Games Inbox: Are FIFA 22 microtransactions morally wrong?
The Tuesday Inbox asks if an exclusive PlayStation Marvel universe is inevitable, as more readers share their 10/10 games.
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As the new season of sports games starts, I’m glad to see Metro and other websites going all in on microtransactions. I think we’ve gone beyond the point where they can just be acknowledged as a bad thing and ignored. Instead, we have to accept that they’re aimed directly at the young and vulnerable to convince them to spend their (and parents’) every spare penny on the game, just so everything can reset and they can do it all again next year.
I’m not interested in basketball but from what I understand NBA 2K is the absolute worst, but FIFA must be almost as bad – and any other game that thinks it can get away with the same things. It is gambling and these publishers know exactly what they’re doing and who they’re targeting. As far as I’m concerned it’s morally wrong and government action should’ve been taken years ago.
The worst thing is I don’t think it would even matter if we all agreed not to pay for them as the majority of the money comes from the tiny minority of whales, so as long as they’re still spending why should EA or 2K care?
I was ready to dismiss that Insomniac multiplayer story as just a vague rumour, but there is actually some good circumstantial evidence there, with them already hiring for an unannounced multiplayer game (job ads do it again!). There are at least three questions here: 1) what is the character of setting for the game? 2) how big have Insomniac got now that they can make three big budget games at once? 3) how close are Sony and Disney to just announcing an all-encompassing video game exclusivity deal?
Question three is the easiest to guess at: exactly as long as Square Enix’s licence runs for, because it’s clear Avengers is a flop now and I’d be shocked if Guardians Of The Galaxy didn’t do even worse. They might continue to licence out for specific things, like the XCOM strategy game, but we really can’t be far away now from an official PlayStation/Marvel universe.
I’m not even necessarily saying that’s a good or bad thing but it’s a hell of a selling point for Sony, much more than any exclusive Microsoft has got.
Playing the future
I wanted to echo Steven Jones’ comments on Shenmue being a 10/10 game. I was thinking about what a 10/10 game means to me. Obviously, it needs to be fun to play, but what makes a game truly special is something of a transcendence experience. My feelings were quite similar in that playing the game at the time mirrored the snowy scenery outside my house. It’s also a game that truly felt like the future; something I hadn’t felt at the time since Super Mario 64.
It was one of the first games which gave me an emotional response other than simple enjoyment. The game taught me that not everything needs to be action packed (although this is something Shenmue 2 does a lot better) and that sometimes it’s OK to stop and smell the (digital) roses. The combination of music, graphics, and emotion is something very dear to me. The fact that almost 20 years later I went to Japan to visit Yokosuka shows how much the game still means to me.
Shenmue will never be the most popular game of all time, but there’s little doubt it’s one of the most important games ever made. It’s not perfect, but even in 2021, I still love them (as well as Shenmue 2 and 3).
As for other 10/10 games (that is not perfect, but special to me), Sonic 3 & Knuckles, Resident Evil (1996), NiGHTS Tnto Dreams, Persona 5, and Panzer Dragoon Saga fit the bill.
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Close but not cigar
Very interesting Hot Topic at the weekend, which made for a thoroughly enjoyable read. A few games popped into my head immediately, such as Panzer Dragoon Saga, Shining Force 3, Guardian Heroes, Half-Life 2, Dark Souls, and Bloodborne, which I think all warrant a 10.
I know nostalgia plays a part in some choices but both Dark Souls and Bloodborne are games I played as an adult, and I think they’re masterpieces. Dark Souls especially, as I went in blind and was immediately in awe of the magnificent world that was both beautiful yet harrowing at the same time and felt like something that was once real. Some of the locations and boss fights were literally jaw dropping and it was an experience I’d never had in gaming before. It’s one of the reasons I’ve not played Dark Souls Remastered yet (or revisited Bloodborne) and not sure if I will as you can’t replicate that feeling of wonder or surprise, so I feel I’d quite like to leave the memory of them as is.
On a similar note, I wonder what games people have played that they thought were so close to being a 10 if not for a few flaws?
I only ask as I’m currently playing Othercide and think it’s brilliant, however some design choices let it down for me. Firstly, nowhere near enough is explained at the beginning of the game, either the story or how to play it, which almost made me give up early on so I can imagine numerous other people have been left confused. Not being able to rotate the map is frustrating, the colour scheme gets old fast, the maps are all too similar and not being able to see your character’s perks in combat is a pain. I could add a few more but there does seem to be a phenomenal game underneath these minor issues.
I for one hope they make a sequel as there’s absolutely bags of potential in this game. I love that small development teams can make games like this and more power to them I say.
GC: That mirrors our thoughts exactly on Othercide.
Witch time is it
Good grief that Nintendo Direct was full of great surprises. Nintendo 64 and Mega Drive games incoming on the undernourished Nintendo Switch Online service – if they turn out to be the PAL region versions some gamers may feel hert(z) – a 3D Kirby that resembles Super Mario Odyssey in scale and looks hugely promising, sudden announcements and subsequent shadow drops for Actraiser remake and Castlevania Advance Collection. And of course, the world premiere for the unbearably long gestating, Bayonetta 3.
