Games Inbox: Is Zelda: Skyward Sword HD worth playing again?

Games Inbox: Is Zelda: Skyward Sword HD worth playing again?

The Monday Inbox talks about real life moments that remind you of video games, as one reader celebrates Max Payne’s 20th anniversary.

To join in with the discussions yourself email [email protected]

Welcome change
After being dubious about Zelda: Skyward Sword HD, I decided to take the plunge and I’m glad to say, I’ve enjoyed it far more than I ever did on the Wii. My issue with the motion controls was that once you’ve swung the ‘sword’ in one direction, re-centring would often register as a strike in the other direction, making a lot of the minor enemies more cumbersome to defeat than they needed to be. Whether that was the game or me, I don’t know. However, being able to bypass that entirely makes the gameplay much slicker. And yes, a little easier, which has probably helped.

Sure, the camera controls are maddening (I still find myself occasionally pressing the wrong shoulder button in a pinch) and the underlying flaws with the amount of backtracking remain evident. But whether the game now plays as it should, or that I’m just more able to play it as it was intended, either way Skyward Sword feels like a deserving remaster rather than one that exists for the sake of it.
Needlemouse91

GC: For better or worse the original version was exactly as it was supposed to be. The remaster’s control system is an entirely new idea.

One third better
Just watch the numerous Digital Foundry videos of third party games running at higher resolution and higher frame rates at joints.

This is not just one off, it’s a recurring theme. The difference in resolution usually is pretty much exactly the same, about 30% ordinarily.

Do you think developers just arbitrarily made a decision to reduce resolution by that amount?

That’s the theoretical difference manifesting in reality.
Kiran

Crow’s Awakening
Just wanted to praise Death’s Door and would heartily recommend it. Took me 14 hours to down the final boss but there’s quite a few mysteries to solve with some so far fairly in-depth post-game content.

It’s been likened to the recent Zelda: Link’s Awakening remake and I would agree. The exploration of the world is the core drive of the game, with a world that’s well designed and had me thinking about it when I wasn’t playing. It’s a pretty world too, with likable characters and good music. The combat is responsive and satisfying without being complex or too challenging. It’s not a hard game but does have testing parts.

It’s the best £15 I spent for a while. It’s a shame it’s Xbox/PC only as the game deserves the audience of the combined 200 million Switch and PlayStation 4 and 5 owners. I expect it will release on those platforms at some point though and it’s well worth picking up.
Simundo

GC: It is odd that it’s an Xbox exclusive and yet isn’t on Game Pass. We’re enjoying it too and hope to have time for a review.

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

IRL
Hope you’re all well. Can I please suggest an idea for a Hot Topic?

I think it would be good to ask readers if there is any situation that they have encountered in real life that reminds them of a game, or a moment in a game? For example, I’ve had a few car journeys which have reminded me of moments in OutRun, I’ve walked around tropical islands with massive towers which made me want to climb them like in Far Cry 3, and as a student we arranged different parts of Christmas dinner to be cooked in multiple kitchens to be served simultaneously, like an Overcooked level!

Do you think there are legs in the idea, or is perhaps a bit too specific? If you do decide to run it, perhaps readers could also send in pictures of their situation, if they have them?
Julian

GC: It’s a nice idea but we think it’s probably a bit too specific to garner enough replies. Readers can feel free to suggest incidents in the weekday Inbox though.

Amazon’s Choice
A heads up for anyone who uses Amazon Prime, with your Prime subscription you also get access to Prime Gaming – which I didn’t realise until recently.

At the moment you get a free key for Battlefield 1, with Battlefield 5 following on 2nd August. OK, so you have to use the horror that is EA Origins, but I guess you can’t have everything!

There’s a few other freebies, including Secret Of Monkey Island, Automachef, and the Telltale Batman game!

So…. more free games!

Just thought I would let everyone know, as I had no idea this was even a thing until recently!

Happy gaming everyone!
The Dude Abides

Do Panic
I’ve just received my official Playdate email from Panic, to finally let me know their brand new tiny yellow handheld device is officially going to be available to pre-order on Thursday, 29th July, I believe at 17:00 BST. (I’m just glad I didn’t hold my breath on this one, since it was first announced way back in March 2019.)

However, Panic are still not actually giving any official specific release dates yet, they’re only stating late this year. Apparently, there will be approximately 20,000 units available on the first day of release, but they have also said that they will ramp up production if need be, depending on the actual demand. The second batch of Playdates will be available next year.

Panic want you to pay the full cost of the handheld upfront but if you do decide to cancel in the meantime you can get your full refund back from them. I’m just very curious to how this particular little tiny handheld will pan out once it’s been released, because if nothing else it’s definitely something different and quirky, especially how you play and receive the games on it.

It will be very interesting to see what the Playdate can actually do and see how the general gaming public react to it all. And no, I’m not saying for one minute it’s going to be as popular as the Game Boy or Switch, quite the opposite to be fair with you. So, I think I will just sit on the fence on this one at the moment, just to see how the reviews come in and react once it has finally been released.
JAH

Cheap money
I was just writing into let people know, or remind them, if they are buying anything in the PSN Store sales that ShopTo have discounted PSN Store vouchers on their website. They have them in euros or UK pounds. You can get a £50 voucher for £43.85, which is 12% off the normal price. They have the vouchers at this price all year round.

