Games Inbox: Do you care about video game stories?

Games Inbox: Do you care about video game stories?

The evening Inbox is very glad that Star Wars: Battlefront II was a sales disappointment, as one reader is very impressed by Baba Is You.

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Yadda, yadda, yadda

Now that we’ve had a weekend of Star Wars reveals, and a lot of games are getting release dates locked down for Christmas, we’re probably going to be due a Call Of Duty reveal in the next few weeks. The Internet seems convinced it’s going to be Modern Warfare 4, which is fine by me except – can anyone remember what the Modern Warfare 4 games were even about?

All I remember is Captain Price shouting a lot, some nukes going off, and I think America was invaded or something? It was a while ago but I’m not sure I really registered what was going on at the time. All I care about, especially with an action game like that is whether I’m having fun in the moment. I often skip cut scenes if I just want to get on with it and often find myself tuning out when people are talking.

I would like to point out that I am absolutely not like that with movies and TV but with games it just doesn’t seem that important. Am I the only one? Like, I’m assuming whatever Modern Warfare 4 will be about it’ll be an incredibly contrived story, but I can tell you now I already don’t care as long as it’s fun.
PS: Obviously this doesn’t count for story-focused games like Life Is Strange.


Safe bet

When GC described Star Wars: Battlefront II as one of the most ‘influential failures’ in video games I thought they were maybe going overboard a bit but when you see them sending out tweets to promise people that a game is single-player with no microtransactions you realise that it’s actually true. Especially when the ‘them’ in question is EA.

I think if loot boxes had become a standard part of gaming then you really would’ve seen, if not the end of single-player than certainly the decline and fall. Multiplayer might be where the money is but I think it’s becoming clear to publishers that a good quality single-player game is a safer beat and easier to manage.

Nobody could’ve guaranteed the success of Apex Legends or that interest would fall off a cliff so quick, but if you make a good quality, big budget single-player game you’re almost always rewarded. I think that’s why Sony has stuck with it so much and I hope that it’s a lesson Microsoft realise too, after the failures of this generation.


Apples vs. oranges

One of the things I love about indie games is how they can literally outdo the big guns. I just played Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, followed shortly afterwards by Nuclear Throne and I genuinely think the indie game has the better gunplay. I know they’re slightly different types of games, especially with Wolfenstein’s stealth elements, but focussing specifically on the variety of guns and how they handle/feel Nuclear Throne definitely has it.

There was something disappointing about the gunplay in The New Colossus that’s hard to put my finger on, but it just felt a bit stodgy. Maybe the selection of weapons was too similar to New Order or perhaps playing the Doom remake last year with its free-flowing, fluid gunplay made The New Colossus seem stiff. Either way Nuclear Throne was way more thrilling.

The guns felt really meaty and dangerous, accentuated wonderfully by the Switch’s HD rumble. Using the super bazooka to blow up half the level (but hopefully not yourself) was so much fun and the sheer range of weapons on offer is amazing. I’m pretty sure I never even got to see them all. I think one thing holding back bigger budget games is an attempt to keep a sense of realism with their guns. Personally, I’d much prefer it if they just went crazy and made them fun.
Ryan O’D

GC: We agree on that final point, but the two games really have nothing in common other than they both have guns in them. That said, Wolfenstein I and II have some of our favourite first person gunplay of the generation.


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Welcome surprise

I don’t know if you already knew but there’s going to be a Ni No Kuni film.

I haven’t played the first one but thought the second one was excellent. It looked and sounded absolutely beautiful, truly like stepping into a Studio Ghibli animation. The gameplay was great as well, with the active combat, kingdom-building and real-time strategy sections really mixing things up. As much as I enjoyed it, I didn’t get the impression it had done terribly well and am surprised to see it getting made into a film. Was it a big hit in Japan or something?

I hope so, as I would really like to see the series continue. I gather Wrath Of The White Witch was pretty different so I’d love to see them change it up again for a third entry while retaining the same beautiful aesthetics.
Ryan O’D

GC: It was an (underserved) flop everywhere, so the film is very surprising.


Justified success

A game such as Baba Is You would’ve passed me by if it wasn’t for your recent review, which piqued my interest. So I took the plunge at the weekend for just over 11 quid and it’s certainly not been a disappointment.

It’s exactly what a puzzle game should be: intriguing, unique, difficult but not impossible, ruthlessly logical, and gives you options on how to solve each riddle. And strangely relaxing. It can be frustrating at times, as you know the answer is there on the single screen right in front of your face, but the right side of frustrating as you know you’ll get it eventually. Eventually.

I love the logic and premise, and although the lack of hint system could be a drawback, I actually prefer that it doesn’t have one as it could be tempting to use it after a few minutes of being stuck, rather than thinking laterally for the answer. And to top it all it’s perfect for the Switch for either a quick blast on the sofa or even a more elongated session.

