Best free-to-play video game, Horizon Forbidden West for £35, and Mega Drive Mini 2 in the UK

Warframe key art
Warframe – better than Fortnite? (pic: Digital Extremes)

The Monday letters page hears about the benefits of ultra wide PC monitors, as one reader sticks up for Gotham Knights.

Free to try
I got so bored of not having any new games to play that I did something I never imagined I would: I downloaded Fortnite to give it ago. I’ve played it before, but not for long and I quick dismissed it. I was being a snob, I admit, because I didn’t want to think I was just following the crowd and the whole thing seemed like it was aimed at teenagers and not me.

Playing it properly now though I still have some difficulty understanding how it got quite as big as it has. The action isn’t particularly good and the main distinguishing feature, of the ability to build, seems to be hated by half the players.

I still got bored by that pretty quick, so then I tried to give Apex Legends a go instead. That was a lot better in terms of the gunplay, although I found the setting and characters to be disappointingly generic compared to Overwatch (which is also going free-to-play!), which is what I assume it’s trying to riff off of.

Moving away from the big names though I’d heard a lot of good things about Warframe and decided to give that a go instead. And so far I’m still with it. I found it to be a lot more engaging than the others, as it has a story and a weird setting that’s more than just ‘people with guns shoot each other’. There is a lot of that, admittedly, but this one feels like a real video game rather than just a flimsy shell to sell microtransactions.

I’ve also played Fall Guys, which is obviously very different, but Warframe is definitely my favourite so far. Maybe I’ll try League Of Legends on my laptop next…
Lance

Mega bad news
It’s been a while since I’ve seen some Inbox magic so here’s hoping for the Mega Drive Mini 2 to come to the UK. I tried to order one through Amazon USA but was blocked, with it stating it will not ship to the UK.

Given the Japanese version has prohibitive amounts of text-based games it’s the Western version I’d like but with numbers produced expected to be something like a tenth of the original it’s not looking good!
Rob

Side characters
RE: Ollie and Gotham Knights. Apart from Tim Drake, who is Robin in the game, and the current Robin when Batman dies at the start of the game, I wouldn’t describe the other three characters of Nightwing, Batgirl, and Red Hood as sidekicks as all of them have gone on to have the own adventures, and are heroes (or anti-hero in Red Hood’s case) in their own right.

And what makes them dweeby? A dweeb is an insignificant or inept person, something that to me cannot be used to describe any of the playable characters in Gotham Knights.

I for one am really looking forward to the game, and the fact that without Batman as the main character it should have at least 75% less brooding (Red Hood is not the sunniest character!)
LastYearsModel

Super ultra wide hero
Thanks for the review of Spider-Man on PC. I’ve been very much looking forward to it, as a huge Spidey fan and someone who no longer owns a console (last consoles were Wii and PlayStation 2).

I’m really pleased Sony are porting their exclusives, although I’m not sure in understand why. Maybe they know there are people who simply won’t buy a PlayStation 5 and figure they can make more money porting. I guess that makes sense.

Anyway, that wasn’t really my point, I just wanted to point out something else that’s been added to the PC port that, to me anyway, is potentially a huge visual enhancement. That is the support for ultra wide and super ultra wide monitors.

If anyone doesn’t know what they are, they move away from the standard 16:9 ratio to either 21:9 or even 32:9 for super ultra wide.

I got a Samsung 49″ super ultra wide monitor for my racing sims a year ago, and I must say it’s a game changer! All games (when they support the aspect ratio) are just so much more immersive.

I know 49″ might not sound huge (TVs are often much bigger) but remember this monitor sits less than 1m from my noggin, and it’s effectively two 27″ monitors side by side.

Not sure when I’m going to get Spider-Man, still got a few backlog games I’m working through, but I am really looking forward to web-swinging around Manhattan in glorious 49″ 32:9 ratio.

Happy gaming y’all!
TheDudeAbides

Group activity
To be clear, I agree that the Switch had one of the best launch line-ups ever, if not the best. The point I was trying to make, perhaps a bit clunkily, was around the common complaint that the PlayStation 5 line-up has been poor due to the number of cross-generational releases and ports; however, even the Switch, which you cited as having an excellent line-up in its first two years, leant heavily on ports and cross-generational releases to pad release schedules.

I’m not blinkered to the different circumstances, hence my devil’s advocate line, i.e. that the Switch followed a console with a great line-up but poor sales, meaning the ports were essentially new games to most people (but not me, because I bought them on Wii U), whereas the PlayStation 5 is co-existing with a console that sold 100+ million. Nevertheless, I do think Sony in particular have done OK so far with their first party games and third party exclusives given the circumstances (without creating much of an incentive to buy a PlayStation 5).

On Nintendo’s Covid struggles, obviously not allowing employees to work from home would be a huge impediment! However, I work for a large Japanese company who were stereotypically old-fashioned and set in their ways pre-pandemic. They quickly realised that they preferred making money to the alternative and developed new ways of working during Covid (which have persisted) to mitigate the severity of any delays.

