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Games Inbox: What is the best PlayStation exclusive?

The Wednesday Inbox is very impressed by the Xbox’s backwards compatibility, as one reader compares Gran Turismo 7 and Dirt 5.

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Charting complete
It’s not much of an anniversary but if Super Mario Bros. can celebrate 35 years I’d like to point out that Uncharted 2 is 11 years old this week. Although I can’t believe it’s been so long for me it is the best Sony exclusive ever and probably my favourite video game of all time. Uncharted 4 was good (3 not so much) but for me Uncharted 2 got the mix of cinematic action, storytelling, and gameplay just right. A basically perfect game.

But unlike pretty much every other PlayStation exclusive there’s not much chance of Uncharted 5 being on the PlayStation 5, since Naughty Dog seems to have moved on and I’m not sure that Sony would put any other developer on the franchise. It’s sad but also good in a way because it means the series isn’t just going to die a slow death of slowly worsening sequels.

I never feel Uncharted is quite as well known as I feel it should do. I think unlike some other PlayStation exclusives it’s not as well know if you only have a Nintendo or Xbox console. But what do other readers think? Is it the best PlayStation exclusive? And if not what is, and is it even a Sony game, because I think Metal Gear Solid might be my second favourite (yes, I know it was multiformat towards the end, but it’s basically a PlayStation franchise).

Number one fan
Sadly, I’ve heard only negativity towards Marvel’s Avengers. Now I can’t defend most of the game’s misgivings. Lack of content following the campaign, mission diversity, and the bugs are definitively gonna ruin the experience for a lot of people.

Well, at least I’m having a lot of fun with game. I really enjoy the combat. It felt chaotic at first. But once levelled up and in a full multiplayer squad you feel real powerful and it’s so rewarding just wreaking havoc on higher power level enemies.

Current player count is proving the content is insufficient. I understand and agree. But I just wanted to let the GC community that at least one person likes Marvel Avengers.

I really hope the future character roster and content can save this game.

Buy what they’re selling
I’m thoroughly impressed with Microsoft’s back compatibility team and the ambition of the program to provide as much of Xbox consoles’ generations of games with performance and next gen enhancements out of the box.

I wish Sony and Nintendo had the same ambition. We know consoles are closed systems and Sony and Nintendo want to sell you new hardware and lock away their back catalogue, then wheel games out and resell that back catalogue. I’m not disapproving off this behaviour and there’s a strong argument to say backwards compatibility isn’t that important to the average punter, as the Wii U’s excellent back compatibility credentials did it no favours. I’m not criticising Sony and Nintendo for their approach, it’s just to highlight it’s refreshing to have Microsoft’s more PC mindset to gaming’s history in the console space.

But it’s also the ambition to upgrade as many of those games with next gen polish rather than just to have them run as they did originally that I find highly laudable. Playing current gen games mostly but also all older games at 60 fps with improved image quality is hugely enticing to me. The more Phil Spenser talks, the more exposed he is as the company PR man he mostly is but a while back he said an old good game is still a good game or words to that effect. I agree, I recently completed a 100% run of Beyond Good & Evil and still play Daytona USA regularly.

All the recent indie attempts to revive the 90s arcade racer still don’t come close to matching the bombastic brilliance of that game, nowhere near. Even with only a month before release I still have no idea if PlayStation 5 will extensively upgrade the PlayStation 4 catalogue in the same way. I suspect not but I hope to be proven wrong.

Backwards compatibility and Game Pass are very well run, developed, and delivered services that deserve credit. I couldn’t disagree more when I see people say no one wants to play old games and Game Pass is quantity other quality, that service is stuffed with quality. I want to play and do play old games all the time. I both approve and want what Microsoft are offering.

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Diminishing returns
After watching the various captures of Dirt 5 on Xbox Series X I find myself in ever more disbelief that we are only one month away from the next gen launch. It didn’t look terrible but seemed to have issues similar to the Halo Infinite demo on a less severe scale. I have to wonder why this is becoming the case.

There are a few possible scenarios I can posit as plausible causes:

1. There is a problem with early Xbox Series X development (insufficient dev tools/steep learning curve/lack of development time or finance).

2. The game looks the same or worse on PlayStation 5 and both versions are being held back by the previous generation.

3. We are at a hard ceiling of diminishing returns on GPU performance.

I went back to the Gran Turismo 7 trailer for comparison and there are some foliage pop-ins but the geometry of the environment and models look really detailed, vibrant, and stable. Whereas on Dirt 5 the models look flat and there was some serious geometry pop-in, similar to Halo Infinite. It’s not a perfect apples to apples because both the view and environment in the Gran Turismo trailer were less open, but surely one shouldn’t look dramatically more next gen than the other?