Highly recommended for anyone with a Switch or PC (looked earlier and glad to see it was the second most downloaded game on the Switch in March). Also, nice to see that the single programmer is alive and prosperous.
TheTruthSoul (PSN ID)

GC: Was it that successful? That’s very good to hear.


End of an era

Just as a point of info for Nintendo fans but today was Reggie Fils-Aime’s last day at Nintendo. For a marketing guy that never gave a straight answer to anything he was pretty popular and he’s already set-up a new Twitter account. Somehow I doubt he’s going to start spilling the beans on Nintendo secrets though.

Since the new guy is called Bowser I think they’ve chosen a pretty good replacement, but we’ll have to see how he goes. Although he’s been at Nintendo of America for a while now, so I doubt there’s going to be any radical shift in style.

Even when they are just marketing guys I like how Nintendo execs seem a lot more approachable than other companies, certainly Sony. Not surprised to see their version of Nintendo direct is just a robot voice behind some trailers.


Then and now

How things change!

My choice for the VR Hot Topic must be the VR Star Wars.

Having gamed for many years this short experience was a dream come true.

Astro Bot, Resident Evil 7, WipEout and many others are superb but Star Wars: Battlefront fulfilled a wish I thought not possible.

We all as gamers need to pause at times and relish how far we have travelled and enjoy the media available, looking round an X-Wing in VR is an experience my C64 12-year-old head would never have believed!

None of this would be allowed without the patience of Mrs Bullman! (Happy Birthday, love you)
Merry Easter all.


Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here


Good response

I have to commend Nintendo for how they’ve handled the Switch. They were up against it when the Wii U was out and many people thought there would be a knee jerk reaction with a quick fire next gen console out as soon as possible. They didn’t.

Then they got the whole ‘the Switch is what the Wii U should have been’ opinions from gamers that had never played the console. Fast forward to today and the Switch seems to have pulled more rabbits out of the hat in which it can be utilised than any other console I can remember in history.

I must admit when I first saw that camera on the right Joy-Con I thought to myself, ‘This is going to go the same way as the 3DS augmented reality’. As in you won’t see it used ever again, but oh boy how I was wrong.

I had a go of the VR over the weekend and I was surprised how good it works, although I’m still pretty adamant this is not the answer to everyone’s gaming prayers (especially local multiplayer).
Which did make me ask a few questions.

If Nintendo are serious about VR games then they seem to have put themselves somewhat between a rock and a hard place. By that I mean they have a cardboard accessory with no head strap (I understand for age rating purposes). What is to stop a third party bringing out a robust one that clings to your head?

Let’s assume Nintendo beat them to the punch and bring out their own, it would still make the Labo kit seem less desirable once the flurry of games start coming out for it. Maybe that’s why it is sold
separately as a cheaper package?

Also, I understand Nintendo were running Resident Evil 7 on the Japanese Switch a while back, streaming it I think? I’m sure you’ll put me right GC if I’m wrong. Could it possibly be that they are
looking at the VR version?

Anyway, from that first Switch reveal trailer a few years ago I never thought I would be playing pianos, moving remote control insects/vehicles, or indeed sitting at a table with Mario in VR. On another note it does make me wonder if the Wii U could’ve done VR using similar techniques but Nintendo cut their loses and knew that this was a trick up their sleeves best kept for another console? Who knows?

GC: It remains to be seen whether Nintendo will use VR for anything else beyond the two patched games released this month. After all, Mario Kart 8 is still the only one that uses the Labo controllers. Resident Evil 7 is a streaming title in Japan, but there seem to be no plans to release it here.


Inbox also-rans

I was still hoping for something based in the Knights Of The Old Republic era for Star Wars but I was still pretty happy with the weekend’s announcements. Although it’s even more confusing now why EA cancelled Visceral’s game because it was single-player.

I agree that that footage from The Mandalorian, potato cam or not, looks amazing. Far more interested in that than Episode IX. Here’s the best version I could find, by the way, I don’t think there’s any problem showing it. Disney will order a strike down on the video if they’re that bothered.


This week’s Hot Topic

The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Carnie, who asks what’s your dream licensed video game?

Games based on movies, TV shows, comics, and other existing properties have seen something of a resurgence in recent months, particularly with Star Wars and Marvel, but what video game would you most want to see made based on something that already exists? Whether it’s James Bond or Hellboy let us know what kind of game it’d be and if you have a dream developer you’d like to see work on it.

Please remember it’s the Easter bank holiday this week, so we need as many emails in as soon as possible and by Thursday afternoon at the latest.

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]


The small print
New Inbox updates appear twice daily, every weekday morning and afternoon. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length.

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