The Evening Inbox is worried that Trump is talking about video game violence, as another reader offers some Battlefield 6 ideas.
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Fighting for attention
After having watched some of Evo 2019 over the weekend I’m always confused as to exactly how popular fighting games are. Only Mortal Kombat seems to do anything much in the charts and while you’d think fighting games would be great for esports they don’t really seem to be that popular. None of the streams for Evo seemed to get much more than a quarter of a million people and the prize money was really low compared to Fortnite and FIFA.
It all seems pretty niche even in the genre’s biggest tournament, which is a shame as although not a super fan I’ve always enjoy fighters. I think my favourite at the moment is Samurai Shodown and I’m glad to see that got quite a bit of love over the weekend. I’m also tempted by Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, even though I don’t have a Switch, as that one seemed to be the most popular individual game over the weekend.
It still seemed like there’s room for something new though. Maybe a new Sony franchise would’ve been a good idea because even Samurai Shodown is a reboot. But we didn’t get that, we just got more DLC.
That reader was dead right about video games being blamed for the American shootings. I’ve just seen Trump himself saying exactly that, which immediately increases the chances of games being used as a scapegoat. It’s not hard to imagine a Mortal Kombat type situation where games come under the spotlight again, especially given Mortal Kombat 11 was so gross and Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare seems to be trying to be as controversial as possible.
On the one hand I’m against any kind of censorship but on the other hand it’s pretty obvious these games are only pushing the limit because they’re trying to impress teenage boys (and those with the mentality of teenage boys) and not because they’ve got some important artistical vision to get across.
That still doesn’t mean they should be stopped from doing what they’re doing but I think Activision could end up regretting the timing on this year’s Call Of Duty…
Now that I know they were more involved than we realised you can really see the Tecmo Koei influence in Fire Emblem: Three Houses, and I’d say that it’s not for the best. The bad graphics are one thing (literally like a PlayStation 2 game at time) but it all seems so janky and lacking in polish, the opposite of a normal Nintendo game and the opposite really of the 3DS games, which looked great for the format.
I can’t pretend I’m not enjoying it but the bad writing is another issue. It feels like a very literal translation of the original Japanese and there’s no real flow or bite to the dialogue. It’s not serious and it’s not funny or silly, it just is… I’m curious to see how the characters supposedly evolve the further you get but for now having one that sleeps all the time and another that eats all the time, it just seems so simplistic.
Which makes me wonder that if Intelligent Systems gave so much work to Tecmo Koei to do what were they working on in the meantime? I’d say it should be another Paper Mario, but those have been going downhill for years, plus we don’t know if Tecmo Koei helped with that too!
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I wonder why Sony chose to revival MediEvil rather than Jak And Daxter, which I thought everyone always accepted was a much better game/series? It’s probably because it was made by Naughty Dog and they wouldn’t be happy but the problem is that MediEvil was never that good whereas the first two Jak games were pretty great.
Certainly better than Knack, which for some reason got two games even though nobody seems to have enjoyed either. I’ve also got to assume that Ratchet & Clank aren’t coming back anytime soon, because Insomniac are busy with Spider-Man and Sly Racoon hasn’t been heard of for ages either.
Sony used to have loads of really good family friendly games but they’re letting them all waste away now. Or reviving the less interesting ones instead.
GC, are you sure Elden Ring isn’t going to be at Gamescom? I read a story that a Russian website had accidentally revealed that it was and I was getting quite excited. Although I don’t know what else is going to be at Gamescom if it’s not there. I wish it and E3 weren’t so downgraded this year, I really like getting such a massive dose of new each year.
Plus you always knew when they were so you had something to anticipate. Now it’s just going to be whatever Nintendo Direct style livestream they announce with two days warning. It’s just not the same somehow.
GC: As we understand it, it’s not going to be there and that rumour is false. Although, like we said, it could be at the stage event the night before, as just a trailer, but even that’s a long shot.
