Games Inbox: Are you excited for Battlefield V Firestorm?

The evening Inbox is convinced a portable-only Switch is happening, as one reader is impressed by Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 1.

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Welcome guest

So I had the day off work today so I booted up Battlefield V and decided to give Firestorm a go. I haven’t turned the game on this year I don’t think, and if it was on disc I think I would’ve sold it long before now. But because that’s not the world we live in anymore I’ve still got it.

We all know how battle royale works by now but this is the first time a game with state-of-the-art graphics and lots of really good vehicles has had it and… it seems really good to me. I mean, I’ve only been playing it a couple of hours but it definitely plays a lot better than PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite, and I’d say probably Apex Legends.

My only problem is that the main map does look kind of boring, even though the graphics are good, but I love the flame effect as the world gets smaller as that really adds to the tension. It does feel a little late to the party but I’m glad it turned up all the same.


Required strategy

I really can’t see Nintendo releasing two new hardware models all of a sudden in just a couple of months. I can’t think of them ever having done anything close to that and I just don’t think they have the logistics or the manufacturing clout to get it done.

That said… a portable-only version of the Switch which can run Pokémon Sword/Shield sounds like a no-brainer. I mean, Nintendo never do the obvious thing but that goes beyond obvious to basically required. It’d give them a cheap way to keep existing Pokémon fans onboard and Fire Emblem would suit it pretty well too, so seems like the perfect time.

If they do do an ‘enhanced’ version I’d imagine it’d only be very minor stuff, like the New 3DS. Technically that had exclusive games but only about two and nobody cared.


Multiple queries

Like Tom Brown and many other voices here I’m lukewarm on Google’s Stadia – and any streaming service. Part of this is me being too tied to old-fashioned gaming (I’ve always eschewed even mobile) and the tangible nature of hardware under the TV. But another part of it is that I’m not sure this is really going to catch the public’s imagination.

The most popular gaming system in the last few years has been the Nintendo Switch, especially in Japan. Consoles that allow you to play anywhere, machines that get people gathering round the same TV, intriguing phenomenon like Pokémon GO that get you out of the house. That is, specific hardware and tangibility. The Stadia looks to have already boxed itself into a lack of innovation – doomed to be constantly updated in hardware specs but never to turn any heads.

My opinion is that gaming hardware is moving into on-the-move, flexible, secure experiences. I want to take my machine out on a flight and play straight away. I don’t want to log in, log on, connect or update. I don’t want to worry about the speed of a busy cafe’s shared signal. I know I can take my Wii U and PlayStation 4 halfway across the world to China, where I live (and which has a sovereign internet where lots of stuff outside the country is blocked and trying to access anything in the country from outside is very slow) and definitely play the games I have stored on my machine.

This leads me to the second reason I don’t think it’ll take off quite yet, which is much more pertinent: internet speeds. I don’t know about anyone else back in the UK but my YouTube still sometimes pauses when loading a 480p video, my Wi-Fi signal is weak downstairs and the UK’s 4G mobile signal all but disappears in my low-lying Kent village. And we saw how petrified the core fanbase was when Xbox One was announced to require an always-on connection, and I don’t think network reliability or stability has improved much since then.

I’m sure that Google are looking at the long-term scenario but I don’t think it’s as close as they like to think. I’m amazed and highly impressed that they can boast about 8K 120fps gaming on the horizon…. But also, please tell me how they’re confident enough in their servers that, upon the launch of a huge new title, they can handle millions of users at once. Does that mean their machines have to render a million GTA VI games at once?

That query is only the tip of the iceberg compared to the reservations I outlined above. So enough said really. Streaming certainly doesn’t feel like it’s going to be for me.
Owen Pile (NongWen – PSN ID)


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Potential disappointment

This weekend I went to GAME to buy Devil May Cry 5 with some credit I had, a game I’m really enjoying despite not being a fan of other games in the genre. For some reason only the DmC reboot and 5 are games I have enjoyed in this genre.

Anyway, the main point of my story is about pre-ordering. I hear a lot of people saying that you shouldn’t pre-order games, but whilst buying the game there was a woman alongside me in the queue wanting to buy Seikiro and she couldn’t because they had run out of stock of the game.

