monkey Island, God Of War Ragnarök, and Pentiment I don’t feel compelled enough by Somerville to dive back in and make more sense of it all.
GC: Yes, we have to agree.
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Whenever people try to downplay the importance of first party exclusives in the future I’m going to show them that story about God Of War Ragnarök outselling Call Of Duty (yes, physical only – I know – but that’s all we’ve got to go off).
Not only did Ragnarök beat everything except FIFA 23 but the previous second place, that it had to beat, was Pokémon Legends: Arcues, also a first party exclusive. These games are important, they always have been and the always will be as they’re the ones that show off why you bought the console in the first place, in terms of squeezing the most out of the system and taking advantage of a franchise that’s not anywhere else.
On top of that the Ragnarök hardware bundle was 60% of all PlayStation 5 console sales that week? What more do you need to say? Exclusive sell consoles and exclusives are the best reason to own consoles.
I’m also really enjoying Andor. The writing, cast and cinematography has been outstanding. It’s a show that caters more for an adult audience, which fans of the franchise have been crying out for, especially after the disappointment of the sequel trilogy, and some of the TV shows that followed.
Funnily enough I was an extra in one of the Aldhani episodes, which were filmed at Cruachan Dam, a few miles from where I live. At the time I knew the series was Star Wars related, but I thought it was the Obi-Wan Kenobi series, which was filming at the same time. It was only when Diego Luna appeared on the third day of filming that I knew it was Andor.
I had a fantastic time during the shoot, with some great folk, both behind the scenes and in my fellow group of extras. We played the Aldhani group in episode 6, who make a pilgrimage to watch the Eye of Aldhani celestial event with our chief, who was played by David Hayman.
Just to be a small part of a franchise that has played a huge part of my life, was a dream come true and is definitely something that’s been ticked off my bucket list.
Cu8e5 (gamertag)/Cubes (PSN ID)
PS: That’s me in the big grey coat with the beard.
GC: That’s amazing! Especially as there is now a non-zero chance you’ll get your own Star Wars figure.
OutRun is my personal favourite Sega game too. I fondly remember my father lifting me up on his knees so I could command the steering wheel in a sit-down arcade when it released in 1986. He took care of working the pedals and the high/low gear whilst I, merely seven years old, marvelled at the sights and sounds and constantly crashing into the cliffs on stage 2.
Passing Breeze is probably the most memorable track in gaming for me. I do blame it for getting my hopes up though. I was adamant that life was all about driving a soft top Ferrari with your girlfriend, enjoying the warm tropical scenery. I then had the Spectrum version bought for me and all those dreams sank with Stapleton on that fateful night out on the Grimpen mire. It was quite the shock.
Most of the sequels were not up to much. Turbo OutRun and OutRunners were OK but Sega returned it to its glory days when OutRun 2 came out in the arcades and on the original Xbox. It’s the reason I bought one. Excellent port too. A third one would be most welcome, but I’d want it to retain its arcade roots.
Sadly, I imagine it might not be much of a hit. Especially as driving games are down the list when it comes to popular genres. Just looking at Criterion’s Need For Speed is enough to bring forth a tear. From arcade perfection with Burnout 3 to cel-shaded smoking wheels and god awful gangster posturing.
An Eminem movie directed by Tony Scott? I mean, if you’re going to do a Grand Theft Auto film I can’t imagine it getting much better than that really. Doesn’t mean it would’ve actually been good but at least they were getting some appropriate talent together and taking it seriously, which would’ve been rare in the early 2000s.
I’m not sure how it would’ve avoided being just another gangster film though, as the only real distinctive element in GTA, that isn’t just straight realism is the satire. Has Eminem ever done comedy?
Ever since I first heard about No Man’s Sky back in 2016, I always thought it was too ambitious for its claims.
A game so big, it can last forever? Really?
I never had a PlayStation 4, an Xbox One or a powerful enough PC, I still had my PlayStation 3 Slim so never had a chance to play it the first time around.
Six years later, it releases on Switch and due to me still being interested, I bought it and after putting in the game card, downloading the update and playing it for a few hours, I have got to admit I am mightily impressed.
(As a sidenote, I do not care about how it looks and plays compared to other consoles’ versions, as I’m happy with how it performs on the Switch.)
This game is exactly what I wanted The Outer Worlds, my current favourite Switch game, to be.
I remember looking up in the sky in The Outer Worlds, seeing planets and moons and wishing I could get there.
That wonderment never left when I was on Raxas, the planet you start on in No Man’s Sky because now, I can!
In The Outer Worlds, I wish the player could’ve actually travelled between planets instead of warp-speeding to them, which was really a loading screen.
In No Man’s Sky, you actually see destinations getting closer and closer as you approach them and land on them with no loading screens in sight.
Blasting around space, planet to planet finding new species of plants, animals and even intelligent alien creatures is very relaxing for me and what I love about the travelling is that it can take ages if you don’t hyperdrive boost. I’m aware it takes ages but I never hyperdrive to any place unless it is in another galaxy; Standard Boost all the way for me because I love the journey.
And before any of that, you need to make sure your spaceship has enough fuel.
Finding enough resource to charge up your suit after it has taken damage or the mad dash to shelter when there is harmful rainfall is always nerve-wracking.
I never started on permadeath difficulty but I can understand why others would. To make the adventure/journey as real as possible is appealing but to me, gameplay-wise, I’d hate to have to start all over again with the progress I’ve made and the hours I’ve put in.
The only negatives are that I wish there were more English-speaking characters. I had hoped for some Dr Who style automatic translator. Maybe there is one out there yet to be discovered. And yes, I know it’s space but learning one word per alien is going to take a very long time to master any of the various languages.
But then, that’s the point: to take my own time and explore at my own leisure. There’s no way I’ll truly complete this game.
This leads to my second negative, that is, I’ll never truly complete this game due to its size.
The Outer Worlds, while a good size, was manageable and of course had various endings. I completed it and its DLC but am still wanting for more.
With No Man’s Sky, I can feel overwhelmed and completely spoilt for choice.
I think I’d settle for a mix of both games; the action role-playing of The Outer Worlds but a slightly larger galaxy map size and the actual space travel, exploration and resource-gathering of No Man’s Sky.
PS: Is No Man’s Sky what Elite was like back in its day?
GC: It’s arguably closer than Elite: Dangerous but the downplaying of combat, and lack of humour, means neither come that close.
Xbox bought Activision Blizzard for Candy Crush. Funny, you would’ve thought they’d have mention that before. You know, before countries started to look into their propaganda a bit more closely.
Already beaten Somerville. Already wish I hadn’t wasted even that small amount of time. That’s one of the biggest drops in quality I’ve seen from one game to the next, even if it isn’t exactly the same developer.
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was inspired by reader Neil Down, who asks what you think of review scores and the current state of video game criticism.
Do you want reviews to be accompanied by a score and if so what’s your preferred scale in terms of how many it’s out of? Are there any particular sites, including this one, that you think could do things differently and what do you think of those that don’t have a score at all?
Is there anything you’d change about how we or others go about reviews (other than the timing, there’s nothing anyone can do about that) and do you think the overall standard of reviews today is better or worse than it used to be? What do you think of aggregate sites like Metacritic and do you use them?
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 and content.
You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time via email or our Submit Stuff page, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.
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