Games Inbox: How often do you play on the highest difficulty?

Games Inbox: How often do you play on the highest difficulty?

The evening Inbox recommends visting this weekend’s MCM Comic Con, as one reader explains why he’s getting the PS5 day one.

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Whack it up

On the subject of game difficulty levels, I used to always play my games on every difficulty available, starting on the easiest, but as I got older the lower difficulties became too easy and boring. Now I usually whack the difficulty up to the hardest or the one below depending on how many difficulty settings there are, especially if it’s a first person shooter because for me the challenge makes for a more enjoyable game. I’m quite proud to say that I’ve managed to complete all of the more recent Call Of Duties and Titanfall 2 on the hardest setting.

XCOM 2 however, has been a humbling experience. I really liked the first one, which I played through on the default setting so reading the descriptions of four difficulties of the sequel – Rookie, Veteran, Commander and Legend – the second one, Veteran, sounded about right: ‘A challenge appropriate for people familiar with XCOM’.

On the very first proper mission two of my squad get killed! The next mission I fail to complete the objective before the time runs out.

For the first time in many years I had to admit defeat and restart a game on the lowest difficulty. Hat’s off to anyone that’s beaten XCOM 2 on Legend!


Observable difference

Observation has proven to me just how much people have different tastes and can get different experiences from the same game. I read a few reviews yesterday and the lowest score I saw was an 8/10, so I was really surprised to see GC give it a 3/10.

I trust GC and I trust the critics from the other reviews I read, so I will have to try the game out for myself to see what I think. I was a big fan of Stories Untold, so was curious to see how this game was going to be. Hopefully my experience will be more towards the upper end of the spectrum rather than the lower.
Angry_Kurt (Twitter)

GC: There seem to be quite a few 5s and 6s on Metacritic. Maybe the others just hadn’t seen 2001 before.


The spice of life

Regarding Rickandrolla, I think that as you get older these gaming slumps are ever more prevalent as it sometimes feels as if you have played everything already. I felt like this last year and my solution was to only play franchises that I had never played before. I purchased a 3DS and bought Metroid: Samus Returns, Luigi’s Mansion 2, Fire Emblem: Awakening, and Pokémon Sun.

Playing these definitely had the desired effect as I thoroughly enjoyed them all, and in fact Fire Emblem is now a firm favourite. Also helps to mix up what you are playing, for example after playing an open world action game try something completely different like a racing game or strategy title. These things work for me anyway so definitely worth a try.


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100% PlayStation

RE: Cranston. Normally I wait 18-24 months before upgrading to the next gen, by then they’ve got a nice library of games and improved the hardware, e.g. I didn’t join this gen till the PS4 slim was available. I then got a Pro too – one up, one downstairs. I’ve so many games in my backlog I can go for years having something to play. The only time I’ve bought at launch was the Dreamcast, still my favourite ever console despite its early demise.

Even with this in mind, I’ll definitely be upgrading at launch to the PlayStation 5 the day it’s out. I’ve had so much enjoyment out of my PlayStation 4 I don’t want to wait to upgrade this time. If it’s £399-449, as rumoured, that’s a drop in the ocean compared to the hours I’ll likely get out of it, and if all the stats being leaked are true it’ll be one hell of a machine, for once I want to enjoy it from day one.

It’ll be interesting to see what Microsoft come up with, I don’t personally know anyone that exclusively owns/plays an Xbox One now, nor have any of them expressed any interest at all in their next console – yet they’re all buzzing for the PlayStation 5. This is just the second gen I’ve known (since the PS1) that my friends haven’t been split into a half own this, and half own that crowd; it’s 100% PlayStation players, with a few Switch owners thrown in that use them as portables. Microsoft will have to really pull some rabbit out of the hat to change the general consensus that their consoles are devoid of anything decent to play that you can’t play elsewhere. I can’t see Forza/Halo and Gears being enough to convince PlayStation 4 owners to switch to the Xbox Two/1080 or whatever they call it.

I hope I’m wrong, I don’t want Sony to have no major direct competition, as they may become complacent. Nintendo have never been a major player in my circle, merely an added alternative as a second machine than a daily driver. Even in their glory days my pals and I all had Mega Drives and we were all in our late 20s when the Wii blew up.

I’m forgetting Google’s cloud thing in all this, as it doesn’t personally interest me at all. If I can’t buy my games in boxes or play them offline I don’t want to know. But it may really shake up the industry. I do know I’m excited for the next generation, and I wasn’t at all for the last one, as it didn’t really seem like a step up (still doesn’t at times even now).


No rest for the wicked

I thought I’d chime in again (thanks for the mention AudioSpanks, I’m glad you like my occasional contributions to the Inbox).

After reading Rickandrolla’s letter it occurred to me that he could do worse than give Subnautica a go and then lo and behold further down there was Andrew Wright’s letter singing its praises. I concur with everything he said.

I think your advice to try something a bit different is spot on. We all hit the gaming doldrums from time to time, I know I do but usually a game turns up that gets me back on the gaming track and more often than not it’s the kind of game I wouldn’t normally consider playing. Like the old adage, ‘a change is sometimes as good as a rest’.
Gill C.


