Monday, 4 Mar 2024

Games Inbox: Is The Witcher 3 the best RPG ever?

The Wednesday Inbox hears how Moving Out and Get Packed came out on the same week, as one reader discovers Mike Mignola’s Pokémon.

To join in with the discussions yourself email [email protected]

One more for luck
So it’s the fifth anniversary of The Witcher 3 this week and I would say it bring back many happy memories. Except, I’m still playing it on the Switch (great to have it portable, such as surprisingly good port) so I’m not sure that really counts. I think that would be my fourth playthrough by now, counting all the versions and I’m nowhere near sick of it yet.

I know it’s not perfect, the complaints about the combat are perfectly justified, but for me it’s the best role-playing game ever. Best because it does what so many role-players don’t and lets you play a character who you have complete control over but is also very well defined in terms of personality, as are his allies and all the various people he meets.

The Witcher 3 definitely has the best storytelling of any similar game and I won’t hear otherwise. That’s why I enjoy replaying it so many times, it’s like watching a favourite film again and again as you anticipate certain scene and plotlines the closer you get.

Maybe it’s not everybody’s thing but it certainly is mine and CD Projekt I salute you! Cyberpunk 2077 was an insta-purchase the second you announced it.

Short line-up
RE: Korbie and PlayStation 5 launch titles. I have to agree a Horizon Zero Dawn sequel seems the most likely title that might be ready for launch. Guerrilla Games have had three years to work on it, and their developer diaries on YouTube have stated they had wanted to include a co-op mode and the ability to commandeer flying creatures and soar across the map in the original. Features that extra power and SSD speed should make a doddle.

There’s a question as to whether they can hit their usual high graphical standards with such a short amount of time with the new system, but if it is ready in time it’ll be one of the few next gen-only games and likely be something special.

In response, Microsoft will have Halo, highly likely to have Forza Motorsport 8 but the wild card for me is Hellblade 2. The graphics in that looked phenomenal and if Ninja Theory are looking at a similar-sized game to the original there is a very good chance it could be ready for, or at least close to launch.

Still, long way off till we know for sure, hopefully I’ll be back on the games and can leave the Inbox in peace by then.
DarKerR (gamertag)/DarKerR-UK (PSN ID)/DarKeR_UK (Steam ID)

GC: Microsoft has already said that Halo Infinite will be the only Xbox-only launch title.

Coat-tail marketing
I just wanted to give some insight in response to the reader who wrote in yesterday talking about similar games coming out in the same week. I work at Team17, who published Moving Out. The Get Packed game wasn’t announced until a couple of weeks before Moving Out was set for release, so we had no idea a similar game was coming out too, and when it is that short notice you can’t just delay the game.

The publisher of Get Packed on the other hand, I don’t know what their strategy was as the Moving Out release date would have been known to them well in advance, as we announced our release date a couple of months before release.

I’m not criticising them, as even though it may not seem like the best decision, they may have wanted to jump on the marketing and coverage the game would receive.
Angry_Kurt (Twitter)

GC: It’s probably that, given it was a Stadia exclusive. But even so, it’s poor form.

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

Peaceful suggestions
Some may recall I wrote in last week asking for suggestions for some more mellow non-killing spree games. I just wanted to say thanks. Firstly to your good selves and Big Boy Bent whose double whammy made me finally buy What Remains Of Edith Finch, and even better it’s just gone to half price on Xbox Live at £7.99 (until Monday the 25th), and even better it’s just 3.45GB which means it finished downloading all within today.

That’s a miracle around here, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey which prompted my first letter, started downloading on the 8th and only finished on the 18th, the joy of living halfway up a mountain.

Overcome with reckless joy I checked out a few more of my on the fence long time possible purchases, and found Firewatch on sale, reduced from £15.99 to just £3.99 (also until the 25th), and at 3.22GB it will download in just one day again.

The other GC suggested game Outer Wilds is something I’ve looked at so many times and then gone nope. I might love it, but at £20.99 it’s too much of a risk for a punt. I’ll keep checking every now and again and maybe in a sale.

Back to Big Boy Bent and one of the suggested games was Old Man’s Journey. It seemed to be a perfect thoughtful and moving experience, however, having checked the Xbox Live reviews they were almost massively negative. The game requires you to agree to allow it complete unrestricted access to your device and data. The Xbox website has a three-page access list for the game which is shocking, including activate and use your webcam/camera, wasn’t that an episode of Black Mirror?

You might as well just phone the company and give them your bank details and then wish them a merry Xmas. All that and it keeps crashing their Xboxes. How is this acceptable?
Spooky Dreamer (SpookyDreamBoo – gamertag)
PS: Talked to a guy in the street lifting up access covers and poking and pulling things. They’re installing fibre-optic cable yay. But won’t be connected to the network for months, boo. Oh well, it’s nice to have something to look forward to. I swear I’ve spent more on electricity keeping the Xbox running to download games than the cost of the actual games!

A bad year
I’ve no doubt this stuff about Japanese companies not coping well with lockdown is true but man, what a year this is. We really are looking at Animal Crossing: New Horizons being the only AAA release for the Switch, alongside hopefully Paper Mario: The Origami King. Although let’s be honest, the last several entries have been AA at best.

