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Games Inbox: Anthem flop worries, Smash Bros. Ultimate apathy, and real-life Portal

Anthem – the release date is… complicated
The evening Inbox discusses the wow moment for PSVR, as one reader comes up with a much better idea for New Super Mario Bros.
To join in with the discussions yourself email [email protected]
 



Coming soonish
Anthem is out in not much more than a month now and I can’t believe we haven’t heard more about it yet. I was looking at some new preview footage (which was typically low profile) and I think it looks great. I’ve also read a lot of previews and they all seem positive too, so I cannot understand why EA are not promoting it more.
Then I noticed people complaining about it’s spread out Battlefield V style release date and I looked into that and… what is all this nonsense? The game’s not out until February 22, except a lot of people will have access to it on the 15, and the week before, and there’s at least two bets before that. Just stop! Pick a date and stick to it, all this nonsense didn’t work for Battlefield V, it just annoyed and confused everyone, and I would’ve thought EA would’ve realised that by now.
I guess that means it will be in the news a lot over the next few weeks but it’s not exactly good publicity having weekly release date updates. I was looking forward to Anthem primarily as a Destiny replacement but also because I love BioWare and I don’t want them to go under if this is a flop. I’m reasonably convinced it will be a good game but I’m not at all sure it’ll be a hit.
Ranx



 



The wow moment
I realise that I am very much a late adopter of the tech, but I can’t believe how mind-blowing PlayStation VR is! We had some friends over last night and played through PlayStation VR Worlds, the Kitchen demo, some Astro Not, and Driveclub and I was surprised at how good it is in a social situation – you’d expect the opposite given that you are putting on a headset and literally blocking out the entire room, but it works and watching other people’s reactions to games is almost as fun as playing them yourself.
With this in mind, and all the talk of next gen announcements, I hope that Sony focus on improving VR as I see it as the logical next step for console gaming. You aren’t really going to see huge graphical improvements now playing on a TV, perhaps things will get a little bit rounder with a little bit more definition and colour, but you aren’t going to get those wow moments like we did when we went from 2D to 3D gaming anymore.
VR is that wow moment in this generation for me though and there is plenty of room for improvement in the tech – the first time I put on a PlayStation VR headset I played Astro Bot and I was absolutely stunned, it was like that day in my local video game shop when I played Super Mario 64 for the first time all over again.
Rickandrolla (PSN ID)



 



Smashing idea
I have to agree with the letter about New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe, I have no doubt it will be good but it just seems a bit dull. If it came with Super Mario World bundled in, although not innovative it would be worth getting.
I just wish they had tried something different, maybe a new art style or even going back to an old school art style, the 2D bits in Super Mario Odyssey were great. Maybe transforming New Super Mario Bros. into a bit of a platforming greatest hits type game like Smash Bros., maybe running through an old school SNES section, then platforming through a Star Fox section, just a quick idea off the top of my head.
I haven’t played the game on Wii U so can’t comment too much, I imagine it will be fun and very well made, it just seems a bit lazy.
Will N
GC: Uninspired might be a better word than lazy but your idea does sound more fun.



 
E-mail your comments to: [email protected]
 



Unpredictable results
As far as I am aware my field of work has never featured in gaming, so it has never had the opportunity to directly influence my gaming choices. There is a small cross over of skills in a few puzzles games where you design something and then see if it works. In these games, when it fails you get to refine the design and try again. I do like games like this but do not play them regularly.
The path taken in my actual job is in a slightly different order though, as failure could have catastrophic consequences. Therefore we spend much more time researching before actually committing to a new design. This means we have much more information available at the start and have confidence that the design will work before it is built. Once built we will then review the design to see if a better result can be achieved. This would not really work in a game but the likes of World Of Goo and the Bridge Builder games sort of use this basic principle as a challenge mechanic.
This letter has got me thinking about research mechanics in games. Most in-game research has you pay some resources and employ a team of scientists to find the solution after a few days. A more interesting game mechanic would be if you set the funding level but the results vary based on the time you allow for the research and you need to manage this risk.
An example could be in something like XCOM where you have time and money constraints as part of the overall scenario. And in this example one scientist day might have a 50% chance of success, two scientist days give 75%, three gives 88% and so on. This would then be the chance of the research failing entirely but there would also be secondary effects. For instance, the research might yield a prototype gun that is more powerful than your existing one but the reliability might be compromised due to incomplete research and testing.
PazJohnMitch
GC: So what exactly is your field of work? A research scientist or some kind of engineer we’re guessing? Can you comment on how authentic Portal is?



 



More than zero
It looks like I’m the only one who didn’t enjoy Switch Smash Bros. Ultimate. I was never a fan of it on the GameCube but thought I’d give the latest outing a try with the much praised single-player mode but despite enjoying some brilliant remixed classic music I still find it just as bigger button masher as ever, coupled with the usual difficulty of seeing what is actually going on.
Never mind CeX game me £40 cash for it so all is not lost!
adams6legend
GC: Surely Smash Bros. is more resistant to button-mashing than any other fighter, given the importance of movement and platforming?



