The Monday Inbox discusses the most anticipated video games of 2021, as one reader asks about the best games on Oculus Quest.
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So, that gameplay video for Horizon Forbidden West was all kinds of amazing. Even accounting for the fact that it was probably heavily massaged to look as good as possible it still managed to get me incredibly hyped for the game, despite thinking the original was only okay.
I would never normally say this, but I think I would buy the game just for the graphics. If it gets bad or average reviews then only after it’s on cheap but the graphics are so impressive to me (those waves!) that I feel, as a games fan, I need to experience it just to see how good the next gen can be.
The only thing that really puts me off though is Aloy. For some reason she seems to be quite popular and yet I found her, and the rest of the cast, incredibly boring. I know there’s not nearly as many female leads as there should be, but is the situation really so bad that we have to promote Aloy as one of the most significant?
I’d say any of the three main women from Final Fantasy 7 Remake were more distinctive and interesting, not to mention everyone from 2B to Lara Croft. Personally, I’m hoping the script is something that will show the most improvement in the new Horizon but the popularity of Aloy makes me worried they won’t change her enough.
Too big to fail
There’s been a lot of talk recently about the idea of sequels going on forever and no franchise, not matter seemingly how minor, constantly getting resurrected and reinvented. I realise why this happens, it’s because an established name is a safer bet but I’m curious how long this can go on for.
I’m kind of shocked that EA are still making a new Need For Speed, despite not having a hit entry for the best part of a decade now. Is there really anyone that would consider themselves a Need For Speed, rather than just playing any decent racer that came along, irrespective of the franchise?
On the flip side I note that Activision seems to have already given up on Crash Bandicoot, after the fourth game seemed to underperform. EA definitely seem to give more second chances than other publishers though and while if Battlefield 6 is a flop I’m sure most others would can it, but I’m willing to bet EA will give it several more chances no matter how well this year’s does.
I know there are a lot of Shining Force fans on the Inbox so I thought I’d post this link form a Japanese interview from way back in 1993, that’s only just been translated. I always feel one of the big problems with Japanese games reaching the mainstream is that we never see or speak to the developers. There’s only a handful anyone would recognise by name and they barely give interviews anyway, let alone anyone else.
This means we never really get to hear the context of the games and explanations for why they are the way they are. When we get the game here we wonder why the dialogue so bad or it’s missing certain obvious features and there may well be simple reasons like budgetary restrictions that explain it.
I agree that a new classic Shining Force is very much needed and I’m a little surprised it’s never happened via a Kickstarter yet, like the spiritual sequel to Suikoden. There aren’t even really an indie equivalents, which is kind of surprising. And by surprising I mean really disappointing.
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I have finally taken the plunge on the Oculus Quest 2. Or more accurately, my family has taken the plunge and bought it for me for Father’s Day!
I wanted to see what GC and/or the readers’ top 5 or so recommendations were but cannot find a way to filter the reviews on format. Any suggestions for Apps that really show off what it can do?
GC: We’ve only recently added a VR filter for reviews but some of our favourites would include Rez Infinite, Vader Immortal, Beat Saber, Moss, and A Fisherman’s Tale.
More to come
Well GC, watched Horizon Forbidden West and must agree I’m excited about it. The graphics looked fantastic, I just wish they gave us a date or at least a month.
There is one thing I was wondering, I know there aren’t as many games coming out as usual but what game are you lot most looking forward to in the next 12 months? You can make it your top three if you want.
PS: That GAME deal is a really good deal, I just think if you sold your last gen console yourself you would get more money, but then again you have the trouble of selling it.
GC: We’d like to think there are a number of 2021 games yet to be announced, given it’s E3 in a couple of weeks, but at the moment the game we’re most looking forward to is Deathloop – we were very impressed by the footage from the recent hands-off preview.
Room for growth
I feel there’s a demand for Days Gone 2 because of the potential of the franchise. I did find the game enjoyable and understand how people are not so keen on the game. The petition for a sequel shows that lots of people can envision how the franchise could progress. I found the ending interesting and was hoping to see how the story would expand in the sequel.
