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Games Inbox: Super Mario Bros. Wonder vs. Zelda, Sonic Superstars bosses, and Spider-Man 2 visuals

Games Inbox: Super Mario Bros. Wonder vs. Zelda, Sonic Superstars bosses, and Spider-Man 2 visuals
Who had the best game this year? (Picture: YouTube)

The Thursday letters page wonders about the expertise of video game analysts, as a reader recalls the original FMV version of The 7th Guest.

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Photo finish Great review of Mario Bros. Wonder , GC. The positive previews took me by surprise but when I saw how excited everyone was about it, the game went on my radar and I’ll now be picking it up before Christmas. It sounds fantastic and I really don’t know why I doubted Nintendo.

An incredible way to round out the Switch’s amazing run too. Two 10/10 games in the same year and a lot of other really solid other games this year too, like Pikmin 4 and Fire Emblem Engage. Compared to Microsoft and Sony’s paltry line-up, it feels like they’re not even trying. Especially as Nintendo’s games all have higher Metacritic scores.

But I have to ask the obvious question, which is better: Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom or Super Mario Bros. Wonder? I feel you were more positive overall with Wonder but at the same time Tears Of The Kingdom is better than Breath Of The Wild in every respect and yet most people consider that the best game ever. Not saying there’s any right answers here, but it’s a great problem for Nintendo to have. Otto

GC: We really couldn’t choose between them at the moment. We’ll have to give it some thought and make a decision for our Top 20 of the year in December.

Expert opinion Is it me or have video games analysts always been terrible? I remember the days of the awful Michael Pachter, whose comments you could always reverse and be 100% correct, but this guy talking about Sony making new acquisitions sounds like a fool.

‘It will be increasingly difficult to compete with Microsoft on games only,’ they said. I mean, for real? Because Microsoft now owns Call Of Duty but it’s staying multiformat? I don’t see how anything is going to change at all really. Maybe Diablo 5 will be an Xbox exclusive, in 10 years when it comes out, but Overwatch 2 is staying multiformat, and what else has either company got that’s in any way big?

Guitar Hero isn’t going to work nowadays and they already tried and failed to make Crash Bandicoot and Spyro big again. What’s next, a new Prototype and Singularity? I mean, things like Hexen wasn’t even that big back in the day. Wallace

Full motion VR The 7th Guest ? Now there’s a name I have not heard in a very long time. I guess people have nostalgia for all kinds of different things but I find it very hard to get all that misty eyed about interactive movies and that type of game. I remember The 7th Guest from the first time round because my rich cousin had a PC capable of running it and while it was impressive at the time, for being state-of-the-art you could still tell it was very cheesy and an evolutionary dead end.

I can see the logic of turning it into a more interactive VR version but it seems VR and interactive movies have a similar problem in that you can see what they’re aiming for, and they are cutting edge in their way, but the technology isn’t quite there yet to do it justice. Axel

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No help Having just encountered a rather frustrating difficulty spike in Sonic Superstars (those final bosses and the lack of checkpoints… top design from Sega, as ever!), I wanted to ask what – if anything – happens when you’re sent games to review that might be challenging to complete within a fairly short timeframe?

It’s a bit of a woolly question because not all games have an end . But for those that do, publishers, presumably, want you to experience the entirety of it in order to give an informed opinion. So, is this entirely dependent on your own skill to beat the games or are you also provided with the means to skip certain sections or play specific levels/stages that might otherwise be difficult to reach? Needlemouse PS: I know Sonic Superstars probably isn’t that hard. But it made me think of the question.

GC: The bosses are definitely one of the worst parts of Sonic Superstars. But we don’t get any help with things like that, no. If we get stuck on a puzzle, we can ask the developer for the solution but that’s about it. Thankfully, most games that are unusually hard, like FromSoftware titles, are generally sent out with plenty of time to get the hang of them.

Lone supporter I know Alan Wake 2 moved its way out of Spider-Man 2 and Super Mario this week but I get a nasty feeling it’s going to flop anyway. I never got the impression the original was that big a hit and nobody I know has ever heard of it. Maybe the second one will do better but things like this Fortnite primer feels like it’s going after the wrong audience.

