Video game

Games Inbox: Do 60fps video games really make a difference? – Metro.co.uk


Halo Infinite – do you care what frame rate it runs at? (pic: Microsoft)

The Wednesday Inbox suggests more mellow video games to while away the lockdown with, as one reader calls for an Animal Crossing horror parody.

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

Absolute nonsense
So Microsoft have put their foot in it once again and just as everyone predicted that guy saying 60fps was standard was talking out of his extension port. But I’ve got to say I doubt it’s going to matter. As much as I wish it were otherwise I don’t think most ordinary people or even the majority of gamers care about 30fps vs. 60fps.

I don’t know why, since it has far more affect on games than 4K and beyond, but I think it’s the fact that it’s hard to quantify and while everyone can tell the difference it makes it’s often hard to quantify beyond being ‘smoother’. I non-jokingly suggest putting the frame rate on screen somewhere, as an option, so people can see the number fluctuating. You can do that on PCs and, lo and behold, PC gamers tend to be much more interested in the concept.

At the end of the day none of this tech stuff matters nearly as much as a game being good, but people like to argue about absolutes and 60 being bigger than 30 is an absolute. Although the hilarious thing about that is people pretending that 120fps is a thing, when it’s completely pointless in 99% of situations. Just like 8K in fact.

I really hope everyone starts showing off their games soon because arguing about meaningless numbers, which are probably being lied about anyway, is getting old. I’d much rather see five minutes of Halo Infinite footage than a single other word printed about teraflops, SSDs, or even frame rates.
Grant

Mel Brook’s Animal Crossing
Well, that’s me finished playing Animal Crossing for now, having successfully enticed K. K. Slider to my island to perform. I can’t say it’s my favourite game ever, but I did enjoy it in the end. I guess I won’t really be able to judge it properly for another year or so anyway, having experienced all the different events, seasons, etc. Still, from what I’ve played, I can definitely think of a number of improvements they could make.

Better interactions with your island residents is probably number one on the list. I loved some of the animal characters and would have liked to spend more time with them but there’s not much you can actively do together. It’d be really nice if you could go on a fishing trip together or even some specialised activities. They could have tailor-made some fun beach based mini-games, maybe water skiing or parasailing. I wish they’d made even more of the photography too, going on a special island safari to capture shots Pokémon Snap style would have been great.

The other big improvement would be to add some violence. Just a little gore to mix things up. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to chop your animal friend’s heads off and display them on sticks in the central square, blood dripping? I better clarify that I am indeed joking before I get eviscerated myself. But seriously, I think there is an amazing comedy version of Animal Crossing to be made.

The game is ripe for a loving parody with its non-violence, benign treatment of capitalism, relentless resource gathering and kawaii animal characters. It’s a shame gaming doesn’t laugh at itself more. I’m trying to think of any existing games you could actually class as parody and the only one that springs to mind is Conker’s Bad Fur Day which I haven’t even played. It seems like a missed opportunity.
Ryan O’D

Won’t somebody think of the children
It’s difficult to ascertain the average age of a Fortnite user. It has a certain perception given its general aesthetic it’s aimed towards a younger audience, from personal familial experience. It tends to lean towards the younger age demographic, though of course this is a broad generalisation and as you noted the age range does vary. The suggestion of using the game openly in the manner described for political campaigning is chilling if this is the seeming abandonment of an apolitical stance amongst children.

Certainly, there is the danger of appealing to the emotional bias, the Helen Lovejoy syndrome. In the UK there is legislation to ensure schools are apolitical, whether this holds true or there is political bias is open to interpretation but from a strict standpoint, we do still look to maintain an apolitical environment in education. There are equal laws in place to stop directed advertising before the watershed and an invested drive and effort to curtail companies from breaking the spirit these laws were intended for.

Using games as a backdoor method of pushing a message, or introducing a political message into an arena most utilised by a young audience, whether you agree with the more liberal stance of the Democratic Party or not surely is a dangerous precedent to pursue or normalise.

