The Friday letters page celebrates Treasure’s hidden gems, as one reader ask which is the best out of The Wind Waker and Skyward Sword.
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So the debate over The Last Of Us Part 1 has gone about the way I expected, with most sensible commentators, including GC’s review, saying it’s a pointless remake but that the game underneath is still good. Others have basically ignored the fact that it’s a remake and just given it 10/10 because of the underlying game.
I have little time for these people as you can’t just ignore that a game is £70 and yet almost identical to one you can pick up for £10 or less on eBay (or free on PS Plus Premium, apparently). Unless the graphics go from PS1 era to now, that is never going to be worth it, and the complete lack of any new content just makes it even worse. And that Digital Deluxe Edition!? I dare anyone to write and say they have that, and think it was money well spent.
Is the remake a cash grab though? I think that’s a subtly different question. There’s no way it’s worth the money but I don’t think Sony or Naughty Dog were being lazy or trying to trick anyone. Naughty Dog has been high on their own emissions for a while now and I imagine they think this was a really good idea, even a necessary one, and just lack the perspective to see what a waste of time and money it all is.
It’s really Sony’s job to point out their mistake but since they’re always saying they leave them to their own decisions, and don’t interfere, I guess they felt they couldn’t. Let’s all hope that God Of War Ragnarök turns out to be more worthy of everyone’s time and money.
Try, try again
Fascinating to see that report into the Activision Blizzard acquisition. I would’ve assumed it would be just some rubber-stamped formality but, like you say, they actually know what they’re talking about and they aren’t taking Microsoft’s mendacity at face value.
I’m against all acquisitions of this scale and I would love nothing better to have seen this and Bethesda’s be denied. Unfortunately though I suspect that it will go through anyway, and that even if it doesn’t Microsoft will try again and again until they bludgeon their way into get into what they want. Which has been their modus operandi since they first entered the games industry.
Everything or nothing
Hopefully the rumours are true, but I would be very disappointed if they omit Metal Gear Solid 4 from the next Metal Gear Solid collection. Is there a good reason why Metal Gear Solid 4 will not be included?
Companies should be inspired by the recent Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles collection. It’s only right that franchises receive full collection of games in a series and stop these undercooked collections. The collection should also include The Phantom Pain, Ghost Babel, Twin Snakes, the two MSX games and even Snake’s Revenge that was on NES should be included. Konami, I hope you are reading. Holla if ya hear me.
GC: Metal Gear Solid 4 being a PlayStation 3 game is the obvious reason. We agree that Ghost Babel and the MSX games should be included though.
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Super Cleaner Bros.
RE: Mafia. I’ve always found them decent fun, with some memorable missions, such as when you and your cohort dress in red and green overalls with matching flat caps to spy on a meeting as window cleaners, with the icing on the cake a pair of little moustaches to finish the disguise off! And the shooting and driving was always better than GTA. Sure, there was never that many radio stations or music, but who could compete with GTA on that front? And collectables lots of collectables, the latest one being old Playboy mags!
On another note, maybe a future Hot Topic, when has a game ever tried to convince you that a character is sooo funny, when you just don’t see it, or that someone is handsome or beautiful? My choice would be L.A. Noire, where several times I was failed to be convinced that Detective Cole Phelps was ‘a handsome detective’!
big boy bent
Not a crime
Like most of the gaming world I was really looking forward to Cyberpunk 2077. And like most people I was completely put off by the release debacle. Fast forward to the next gen patch and I was ready to play, albeit still with some trepidation. The game still gets generally criticised, and not just for the bugs, so I went in without thinking I would really enjoy it… but to my surprise, I have loved it.
It’s the characters that did it, with each of the people you meet in the course of the story and (absolutely excellent) side missions being instantly believable, empathetic, and mostly really memorable. This is the hallmark of a great role-playing game for me, that you fall in love with the characters and their story. The gunplay is also, in my opinion, superb. Usually I play stealth whenever it is an option, but the shooting was so fun I poured all my skill points into shooting the big guns for fun.
I didn’t love the city, which I thought was, despite the colour and dense design, really bland. Bland is maybe not the right word, but I played it for nearly 40 hours and somehow managed to not remember my way around a single street or building, with almost every part of the city looking identical to the one you just left. Perhaps boring is the right word, as I didn’t feel it was ever worth exploring outside of missions. It’s also super try-hard and the edgelord advertising and drug content was insta-grating and never got better.
