Games Inbox: Restoring the old Assassin’s Creed formula

The Friday letters page argues that Games Pass encourages you to play more games and not less, as one reader despairs at the idea of BMW DLC.

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Back to formula
So it looks like we’ll definitely get at least one major Assassin’s Creed announcement in September and I have no reason to doubt the rumours about the next game being set in Baghdad. That sounds like a cool setting but since it’s apparently just upgraded DLC from Assassin’s Creed Valhalla I’m going to assume it’s going to use the current role-playing formula for its gameplay.

I’m also going to assume, since it’s live service and convincing people to buy things that make numbers go up is the whole point, that Assassin’s Creed Infinity is also going to use a version of the current system.

What I would love to see is a return to the old, purely action-based system. I had hoped that the success of Ghost Of Tsushima, which is an old school Assassin’s Creed in all but name, would have encouraged Ubisoft to go back but so far there’s been no hint at it.

My hope is that Assassin’s Creed Infinity will not be the only new game for the future but will be like Warzone to Call Of Duty. So you’ll get the live service game, whether it’s free or not, and then other games on top of that. So maybe these other games will go back to the old formula. At the very least I hope they cut out the bloat because the idea of playing another game of the size and style of Valhalla is just too exhausting to even consider.
Focus

Pre-order now for bonus tyre
I know the general sentiment is that us gamers tend to feel nickel and dimed by greedy gaming mega corporations but spare a thought for BMW drivers. I heard on the news today that BMW is introducing DLC into its cars.

Yes, you read that correctly. DLC in cars.

More specifically, BMW cars will be built fully specced and if you wish to have access to a certain car feature – heated seats for example – then you have to pay a monthly subscription to ‘unlock’ said functionality!

Perhaps we gamers don’t have it quite so bad after all.
Heinz57

GC: So it’s not only DLC, it’s DLC that’s already on the disc?! Incredible.

Well rewarded
Interesting to hear that Game Pass is restricting what some people end up playing due to being spoiled for choice. For me it’s been the other way round – having the opportunity to try games and styles of games I maybe would never have tried.

I think what has help me is collecting the points to go towards getting rewards (basically, saving up to 36,000 and then getting three months’ worth of free Game Pass Ultimate, which doesn’t take too long). It encourages you to try new games for weekly award points – you need to get a certain number of achievements at various times to get additional bonus points – which means I’m trying a lot of different games and trying for achievements in them as well… and liking some enough to keep playing them through or even (and this is rare for me) finishing them!

Still dipping into Halo Infinite on a regular basis for multiplayer, as well as Forza Horizon 5, but then have tried and enjoyed so much more. Here’s a nod to the following which I all enjoyed:

Contrast
Dead Cells
OMNO
Slay The Spire
Hades
Ring Of Pain
Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion
Titanfall 2

And many more over the last 12 months – way more than I used to play, and I think the combo of Game Pass and collecting the reward points is getting me some serious value for money.
WoDMaN

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Fashionable science
RE: Beaver. Sorry to be pedantic about your point on multiverse use but it’s been a common trope in many comics, TV shows and films for decades.

Some of the more interesting uses have been in Transformers (please checkout this channel by Transformers lore master Chris McFeely). But it has been in Marvel comics for decades as well. It’s just that it’s become more common knowledge because of the MCU. Also common in DC comics and I think was going to be a feature of the new Flash film, which would have allowed them to re-visit Michael Keaton’s OG Batman.

Anyway, it is a cool idea if done well – although it tends to get quite complicated over time unless properly managed!
Tom

GC: We think his point is that it has recently become very fashionable for no obvious reason. Like zombies in the early 2000s suddenly exploding in popularity.

Dodging criticism
Resident Evil 3 remake’s dodge mechanic can feel so rewarding and fun to execute once you’ve become attuned to nailing the timing. It’s almost as satisfying as dodging attacks in a pure action game like Devil May Cry or Bayonetta.

I don’t think the game even explains this evasive technique to the fullest and how you can activate a small window of slowdown by aiming your gun after a successful dodge, and even momentarily deal more damage in this concentrated mode of attack.

The nifty evasion technique is saving me a lot of ammo in Jill Valentine’s hellish predicament. This is absolutely one area in which the remake improves on the classic original. Same goes for the visceral combat, atmosphere, and boss designs. Oh, and that opening definitely… blows away the original’s.

Shame the memorable clock tower and park areas, grave digger boss, the multiple endings, and other more nuanced niceties are lost in translation, however. And the game is nowhere near as scary as Resident Evil 2 remake, which is frankly a massive missed opportunity by Capcom.

The tense encounters with Nemesis and new enemies like the Gamma were a highlight though. Just wish the titular stalker was more unpredictable in its appearances.

It may not be as good as its gloriously modernised predecessor but Resident Evil 3 remake is still an excellently made action- focused, game in my opinion.
Galvanized Gamer

Dream logic
RE: Magnumstache’s question about AI: The Somnium Files and its new sequel Nirvana Initiative. I’m currently replaying the original with a view to buying the new one afterwards, and hopefully by then physical copies may have come down in price a bit (it’s currently £69 for the standard Switch edition on Amazon!).

