Games Inbox: Putting an easy mode in every video game
The Tuesday letters page is glad the NFT games console wasn’t an instant hit, as one reader is impressed by Summer Games Done Quick.
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I have to say I’m very sympathetic with the Reader’s Feature at the weekend, complaining about how hard Cuphead is. I played the original game when it first came out and I couldn’t get anywhere in it. Maybe I could’ve if I’d studied every enemy and spent hours getting good at them but frankly life’s too short.
This is my big problem with Elden Ring as well. Everything takes so long I don’t have time to persevere even if I wanted to. And I do, kind of, want to. At least Cuphead has a pause button though, Elden Ring doesn’t even have that.
I know this isn’t a new argument, but I really don’t understand why every game doesn’t have an easy mode, so everyone can buy them without worrying that they’ll never get their money’s worth out of them. The less spare time I get the more I feel I’m being pushed out of this hobby. I can easily see why people get set on mobile games instead. They might be hollow rubbish but at least it’s only a few minutes here and there and you don’t keep dying.
It sure will be odd if there isn’t a Call Of Duty next year. That’ll be over a decade since that’s happened, I believe. It sure is an unusual point in the series’ history that Microsoft is planning to buy it. I know that’s the point, that they wouldn’t have got it so ‘cheap’ otherwise but it seems to me that Call Of Duty Is on a major decline and I don’t think there’s any guarantee it’ll come out of it.
What they’ve shown of Modern Warfare 2 so far looks so generic I can’t have any reaction to it at all. I guess if you weren’t around for the first one it might all seem quite new and exciting but they only released the remaster a few years ago so I don’t know how likely that is.
I don’t especially blame Activision. The overall quality has generally been good, from the ones I’ve played over the years, but at some point it’s going to feel like you’ve done it all before. The Gulf War setting is the closest thing to an interesting new idea in a while but if that’s not for two years yet then it’s a bit hard to get excited.
Same old story
Ugh, why does no one at DICE or EA ever seem to listen? How many times does Battlefield have to fail until they understand what it is that fans want? Clue #1: it is not a story campaign. I can guarantee you I won’t play it, whatever it is and even if it is Bad Company 3, which is what I imagine they’ll do to try and dig themselves out of their current hole.
To be honest I think this is one failure too many for Battlefield. It’s name is mud, I don’t think younger players know or care about it, and older players have just been stung too many times by now.
How EA has never managed to get a decent battle royale out of it I do not know. I don’t even want it but I would’ve thought a free-to-play version organised around battle royale would’ve been the first thing EA had run to. Unusual for them to miss a trick. They’re many things but I don’t usually think of them as incompetent.
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I’ve been watching this year’s Summer Games Done Quick and I am so impressed with the range of skill on display. Some of the things people can do in these games is utterly astounding.
But it’s not just the straight gameplay or finding glitches. There’s a Super Mario World Kaizo head-to-head race where they’ve made their own levels and made the game do things Nintendo never had in mind.
But the thing that really impressed me was this run of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time, which uses tool assists to basically reprogram the game using button presses no human could manage. It’s probably better to watch it without knowing what is shown off in the game, but it’s not the usual glitch your way to Ganon you may expect from a speedrun.
Wouldn’t it make a nice change if they would make some new Call Of Duty maps set in the UK?
Here are some ideas: old peoples’ home, council estate, Buckingham Palace garden party, retail park, Wembley Stadium, car boot sale, Birmingham Bull Ring, Coronation Street, Stonehenge, Primark.
GC: There have been a few over the years. Underground from Modern Warfare 3, Encore from Black Ops 2, Parliament from Advanced Warfare, and London Docks from WW2. There’s six in Modern Warfare alone, including Piccadilly.
Far From Home
I have just upgraded my PS Plus membership for the simple reason that it would have been mad not to. £20 to upgrade for the rest of the year gives me at least three PlayStation 5 games that I would have otherwise bought, as well as a few PlayStation 4 game I missed. The problem that Sony are going to have is keeping interest after the first year. They need to keep adding new titles and that may be difficult with limited releases and no addition of day one titles.
Anyway, first game I downloaded was Spider-Man: Miles Morales and I agree, it benefits from being a shorter and tighter game and so avoids the drag that comes later on in open world games. What it did get me thinking about was where Spider-Man 2 goes from here. I know that it is where he is mainly based but surely you cannot just have another game based around New York?
Not sure that there would be as many fans for a sequel that could have worked as DLC (that said, I think that Spider-Man would work really well as a base game for loads of DLC, bearing in mind his single base of operations and so the need to just add new storylines to an existing game mechanic).
