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Games Inbox: Will Xbox Series X outsell PS5 this Christmas?

The Thursday Inbox recommends some less celebrated Amiga classics, as one reader falls in love with Gamescom favourite DokeV.

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Unsaid revelations
It should probably have been half the length, ‘cause I was really zoning out towards the end, but that was a pretty interesting Gamescom, although as usual for these sort of things more because of what it didn’t say than what it did.

The Horizon Forbidden West delay might have been already rumoured but what it means for Sony is that they now have no big exclusives for Christmas, whereas Microsoft has Halo Infinite and Forza Horizon 5. That’s quite the mismatch and given the Xbox Series X has Game Pass and is easier to get hold of I could easily see it outselling the PlayStation 5 at Christmas, which is going to be quite the PR coup for Microsoft.

Of course, the thing that Xbox didn’t talk about was Halo Infinite’s campaign mode, which means we haven’t seen it for over a year now and yet the game’s out in barely more than three months. That does not bode well at all, especially as there’s no clue as to whether the problem is bugs, a design issue, or the fact that it’s just not finished. I got a feeling anyone that was burnt on Cyberpunk 2077, in particular, is going to be super cautious about this one.
Fingers

Better half
Writing this early to maybe sneak into tomorrow’s Inbox and there’s still an hour of Gamescom to go but by a country mile the best game they’ve shown so far is DokeV. I have absolutely no idea what was going on but all of that jovial, bright sunny smiling, creativity, charm – and that it isn’t set in a highly derivative game world – has made it a new one to keep an eye on.

One major positive, also, is that is wasn’t yet another CGI cut scene but actual in-game footage.

Cult Of The Lamb looks cool too.
Wonk

First impressions
Umm… am I the only one that thought Saints Row looked pretty terrible? Why are you gang members teenagers? And why is it trying so hard to be funny but doesn’t have any actual jokes? The whole thing looked pretty desperate to me. It wasn’t as serious as Saints Row 1 but it wasn’t as weird as the other games, and that means it ends up falling between two stools, which is never a good thing.

The graphics looked bad and I just didn’t see anything new in terms of ideas or enemies or vehicles. I’ll check out the reviews but that was a pretty bad way to unveil your game if you ask me, especially after all these years.
Santo

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Legal questions
Interesting video by Karl Jobst doing the rounds recently, with regards to the huge prices for retro games and the actions of the rating and auction companies involved. Very much reminded me of the actions/inactions of the rating agencies during the housing/mortgage bubble (but thankfully without the further economic repercussions).

Appreciate it’s a legal minefield for you to comment on such matters, but it does seem murky to say the least, especially as one of the individuals involved has been fined in the past for doing something similar in another market.

Also understand it’s a difficult balance for outlets such as yourself to report the facts without coming across as a PR press release and/or hype machine, as part of the criticism in the video is that the media in general (not just gaming media) will publish such stories at face value, therefore adding to the hype, with little to no research.
TheTruthSoul (PSN ID)

GC: There are legal considerations for reporting that type of thing but it’s usually just a question of time, in terms of getting everything cleared, than anything else. Now that Gamescom is over we’ll hopefully have a chance to look into it properly.

Copies of copies
I’m quite a fan of the Warhammer 40,000 universe, but mainly the books. Your comment about 40K ripping off Aliens reminded me of when I read Dune. So much of the world built in Dune ended up in 40K, only slightly changed; I was actually surprised they were allowed to get away with it.

I’m glad they did though, because Dune, as amazing as it is in building a cool universe, was one of the driest books I ever managed to finish. The writers behind the 40K fiction have managed to make some of my favourite books in the genre. I particularly liked the Eisenhorn series by Dan Abnett.
Chris

GC: Warhammer 40,000’s influences are very obvious once you take a step back, but we don’t necessarily see that as a criticism, as in the beginning it was a purposeful pastiche, almost a parody, of popular sci-fi of the time. It’s Blizzard’s Warcraft and Starcraft we find more unforgiveable, as they’re just flagrant copies of Warhammer – only blander and less metal.

Unknown heroes
Really like the sound of the Midnight Suns game from the XCOM guy, already sounds a lot more interesting than the Square Enix game. I kind of wish the more well-known characters weren’t in the game though and they were all the weirder, less well-known supernatural characters. I mean, what help is Iron Man going to be against the Mother of all Demons? Who I’m going to guess is not vulnerable to repulsor blasts.