As a fellow fan of Zero Escape, I would definitely recommend this series. The characters are just as well written, there’s plenty of sci-fi weirdness with a few branching timelines, and you’ll recognise Uchikoshi’s quirky sense of humour. There are some great tunes in the soundtrack, and both the English and Japanese voice acting are decent.

Be aware that the pace is a bit slower compared to Zero Escape, and the balance is tilted more in favour of the visual novel sections than the puzzle sections (the titular Somnium where you enter someone’s dreams). I’ve read some reviews that said the Somnium dream logic doesn’t always make sense, so you just resort to trial and error, but I didn’t find them too frustrating and mostly they are quite fun spaces to mess around in.

There is a demo of the first game on the Switch eShop you could try. I played this first and found I was suitably intrigued to want to buy it. On the whole I was pretty satisfied, and I think I’m appreciating it even more the second time around.
Mister B

Bad timing
I found the oddest thing about Bayonetta 3’s release date is not that it goes up against Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 – they are quite different games for different audiences, with no platform crossover – but that it it’s releasing so close to other long awaited Japanese big hitters on Switch in October. Just a week after Persona 5 and a couple of weeks out from the port of Platinum’s very own fast-paced third person action title NeiR:Automata. The sales and play time seem more likely to be split between those three than with Modern Warfare 2.

It’ll be interesting to see how the new Bayonetta stacks up against the NeiR port. Neir:Automata probably toppled Bayonetta 2 as Platinum’s best game on its release. So if the Switch version isn’t too compromised it’ll have a good chance of overshadowing Bayonetta 3 as well, which looks like more of the same. I hear the port is being handled by Virtuous, who have turned in good work on Nintendo’s machine before with Final Fantasy 12, L.A. Noire, and the BioShock trilogy. My hopes are pretty high for a solid portable experience with it.
Marc

GC: It might not be competing with Modern Warfare 2 in terms of audience but when it comes out every website is going to be filled with news and reviews of the new Call Of Duty, and Bayonetta 3 will have to take second billing. Whereas if it’d just waited a week, it would have had things entirely to itself. NieR:Automata coming out over three weeks before it seems like far less of a problem.

Star appeal
I’m replaying the Uncharted: Legacy Of Thieves collection and so far I’m enjoying the game, but at times I realise the formula needs some sort of change if they are to make a sequel. Uncharted 4 on PlayStation 4 sold over 15 million copies and that is an unusually high number for a PlayStation exclusive. Can you imagine Activision not releasing a new Call Of Duty? Rockstar with no new Red Dead or Nintendo not releasing a new Mario/Link game after such good sales?

What may go against Uncharted that is that its narrative is based on Nathan Drake and the character has a biological clock. The character ages, stories are told, therefore new characters and plots have to be renewed.

For games like Call Of Duty, and those from FromSoftware and Rockstar Games, the main character is not a draw to sell a game. I feel The Last Of Us Part 2 is partly unpopular on sales/reception because of the lack of a role Joel plays. But obviously if you look at Nintendo the characters like Mario/Link help sell the game, I doubt games based on Luigi or Zelda sell better than the main characters.

If Uncharted 5 was to be made, it could either be a prequel or follow-up to 4 which could mean it stars Nate and Elena’s kid, which will make Nate like Sully. This does kinda resemble the situation Naughty Dog was in for The Last of Us sequel, with Ellie taking over. Imagining now an Uncharted 5 where Nate gets killed and his kid looks for revenge.

I hope Naughty Dog do not develop a new Uncharted game but they pass it on to a new team or to the Naughty Puppies. They should probably go back to basics and make Uncharted 5 stripped back, similar to Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, where the whole game is based on one island or they should reconceptualise Uncharted into a horror game in a crazy cult like island. Please do not turn it into an open world game.

So I question I do have, which game has sold so well but has not received a sequel?

Another question is, does the protagonist matter? Is Uncharted popular because of Nathan Drake? Has he become bigger than the name of the game? I ask because I believe Uncharted: The Lost Legacy starring Chloe did not sell as good as Uncharted 4 starring Nate Drake.

I guess this question relates to specific franchises as some characters/stories do not continue from sequels – so could God Of War or Horizon continue to be popular without Kratos or Aloy? Maybe people would prefer a new lead character change. Deacon from Days Gone wasn’t so popular, for example, even though I thought he was a good character. I do prefer Solid Snake Metal Gear Solid games over Big Boss games.
Matt Riddle

GC: The Lost Legacy was a standalone expansion with a lot of recycled content, it’s not really comparable.

Inbox also-rans
What’s the betting that PlayStation Stars was totally about NFT until Sony saw which way the wind was blowing? At least they were more savvy than Tony Hawk about it.
Okin

I wonder if Nintendo buying their own animation studio is because they’re not happy with the work being done by outsiders on the Super Mario film? Maybe Chris Pratt wasn’t such a good idea after all…
Lammy

This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Campbell, who asks what upcoming game are you most looking forward to?

We’ve just passed the halfway mark of the year, and what few not-E3 preview events there were are all done, so what upcoming game are you most excited about at the moment, whether it’s coming out this year or not?

As long as the game has been officially announced you can talk about anything you like, but do explain why it’s caught your imagination and what more you’d like to know about it before it’s released.

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?

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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 via email or our Submit Stuff page, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

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