And before anyone goes on about Super Mario and the rest, they’re remasters. They’re not new games. Some have been around for decades and could’ve been remasters at any point on any console and it wouldn’t have made any difference. (And what’s up with celebrating the 35th anniversary of Super Mario Bros. with a bunch of 3D games? That is so random.)

I mean, there’s more important things going on this year and Animal Crossing seems to be bringing home the bacon but this must be Nintendo’s worst year for productivity since, well since the Wii U actually. But still, it’s bad.

Amongst peers
Really looking forward to the next few months and seeing what the launch window line up for the next gen consoles are. I will say categorically I certainly don’t expect any of the games to look like the Unreal Engine 5 PlayStation 5 tech demo and won’t be trying to run Sony out of town when they don’t.

My two main hopes are that the Bluepoint Games remake is Demon’s Souls. Although just knowing it’s not would be good, so I can finally play the PlayStation 3 version I’ve been holding off on. The second is that Halo Infinite is the God tier exclusive Microsoft currently lack. The days of the Fxxk Edge front cover for the original Xbox and the mega launch that was Halo 3 are long gone. I really like Microsoft at the moment and have gone back to Xbox for the close of the gen but the last time I was as excited for one of their exclusives, like I was for Bloodborne and Zelda: Breath Of The Wild, was Halo 3.

For me there is a question mark if Microsoft can make games that match the very best of Sony and Nintendo, now is the time to prove they can. There’s been a sort of unproven thought they have been holding off for the next gen to pounce, now we will see. I hope Microsoft have taken note of how Breath Of The Wild and God Of War have successfully given established series a fresh take. Beyond that I’m happy to sit back and just enjoy the show for the next few months.

Big update
As you all remember, I wrote in going on about Call Of Duty updates and, yep, you guessed it, another 20GB update taking updates to nearly 250GB.

For people still with a 500GB hard drive you might want to get a 10TB hard drive the way these updates are coming.

GC: What’s your alternative? To not have updates? To have less generous updates with less in them? This week’s was pretty substantial and that takes up space.

Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here

No sides
A lot of people say, ‘Were you Sega or Nintendo’, myself though, I prefer to ask what made you a gamer. You can keep your side of the wall for me, it never interested me whatsoever.

Coming from an extremely poor family, I would have played anything that lit a screen, whether console, PC or handheld… but it was a struggle to get anything that played a game.

Starting out on Grandstand, we finally got an Atari and when that was surpassed (probably as we got a second-hand Atari 2600) PC gaming and newer consoles were released. I remember being incredibly infuriated when I asked for a Commodore 64 and unwrapped a Commodore VIC 20, which in effect, was the calculator version of a good PC system.

Many a school dinner hour, we’d head to a friend’s house closest to school (who had two parents and one with his own business) to play on his shiny new Spectrum 128K (codenamed Derby during development). One person would play whilst three watched and I have no doubt in my mind that something was missing and in effect it was technology.

Later on, my brother finally gained employment and could start to buy his own console of choice, which began with a Super Nintendo and followed with the Nintendo 64. How GoldenEye 007 was fun days back then. It was the first game I ever saw a Sniper scope zoom in (albeit not the first game to do it). I remember trying to run around Egyptian Crypt and he just punished me over and over. Son of a…

Am I a Nintendo guy though? No, far from it. I grew up on Nintendo and in fact we never had a Mega Drive the whole time. My niche landed me firmly in the Xbox court but my choice of favour was sealed with the Xbox 360.

In the early days of this era, I had an Xbox Original with a somewhat pre-disposed hard disc drive, that you could load games onto and play, but as my own fortunes grew (and due to starting a family earlier on) the Xbox 360 was where it all blossomed.

I was absolutely fixated with Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon and Need For Speed: Most Wanted 2006 but Call Of Duty soon followed. It was probably the best gaming experience of my life. Learning Xbox Live, making friends I’d never met and to be honest it still enthrals me. After 12 years, I still play and chat with the same guys I did back then. Sure, there have been some come and go, but the core element is still there to this day.

If I could give you one piece of advice, it would be, ‘try not to argue’. Gaming isn’t there for arguing, it’s there to build a community and if you can’t get along with those closest to you, I’d say move on or at least ask them to move on.

There are some wonderful people out there that I could honestly say make my game world a better place and it’s just a matter of finding the right blend of people. It’s not about PC or console in my opinion, almost anyone in the world can achieve that these days.

For me, above all keep it fun.
Neil Dyson,

Inbox also-rans
Is it just me or is Mafia a bit of a nothing franchise? I have never met anyone that cares about it and yet now we’re getting to remasters and a remake? Whatever floats your boat I guess.

I know GC are big fans of Hellboy creator Mike Mignola, so I thought you’d like this.

GC: Thank you, this is amazing. There’s loads of them too!

This week’s Hot Topic
The question for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Comp, who asks what highly anticipated game has come closest to meeting or exceeding your expectations?

Hype can get out of control sometimes but what game turned out to be as good, or better, than you were expecting? How often does it happen that games live up to your expectations and how upset do you get when they don’t?

If the game was better than you expected how did it manage that? Did you purposefully avoid too much information about it or had you got the wrong idea from the marketing and reviews? Or were some of the details purposefully kept secret?

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.

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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