Games Inbox: Will you be watching the Xbox Games Showcase?

The Tuesday Inbox hopes for a Christmas launch for Zelda: Breath Of The Wild 2, as one reader talks up Final Fantasy 7 Remake.

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Hype wars
So that Jeff Grubb guy was right about the Xbox reveal being the week of the 20th – another name to put on the trusted list. Although I guess he had a one in four chance…

This is make or break for Microsoft. They’ve got to put on a good show here or the first round of the console hype wars is going to be lost to Nintendo. I think they can do it but my biggest worry is they spend too much time on Halo.

I worry that Microsoft thinks everyone loves Halo and Gears Of War a lot more than they actually do and it constantly clouds their judgement. Maybe they’re bigger in America, I’m sure they are, but they’re still not that big anywhere as far as I can see.

Still, I’ll definitely be tuning in. In fact, kudos to Microsoft for making it a reason able time of the day for Europe. That’s certainly no a consideration Sony ever seem to make. 23 July here we come!

Successful formula
So Assassin’s Creed Valhalla looks… a lot like Assassin’s Creed. I can see why Ubisoft wanted to get that footage taken down, not because of the bugs or glitches (what’s the betting on how many of those will still be there at launch?) but because the whole thing looks so bland and predictable.

I enjoyed Origins but it was already too long and Odyssey was even worse, to the point that I never finished it and my enthusiasm for the rebooted series faded away. It’s now almost completely disappeared on watching this footage and seeing the other, official, news.

I just don’t know how many of these third person, open world games I can play anymore. They’re all following the same formula and while I know it’s fun it’s also incredibly old at this point. I’m also worried about Ghost Of Tsushima, which seems like it might fall into a similar trap.

Unlike some other genres I’m not sure there’s much next gen tech can do about it either, since an open world means it’s constantly loading anyway. If Ghost Of Tsushima involves liberating enemy camps and turning the local people round to your side I think I’ve just about had it, no matter how good the graphics are.

Would Rockstar doing do a whole new open world game that was just for VR? I can’t see it, considering how small the audience would be for it. On the one hand they’ve got the money to waste on vanity projects but the much more likely explanation is that this is for GTA 5 or 6. Which I am totally all for.

Rockstar has been pushing graphics with each new release and they’ve had so long since GTA 5 that I expect to be mind-blown by the PlayStation 5 upgrade, let alone whatever GTA 6 is. Whenever Sony unveil the PlayStation VR 2 I now expect it to be on stage alongside GTA as the main reason to get it.

I wish it could be wireless, like the Oculus Quest, but I don’t see how considering it’s got to connect to the PlayStation 5. Other than that though I think we’ll see Sony pushing VR as one of its key selling points, considering it’s something Microsoft has virtually no experience in. That’s what I’m hoping anyway.

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Critical roles
I completely agree with the review in support of The Last Of Us Part 2. I am disgusted that anyone could be so closed-minded to the masterpiece by two of the most talented, deservedly awarded, and sweetest people I’ve been blessed to view in this game and Critical Role.

Although the feeling of being torn up inside grew with every cinematic and moment between Abby and Ellie. I love them equally, to heights I’d have to describe with page upon page upon page, and I’d be thankful for being made to feel that so I can grow as a young person. As for Laura Bailey and Ashley Johnson, they can play the most disliked, unreasonable, unrelatable inhuman people and I’d still love them for playing that character so well.

GC: We’re not sure what there is to love about Ellie, given her actions in Part 2. Which is not to say that Johnson’s performance wasn’t excellent.

4D chess
I don’t think it was Nintendo’s plan to say or do next to nothing for at least half a year, if not more, and I’m just as frustrated as any other fan at their continued silence.

That said, I think some of craigherman’s points are valid in terms of whether it benefits Nintendo to say much right now. Until very recently the Switch has faced severe stock problems for most of 2020 and yet at the moment, for whatever reason, their share price is pretty much at a five year high. I’m not an expert on the relationship between public relations and hardware or software sales but given the circumstances I can see why they might want to hold off on any news or announcements until such time as they can fully capitalise on them.

Momentum is crucial of course and Nintendo will know that more than anyone after the Wii U’s disaster on that front. But if there’s less benefit to keeping up momentum or its loss is in any way out of their hands, it wouldn’t do much good for them to air an all-singing, all-dancing Nintendo Direct when they can’t convert the PR that generates into more success.

I’ve said before the main risk to their approach is many people might feel there’s nothing on the near horizon for the Switch so it’s better to sell it to fund a next gen machine. I’m sure they’ve got plenty of market data to help inform whether that is indeed happening and will be managing that risk, but we’ll see.

As with any other business, their approach to 2020 will have been reactive, as a proactive approach would’ve been impossible, but that doesn’t mean they’re not adopting their current strategy for a good reason.

