The Tuesday Inbox is worried about Lucasfilm’s handling of the Star Wars licence, as one reader wonders about Battlefield 2042 cheats.
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Very sad to hear about the death of Mick McGinty on Monday. I admit I’d never heard of his name until now but I always loved his work, especially the Streets Of Rage 2 cover. This immediately made me start thinking of what the actual best ever game box art was. It’s a very difficult question, because it’s a straight mixture of nostalgia, technical competence, and iconic imagery.
I’m desperate to say that it’s one of Bob Wakelin’s amazing creations for Ocean (sadly he too has passed away) but there’s so many it’s impossible to choose one and the one that comes closest, for Gryzor/Contra, I’m not actually sure whether he came up with the original idea or just redrew something from Konami.
Speaking, of Konami, the Nemesis/Gradius box art is another firm favourite and definitely in my top three. I think though, at least as my first answer, that I’d go for the original Doom. It’s not that good technically but there’s something about it that I just love. It’s like a heavy metal album cover but for games and gets across all the game’s goofy, hyper violent charm. Which I think is exactly how a cover needs to work.
Compare that to the reboot, which is just Doomguy standing there, and you see how things have changed over the years. Which means that maybe… Doom will be the best box art forever? Curious to know what other people think.
GC: To be fair, the reboot had multiple covers, including a recreation of the original, although the flat shot off Doomguy was the default.
I’ve got a bad feeling about this
I’m sure I’m not the only Star Wars that is really starting to worry about how Luasfilm is handling the licence. They obviously realised that EA were making a hash of it (ironically, just around the time they made good with Fallen Order) but their choices since then all seem pretty worrying.
The worse thing is you can see their logic: pick a genre and go to the developer that’s been the most successful with it. So they want an open world game they go with Ubisoft, they want a microtransactions filled mobile game they go with Zynga, and they want a narrative game they go with Quantic Dream.
Except those developers are the most bland, minimum effort choices they could make. Well, Quantic Dream aren’t bland exactly they’re… weirdly incompetent? Would that be the best way to describe a studio that makes amazing graphics but terrible scripts and is clearly held by egomaniac David Cage. GC joked that they’re a good match for prequel era Star Wars, which is true in a way, but I think most people were hoping we’d moved past that now.
Lucasfilm need to stop looking at who makes the most successful games and ask who makes the best ones, because this is already starting to feel like corporate branding rather than a creative process.
It gets everywhere
Yet again Lucasfilm get it wrong. Instead of using Quantic Dream to deliver us bad dialogue for a beloved series famed for truly bad dialogue, they could’ve got Nintendo’s Zelda team to do it. We would be laughing at the cringe inducing Breath Of The Wild style dialogue but also be playing a Star Wars game based on the excellence that Breath Of The Wild has in every other aspect, rather than doing half circles with the analogue stick to open a fridge.
I suppose though, that Quantic Dream could add a glitch where rather than ‘SHAUN’ being repeated ad nauseam we could have Anakin screaming ‘SAND’ instead.
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Thanks to everyone in the Underbox who has advised on getting Game Pass for a cheaper rate. This weekend I managed to buy three years of Live Gold at $60 per year and with a month of Game Pass Ultimate converted it to three years of Ultimate. All in with taxes, I was able to get Game Pass for $200 CAD or around £114.
There was a local bargain hunting site which suggested buying keys from other regions and using a VPN for activation, but I didn’t want that hassle.
I had a play on Battlefield 5 on the weekend, I only played the single-player mode. It took a while to play more tactically but I eventually settled in and before I knew it I had finished the last mission. Reading online not everyone felt the same but I really liked the stories I played through.
Next up is Psychonauts 2.
On November 15th this year the original Xbox celebrates 20 years of the Xbox brand and the original Xbox console’s launch. This makes me ask what exactly has Microsoft got planned for this as you also have the fact that next year Xbox Network, formerly Xbox Live, will officially hit 20 years old and will leave the question what anyone with a 20 year Xbox Live Gold or Network tenure will get, if anything, and what Microsoft will do to celebrate this milestone reached by its customers?
