Gaming

Games Inbox: PS5 UK stock in December, Super Mario vs. Crash Bandicoot, and Final Fantasy 7 Remake love


Why is there never any advance warning? (pic: Sony)

The Tuesday Inbox is getting increasingly angry about Nintendo’s attitude to Joy-Con repairs, as one reader talks up What The Golf?

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

Secret delivery
It seems like the news about the next gen consoles is getting crazier by the day now. First it was delivery drivers swapping PlayStation 5s for cat food and now people are hijacking them from moving trucks? What’s it going to be next? Gamers storming Sony factories to rip the new consoles from their conveyor belts? (Okay, they’re probably made in China but breaking into an anonymous warehouse in Crawley doesn’t have quite the same mystique to it.)

What I want to know though is why are we still not getting advanced warning of stock coming in? I’m assuming charting a jet full of consoles from China to the UK is not something that gets done on the spur of the moment so why can’t say Sony that 10,000, or whatever, are going to arrive on Thursday? Are they worried Bane’s going to hijack the jet while it’s still in the air or something?

Why is it we’re relying on some anonymous guy on Twitter to say when more stuck is coming in this month and not, you know, the shops or Sony? Other readers are right to blame Sony and Microsoft for not doing more to stop scalpers but they aren’t doing anything positive at all to help. Pre-orders were a disaster, initial stock was a disaster, and now new deliveries are being treat like some kind of state secret. Do they not know how much I want to play Demon’s Souls!
Daemon

Silver lining
Opportunistic profiteering aside, it’s great there’s such strong demand for the new consoles. On the back of continually strong Switch sales (what’s that at now, 70+ million?) console gaming just seems to be getting stronger.

On the downside I can’t think of a worse climate right now for actually buying a console. The new consoles would be hard to get even without scalpers giving the demand. But even PlayStation 4s are hard to come by if you’re a late adopter.

I can’t be the only one to consider a Switch and wait out the new gen madness for a year. But I’m convinced we will see a Switch Pro next year so won’t touch the current model with a barge pole.

On the plus side, it’s given me a renewed appreciation for what I do have. Working through my PlayStation 4 back catalogue until I can just walk into Smyths and pick up a PlayStation 5 actually feels kinda nice given what a miserable state most seem to be getting into not being able to get a new gen console at launch.
Simundo

Cloud nine
I think congratulations are in order after Final Fantasy 7 Remake has shipped/sold five million copies since its launch in April.

I rarely start a consecutive play through on a 40+ hour game but I felt compelled to dive straight back into this on hard mode because no longer having access to your items reinvigorates the combat by demanding tighter resource management and sharper observation and response times to enemies’ attacks.

Having items disabled may initially seem draconian but it’s great at incentivising you to master the fundamentals of the combat and optimise your efficacy in using the brilliant materia system. I’ve had a rip-roaring time fighting some of the tougher bosses again like the Air Buster, Hell House, Reno and Rude, and the second fight with Abzu.

Just arrived at the penultimate chapter now on hard mode, nearing the one-hundred-hour mark in this epic journey, and this bold, reenergised reimagining of a classic is everything I could’ve dreamed of. Feverishly anticipating Episode 2.
Galvanized Gamer

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

Mandatory deal
Thinking back to the time when the Wii was pretty scare, even for a good while after launch, made me recall the organised scalping that went on then – also known as the retailer’s bundle ‘deal’.

The only way I could get a Wii, after following online stock trackers for weeks, was with a five game preselected bundle from GAME, which added >£200 to the basic Wii RRP, but came with Zelda: Twilight Princess, Super Mario Galaxy, Super Paper Mario, Big Brain Academy, and The Golden Compass (yep, no getting out of ‘buying’ this duffer) – which, together with Wii Sports, did at least give me many hours of gameplay on the new console.

Can’t recall many retailers selling just the base model Wii for ages, and whilst some bundles eventually were lower priced, they usually came together with awful games or terrible ‘accessories’.

What’s the best/worst bundle ‘deal’ you can recall?
Steve, South Wales

Regret nothing
Meddling Monks just wrote in to say he played Super Mario 64 for the first time recently and was clearly not that impressed. He wondered if he would have enjoyed the game a lot more if he had played it much closer to its release and thus had the advantage of nostalgia.

I have to say I think nostalgia would be more of a burden in this instance because I honestly didn’t find the game anywhere near as fun as I did in 1997. Back then the graphics were cutting edge and they made the game such a fresh and exciting experience. Now, Super Mario 64 looks blocky and barren and those moments of frustration are only harder to bear.

I then played the other two games in the anniversary collection. As with Mario 64, this was only my second time playing them and the drop in enjoyment was similar. Super Mario Sunshine was boring and even Super Mario Galaxy failed to recapture its original magic. Although in Galaxy’s case it could be that it was so comprehensively outclassed by its immediate successor.

Having said that, I wonder if I would enjoy Super Mario Galaxy 2 as much second time around? Super Mario 3D World hits the Switch in February and that’s my favourite Mario. It’ll be interesting to see how my feelings toward that may have changed.

I don’t think I have an aversion to replaying old platformers though. I got the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy and I loved the remastered Spyro games. The level design and music were as great as I remember and now it has lush modern graphics which are surely much closer to the developer’s original ambition.