I get they have to attract people with characters they know though and hopefully there’ll be plenty of chances for DLC.

As others have said before, I always thought they should’ve set up a ‘gameatic’ universe, which they seemed to be starting with Spider-Man, as it has references to lots of other characters but no other games have come out since. More importantly though I’d focus on characters that don’t have movies or shows.

One of the unavoidable problems of Avengers is that everyone looked like a knock-off of the movie characters instead of their own take on them. That’s a difficult thing to get right but they could’ve made it easier on themselves by doing more obscure characters, especially those from the supernatural and cosmic side of Marvel.

No one non-nerdy had heard of Iron Man before his film, let alone Thanos or Doctor Strange, so it doesn’t matter how famous they are now but how famous you can make them.
Trekker

Sinking deeper
So… uh, yeah… Is there a helpline I can call regarding my Hades addiction?

I’m spending all my time thinking about it and keep sneaking off to play. I just found out you could switch buffs in the mirror and My mind was BLOWN.

To any fans… does it get easier to give up the further you get, or does it just sink its teeth further in?
DarKerR (gamertag)

GC: You already know the answer to that.

Amiga format
Following the lovely letter about the Amiga almost two weeks ago I felt I should give my twopence worth, but then I caught COVID so I’ve lacked focus on all but the moaning and groaning of how awful I felt.

I started gaming at the tender age of 4, on the Vic 20, before moving onto the C64 and eventually the Amiga 500 and 1200.

I’m not proud but I used have access to quite a few pirated games. I played a lot the Amiga had to offer.

If I was to list those games I feel are synonymous with the Amiga, beyond those already mentioned, I would go with the following:

Moonstone, by MIndscape. A most incredible, gory and violent multiplayer game that required real skill to overcome each enemy type. The sound design, music, and atmosphere was second to none. A masterpiece when played with three friends.

Hunter – it looks primitive by today’s standards but the freedom offered at the time was revolutionary.

Super Tennis Champs – cartoon graphics but really complex controls once mastered.

Prince Of Persia by Jordan Mechner (Broderbund) – I believe the graphics were more pure on the Amiga version and therefore the most aesthetically pleasing. One of the later puzzles in the game, on which you fight your mirror image, absolutely blew my mind.

Typhoon Thompson – a charming game involving the rescue of sea sprites whilst piloting a little circular hovercraft. The animation and sound design was absolutely stunning.

Virus – a free roaming shooter, in which you piloted the most unstable nightmare of a craft ever, but it was such a cool game.

The Sentinel – a remake of a C64 game but I consider the Amiga version superior.

Super Skidmarks – programmed in Blitz Basic and had the unique selling point of enabling eight-player games by connecting two Amigas and two screens to enjoy a two-screen view of the track.

IK+ by Archer Maclean, which was released on other platforms but the Amiga version is the definitive one in my opinion. The sound and animation is sublime.

Archer Maclean’s Pool, which probably looks primitive by today’s standards but had utterly convincing physics.

Rocket Ranger by Cinemaware, also available on other platforms but the Amiga version was the best in my opinion.

TV Sports: Football, also by Cinemaware – I think it arrived before Madden on the Amiga, but I always preferred it regardless.

It Came From The Desert, also by Cinemaware.

Wings by Cinemaware.

Sorry, that ended up a lot longer than planned!
Matt

GC: We’re glad you’re okay now. No doubt you were pleased to see the Lemmings announcement yesterday.

Inbox also-rans
I have to say that Halo console does look pretty tempting. I don’t have a next gen console yet but if I did get one…
Camber

The Automachef game is free on Epic Store on Thursday, 26th August from 4pm.
Andrew J.

This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Simon Ashworth, who asks what video game reviews have you disagreed with the most over the years?

It can be one of ours, or from another source, but which one sticks out to you as being either too harsh or too lenient? What score would you have given the game in question and what elements do you think the review was wrong about and why?

In general, how accurate do you find the reviews you read to be and how important are they to your decision to purchase or play a game? What’s the best example of a review putting you onto a game you didn’t think you’d like or helping you avoid a game you later found out was no good?

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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