Have you given up hope? (pic: Sony)
The Monday Inbox considers the likelihood of Sony ever making another PlayStation portable, as one reader gets his mojo back with Dirt 5.
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All right for some
I had Thursday and Friday off work so hoped to get lucky, as that’s when the rumoured next shipment of UK PlayStation 5 was going to be available.
I constantly refreshed stock checkers but no joy and by late Friday afternoon I couldn’t be bothered to play that tedious game anymore. The exact point might have been when one stock checker updated with info that Smyths now had the home delivery option selectable for PlayStation 5 when it was disabled before. Surely meaning the page was being readied for orders. The home delivery option is now disabled again, so probably a glitch.
I expect that shipment will be available very soon. But I can’t be bothered to make sure I’m there ready to order one in the nanoseconds before they are sold out again. It’s no one’s fault but it always feels strange some are fairing very well in the pandemic. Gaming is doing very well, digital entertainment in general is understandably very popular. The average house price in the UK has gone up by 15 grand due to the stamp duty holiday and Elon Musk’s net worth has swelled by $150 billion to make him the richest person in the world. Bet he’s got a PlayStation 5.
Hearing that Naughty Dog are working on a ‘cool’ new project gives me some hope that maybe their next game isn’t going to be The Last Of Us Part 3, because I don’t think that’s how they’d describe. I think it’s inevitable that it probably will be but I really wish Naughty Dog would expand their horizons a little and try to innovate gameplay as much as they do making cut scenes.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed all their games but it always seems like they could be much more if they pushed the gameplay, which is basically the same whether it’s Uncharted or The Last Of Us. They’ve got basically an infinite budget, so I’d love them to do something crazy and experimental for their next game. But I bet they don’t.
Instead, I imagine there’ll do another The Last Of Us in which they try to redeem the completely unredeemable Ellie and mess up Abby’s story too, because she didn’t turn out popular with fans. Add in a lot of stealth sections that are fun but basically all the same and I feel like I can imagine the game already, without them making it or me playing it.
Maybe I’m being too negative but Naughty Dog are one of the best developers in the world and spending all of their modern era on two franchises, both of which play near identically, seems a waste to me.
Up your alley
Good feature from David regarding Cyberpunk 2077. I can only echo what he said, the game is so compelling to play. For me, the world just begs to be explored. So many times I’ve been distracted by side quests or the multitude of alleyways and streets to investigate. I think the developers have done an incredible job of creating such an amazing world.
One final note, I bought the game on base Xbox One but I was lucky to get an Xbox Series S for Christmas, I couldn’t believe how much different the game plays. It looks and plays so much better, the city is more populated and doesn’t crash anywhere near the amount it did on base Xbox One.
The game should have delayed for the base consoles and released when it when it actually works better. But for those who have a next gen (current gen?) console I cannot recommend it enough. An amazing game.
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I’ve found myself in a bit of a gaming rut recently and I’ve really found it a struggle to properly get into new games, I have put down Watch Dogs: Legion after only a couple of hours (sorry, I just found it really boring), Assassin’s Creed Valhalla after 25 hours (again it just felt like a slog) and while I’ve really been enjoying immortals Fenyx Rising I’m not having that compulsion to play that I usually get with a new game (or new console either to be fair, after the initial excitement of the PlayStation 5 with Astro’s Playroom and Spider-Man: Miles Morales my interest in my PlayStation 5 has slowly declined).
I had some Amazon vouchers that people had given me for my birthday, so I decided to pick up Dirt 5, more to give me a break from third person open worlds and it has totally helped me get my mojo back. It’s such a great game and I love that it has pretty much done away with any concept of actual rallying and just focused on being a great arcade off-road racer. Genuinely the most fun I’ve had playing a racing game in ages – it actually reminds me a lot of Driveclub which was one of, if not my favourite racing game of the last gen!
It also feels great playing it with the DualSense’s adaptive triggers – probably first game since Astro’s Playroom that I’ve really noticed has made use of them. I wish that we got more arcade racers, I remember loads during the Xbox 360 generation, but they seem to be few and far between these days.
Rickandrolla (PSN ID)
I was one of the lucky few to bag a PlayStation 5 (paying over the odds on eBay) for my son for Christmas. Managed to grab an extra DualSense controller as well.