So, my bet is that Spider-Man is heading for Europe. During the majority of Miles Morales, Peter Parker is in Europe and it just seems to make sense that the next full Spider-Man game fills in the gap of what was going on abroad. That opens up the potential for Latveria, Doctor Doom, Silver Sable, etc. and just something a bit different from the usual ‘Spider-Man saves New York again’ storyline and there is precedent for Spider-Man going to Europe in the comics.
So, fingers crossed that we may see Spider-Man swinging around a famous European capital in the future.
Rulander (PSN ID)
GC: We were hoping for the Savage Land.
Don’t forget to back The Gaming Chronicles – Episode 1 – The Amiga 500 documentary on Kickstarter for anyone who is interested, as it closes this Sunday. It is by the same people who made the From Bedrooms to Billions documentaries.
You can get a digital copy for £15 plus other stuff or a physical Blu-ray version, which I have for £45 plus £3
Learning from the past
I recently read the Reader’s Feature suggesting that retro games are a waste of everyone’s time and money. This has to be one of the most ridiculous opinions I have ever read, with all due respect.
One of the reasons so many people crave retro games is precisely because a lot of them haven’t been equalled. Developers didn’t learn from them. Silent Hill games, for example, are still some of the best horror games around, despite showing their age. More developers could have mimicked their tactics of deep stories, great music, and unsettling locations. Yet instead of doing that, what did many horror developers do? Provide an endless wave of imitations, with games like Outlast and Alien Isolation, which hobble the player in many ways in order to provide horror, and have them spend the whole game running away from a single enemy for five hours.
Dead Space is another. Even though it peaked with 2, and 3 was merely okay, Dead Space is still better than most of the modern horror games around. Metal Gear Solid’s story is still very enjoyable, despite it being confounding for some people, and I plain enjoy the gameplay. Legacy Of Kain’s story has rarely been equalled by modern games, in my opinion, and even Soul Reaver 1 from the PlayStation still holds up as an enjoyable action game.
It says something that despite being 32 years old, Super Mario World is still one of the best Mario games of all time; at least in the top five for me.
Oh gee, why would we want to replay games that we enjoyed on our older consoles, and are still better than most of the soulless dreck put out there by developers nowadays?
You may as well make the same argument about shows and movies. Why should we ever watch black and white movies, with the stories being old fashioned and some of the acting being bad, when there are so many movies in colour and with better acting nowadays? Why should we ever rewatch any old TV shows, when there are so many thousands of new shows today? It’s because those movies and shows still have something to offer.
The Resident Evil 2 remake was a project years in the making, long requested by fans, and it turned out to be beloved by most critics and fans; wildly successful. Capcom themselves then demonstrated what happens when you mishandle an old property, with the Resident Evil 3 remake. Ironically, the Resident Evil 2 remake remains one of the few bright spots in modern horror gaming.
Game preservation is already a difficult field itself, because companies themselves don’t appreciate what they have. We don’t need people convincing them that no old games are worth preserving, and everyone should just ‘move on’ to whatever soulless, mediocre cash grab companies have dreamed up next. This is a big issue with film; someone arbitrarily decides a film has nothing to offer, the movie is not put on DVD or Blu-ray or streaming, and then it’s lost for 30 years, essentially.
Creative new directions should be encouraged; I’m all for new franchises. But if all you have is The Order: 1886 or Life Is Strange or Redfall, to use some examples, let us go back to our old games. It appears that the original reader simply went back and replayed some of the worst retro games, and decided they were all horrible. For those of us who know there are many classics we still replay today, there is definite value in preserving these games so that future generations can play them.
GC: What have you got against Life Is Strange? Or Redfall, for that matter, considering it’s not even out yet. And how is Alien Isolation an imitation of Silent Hill? It’s not remotely similar. We didn’t agree with the Reader’s Feature ourselves (even though it made the point that games are clearly different from movies and TV when it comes to older content) but some of your examples are very odd.
I have to say the Twitter response to that NFT console did give me hope that people aren’t quite as stupid as these crypto fanatics hope. Watching the devs realise that people weren’t falling for their nonsense was glorious.
Hey with these new rumours we might get an announcement for the new Donkey Kong at Nintendo’s E3 Direct! Oh, wait…
This week’s Hot Topic
Since we’ve just passed the halfway mark of the year this weekend’s Inbox will act as a half-year report and ask what is your favourite game of 2022 so far?
It has to be a game released for the first time this year – so not just whatever you happened to have played from your backlog – but which was your favourite and why? What do you think of 2022 so far for games and how have you felt about the relative lack of new titles, and previews, recently?
What are you most looking forward to in the second half of 2022 and how bothered are you by the smaller number of releases, compared to previous years?
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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