Games Inbox: Will it matter if Scarlett is more powerful than PS5?

The Morning Inbox is dubious about cross-play ever becoming a standard for video games, as one reader takes 18 years to finish Shenmue.

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Power games

I’m sure they’d both like to imply it’s them at the moment, but I wonder do we have any idea whether the PlayStation 5 or Project Scarlett is going to be more powerful next gen? Sony started off with the PlayStation 4 being more powerful and then were overtaken by the Xbox One X. I’m guessing Microsoft will be looking to keep that dominance, even though having the most powerful console again doesn’t really seem to have done them much good.

I do wonder how much it benefited the PlayStation 4 as well though. Was that the reason many people bought it or that it ended up outselling the Xbox One 2:1? Personally I don’t see it as a significant factor. It’s something hardcore fans like to talk about but I’m not sure it’s really a factor. Or perhaps that’s just me.

So I ask my fellow readers, if Project Scarlett ends up being definitively more powerful, or vice versa, will that end up influencing your choice of what console to get next gen? If only one can do 8K or ray-tracing properly will that end up being a deal-breaker? Or will it just be the game? I’ll be interested to see as I get the feeling Phil Spencer will not want his console to be second best in any area.


Back in the groove

I have to admit I had no idea that Anthem was already so cheap. Like the reader said, virtually giving it away. I don’t see any way back from that unless they literally do make it free, although even then I think the name is so ruined it probably still wouldn’t be a hit. It’s a terrible thing to happen to BioWare and I hope EA are properly behind them in terms of having a comeback that is not only good but properly establishes them as a major developer. Otherwise I fear they’re going to go the way of Bullfrog and so many other EA developers.

I’m still not really clear whether they’ve started work on Dragon Age 4 or not yet, but I assume that’s going to be next from them. Which is a shame as it was always my least favourite of their games. I’ll take it over Anthem but what I’d really like to see is a proper Mass Effect and a new Star Wars game, before EA loses the licence.

But all that sounds like it’s just going to take too long, like years and years. Part of me wonders whether they should try and make some sort of little indie game to try and get back in the groove. Anything to reclaim their mojo really.


Not cross

Call me cynical but I never trust publishers when they start talking about cross-play, because they don’t have any say on whether it works or not. If Sony, or whoever, doesn’t want it on their format then it won’t happen, end of story. Epic Games were able to force it into Fortnite but only after a fan campaign and it being the biggest game around.

I think they’re just saying they ‘support’ cross-play now because they know they’ll never have to do anything about it and it just makes sure they don’t look like the bad guys. After all, making cross-play work is pretty trivial, so it’s not like it’s a technical issue or anything.

I don’t think cross-play will ever be commonplace because there’s no advantage to the dominant format in supporting it. To be honest, if I was a Sony bigwig, I wouldn’t want it either. All it does is make the Xbox look equal to the PlayStation, and discourages people from having to make a choice as to what console to get. I’m sure getting what your mates had was a major reason the PlayStation 4 was successful this gen.


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The long haul

I’ve been playing through Gears Of War 4 on PC (which I picked up for £2.99 from CDKeys a little while back). I’ve been playing the campaign on Hardcore and enjoying it somewhat, as it’s been a long time since I played the previous entry. However, this one has made me realise a pet hate I’ve had.

Is it just me that finds it a little annoying when a game gives you a seemingly simple objective/plot point and it takes forever to reach? Early-ish on the plot/objective is to get to the underground mine and I feel like I’ve been battling away for hours and hours and it’s taking ages to get there without the plot moving on.

I remember playing through Bulletstorm on Xbox 360 (which unfortunately, I never got around to finishing) where again, early in the game you had to get to X location to catch up with the female character and it just seemed to take forever to get there.

In contrast, if I recall correctly, I remember the Halo games from 3 onwards moving the plots on quite rapidly, with new developments thrown at you often. Maybe I’m letting a really small thing bother me but I tend to like following along with the story of a game even if it’s in a game that some would consider a mindless shooter and not a complex role-playing game.

GC: It’s not something we’d really thought of before, but we know what you mean. It creates that awful realisation that you’ve been playing for a dozen hours and the plot has barely moved forward at all.


Wrong ball

I think that Super Monkey Ball annoucement may be the least exciting return of a major franchise I’ve ever seen. Who on Earth is going to care about some mould Wii game that nobody even liked when the Wii was still relevant? I assume they’re testing the water for a new game, but I don’t know what they expect to learn from this.

