This Week

Games Inbox: How bad is the Xbox Series X 2022 games line-up?

It’s a lean second half of the year for everyone (pic: Microsoft)

The Tuesday letters page compares Starfield to No Man’s Sky, as one reader looks forward to a new Amiga 500 documentary.

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Off year
I watched the whole of the Xbox & Bethesda Showcase on Sunday and I’m in two minds. On the one hand I think they did a good job with what they had, and it was certainly the most enjoyable showcase to watch that Microsoft has done. On the other hand though I have to say there was very little to interest me and absolutely nothing this year.

There were a few indie games that might be good (although you can never tell) but Forza Motorsport and Starfield are both next year and I don’t think I’m that interested in either anyway.

Microsoft doesn’t seem to have anything out this year except that High On Life game by the Rick And Morty guy, which isn’t by any of their studios. There was no mention of The Outer Worlds 2, which was meant to be out this year, so I can only assume that’s been delayed – and probably by over a year if it wasn’t even mentioned. That is a bad line-up.

So that’s it for the rest of the year: nothing to look forward to other than third party games and not much of even that. Everyone’s in the same boat, especially Sony, but that doesn’t really make it any better. I don’t feel it’s healthy to just wish your life away waiting for things but as far as games are concerned it seems like everything would be better if we just fast-forwarded to 2023.

It’s bigger than that, it’s large
I mean this as respectfully as possible but other than obvious frame rate issues, and some polishing, Starfield looks astonishing. That seems to hold across the board, as Starfield is the most ambitious video game we have seen in the last decade. If you are not into sci-fi or space games I get it.

I am still worried that the game will not be able to live up to the claims Todd Howard has made about it. I doubt Bethesda has even revealed their full hand at this point or I would be disappointed. I remember when Bethesda first coined the title Starfield and knowing nothing about it at the time I felt like that was going to be the next big title.

Now here we are with a reveal and even with just what they have revealed we are potentially looking at the biggest role-playing game, maybe even single-player game, of the decade. That is if it still is single-player at this point.

First person switch off
Count me as one of those people that is now very much not looking forward to Starfield. As others have said, as soon as it turned into a boring first person shooter I immediately switched off. I don’t know how they thought that would come off but it looked terrible and you knew exactly how flat and boring it would play just by looking at it.

The exploration stuff could be good but I’d rather that was taken out and be the whole game. But then that’s basically No Man’s Sky and we already have that.

Skyrim is one of my favourite games ever but over the years I’ve begun to realise that was a bit of a fluke and Bethesda are nowhere near the developer they think they are. In terms of graphics and gameplay mechanics they are well behind the curve and watching the Starfield footage I’m not sure they’ve learnt anything new.

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Same old story
The Last Of Us Part 1 has been revealed and I have to say that it looks absolutely like a cash grab. The first game is my favourite ever, alongside Bloodborne, and I have to say that the reveal trailer solidifies my point. It looks visually appealing, but not much seems to have changed. Neil Druckmann has stated that there will be no new content or massive changes. So we are left with a barebones looking story, that we already have had the pleasure of seeing remastered.

It’s also insulting that the price tag is £70. That is how you drive the nail home. At least Demon’s Souls was truly rebuilt for PlayStation 5 and it looked amazing. Joel and Ellie’s story is complex, unforgiving and beautiful but when we know the consequences of his decision and the lacklustre story of the sequel it has less impact. It just tells us that Sony only see one thing in this project, money, and that’s a disappointment.
Shahzaib Sadiq

Buy now or later
Been reading since the Teletext days! This and Bamboozle before school every day!

Anyway, was hoping for advice from you and/or your readers… I’m toying with the idea of getting an Oculus Quest 2, but with news of future releases (hardware I mean) potentially in a few months, should I wait? Or will the new releases not have enough of a leap to warrant waiting (or will they be far more expensive?)

Secondly, I’ve had a go on one and they are amazing but are the games immersive/do they have longevity? Or will it be sat gathering dust in a few months? (The only console I play right now is the Switch, which I use almost every day)

Appreciate yours and your readers thoughts!

GC: That’s a good question but it’s hard to answer, as while there definitely will be an Oculus Quest 3 there’s no real clue as to when. It probably won’t be much more expensive though. The games question is too subjective to really offer an answer. The best games are very good though and they’re all generally less than half the price of a new console game, so longevity is less of an issue.

