Games Inbox: What is Bethesda’s best game?

The Thursday Inbox is surprised that Ghost Of Tsushima was such a big hit, as one reader suggests some belated improvements for Oblivion.

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Company best
With Bethesda constantly in the news at the moment I’m surprised to see how many people have claimed they’re overrated. I think some of this has to do with the shocking $7.5 billion price tag they managed to negotiate for themselves but overall I’d say they were one of the better publishers around. They don’t go in for yearly sequels and almost all their big games are single-player only, which is very rare nowadays.

There is some understandable confusion though between what really counts as a Bethesda game, since Bethesda is the name of the publisher but Bethesda Softworks is the developer that makes Fallout and Elder Scrolls. But they also own id Software, MachineGames, Arkane, and more and so they’re just as much Bethesda as anyone else.

So which is best? I would say that the top contenders (ignoring id’s stuff before they were bought) are Dishonored, Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim, and Wolfenstein: The New Order. I’d also add Skyrim to the list, but I’ve sort of unofficially limited myself to one game from each franchise.

I have left out Fallout: New Vegas though because although Bethesda published it they don’t own developer Obsidian Entertainment and so I feel that doesn’t count. Which is a shame as I’d say it was definitely the best Fallout.

All that said I think Skyrim is my favourite. For me it’s an almost perfect game (the technical problems are the biggest issue) and I don’t understand why they’ve waited so long for a follow-up. That’s worked out to Microsoft’s benefit though, whenever the sequel does arrive.

Surprise hit
I’ve got to say I’m surprised Ghost Of Tsushima was such a hit. I wouldn’t have thought the setting had mass appeal and the name alone seems enough to put off most casual gamers (I have not once seen it spelt right by anyone I know). And yet here it is with a sequel already underway and a major hit. I’m surprised and impressed.

Maybe more people think samurais are cool than I realised but I think it’s just got to be that open world Assassin’s Creed apeal. I mean, as good as Ghost Of Tsushima is it doesn’t do a single thing that’s new and in fact the Assassin’s Creed formula it’s copying is the old one, before it became a role-playing game.

Now don’t get me wrong, I liked the game. But I felt something between shame and guilt for doing so, not only because I knew how unoriginal it was but because I knew it was manipulating me with its breadcrumb trail of promised pleasures. I knew it and I were both caught following a formula but I went along with it anyway and here I am looking forward to a sequel.

That Ubisoft formula is powerful stuff and you really can’t criticise a company for wanting to use it and reuse it.

Yearly bargain
RE: Andrew. If you are struggling with two subscriptions for PSN and Xbox Live best thing I can say is Black Friday deals, they normally drop to about £38 for 12 months of PSN and Xbox Live is round about the same. A few years back Amazon did 15 months for £35. I bought 45 months on that deal but it’s not been around for a good few years.

The good thing about getting it on Black Friday is it will run out every year on Black Friday, so you can get it every time on a deal. Just make sure you turn off auto renew or you might be charged full price and with PlayStation 5/Xbox Series X coming out they might do a bit better deals to get people to buy into next gen and sign up for online play.

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

Switch dreams
RE: Matt. Don’t expect to see a Switch using DLSS any time soon.

That would require an Nvidia GPU with Tensor cores on board to process the AI info Nvidia already have pre-determined on their super computers to fill in missing data that builds up the images at higher resolutions.

That would mean using a current generation or at least last generation GPU plus a separate CPU, and not the Nvidia Tegra the Switch currently uses; thus making developers have to develop for two very different systems. Plus, the costs would be way above what Nintendo would be willing to spend. Sorry.

Lost wishes
I was a bit disappointed that with the change with the PSN store. I lost my wishlist, which mainly consists of PlayStation 4 games. I have just bought Daytona USA for PlayStation 3, which was on my wishlist as you can soon only get that from the PlayStation 3 store. I have moved my wishlist into a Word document.
Andrew J.
PS: Costume Quest 2 and Layers Of Fear 2 are free on Epic Games Store today from 4pm. I really enjoyed Costume Quest 1 on the PlayStation 3 and I haven’t played 2 before or owned it.

