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Games Inbox: What do you expect from today’s Xbox 20/20?

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla – what are you expecting from today? (pic: Ubisoft)

The Thursday Inbox continues the debate over the Nintendo Switch release schedule, as one reader is unimpressed by RoboCop in Mortal Kombat 11.

To join in with the discussions yourself email gamecentral@ukmetro.co.uk

The big day
So it’s Microsoft’s big day today with the Xbox Series X and I have a nasty feeling we’ve already built things up to much. We’re all expecting every rumoured third party games for the last few years to be announced and I can’t see that happening (even though I secretly want it too). I think three or four big name games, hopefully some of which are unknown is about the best possible result.

We know one is Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and I agree that that Gollum game seems likely too, seeing as they only just announced it a few days before. The I agree with the other reader that some kind of major Japanese game announcement. I’d say Final Fantasy 7 Remake but we know that can’t happen till April, so maybe something else from Square Enix or Capcom – maybe an exclusive Resident Evil?

Then the new Batman seems another obvious one. That has been rumoured for so long though I don’t know what’s going on. Although I guess the fact that they’re not teasing it on Twitter anymore maybe means it’s not imminent? I don’t know. Obviously. Which is kind of good actually. For once we have a major event where nothing has been leaked and everything is going to be a surprise. Let’s hope it’ll be a good surprise.

GC: The Gollum game was announced sometime ago, those were just the first screenshots.

Take your time
I recently unlocked the terraforming feature of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and I knew about its clunky nature. But you really need to use it to truly understand the ridiculously slow input system.

Considering the new furniture placement feature when you’re inside is so intuitive with its drag and drop functions, you really have to question why Nintendo don’t use that as a template for putting down pathways and changing the land.

Think how much quicker if they gave you optional touchscreen control for this too. Incidentally, why is the touchscreen only used for inputting text and nothing else?

Actually, never mind. Questioning Nintendo’s reasonings is a fool’s errand.
ttfp saylow (gamertag)
Now playing: Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Batman: The Telltale Series

GC: Quicker is not a priority when Nintendo is trying to make the game accessible to all kinds of non-gamers. We would like those controls for moving furniture around outside, but if you have it for terraforming as well then people would be making a mess of their island in minutes.

Mouse free zone
So I’m probably going to get a GDP Win Max, a little portable windows laptop with built-in controller – a Switch/PC hybrid.

I’m just wondering what people’s classic games on PC recommendations would be for games made before 2015 (as it’s not super powerful) and best played with a controller. Any stone cold classic I should be adding to my Steam library?

E-mail your comments to: gamecentral@ukmetro.co.uk

Behaviour changes
With lockdown I hope everyone is staying safe. Wanted to ask are you guys working from? I suppose reviewing games there isn’t any point in coming in to the office. Has there been a big change in behaviour in how long you play games? I am finding that I have to mix up how much I spend watching the TV and playing games.
Alek Kazam
PS: Also wanted thank one of the readers who recommended Splatoon, my four-year-old enjoys colouring the arena.

GC: So are you playing more or less than before, we’re not sure which you’re getting at?

Free pass
RE: Agent Cole. I was about to write literally the same letter as you about Streets Of Rage 4, i.e. no interest in it. However, during a break from Animal Crossing, the Xbox had turned itself on (needed a blooming update) so after the update thought I’ll just check Game Pass. Well there it was, wating for me. So I downloaded it and gave it a bash! Bloody brilliant!

Now I suppose I got it ‘free’ and if I had paid full price I might feel entitled to a whinge, however I for one feel it’s not a terrible awful game by any means… now back to shaking me trees!
big boy bent

GC: What would you want to whinge about? And why is everyone being so vague today?

Lack of sympathy
Hope GC and everyone is holding up OK in lockdown.

Picked up Streets Of Rage 4 recently and I’m on board with the readers singing its praises… it’s a terrific game that, like Sonic Mania before it, nails the rose-tinted feeling of playing those old games, as opposed to the dated actual experience, perfectly.

I’m not as struck on the new art style, but (in the Switch version at least) you can add a retro post process filter to turn it pixel-y so I have been playing that way. Hopefully it points the way forward for a side-scrolling brawler comeback too; add in the faster dodge gameplay of Dead Cells for example… making it a true 2D/isometric Bayonetta.

Talking of Switch, I read the weekend’s Reader’s Features and some recent letters with interest. Given Nintendo’s resources I don’t have a lot of sympathy for their current bare slate. But to play devil’s advocate a bit, if the rumours are true on Super Mario All-Stars 2/Super Mario 3D World/Paper Mario, then with Bravery Default 2, No More Heroes 3, and Xenoblade Chronicles on the slate, and following a six months that includes Animal Crossing: New Horizons (probably the biggest selling game of the year), a mainline Pokémon game (the biggest franchise in the world) and with big DLC to come across a number of titles is that really that bad?