GC: Nintendo has been acting like this since September last year, well before the coronavirus. Much of Sony’s success this generation came specifically from announcing impressive-looking games that didn’t come out until several years later – there is no benefit in delaying such announcements, especially when you don’t have any current games coming out either.

Christmas hope
That Zelda: Breath Of The Wild 2 news was surprisingly encouraging. Those voice actors are never going to work for Nintendo again but their sacrifice has allowed us to find out that it probably is a direct sequel and that it’s probably fairly well along. I still can’t believe it’s out this year simply because Nintendo hasn’t talked about it again since last year, but if it wasn’t for that I would now be expecting (or at least hoping) for it this Christmas.

I don’t understand all this talk about Nintendo having some great master plan where doing nothing and saying nothing, while Microsoft and Sony do nothing and say nothing, makes more sense than trying to remind people they still exist.

It seems pretty obvious to me that they’re not talking about anything because they haven’t got anything to talk about. Everything’s taking longer than they expected and the coronavirus ruined their plans for unveiling the Super Mario remasters. Why does everything have to be some complicated conspiracy that makes no sense?

Next next gen
Has anyone at GameCentral seen the just released GTA 5 trailer for Xbox Series XXXX and PlayStation 10? No, then have a watch here.

Yes, we are so lucky that we are getting all online DLC in single-player and it will still fall under the GTA 5 banner.

On a serious note hope, this has cheered you all up and brightened people’s day.
gaz be rotten (gamertag)

Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here

Final reality
My sincere apologies for the late entry to the Hot Topic, my game of the 2020 so far is without a doubt Final Fantasy 7 Remake, it’s an absolutely superb modernisation of the classic original and one fantasy that has turned into a spectacular reality for this Final Fantasy 7 fan. Bold, charming, emotionally and mechanically impactful; this grand reimagining of a beloved video game universe has truly exceeded my expectations.

The expanded Midgar is wonderfully realised, I am thoroughly impressed with the distinct character, bustle, and density of detail in each sector. Cloud, Aerith, Tifa, and Barret are very well written and the dynamics between them on and off the battlefield are excellently conveyed. I love the extent in which the developers have enlarged the scope of the original story, fleshed out less prominent characters like Avalanche crew members Jessie, Biggs and Wedge, and doubled down on the quirkier moments in Midgar with panache.

Cloud’s famous ‘transformation’ and the escapades that precede and entail the moment are especially glorious. And as I’ve touched on before the combat strikes an admirable balance between action and strategy.

The graphics, art direction and soundtrack are also majestic. Sure there are some glaring inconsistencies in the graphics department, but by and large the visuals are some of the most resplendent I’ve ever seen in a game, the character models of the main players in particular are possibly Advent Children levels of astonishingly pretty. It’s been years since I’ve seen that entertaining filmic sequel to Final Fantasy 7 so I would need to verify that my eyes aren’t deceiving me though.

The background details are also very impressive for the most part, namely the striking plates, monolithic elevated structures that serve as a constant reminder that Midgar is beset by numerous symbolic contradictions for a ‘progressive’ cyberpunk cityscape. And that the slum-dwelling citizenry are at the mercy of such constructions that could devastate a monstrous amount of lives in an instant.

I am 40 hours in, now on chapter 15, with the infiltration of the Shinra building now looming on the sun-kissed, calamitous horizon, and I strongly believe the episodic model adopted for this remake was the right choice and a truly artistically viable direction. The sheer effort and enthusiasm permeating this lavish production is remarkable. Dare I say no self-respecting fan of Final Fantasy 7 should pass up this re-envisioned epic.

Admittedly the prolonged, troubled development and episodic nature of the game was a genuine cause for concern, but as it turns the finished article is a dream come true. No amount of anachronistic PlayStation 2 quality textures and some quite underwhelming PlayStation 3 era non-player character models could detract from the stellar finished article.

Even the vast majority of side quests are engaging and rewarding. So…. so far Aerith thing is good guys!
Galvanized Gamer

Inbox also-rans
Wow, just read some the tweets RE: Druckmann and The Last Of Us Part 2. What’s wrong with these people?

Glad to hear F1 2020 is even better than last year’s. I never think Codemasters get enough credit really. They always do good work and the F1 games have been getting ever since they started.

This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Cranston who, inspired by the release of The Last Of Us Part 2, asks what is the best ever video game story?

No matter what kind of game it was, or when it was released, what do you feel has been the best story told in a video game, and why? Was the story the main element of the game or just part of the overall package? Did it work so well because of the script, the characters, the voiceovers, the integration with the gameplay, or something else?

How important is the story to you when playing a video game and how much do you care when it’s not very good? And how much do you put up with poor gameplay when it’s good?

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.

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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