Perhaps it’s a concern based on the purity and innocence of children’s mindsets, certainly titles such as the upcoming The Last Of Us sequel can feature a narrative that might divide certain opinions, to put it mildly, but this is a game with an adult age rating. From a broader holistic standpoint, whether it’s possible to stop impressionable minds being influenced in a digital era is another question, with current Government advertising instilling the need for parental control over children’s digital access.

Politics on either side of the Atlantic in recent years has become extremely polarised, with both liberal and conservative parties in the UK and US flirting on occasion with the fringes of the hard left and far right. Whilst the more rationale amongst us might look for a state of detente to prevail and both sides to move towards a more central reservation, at present it’s difficult to see any benefit or wellbeing that would come from introducing political campaigning and rallies, not renowned for a balanced perspective, into a game such as this.

You wouldn’t intentionally, I hope, expose a child to the ideologies exposed in a Trump or Saunders rally without balanced context, we have that to some degree with fact checking services in digital media but it’s difficult to imagine how that could work in a game such as Fortnite.

Nintendo has long established a reputation for shielding users against messaging of this and any other type, there is something sinister suggesting the use of this game for politics and you can only hope Epic Games resist the urge to allow the DNC, and indeed any party of any persuasion, this access to a young audience.
comfortablyadv (Facebook/Instagram/Twitter)

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

Passive suggestions
Spooky Dreamer, I would definitely second GC’s recommendation of What Remains Of Edith Finch. I wrote in saying simply, ‘What Remains Of Edith Finch is bloody brilliant’ and I still stand by that. Also, I would recommend Valiant Hearts, it’s set during the First World War and despite the setting you spend most of the time avoiding said war. It’s a platform/puzzler and what with VE Day just gone and Colonel Tom in the news what better time to play a tribute to the lost heroes than now?

Also, I would have a look at Tembo The Badass Elephant, it’s a Sonic inspired platformer… but with an elephant dressed up like Rambo! Speaking of Sonic, there’s always Sonic Mania, one of the best Sonics since the early to mid-nineties. Manual Samuel I just found utterly hilarious, when you die and make a deal with the devil and you find yourself having to manually take each step and even breaths, and when you misstep and throw yourself downstairs or passout with a purple face you’ll find yourself not angry but in kinks!

And finally, my last choice would be Old Man’s Journey, another puzzle/platformer that sees an old man journeying to see his daughter and involves moving the landscape/scenery around to progress and has an epic train level about halfway through. And considering the journey we’re all going through at the moment, and the fact we’re all wanting to see our own family and friends, seems very relevant about now.
big boy bent
PS: There’s always Streets Of Rage 4 on Game Pass, you just beat people senseless – no murder death killing involved.

No excuse
I’m not sure why people giving the coronavirus as an excuse for Microsoft and other companies making mistakes as as far as I can see all it’s done is cause a month or two delay, in a few cases. Someone was defending the Xbox 20/20 showcase by saying Microsoft’s plans have been put in disarray but, have they?

I mean, the Xbox Series X is still coming out this year and so is Halo Infinite. They’ve got a E3 type show in July now, instead of June, and… that’s about it? They themselves have never pretended that it’s had any major affect on what they’re doing and the head of Microsoft himself said it was more about demand than production.

Same with Nintendo, who were acting weird long before coronavirus started, and Sony who’s massive panty twist about The Last Of Us Part 2 and Marvel’s Iron Man VR turned out to be… a couple of month’s delay. The Last Of Us got delayed for longer when there was no pandemic!

People should stop using it as an excuse and catch-all explanation, because the companies aren’t.
Winston

Disreputable hangouts
Okay, Zelda: Link’s Awakening’s Eagle Tower dungeon (dungeon number seven) is nowhere near as torturous to navigate or uneventful as many in a few Facebook groups and other forums, including YouTube comments, lead me to believe.

I know it’s all subjective, but I believe the negativity attached to this dungeon is unwarranted. It’s the Ocarina Of Time Water Temple notoriety all over again, where I just could not fathom why many disrelish the dungeon.

The Eagle Tower is my favourite dungeon in the game, just edging the excellent Turtle Rock dungeon. Negotiating its complex layout was frustrating in the initial stages, with the sheer prominence of the blue and orange blocks becoming quite annoying, so I do empathise with those who believe the disorienting design decisions inherently represent a stark difficulty spike.

