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Games Inbox: Baldur’s Gate 3 as the best game of 2023, The Crew Motorfest love, and Meta Quest 3 vs. PSVR2

Games Inbox: Baldur’s Gate 3 as the best game of 2023, The Crew Motorfest love, and Meta Quest 3 vs. PSVR2
Baldur’s Gate 3 – does it live up to the hype? (Picture: Larian Studios)

The Thursday letters page contemplates the idea of Disney buying EA , as one reader offers some very detailed advice on racing wheels.

To join in with the discussions yourself email [email protected]

Late night After Gale seduced my female avatar into a passionate night amongst the stars, in a dazzlingly array of charm (and magic mushroom infused hallucinations) last night, I’ve decided that Baldur’s Gate 3 really is a truly great game. Not fabulous because there’s nudity, or that I’d led Astarion and Lae’zel on into a fling earlier in Act 1, but because it was all treated in a mature yet wonderfully surreal video game way.

Much like the rest of the game, it plays like an original game. It’s saturated with soaking wet video game vibes. And not merely aping the movies. All the more fantastic because I’d just snuck out the Tiefling prisoners from Moonrise Towers in a feat of derring do.

I’d saved Thaniel whilst completing the Shar trials, which was interspersed with striking a bargain with Balthazar, so one was in need of a rest at camp. What better way than to have a gloriously entertaining video game romance blossom.

Although Halsin’s looking quite the catch now that he can be recruited. Wonk

Join The Crew I feel like I need to defend The Crew Motorfest. I picked up a copy last week and I’ve genuinely been having an absolute blast playing it. Now, I realise that it’s not perfect, but as a huge fan of racing games there hasn’t really been that much to get excited about this year.

F1 23, though, was actually really good, with the return of Braking {oint and a greatly expanded F1 world, but racing games themselves seem to be getting fewer and further between! In the last gen I had both a PlayStation 4 and Xbox One and mainly tended to play Forza Motorsport and Horizon games on the Xbox. But this time around I picked the PlayStation 5, intending to pick up an Xbox Series X/S at some point down the line. So in that respect Motorfest fills a void quite nicely for me and scratches that Forza Horizon itch.

Yeah, the handling models aren’t amazing, the AI can be up and down, and having to always be online seems completely pointless, but is it at least fun to play? I’d have to definitely say, yes. There is definitely a good game in there somewhere. Rickandrolla (PSN ID)

Disney product I’m finding it hard to care one way or the other about Disney buying EA, they’re both soulless megacorps who’s products I have almost zero interest in. One of the few exceptions is Dead Space from EA which I absolutely cannot imagine Disney publishing.

Mind you, I also can’t imagine EA making Disney-themed games either. Star Wars and Marvel, sure, but not cute Mickey Mouse stuff. Apart from maybe The Sims (I’m not really clear who that’s aimed at) I can’t really think of any family-orientated stuff they’ve done.

I still blame Microsoft for all this. They started this stampede to buy up every company and we’re going to end up in a position where everyone is owned by one of three or four different companies. Take-Two and Rockstar will be next, mark my words. Keith Barcode

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

No change Well hello strangers. It only seems five minutes ago when I was pre-ordering the very first original Oculus Quest and talking about it here on GameCentral. Gosh how time flies by, hey? So, we are now on the third iteration/generation of headset and I see everything is completely improved, right down to the hardware design and internal specifications etc.

However, just one thing though and I think it’s one of the main critical issues of anything that’s either mobile or electronic… the battery life! If I remember correctly the battery life on the latest piece of kit is no shorter than the previous headsets before it. But it’s also not any longer than them either?

You see with the brand new Qualcomm processor running the whole unit, I would of thought, especially in this day and age, the battery life would of been improved if anything, due to the chipset being less and less power hungry, even if it was let’s say just 20% more power efficient? JAH

GC: It’s about two hours, so roughly the same as before.

Never go back Interesting letter from Shahzaib Sadiq in the Wednesday Inbox. It’s relevant to me because I’ve been right into The Witcher 3 on PlayStation 5.

I was talking to someone about the end of the quest, at the theatre where Dijkstara’s brain falls out of his bum. Apparently, there is a mod where Doppler mutagen is looted from his corpse to give some semblance of an explanation for it.

The point is, I was called a bad human being if I’d played The Witcher 2 and left my man Roche to die at the theatre. So I gave it a shot and I’m struggling.