Honestly, I’m still processing the reality that Bayonetta 3 hadn’t succumb to vapourware status and looks as amazing as I had imagined it would when it was first announced way back in December 2017. I’ve watched the gameplay trailer five times now and after every viewing my anticipation for the sensual, uber stylish, whip smart, formidable, bewitching… witch’s latest escapades intensifies.
The gameplay footage looked incredible. Some die hard fans will certainly take umbrage at the decision to replace (?) original Bayonetta voice actor Hellena Taylor, but the new actor (?) seems to do a satisfactory job judging by first impressions.
It’s the more hands-on, interactive demon command mechanics that stir the imagination and delight the eye. These abilities look like a superb addition to Bayonetta’s repertoire and what it means for the general scale, spectacle and… grace and glory of the battles. I predict the possibilities for combos utilising these mechanics is going to be quite staggering.
There are actually rumours abound that PlatinumGames may have repurposed some of the aforementioned beast command ideas from ill-omened Platinum and Microsoft project, Scalebound. The thought of that game living on in some way in Bayonetta 3 is quite heart-warming. That Astral Chain 2 fake out was a nice touch too. Hopefully it won’t be too long till that project manifests itself.
At this rate 2022 is shaping up to be to become a vintage year in gaming with Bayonetta 3, Elden Ring, Kirby And The Forgotten Land, Ghostwire: Tokyo, Zelda: Breath Of The Wild 2, Splatoon 3, Horizon Forbidden West, God Of War: Ragnarök and more!
RE: companies putting out games immediately after these kind of events – I think it actually makes sense for a collection like this (though I agree not for brand new games). People can already check the original reviews in the collection, and while I would personally wait for a review for things like latency, emulation quality, aspect ratio, decent scanlines, etc. realistically that puts me in a small niche. I recall plenty of people being perfectly happy with ZSNES when there were far better SNES emulation options, for instance.
So I think the opportunity of harnessing the number of eyes on the Direct and people’s nostalgia and excitement to immediately open their wallets may actually make these companies more money than waiting for reviews when the memory and excitement may have faded.
Of course, that’s not to say they couldn’t time review NDAs for the end of the Direct, but I gather what is going to be shown can be in flux till quite late in the day.
In a way, I’m quite disappointed to see Dracula X there, as it lowers the likelihood of a second classicvania collection which I would hope we’d see – there’s still quite a lot of 2D classicvanias left.
GC: The Castlevania games in that collection are 20 years old, referring to reviews from the time is not going to be helpful. As you say, if they’d sent review copies out early, like normal, they could have set the embargo to be the time of the Direct.
Just a note to say that Smyths have had the Xbox Series X in stock for All Access all weekend and it’s still in stock now but it’s very well hidden.
Go to the Xbox All Access Page > Click Join Now > Choose Home Delivery and voila! Xbox Series X in stock ready to ship!
Saints Stickman (gamertag)
GC: It still seems to be in stock as we write this, on Monday afternoon. Or maybe it just reveals it’s out of stock once you commit to buying it?
As usual I was expecting this in the Hot Topic letters but didn’t see it mentioned. Metroid Prime deserved a 10/10, not sure if the current team were in charge when Prime was released. Super Mario 64 and Zelda: Ocarina Of Time are held up as games which transitioned from 2D to 3D seamlessly but I would add Prime as well. In Prime I never found the platforming sections hampered by being in 3D.
The opening sequence on the space station sets the mood for the rest of the game. The weapons were adjusted to fit the controller, switching from the various weapons was effortless. The boss battles were a highlight, especially the Thadus, it’s here where the game clicked as being one of the best ever. You had to use all the items in your arsenal to take down the boss. Usually in boss fights you tend to use the same item or technique found in an area to defeat the boss.
The fight with Ridley is brutal I think it was dumbed down on the Wii remaster, though I may be wrong. The music deserves a lot of recognition as it remixes tunes from earlier games. The thing that really sets it apart is the ability to know what to cut out from previous games, i.e. the speed boost, screw attack. It’s a shame that Prime 2 was a slog to get through and Prime 3 felt a bit easy. Both had some good ideas but never managed to reach the heights of Prime.
I am really looking forward to Prime 4 and hope we get some details soon. Guess we will have to contend with Metroid Dread for now. When can we expect the review to be up?
GC: We’re not sure yet but our preview went up yesterday.
Is it weird that I don’t have any current Nintendo console but still get excited for Nintendo Directs?
GC: Only a little bit.
Good to hear that Metroid Dread is looking good. I think that Nintendo Direct proved the Switch has a very solid line-up from October through to next year. I wonder what the Christmas title will be though? Are we assuming it’s Zelda: Breath Of The Wild 2?
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by various readers, who asked what is the most memorable video game box art?
It can be either memorably good or bad, but which made the most impression on you and why? Since physical copies are becoming increasingly rare you may never have seen the artwork in question on an actual box but how important do you feel key art images are in setting the tone for a game?
Have you ever tried to get a poster or other merchandise featuring the image and how iconic do you think it is outside of gaming?
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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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