The Thursday letters page considers the prospect of Hideo Kojima making a new Metal Gear style game, as one reader looks forward to a new Burnout.
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Hogging the stage
As always with Kojima, he gets far too much time with his trailers and as soon as it passed the five minute mark I knew it was the outgoing reveal and would end a reasonable State of Play in a stilted way.
As usual, we got no info on what first party studios were up to, but I was impressed with Stellar Blade and the excellent combat of Rōnin and Judas. This spring is going to be pretty packed as both Stellar and Rōnin come out hot on the heels of Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth.
Silent Hill 2, however, seems to be something that’s unravelling. From a 2023 release to something that’s now just ‘in development’ doesn’t bode well. Combat looked… fine but I feel that the essential atmosphere that defined the original will be lost.
All in all, a good show but the lingering issue of development teams who seem to have nothing to show hangs over it.
A decent State of Play from Sony. Stellar Blade was my pick of the show, which looked great. There were plenty of multiformat games, which is fine. Death Stranding 2 looks very impressive graphically, but I couldn’t get on with the first game. Kojima stating it blurs the lines between movies and video games isn’t a selling point for me. The sequel seems even more bats*** crazy.
Rise Of The Rōnin looked fine, but a bit of a poor man’s Ghost Of Tsushima. I’m sure it will play better than it looks. The biggest disappointment was Silent Hill 2. It wasn’t visually impressive, at all and looked rather janky. Bloober Team are a bad choice of developer in my opinion. Overall, a 7/10 show.
GC: He was talking about the not-Metal Gear game when he suggested blurring the lines between movies and games.
Well, I can’t wait to enjoy the legally distinct adventures of Gaseous Snake and his evil brother Plasma, as they fight over the fight of the world on Shadow Aaron Island. But seriously, I do wonder what the point of going back to well is for Metal Gear and Hideo Kojima.
As far as I’m concerned, he already wasted too much of his career on the series and I would’ve much rather seen him handing it over to someone else after Metal Gear Solid 3, or at least 4. Likewise, I don’t see the point in Death Stranding 2. Half of the appeal of that game is the weird setting and concept and I’d much rather have seen him create a new one.
That said it was a pretty wacky trailer and he certainly hasn’t gone easy on the weirdness, so maybe it’ll be worthwhile. I do hope he finds something insightful to say about America this time though. One of my biggest complaints about the original is that it kept going on about America but never said anything about it (or seemed to know what it looked like).
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Change of pace
Great review of Suicide Squad, GC. I appreciate the fact that you must’ve stayed up all night to do it, which shows some dedication. No less than Rocksteady put into the game, I’m sure, but it seems that it was all a wasted effort.
What gets me though, as a DC fan, is how inappropriate it seems for Suicide Squad. You tell me you’re making a game based on them and I’d expect a game of dark humour featuring either low-level threats, some sort of cleverness, of team members with powers.
The game doesn’t have any of that. It’s got four fairly dull characters (I’ve really become sick of Harley Quinn in recent years) with no powers, who swing around gunning down hordes of aliens with nothing but machineguns and baseball bats. I couldn’t imagine anything less appropriate for the Suicide Squad.
And now suddenly we’ve gone from very subtle references to Superman in Batman: Arkham Knight, to Brainiac and the full Justice League? This should’ve been a slow build-up from a relatively grounded Batman trilogy to the more fantastic wider DC world. Instead, we’ve suddenly fast-forwarded to random comic book weirdness that’s going to put off non-fans and annoy those who know how it should’ve been done.
GC: We agree, it’s such a bizarre use of the licence and the DC universe in general.
Does anyone else get the nasty feeling that Sony are just going to shut Bungie down and distribute the staff around its other studios? There’s no way this new DLC is going to suddenly reverse Destiny 2’s fortunes and with the director leaving I feel like he knows this.
