The Thursday Inbox shares hardware horror stories from across the generations, as one reader hopes for the return of Scalebound.
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Wait and see
I don’t want to spoil anyone’s fun but I am definitely in the camp that finds it bizarre that anyone would make a decision on what next gen console to buy at this point in the year. As far as I’m concerned it’s a decision based purely on brand loyalty with almost nothing to go on but tech specs which, history teaches us, are completely unreliable for this kind of decision making.
But I would go further and say I don’t understand why anyone would want to buy a PlayStation 5 or Xbox One X (or S, if that really is a thing) this year or anytime in at least the first 12 months. I know the hype can be exciting but does no-one remember pretty much all console launches before this? They’re always nothing but faulty hardware and terrible games. Why would you want to put yourself through that again?
The only exception recently was the Switch and that was only because Zelda: Breath Of The Wild was really a Wii U game. I would never have got one in the first year until I saw the reviews but when I did I took note and was very satisfied with the results. Surely that’s the way to handle every console launch? At the very least wait until nearer launch. I mean, what are people excited about at the moment, the logos?
Until we get a proper look at the games line-up there’s no decision to make, as far as I’m concerned.
Over the past few years I have bought a PlayStation VR, an Oculus Rift, Oculus Go, and Oculus Quest and they have been worth every penny during this lockdown.
The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners, Half-Life: Alyx, and What Lies Beneath have all been amazing and just this morning I was kayaking in Antarctica searching for penguins in National Geographic on Oculus Quest.
If you haven’t experienced VR before then this is as good a time as any to jump in.
The social side of it is especially useful and I have been watching movies with friends in virtual cinemas and going on adventures in Orbus VR and Rec Room, as well as keeping fit with the daily Box VR classes.
I’m very happy living in a virtual world until the real world is fixed.
Less to go wrong
Considering the very high quality Nintendo is normally associated with for their past consoles, the NES, SNES, and GameCube, etc. I mean, how many people still have theirs lying about and still ready to fire up and work just like the day they were bought.
There just seems to be a lot of faulty issues being mentioned regarding there most recent console, the Switch? I’ve always regarded Nintendo as meaning one word: quality. However, if I was ever in the market to purchase one of these new Switch consoles I would now be in two minds, what with all the problems I’m hearing from other readers on these pages? Sort it out Ninty!
GC: The NES controller had four buttons and a D-pad. A single Joy-Con has 10 buttons, an analogue controller, an accelerometer, a gyroscope, the ability to disconnect from the console, and, if it’s the right one, an infrared sensor. The more complex the hardware the more things there are to go wrong. That’s an immutable law for Nintendo and every manufacturer.
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Could be worse
RE: SteJFin and the non-working Switch. Ours stopped working too, my wife fired up our Switch Lite for a game of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and the battery just drains rapidly.
We’ve tried every step we have seen online and the situation doesn’t improve. It appears to charge to 100% but then the rate drops rapidly (down to around 80% in three minutes).
It could be worse; when my first gaming PC died back in the 90s I had chickenpox so couldn’t go out and get new parts. I had my Saturn, SNES, and Mega Drive but of course no Internet access through them or my mobile phone. So I ended up going online via our On Digital box, paying the per minute usage fee to check my email and visit some of my favourite haunts online.
Our Switch Lite is only five months old so we shouldn’t have an issue getting it repaired.
I hope reader Popois316 manages to sort their technical problem with BioShock 2. I have had a lot of bad luck with BioShock because of technical issues. I will keep it short but I bought BioShock 1 new twice on Xbox 360, as it was causing stuttering after 10 hours of play. I tried everything technical support suggested and other websites online, so couldn’t complete the game then (2008).
All my other games worked perfectly on my Xbox 360, just Bioshock 1 had the problem. I then got the remastered BioShock 1 a few years ago to complete it finally for my gaming PC and I had visual and sound issues. I tried everything PC technical support suggested then, but eventually they realised the problem wasn’t going to go away so I got no further forward.
I haven’t played BioShock 2 yet because I haven’t completed BioShock 1 and I wanted to play Minerva’s Den DLC as it was made by a person who made Gone Home, which I really liked. In the past year I bought Bioshock: The Collection on sale from the PlayStation 4 store, so at some point I am going to try again.
