Games Inbox: Bringing back sci-fi Call Of Duty
The Monday letters page has high hopes for Elden Ring’s influence on future video games, as a hardcore fan reviews Sonic Origins.
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A reader mentioned recently, how everyone was sick of Call Of Duty games set during the Second World War and I think that’s probably true. There’s probably a better and more original way to handle things than Vanguard but the whole setting has been done to death and I think they’re better off leaving it alone for now.
But the obvious question is if they stopping doing WW2 games then what will replace it? This year we’ve got Modern Warfare and then after that is a new Black Ops, set in more recent history, so what’s after that?
I know some fans are going to hate the idea, but I think the obvious idea is sci-fi. People hate the idea because we’ve still never had a game try to do a serious far future military shooter and do it well. It doesn’t have to involve aliens or even robots but it’s really not hard to imagine in the future that we will have bases on the Moon and Mars, and multiple spacestations, where things could kick off.
Make proper use of low and zero gravity, and an actual decent story, and I think you’d have something really interesting. A lot more than if they do more historical games.
Same but different
I agree with the Reader’s Feature about Mass Effect 4 at the weekend. No matter what the gameplay is like the thing I’m most worried about is that all their energy is going to go into making sense of Mass Effect 3’s ending and being some sort of continuation of Andromeda.
To me, this sounds like a recipe for disaster. I think there is some hope that the new game might be a reboot of sorts though, as while they’ve shown some returning characters (probably) some of them are very long-lived alien species so they could be jumping ahead 100 years or so, which would work just as well.
The problem with any long-lasting franchise is that they get tied down by their continuity and trying to be true to the canon. They never are though, they just waste their time trying and I doubt Mass Effect will be any different. A reboot or time skip doesn’t have to have the same story, or even similar to it, it’s the gameplay that’s important and the story should enhance that, not hold it back.
Too hot to handle
With the report about the Switch possibly melting during the heatwave I was a bit wary about using it, but it seems to be fine.
However, I was on my PlayStation 5 Sunday and it came up with message ‘PS5 is too hot. Turn off your PS5 and wait until temperature goes down’. Never had this happen before so I am putting it down to the weather. Just wondering if it’s been happening to anyone else as well?
Tony—1975 (PSN ID)
GC: Curious, we’ve never seen that message before.
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BioFox’s article about retro games was a complete joke. As a much older gamer (45) I could write a far superior article about the need for remasters and remakes.
I’ve been gaming ever since I was six years old (yes, I’m ancient) and I have witnessed the vast majority of the UK gaming scene from Atari 2600 through to PlayStation 5.
Maybe you need an article from a gamer’s point of view who has seen the industry grow rather than the viewpoint of a late teen/early twentysomething that the mainstream media think their word is more valid than a gamer with experience.
GC: Then by all means write your own, that’s what the Reader’s Features are for.
I gave Citizen Sleeper a go last night. The art style appealed to me and the subject matter looked really interesting. But after half an hour playing it, it was uninstalled. I have no idea what was going on. Is it even a game? It seems to be a choose your own adventure.
You get a bit of very obscure exposition, then you seem to move between menus rolling dice for no discernible reason. What was I missing here?
GC: Patience? It’s our favourite indie game of the year so far.
Boarding the band wagon
Incredible to know that Elden Ring is now one of the 10 most successful games of all time in the US. I still don’t really believe it and yet here wea are. As many have said the question now how other games will be influenced it. Or to put it another, are big publishers suddenly telling their developer to copy it or not?
I think we can all guess that Ubisoft will have a super hard open world game coming out any time now, given how brazen they were at copying Zelda: Breath Of The Wild for Immortals Fenyx Rising (which was actually quite good).
Microsoft are rarely slow to miss a trick and I think it’s obvious that EA already has already started to copy From with Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. That game borrowed an awful lot from Dark Souls and while that wasn’t the only game to have an influence I’m pretty sure the success of Elden Ring is not going to put them off taking some more notes.
More importantly, Fallen Order was a bit hit, bigger than EA expected, so they’ve got already got proof that challenging and deep gameplay sells. Especially as they risked proving that with a game based on franchise you’d think they’d be trying to make accessible to as many people as possible.
I’m optimistic we’ll get a lot of interesting new announcements in the coming months and it’ll be thanks to Elden Ring.
I enjoyed Kobold’s Reader’s Feature, about games to play during the heatwave. I always enjoy a snowy world, I love them in films and TV too. Does anyone remember Phendrana Drifts from Metroid Prime? I often think of its cold, tinkly music.
Another snowy game series I loved was the Lost Planet. I don’t know how popular it was, but I’d love a new game that makes the most of the next gen consoles.
