The Monday Inbox asks if Insomniac Games is the best current video game developer, as one reader admits his love for Into The Breach.
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So here’s something which I imagine is going to become very common as we get near Christmas. A friend wanted to buy a PlayStation 5 and asked me how he can go about it. I then began to explain everything about the shortages and how you have to be on the company’s websites at the right time, within a 10 minute window, to have any chance of getting one, and I watched his eyes slowly glazing over…
He’s only a casual gamers and though he seemed to have heard they were difficult to get hold of he assumed that was now over. When I said all the stuff about getting up early/staying up late just to buy them he just stopped and said he wasn’t going to do it.
We then looked up how much they were going for on eBay and he decided that paying £100 extra (actually a bit less with the one he went with) was worth avoiding all the fussing around and not knowing. So, from my experience at least, the scalpers have not been made irrelevant just yet.
Long time reader, very infrequent writer, reporting for duty.
I’ve never played a Battlefield game before but was looking forward to the 2042 beta.
What a disappointment. Being colour blind, I couldn’t differentiate between friend or foe. It didn’t matter what filter I had on.
It’s therefore a no from me.
I read your latest Nintendo article about Joy-Cons with interest, as mine are about to be sent off to Nintendo for repair.
I was also thinking of buying another set, but do you know if the newer Joy-Cons have a different designation on the packaging? A different part number or something?
I really don’t want to buy some and accidentally purchase older stock.
GC: We’re not aware of anything on the packaging but you should do better if you go for one of the newer colours, we think the purple and orange ones are the newest – or the Zelda: Skyward Sword ones if you can still get them. Or, even better, wait and see what new set gets released following the launch of the OLED model.
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Friends you haven’t met
Just an idea I had for a Hot Topic. Have you ever experienced meeting another player online who has come into your game and helped you out or maybe even not been so nice but then disappeared never to be seen again? Leaving you feeling sad after having a good time playing together.
Or maybe you have found a lasting friendship from the same situation. I’m sure you could word it better?
GC: We could maybe give that a go in the future.
Apologies for the lateness of this Hot Topic themed letter, but it was actually Doshin’s Reader’s Feature which jarred my memory. I think both the ‘Alert!’ noise in Metal Gear Solid and the codec call sounds are up there with the most iconic noises in gaming, to the point that l’ll occasionally hear someone using them as a message alert and ringtone. And I’ll think that that person is cool, and I am jealous of them.
People are quite rightly pointing out Zelda sound effects, but I have to give praise to Streets Of Rage for its ‘eating food from the ground’ sound effect. While I’m at it, Axel’s heavy move from Streets Of Rage 2… I always heard him shout ‘Renet-sup-tar’ and saw someone on a forum think it was ‘Grass Hopper’! I only found out recently he supposedly shouts ‘Ground Upper’, so there you go.
One word, two syllables, rhymes with rager, anagram of ages. Oh, that full throated angels’ choir that sang so joyously to my young ears, heralding a new dawn of mascot led gaming. Now, I’d heard speech in games before but nothing like this polyphonic wonder. These were the breathless first impressions of Sonic The Hedgehog that I remember so fondly, more so than the actual game and anything else Sonic related. Rumour has it the sample took up 1/8 of the total cartridge memory and made the game more expensive to manufacture, totally worth it. Sing it with me folks ‘ SAY-GAH’!
For me it’s got to be when you become Metal Mario in Super Mario 64. What an absolute belter of a theme tune.
Corn Beef 8
I recently listened to a podcast where they discussed which is the best games developer and found myself agreeing with the notion that Insomniac Games is the best.
Some other developers are more lauded and have more critically acclaimed games, but you can’t deny Insomniac make some great video games. The PlayStation 5 is not even a year into its life cycle and Insomniac have released Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart. And already they have another two games scheduled for release in the not-too-distant future. Where most AAA developers take up to three or more years to release new content Insomniac, since 2018’s Spider-Man, will have averaged a new game every 18 months or so.
And so far their recent output has been well received both by fans and critics. I myself am a big fan of the Spider-Man series and am enjoying Rift Apart so far. It’s not just their work rate or the decent content either. So far as I recall none of their games have had any microtransactions and also it seems none of their employees have had to participate in ‘crunch’ culture.
I think for all these reasons it’s hard not to make a case that Insomniac Games is currently the best video game developer out there. Other companies might make more beloved games, but I don’t think any other AAA company is making such high quality content at such as quick rate and all without exploiting their employees or the consumer.
GC: ‘Decent content’ makes them the best developer working today? And while they apparently avoid crunch there have been serious allegations about how they treat women.
Just want to say how disappointed I am with the online UK Nintendo store, I pre-ordered the special edition of Metroid Dread months ago and like many am eager to play it on release this weekend.
However, I’ve checked the status of my order and it still being processed meaning it hasn’t even been shipped yet!
Absolutely shockingly poor customer service from Nintendo!
Just one more go
If GC ever has a Hot Topic for games you came back to and loved, I have a definitive answer now and it is Into The Breach. I am in love with this game. I remember picking it up on Switch on sale on a couple of years ago, after wanting another turn-based tactics game after finishing Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. It was quite a different experience and after a few hours I bounced off it, I thought it was overly difficult and didn’t like the roguelike nature. I didn’t see how I was making progress in each run and so stopped playing.
Mid-August, though, I went on a trip to London and noticed it was still installed on my Switch, so loaded it up again and for some reason I can’t put my finger on, I became instantly hooked. I don’t know what I was thinking first time around, as to me it’s an almost perfect game and in terms of balance between enemies and your mechs, on every difficulty level and for every squad, I think it is perfect.
I don’t know how Subset have designed such a game where every squad has its strengths and weaknesses but somehow feel just as equal as each other when going through a run. I rarely play games for extensive amounts of hours, but I am about to hit the 40 hour mark in my quest to get all the in game achievements, it will be a sad day when I do as I will have nothing left to achieve!
I was going to get Metroid Dread but have now asked for it for Christmas instead as I’m just too addicted to Into The Breach. Reading your review earlier I would agree that the only criticism would be the boring pixel art for some of the mechs and Vek, but that’s it. Prior to playing it my favourite indie game was Hotline Maimi, but now it’s Into The Breach.
Now playing: Into The Breach (Switch) and Katana Zero (Xbox Series X)
I should’ve been more precise with my question. What are some of your top-rated 2D/retro style Switch games, regardless of genre?
GC: That’s still a broad question but how about Stardew Valley, Undertale, Shovel Knight, and our original suggestion of Into The Breach?
I’m enjoying my time with Diablo 2 Resurrected very much, but I particularly like that when you start the game up, it allows you to quickly click through the Blizzard logo screen and all the other title page stuff that usually pops up. You can get in game very quickly, which in itself is very old school.
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Bernardo, who asks what is your favourite platform game?
It can be a 2D or 3D platformer but which have you enjoyed the most and why? Do you enjoy the genre in general and are you happy with how it’s evolved over the years? What do you think have been some of the best new ideas to appear in recent years and how do you hope things will change in the new generation?
You can include games that are parts of other genres, such as Metroidvanias, as long as the platforming is the main gameplay element.
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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, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.
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