But once I started becoming attuned to the internal logic of this place, and began liberally placing markers on the map to remind me where all the crystals were, along with other points of interest, progress was much more smoother and I started appreciating the intricacies and challenging nature of the level design more.

I most enjoyed the puzzling emphasis on height and gauging where Link would end up dropping down holes to lower floors. The ball and pillar dynamic was equally interesting with a delightfully unexpected end result to demolishing the latter structures.

The unique item you procure did feel rather wasted in the dungeon however.
All in all I thought it was just a noteworthy dungeon, up there with some of the better ones in Zelda. Dare I say the game as a whole has aged almost as well as A Link To The Past?
Galvanized Gamer

GC: Eagle Tower is really hard but we’ve only ever heard people describe that as a positive. Maybe you’re hanging out in the wrong YouTube comments.

Lockdown reality
With lockdown still in effect it’s the perfect time to grab a VR headset if you can. It’s been a great month already for PlayStation VR with The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners recently released and Pixel Ripped 95 out next week and there’s a whole catalogue of great games and experiences to keep busy with until we get back to normal (or new normal).

If you don’t have a PlayStation 4 then maybe get an Oculus Quest if you can find one in stock anywhere.

Even a £2 Google Cardboard might give you a few hours of fun but whatever you choose it will be a great escape from reality for a while. Stay alert people!
Jonsey

Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here

After maths
So, GC, what are your thoughts on the Mortal Kombat: Aftermath expansion? As in to say, the rather eye-watering price. £40 is the price of a whole new game! Now, I don’t mind paying that if I get a full game’s worth of content in return – but the parent game only barely qualified in that regard. And I don’t think that they’re going to do anything to improve the existing game’s biggest flat: the terrible and tedious Tower of Time.

What we’re getting is more story mode and three new characters. Now, they said that the story mode in Mortal Kombat 11 would be about 12 hours long – but I don’t think it was anything like that. More like eight, then another hour to cover all the branches. And as fun as it was, it was in the unenviable position of having to carry the entirety of the single-player experience. Well, a lot of the Krypt was fun in my opinion, but again they’re both much too insubstantial to entertain for anything longer than a weekend.

Then there’s the characters. RoboCop is the only one who is genuinely new… but how the hell is he going to play? A character who is famously slow and mostly uses a gun? Hmmm. I don’t know how serious the blowback has been for NetherRealm here, but you get the feeling that Warner Bros. are being very cheeky if not outright exploiting a literally captive audience.

In comparison, something like the Shivering Isles expansion for Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion was about £20-25? And that was practically a whole new game. I seriously doubt that Aftermath will provide more than twice the value for money of Shivering Isles. Is it unfair to compare a fighting game with a role-player? I do not care. Maybe they’ll be forced to lower their prices if enough of us whine loud enough. At the moment, £40 is too rich for my blood, no siree. But hey, at least the stage fatalities and friendships will be free…
DMR

GC: Mortal Kombat 11 was £55 when it first came out and we don’t remember anyone complaining about a lack of content, but whatever. If the expansion is almost like a new game, then theoretically that would mean that almost full price is justified. So far that’s yet to be proven though; three characters certainly doesn’t seem like much to us.

Inbox also-rans
I am replaying Streets Of Rage 4 daily and have started to unlock characters from the second game. I’m still loving it, so if anyone is still interested but on the shelf about the game, I have a spare Steam code to giveaway.
RedRobN

GC: The whole game? That’s very generous. As usual we’ll give it at random to whoever writes us a useable Inbox letter.

Capcom sound pretty bolshie about their next year, I wonder what they have planned. Can’t be Resident Evil 8 with those sort of goals, but I hope it’s not Monster Hunter as I never liked that.
Clooney

This week’s Hot Topic
The question for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Ishi, who asks what are the most impressive video game graphics you’ve ever seen?

With the next generation of consoles fast approaching what’s the most impressed you’ve been up until this point? Was it purely because of the technical achievement or did the art design and camera work play a part as well?

What kind of things are you generally impressed by in games when it comes to visuals and what are you hoping will become possible in the next gen that is impossible, or very difficult, at the moment?

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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