I’ve played BioShock Infinite and that worked OK on my PC and I always play the games in order of when they came out if I can, but in this instance that was not possible.
PS: The Digitiser Live Show 2019 is on YouTube now, it is quite long.
I recently completed Vanquish for the Xbox 360 and despite the first act being ‘meh’ I went on to absolutely adore the game right up until its completion (hell, even the credit sequence was amusing).
Although it was great, I wanted more, so to satiate my desire for a futuristic, 2010-ish era Xbox 360 third person cover-based shooter that involves taking on robotic enemies complete with cheesy dialogue, likeable yet goofy characters, and that’s made by Japanese developers for an American audience, I decided to pick up Binary Domain (97p it cost, nuts!)
I almost love this more than Vanquish – in my opinion it has a better setting, characters and story but isn’t as good as Vanquish when it comes to boss fights and the actual shooting mechanics.
What do people here think (including GameCentral)? Did anyone actually play the game? Because from what I’ve heard, Binary Domain did not sell well at all – like Vanquish – which utterly sucks as both deserve sequels. Ah well, at least I can treasure what we got.
GC: They’re both great games and both grossly underappreciated. Binary Domain is by the same team as Yakuza, if that’s of interest – but there’s not much shooting in those games.
Watching some old gaming videos I had stored on a hard drive and I came across some footage of Scalebound. What a shame that it was cancelled because it looked like it had real potential, I mean who doesn’t want their own rideable dragon!?
I think Microsoft own the rights to it still but with Platinum self-publishing now it would be awesome if they could reacquire it! It seemed quite a passion project for Hideki Kamiya at the time, such a shame it was allowed to die.
GC: That does seem an obvious idea, and yet so far Platinum has said it’s not going to happen. Hopefully they’re just being coy.
Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here
Cometh the hour, cometh the game
I’ve got to say Animal Crossing’s overwhelming success has come as a bit of a surprise for me. I never imagined it had that kind of an audience. As a massive Nintendo fan, I am a bit embarrassed to say I’ve haven’t tried any of the previous titles at all. I’ve never been wholly convinced I’d take to its relaxed freeform gameplay, I’m not a fan of Minecraft for example.
It’s always great to try something new though so maybe now’s the time to give it a go. I wondered if you could help with two questions before I part with my £45? How does it stack up against Stardew Valley? Stardew Valley has been on my list to play for years but I’m not sure I’d want to get it if I do get Animal Crossing as they’re a little too similar.
I thought the dungeon crawling/combat aspect of Stardew Valley would help give the game an added dimension, plus it’s way cheaper. The other question is how important it is to get Animal Crossing right now? I was thinking of leaving it until the lockdown is over and I return to work as I imagine it’s a game to play in shorter bursts rather than the really long play sessions I can afford now.
But it feels like I’m already missing loads of stuff with all these timed events, etc. plus the general buzz. Not totally understanding how the game works, do you think I’d be missing out on a lot by waiting?
GC: Stardew Valley is a little more of a traditional video game, but any similarities between the two are fairly superficial. Animal Crossing owns its unexpected success to the fact that it’s the perfect game to play during lockdown; given its gentle nature, outdoors theme, and lack of any stress involved. Leaving it until afterwards seems a touch perverse, if you are going to get it at all.
Will you be reviewing Predator: Hunting Grounds this week? Very curious to see how that turns out.
GC: No, since it’s a multiplayer-only game we’ll have to wait until the public servers go live.
I finally got myself to tarantula island, only been playing 200+ hours. Gulp. Now to wait for Flick to turn up! Anyway looking forward to the updates… err… today.
big boy bent (Jab from Applegrove)
This week’s Hot Topic
The question for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Iceman, who asks what game have you played the most so far this year?
Regardless of when it was first released, what game have you racked up the most hours on so far and why? Is it something to do with the coronavirus lockdown or would you have played it that much anyway?
Is it just because it’s a long game or perhaps because it’s an online title that encourages you to play regularly? Or maybe you just haven’t played that many games this year and it wins by default? How does the game fit with your usual tastes and has it influenced you to play any other related titles?
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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.
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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