I turned the difficulty down to easy just to get the story but I’m only able to play in short bursts. I think the jump from Xbox 360 to PlayStation 5 is too jarring for any immersion in the game on my part. I’ll see it through because I paid for it, and I do like the world building and lore. But I can’t say I’m enjoying the gameplay itself.

I have as much respect for what came before as anyone that reads GC, but I’ve never liked going back to games I played years ago. I always end up disappointed and wiping out good memories.

I take my metaphorical hat off to anyone that can enjoy both modern games and those from the legacy systems as well.

I think that fits the definition of a real gamer better than someone beating Melania in their Y-fronts, dual-wielding Rivers of Blood. Mitchell

GC: Good luck to anyone that hasn’t played The Witcher, when it comes to understanding those first few paragraphs.

Outside help It’s often said in these pages, and others, that’s it’s really useful to read a wiki or other guide online when starting a game with many layers of complexity, at least when starting out, to prevent frustration at your lack of progress or understanding of the game.

This got me thinking; do you think developers have that in mind when designing their games? Rewinding to the 80s and 90s the best we got was some hints and tips in one of the monthly mags, or a map of sorts if you were lucky, unless you wanted to shell out more money on a dedicated guidebook or call a tips hotline.

Yeah, there was playground chat on popular titles on how to complete a game in an hour, but that often came from the Jay-like character from the Inbetweeners and not to be relied on. Some of the games made in the last 10/15 years are so complex that a wiki is required reading before starting a game, to at least give you a heads up on the main mechanics and layers of systems you need to know to have a decent chance of progressing. Some of the titles do a decent job of explicitly showing you these, some are more weaved into the gameplay and others tell you very little.

Of course, these days there are YouTube videos, GameFAQs, and dedicated fan sites to help the beginner find their way. So without the internet, would games be as complex as they are, i.e. would some of these games have existed 30 or 40 years ago where there was little in the way of assistance (notwithstanding the technical shortfalls of making such a game then)?

I’m just trying to get into the head of a modern day developer and wondering whether they know that they can make a mechanic somewhat obtuse as they know someone, somewhere will get it and will eventually be published on the internet for others to dig into and widen the understanding of. TheTruthSoul (PSN ID)

GC: Paid-for game guides and lengthy tips sections in magazines have been a thing since the 8-bit era.

Power vs. content Thank you for the review of the Meta Quest 3. I’m curious which set you would pick out of the two: the Quest 3 or the PlayStation VR2?

The former has a lot of games but lacks the tech that the latter has. I had preordered the PlayStation VR 2 but cancelled it as there were very few games I was interested in. Rave

GC: It sounds like you’ve answered your own question.

More: Trending Games Inbox: Is the PS5 Slim console an improvement? Huge Netflix show 'to end' after Hollywood actor quits Meta Quest 3 review - the best value VR headset there’s ever been

Expert opinion The answer to Rich_c’s question is, as ever with these things, complex and, in the sim racing community, divisive.

There are really two main companies that will provide a decent starter force feedback (FFB) wheel (and you really want FFB). Bear in mind it’s not just about the wheel, but also the pedals.

For info, I have a Logitech G920 with a spring modification on the pedals, racing on PC.

Logitech Probably the one everyone knows, they make solid starter wheels based on toothed gear technology on all their entry level wheels to provide the FFB (they now do a direct drive (DD) wheel – but at £1,000 I’m guessing that’s out of budget). This results in slightly notchy feel to the wheel when turning and is a little bit noisy (I wear headphones so it doesn’t bother me). However, the geared technology is rock solid and very rarely goes wrong. (I still have working Logitech wheels from about 2005 and 2010.) They have real leather wheels with an aluminium core, metal microswitch operated flappy paddles, and 900° rotation.

For PlayStation 5 you have two options:

G29 – This is their most base model, lacking Truforce, but it still offers decent FFB and is a very popular wheel with about 2.2nm of force (fine for most people). You can usually pick one up for £170 to £200.

G923 – This is the Truforce model – the latest gear driven model released in 2020. In order to use Truforce games have to be written to take advantage of it and to be honest not all racing games are. However, reading reviews where games do use it (and the latest F1 game will) it does create more immersion; same 2.2nm of force. You can usually get one for between £280 to £300.

Whether that immersion is worth the extra money is, I guess, up to the individual.

The pedal set up is, I believe, the same across the board: three pedal potentiometer set-up, including clutch. Be aware that there is rubber stopper on the brake pad that some people don’t like, but this can be removed or the springs replaced with a mod.