If you look back at other Sony franchises on their first try you can see that some sequels are a huge improvement over the original. Look at Uncharted 2, Killzone 2, Gravity Rush 2, God of War 2 (2007). You have to watch the latest gameplay video of Horizon Forbidden West to show potentially how a sequel can improve over the original. God Of War: Ragnarök will be interesting to see how that fares.
Ghost Of Tsushima also is deserving of a second chance with a sequel and to shrug off the Ubisoft comparisons. I would say inFamous 2 was not as good as the original. If you were to count Shadow Of Colossus as a sequel, I would say it’s an ambitious improvement over Ico.
Sequels to me are designed to improve over the original whilst expanding the lore. I think Bend Studio deserved a chance with Days Gone 2, as Days Gone was their first big budget game on a home console for a very long time. We just have to remember how the first Uncharted was received on PlayStation 3 in 2007 and how it grew.
ShenYeng Shelton Benjamin
GC: You make a good point, Uncharted 1 to 2 was certainly a big leap. We’d probably be more interested in Days Gone 2 than another Ghost Of Tsushima, given the latter was just a straight Assassin’s Creed clone and Days Gone’s influences were already more general.
Days Gone was an incredible ride. Sure, it had its flaws, and it borrowed certain gameplay mechanics, but as a whole it’s easily one of my fave PlayStation 4 games. Anyway, I really don’t get how you guys act like your opinion of the game is above and beyond other people’s opinions.
You clearly weren’t able to appreciate Days Gone (and that’s totally fine… it happens) but don’t think for a second that people aren’t justified in wanting a sequel just because you didn’t like the game. Truth be told, you people really need to get over yourselves.
GC: Who’s opinion would you prefer us to offer in a review? Or are you referring to the Reader’s Feature that was… written by a reader?
The House of the Last Of Us
Another great batch of Reader’s Features at the weekend but I was playing catch-up and only just read the one by Lord Leaping Lynx, suggesting that The Last Of Us Part 2 is an example of games as art. It was a well written piece and I salute him for putting in an effort that I haven not yet made, but I fundamentally disagree on just about every level.
There seemed to be an implication that video games have to have a story to be considered art, which, ironically, I suspect Naughty Dog would agree with. Naughty Dog’s narrow view of what video games are explains their inability, or disinterest, in pushing gameplay innovation as hard as storytelling, to the point where I’m not sure why they don’t just make it a Telltale style game. Or would that put too much control in the hands of the players? Perhaps a lightgun game then, because that wouldn’t change the level of story interaction one iota.
I also struggled to understand how the Reader’s Feature thought Abby was, at first, ‘fundamentally evil’. The writer implied his opinion changed over the course of the game, but surely you understood what Joel did and why Abby was angry with him?
One thing I notice with almost anyone praising The Last Us Part 2 is an only grudging acknowledgement of Ellie’s faults (by even the mid-way part of the game she is a fully fledged psychopath and so blind to her own hypocrisy it’s almost funny). Most fans will also completely ignore that, by the internal logic of the game, Joel is one of the greatest villains in human history – on top of being a thoroughly amoral person in the first place.
The Last Of Us Part 2 is in many ways a great game, and can certainly be considered a work of art, but I worry that many players are completely misreading the nature of the characters, simply because they liked them in the first one.
I took part in the weekend’s Hot Topic and forgot to put my username. I hadn’t posted in years but GC remembered it and included it. Not only that, but they linked both the YouTube channel and game I mentioned, when I never did. Thanks for going the extra mile GameCentral!
GC: You forget your username for this one too!
I’ve got a feeling that Nintendo are going VR. They have given the teaser with Labo. Metroid Prime Trilogy as a launch VR game. I can but hope and hope, make a cup of tea but still hope upon hope.
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Purple Ranger, who asks what game do you think has the best art design?
It’s the start of E3 next weekend, so for this week’s Hot Topic we ask the obvious question: what do you hope and expect to be announced?
Hope and expectation are likely two very different things, this year in particular, but what do you think is likely to revealed, or shown in detail for the first time, at E3? What are you most excited about seeing and why?
What big announcements would you predict in terms of new hardware, company team-ups, or new services or price drops?
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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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