Halo Infinite – back on track? (pic: Microsoft)
The Tuesday Inbox is pleasantly surprised to find that Guardians Of The Galaxy reviewed well, as more readers recommend Cyberpunk 2077.
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Back on track
So that Halo Infinite campaign reveal was very… short? I know it’s been pointed out before, but I’m always surprised to find out that Microsoft are actually really bad at marketing. I always just assume they’d be good at it, given all the money, but time and again they prove to be surprisingly amateurish and I’ve no idea why this long-awaited reveal was treated as just minor update.
The good news was that the game did actually look good. Not just ‘better than last time’, which almost goes without saying, but genuinely good and up there with the best PlayStation 5 games, even though it’s cross-gen on the Xbox One.
I don’t really understand what’s going on with the story, so I don’t know how that aspect is going to work, but I now have a fair bit of confidence that Halo Infinite is going to be a good game and will finally see the PlayStation 5 getting some serious competition.
I don’t own either next gen console yet, but I’d be glad that the success of them came down to which had the best games rather than Game Pass topping everything. I’m sure I’d take advantage of Game Pass if I had an Xbox but it seems kind of a cheap way to win the new console release – in all senses of the word.
Super Lara 64
So, unless there’s some last minute announcement, it seems nothing happened for the 25th anniversary of Tomb Raider at all? I was at least hoping for a bit of artwork or something from the new game, but I guess it really is still early in development.
The reader yesterday touched on it, but I really do think Tomb Raider doesn’t get enough credit for how it innovated with 3D graphics. It came out within just a few weeks of Super Mario 64 and was every bit as important to creating what we think of as modern games as it was, as far as I’m concerned.
That’s not to take anything away from Nintendo but they make a very particular kind of game and you can seen much more of modern third person action games in the first Tomb Raider than you can in Super Mario 64. Personally, I don’t think much of the reboot trilogy and I hope they can get away from angsty Lara Croft and just get back to a fun one again that is less of a murder machine and more of a proper tomb raider.
GC: There’s going to be some sort of celebration event on Thursday, October 28. Why it’s not on the actual anniversary we have no idea, maybe because of Halo?
Bargain of the Galaxy
Nice surprise to see that the Guardians Of The Galaxy is apparently a good game, I’ve got to say I would never have guessed that from the reveal and what else I’ve seen of it, which made it seem like they just had another co-op game and decided to rip all that, and probably microtransactions and loot boxes, out of it at the last minute.
I know you mentioned alternate costumes in your review, GC, but do you see any sign that the game has been changed from what it was originally supposed to be? I suppose it doesn’t matter if the final product turned out well, but I hope this is a lesson that all publishers watch, that single-player is still important and that a lot of people look forward to it.
Saying that, I’m still going to wait for Black Friday to pick it up, because this has sale bargain written all over it.
GC: There’s no sign of any loot boxes or microtransactions at all. There’s not that many alternate costumes and not enough abilities to making buying resources viable, especially as they don’t make that much difference in gameplay.
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I wrote in a couple of days after Metroid Dread released to say I wasn’t enjoying it much, that I was struggling with the E.M.M.I.s and wot not, but I think I was a bit quick to say I didn’t like the game.
Rather than sell it on like I was planning I gave it another shot, and another then another, it didn’t take too long for me to realise that it had that ‘one more go’ quality that the best games always have. Now I’m hooked into it, I’m taking my time and I am enjoying playing it.
Just goes to show that first impressions don’t always tell the full story, that it’s worth persevering and getting to grips with a game before writing it off.
As seen on Kickstarter
Just seen the people who made the From Bedrooms to Billions documentaries, including Amiga Years and PlayStation Revolution, are doing a new Kickstarter to make a new documentary based on the ZX Spectrum, which is called The Rubber Keyed Wonder – 40 years of the ZX Spectrum. I never owned a Spectrum but had played on one when I was younger. I have backed it to get a Blu-ray and digital copy.
Also, the Digitiser Series 2 Kickstarter is closing this week on Thursday, so don’t forget to back it if you are intending to.
Currently playing: Mafia 3 (Xbox One X)
Just finished Echo Generation, a turn-based role-playing game, and had a nice time with it but found it had some design flaws that stopped it from being as good as it could of been.
