Games Inbox: The best sci-fi and space video games09/25/2023
The Monday letters page is frustrated that all Soulslike games look the same, as another reader comments on Armored Core 6’s difficulty.
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I have to agree with the Reader’s Feature about Mass Effect at the weekend. It’s a whole lot better than Starfield, despite being over a decade old, and it’s kind of embarrassing how much Starfield steals from it, without doing anything better.
However, not only is Mass Effect old but all the space travel is kind of done on automatic, even more so than Starfield. I’d love to see something that was more like Elite or Freelancer from back in the day. There is Elite Dangerous, but I find it very dry and uninteresting, while EVE Online is even worse.
No Man’s Sky is all freedom and no gameplay, and Star Citizen is… well, we’ve already discussed that one recently. I really hope that Starfield encourages other space games because for me there is nothing close to the ambition of the old 80s and 90s games, which is a real shame.
Star Wars Outlaws looks cool, but I don’t get the impression that space exploration is a big part of it. I want a game like No Man’s Sky but with a proper story and characters and some actual fun missions. Nothing at the moment is really anywhere close to the dream games I imagined as a kid.
For me, it’s always like this
I have spent the weekend going through Silent Hill 2 and it is a masterpiece, without a doubt.
The gameplay is fine, but it is the ambiguous story that makes it so great. The whole hotel scene is brilliant, and I haven’t played the game in ages so forgot how good that whole section is and [spoiler redacted – GC] and how James is still in denial. And he then confronts his demons that manifested in Pyramid Head. I usually don’t care about stories in games, as I just want a reason to go from A to B, but this game is just so good.
I remembered the first time I played this I got the ‘leave’ ending and it is honestly a tear-jerker. It’s really hard hitting for so many reasons.
Honestly Silent Hill 2 is a masterpiece – no other game punches you in the face with this stuff.
I’m looking forward to the remake but I’m guessing they will change things and it just won’t have the same impact.
The big cheese
This is a quick response to the Reader’s Feature on Armored Core 6, more accurately his suggestion Elden Ring is easier than Dark Souls due to some order from on top.
This is the first I’ve ever heard this claim and I have to disagree. The reason I see Elden Ring as being easier is because it’s open world. It’s broader as a consequence of this. Bottlenecks are rare and there is always an organic way to level up while you prod your way through the world and its challenges. There is also the fact this is the fifth Soulsborne game, muscle memory is also a factor if you’re not green to the series.
I can’t speak to Armored Core 6, having not played it myself, but having played all the Souls and Bloodborne I can confidently posit that it was created on this curve out of necessity of design and flow rather than to appeal to a broader audience. I’d like to see how many people have completed the game or seen off Malenia for that matter.
As for Armored Core 6, had he maybe just considered that the skills from the different series aren’t really all that transferable.
GC: As we pointed out, director Hidetaka Miyazaki is the person ‘on top’ at FromSoftware.
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The devil made me do it
I don’t remember the source, I think it was a horror film or maybe X-Files, possibly Buffy, but the saying, ‘The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist’ is just as apt for whats-his-name from Xbox trying to convince everyone that he is a gamer himself.
Cojones I say, link me to a YouTube video of him beating Papa G or just playing any video game with some semblance of skill and I’ll eat my daps, with a dash of balsamic to mask the cheesy taste – they are not new.
The arrogance of how those Microsoft execs were talking about Nintendo is staggering, it’s like me going on TV and saying I could knock out Mike Tyson in his pre-ear biting prime, or at all.
Nintendo are at the core of the industry and arguably responsible for its resurrection. Microsoft calling them ‘the prime asset’ is so disrespectful considering what a shonky corporation Microsoft is.
We are all gamers here so I have to ask, is Microsoft the company you want buying out the industry?
GC: 19th century French poet Charles Baudelaire is usually credited as the source, although he was just paraphrasing existing expressions. It was most famously used in modern times by the film The Usual Suspects.
Instead of threatening to leave the industry, why don’t Xbox concentrate on making great games to encourage the growth of Game Pass? Make indie style cheaper-to-produce fun games, instead of talking about more new consoles when this generation has floundered in relation to first party software.
