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Games Inbox: Will Elden Ring be game of the year 2022?

The Tuesday letters page asks whether you play multiple games at once or one at a time, as a reader compares The Northman to Elden Ring.

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

The three contenders
So I think we’re all pretty much agreed that Elden Ring is the best game of the year so far. Like, I don’t think it’s even close? Maybe there’ll be some Sony fans kidding themselves it’s Horizon Forbidden West, but for me at least I feel like Elden Ring is in a class of its own, and instantly in the running for game of the decade/generation.

But it is only April, so it is perfectly possible that something could come along and beat it, especially as we know so little about Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo’s line-up (actually, I guess we know quite a bit about Nintendo and they don’t seem to have any obvious contenders until Zelda next year).

Assuming neither is delayed, that means God Of War Ragnarök and Starfield are the main contenders and, really, they should be pretty good games. The God Of War reboot was amazing, so clearly Sony know what they’re doing with that, but Starfield is more difficult to predict. I think a lot of people have forgotten how janky Bethesda games tend to be at launch, which I don’t think is going to go down well in a post-Cyberpunk 2077 world.

My instinct is that none will match up to the sheer majesty of Elden Ring, but I’d say that God Of War was the safer bet and Starfield the wild card that could be amazing or could be a mess.
Naldo

Quieten down
I can’t really understand people who have a PlayStation 5 but say they go back to their PlayStation 4 instead. One of the best things about my PlayStation 5 is how much quieter it is over the PlayStation 4.

I love playing Horizon Forbidden West in my room without needing headphones to hear over the fan noise my PS4 Pro made. Plus, all the games I have on it play at 60fps, which is a fundamental improvement over 30fps – as PC owners are well aware. Plus, those load times are amazing.
Middlemiester

GC: Has anyone really been saying that?

I’ve never got this far before
I went to see Robert Egger’s new film The Northman the other night, which was really great, but I couldn’t get over how much it reminded me of Elden Ring and Demon’s Souls – especially (trying to avoid spoilers) the sequence in the tomb.

The whole film had the same gritty, dark aesthetic and was pretty brutal – with the poor main character getting thrown around almost as badly as my struggling astrologer in Elden Ring fighting a sheep or one of those little crabs!

There was even a kind of twinkly tree and a flying horse. I thought he’d make the perfect director if they were ever to consider an adaptation. I wonder if this might make a good Hot Topic – films or other media that are not specifically about games that remind people of games anyway. Just a thought.
Rob

GC: It’s probably a bit too limited for a Hot Topic but we’ve always said Edge of Tomorrow is the best video game movie, even though it’s not based on a particular game.

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

One at a time
I often see GC readers like to note what they are currently playing at the end of their letters. More often than not it’s three or four titles at once.

Am I the odd one out here? I play games back-to-back, one after the other and never simultaneously. Yeah, they’ll be a bit of Football Manager when I can’t be bothered but nothing three-dimensional or narratively driven. How do people do this and get the full immersion and experience? My head would fry. I like to feel I’m giving a game world my fullest attention.

How do GC do reviews? Do individual reviewers go the back-to-back method or simultaneously on games?
Razzledazzle
Currently playing: Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition to completion before I start Elden Ring.

GC: Given the time frames involved we generally get no choice but back-to-back.

Banished origins
Halo infinite was rushed in a way to get a ‘good’ playable Halo game out there. If you try looking out Halo Wars 2 through 343 or any platform you won’t find it, the support team for it also has left the servers broken for over 12 hours and once it was left for well over 24 hours without anyone saying anything.

Halo Wars 2 is also the beginning of The Banished and introduces Atriox, Decimus, Yapyap the Destroyer. There is still so much 343 could do with Halo Wars, with its stable amount of players. Especially with Game Pass, there is no reason for them to throw Halo Wars 2 in the trash like they have done in the past with Halo Wars 1.

There’s a reason why Age Of Empire’s latest game is doing well, because they’ve just been updating it and messing with the stats and fixing small bugs. Thank you, if y’all read this, Team Respond has better information then I just gave out – they have a YouTube channel.
Hell Cat

GC: If they do, we couldn’t find it.

Change of direction
I love how in the same day we hear that Ubisoft are up for sale, but no-one in the games industry wants to buy them, we also get a leak about their latest live service non-entity that’s either going to get forgotten about a week later or just quietly cancelled before it makes it to release.