Theoretically, the GPU performance of the Xbox Series X should edge the PlayStation 5 unless I/O makes any difference for the PlayStation 5 version of Dirt 5. Otherwise it would seem that developers are facing some real challenges with early multiplatform titles. What are your thoughts on this, GC?

GC: Gran Turismo 7 is a next gen exclusive with an enormous budget, whereas Dirt 5 is a port/remaster from a much smaller publisher.

I just completed Shenmue 3; I’ve had the game for a while but held off from playing it all this time.

At first, I had a love-hate relationship with the game, the new combat system and having to continuously eat were a bit off-putting at the start. Also, having to start with a Ryo not as powerful as the one I had through my original journey felt like a step backwards.

By the end I had the combat down to a science, and I enjoyed the choice of continuing the story or going to do one of the many activities available in the game’s world.

By the end Ryo was much better than at the start and just when I thought there was more to go the credits popped up.

I know opinion has been divided on the game, but I really hope there is another one and it won’t be similar timeframe before I get to play it.
Commodore Fan
Currently playing: Doom Eternal (XBO), Call of Duty WWII (PS4), Mafia II Definitive Edition (PC).

New game
Currently playing Doom Eternal thanks to Game Pass, what a great game. The controls, the graphics, the art design, it’s all just impeccable. I wish more developers would try and make games that change the way you play like this and don’t fit into an existing mould. I like the fact that when I’m describing it to a friend I can’t just say ‘Oh, it’s basically an FPS but with demons’. I have to explain the mechanics.

It reminds me of a Nintendo game because they have tried to think of new ways to play and things to do. On the flip side, there’s Ghosts Of Tsushima, a beautiful, polished game and a very enjoyable one but unlike Doom no ideas of its own and you won’t be doing anything you’ve not done a dozen times in various other games.

It still bewilders me that Zelda: Breath Of The Wild came out in 2017, rewrote the genre, finally made a real open world game that made GTA/Red Dead Redemption look un-interactive and ridiculously linear (during missions anyway) and yet companies still haven’t learnt any lessons. Oh, except for Immortals: Fenyx Rising which has just copied Breath Of The Wild wholesale.

Wait and save
Amazon are doing some sweet deals on MVME SSDs on Amazon Prime Day but I urge people not to buy them for a potential PlayStation 5 extra drive until Sony has released a list of drives that will work first.

There’s one I was looking at, a Sabrent 1TB for £127 that would seem to fit the bill, but if you read the small print it says you need a heat sink to sustain the speeds and they only come with motherboards for PC. There’s some with heat sinks attached, but will they fit? Best to just wait and see what Sony recommends.

Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here

Default choice
So now that the Xbox Series X looks like being a real competitor to the PlayStation 5 I wonder which one is going to establish itself as the lead format for multiformat games? This isn’t something that gets talked about a lot but it’s one of the most important things to determine which console ‘wins’ the generation.

The PlayStation 3 was supposedly more powerful than the Xbox 360 but multiformat games usually ran better on Microsoft’s machine and most reviews were Xbox first. That switched to PlayStation 4 this year, which was more straightforward as it’s also more powerful than the base Xbox One. But what about next gen?

The Xbox Series X is apparently more powerful so will that become the default choice? Or will it be the PlayStation 5 because it’s expected to be more popular? It’s a binary choice really and if Microsoft is on the wrong side of it then it’s going to be an uphill battle for them. If you start to see most multiformat reviews on Xbox Series X rather than PlayStation 5 though that’s going to be almost as telling as the sales figures (which they probably won’t release anyway).

Inbox also-rans
Games as a service may already be going the way of the dodo? Oh, dear. What a terrible shame. Seriously though, publishers just never learn when it comes to all pilling onto the same band wagon.

RE: Nick The Greek’s email about the stellar job done on the Switch port of Ori And The Will Of The Wisps might find this video interesting, it details the substantial work put into it.
Lord Darkstorm


This week’s Hot Topic
The topic for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Paulie, who asks you to imagine your dream video game mash-up.

If you could combine two or more games into one new title what would it be and how would it play? Would it be two already similar games or two completely different ones? And would the new game remain in the same genre or adapt to be something new?

Alternatively, what outside character would you like to see cameo in your favourite game, regardless of whether it would make sense or not? Do you like the idea of crossovers, and games like Smash Bros., and how else do you think they could work?

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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