GC: Phendrana Drifts was great.
I have very nearly beaten the ‘story mode’ for Sonic Origins, you know, all the games consecutively. I am up to Lava Reef Zone as I write this. Whilst it was too expensive, considering you could probably get a hold of Sonic Mega Collection and a Wii for a few quid these days, I’m mostly not regretting my purchase. And I still have a GameCube and Mega Collection! And they are probably the definitive version of all the Mega Drive games.
Sega are being weirdly stingy, though, aren’t they? Is it really too much time and effort to include everything up to the end of the Mega Drive era? The Master System series, the Game Gear exclusive – hell, even the bad ones, as well as CD and Chaotix? The 3D games probably take up too much memory and would require their own collection, even though only the first three and then Generations and Colours are worth anyone’s time. Remember: Shadow The Hedgehog made Sonic Heroes look like a masterpiece. Which it wasn’t. And as you can tell, I’m still a pretty hardcore fanboy.
Some observations. I was ready to say the first game’s special stage was the most annoying and unbearable to play. I was wrong. That honour belongs to Sonic CD. Does anybody remember the awful animatronic lion that the BBC used for their Narnia adaptations? Well, it kind of handled like that. And the collision detection was plain bizarre. But, a very good idea. Just terribly executed. Which describes Sonic CD very well. I decided to make sure I would get the ‘good future’ ending.
I looked up a video guide for all the hologram Metal Sonic and generators in the past. But once I had all the time stones, it seemed I no longer needed to do that. And none of it was all that fun. Time travel seems like a great idea, but with no emotional resonance to it, what was the point? Plus, moving through time was so fiddly that it almost puts you off trying.
It easily has the worst bosses in the series. But again, having visible battle damage as the fight goes on is really neat. The first boss looks really great but is as difficult as the opening boss to the first Master System game. The second is just a headache to get through – not hard to do, just really irritating. The underwater and Wacky Workbench bosses are quite clever – but copying Nintendo’s three strikes rule means that they’re just too short and unsatisfying. Then there was the last boss. That was rubbish. The main problem being: what, is that it? That’s the final boss? Really? Very disappointing.
Then there’s the music. Why did changing the soundtrack for the Sonic CD section of the story mode have to be so cumbersome? I think the magic system in Eternal Darkness was less convoluted! Also, I slightly preferred the American versions of the boss themes – more menacing. Especially that laugh. Just horrifying. And the race against the Metal Sonic remains another huge disappointment. I thought he would be more of a recurring boss, a bit like Mecha Sonic in Sonic & Knuckles 3 but maybe spread out over a few levels. Kind of like a 16-bit version of the Nemesis.
Speaking of music, I come to the Smooth Criminal-shaped elephant in the room: the loss of Michael Jackson’s contribution to the first half of Sonic & Knuckles 3. Sonic & Knuckles would replace his boss themes and staff roll theme anyway, so the most noticeable change for me would be Carnival Night, Icecap, and Launch Base. Launch Base is just meh. I never liked the original that much. I wouldn’t listen to the theme of Carnival Night independently either – but it fitted so perfectly.
What Headcanon Games replaced it with is awful though. Which is strange because Balloon Park in the multiplayer – at least its closing section – was lovely. But Icecap is the biggest loss. The loss of Jackson’s theme here is pretty tragic. It’s just not the same without it.
The missions are kind of fun – but I wish they had been more creative. Perhaps if Sega weren’t so keen to rush Christian Whitehead and his guys to release, there would be more variety on offer, but oh well.
Also, as I have the deluxe version, I notice that the soundtracks for Sonic Spinball and Chaotix have been included. But why do that if you’re not also give us the games to play on? Most peculiar. This is a title that still needs more patches (for games that are three decades old) and free DLC. Yes, free! I think you’ve charged us all enough already, thank you, Sega!
Oh, and Hidden Palace in Sonic 2? It’s okay. The boss is pretty cool, but you can see why they cut it in the first place.
I’ll make the obvious joke regarding DLC for BMWs – their indicators have clearly been DLC for as long as I can remember.
Elden Ring is one of the top 10 selling games of all time? I still can’t believe that’d not a joke. Way to go FromSoftware, now announce some DLC!
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Tolly, who asks what’s the longest games session you’ve ever had.
Put simply, what’s the longest you’ve ever played a game without any substantial break? Did you purposefully set out to play for that long and if so, what preparations did you make for it?
Have you ever sat down to play and been surprised by just how long you’ve been there once you finished? Did you consider this a good thing and generally speaking what’s your preferred length of time for a gaming session?
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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.
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