The next reboot
As much as I love the new Wolfenstein games I have to say that Youngblood is only barely ticking the same boxes. It’s okay, I like the main characters and the action is good, but the whole co-op thing and the repetition is making me start to lose interest and I genuinely don’t know if I have enough interest to finish it. Maybe if I restart it with a mate instead of playing with randoms.
I don’t think it and the VR game were a very good idea really, they’re just diluting what was a very well received series and I don’t know what kind of excitement there’s going to be for the third game when it finally arrives. I’m willing to bet that will be the last one of this story though, and then probably Wolfenstein will be put on a break for a while.
I’m not really sure where it goes after that as I feel like MachineGames has taken the concept as far as it can go. But as long as it’s left for a good few years I don’t mind someone else coming back to it eventually.
There are 12 Pokémon Centers in Japan but no other proper ones outside of Asia? That’s pretty surprising isn’t it? I’m not even a fan but even I find the idea of a shop dedicated to just one game to be fascinating, so I’ll probably pop by and see our one as it’s close by.
I was always surprised that Detective Pikachu movie didn’t do better than it did though. Maybe it was just too adult for a child audience but I found it really funny.
Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here
I do agree that Battlefield has hit a rough patch with the last two instalments, but I disagree with the reasons. The basic gunplay and engine are excellent, and recent instalments have seen more vehicles, bigger maps, and more destruction, but in some ways these have become the issue, or perhaps they’ve highlighted the issue.
The current problem Battlefield faces is with game balance and map design. Planes are an absolute blight on the game, rarely contributing to the objective focussed gameplay, and with no reasonable counters, serving only to rack up disproportionate K/Ds for their users. The heavy vehicles need to be better balanced too. In previous Battlefields, they had better counters, and there were fewer of them. New additions like artillery bombardments, that you can do little to avoid, only add to the frustration.
In terms of map design, there are several issues. The excessive number of game modes is something of a vicious circle. DICE create poor Rush maps (how hard is it to set objectives that begin easy but get progressively harder, rather than vice versa?), but then assume the issue is with the mode rather than the design. They then create a new mode, and pull together the maps quickly, and when that fails they create yet another mode, diluting player numbers and design focus further.
- Bigger maps and more destruction are fine in theory, but in practice has led to maps that can feel large and characterless and only gets worse as key landmarks are destroyed. So what would I do to fix Battlefield?
- Focus on 24-man Rush and 64-man Conquest. Build the Conquest maps up from the Rush maps, rather than the other way around.
- Drop planes. All heavy tanks, helicopters, etc. should require two or more players to operate.
- Allow points-based loadouts, with class determined by primary weapon or main perk. This would assist flexibility and balance.
- Destruction. By removing artillery, bombers, and the numbers of heavy tanks this partially fixes itself, but ensure that the core of the map is indestructible. To offset this, increase the level of micro destruction, in line with something like Rainbow Six Siege.
- Increase the strength of static guns/AA.
Matt (He_who_runs_away – PSN ID)
PS: I always found the over-the-top IDs like UberNinja73 to be really daft, so mine have always gone in the other direction.
So the Sony news at Evo 2019 was just that Street Fighter V DLC? That was it? Barely seems worth it to sponsor the whole event, no?
GC: That was it, yes.
It kills me that Invisible, Inc. wasn’t more successful. That is by far my favourite strategy game of all time (I don’t usually like them) and as far as I can tell it was a flop. Talk about a hidden gem.
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Cranston, who asks who’s your favourite video game villain?
No matter what game they’re from what bad guy do you love to hate the most? It can be anything from the main villain of the story to a cannon fodder grunt, but we want to know which one you have the strongest feelings about – whether it’s an enemy that makes an impression through the storyline or purely the gameplay.
What makes a memorable video game enemy and do they need a complex backstory or is it enough for them to just be a dangerous in-game foe?
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