The Wednesday letters page names Thank Goodness You’re Here one of the best games of Gamescom, as a reader pays homage to Charles Martinet.
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Not a very exciting Gamescom but at least they didn’t hype it up as anything other than just more trailers for games we’ve already seen a bunch of times. Although it was disappointing that most of the games were out this year, so we hardly got any glimpse at what to expect for next year.
There were something things I was looking forward to though, like Alan Wake 2, but I’m undecided on Phantom Liberty. I did buy Cyberpunk 2077 but never beat it because of all the problems. I do have a PlayStation 5 now, so could probably restart it on that, but the whole situation kind of soured me on the game.
Would people say that it is now properly playable and that it at least somewhat lives up to the original hype? Although I guess nobody can tell me whether Phantom Liberty will be worth it. However, I heard that Keanu Reeves’ character is actually kind of annoying. I never really got that far into the game so I couldn’t say, so maybe more of him isn’t actually a good thing?
Game of the show
Two hours of Gamescom’s slightly tedious format saved by Thank Goodness You’re Here. It might turn out to be a simple generic indie title upon release but as a palette cleanser to watching endless slaughter and, for reasons unknown, Zak Synder’s overly long Netflix trailer it was a perfect tonic.
It gave me vibes of Untitled Goose Game and looked wonderfully British with a wot and a wot combined with a what ho. A notable mention to the intruder’s sinister motive of wanting to play GTA 6. It was close to derailing Geoff’s overtly enthusiastic persona. He survived though.
GC: We agree entirely, Thank Goodness You’re Here was our favourite too.
Add me as another person that’s not a fan of paying more to get a game earlier. For multiplayer games it gives you an early advantage that is basically pay to win and for single-player games it means, as in the case of Starfield, that you’re flooding the internet with spoilers before most people have even had a chance to play the game.
I know why they do it, because it’s easy money, but given how broken most games are before release it seems extra gross. Just pick a release date and stick to it. And a sensible one while you’re about it, not the same one as 20 other games. At least Starfield got that much right (I believe it was Baldur’s Gate 3 that moved to the same time as it, rather than the other way round).
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The one downside of the Switch format is that Nintendo no longer make dedicated handheld systems. While technically the Switch is also a handheld, the form is not same. It’s cumbersome and the battery life is too short for it to be practical on long journeys.
But here’s the thing and it’s a big one with huge marketing potential. While Nintendo handhelds as we knew them are dead, they’re certainly not buried. At some point in the not too distant future, maybe as little as five years’ time, with lower component costs and smaller batteries that can store more energy, there’s nothing stopping Nintendo releasing a dedicated handheld in the style of the older formats that plays the current Switch games.
If you think about it, they could repackage and release most games currently available on the Switch without having to make any, or trivial at most, changes to the software. Given the quality of the back catalogue, it’d be a hugely attractive proposition for gamers, especially as nostalgia kicks in. They could do this indefinitely with every future hybrid format. With each iteration there’d be a next generation handheld in waiting.
Nintendo must surely have already thought about this. Given the amount of money they would make, I wouldn’t be surprised if, from its very inception, it was part of their long term masterplan for the Switch.
PS: I noticed that you didn’t publish my letter on Advance Wars. I’m guessing because my attempt at irony didn’t translate and it seemed as if I was glorifying and trivialising war.
GC: Yes, we did. As for portable Switches, that’s basically the Switch Lite. It could do with better battery life, but the size is limited by how big the Joy-Cons sections need to be.
A couple of interesting games are on sale: Somerville and Islets on Xbox Store. I wanted to try Somerville but not at full price, after GameCentral’s review; although Edge magazine which I also read had a good
review of it. So I will get it at 50% off.
I have quite a few games on my wish list on Xbox Store but apart from one or two they never seem to go on sale. The one or two that go on sale, go on sale quite a few times. I end up buying the games on Steam or PlayStation 5 when they go on sale there more often, unfortunately.
