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Thou shall not Pass
I know this has been relatively clear for years now, but I am still shocked that Game Pass, and to a lesser extent PS Plus, are not the biggest things in gaming and actually close to being a failure. From my point of view, Game Pass is amazing value for money and the main reason I bought an Xbox Series S. I now resent paying full price for games even more than I did and can basically not imagine gaming without it.
It’s allowed me to not only get AAA games for free but play tons of indie games and others that I would never have touched, or even heard of before. Put then I’m what I guess you’d call a hardcore gamer (or at least above average core) and so I probably have little insight into what ordinary people, who are the vast majority of the audience, think.
I’m still not sure I understand the reasons that Game Pass isn’t more popular, but I think it’s just the expense of an additional subscription and the fact that people don’t have time to play most games, so not only is the selection wasted on them, but they feel overwhelmed by the choice.
I hope that when Microsoft has more first party games there’ll be a turnaround because if mobile is going to become their next obsession, as seems likely, I really don’t want to have to put up with all that.
On the starting line
With all the recent talk of a Switch 2 announcement, and speculation as to what might be the potential launch game(s), I’m surprised I haven’t seen mention of what, to me, seems the most obvious. There is a clear big hitter waiting for a follow-up. One which has sold 64 million units of its current entry, across two generations: Mario Kart.
There has not been a truly new entry in the series since the Wii U days. Whilst Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has had admirable longevity from ongoing support through DLC, Nintendo have had plenty of time to build a brand new game to launch alongside the Switch’s successor. Mario Kart 9 and a couple of smaller first party releases would have my money day one.
retro_gaming_san (PSN ID)
GC: You’re right, it certainly is a possibility.
I’m not entirely sure how to feel about Elder Scrolls 6 after the disappointment of Starfield. Although I imagine Bethesda will be a lot more at home with the fantasy setting it already sounds like they won’t really be changing that much, just upping the graphics and other technical aspects.
I didn’t realise until recently that Todd Howard was the director on almost all their big games, which explains why they can end up feeling like just a reskin of each other – although I don’t feel this became an actual problem until Fallout 4, which I think is where they started to see a decline.
Feels like the answer is to give someone else a turn at being in charge, whether they’re another Bethesda veteran or someone new. I’d prefer the latter though, as I do feel Bethesda have become complacent and too much in love with their own hype, which Microsoft is only helping to make worse.
I’d say that I guess we’ll see how it all turns out but we won’t really, not for another five years…
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Bigger than that, it’s large
Seeing people cosplaying as leaked characters from GTA 6 kind of brings home to me just how massive that game is going to be when it comes out. It’s already one of the most talked about games now, when we know absolutely nothing about it, so imagine what it’s going to be like when we have a trailer and then the actual game comes out.
I know it goes without saying it’s going to be a hit but I feel this is going to be a society-changing hit on the scale of Pokémon Go or more. Everyone is going to be playing GTA 6 and because of the online it’s never going to stop until they make another one. Rockstar are going to be so rich they’ll have to genetically engineer a new type of accountant just to be able to count that many zeros.
No extra charge
I wish all game developers did this: I bought Hotline Miami originally on PlayStation 3, when the PlayStation 4 came out I got a free upgrade to the PlayStation 4 version, now with the PlayStation 5 version coming out I have got a free upgrade to the PlayStation 5 version! I wish this happened with PlayStation VR1 games to PlayStation VR2 too!
PS: I see I Am 8 Bit is releasing a Switch cartridge with a load of Annapurna Games on it, 12 in total(!), I have bought a few on various consoles in that list of 12. To buy the one Switch cartridge, booklet and box it is $200!
There was a Hot Topic a few weeks ago about how people complete (or not) games but I didn’t really have much of an opinion on it until Super Mario Bros. Wonder was released.
Generally, I try and get to the end credits but then I’m done.
With Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom I spent a lot of time playing about in the world and not bothering going to the final battle, just because I was enjoying messing about. When I did eventually do it, there were a few bits I wanted to do afterwards but at about 65% complete I think it’s unlikely that I’ll try and 100% it.
With Super Mario Bros. Wonder it’s the opposite. I was trying to get to the Bowser fight pretty quickly, so I had a quick go at one of the Special World levels I’d reached but gave it up pretty quickly to plough on. Because it’s a much smaller game, which you can just dip into, I suspect I will be going for 100% on it, at least until I get massively annoyed at how rubbish I am at the Special World levels.
PS: I disagree with the mild criticism of the soundtrack in GC’s overall glowing review of Wonder, some of the tunes are superb and have been ringing in my ears for days.
Get well soon
Would like to give a get well soon shout out to Mr Rusty Nailz, who goes back to Teletext days. He slipped in the shower and is now in hospital with a brain bleed. Been a brilliant friend, not just online but in real life.
Met through Teletext when someone was asking for help with Gears Of War. From that we became friends, he, even on his days off, drove over to where I was on holiday with family and drove me and son to various places.
12 hours in and Armored Core 6 is yet another feather in Fromsoftware’s diamond-encrusted cap, in my opinion. The zip and finesse in your mech’s manoeuvring feels so satisfying and the omnidirectional dynamism of the combat is an absolute joy to execute.
I’m very impressed by the wealth of choice in the battle ready assemblage and minutiae of your AC too. There are so many different types of builds for the player to tactically, and pragmatically, express themselves in the bleak, corporate-invested landscapes of Rubicon. The robust weapon systems are also arguably the most fun I’ve had experimenting with in a FromSoftware production.
The mission featuring the gargantuan Strider was one highlight in the early game and genuinely breathtaking in its scale, art design, and intricate animation. This is my very first Armored Core experience, so I don’t really have any nostalgia for the series but what this mission evoked so potently was playing Konami classic Cybernator on the SNES as a kid, marvelling at the scale of the enemy installations and mechanised menaces. Not to mention having my ass handed to me aplenty.
Furthermore, I managed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat after like 30 attempts at Balteus, and what a tense, exhilarating showdown that was. I don’t think FromSoftware get enough acclaim for how consistently outstanding their boss designs are and Balteus is among their very best.
I was just in awe of the spectacle of the volley of missiles launched at me, that awe quickly turning into trepidation and panic as the looming threat approached and I desperately tried to dodge and weave past the cat’s cradle of heat-seeking little demons!
When it revealed its massive scorching blades in the second phase, and commenced chopping at me like a Hibachi chef and engulfed the area in flames, I died numerous times from overextending; my poise melting into a frenzied state of clumsiness in the face of swift annihilation.
My heart was beating fast during the final throes of this crucible, same with the Sulla fight just before it. I swear getting a boss down to 10% health and somehow fumbling it in spectacular fashion is the story of my life with From’s games.
I’m surprised your list of upcoming horror inspired games didn’t include World Of Horror, which both looks and seems to play completely unique, with a great Japanese inspiration.
GC: We only became aware of it recently, but we will try to have a review before Halloween.
Publishers are going to be looking at how Spider-Man 2 is selling and the significance of everyone paying more for less won’t be lost on any of them.
GC: This is probably true.
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Hammeriron, who asks what is the scariest moment or enemy from a non-horror video game?
There’s plenty of survival horror games that are specifically designed to scare you but what’s the most frightening moment from a game that’s not primarily a horror title? Was the moment or enemy meant to to be scary and if not, why did you find it frightening?
What’s your earliest memory of finding something scary in a video game and was that intended by the developer?
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