Games Inbox: Xbox Game Pass value for money, rebooting Tomb Raider, and next gen game price rises
The Tuesday Inbox asks whether Gears Of War has passed its sell by date, as one reader is frustrated with next gen negativity.
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So… it looks like the Xbox One is pretty much dead and buried then; what happened to all first party games working across all consoles in the Xbox family?
And thinking about it I’m not so sure that Game Pass is as good as I thought it was. Yes, you get choice, but how many of them are top tier games?
There may be one or two good games on there but all the first party Microsoft games look tired (Gears Of War I’m looking at you) or look like they may be shifting to a games as a service model (Halo Infinite and possibly Forza Motorsport). It seems to devalue the first party games by putting them straight on Game Pass.
After watching that showcase all I can see is developers making bang average games. You may get the odd gem, but in general it’s all about quantity over quality… and at £10.99 a month it mounts up over a year. As an example, you could buy three to four top quality PlayStation/Switch AAA first party games for that.
I know what I would rather spend my money on and it’s not Game Pass.
Kingshomari (PSN ID)
Currently playing: Halo: The Master Chief Collection and Ghost Of Tsushima
Stick a fork in it
With the rather dumb thing of ‘No next gen exclusive’ for two years, seemingly out the window before (if you can forgive me for mixing my metaphors) it had even got home to roost, you’ve got to wonder if anyone at higher-up Microsoft is even interested enough in games, or Xbox, to hold Phil Spencer to account for the poor pre-release hype that now surrounds Xbox Series X.
And likewise, with their big shooters. The Gears Of War and Halo sequels on Xbox One have been disappointing: should Rod Fergusson and Bonnie Ross been given another chance after the two fan-failures of Gears 4 and Halo 5? While Rod Fergusson has now departed the Coalition and, admittedly, Gears 5 was much better than 4, you’ve got wonder why Phil Spencer doesn’t step in… Gears 4 was really bad, when it should have been great.
You can never be sure if this is wayward creativity from creative leads at studios, or if a totally corporate entity like Microsoft, with its board rooms and panels, and surveys and focus groups, just grinds its gears and these are the overwrought products it spits out.
Pride and prejudice
I’ve been gaming since the early 80s and after the latest console generation’s complete blow out between PlayStation 4 and Xbone I am left bemused by the brand loyalty Xbox fans are showing to Microsoft. I could understand it after the Xbox 360, which regardless of the Red Ring of Death was a great period of gaming, but after Xbone it just seems incredulous.
I’ve had every iteration of the PlayStation but when I saw what was going on with the Xbox 360 I didn’t hesitate. I wanted to play Gears Of War, Mass Effect, and Bioshock… so guess what, I didn’t just bury my head in the PlayStation 3 quicksand, I bought an Xbox 360 and all those games and thoroughly enjoyed them. I know a lot of other people who did the same too. Now the shoe is on the other foot and the PlayStation 4 has simply been the greatest system for games (particularly first party) that I have ever had the pleasure of owning… and yet swapping Sony for Microsoft couldn’t be further from the thought process of Xbox fans.
Now I enjoy an Internet flame war as much as the next man but I really am left gobsmacked by just how skewed people’s perceptions can be when they have fought a particular corner so long. The one thing left that they have to cling onto is Game Pass, which admittedly is value for money but I would genuinely rather pay £70 for gaming at its best than a monthly subscription for mediocrity.
My advice to all Xbox fans is to try to overcome your pride before signing up for another terrible six or seven years.
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Wait and see
I’ve been reading and watching various articles and YouTube posts regarding the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, and how people are dissecting every detail.
On the whole there seems to be a lot of negativity on what the consoles/games can or can’t do.
I’ve been playing games on various formats from different manufactures since the early 80s. I love this hobby and to be on the verge of a new generation is something to savour.
This year has seen a lot bad news (COVID I’m looking at you) so can we all wait until we have new gamepads in hand, and shiny new consoles at home, before we put the boot in any more.
All roads lead to PC
I saw a few games in the mix of titles that they showed a few days back but only S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 seemed the most interesting to me and, as I’m mainly a PC player, look forward to some of them games coming over eventually.
I’ve used Game Pass a few times early on and it has gotten a lot better since then but people are always saying Sony doesn’t have a response, yet they have PlayStation Now as a service and I’ve used it. It works as intended and it really wouldn’t take much effort to improve on that for Sony, just a matter of adding extra titles. Thou’ they do switch things around every few months, but it works alright so kinda surprised why it’s hardly mentioned to be honest.
The generational shift is about to happen and I’m looking forward to it, I think regardless of if you get a Xbox or PlayStation 5 you’ll be happy, but for me as a mostly PC gamer I’m really looking forward to the new graphics cards – just hoping the prices are kept down somewhat.
As for Nintendo, it’s hard to say what or when they will do anything but they are innovative, thou’, and this will be unpopular, Zelda: Breath Of The Wild has taken the series in a direction I don’t want in my opinion. It’s like Zelda: Far Cry Edition and I’d like a return to the old methods.
Needless to say, this is going to be a big jump in performance all round, thou’ I feel it will be a year or more until we see the technology mature fully as developers learn the extra tools at hand.
GC: There must be a version of Far Cry we missed somewhere along the way, because apart from being open world there’s very little similarity.