Busting makes me feel meh
Whilst browsing the Switch eShop to have a look at Horace (which I’m sorely tempted by) I noticed that Ghostbusters was on sale for £7.50 and based on the hour I’ve spent playing it so far it seems very good.

My only mild disappointment is that the controller rumble doesn’t quite nail the feel of a ghost capture as well as Luigi’s Mansion managed to nearly 20 years ago. I’m only at a very early stage though, so the feedback might escalate when you get to the likes of the Stay Puft marshmallow man.

Good game though and a snip at £7.50 for a Ghostbusters fan who has never played it before.

Modern-ish gaming
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about a Hot Topic style issue that I’m fairly sure has been done before. Namely the power to cut content from games that just don’t work.

And I don’t mean replacing a poor boss with a better one, I mean genuinely superfluous content that adds nothing, harms the game at least a little, and that the game would be better off without. It would be easy to pick on modern titles with all their bloat – Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion comes to mind and finding all those damn shrines in the DLC quest Knights Of The Nine. Or that bloody turret section in Dead Space that I think we can all agree was the worst.

But what about the shorter games from yesteryear that could be beaten in a couple of hours or less? Hear me out: Sonic The Hedgehog on the Mega Drive. I think all of Scrapbrain Zone Act 3 should go. It’s not the most terrible level ever, but it really stalls the momentum of the game. We should just go from Act 2 straight to the final boss. It would have improved the flow of the adventure.

Yeah, that’s right: Scrapbrain Act 3 ought to be… scrapped. Ha ha.

GC: Oblivion is 14 years old; we’re not sure that counts as modern. Even Dead Space is 12 years.

Console tradition
A thought occurred to me. Up until now there have been two God Of War games released on each of Sony’s big consoles since the PlayStation 2. God Of War 1 and 2. The PlayStation 3 had 3, obviously, and Ascension. The PSP had Chains Of Olympus and Ghost Of Sparta. Now the PS Vita didn’t get one but I think Sony might have forgot about it. Which brings me to the PlayStation 4 and makes me hopeful.

Up to now we only have one new game on the system so fingers tightly crossed for the follow-up. I don’t care if it comes out a year after the PlayStation 5 version but I want it on my good old PlayStation 4.

If ever a time for Inbox magic to happen, let it be now.

GC: If God Of War 2 is on PlayStation 4 we don’t think it’ll be because of that.

Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here

Monkey Island+
I came across this tweet today and was suddenly filled with the compulsion to buy a bunch of useless tat just to celebrate a series of games that I love. I grew up with the LucasArts adventures and loved Monkey Island most of all. And yet, for obvious reasons, I haven’t thought about it in years.

I’ll say the obvious and wish that Disney would bring back the series but as I don’t think LucasArts even exist anymore I’m not sure there’s any point. If they did farm it out to anyone else it’d just be for another cheapo Telltale series. Although I did like that they at least brought back the original voice actors.

It’d be amazing to see Disney give the games a big budget and turn them into some kind of sweeping adventure game, maybe with some role-playing or action parts to keep people interested (older LucasArts games did tend to have at least some action bits).

Or what about a TV show on Disney+ I know it’s all a bit too similar to Pirates of the Caribbean, but Disney own that too so it’s not like they’re going to be sued. Plus, Monkey Island is funnier.

GC: LucasArts still do exist, but purely in an overseer role. They were heavily involved in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, for example.

Inbox also-rans
Is that the longest a major game has gone without a patch? The texture thing is a shame but still, it’s impressive that Final Fantasy 7 Remake has lasted this long without needing anything fixed. Good job Square Enix.

Never heard of Horace before but it sounds right up my street. Nice one!

This week’s Hot Topic
The topic for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Cray, who asks how has the coronavirus changed how you play games this year?

Since the start of lockdown in March how has your approach to gaming changed? Have you played more games than usual and how many have you beaten? Have you taken more interest in parts of gaming you didn’t used to care about, like esports, or have you experimented with genres you wouldn’t normally play?

Has you overall time spent playing games increased or decreased and do you think you’ll return to your previous norm once all this is over?

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

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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