But city quibbles aside, it’s an excellent role-playing game, with first class characters. The quest design of CD Projekt remains as amazing as ever too, even if the game as a whole doesn’t live up to The Witcher 3. But not many games do! That’s no crime and taken on its own merits I had a great time and will remember the game, but particularly its cast, very fondly.
Manged to enjoy it
Just wanted to share my initial thoughts on F1 Manager 2022 which has just come out. With it being a relatively niche release, I didn’t think it would get much coverage so just wanted to share my early impressions with the game.
It goes without saying that to get anything out of this game, you need to be interested in F1, unlike Football Manager where I think you could be a casual fan and still play the game at a basic level and get something out of it; I don’t think that’s the case with F1 Manager. Anyone who is into the motorsport will know that F1 is much more than just cars going fast around the track, there’s a lot of strategy to the races, which I won’t go into, but also lots of aspects off the track regarding team management and car development.
These are all factors represented really well in the game, it feels like a deep experience and they game does a great job of explaining things during the tutorial and the help menu can be brought up at any time if you need a reminder. I have only been properly into F1 for a couple of years, so these reminders have proven useful as I am still learning new things about the motorsport. The presentation is really good 90% of the time, really feels like you’re watching a race on TV with great sound and voice work form the commentary team and pit crew.
There are areas for improvement though. The game feels very similar to Football Manager with how you progress, the menus, and the core loop of going between matches/races. This is a good thing as why change something which isn’t broken? But there are ways I would like to see them copy Football Manager for future versions of the game.
The first would be to have some kind of media interaction. Currently there is no interviews with the media at any point, it would be cool to be interviewed before and after races or after a big decision like a driver change, with the answers having an influence on team morale. The ability to create your own team would also be good.
Overall though, I would recommend this to any F1 fan.
Now playing: F1 Manager 2022 (PC) and GRID Legends (PS5)
I couldn’t be happier to know that Treasure seems to be back in business and ready to make some new games. I have very fond memories of Gunstar Heroes but very much the under-appreciated Dynamite Headdy.
I’m not sure how GC regard it but I was pretty enamoured with the experience as an overexcitable youth. I’m yet to decide on what I’d like to see them release though. An old school 2D run ‘n’ gun would be great but I’d love a to see something more along the lines of a Nex Machina bullet hell onslaught but with their unique visual art style.
GC: It’s good, like most Treasure games are, but we wouldn’t say it’s our favourite of theirs. Mischief Makers is another underappreciated title, also not their best but we’d love if it was available on modern formats.
Ports of ports
Another Nintendo Direct, eh? With Zelda info… I’m sure there will be at some point and, as GC say, ports of the Wii U HD ports of those older 3D titles are as nailed on for a Switch release as it gets. It just depends when they decide to drop them. I expected it to be towards the end of next year (same with Metroid Prime HD) just because you’d think for releases after Zelda: Breath Of The Wild 2 Nintendo would be focusing on the Switch 2, so would need some regular Switch low effort filler on the release schedule that they don’t have to worry about while their minds and resources are elsewhere.
I was keen to pick them up but after not taking to Skyward Sword HD at all (thought the game was awkward to control, dated and restrictive in its design, and felt half finished) not so sure now given I believe that title is often held up as the best of the three(?).
Then there’s the price Nintendo would charge for them. Skyward Sword HD was released at a ludicrous Switch full price £45, and I know the ‘value for money’ rules are different for Nintendo but to put out both ports as separate releases at full price each would really be taking the biscuit, and make Sony look generous with its Last Of Us Part 1. They do have previous here with other Wii U ports.
Let’s see what happens.
PS: I’d take a 4K (or HD on Switch) remaster of Metal Gear Solid 1 to 3 if they add in the port of GameCube’s Twin Snakes over the PS1 original.
GC: It’s difficult to say which is the best of the trio, as they all have their pros and cons. A more content complete The Wind Waker would win by a long stretch but that doesn’t look likely to ever happen.
Not one but two letters in the Wednesday Inbox feeling sorry for Saints Row? If you’re gonna feel sorry for anyone it should be the people who paid good money for it.
GC: They could’ve just read a review.
I will only say this in the most high respect: there must be a remake to Metal Gear Solid. Carry on.
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Pinky, who asks what do you do when you’re stuck in a video game?
As technology has changed so too has the way people cope with difficult games, either because they’re stuck by a puzzle, don’t know where to go, or simply because it’s too hard. So what do you usually do? Do you look for text-based help online, watch a video, ask a friend, or something else?
Do you still buy physical guides and if so, is that primarily for help playing the game or more as a collector’s item?
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