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Games Inbox: Xbox Developer Direct reactions, Avowed combat, and Alan Wake 2 Platinum-GameCentral-Entertainment – Metro

The Friday letters page is impressed by Indiana Jones And The Great Circle, as one reader hopes for a new Road Rash game.

Games Inbox: Xbox Developer Direct reactions, Avowed combat, and Alan Wake 2 Platinum-GameCentral-Entertainment – Metro

Did Xbox put on a good show? (Picture: Microsoft)

The Friday letters page is impressed by Indiana Jones And The Great Circle, as one reader hopes for a new Road Rash game.

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Indy gaming
That was a really solid Xbox Developer Direct, just as I thought it might be. Like GC said, Microsoft has got pretty good at these things now, by basically doing what Sony used to but for some reason can no longer be bothered to. I’m not going to get into why that is (actually, I have no idea) but I liked how Xbox presented themselves.

That said, the only game I’m actually interested in is Indiana Jones And The Great Circle, but the others weren’t embarrassing or anything. In fact, everything looked presentable and hitting its target of what it wanted to be. I do think Avowed and Hellblade 2 are the least interesting things on Xbox’s schedules though and they kind of have to ‘get them out of the way’ before they can really hit their stride, but even the ultra-generic Avowed didn’t look that bad.

Indiana Jones seemed really good though, very impressive graphics and while the first person view seems kind of weird I liked the gameplay they showed. You could tell there was a lot of love in it, and I really hope this can wash away the bad taste of the modern movies. Good job, now let’s see Sony try to beat them (I bet they don’t even try).
Purple Ranger

You know the tune
Da, da, da, daa, da, da, da
Da, da, da, daa, da, da, da, da, da…

That Indiana Jones game looks right up my strata, loved Indy since being a kid, Nazis… booo! Old James Bond… yay! Short Round, leather whip, snakes, and ‘that belongs in a museum’. Really enjoyed all the Wolfenstein games and this looks quality, much more so than Avowed’s janky looking combat. And as a bonus, no aliens, time travel or Shia LaBeouf!

Visions Of Mana too, Japanese anime role-players have been a genre I’ve liked for many, many years and have been very few and far between these last couple of generations. The release of Ni No Kuni recently on Game Pass was a godsend, already played it on PlayStation 3 I think? But liked it so much so that I couldn’t wait to revisit it again: ‘Mr Drippy in’t it.’

So, as well as Hellblade it was quite a good little Direct this time, looking forward to the coming months now.
big boy bent

Indy’s Fortune
Just watched the Indiana Jones trailer (thanks for the link, GC) and must be honest that game looks right up my street. A bit like Uncharted but not, if you know what I mean. Could do with a bit more work on gameplay but to me that really looked fantastic.

Does it make me want to go out and buy an Xbox? Not yet. Does it make me want to borrow my mates when he goes on holiday? Oh yes, that really did make me smile, something Xbox has never made me do because if I was playing that I’d be Short Round.

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An unjust world
I’m genuinely shocked at how badly Xbox consoles are selling, even in America now. Three years after launch, in what should be its prime and Xbox Series X/S is being outsold by the nearly seven year old Switch. And on top of that it had a $150 price cut over Christmas! And this is it selling more than it did last year?!

People say that Phil Spencer doesn’t know what he’s doing, but clearly he was right when he said that Xbox’s problem is that everyone became embedded in the PlayStation ecosystem last gen and they’re not leaving. Because the thing is, just as the Xbox doesn’t deserve to be doing this badly there’s no way the PlayStation 5 deserves to be doing this well – and I say that as an owner.

Sony has been asleep at the wheel for well over a year now and they’re not being punished for it, they’re being rewarded. I’m not surprised to hear rumours of Microsoft changing tact but until streaming is viable for everyone I really don’t know what else they can do.

Publisher approved
Just as predicted, there were lots of letters in the Inbox yesterday claiming that it wasn’t actually gamers’ fault that physical gaming has died off and it’s not just laziness on their part… before immediately describing how onerous it is to change a disc and how it’s literally impossible to wait a day for a game to be delivered from Amazon.

I’m not having a go at anyone specifically, but this situation is our collective fault. There are no benefits to digital games except some very minor conveniences, whereas the downsides are many and serious.

Like GC said though, the die is cast. There’s nothing we can do about it now. Trade-ins and physical games are never coming back, and publishers will be very pleased at that. It’s a good rule of thumb that if publishers want something it’s bad for consumers and yet we all sleepwalked into this one.

Manual nostalgia
it’s a sad day for the format of physical discs… not so much now but getting the game and opening to find a full-size map or poster or photo was part of the joy of a boxed game.

Sadly, at the moment, got some serious health issues going on but wanted to thank you for the pleasure you guys have given me since the Teletext days and made some great friends via the site. 58 and still fighting.

GC: We’re sorry to hear you’re ill, we hope you have a speedy recovery.

