The Thursday letters page welcomes everyone back after the new year break, as one reader recommends Etrian Odyssey on the 3DS eShop.
Change of plan
Over the last couple of years I’ve seen a lot of people talk about selling their PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X almost as soon as getting it, like the video game equivalent of buying a puppy for Christmas. I always thought these people were overreacting or probably not even being serious, and just trying to make a point in the console wars. And yet suddenly I find myself in a similar situation.
I got a PlayStation 5 for Christmas and to be honest even before the big day I was beginning to think it was a mistake. I’ve been saving for most of the year and while the cost of the console was relatively easy to cover, with some patience, I was naturally concerned about the cost of games and future upgrades. The recent Reader’s Feature about saving money on video games during the cost of living crisis core struck a chord with me and underlined the difficulties in paying for gaming at the moment.
It’s not any one thing but the commitment to the ecosystem and the constant temptation to not only buy everything but to do so day one or close to it. I’ve already beaten God Of War and am a good way through Horizon Forbidden West, and that alone represents over £100 worth of games. At the same time, I’ve realised I can sell my PlayStation 5 now and lose almost no money – but that’s true in the wider sense too.
I suspect I’ll be back in a year or two, when things hopefully settle down, but for now gaming will be limited to my phone and my not-really-gaming PC. With indie titles I think that’ll be enough and I’ll probably appreciate the PlayStation 5 (or more likely PS5 Pro) after a little break.
Happy 2023 to you and your readers! I brought in the new year by finally rolling the credits on God Of War Ragnarök, which I thought was mostly excellent. The plot does meander, and I felt it could have been a lot shorter, especially in comparison to the tight ‘get these ashes to that mountain’ story of the 2018 offering, but luckily the brilliant characters and amazing action sustain it and seeing the end of Kratos and Atreus’ story did not disappoint.
My main point thought, is the complete bombastic spectacle of the closing missions. The God Of War games have always had a an immense sense of scale and the Ragnarök finale is up there with the very best the series has to offer.
I don’t want to spoil anything with specific details, but the complete chaos, delivered on a huge scale with excellent boss fights at the end; the culmination of two great games, was just a complete thrill. I rolled those credits pretty much blown away by the gaming session. It’s gaming at its most exhilarating and those two hours or so were just pure fun. It was a pleasure to have played it.
From doubter to fan
I finally finished Elden Ring on Boxing Day after 175 hours of play. I felt like I had finished a marathon, both elated and exhausted. Malenia was particularly hard going but it was such a triumph when I finally worked her out. The whole game was such an amazing, all-consuming experience. I’m already missing its punishing embrace.
I last wrote in when I was at 100 hours, thinking I was nearly finished but there was so much more to see, including some truly brilliant bosses (I particularly loved Radagon, both visually and in terms of mechanics). I said then that I think it would be a better game with some judicious editing and I preferred the structure of the more linear From games. I still stand by these sentiments to an extent, but after playing the full game I no longer think it’s the worst From game.
Bloodborne is still my favourite but Elden Ring is a very close second. It deserves all of the accolades it’s garnered and I will definitely be first in the queue if there’s a sequel. It’s going to be interesting to see what From do next. I’m not convinced yet Armored Core will be for me, but I’d love to see a sci-fi take on the Soulsborne genre. It’d be interesting to see even more alien creature/enemy designs and let Miyazaki’s imagination go wild.
Perhaps it could be a more linear effort to compliment Elden Ring, set on a massive space station or something. Or maybe an open world split into planets, which would help give the game better structure. It’s exciting to think of the possibilities! Bloodborne 2 wouldn’t hurt either.
PS: Thanks for your all Christmas coverage and Happy New Year!
GC: Thanks. Unless it’s radically different from all the previous games, Armored Core 6: Fires Of Rubicon will not be anything like Elden Ring or any Soulsborne.
While stocks last
Just a quick mention that Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2: Record Breaker is only £3.49 on the 3DS store at the moment. That is along with sale prices on several Etrian Odyssey games and Persona Q. These games seem to be reduced in price quite often but given that the 3DS and Wii U online stores are closing in a couple of months I thought it was worth mentioning.
Perhaps before the stores close you might consider doing a feature on games that are only available there and so will be unavailable barring a major update to the Switch store? Some like the 3D Classics collection of Sega and old Nintendo games will presumably be lost for good.
Thanks and apologies if this has already been mentioned, I’m ashamed to say I miss the Inbox sometimes.
GC: We’ll see what we can do but we’ll say now that Etrian Odyssey 4 is one of the best dungeon crawlers ever and a real staff favourite. Persona Q mixes the mechanics of the series with more typical Shin Megami Tensei role-playing elements.