Next gen costs
RE: PS5 and Xbox Series X game prices. I feel that I must speak out against this and have to point out that if it is true that PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X games will end up costing £60 a pop then that is going to be a major deterrent for people. I can’t see this going down very well or being received with anything other than negative reactions, as not every next gen console game will be worth paying £60 for.
I understand rising costs are a factor, however when you have developers making millions, possibly billions, then asking people to pay them £60 for each game is a lot of money when you want to buy multiple games. You also have the price of the consoles to add to that, which will end up with people waiting longer for price drops.
I do wonder how sites like CDKeys will be able to reduce the cost or how games stores will even be able to sell enough games at those prices. At the moment, the PlayStation 5 is offering a bigger amount of games that I want to be buying but the £60 cost makes me feel uneasy and is a deterrent for me. Gran Turismo 7, Destruction All Stars, and Worms Rumble are three games I am definitely considering getting a PlaySation 5 for but how I’m going to find £180 for these, lord knows.
I just hope on Xbox’s next conference they will reveal a bit more and have some games that I might actually be buying. I would like to ask what everyone thinks of the possibility that the game prices may be higher this generation. Perhaps the prices of the rising games for this generation along with the costs of the new consoles can be possibly be discussed in a future Hot Topic and if this will be a major factor in determining anyone from going next gen?
gaz be rotten (gamertag)
GC: It’s very unlikely that most will be £60. Just as this generation only the biggest name games are £55.
Time and money
Bit late, but I agree with a lot said about the worst bits of modern gaming. But one of the things I find frustrating is that games are not a level playing field anymore. Unless you have spent dozens of hours getting perks and upgrades online you’re going to get owned. I really miss games like the original GRID or Halo 3 that had none of that, it was just down to skill. It’s one of the reasons I still play these games.
I have nothing against gaining cosmetic items but anything that effects gameplay just causes me to switch off. Also, the fact I just don’t have the time to grind away at games either.
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Reboot no. 3
I’ve been replaying Tomb Raider Anniversary at the moment and it’s got me thinking that the next Tomb Raider should, like Halo Infinite, be a spiritual reboot and go back to its roots. It’s a toss-up between Anniversary and Underworld for my favourite entry, although if Tomb Raider 3 received the Anniversary treatment and got rid of the tank controls then it would perhaps be my favourite.
I’d forgotten just how different the older games are. Whilst I enjoyed the last three Tomb Raider games they were much more akin to Uncharted, fun action games with stunning graphics and spectacular set pieces. But, like Uncharted, the actual puzzle-solving and platforming is very straightforward and doesn’t really offer any challenge. The combat is very good but the enemies are cookie cutter mercenaries that appear in numerous action games, including Uncharted.
I prefer the older games fighting different animals, including dinosaurs! The tombs in the newer games also took a back seat and were optional side activities, in a game called Tomb Raider you can go through the whole game and not raid a single tomb. I don’t remember, maybe some were part of the story but I’m just hyperboling here a little bit.
In the games pre the 2013 reboot every level is a massive tomb full of traps and puzzles to solve in order to progress and reach the end to get whatever MacGuffin Lara is after this time. It seems to me that with the newer trilogy Tomb Raider has lost a lot of its identity and a return to the original style would make it much more unique. Even in 2020 there’s nothing else like the older Tomb Raiders.
To be sure, the series was rebooted in 2013 because people were fed up with every game feeling largely the same and it needed a change in direction at the time. But now I personally miss the old style and would welcome a return or even a full remake of one of the older games, most preferably Tomb Raider 3 as that was one of the best entries of the PS1 era in my opinion.
Playing Tomb Raider Anniversary is why I love backwards compatibility on the Xbox One and am very happy I’ll still be able to play it on Xbox Series X. But if Square Enix were to announce a new game that went back to the series roots I would love it! Although Crystal Dynamics would have to be doing it and for the foreseeable future will presumably be tied up making Marvel’s Avengers and its post launch content, as it is a games as a service title.
I wouldn’t want another developer making Tomb Raider, so I’ll be happy to patiently wait on the next instalment when they’re able to get back to it.
Big Angry Dad82 (gamertag)
Currys PC World are currently offering free next day delivery (via a discount code) on a variety of games, including most Switch games. However, standard delivery is free, and the discount code can simply be used to take £5 off the price of the game. I just ordered Astral Chain, for £32 for example.
GC: That’s a quality choice of game, if nothing else.
Does anyone else find it weird when people say they’re looking forward to a game where almost nothing has been shown? I can sort of understand Fable as it’s part of a franchise (although I bet it’s nothing like the originals) but who can get excited about Avowed? It’s 15 seconds of arrows flying through the air, then five seconds of a guy holding a sword and trying to look like Skyrim. How do you become a fan of that?
This week’s Hot Topic
Given the Xbox Games Showcase last week the topic for this weekend’s Inbox is an obvious one: how do you think Microsoft are doing with their next gen plans so far?
What did you think of the games that were shown and will they be enough to convince you to get an Xbox Series X? Do you think the complaints about Halo Infinite’s graphics are fair and how do you think that game in particular is looking? If you were the head of Xbox right now how would you handle the launch of the console?
If you want to address similar points in the weekday Inbox then please indicate whether your message is meant for the Hot Topic or not.
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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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MORE : Weekend Hot Topic, part 2: The worst things about modern gaming
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