Weekend suggestion

Will any GC readers, or indeed GC themselves, be attending MCM London Comic Con at the ExCel this weekend?

It might not seem like the most obvious destination to advocate here but there is genuinely a bona fide treasure trove of activities, panels, guests, etc. for gamers over the course of the weekend.

Excitingly, SyFy Channel are launching their new immersive 11:11 VR game and running demos all weekend; the Doctor Who VR game that GC previewed earlier this week is also being showcased; 2K Games are hosting a Borderlands cosplay competition, if that kinda thing floats your boat; PlayStation has a large presence (at the expense of Nintendo it seems, who are usually in attendance) and will be showing off their latest titles; Akira Himekawa, the duo behind the ongoing Legend Of Zelda manga series, will be signing books; the likes of Bandai Namco, Blizzard, Nippon, and Idea Factory have stands, and there is a ‘Side Quest’ retro gaming area; The Xbox Oxventurers will be embarking on their latest quest live on the Main Stage on the Friday (yeah, I’ve no idea about that one either); and Insert Coin Clothing have a stall selling a bunch of retro gaming tops.

On top of that both Nolan North (the voice of Nathan Drake) and Troy Baker (voices in The Last Of Us, Persona 4, Metal Gear, God Of War, etc.) are both in attendance and doing various panels over the weekend.

Away from gaming, the likes of the DC Arrow cast, the Clerks cast (Snoogans!), some Walking Dead cast members, some My Hero Academia cast members, David Harbour and Sebastian Shaw, are all in attendance – and there’s a bunch of movie screenings and toy unveils and stuff.

I know it sounds like I probably work for MCM at this point – but I promise I don’t! I just wanted to draw attention to what is genuinely an excellent Comic Con, infinitely more funsome than the overcrowded and overpriced London Film & Comic Con at the Olympia, says I.
Bingo Rose


Review preview

I love reading your reviews of games and will also listen to your thoughts and views on everything because they’re usually pretty bang on. I just have one small issue – sometimes I think you give too much away with the link to a review. I love reading a review and not knowing whether the reviewer is going to like or dislike it.

A good review is like a puzzle that you slowly build and the score at the end is the final piece – which yours always are. However a lot of the time I can clearly gauge from the words used in the link that you haven’t liked a game, e.g. the review of Observation used the phrase ‘tries to be 2001’ at which point I can infer that the game is going to be a disappointment.

I know it’s easier said than done but keeping the link as generic as possible creates a bit of mystery for a little longer around a title. Love you guys though – keep up the great work!

GC: That’s a fair point, but it’s tricky as that headline has to entice people in to read the review, and the more obscure the game the more explicit it needs to be. But we’ll try to avoid implying anything about the quality in the future, although that’s extra difficult if it’s really good.


Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here


Deep gameplay

Loving the Subnautica comments recently, as I am well and truly getting really deep into this amazing game. You get a good mixture of feelings in this game. You could at one point be sublimely collecting supplies and parts for crafting and enjoying the colourful ocean environments and the next moment, crossing accidentally into a dangerous creature’s territory and then frantically escaping to the surface to avoid injury or death.

My most thrilling moments were exploring trenches and getting deeper and deeper with a mixture of bioluminescent creatures and surroundings just mesmerising you. The next moment is panic as you realise you’ve gone down too far and the craft you’re in starts to show window cracks and also the sounds of the buckling of your craft. Quick! Travel to the surface, the pressure is going to kill me.

Another great moment, along with the radio communication chatter advancing the plotline, is seeing your first Leviathan. Some are friendly and just ignore you and are just like floating reefs, whilst others are like that creature in the recent Aquaman, coming from the oceans deep depths, and can nearly swallow your deep sea vessel whole.

I feel games like this can help people who have become a bit bored of their normal gaming titles and can rekindle their gaming excitement again, especially as the gamer’s safe familiar titles can start feeling a little bit stale after some time. GC are right in that something way different to your usual list of titles can reinvigorate your gaming love and help you branch out a bit more.

Finding new biomes to explore and building your underwater facility to live in as you explore Subnautica’s world has definitely helped me expand my gaming tastes and I highly recommend this game to other fellow GC viewers.


Inbox also-rans

GC, do you plan to review Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth? Surely one of the last games being released on the 3DS?
eyetunes (PSN ID)

GC: Yes, it’s a crossover with Etrian Odyssey – one of our favourite mobile franchises.

I still find it weird that Rockstar have never remade the original GTA games. Or indeed any of their games. Normally they strike me as the sort of company that would obsesses over their back catalogue.


This week’s Hot Topic

The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Xane, who asks who is your favourite non-playable video games character?

Whether they’re story-based or not most games are filled with NPCs (non-player characters), so we want to know who your favourite is and why? Do they have a big role in the game and are they a serious, dramatic character or more of a comic relief?

Is it their dialogue or appearance that you like, or perhaps their function within the game? What makes a memorable NPC and are there any that have elevated an otherwise mediocre game, or one so annoying it’s almost ruined a good one?

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