The Xbox 360 has been my favourite Xbox console, followed by the Xbox One, however it will be a while before I even think of getting an Xbox Series X as I am waiting to see what will happen this November on the Xbox’s 20th anniversary. I still miss playing True Crime: Streets Of LA and NY as well as other Xbox classics.
If more original Xbox games are made backwards compatible then this would go down well as we could use more games from the original Xbox being made backwards compatible.
gaz be rotten (gamertag)
I’ll start by saying everyone has an opinion, and everyone is entitled to it. To say Deathloop is overrated though is going a tad far. Is it 10/10? Probably not. Is it a good game though? Most definitely.
I started to play Deathloop the way most people are likely to start: get to the target – quietly if possible – then rack up the kills. After about four loops I stopped shooting and started ‘killing time’ as the game screen says, as I began looking to solve mysteries and figure out each visionary’s secrets. Each character has a depth to them beyond the little notes you find in Colt’s hideout at the start, they have relationships and rivalries which can be manipulated if you’re feeling clever. Dialogue between Colt and Juliana also gives the protagonist some depth, and there are some funny sequences between that are worth sticking around to hear.
Deathloop is not the perfect game. The nature of its gameplay loop means you can’t avoid repetition. The worst example is a quest that requires you to carry a recording somewhere – I’m avoiding spoilers here – which I failed at by trying to be too quiet, leaving me the only option of looping out to try again. In order to give myself something to do I killed the visionary in that area, but it felt meaningless as I’d already done this four times prior.
Overall though I’d say the game is good. Gunplay is excellent, powers are fun to experiment with and the dialogue is well written. Arkane have not missed the mark, they just didn’t hit the bullseye.
GC: Something can be overrated and still be a good game; it doesn’t seem like you’re saying anything too different to the other readers.
Sympathy for the Vanguard
So it sounds like Call Of Duty: Vanguard is in trouble, eh? EA must be rubbing their hands with glee at each new piece of news that comes out, because it’s all bad for Activision.
I was interested the second they said it was WW2 and nothing so far has changed my mind about that. However, I do feel some sympathy with regards to the problem with cheaters. I think it’s obvious that Activision has made a real effort to sort this out and, while it hasn’t worked, I’m not sure anything would have. EA may be laughing out the other side of their face if the same problem hits them – and you can be sure hackers will at least try.
Gaming for all
One Button Games has launched. The aim is create a wide resource of games that can be played with a single button, whether that be a mouse button, keyboard key, or specialised input device, such as a foot mouse or button.
Gaming should be able to be played by everyone, One Button Games provides an assortment of games that can be played by users with learning or physical difficulties.
Back in the early 1980s I received a Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48K computer for Christmas. I was in awe – my brother and I had our own computer. The games were amazing, so many different genres to choose from. I soon got more interested in finding out how the games were made than playing them. The Spectrum had a programming language known as BASIC (Beginner’s All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code). Although limited in the functions and keywords it was possible to make amazing things happen on such a small and compact system. Within a few months I was making things move on screen, making my own graphics and music, and increasing my skills and understanding of the programming language. My interest in game creation has not waned since then.
As I got older I learnt additional programming languages and dabbled in making software and games, with some success. In the early 2000s I discovered an awesome piece of software known as GameMaker. It allowed for the creation of games with minimal programming language skills. I set about learning it inside and out, to the level that I was able to author a book on how to use it to make games. Since then, the software has gone through many upgrades and name changes, turning into what is now a very powerful game creation tool.
Over the years I’ve had many jobs, including teaching, and worked with people who have physical and learning disabilities. I believe that everyone should be able to enjoy gaming, so I recently launched One Button Games.
Regarding your titling of RJ’s letter as ‘Non-stop dancer’, did I tell you about Damien?
GC: Wasn’t he in terrible trouble with people from the ecology?
A guy I know reckons Sir Clive once swung for him in a pub back in the 80s. He probably deserved it too. That’s all I have to add.
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader notoriouschucky, who asks what video game do you consider to be worth a full 10/10 score?
Accepting that 10/10 does not mean something is literally perfect, what game would you give that mark to and why? How well did it review on release and do you feel it got the recognition it deserved – and if not, why not?
What makes that particular game better than any sequels or similar games and how well do you expect it to age over time? If it’s already an old game how has its reputation changed over time and how much life does it still have in it?
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 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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