Games Inbox: Bethesda’s Starfield disappointment, Xbox showcase reaction, and The Last Of Us Part 1

Starfield screenshot

Starfield – were you impressed? (pic: Microsoft)

The Monday letters page prepares to take out a mortgage on the new Elden Ring strategy guides, as one reader hopes for Gears Tactics 2.

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Star in the making
I think Microsoft put on a pretty good show on Sunday, considering they didn’t really have that much to talk about. The way it was presented was definitely better than anything they’ve done before, even if it was basically identical to a Nintendo Direct. There were some cool indie games on show and once again Game Pass is shown to be amazing value for money and, as far as I’m concerned, reason to get the console no matter what.

I didn’t think much of Redfall though and have no interest in racing games, so the number of Microsoft exclusives that interested me was fairly limited. I do love sci-fi but I have to admit I was not very impressed by Starfield.

It was very obvious, as soon as they started the gameplay, that it was based on Fallout 4 – that bit with the lockpicking had me rolling my eyes like crazy. Maybe the combat is good but it looked super generic, the way they showed it, and so did all the stuff with upgrading the skills and weapons.

Like GC said, all the new stuff was good – like the ships and the exploration – but it almost made the game feel like a mod of Fallout, reskinning the stuff that already exists and then bolting the new stuff onto it. Knowing how Bethesda games have turned out before I fear this is probably pretty close to how it was made. I hope the game is good but for me that was not a particularly encouraging first look.

Maybe next year
Interesting Xbox showcase.

As someone really looking for a compelling reason (to sell to others in my household) to buy an Xbox Series S to go alongside my PlayStation 5 and Switch it didn’t quite get me over the line unfortunately. Forza Motorsport looked great, as expected, but I already have Gran Turismo 7 and Redfall doesn’t feel quite my thing.

I think waiting until 2023 and the Starfield release is where I am unfortunately. I wonder if many other GC readers are in the same boat? The initial look was decent but I wasn’t blown away in all honesty, felt it had been in development too long – the No Man’s Sky blast at a rock mechanic is not fun even as someone who likes the game – but I’ll reserve judgement until release.
PS: I liked the customer focussed approach to talking about the next 12-18 months. It also gave me a laugh when they later just wheeled out Kojima to say nothing other than hi!

Out of control inflation
I must be honest with Saturday’s feature I’m getting ready to give up gaming. It’s getting too much now. Just look at this year’s Call Of Duty, £70 for it. £70? Are they taking the mickey? And that’s last gen, what with PS Plus/Xbox Live it’s getting to be an expensive joke. It won’t be long before games are £100 each. I can remember a few years ago people messaging in, saying if games were a £100 they would be worth it and its getting that way.

I never thought twice about trying a game at £50 but after that £20 increase it’s just not worth it. Going back to Call Of Duty, not only are they going to charge £70 for last gen, there will be update after update for bug fixes and of course battle pass seasons. I’ve got the 825GB SSD in my PlayStation 5 and by the end of the year I can have about two different games before it says memory full because of Call Of Duty updates.

I’d happily go back to PlayStation 3/Xbox 360 days: no massive updates, £40 to £50 for a brand new day one game, and more importantly season passes were easy – you wanted more maps you bought the season pass. If you didn’t then you kept your money. Boy, I’m starting to sound old aren’t I!

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Bloody good
There was finally an update on the highly promising game The Last Faith recently. It’s out later this year on all formats (Switch too), which means everyone can hopefully enjoy a Bloodborne inspired slice ’em-up fest.

I’m not always a fan of copycat games but I’m certainly a fan of the glorious 2D pixel art and we’re talking, potentially, about a BloodVania replete with gothic monstrosities and cosmic horror.

Hopefully you’ll be keen to run a review on it when it drops.

GC: You’re right, that is some nice pixel art.

Objections sustained
I don’t understand the negative heat that Sony PlayStation is getting in regards to The Last Of Us Part 1 remake. I hear commentators say that the game looks fine remastered on PlayStation 4, then by that conclusion the remake should not offend anyone. Even if you look at the price, no one is forced to buy it and everyone can happily play the PlayStation 4 version.

There are two criticisms I can see that would be justified. One: the fact that Naughty Dog would have to take up time and use up their resources for this somewhat vanity project. Two: the game seemingly does not include multiplayer. If the multiplayer Factions is included as part of the remake then it would justify the £70 price.

Demon’s Souls was a remake on PlayStation 5 but was never a big issue it seemed, mainly because From was not involved, so the project should have been passed onto a different developer. I wouldn’t of put The Last Of Us on a wishlist for a remake (I would choose inFamous 1) but I can see myself buying it because I prefer to have to the best version of my favourite games. Plus, after a year the remake for The Last of Us Part 1 will be on sale on PSN, so it’s all good.
Matt Riddle

GC: If you can name two good reasons to be against it that means you do understand the complaints? On top of the fact that it didn’t take From away from making something new, Demon’s Souls had serious performance issues on PlayStation 3 and was not widely known by most people.

Wishes don’t come true
I have one wish for the Xbox showcase and that is a sequel to Gears Tactics. Having only got into the turn-based strategy genre in the past couple of years, when I played Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, I have been on the lookout for games which were similar. I tried XCOM 2 but wasn’t into the base building aspect and SteamWorld Heist, which I loved but was in the 2D realm. So I gave Gears Tactics a go and it was my favourite game of 2020.

