The Thursday Inbox recommends Gamish: A Graphic History of Gaming, as a reader asks after the makers of Journey To The Savage Planet.
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Just thought I would let you know my experience with the DualSense controller. My drift issue started about three weeks ago. It was slight at first and got increasingly worse as you can see from the video I put on my YouTube. It’s bad quality but you get the idea.
Yesterday I rang PlayStation support UK from 10:30, when the phone lines opened, and waited for about 15 minutes to be connected to Sinead. I explained to her my situation and she was lovely, extremely pleasant. Took us about 10 minutes for me to describe the problem and arrange the return after confirming details.
She even stayed on the phone while the email with the return label was sent. Very happy I received Royal Mail Tracked 48. She confirmed my address twice. I asked what the lead time was on repair and she told me that they have to say 21 days but it’s likely to be 10 to 14.
I sent it and having the tracking label, just waiting on the return now.
Having read that drift is being reported on DualSense controllers I’m just interested to know if this is something that people have experienced?
I’d never heard of drift until Switch and both of my sets of launch Joy-Cons suffered but did get repaired for free.
I had an N64 when I was at university and a couple of the controllers were trodden on but they still worked, despite being quite loose.
I’m curious if drift is just a consequence of modern hardware having more technical parts.
I honestly don’t think Nintendo or Sony would just chuck out a controller if they anticipated any widespread problems with it.
GC: It’s exactly that. The more complicated a controller, or any hardware, the more there is to go wrong. The Joy-Cons in particular pack in a ton of features into a very small space.
Proof of life
So I have finally seen a PlayStation 5 in the flesh, a friend finally managed to get one and so I have now seen it properly and I must say… that is one ugly console. I would go as far to say one of the ugliest – worse than the original Xbox One! Not that it really matters what it looks like but it’s absolutely massive, inelegant, the shiny black plastic looks tacky, and the disc drive looks like it’s been slapped on as an afterthought.
It’s a proper eye-sore in their entertainment centre too, it stands out and not in a good way. I think they added the white curved panels to make it look smaller, it didn’t work. Anyhow I look forward to being able to get this ugly beast, but it’s not going to winning any beauty contests.
Jay (graffitiheart89 – gamertag/PSN ID)
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Escape from the savage multinational
With Google shutting down their game studios what has happened to Typhoon Studios? Google acquired them after they made and released Journey To The Savage Planet.
I’ve been playing it co-op with a friend
on Xbox One X and I’ve been following the game since the guy in charge had a column in Edge talking about its development each month. I hope they have not been closed down too.
PS. Halcyon 6 Starbase Commander is free on Epic Store from today at 4pm.
GC: Sadly they have been shut down, it can only be hoped the team stick together and manage to set up a new studio.
Valhalla is not calling
Just started playing Assassin’s Creed Valhalla on PlayStation 5, got it release day and I’m I hating it. Before anyone says anything I’ve played Assassin’s Creed from day one and platinumed five of them but for me it’s the worst one by far. In the day it’s beautiful, soon as you go in a room or a cave that’s it, it goes dull. Even when you light the torch. But the worst thing is the fast travel points, there is about 30 all over the map and every mission is 15 minutes away no matter where you go. What’s the point of fast travel if it’s quicker walking there?
For me the whole point of Assassin’s Creed was stealth, climbing buildings and dropping on the enemies and hiding them in a bush/haystack. The map is so big it’s getting stupid now and the glitches are bad, they make me laugh. They’re more interested in bring in in-game purchases then fixing everything that’s wrong with it first and out of all the places they pick England as a setting. How boring is that? Hardly any buildings.
I think I’ll find something else to play after this one. Unless they stop doing this silly stuff that makes me go, ‘Same rubbish, different name’.
I’m slowly working through my backlog and have sworn not to buy another game until I’ve broken the back of it, so let’s see how that goes.
A game I picked up in a sale a while back, for about £20, was the Gold Edition of Metro Exodus, as it reviewed well across the board. I hadn’t played the previous games in the series but my understanding was that this would be taken as a standalone entry.
I’ll be honest, after the first couple of hours I was a tad disappointed and it came across as just another first person corridor shooter, with some minor outdoor areas. But I’m glad I stuck with it, as the game really gets going when you start your journey away from the initial hub and Moscow into various semi-open world environments. I really liked the way the designers mixed up the linear areas with the more open environments, where you could take your time and approach different tasks and missions in a variety of ways.
The pacing of video games can get overlooked for more headline grabbing attributes, such as graphics and gunplay, but for me it’s key and akin to a well-directed and edited film where the sequence of events and how it plays out is at the forefront of the minds of the creators.
It looks amazing too, has a working day/night cycle that you can use to your advantage, the guns are great to use and modify (and purposely ramshackle), and the overall ‘feel’ of the game is spot on and reflective of the desperate situation you’re in – which in turn I assume takes its inspiration from the books it’s based on. Game length hits the sweet spot too in terms of not outstaying its welcome but leaving you satisfied with what you had.