Like GC said, a remaster of the original might have made sense but, really, that was basically the only one that mattered anyway. After that they just kept getting more and more desperate for ideas and you realised there really wasn’t much to the game. The original was essentially a tech demo for the GameCube’s controller anyway, so since none of the modern ones are like that I just don’t see the point.


Destined to disagree

RE: Anon. I played Destiny from day one, I bought every DLC for the three years and played it every day for three years. I made a lot of friends that I still talk to now. Yes, the story wasn’t good but you had something to do. Then Destiny 2 hit the shelves, I played it for 40 minutes, completed the story on my Hunter and traded it in. Why? It wasn’t Destiny anymore, all the good stuff that was in the first one, like bounties, ghost hunting, and farming was gone and also all the guns are the same, just with a different name and skins.

Before you moan at someone not liking a game you need to first start playing the game from the first one that came out, then see if they improved it on the next game, which I’m afraid they didn’t. They took out all the good stuff, left the rubbish and said there you go, Destiny 2. Then when it was a flop and no one played it they had a wake-up call and instead of going, ‘We will give them what was meant to be in the game in the first place’, no they charge £25 and try and milk more money out of the player.

Now because I’d say 70% have left altogether they’re going to do it as a free-to-play game. Come on, the only time they turn a paid-for game into a free-to-play is when it’s like the Titanic and if no one is playing it for free with PS Plus making it free-to-play won’t do anything.

What I’m saying is if you strip out all the guns and stuff out of Destiny 2, that was in Destiny, including name change guns and skins all you have is new maps. It’s a rubbish game and shouldn’t of been released in that way. I’m hoping Destiny 3 takes it back to how it was. If not, plenty more games coming on PlayStation 4 for me to buy.

GC: Destiny 2 was never a flop and where did that 70% figure come from?


Brief gap

It’s taken me nearly 20 years but I’ve finally finished Shenmue. I started it on the great Dreamcast but that broke, so after many years I brought the re-released version on the Xbox One.

OK, there was a little (18 year) break but I have finished it. Now I’ve started Shenmue II, so hopefully it won’t take me that long as number III is out November.

Perhaps an idea for a Hot Topic? What’s the longest time to complete a game. I think I have the current record.


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Three regrets

I’m a bit late to the party regarding last weekend’s topic of games readers most regret playing, but it got me thinking despite playing games since the 1980s there are very few I regret. However, I can name at least three games I have regretted buying and playing.

First would be GTA IV. That this game received such high scores has always been a source of bafflement to me. It’s like the game I played and the one the majority of reviewers played were two completely different things. It’s the only GTA game I never finished.

Yes, the game did a good job in trying to create a living city, but it gave every indication that the gameplay was an afterthought – seemingly shoe-horned in afterwards. I never could get to grips with the car mechanics, the mobile phone missions were annoying, there were random difficulty spikes in the missions, and the missions overall were very repetitive and tedious.

Worse was it often took 10 minutes of real-time driving to start a mission, which had to be repeated on a mission failure, which more often than not was due to numerous glitches. That got old fast. No wonder Rockstar introduced mission checkpoints in subsequent games. A tacit admission on their part that GTA IV got it wrong.

Next up, Assassin’s Creed III. Copious loading screens, cut scenes, boring missions, and bland open world. I traded it in rather quickly after about a third of the way through and got little money for it, which I guess means I wasn’t the only one who came to those conclusions.

Last but not least, FIFA 64. This undoubtedly is the worst game I ever bought. I only purchased it at the time as there was no other football game on the N64 – the mighty, and much better, ISS 64 was released a few months later.

This game was clearly rushed and despite having an official license it had copious spelling mistakes. Its frame rate was non-existent, the buttons had terrible lag and was completely random and the game’s algorithm had a tendency to ‘cheat’ – for example when it wanted to score, the ball miraculously went through keeper’s body from 30 yards out. How this game never appears on lists of the worst games ever is beyond me. The game was so bad I boycotted subsequent EA FIFA games for over 15 years in response.
Paul Williams


Inbox also-rans

RE: Borderlands 3. The developers are completely loopy. YYYYEEESSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!

When is the review embargo for Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3? Really not sure which way that one’s going to go.

GC: It’s not until Friday.


This week’s Hot Topic

The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Gannet, who asks what video game franchise have you been playing the longest?

What series do you have the longest history with and what was the first and most recent entry you’ve played? Do you consider yourself a long-time fan of the series or is it simply that most of the games are high quality?

How many entries have you played and do you own any related merchandise? Do you consider yourself to be loyal to the franchise and do you always plan to buy new games, even when they’re spin-offs, if they’re part of the series?

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The small print
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