Make Minecraft 2 Game Pass only. That’ll shift some units I would imagine, although where they can take Minecraft from where it is to a full blown sequel is way beyond me.
RE: The Lies Of P, I played the demo and what Bloodborne did in 2015 with the linear nature of its gameplay, carriages, dead horses, piles of bodies and bonfires creating chokepoints did not feel unnatural or contrived. But it does not work in 2023 when it’s a few suitcases funnelling the player to the next objective.
I knew it was going to get hammered by GC’s review. The Soulslike is a relatively new genre but the best will take what FromSoftware started as inspiration to do their own thing, not be looking to copy an eight year old game and fail miserably in the attempt.
I’m really hoping Lords Of The Fallen doesn’t fall into the same trap.
GC: So do we but the original Lords Of The Fallen that not only copied the gameplay but the visuals and atmosphere as well, which seems such a waste.
RE: Big boy bent’s query on Xbox Live Gold cards from CDKeys. I just bought a 12 month one from CDKeys two nights ago for £27.99 and it worked absolutely fine.
Here’s a tip, they send you four three month codes and each time you redeem a code on your Xbox you’ll get offered an extra month free if you set recurring billing to on. If you do that, you’ll get four months, then go into your subscriptions on your Xbox and turn recurring billing off. When you put the next three month code in, you’ll get the same offer… rinse and repeat and get 15 months for the price of 12.
I also see he mentioned having cheaper Game Pass, if he’s meaning that he’s subbed to Game Pass Core then the Live code converts to Game Pass Core 1:1.
What you’ll need to do is then sub to Ultimate for one month and it’ll automatically convert to Ultimate. If you can claim a free month of Ultimate from Xbox Rewards then do that and redeem it to get the conversion, that’s what I did.
My 12 (15) months Live sub converted to 10 and a half months Ultimate with my free month from Rewards. Less than £2.80 a month is pretty good value I’d say.
I know this seems long winded but actually doing it isn’t anything complicated.
65 million years and counting
The new Zelda and Ganondorf amiibo from Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom are in stock now on the UK Nintendo Store. The Ganondorf one is £17.99, so I presume that will be bigger than the standard size £12.99 amiibo which the Zelda one is.
PS: I am thinking about buying Jurassic Park Collection on PlayStation 5 from Limited Run Games, what is GameCentral’s opinion of the NES, Game Boy, SNES, and Mega Drive versions of Jurassic Park? I was going to get the collection with steel book and replica VHS case!
GC: There’s never been a genuinely great Jurassic Park action game, unless you count the Lego game. Beyond that, it’s Sega’s lightgun games or the Jurassic World Evolution management sims.
So the dust has settled and Cyberpunk 2077 is reborn. From the ashes rises 2.0. But I’m still looking at what was delivered, in 2020. That is still an unfinished game, built on false lies and promises. You can update the AI, you can update the police system, and you can update the gunplay/combat but it still leaves us with disappointing quests, a barren and lifeless Night City, and I’m going to poke the bear by saying this but I truly believe the romances are entirely dreadful.
You take one slight look at Baldur’s Gate 3 and tell me that a three year old game can even match what Larian has given us, with compelling characters. Mass Effect puts it to shame. Was it a priority to select police fixes and gunplay over story quests and granting us excellent side quests? Making needed changes to the romance system and giving life to Night City?
Will these updated systems truly gift us the game that was promised and make it even a percentage of what The Witcher 3 was? Not even close. For myself, it will forever be a disappointment. No matter how many updates are issued, polish is administered, and DLC they release. I only see an unfinished title, that will never cross that finish line.
Microsoft putting their foot in it like this, I imagine Sony and Nintendo are thinking that their policy of saying as little as possible at all times is definitely the right one.
Just want to add my praise of Sea Of Stars. As a big fan of the genre this is one of my favourite Japanese style role-playing games in a very long time. Kudos to the team.
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Sunny, who asks which older games are you now unable to play because they feel too outdated?
The exact age of the game doesn’t matter but what was it exactly that put you off? Was it the graphics, the gameplay, the controls, or something else? Do you find that you cannot play games after a certain point in time or is it all on a case-by-case basis?
Which games do you feel have aged the best and are there any common issues you’ve noticed, in the ones that have not?
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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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