I’m getting it because I did like the first one but I worry that I’m going to be one of the ones. I feel for Remedy but while they make great games I think you’d have to say that they don’t make ones that appeal to the mass market. Hendle

Technical award RE: best graphics ever. I think it’s always difficult to give an objective answer to this one, as people will find different set styles and often their answer will be tainted by an emotional response to a game they enjoyed a lot.

I watched Digital Foundry’s analysis of Spider-Man 2 and it’s very technically impressive on many levels. And whilst I walked away impressed by it, I’ve seen other games that just wowed me more in terms of art style and some of the effects going on, etc.

That’s not to say these games were ultimately a greater technical feat, as to be honest, I’m not a developer and can’t make a definitive statement on it, but I have some understanding of what’s being done on screen and how it’s pushing hardware.

So, I’ll say that Spider-Man 2 is without doubt an outstanding looking game in its genre, and the density of the world they’ve created, the number of characters wandering about, the number of cars, trees, etc., etc. whilst having ray-tracing reflections in place in every mode… to do all this and still have a world that streams in at high speed as you traverse there city, it’s really, really technically impressive. Kiran

+1 reason to wait Spider-Man 2 looks good and I hope to get it this year but I really am surprised at the lack of New Game+. I can’t imagine that’s really that difficult to make and it would have really helped with the question of value for money.

Is there really nothing they could’ve cut from the game – some detail most people would never see – instead, to get New Game+ for launch? Seems a strange priority to me, especially as it just adds another reason to wait until the game is cheaper. Trepsils

More: Trending Super Mario Bros. Wonder review – Nintendo magic has never been stronger or stranger Games Inbox: Does Spider-Man 2 have the best console graphics ever? Football Manager 2024 preview – a kick in the right direction

No answer I hoped to share my recent experience with trying to seek a repair for my 10-year-old son’s Xbox Series S. The power system for the console appears faulty and intermittent and will only start up if the power cable has been removed from the back of the console for a few minutes beforehand. However, when the console boots up and tries to update, it fails to restart, meaning that it can only be used offline, rendering it useless.

On the Xbox website there are three methods to communicate with them about any hardware issues. The first is the email address support at, which bafflingly and bizarrely doesn’t work, as any email sent to it is immediately returned and identified as undeliverable!

The second method is to enter your phone number and request a call back, which I have tried to initiate on successive days at multiple times only for the website to tell me this is not available. The third and final method is to fill in an online form which, when reaching a point where you enter and select your address, fails to allow you to progress further as the ‘next’ button doesn’t work!

I have tried using multiple devices including mobile phones, laptops, and different email addresses, all with the same result. I therefore currently have no avenue to communicate with Xbox whatsoever.

For a company which specialises in software and has just bought Activision Billion for multiple billions, my experience so far is absolutely ridiculous and unacceptable. I would be very grateful for advice and experiences from other readers. ameisa (PSN ID)

GC: That does sound bad. Have you tried contacting them on Twitter? There’s Xbox UK and Xbox Support , although we’re sure how much help the latter is going to be outside of the US.

Inbox also-rans For anyone that hasn’t already pre-ordered Super Mario Bro. Wonder, it’s currently £37.49 at Currys if you use the code WONDER25 at the checkout. That’s a decent saving from the RRP. Nick The Greek

RE: Focus and the COD Factory. I may have my rose-tinted goggles on but I would like a new Hexen, especially if it’s on Game Pass. Johnny Alpha SD

GC: It would be, because it counts as a first party title now.

This week’s Hot Topic The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Onibee, who asks what is your favourite Nintendo game?

Nobody’s been in the video games business longer than Nintendo, or has as many famous, and not so famous, franchises as they do, but what is your absolute favourite Nintendo game and why?

How does it compare to other entries in the franchise and other similar games from other companies? Is Nintendo one of your favourite developers and what do you think are their key strengths and weaknesses?

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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.

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

MORE : Games Inbox: Spider-Man 2 and the best console graphics ever, Rise Of Kong debacle, and Cities: Skylines 2

MORE : Games Inbox: Super Mario Bros. Wonder review vs. Spider-Man 2, Sonic Superstars upset, and Pikmin 4 love

MORE : Games Inbox: The easiest way to get cheap video games, Forza Motorsport bugs, and Phil Spencer interviews

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To submit Inbox letters and Reader’s Features more easily, without the need to send an email, just use our Submit Stuff page here .

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