No developer or publisher is going to put out a ‘game of the year’ every year. Also, the machine is by far Nintendo’s best effort for third party support since the SNES and I think they’re covering the gaps in their own schedule pretty well, the Indie World and Mini Direct last month did have a lot of games. It feels odd to lament the Switch release schedule when, with BioShock and XCOM 2, you have two all-time classics coming out in the next few weeks.

GC: That’s a good way of putting it with Streets Of Rage 4. The trick is to have it play how you remember it, not how it actually was. And yes, that pixelated filter is on all the versions and works very well. But to your other point, Bravely Default 2 and No More Heroes 3 are not Nintendo games and all the other ‘new’ ones are remasters.

Extra retro
I have been playing and really enjoying Streets Of Rage 4 and while it’s not been out for even a week I have manged to complete it and only have three characters left to unlock. It’s a great buy for any platform, however it would be well worthy for the teams behind this title to get some DLC out in the future. I’d love to see them make all the Streets Of Rage 1, 2, and 3 stages and bosses playable as well as allow access to the series soundtrack.

Perhaps we can play as certain syndicate henchmen so the game will give people a Streets Of Rage remake experience and make the series what it was dreamed to be.

Given the stage select feature is available it wouldn’t hurt to replay the past stages from other games to give a retro feel via DLC.
gaz be rotten (gamertag)

Go indie
I think some are being a little harsh on Nintendo at the moment. It is without a doubt very disappointing to not even know what their next big release will be – not counting Xenoblade Chronicles. Although, all things point to a port of Super Mario 3D World, which itself is highly regarded game and would no doubt placate a lot of Switch owners.

Plus, anyone who’s bought a Switch in the past six months already has an impressive catalogue of games available to them. I suspect it’s the early adopters who are feeling the drought.

Then there’s the eShop with its stellar line-up of indie games, some of which are exclusive to the Switch.

I, too, am desperate to know what titles Nintendo have planned for the next six to 12 months, but right now there’s greater things to be concerned with. Saying that, it’s also a great opportunity to try a new genre of game or to take a punt on an indie title. I highly recommend Return Of The Obra Dinn.

GC: So do we!

Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here

Valid concerns
In response to Crypton, why is it not acceptable for Nintendo’s schedule to have potentially suffered from the coronovirus but you’re drawn to the next gen machines that either have no new games confirmed to date (PlayStation 5) or, going by a similar definition to yours, no new games at all (Xbox Series X)? There have already been comments from the likes of Phil Spencer saying while they can almost guarantee a launch this year, they can’t say the same about exclusive next gen software.

Is that acceptable enough to you to throw down £450+? Nintendo’s problem has been their lack of openness on all this. How many people would take your stance and say ‘This is unacceptable, I’m thinking about selling my Switch’ if they simply came out and said ‘We’ve got a lot of good things on the go but we’ve suffered because of this global pandemic’?

They need to say something publicly soon. If they go past early June, the latest that many people were expecting news, and still don’t even mention any difficulties they’re having let alone proper news, that’s what will be unacceptable. More than any potential delays themselves, the concern, as I said last week, was that their secrecy would lead fans to the position you’re considering.

Even if all this hadn’t happened, I completely disagree that putting out all those classic games, which many Switch owners will never have played, plus a brand new Paper Mario would constitute an unacceptable approach if a bit more development time has been necessary to make games like Zelda: Breath Of The Wild 2 worth the wait.

As I’ve suggested, if nothing else, we haven’t seen anything to suggest there will be a single exclusively next gen game out this year that will make it worth buying a next gen machine for, if you yourself wouldn’t count games you can already get on older machines.

Inbox also-rans
Death Coming (nice name!) is free on PC on Epic Games Store from 4pm from today for the next week.
Andrew J.

I’m not feeling RoboCop in Mortal Kombat. Apart from the fact that he doesn’t really fight hand-to-hand how can they get all the noises so wrong? I can accept Peter Weller’s voice getting older but want happened to the original sound effect tapes? They can borrow my Blu-ray if they’re having trouble.

This week’s Hot Topic
The question for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Traxxus, who asks what is your most memorable console launch video game?

It doesn’t necessarily have to be the one that you like the most but the one that left the biggest impression, perhaps because of its graphics or its quality (either good or bad). If you didn’t get the console when it first came out then any game you bought with it, or shortly after, would count.

Do you hold launch games to a different standard than others, compared to what you’d usually buy? Which launch games do you think hold up as genuinely good games and which are you now surprised you enjoyed at the time?

E-mail your comments to: gamecentral@ukmetro.co.uk

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.

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

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