Bought some vouchers this year to buy some PS Vita, PSP, and PlayStation 3 games.
Andrew J.
Currently playing: Borderlands 2 co-op (Xbox One X)

Git easy
A lovely article this weekend on difficulty in video games, and nice to read the perspective of someone who is locked out of these games through a combination of Asperger’s, skills, age, and time. The arguments were quite clear and balanced and I enjoyed reading it. I knew a few may be riled up… and of course there were comments accusing the author of having a ‘hissy fit’ and the, apparently obligatory, assertion that the author should ‘git gud’. These arguments are seen time and time again across the internet, and I have to say I dismay reading them in response to someone who has said upfront they have Asperger’s and goes on to make it clear why the game, in its current guise, can’t be enjoyed by them. That’s not to say I am in any way surprised by the comments of course, people seem to want to protect Dark Souls and FromSoftware, and are very passionate about it.

This lashing out against changes to video games is nothing new. There is a very recent example with Superhot, which was being review-bombed on Steam for deleting scenes of self-harm. I wondered to myself why those gamers seemed to lack a pretty basic level of empathy for people in different situations, and how that could be a trigger for people suffering, or who had suffered, from self-harm. My wife self-harmed for a time after the passing of her father, and it was one of the worst things in our lives to have experienced. To be so overwhelmed with grief and emotion that you turn to self-harm as a coping mechanism is an unhappy memory, and I’m glad the developers saw fit to remove those types of scenes from the (absolutely excellent) game.

Now, of course I can already feel many people would be bringing out the words ‘snowflake’ and all those tired Nigel Farage-isms and I get that lots of people don’t feel this way. If Brexit, Trump, and the rise of right-leaning politics everywhere has taught me anything, it’s that not everyone is as sensitive as I would like, and there is a huge cohort of people fed up of everything being more inclusive.

I wonder if the reaction to the difficulty argument is, on a less extreme scale, a symptom of culture war currently ongoing all around the world. Many people are fed up of the world changing all around them and are fighting back against that. I feel the same reaction is seen to the suggestion of an easy mode. Changes that ostensibly wouldn’t affect the players who play on normal mode. But still, the reaction is negative, and not supportive of people asking for change. ‘Our world should not change, YOU, player of low skill, Asperger’s, no free time and slow reflexes, YOU should change’.

It reminds me of the introduction, and wholehearted fight back against, gay marriage. Many people who were fighting against that would lose no rights. They already had, and would continue to have, the right to be married. But they were passionate about it anyway. They fought back and did not want their world to change. It was not the way the developer (God I suppose) intended, was the argument. Again, I see parallels in the difficulty argument. The people who absolutely do not want it would lose nothing. They still have normal mode. We would only open up the experience to more people! But it is not the way the developer intended.

Bringing it back away from divisive politics and back to games, I remember playing Viewtiful Joe back in 2003. It had two difficulty modes, Kids and Adult. I had just turned 18 at the time and considered myself a bit of gaming maestro so put it straight onto Adult, and quickly received a humbling from a game which, it turned out, was a basic beat ‘em-up but one that was based on skill. Learning Joe’s move-set and learning enemy attack patterns (particularly that boss rush at the end!) was key to victory. I finished the game on Kids, and after that I went back to Adult and finished that game and felt very proud of myself for doing so. A challenge overcome through perseverance, just like Dark Souls seems to aim for.

Many people give up on, or even worse never try Dark Souls. We see plenty of letters saying I won’t try this, “it’s too hard” and the inclusion of an easy mode would encourage people to buy it, some people to stick with, and who knows some people may even graduate from Easy to Normal and feel as awesome as I did when I finally beat Viewtiful Joe. I would welcome that wholeheartedly, the more gamers who play and enjoy it the better.

Lastly, I completely understand that lots of people will disagree. I am under no illusions of being completely right. It’s just my opinion and in many ways, I just wanted to write this down to compartmentalise my own thoughts about the lack of support for the author in some comments. If this does get printed, I’ll have to stay well away from the comments section, I’m far too sensitive for that. As Maximo Park said, if everyone became this sensitive, perhaps I wouldn’t be so sensitive. Ah, If only there was an easy mode for life.
Henshin Agogo

Inbox also-rans
Call me cynical but launching the Crash Bandicoot anniversary celebrations two months early and right around the time the reports of Activision Blizzard’s awful workplace harassment come out really seems like a distraction technique.
TGN Professor

Max Payne turned 20 recently! It was one of my favourite games back on the PlayStation 2, here’s a fun little anniversary video from Remedy.
LastYearsModel

This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Olliephant, who asks what is your least favourite video game genre?

No one likes every type of video game so which ones do you automatically avoid? Was there a particular game that put you off them and how many have you tried, to know you don’t like them? Given modern games often include elements from multiple genres do you ever avoid them too, if they have too much of the genre you don’t like?

What’s the closest you’ve come to enjoying the type of game you don’t like and is there anything simple developers could change in order for you to enjoy it more?

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

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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