Games Inbox: Is the Viking setting of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla a good idea?

The Thursday Inbox is worried about the amount of storage space on the next gen consoles, as one reader recommends Journey To The Savage Planet.

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Them again
So the new Assassin’s Creed really is about Vikings, eh? Funny how video game rumours almost always turn out to be true, even if the details are sometimes off. I have to say I’m not that excited. Vikings are cool but I just don’t see how they thought now was the best time for them.

Ignoring the fact that Ancient Rome, which they’ve got to do at some point, is the obvious next step from the last two games, we’ve got God Of War 2 bound to be announced any day now by Sony. Vikings have always been a fairly common theme in games and with the Marvel movies at the moment too it’s all becoming a bit too familiar.

Then you’ve got the fact that three of the last four games were set in Europe (and Origins’ Egypt was in the Mediterranean). Despite 11 mainline games, Origins is the only game with a setting that’s not either Europe or North America, which seems a huge waste of the series’ potential.

Why not India, Japan, Central or Southern Africa, China, Russia, or South America? It’s not like there’s a shortage of potential settings and yet the one we’re getting is not only in Europe but is a setting we’ve seen too much in other games already. I hope Ubisoft know what they’re doing here as it seems a bad call from first impressions.

Grey forecast
So, Vikings then!? That to me says loads of boring sailing, to loads of scraggy little islands with nothing of import on them, literally 15 minutes against crashing waves to get anywhere… sigh and on top of that Viking villages aren’t going to be sprawling renaissance metropoles, more like the odd wooden shack.

I miss the days when you were free-running over baked tiles in the Mediterranean sunshine! Do I sound like a grump? It’s just because I’m actually quite a fan of the Assassin’s Creed.
big boy bent

Next gen update
Are Activision and Infinity Ward taking the mickey on updates. Just done a 10GB update on Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare, then you have to load the game and do a data pack update that’s 18GB. If they’re doing this on the PlayStation 4 god knows what it’s going to be like on PlayStation 5 and Xbox with a poxy 825GB SSD and 1TB SSD.

Got a feeling we might have to buy a 4TB SSD just for Call Of Duty and that makes my wallet cry. I’m beginning to think next gen we might need a second or third job to pay for gaming. I know why people say PC is better. Yes, you have to upgrade every so often but on console my bank balance will be shrinking faster than I’m earning.
PS: After spending an hour and a half downloading, copying, and installing it’s broken even more then it was before. Why do companies try and fix something that doesn’t really need fixing? Why do companies try and improve a game that is fine just the way it is?

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Good, not great
Disappointed to hear about the Streets Of Rage 4 soundtrack in your review (was one of my main reasons for being interested). I already wasn’t a fan of the new art style so I will probably just give it a miss now.

I may be able to shed some light on why it’s not as good or distinctive as the old ones though – the soundtrack credits with full track breakdown has gone up.

And it seems that Koshiro and Kawashima only did five tracks each, and the other touted composers did even less (Shimomura only did one track). It looks like most tracks were done by Olivier Deriviere, who appears to be the lead composer and probably set the tone for the whole soundtrack.

It’s a shame this soundtrack wasn’t led by Koshiro, judging by his Twitter he’s still crazy about old school synth, so it would probably have been quite different.
Lord Darkstorm

GC: We’d emphasise that it’s still a good soundtrack, it’s just not the selling point we’d hoped it would be before release.

Savage Praise
Recently finished playing through Journey To The Savage Planet. It’s an indie Metroid Prime with Portal-like, highly sarcastic humour and a No Man’s Sky sort of aesthetic. It’s really good and not long if you’re looking for something for a quick blast. Took me 12 hours and I took the scenic route, and then spent about three hours mopping up collectibles and some lore tablets.

High quality 2D Metroidvania games are happily tenapenny now but I can’t think of another Metroid Prime clone. If anyone has suggestions of others I’d happily take them. Google bought the developer, Typhoon Studios, for Savage Planet in December last year. I like to think they’ve been given the money to make a higher budget Savage Planet.

Excellent value
Anyone not played Rainbow Six Siege I’d recommend picking it up cheap. I’ve just bought loads of copies for friends and family at CDKeys (£11.98) as it’s such a good game.

I’ve dipped in and out over the years but only for a few goes here and there. I’m amazed how much it evolves each time I give it a whirl, amazing support.

Right now the game is absolutely fantastic; fast, deep rounds, and brilliant by-the-second tactics. It really is excellent.

The other Battlefront 3
Personally I hope there is a Star Wars: Battlefront 3. The second one is a really solid game with a ton of content now, that is absolutely worth picking up for the pittance they’re selling it for nowadays. The only problem, and admittedly it is a big issue for a shooter, is that the gunplay never felt that great. Controlling the starfighters felt exactly like you expected from watching the movies but the guns all seemed a bit lightweight and weedy by comparison.

If they can sort that out and start to expand into more diverse plant settings then I think it has a lot to offer. Especially if they can get it so you can fly from the ground to outer space on the same map. You could do it in a demo for the canned Battlefront 3 from last gen so it’s crazy you can’t do it now.

Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here

Extreme behaviour
Reading the ratings release about Cyberpunk 2077 has re-enforced a viewpoint I’ve been feeling for a while, the normalisation of extreme behaviours in gaming. This isn’t intended in a puritanical, holier than thou attitude but more the disparity between studios creating open world games that approximate or recreate the environmental physics around us to the finest detail, then seemingly abandon societal norms, interactions, and behaviours to tell their narrative.

The Assassin’s Creed games typify this entirely with gorgeously rendered backdrops and cities such as London and Paris, then having you go around and murder people at will with the occasional scolding if you happen to take out any bystanders with no real repercussions. Perhaps there is a conversation or debate around historically accurate portrayals of violence or representation such as war games, it just seems in a rush to create recognisable worlds and physics. There is a disconnect when you are expected to perform actions or behave in a way you might not recognise or find tolerable.

I’ll concede this may be a longing for a return to the normal, non-isolating world. One of the recent titles I’ve been spending time with is Eastshade, an open world game without the violence and conflict where you talk and interact in a mostly civilized way. Well as closed to civilised as talking animals go. Tonally, it has felt more consistent with how people interact and transact with each other, which in turn makes it a pleasant world to escape into.
comfortablyadv (Facebook/Instagram/Twitter)

Inbox also-rans
Amnesia: The Dark Descent and Crashlands are free on PC on Epic Games Store from today.
Andrew J.

Does Streets Of Rage 4 have cross-platform play online?
LoRd SiNn

GC: No, not at launch anyway.

This week’s Hot Topic
Inspired by the release of Predator: Hunting Grounds, the question for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Grackle, who asks what movie would you like to see turned into a video game?

After almost giving up on the concept, publishers have recently started making movie tie-ins again and, unlike previous generations, a lot of them have turned out pretty well. But what other film or film series (including those that have had games in the past) do you think would make a good game?

You can also include TV shows and other licensed properties, like comic books, but how do you think they would work in practice and what elements would be easy to adapt as a game and what would be more difficult?

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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