What I was wondering was whether there’s some fundamental aspect of game development that doesn’t work remotely, which would impact all developers in some way, or whether Nintendo are just so secretive and guarded that even remotely accessing resources wouldn’t be an option for fear of leaks. Which I think you’ve answered, since they apparently have a history of Zelda-ing their employees.
Magnumstache

GC: There’s only ever been one cross-gen Switch release (Zelda: Breath Of The Wild) and there were only two Wii U ports (Mario Kart 8 and Pokkén) in its first year. But we don’t think the two situations are really comparable and besides, the majority are all for the Wii U ports and the first year or so of the PlayStation 5 was very good. The difficulty of making video games when you can’t physically interact with the multiple departments necessary is evident across the games industry. If working from home didn’t make much difference, we wouldn’t be having such a quiet 2022…

Better than nothing
I know you guys are huge fans of XCOM 2, but perhaps less so of the Switch version which I heard was not a great conversion.

It’s currently on sale for less than £7, so I was wondering if you still think it’s worth it and most Importantly, if you, or any of the readers know if it’s been patched since lunch to make it a better conversion
John

GC: We don’t know about recent patches but while it struggled on the Switch it was still a good effort and worth £7 if the Switch is the only format you have.

An end to loyalty
I’ve just finished your article about Sony vs. Microsoft, I must say it was an interesting read and as a gamer, good points were made. The war between both consoles is heating up, with new exclusives coming out it’s almost as if the makers are purposely doing this as a way of competing with each other.

My first ever console was a PlayStation 2 when I was younger, since then I’ve always been on PlayStation. That was until my partner transferred over to Xbox. we used to play Ark: Survival Evolved on PlayStation together, naturally though, as he transitioned to Xbox, so did I. I had been tempted by PlayStation exclusives to go back for certain games but I soon found the same type of games on Xbox. I enjoyed Until Dawn but The Dark Pictures Anthology came out on Xbox and is similar.

I have noticed in a couple of groups I am on, particularly Ark groups, how console players get along, it’s PC players who people have an issue with, but it’s more that they have mods and no problem letting everyone know.

I say for now because we’re all anticipating the release of Ark 2, however I’ve since found out it’s an Xbox console exclusive, on release at least.

I think that’s when things will cause more of a rift. If this continues and games are exclusives to a particular console on release, with no indication as to whether they’re hitting other consoles, that’s when more problems will start, as there will be no loyalty, just going wherever the game takes you!
Anon

Unknown questions
Survival horror was what got me onto gaming originally, everyone goes through the Resident Evil, Silent Hill debate, then you get the Dead Space and Dino Crisis are they/aren’t they questions? But no one ever talks about Project Zero.

The only game series I’ve never finished any of the games for. Why? Cos I got way too creeped out playing them alone and no one wanted to watch me play it, as they too got creeped out. If any horror series needs a reboot, it’s Project Zero. Hands down the scariest game series in history.
Anon

GC: We’re not sure what debates and questions you’re referring to. How could Dead Space and Dino Crisis not be survival horrors, if that’s what you’re implying?

zone post image for post 17176731One year later
With the PlayStation 5 seemingly becoming increasingly available, I thought it would be particularly relevant to relay my recent experience of having a defective DualSense controller.

I managed to obtain a PlayStation 5 in February 2021 and, only a few months later in July 2021, the face buttons on the controller began to lose sensitivity. After contacting Sony, the controller was replaced free of charge.

However, in July 2022, less than a year after this replacement by Sony, the same controller began to experience analogue stick drift to the point where it was unusable.

I again contacted Sony who this time refused to repair or replace the controller either for free or for a fee, stating that it was outside the one year warranty period.

After contacting them again to state that the controller had been replaced by them less than a year ago, and that stick drift on my son’s Joy-Cons had been repaired by Nintendo outside of warranty for free, they still refused to do anything.

As far as I understand, stick drift is a known issue with the DualSense, so I find it extremely disappointing that Sony has responded in this way. The DualSense is not cheap, and for issues to occur on multiple occasions so soon into its lifespan is not acceptable.

I would be interested in the experiences of other readers.
ameisa (PSN ID)

Inbox also-rans
It looks like Horizon Forbidden West has received a price cut on PlayStation 5. Amazon, Asda, and John Lewis have it stock for £35, as I write this on Friday evening. I’ve just had to pull the trigger.
Dangeraaron07 (PSN ID)

GC: As we type this, it’s no longer cheap at Amazon but it is at the other two.

People talk about why Nintendo released Mother 3 in the West but how about a 3D remake of EarthBound? I think that could actually do really good, in the mould of Final Fantasy 7 Remake.
Danson

This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Cranston, who asks what’s the most invested you’ve ever been in a console war?

Which generation did you get the most passionate about and which side were you on, between Sega, Nintendo, PlayStation, Xbox, and others? Do you regret any of the things you said or did at the time and do you think you were ultimately right about the side you picked?

Have you ever regretted a choice of console, and did you reverse it that generation or at the start of the next one? Which part of the modern game industry would you have found the most surprising at the time of your console warring?

Original Article

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