I noticed that Somerville is coming out on 31st August on PlayStation so that is probably why it is on sale on Xbox. I am a big fan of Inside, Limbo, and other games like Stela and Planet Of Lana, so will look forward to playing Somerville.
The real Mario
Kinda surprising news about Charles Martinet. I guess in my head he was always going to be the voice of Mario for me but in reality we all know that probably wasn’t going to be the case.
He’s been possibly one of the most recognisable voices in entertainment for decades now and he definitely bought his own upbeat charm to the voice itself.
You’ve only got to compare the recent Super Mario Bros. film to the old Bob Hoskins movie to see all of his little quirky one-liners oozing out from the skin pours of the CGI Mario, irrespective of whether he was voiced by him or not. So his influence on Mario today is undeniable.
I must say Charles himself carried himself across very well too. If you’ve ever read or watched interviews with him, he seems very pleasant, polite and inviting. He always seemed like a very safe pair of hands for Nintendo, and this is where I feel (as you quite rightly said GC) those are very big boots to fill.
Whoever does take over from Charles, whether that’s one person or numerous?
Charles Martinet was a safe pair of hands and Nintendo certainly seem to recognise that, with them keeping him on their books.
I just hope they recognise the mammoth task they’ve got ahead of them, now somebody needs to step in his shoes.
Maybe Chris Pratt isn’t such a bad idea after all.
I’m not sure what difference Ubisoft doing the streaming for Xbox games in the UK is meant to make, since I assume Microsoft will still be getting the lion’s share of the profits anyway, but anything to have this whole dreadful saga done and dusted.
Although I’m sure it’ll never really end. As soon as Microsoft buys them there’ll be endless story about having to sort out the toxic working conditions and managers letting them get out of control. Not to mention sales falling for Call Of Duty and Overwatch. All this is going to go on forever!
Not sure it’s worth a Hot Topic, and discussing it requires lots of spoiler warnings, but I wanted to write about my experiences with Fallout 3 and Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom. OK, SPOILERS if you haven’t played these games and plan to do it one day please stop reading now.
OK, SPOILERS BEGIN NOW.
So in Fallout 3 you’re tasked with locating your father and given a bunch of breadcrumbs to follow, ignoring that I was happily exploring the wasteland when I came across Vault 112. Figuring I was in another of Bethesda’s fun side missions I was quite surprised to discover I’d stumbled across my father (trapped as a dog in a virtual reality simulation) and had skipped about a third of the main questline. It was a strange feeling to be excited to have discovered something just through exploration but also the disappointment I had accidentally skipped a chunk of the game I was enjoying.
The other night I was playing Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom and was mooching around trying to locate some shrines when a chunk of debris fell to earth, seeing this as an easy way to spot those pesky shrines I recalled it into the sky only to locate a sky island at the peak of the debris’ ascent. It was a strange island as the local storm phenomena made it impossible to see but I persevered and discovered a shrine, and then a locked door.
On opening it I was intrigued and continued on to realise I’d stumbled across the fifth temple that I had no idea existed. The feelings were more positive this time as I don’t think I’ve missed anything but the same sense of accomplishment at finding my own way remained.
So my question, is this a common occurrence for GameCentral Readers, and if so, how does it make you feel?
GC: Few games are as open-ended as those two, so it’s never going to be a common issue.
Wow, I really wish I hadn’t bothered watching the whole of that Gamescom show. What a boring game to finish on.
Two hours of Gamescom and I’m not sure I learnt anything new about anything. Except some people are really weird about GTA 6.
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Simon, who asks what is your favourite level or set piece in a video game?
Many games nowadays don’t have levels as such, but any distinct section of a game will do, including areas or missions in an open world game. What was it you enjoyed so much about the level and how did it compare to other elements of the game, especially the sections immediately before and after it?
Have you played a game where one level was significantly better than any other part of it and did you still feel the game was worth playing just to experience that?
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