Until this week it’s been great (the controllers are a revelation). However, we’ve noticed that one of the controllers has developed drift on both analogue sticks. It starts OK but then gets worse over a couple of hours’ play. It’s worse than the drift on the Switch (which we had and resolved) and affects both sticks. The firmware is up to date and we’ve reset the controller several times.
I wondered how widespread this is and whether other readers experienced the problem? Trying to contact Sony is next to hopeless at the moment so we’re a bit stuck. Any suggestions anyone?
I agree with your recent article about why Sony should make another PlayStation handheld console.
There is something I want to emphasise on the declining home console market: the thing is, for a decade or more, people are busy with their smartphones. Before, until the end of 2000s, when I want to email or check my social accounts or have some online chat, I’d use my computer, let it be desktop or laptop, but it’d always be the computer.
However, with the smartphone we can do all these stuff on-the-go. Which definitely does not make it easier, just faster. I mean, most PC versions of the services have more functions but mobile is right there, always on and ready.
You cannot fight with a mobile device only by relying on the old school systems. Home consoles? They were popular because they were cheaper than decent PCs and they were faster: take the controller, press the button, start playing, drop in on the couch, go and eat something.
Now, the mobile phones are cheaper and faster. Mobile is what the consoles were in 1980s and 1990s. Insisting solely on stationed-devices would end up a fate similar to Amiga.
A handheld console, not just for gaming but with social media apps, a decent browser, media player, music player – something that would not make me drop the console to reach the phone.
Sony has smartphones. Sony has home consoles. Sony had handhelds. I dunno why they can’t go for it.
GC: The home console market is not declining. Unliked handheld consoles, it’s been largely unaffected by the rise of the smartphone – given the experiences are so different.
S is for Scott
I agree with Grackle, Leon Kennedy is the best hero from RE series.
As for the villain, even though he was only in it for a small section of the game Ramon Salazar from Resident Evil is the best for me. He was like an evil, camp Macaulay Culkin figure who had some brilliant lines. Real shame they killed him off.
GC: We are shocked and appalled that you left out the S of his middle name.
Big is beautiful
I find myself reading more articles about the size of games these days, with the opinion that certain games being too big/inflated is a bad thing. I find this is not the case, personally.
Many people love large games and in most instances more is better, especially since games have become more expensive not everyone has the money to buy new games on a whim. Also games like Assassin’s Creed just wouldn’t be the same without this kind of scope, they have always been built on this foundation and these games have a cult following.
Not all objectives in games like Cyberpunk 2077, Assassin’s Creed, and Zelda need to be completed for the game to be enjoyed, it’s down to player choice and there are many short games available.
I think the opinion of long or large games are bad and counterproductive, it helps to discourage the idea of them being made in the first instance. Anyone who finds a game boring may just be playing the wrong game for them.
As for microtransactions, it’s hard to put Ubisoft and EA in the same bracket. Ubisoft offers boosters and cosmetics for the user to enjoy, they don’t block natural progress of the game. As for EA, they gear more microtransactions as a pay to win mechanic. It’s showing more and more in all of their games, FIFA Ultimate Team card packs being the worst culprit of all.
Keep up the good work.
GC: There’s suspicion that that the last few Assassin’s Creeds are bloated in the way they are specifically to encourage buying XP boosters, which is arguably the worst example of using microtransactions since it influences the game design in a way that cannot be avoided.
So if Fallout 5 comes out in a few years by Microsoft does that means it’s not going to be full of bugs and broken to hell? Of all the companies I bet Bethesda were most worried at what happened to CD Projekt and Cyberpunk 2077.
I wonder what the chances of Cal Kestis turning up in The Mandalorian is now? Got to be pretty high I’d guess, given the voice actor. He must be hoping to hell they don’t kill him off in the games first!
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Gannet, who asks what do you find the most annoying cliché in gaming?
The cliché can be anything from gameplay mechanics (forced stealth missions) to game design (climbing up a radio tower) to character and story moments (amnesia in Japanese role-playing games) to anything else that annoys you, from marketing to voiceovers.
Is the problem because the concept is overused or that you didn’t think it was very good to begin with? Which cliché do you secretly enjoy and hope never goes away?
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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.
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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