I like the Gears franchise but wouldn’t say I love it, so didn’t know how much I’d enjoy Tactics but for me it’s the best game in the franchise. The gameplay is great, and I loved the boss battles, especially the last one which I punched the air upon completion after two hours of intense strategy gameplay.

With Game Pass it’s difficult to know how well games have done in terms of commercial success or how many players have played a game, so I just have everything crossed that enough people played Tactics to warrant a sequel.
Angry_Kurt (Twitter)
Now playing: Kirby And The Forgotten Land (Switch)

The two Rs
I’m sure you will be getting many letters about how pointless The Last Of Us remake is:

‘Why can’t they spend their time on something more useful, like DLC/a new IP/new game?’

‘This looks no different to my memory of the original’

‘Sony fleecing their customers again’

‘Always thought it was overrated’

Etc., etc., etc.

But much like the Uncharted: Legacy Of Thieves collection I think this remaster has a purpose to serve and that is to quickly, with very little effort (based on Uncharted), fill the release schedule and make a sizable return, as a quick cash grab for Sony.

Strangely, I would have thought this sort of thing would be more beneficial for Microsoft to do as it would add ‘new’ titles to Game Pass and you wouldn’t get the loss of goodwill when people realise they just spent £45 on something almost exactly the same as the game they already own.

Then again, we could all be wrong and it is ‘rebuilt from the ground up for PlayStation 5’ and not ‘We were polishing the assets for the PC port anyway so though ka-ching’.
irve77 (gamertag/PSN ID)

GC: You’re using the terms remaster and remake interchangeably but they’re very different things. The Last Of Us Part 1 is a remake, that’s been rebuilt from the ground up – unlike Uncharted, which was a straightforward remaster. Although that doesn’t mean it’s not still a waste of Naughty Dog’s time and talents.

Cost of knowledge
A little PSA for anyone who is nerdy enough to collect the strategy guides for FromSoft’s Soulsborneandothers (this name probably won’t catch on) games, two volumes have been announced for Elden Ring, one covering the world and another covering the monsters, and are up for pre-order now. I got mine at Amazon here and here.

Happy gaming everyone.
Henshin Agogo
Currently playing: Yoku’s Island Express, Batman: Arkham City (again), and also currently making Manchester United great again in FIFA 22.

GC: They look great but, wow, those are expensive.

Oldest school
Thank you for printing my predictions in the Hot Topic this weekend. Since that was submitted there was subsequently the Neon White Nintendo Direct rumour, so hopefully we’ll find out how accurate they are this week!

With regards to the ‘obscure’ request for a DMG (Dot Matrix Game 01 – the original Game Boy) themed Switch Lite, it’s not quite as obscure as you think.

As soon as the Switch Lite was announced in 2019 the fan community mock up renders made their way online (see below, not my illustration!). The modding community also like to DMG theme everything and several have already custom painted/3D printed theirs!

Add this to Nintendo’s previous history. We have a NES themed GBA SP released in 2004 to accompany the NES Classic line of games, a Game Boy Micro Famicom edition in 2005 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Famicom system, and a SNES themed 3DS XL in 2017 to accompany a host of retro released on the 3DS eShop.

While not immediately related, Nintendo also released the NES and SNES mini-consoles, demonstrating they still proud of their legacy and happy to show it off.

Although still wishful thinking on my part, with all that history in mind it wouldn’t be out of the question for Nintendo to release a DMG themed console to accompany the now expected news of a Game Boy library to be added to the Nintendo Switch Online service.

I’m sure there’s plenty of ‘mature’ gamers like me who fondly remember the Game Boy and would pick one up, if for nothing other than nostalgia (and because the renders look fantastic!) along with the collectors (resale prices for the handhelds mentioned above have skyrocketed!) and it might even be beautiful enough to convince some folk to pick up their first Switch!

Most likely wishful thinking on my part but we can dream!

GC: We have to admit, that’s a nice looking mod.

Switch Lite Game Boy mod

The green screen is a nice touch (pic: Huw)

Inbox also-rans
Just wondering if you or any readers have played the game NORCO? Have heard some good things about it but struggling to find any actual reviews!
DuckOfDeath82 (PSN ID)

GC: We’ve not played it, sorry.

Scorn looks amazing but I already worry it’s going to be too scary for me. I can’t see it being a hit.

This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Kipin, who asks what is your favourite video game reveal or announcement?

We’re currently right in the middle of preview season and even though it’s less busy than usual there are still a lot of games being announced for the first time, but which have been your favourite reveals through the years and why?

How excited do you get by a new announcement and how much does that depend on whether it’s just a logo, a pre-rendered trailer, or actual gameplay? Do you enjoy the whole preview and hype circus or do you prefer not to get involved?

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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.

MORE : Weekend Hot Topic: Xbox & Bethesda Showcase predictions

MORE : Games Inbox: Best Summer Game Fest game, The Last Of Us Part 1 price, and Sony’s June State of Play

MORE : Games Inbox: June Nintendo Direct predictions, Obi-Wan copying Fallen Order, and Fable no-show

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