With all the other top games that have come out in the last couple of years I appreciate this game may have been overlooked by many but I highly recommend it to anyone with a passing interest in the genre. Get past the first couple of hours, get to grips with the mechanics of the weapons modification and resource gathering, and you won’t be disappointed.
TheTruthSoul (PSN ID)
GC: We agree, it’s a great game and sorely underappreciated.
Not sure if anyone else has mentioned this before but I would thoroughly recommend Gamish: A Graphic History of Gaming by Edward Ross (even if I haven’t finished it yet!). It’s a non-fiction comic (I guess?) about the development of video games, their impact, history, intersection with Dungeons & Dragons, cultural representations, etc., etc.
I can’t describe everything in it but I particularly enjoyed learning about some of the emotions and psychological effects I’d never heard of, like fiero, flow, proprioception and mirror neurons. I can’t quite vouch for all of its accuracy but it’s a very fast paced and entertaining read!
Also, if you’re willing to shell out a little more, you can buy it direct from the man himself – so you know where your money is going (i.e. not into Jeff Bezos’ overstuffed pocket). If you do, he’ll even draw you a doodle and message in the front – I’ve got mine addressed to my son but it’s totally for me (he’s only two!).
Bear_of_Justice (PSN ID)
I am not a cat
Did Nintendo miss a trick with Super Mario 3D World? Surely it should have been called Bowser’s Furry with the cat theme. I wonder if Nintendo could have tied in the release with the American lawyer who was a cat in the Zoom call. Seemed like the planets were aligning for both events.
PS: ‘It’s all deeply unpleasant and we’re not even talking about the food when we say that’ – whoever wrote that take a bow.
50% of the population
I don’t think GTA 6 would benefit from having a female lead, unless it’s something the developers themselves are eager to explore. For me, there are far bigger problems with Rockstar’s single-player campaigns that I would hope to see addressed in future.
The desire for wider representation in media has had a largely positive effect on both games and movies, but it should not come at the expense of creative freedom. A character written by an engaged, focused creator with a story to tell will always be preferable to a character included out of a sense of obligation, or fear of rebuke.
Consider the differences between Mad Max: Fury Road, which made the sexes of its protagonists a central theme of its story, and the Star Wars sequels (with apologies, I know they have their fans), which lazily copied the Luke Skywalker narrative with a girl, more from a sense of fashionable duty than dramatic opportunity.
As someone who enjoys Rockstar’s writing and characters, I would be excited to see how they handle a leading woman, provided it’s an organic idea of their own volition, with more to say than just, ‘See? women can go on rampages, too!’ My more pressing hope for GTA 6, and Rockstar’s future in general, would be a fundamental change to their mission structure.
GTA 5’s and (to a greater extent) Red Dead 2’s campaigns featured beautiful, detailed worlds, but left me disconnected. I wanted to explore, to role-play as these brilliantly drawn characters, immerse myself in the landscape and the opportunities for emergent gameplay. Instead, Rockstar tethers the player to linear narratives, calling us in from the sandbox to come and sit through a rigid mission, which serves only as a gussied-up tutorial to teach us how to snipe, or use a remote detonator.
Imagine a version of GTA 5 which gave you the freedom to plan your own heists, from small-town banks to high-rise corporate headquarters, or Red Dead Redemption casting you as a lonesome stranger, choosing between different factions and forging your own relationships. As wonderful as John Marston and Arthur Morgan are I would accept a milder, plainer lead character if it meant greater freedom to interact with the world.
The real star of Rockstar’s games is never the story, or even the protagonists, but the open world itself. Until they find a satisfying way to couple their storytelling ambitions with their brilliant sandboxes, I’ll struggle to enjoy them whether playing as a man or a woman.
GC: Since men don’t have to worry about representation in games we’d suggest you’re looking at this from a naturally privileged position. The biggest franchise in the games industry has gone over 20 years with barely a single memorable female character, let alone a playable one.
My son has had his Xbox Series X 10 weeks and the HDMI pins in the console are broke already. I was looking on YouTube and it seems to be a problem.
Mr T does NOT care about you kids and your poke a moon cards. Mr T cares about his BINS and you KIDS staying away from them. STAY AWAY FROM MY BINS!!!!
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Grackle, who asks what is your favourite retro video game franchise?
There are a lot of major series celebrating their 25th, 30th or even 40th (in the case of Mario/Donkey Kong) this year so which one is your favourite and why? You can suggest any game as long as it’s at least 25 years old this year and there’s been a new game in the last 10 years (i.e. it’s not a dead franchise).
Why do you think the series has lasted so long and what is your favourite entry? Do you think the franchise has an overall good reputation and has it got better or worse with age? What do you hope will happen to the series in the future and what would you like the first next gen entry to be like?
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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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