The answer is yes
Racked up three Platinum trophies recently to take my total to a modest 11. The three were:

Alan Wake 2 (total playtime: 40 hours)

I had issues with this game but it’s a unique experience that I would recommend.

But Its gameplay shortcomings, of turgid survival combat and mindplace having less interactivity than QTEs, along with the feeling it’s not quite as clever narratively and storywise as some others think, means I don’t regard it as highly as many or think it’s close to a masterpiece, as some feel.

RoboCop: Rogue City (total playtime: 18 hours)

Odd game. You do spend a lot of time talking and doing mundane beat cop stuff and the couple of open-ish world sections where this is most prominent do drag a little.

But the Auto 9 may be my second favourite video game gun after Halo’s battle rifle and when on the more mission-based action sections it’s very enjoyable. For such a violent IP it’s quite a charming game to be honest.

The Invincible (total playtime: 14 hours)

A sci-fi themed walking sim that was a bit disappointing. It feels slow even for a walking sim, both in the character movement and pacing of the story. The themes and story, while my cup of tea, hence the purchase, wasn’t as compelling as I’d hoped. Invested enough though to seek out all the endings.

Picked up a few more games with Christmas vouchers: Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, Chants Of Sennaar, and Gravity Circuit, which will be my next game as I fancy a bit of old school platforming. I’ve got my eye on Pacific Drive next month too, been hearing good things. Ain’t gaming great?

Rash statement
It really hurts that we haven’t had a Road Rash remake with the current hardware at our fingertips. Just imagine that raw road action.

Races that last 15 minutes, that biker that took you down appearing on your horizon, ahead running on the current machines. Don’t EA still have ownership of the franchise?

GC: There should be no reason why EA doesn’t still own the IP, but they haven’t used it in over a decade. There was indie homage Road Redemption a few years ago, but it wasn’t very good.

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Scream louder
It’s relatively easy to see why the death of physical games is happening. It’s not just down to laziness.

I think the only handful of physical games I’ve bought in the last decade are Nintendo Switch cartridges, and even then I’m annoyed every time I have to switch out a cartridge to play a quick blast of Mario Kart. It genuinely acts as an obstacle to the principle of a quick go.

I stopped buying physical games after I moved to London, which is so sprawling that it doesn’t have a clearly defined high street like most cities. I have no idea if I’ve lived near a games store, certainly not one that I’d entertain going into on a regular basis. This coincided with the rise of Amazon and ease of the digital storefronts, almost permanent sales and PlayStation Plus freebies. I rarely pay more than £10-20 for a game and the ease of purchasing a game when a bit tipsy means I have a massive backlog I can never hope to play. I also did not want my living room cluttered with ugly game boxes.

Another reason is there was always something onerous about the burgeoning second-hand market. I used to really enjoy scouring the 2 for £20 section in Electronics Boutique but that was a long time ago. That gave over to companies like GAME making all their income from second-hand sales. It seemed there was a growing number of people who would buy a game on release, play it immediately, trade it in within a week and it would then go back on sale at almost retail price. This was never a sustainable business model.

It may have lined the pockets of GAME in the short term and led to gamers almost viewing buying games as a rental. This led to reduced money to developers as the second-hand market meant the same copy of the game was just sold multiple times very rapidly, with most of the money going to the retailer at massively inflated profit margins.

This put me off and I thought at least by buying digital some of the money would be going to the developer, though I don’t profess to know anything about the way these things are funded or how much they get. But they at least got some of the pie rather than none.

I was one of the first to be screaming from the rooftops when Xbox One tried to take away our consumer rights in game ownership, but I’ve naturally gravitated that way anyway.
Thewearehere (PSN ID)

Inbox also-rans
RE: Baldur’s Gate 3 being hardcore. Maybe the ringbournesouls games have twisted my view to the point where I draw a straight line from easy mode to accessible. Thinking about it, Baldur’s Gate 3 is anything but. My bad.

The ‘giant looking guy’ in the Indiana Jones trailer is actor Tony Todd. I guess GC are not fans of Candyman.

GC: Not especially? Tony Todd has a cool voice though.

Is Awoved set in the Pillars Of Eternity universe? There was nary a mention of it in the showcase. Regardless it’s clearly going to play very differently from the Pillars games it seems.

GC: It is set in the same universe, at one point the dev mentions it takes place on the world of Eora.

This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Gadfly, who asks how interested are you in retro gaming and are publishers doing enough to support your favourites?

Do you play a lot of older games, either on their original format or via remasters? What percentage of your gaming time is spent on retro titles and do you enjoy them just as much as newer games? Is it just a matter of nostalgia or are there things that the older games do that you can’t get from modern titles?

When it comes to your favourite games and systems do you think publishers are doing enough to keep them easily available to everyone and what would you like them to do in the future, especially in terms of remasters, remakes, and sequels.

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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 via email or our Submit Stuff page, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

You can also leave your comments below and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter.

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