The Friday letters page discusses the pros and cons of video game achievements, as one reader claims that PlayStation is classier than Xbox.
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Before you say anything: yes, I know trying to predict Nintendo is madness. I’m not going to predict them as such though, just try and work when exactly they’re planning the Switch 2. Interestingly, the first time I heard about the theory of Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom being the last big game for the current console was in a Reader’s Feature. Hats off to reader Carbona, as I think they’ve nailed it, since I’m now seeing rumours from trusted sources that that’s exactly what’s going on.
I doubt they know for sure, but it just feels like such an obvious place to draw a line under the current console and then have something great for the launch for the new one, with a Tears Of The Kingdom Switch 2 edition – that runs at 4K or whatever else it does. To me this makes total sense, as it’s a great way to show the improvements of the new console, but the problem is would Nintendo make the upgrade free? I think almost certainly not, but would they be cheeky enough not to give any discount? We’ll have to wait and see.
Assuming they do want to charge at least some amount for double-dipping, I think that points to a relatively late launch next year. After all, they don’t want to launch Zelda and then immediately charge people for another copy. I mean, they probably would like to do that but even they must see the bad optics.
No, I think the Switch 2 will be a Christmas 2024 launch and we probably won’t hear anything about it officially until the early summer. That’s my prediction. Only 15 months or so to go until we find out if it’s right!
So, err… it looks like Ubisoft are in real trouble, eh? All these cancellations, delays, and now they seem like they’re desperate to get sold before they go under. But who would want them? I’m not sure if I was Microsoft or Sony or whoever that I would be interested either. Sure, Assassin’s Creed is big but it’s still not what I would call a prestige franchise. By which I mean it sells well but it’s not really very good.
They’ve spent too many years making the same game over and over again and now it’s come back to bite them. If sales were dipping their answer should have been to make something brand new. Not just a new IP that’s still coping something that already exists but an actual new idea that they can call their own.
It’s probably too late for that now, if they’re at the panicking stage already, and I really don’t see this reliance on live service games saving them. I don’t even know which ones are out and which ones are coming and I have no care to find out. Not that I want to see Ubisoft being just a subsidiary of EA, or whatever, but in this case they have no one to blame but themselves.
I don’t imagine there’s going to be much sympathy for Ubisoft at the moment, given they seem to be in serious financial trouble but I just want to say I really enjoy the Assassin’s Creed franchise, and many of their other games.
Yes, there are too many sequels, but you can’t tell me that most of the Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, and Rainbow Six games aren’t good. Not knowing when to stop, and when to make something new, is the problem but I can tell you I’ll still be interested in new sequels in all of those franchises.
I really don’t know why all these publishers don’t experiment more. They can’t be so on the bread line that they can’t afford one flop every few years but someone like Activision are the biggest third party publisher in the world and they only make one game!
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Anyone who couldn’t care less about PC building can probably skip this letter but god help me, I’m toying with the idea of upgrading my PC and things appear to have moved on since I built my current set-up. So I wanted advice from the sages amongst your readership.
I’d hang onto my 750w power supply and 150w TDP rated CPU air cooler and it’s likely I’ll be using my GTX 3070 graphics card for a couple more years at least. So I wanted advice on what CPU (not bothered if it’s AMD or Intel) to pair with that GPU. Maybe with a touch more oomph than is needed, if I upgrade later to a slightly more powerful graphics card, as a 750w PSU should leave a fair amount of headroom.
Thanks to anyone who replies. Sorry to those that are already yawning at the thought of reading any such letters!
Next gen classic
I’d agree that Bloodborne is the best PlayStation exclusive. One that continually rises in the list, if I remind myself about it, is Returnal. There’s a few rough edges but I thought the story and audio was excellent. Selene was a great lead (not praised enough in my opinion) and if I was to rate solely on the moment-to-moment gunplay it’s a straight 10/10.
The unscripted beauty of the carnage really is a stand out for me. It’s feels like a top tier old school twin stick shooter strapped into a full 3D game world. It was Housemarque’s first real attempt and they completely nailed it. Can’t wait to see what they come up with next as allegedly it’s a brand new IP.
GC: We agree entirely, Returnal is fantastic. But the reader was talking about PlayStation 4 games only.
With the current chat around trophies/achievements, I thought I would share two recent experiences I have had getting platinum trophies, that show how I can find trophies positive and negative.
Firstly, I recently platinumed Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One but doing so involved solving cases in certain ways and choosing specific outcomes for trophies. I found myself spoiling the game with guides to avoid missing certain requirements and also deciding suspects’ guilt or innocence as needed for trophies. I know I didn’t have to do this but the compulsion for trophies took over and spoilt my experience.
On the flip side, I also recently platinumed Hot Wheels Unleashed. Doing so pushed me to improve at the game and win events and meet quicker time trial times, rather than just passing events at the minimum requirement to progress. It gave me a real sense of achievement and without trophies, I may not have been motivated to do this.
For me, these two games show how it really depends on the type of game and what the trophies are as to whether they enhance or detract from my gaming experience.
Pigfish2 (PSN ID)
Now playing: Gran Turismo 7 (PS5) and Pokémon Scarlet (NS)
With PC gamers complaining about the quality of the ports yesterday why on earth would anyone be calling for a PC version of Final Fantasy 16. Since the format isn’t popular locally in Japan their ports are always the worst and while I’m sure the producer was joking I really would buy a PlayStation 5 if you wanted to play it.
Besides, some games just don’t seem right on certain formats. Final Fantasy is designed and intended for consoles, I wouldn’t play it on a PC anymore than I would Crusader Kings on a console.
I’m not really sure what it all means but that is very interesting about the Xbox Series X not being most people’s primary console. I’m surprised that the difference with the PlayStation 5 is so much although I suppose it makes sense if you assume more PlayStation fans are casual who only have one console.
I think the most important thing it shows is that even in the minds of people who own it the Xbox is of secondary importance. As far as I’m concerned this is all down to the exclusives. I’m not impressed by any of the ones that exist at the moment (Forza might be great but I’m not interested in any racing game) and I’m not very excited by anything that’s so far been announced.
Fable was never any good, Starfield will probably be another buggy mess, and while obviously Call Of Duty is popular it’s not exactly aspirational? The Xbox line-up lacks class, the Xbox in its entirety is not ‘classy’ in the way the PlayStation is and in fact I think what success it has had up to this point is based on it being the place to go for dumb shooters and sports games.
That’s not a verdict on the people that play it (I had an Xbox 360 too!) but the culture and attitude it’s always cultivated. I don’t know if that’s on purpose or not but just based on the sort of companies Microsoft has bought I don’t see any real attempt to change it.
Am I the only one shocked to hear that Hogwarts Legacy is the top-selling paid-for game on Steam, even though it’s not out? Even without all the J. K. Rowling business I thought those Fantastic Beats films showed people didn’t care that much about Harry Potter anymore?
So what are the chances that Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp is going to be released this year, would you say?
GC: Not very good, we fear.
This week’s Hot Topic
Since this will be the first Hot Topic of 2023, the subject for this weekend’s Inbox is what new game are you looking forward to the most?
We’ve got a detailed preview of the year here, but as long as your choice has a reasonable chance of being released in 2023 you can talk about anything you like, on any format.
What has you excited about your choices and how do you think they’ll perform, both critically and commercially? Is there anything prominent you’ve already given up on and what do you wish was coming out this year but isn’t?
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The small print
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