An additional separate gear shifter is available as an optional extra, useful if you are ever likely to use multi-car sims that have manual gearbox cars. If you’re sticking to F1 not so much, unless you drive classic F1 cars from before the 90s. Again, this can be modded as the gear change is a bit soft.

Thrustmaster They offer variety of entry level wheels, using hybrid or belt driven FFB systems it is generally considered they offer a smoother, more realistic FFB. But they are also often slightly cheaper build quality and from what I can see they don’t generally last as long as the Logitech kit. (This is purely info from sim racing communities I am in, I have no experience of this). One thing you are able to do with Thrustmaster kit though is upgrade pedals – useful as this is something that, once you get the sim racing bug, can make a big difference to racing.

T128 – The most entry level and a hybrid (mix of gears and belt). Offering decent force feedback in a very plasticky wheel. Build quality is what you would expect for the price. Pedals consist of a plastic two pedal set that are considered by one pro review to be ‘pretty rubbish ‘. Still, you can get a full FFB wheel for £130 from Argos on sale at the moment! Nothing even comes close at that price!

T248 – probably the Thrustmaster sweet spot , it’s about £220 but is a significant step up from the T128. Although it uses the same hybrid gear system (which is apparently quite noisy) it offers an array of buttons, a digital display and uses significantly better quality build materials than the T128 – although apparently still not as good build quality as the Logitech kit that’s similarly priced. The gear change is also compared unfavourably to the Logitech kit. The real winner here are the pedals; it comes with Thrustmaster’s own T3PM pedals: three magnetically actuated pedals (clutch included) which retail for about £120 if bought separately.

Apparently, the hybrid system is quite grindy and noisy but offers better FFB sensation than Logitech.

If it’s in budget, without a doubt the daddy of entry level wheels is considered to be the T300, but it is £330 – or £360 for the RS GT edition with better pedals. A fully belt driven wheel, offering smoother FFB, an interchangeable wheel, meaning you can buy and swap out different wheels for different games.

Thrustmaster also offer their own manual shifter, called the TH8A. I’ve used it, it is significantly better than the Logitech equivalent, but then it should be as it’s three times the price at £150.

Unless you go down the PC route no company’s kit is interchangeable with another manufacturers.

I’m sure someone else can give more insight as to the intricacies of the Thrustmaster kit, I’ve always used Logitech and got on great with it.

Do bear in mind, the pedals and wheel need to be attached to something that won’t move. A foldable rig or something of that ilk may be a good idea, for example the Playseat Challenge. At the very least a wheel and pedal mount are likely unless you can find a Heath Robinson solution or don’t mind your pedals shifting as you use them! (You will mind.)

Most of these wheels look like they are on sale right now – may be Amazon Prime day related. But they do generally seem to go on sale quite a lot.

There are higher end manufacturers: Fanatec, Simcube, Moza, and the like. But they are not entry level, no matter what some in the sim racing community may think, and don’t always play nice with consoles.

Check out independent reviews of the wheels and manufacturers I’ve mentioned, that may help in the decision making. There are a few sim racing sites that may help too, like Traxion , that offer reviews from a sim racing perspective and advice on set-up.

One other thing, some people initially struggle with the switch from controller to wheel, but once you’ve got the hang of it you will never go back!

Have fun gaming y’all! The Dude Abides

GC: That is a very detailed answer, thank you for going to so much effort.

Inbox also-rans Fallout and Skrim called, they have the ‘Y’ button for jumping on Xbox. Talk about confusion after playing any other game. True, they can be remapped, but that’s another issue. Bobwallett

I know there’s no point asking why, about the whole James Corden/Guitar Hero thing but… why? Did they end the meeting with a money fight and then unicorn on toast? Lonnie

This week’s Hot Topic The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Fennel, who asks whether you try to beat every game you play?

There’s been a lot of debate recently, over whether video games are getting too long or bloated, but do you always try to beat them, regardless of their length? What do you count as beating the game and are you happy to move on once you’ve completed the story or do you try and 100% it as well?

How often have you given up when playing a game and what caused you to do so? What’s the shortest amount of time you played a game before giving up?

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 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.

You can also leave your comments below and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter .

MORE : Games Inbox: PS5 Slim improvements, the next Zelda, and Silent Hill 2 Director’s Cut

MORE : Games Inbox: Spider-Man 2 being too expensive, The Last Of Us Part 3, and Sonic Frontiers love

MORE : Games Inbox: Nintendo Switch 2 announcement this year, Spider-Man 2 discount, and Forza love

Follow Metro Gaming on Twitter and email us at [email protected]

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