The voxel graphics are beautiful and charming, and do a wonderful job of channelling that Stranger Things vibe of small town kids meddling with science gone wrong. The turn-based combat is simple but fun. It works on timed button presses for attacking and defending, with more powerful moves requiring more inputs. It’s not too hard but missing a press can have a big factor in being successful, so it always had a bit of tension throughout my 10 hour play through.
Unfortunately, I did spend many moments not sure where to go or how to proceed. We’re not talking LucasArts early point ‘n’ click adventure level obscure puzzles here, but there were plenty of times where I would have to revisit previous areas and walk up to everything to see if a button prompt flashed up. As there is no fast travel, and although the game is not big, it did get a bit wearisome running back and forth.
More annoyingly was where I just hadn’t seen paths or doors you could go in/on to get to other areas, as it’s not always clear. Most annoyingly was an area that required a companion to be equipped to proceed, where I spent a good 45 mins running around trying to find an imagined item to help me out.
The reason for that last bit in particular grating on me is that the companions are acquired as you go through the game but start at level 1 when they are recruited. The last companion I acquired was done very late game, which means I spent the whole game just using the first two companions acquired as I’d built up their stats. Neither was the fellow needed to proceed with the bit that stumped me.
There was other smaller irks but overall a good game that I’d say is well worth picking up when it’s on sale if you like that sort of thing.
Good, not great
I’d concur with the generally positive vibes for Cyberpunk 2077. If you are playing on a current gen console, now that the major bugs are ironed out, it’s a decent game (8/10 material for me). It’s certainly no Witcher 3 but the combat is reasonable, it’s not linear, has some engaging characters, and at times looks absolutely stunning. But, yep, pacing issues , the driving is weak (apart from bikes!), and the loot/progression system can feel shallow or hollow.
I’ve played through it once, and I’ll wait for the PlayStation 5 upgrade before having another go. It’s a good game, and one that will give you a ‘next gen’ experience, but there are better games out there.
Matt (he_who_runs_away – PSN ID)
RE: My thoughts on the PC version of Cyberpunk 2077. I waited until the last patch (1.31) to start playing. I was waiting for the next gen version but couldn’t wait any longer.
The game for the most part has run fine – very few bugs, nothing game breaking – and with ray-tracing and DLSS Night City really does look amazing.
But here’s the most impressive thing: I’ve just started my third back-to-back playthrough. As in as soon as I’ve finished the game, I’ve immediately started again to play it in a different way and choose a new lifepath. I have literally never done this with any other game before. Ever. And I’ve not been this addicted to a game since the original release of Skyrim.
The gameplay for me is where the game really shines. The combat is fun and fluid. Lots of different ways to destroy your enemies. The exploration is interesting, on my third go round I’m still finding new stuff. The story is great, I really don’t understand the criticism here. Maybe the first hour, or during the prologue, it’s a bit thin on the ground but once it gets going I really wanted to know how it was going to end.
Cyberpunk 2077 is one of the best games I’ve ever played – and I play a LOT of games, starting back with an Amiga 500.
I would say that, yes, when the game first came out it was rushed and in a bad state. But the game right now is very, very good and with everything CD Projekt have planned it’s going to get even better.
Give it a go!
Sean Wilson, aka SeanIsElectric
For all the weekend Hot Topic comments on GTA 6, maybe by the time it actually comes out there will be flying cars, hoverboards, and consumer space flights. Hope Rockstar are factoring this into the development.
Will the next Tomb Raider be an Xbox exclusive? I’ve lost track with who owns who now…
GC: Rise Of The Tomb Raider was only ever a one-year, timed exclusive. Square Enix still owns Tomb Raider but there was a rumour that Microsoft is trying to acquire developer Crystal Dynamics from them – although that still wouldn’t give them control of the franchise, just the people that make it.
This week’s Hot Topic
Since it’s Halloween this weekend the question for the next Hot Topic is what’s the most scared you’ve ever been by a video game?
It doesn’t have to be from a horror game but what’s the most frightened you’ve ever been? How does that compare to how scared you’ve been by a movie or TV show and what do you think games do better or worse compared to other media, when it comes to horror?
What game has the creepiest atmosphere, even if it’s not outright scary, and was it ever bad enough that you had to stop playing? (To avoid everyone mentioning it, the dogs jumping through the window bit in Resident Evil is banned from this Hot Topic.)
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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, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.
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