Maybe my disappointing return to the anniversary collection isn’t that surprising. I never enjoyed the Mario games as much as I enjoyed Spyro, Banjo, and Jak & Daxter. That’s probably a statement that belongs in the Hot Topic from a couple of weeks ago but I like what I like and don’t feel the need to apologise for it.
Kehaar

Small problem
While using wired earphones isn’t a big problem, it would be nice to use wireless ones with the Switch. If you want to do so, you need to get an extra adaptor that plugs into the USB-C port.

The Switch supposedly doesn’t allow you to easily use the Bluetooth capabilities of the console, to minimise interference with the Joy-Con. But I just found out Mario Kart Live uses Bluetooth to communicate with the kart…

So what’s the real reason why Nintendo won’t update the Switch to allow easy Bluetooth access?
ttfp saylow (gamertag)
Now playing – Ring Fit Adventure and Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3

GC: We don’t think there’s any reason to assume it’s not as they say. Mario Kart Live is hardly a typical Switch game.

Control yourself
Nice to see you publishing several comments advocating patience for more PlayStation 5 (mostly; it’s funny how the Xbox Series X doesn’t get mentioned as much) stock to become available rather than indulging scalpers and adding to the problem and panic buying to appease, in many cases, a child who’s been promised one for Xmas.

I’ve been saying this all along, but it’s funny how many gamers turn into keyboard warriors online and start saying things like ‘scalpers should be hung, drawn and quartered’. While I agree that what they do is unethical and frowned upon, there will always be people pathetically desperate to get the new, shiny thing who have more money than sense (or worse, don’t have the money and somehow stump it up anyway by cutting corners elsewhere in their life on essentials or using credit they can’t afford to pay back) so the market for scalpers will exist due to people having poor self-control. It’s a sad fact, but a fact nonetheless. That’s the reality of it.

To the person who emailed in (Craig Herman) asking where the media remote for the PlayStation 5 is and why it’s so hard to get, technically you shouldn’t need one. The PlayStation 3 and 4 both had HDMI-CEC, which means the TV can send signals down the cable to control the console with the TV remote itself for basic navigation, etc. I assume the PS5 should be much the same. Probably worth tinkering around in the console settings.
Gary Diamond

Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here

Land of the free
Honestly, what is going on with Joy-Con repairs!? The fact that there’s been an obvious hardware defect from day one is one thing, but the repairs process sounds horrendous! Almost like a lucky dip whether you get it fixed and whether it’s free or if you’re held to ransom.

I’ve been reading online and the US customers seem generally happy with the repairs for drift and they’re free, so what’s going on in the UK? Are Nintendo outsourcing repairs to multiple companies or something, because there’s almost no consistency in customer’s experiences.

I’ve had a little bit of drift in one Joy-Con and luckily a little bit of WD40 electrical spray stuff worked it’s magic. If it returns and the spray can’t fix it I’ll attempt to replace the stick myself rather than send it in for repair. I’ve been totally put off.

Historically, Nintendo have always had good customer service, but they’ve really messed up with the Joy-Con situation.

In case I don’t write in again before Xmas I just wanted to wish GC a very merry Xmas and thank you for continuing to produce fantastic coverage despite the global pandemic and all the difficulties that it brought. Looking forward to 2021!
Matt

GC: In America all repairs seem to be free, no question asked. It’s everywhere else where it becomes a lottery as to how Nintendo treats the problem.

Better than the real thing
What a delightful game What The Golf? is! As a seasoned gamer it takes a lot to surprise me but this game was wonderfully upending my expectations at every turn. I probably enjoyed the first half the best, with a couple of particularly outstanding sections, but I would heartily recommend the whole thing to anyone looking for some indie magic. It even has a pretty cool backstory. If only real golf was this fun!
Ryan O’D
PS: Just a tip for any would be players, on Switch there’s one level for a crown with a minor bug. It involves a crab and you have to use the touchscreen to finish it, using the buttons isn’t quick enough. It was driving me crazy until I found out.

GC: That’s probably a result of the game having originally been a mobile app.

Early bird problems
The few reviews I saw yesterday for Cyberpunk 2077 confirmed I will wait for a next gen patch to play it.

The reviews were amazingly positive, the game looks amazing. But as most suspected giving CD Projekt Red’s previous games launch states and trajectories of continual improvement there’s bugs and Cyberpunk 2077 will be better in six months’ time.

But also, the reviews I saw seemed to be played on monster PCs. GamesRadar’s reviewer was packing a brand spanking new, new gen-busting RTX 3080. A game patched for the new consoles for me then.
Simundo

GC: There was no choice but to start the review on PC, as that’s all CD Projekt sent out early.

Inbox also-rans
For those thinking about dealing with scalpers. I once paid over the odds for a sold out Turbo Man action figure from a suspicious looking Santa in a grotto. When I opened the box, the head fell off and it only spoke Spanish.
Arnold

People are now hijacking delivery lorries to get hold of a PlayStation 5?! Notice how they never mention wanting an Xbox Series X…
Bonko

This week’s Hot Topic
The topic for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Grackle, who asks who is your favourite video game protagonist?

Regardless of the quality of the games they’re in, which hero (or anti-hero) do you enjoy playing as the most and why? How much does their visual design and gameplay abilities play into it, compared to their personality and storyline?

How important is it that you like the hero in a video game and have you ever bought one – or avoided one – based purely on the main character? Do games in which there is no pre-made character appeal to you less or does it depend on the game?

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.


MORE : Games Inbox: Cyberpunk 2077 review score, saying no to PS5 scalpers, and Trails Of Cold Steel love


MORE : Weekend Hot Topic, part 2: Replaying classic games


MORE : Weekend Hot Topic, part 1: Replaying classic games

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