 



New classic
I’m really pleased to discover that Catherine has now released on PC, in the form of Catherine Classic. This was one of my most fondly remembered games of the PlayStation 3 generation alongside Dark Souls, and at £14.99 I’m looking forward to diving back into a version of the game that the community can support and improve with mods and fixes. Hopefully, the ‘unbeatable’ final challenge mode stage has been tweaked too.
What I do find odd about this sudden release is that it’s fairly close to the launch date of the new extra content release on PlayStation 4/Vita in Japan next month. That the PC version is referred to as classic makes me think the new content will see a PC release someday. Though, given Atlus’ general aversion to the platform, we’ll probably be waiting a while (I have to wonder how much influence Sega, as the publisher, exerted to make this release possible).
Regardless, if giving Sega some money can help get more of Atlus’ games on PC then I’m all for releases like this.
Jonobabes13 (Steam ID)/super_slackster (NN ID)
PS: Currently playing: Magic: The Gathering Arena (PC), Danganronpa v3: Killing Harmony (PC), Pokémon GO (Android), Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (Switch)



 



Free for all
Blast Zone Tournament, which is similar to Bomberman, is free on Steam until January 16th. Also, A Story About My Uncle is free on Humble Bundle for PC for the next 48 hours at time of writing (Thursday evening), they give you a Steam code to download it. Here is the link .
And don’t forget What Remains Of Edith Finch is free on PC now on the Epic Games Store.
Andrew J.



 
Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here
 



Automata for the people
I was interested to read aelfin’s letter regarding my NieR:Automata worries. Three playthroughs, wow. I’ve just finished my second solid day of playing, only broken for dog duties, binmen, postie, sarnie-making, and topping up the massive tea mug.
I’ve taken on quests wherever I find them, investigated random things as is my way, explored, and so on. I talked to everyone and everything I found that didn’t try to kill me. I did Jackass’s trials, I found the robot sister in the desert, I even collected all the stamps at the amusement park. Now, I understand that the story is the thing, and I am interested to see where it’s going. Thinking it might pay off I even completed Jean-Paul’s (Sartre’s) Melancholy Quest but found it just a cod philosophy side quest.
Maybe it is in the translation, but hearing about their operator’s love life, and stupid things they are doing like the Jupiter game, well, it seems forced as if trying to bulk up the game with funky stuff, and it’s been done so much better, even as far back as BioShock’s audio recordings. Add to that the terrible map design with massive numbers of (corrugated metal?) walls blocking so many ways for no real reason, buildings with openings that have invisible walls, and blockages that make you take the long way around for no reason except I’m guessing to make the journey seem longer. Thank gawd when fast travel was finally opened up, as aelfin said. But why does it have to be specific point to point, as this was also a frustration in The Witcher 3. Why can’t you just travel to a point from anywhere as Bethesda do in Skyrim and Fallout?
A lot of the design and ideas just seem old. The clunky menus: why are the map symbols another option on the menu from the map? Also having to press a button to pick up some things but others are automatically picked up. The hand-holding for some things yet no information about others or even that they exist. It wasn’t till I found the option to view it that I found chips were being installed without my knowledge which is why my weapons kept automatically changing and not as I thought me keep hitting a button accidently, grrr.
For multi-playthroughs, as aelfin is doing, having stumbled through a game at first, I can understand how you might play and configure your character using prior knowledge, and I think perhaps this might taint your view of the game, making it feel more polished than it really is. When I finished Mass Effect: Andromeda I was so adept at working around the terrible stuff in the game that I felt I should replay it knowing what I now know (but didn’t due to my backlog).
Well, to bring it to a close, I’ve set the difficulty to easy and it’s staying there, I just want the story now. I did the same thing in The Witcher 3 to avoid having to beat things with potion-making and oiling up my sword, etc. Some may scoff but it works, I have no shame, and I appreciate the games that now call the lower setting story mode, which I think is more apt than easy.
Today when I got chucked off the giant telly, I actually felt happy that there was a reason to stop playing because it had become a bit of a chore and I was losing my desire to keep playing. This happens with many games, I have quite a few in the still playing category, like Fallout 4, that I can pick up for a day then ignore for a month. Bottom line is I really do want to like NieR:Automata, I will do another full day on Friday, but I still can’t shake this feeling that it’s an outdated game that’s been polished to look better than it is. Are the masses claims correct, or is it a case of people jumping on the bandwagon of praise while some of us remember the emperor’s new clothes?
Spooky Dreamer (SpookyDreamBoo – gamertag)
PS: I wanted to end of a positive note, so yay all those Inboxers who are trying new things. It makes my heart sing to hear someone talk about trying some indie game or something new outside their usual gaming experience. Good on you one and all that puts down FIFA and starts playing Night In The Woods.
GC: As far as we’re concerned it’s one of the best games of the generation and we’re delighted it sold so unexpectedly well. It just sounds like it’s a style of game you don’t like.



 



Inbox also-rans
Just watched The Ballad of Buster Scruggs on Netflix and all the way through it couldn’t help thinking how similar the tales were to a certain recent cowboy-oriented game. Highly recommend viewing for anyone who’s recently finished Red Dead 2.
TheTruthSoul (PSN ID)
Now I might not have been paying a great deal of attention but doesn’t the new Alien game sound like the Alien game on the Spectrum. A bit?
Paulscott1972 (PSN ID)
GC: A bit, but it is a fairly obvious idea.



 



This week’s Hot Topic
As the first Hot Topic of the year the subject for this weekend’s Inbox is obvious: what new games are you most looking forward to in 2019?
You can find a list of all the most prominent titles here , but feel free to suggest anything else that is confirmed for this year – but please don’t use games that are either unannounced or have only vague release dates (so no Half-Life 3 or Bayonetta 3).
Why are you looking forward to the games so much and how well do you expect them to do in terms of sales and reviews? What do you think of this year’s line-up in general, in comparison to 2018 and other recent years?
E-mail your comments to: [email protected]



 
The small print
New Inbox updates appear twice daily, every weekday morning and afternoon. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length.
You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word 4Player viewer features at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.
If you need quick access to the GameCentral channel page please use www.metro.co.uk/games and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter .

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