Although I enjoyed their work on Halo I never got on with Destiny and resented its influence on the concept of live service games. It will be ironic though if it ends up proving that the idea doesn’t have legs and that games that can sustain themselves forever are very much the minority and, importantly for publishers, there’s no real way of predicting which ones it will be ahead of time.
I believe Sony has realised this just in time and before making a terrible mistake with their first party games.
It’s been close to two decades since I played it, so it could be nostalgia talking, but Burnout 2: Point Of Impact is one of those games I hold in high regard, as containing an old school visceral purity of gameplay. A lean, mean gameplaying machine.
But when reading that the series might be set for a comeback, by a studio made up of the original devs no less, rather than be excited I found myself thinking I wonder what live service, microtransaction, progress bar heavy, bloated skill tree filled hot garbage the publishers will insist it’s all wrapped up in.
The, not unfounded, cynicism surprised me a little, as although there’s lots about modern gaming I dislike I generally feel that today’s gaming offers more variety, choice and quality than at any point since I’ve been gaming.
But it did make me reflect, and it’s been raised many times, on just how much bloat there is in gaming, especially triple-A in modern times. Fingers crossed though for Burnout, if that is what they’re working on, and my grumpy reaction is more down to getting on a bit and having a bad back more often than I’d like.
One bad reason
Considering how much money Microsoft now makes from publishing all of Activision Blizzard’s stuff it made me wonder why they wanted to be bought in the first place. And then I realised it was simple to make Bobby Kotick richer. There literally was no other reason or benefit, as the poor people that have been laid off have found out.
Big business is just awful but it’s even worse when you realise the sort of people that are benefiting from it the most.
Well, what a fantastic time to be a fighting game fan. Street Fighter 6 is the best the series has ever been and plays like a dream on the Steam Deck, making it my go-to portable game at the moment.
Tekken 6 on the Xbox Series X is the game that has made me see the power of the console at work. On a 4K HDR screen it’s stunning. I tend to prefer 2D style Capcom fighters but this new Tekken is something very special. Oddly though it comes on two discs for the Xbox, both of which look exactly the same (I thought at first I had lucked out and got a second copy by accident) and states it’s for use on the Xbox Series X only.
The package has no reference to the Xbox Series S at all. Maybe a sign of a movement towards promoting/pushing the Xbox Series X over the S? If I were a casual gamer with an Xbox Series S I might assume the game will not play at all on my console, which cannot be good for sales.
I am hoping that Capcom continue to support the new Nintendo Switch, or whatever Nintendo call it, and release some of the fighting games the Switch missed out on (Street Fighter 4, Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 as examples) although I cannot see the new Switch being any more powerful than the current Steam Deck OLED, which surely makes them direct competitors now in the handheld market?
Street Fighter 2 remains my all-time favourite game ever (it’s a 90s thing!) and I wondered what GC would consider their favourite beat ‘em-up IP now that we have both a 2D and 3D revival on the latest hardware.
GC: Favourite individual fighter would be very difficult but our favourite franchise has got to be Street Fighter. Or maybe the Vs. series if you consider that a separate franchise. The Steam Deck has sold no more than 4 million units (Valve don’t release exact numbers); it’s not a mainstream device and certainly no rival to the Switch, which has sold 133 million.
Well, after watching the State of Play, the first one of 2024, it’s 42 minutes that I wasted of my life.
I love how EA’s only interest in the Switch 2 is how powerful it is. Can we put EA Sports FC on it, not can we make new and interesting new games for its unique features.
This week’s Hot Topic
This weekend’s Inbox will be devoted to the Readers’ Top 20 of 2023, where you get to vote for your favourite games of last year.
You can find our Top 20 of 2023 here but while we place certain restrictions on our list, such as no remasters or DLC, you’re free to vote for anything you like – as long as it was released new in 2023.
All you need to do to vote is send us a list, in order, of your three favourite games of last year and we’ll collate everyone’s votes into a top 20. If you want to be featured in the Hot Topic itself though, make sure you send us an explanation of why you made your choices.
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The small print
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