I’d describe the Ubisoft of today as pathetic, not as an insult but as the dictionary definition of the word: ‘arousing pity, especially through vulnerability or sadness.’ That is it to a tee, because I remember when they used to make good games, not even that long ago, but now they seem so desperate to make money through anything other than making games. Live service games, NFTs, mobile games… where did they get the idea that any of those things would work for them? Because they never.

Something must’ve gone wrong with them a few years back that they decided they needed this radical change of direction but I don’t know what it was, because a few years back they were still putting out decent games. I’d say Assassin’s Creed Valhalla was their last good one, and I seem to remember the biggest seller of the franchise, so what’s with all this live service nonsense since? Why not just keep making the sort of games that have done well, isn’t that the Ubisoft way?

They’re either going to get snapped up for pennies or, embarrassingly, no one will actually want to buy them. I know I wouldn’t.
Coolsbane

One stop shop
We are planning a trip to London next week. We saw some old articles about a Pokémon pop-up store.

Do you know by any chance if there is a Pokémon shop in London at this moment or a shop that sells a lot of Pokémon? Our son likes to visit a Pokémon shop very much.
Peter

GC: We’re afraid that was years ago, and only intended for a short time. There is an online UK store, that recently opened, but other than that all we can do is recommend Forbidden Planet for all your nerdish needs. Although, saying that, we don’t think we’ve ever noticed them having much Pokémon stuff, Hamley’s on Regent Street does though.

You’re in the know, right?
After GC’s statement that they still consider Bloodborne to be the best of FromSoftware’s games I decided to retry it after recently completing Elden Ring.

Father Gascoigne seemed like an insurmountable hurdle the first time and lead me to abandon the game back in 2105. This time he proved to be merely annoying, as he killed me four times with the same desperate combination attack when his health was at the T of Father. Taking seven attempts he did prove to be the largest obstacle, but never felt impossible.

This time I used the Threaded Cane, after enjoying a Dexterity build in Elden Ring, and put half of my points in Skill, a quarter in Vitality, and a quarter in Endurance (and none anywhere else). This lead to the game being surprisingly easy with most bosses dying on the first attempt. I have a suspicion that I hadn’t levelled up my weapon the first time, or perhaps I had put all my initial points in Vitality and not Strength (which the weapon I used in my first attempt scaled with).

Very glad I returned to it and was very impressed by some of the level structures, but I still preferred Elden Ring overall.

If From do a remaster then these are the few minor things I would alter:

  • Include Elden Ring’s invisible barrier when attacking enemies near a ledge.
  • Add a pointer to where your Blood Echoes are after you have died. There were about three times I simply could not find where they had dropped or the creature that had stolen them. (I do really like that creatures steal them though.)
  • Have a lower limit on blood vials at either 5 or 10. It became tedious having to grind early enemies to restock or kill a few higher enemies to purchase replacements.
  • Option to pause in offline mode. Although finding safe spots where you can put the controller down was much easier in Bloodborne than Elden Ring.
  • 60fps, although the 30fps never bothered me. I did however encounter a small bit of slowdown around the 75% mark on PlayStation 5 which needs to be addressed.
  • Stop announcement messages covering item pick-up messages by moving them to the side.

I am now considering whether or not to try Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, which I had previously avoided due to the reported reliance on parrying, which I am generally poor at, and also the prevention of over-levelling characters which I seem to naturally do. (I finished Elden Ring at level 175 and Bloodborne at level 99.)
PazJohnMitch

Inbox also-rans
When you replay the first NES Turtles game, the memory of them swimming is going to return swiftly and painfully.
ANON

GC: Is the game canon?

Is it just me or does Dying Light 2 seem to have been and gone with barely a mention? I don’t know anyone who played it and the New Game+ mode is the first time I’ve heard it mentioned since launch.
Cosmos

This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Cubby, who asks what is your favourite game of the current generation?

It’s obviously been a strange start to the new generation but it’s being going for a year and half now, so what do you think is the best game on the PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X/S?

Since there are so few next gen exclusives you can talk about cross-gen games but which one has impressed you the most and why? What, if anything, do they say about the new generation, and what do you hope to see from the new consoles in the future?

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 and content.

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.

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

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