The manager told her that the store only received 80 copies, of which the vast majority were for pre-orders. Perhaps they didn’t expect the game to sell as well as it has but it shows if you want to buy a game on release from a shop you might end up disappointed. I still agree with the point about not pre-ordering though unless you’re really confident that the game will be good.
Angry_Kurt (Twitter)
Now playing: Devil May Cry 5 (PS4)


Fan support

I recently saw the announce of Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2. It’s not a franchise I’m overly familiar with but was quite impressed with what I saw. I picked up the original for a low price on GOG and have to say I am very impressed with it, despite its years.

I read some reviews of the original and the issues around performance and bugs seems to have been rectified by a dedicated fan base with some really good patches which I would recommend if you intend on playing this game. Fully voice-acted and good setup and story to boot, I would recommend anybody give this game a chance before the release of the sequel.


The wall

Still deflecting my way through Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice and having a thoroughly good time doing it. I reckon whether or not it betters Dark Souls is something I’ll probably not know until months after I’ve beat it, but my suspicion is that it’s not quite as good. No shame in that though.

That first run through a FromSoftware game is pretty unique. After about four hours there’s always a point were I think ‘I’m just not getting this’. Then the game forces me to learn how it wants to be played and everything clicks. Then of course, once you’ve mastered it, you can force your own style on the game.

That’s not to say it gets easy. I spend the whole game on a knife edge between excitement and dread. I can’t wait to see the next boss, but when I arrive outside what is clearly a boss room my heart sinks.

Likewise, even an item description can throw me into pits of despair. When, after about 12 hours, I picked up a shock-resistance item my girlfriend heard me emit a melodramatic sigh – this game is whipping me and now I’ve also got to worry about shock damage?!

I also challenge any Souls veteran not to shiver the first time they pick up Divine Confetti and read the item description.

Great game.


New incentives

I love achievements as they make you think or play in a way that you might not normally do. Usually, I’m a run and gun sort of guy, so hunting achievements that force me to be stealthy add a whole new element to a game.

My proudest achievement is either None Can Stand Before You from Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine (complete the entire game on hard difficulty) or Foxiest of the Hounds from Deus Ex: Human Revolution (complete the game without setting off any alarms).


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Hook, line, and sinker

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is proving to be a fluid and fun game so far. Even on the PS4 Pro, which like Dark Souls III before it has an uncapped framerate that lurches from around 30 to 45 fps with poor frame pacing. Should of gone PC but with Demon’s Souls and Bloodborne PlayStation-only I come to feel at home with these games on that system.

The fast character movement and grappling hook make traversal really fun. The combat I’m finding challenging but very satisfying. The world might not be as compelling to me as SoulsBorne games but it has the FromSoftware DNA that makes exploration rewarding.

SoulsBorne games have the tricky to time parry which would be rewarded with a riposte or critical strike. Sekiro makes you engage in a series of these precisely timed moves in order to break your enemy’s posture and land a deathblow.

It’s super fun and challenging engaging in a series of deflections/parries, strikes, dodges, combat arts, and prosthetic abilities to break an enemy’s posture, all the while keeping an eye on your own.

The world and world building might not be as wonderfully off beat as Lodran and Yarhnam but chancing upon a vendor sitting in a pot in a river very early gave me great comfort.

Although it has much in common with SoulsBorne games it plays and feels quite differently. It’s got its grappling hook firmly attached to me from the off and like the SoulsBorne games I’m looking forward to losing myself in it for the immediate future.
Simundo Jones


Inbox also-rans

Just point out that the reader talking about Persona 5: The Royal got his dates mixed up. The Atlus event is 24 April, not 24 March. So it’ll be a while yet till we find out what it is – probably after Joker is released for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

The Division 2 knocked off number one after one week but Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice? That game cannot be living up to expectations. I’m neutral on it but that’s got to be a rare misfire for Ubisoft.
Kong Kong


This week’s Hot Topic

The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Onibee, who asks what is your favourite portable game ever?

With the 3DS’s lifetime coming to an end what handheld video game have you enjoyed the most? It can be from any format, including dedicated portables such as the Game Boy Advance and PS Vita, as well as smartphone games, and Switch titles (assuming you played the game in handheld mode the majority of the time).

How much do you enjoy portable games compared to home console and PC titles and how would you describe the difference? Are you worried that if portable-only consoles disappear a certain style of video game may disappear forever?

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.

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