Soft launch
Are there any Sony fans out there that can explain what’s going on with PS Plus. It comes out in America and there’s not even a blog post to announce it? No official list of games? No kind of marketing at all? That is just bizarre to me.

The only thing I can imagine is that they’re worried about something going wrong but I can’t see what. PS Now worked fine and it’s basically the same thing, so what’s the issue? The emulation seemed pretty bad from earlier reports but Sony would’ve known that already – that’s why people were angry – so why are they acting like they don’t know if it’s even going to work?

They better have a new State of Play ready to go this month or they are not only going to find that Microsoft has stolen their launch but they’ve run off with their wife and keyed their car as well. This generation is Sony’s to lose and at the moment they’re doing their level best to do just that.

Amiga story
Shantae And The Pirate’s Curse is free on GOG for the next 48 hours at time of writing (Monday evening) and Maneater is free on Epic Games Store until Thursday at 4pm.
Andrew J.
PS: There is a new Kickstarter for an Amiga documentary by the people who made the Bedroom to Billions documentaries, I’ve just backed it. It is called ‘The Gaming Chronicles – Episode 1 – The Amiga 500’. Here’s the link.

Good enough
Really enjoyed the Microsoft and Bethesda not-E3 show. Along with the Sony State of Play prior, there were some other games not on my radar plus strong showings for known games at other events, so the next 12 months is looking far more packed than I expected.

Starfield was the big draw and I’ve come away pretty positive and looking forward to the game. Graphically, while not amazing it’s good enough and makes me feel there will be interesting locales, discoveries, and not just barren vistas on those 1,000 planets. The open moments of basic Bethesda combat were underwhelming but when it went into the story elements and other gameplay systems I thought that could be an absorbing experience.

I think Bethesda have said the game will be rooted in reality and try to capture that epic sense of awe and wonder of space exploration. Hopefully they can do that by making the scale and scope of the planets genuinely intriguing to set out and explore, while giving you a sense of greater input to proceedings with the base and ship mechanism meshed with an intriguing main quest. That could make it a very enjoyable journey to go on.

Game Pass’s USP of day one games was very strong. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge (announced at Summer Games Fest for Game Pass), Hollow Knight: Silksong, High On Life, Starfield, Redfall, Forza Motorsport, A Plague Tale: Requiem, Scorn, Flintlock: The Siege Of Dawn, The Last Case Of Benedict Fox, As Dusk Falls, Ravenlok (really liked Echo Generation), Scorn, and Cocoon all looked good. That list doesn’t include games that are a bit up in the air for various reasons, like Replaced or known games with just 2022 release dates like Sommerville.

All in all, pretty good. I’m now going to see if I can take off 2023 from work to get through all the games releasing that year.

Inbox also-rans
After watching the Xbox showcase there wasn’t much there that made me go wow and for me Starfield, if I’m honest, looked like an on steroids No Man’s Sky and we all know how that turned out. Don’t get me wrong, Xbox games did look fantastic but for me I’ll wait.

GC: It turned out to be a highly celebrated game and one of gaming’s most acclaimed turnarounds?

I’ve already vowed to never buy another Sony first party game at full price. I’ll happily wait a few years and buy second-hand. It’s pure greed at £70 for The Last Of Us remake. There’s plenty other games out there to catch up on. I sold my Switch and bought a 3DS to play some old cheap second-hand games.

This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Kipin, who asks what is your favourite video game reveal or announcement?

We’re currently right in the middle of preview season and even though it’s less busy than usual there are still a lot of games being announced for the first time, but which have been your favourite reveals through the years and why?

How excited do you get by a new announcement and how much does that depend on whether it’s just a logo, a pre-rendered trailer, or actual gameplay? Do you enjoy the whole preview and hype circus or do you prefer not to get involved?

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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 via email or our Submit Stuff page, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

You can also leave your comments below and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter.

MORE : Games Inbox: Bethesda’s Starfield disappointment, Xbox showcase reaction, and The Last Of Us Part 1

MORE : Weekend Hot Topic: Xbox & Bethesda Showcase predictions

MORE : Games Inbox: Best Summer Game Fest game, The Last Of Us Part 1 price, and Sony’s June State of Play

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