Games Inbox: Video games industry in crisis, The Elder Scrolls 6 timeline, and PS5 SSD upgrade advice

Is the games industry on the cusp of a sea change? (Picture:

The Thursday letters page looks forward to Paper Mario being a role-playing game again, as one reader enjoys Yakuza spin-off Judgment.

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Turning point
Well, there is certainly a lot to work through with that article on US sales in October. I’m certainly one that is constantly surprised at just how well the Spider-Man games do, as while they’re decent I wouldn’t say they were amazing (no pun intended). They’re also very similar to about a dozen previous Spidey games, not to mention the Batman ones they keep ripping off.

There’re much less deserving games that have done well though, so I’m not going to complain. But what strikes me about all this is that the Switch is still selling well, to the level where, if you didn’t know how old it was, you’d say it still had around two years left in it. I don’t know what Nintendo will think about that but it’s an odd situation to be in where the console you want to replace is awkwardly still popular.

And then there’s Xbox, which just can’t catch a break. Not only did Starfield make little impact, but I notice Forza Motorsport didn’t either. They haven’t a major hit all year, critically and commercially, and they’re still being outsold by the six-year-old Switch. I don’t know what the panic button is at Microsoft (buy EA?) but their finger must be hovering over it right now.

And then to top it all, sales are down on last year for all three consoles, by a fairly significant margin. Maybe people are holding out for Black Friday but I don’t think to that degree. I hate to bring up the word ‘crash’ again, but I really do worry that one is on its way. With the constant stories of job cuts everywhere I fear the whole industry is in crisis and that the old console model is growing stale for people that can’t afford them anymore – but before streaming is really viable and able to take over.

I don’t know what the answer to any of this is, but if Sony tries to push a PS5 Pro next year they’re nuts.

Positive judgement
I just finished off Judgment and it is probably my favourite in the Yakuza series. I’m a big fan of the series but I’ve been going through the spin-offs and think I’m enjoying them more than the mainline games.

I enjoyed all the usual crazy side quests (the wig blowing in the wind one had me genuinely laughing), arcade games, characters, and arcadey fight mechanics but I really enjoyed the story with this one more than the others. The AD-9 stuff had me hooked with the Mole and everything else going on, that I won’t spoil. I also thought the last chapter of the game was one of my favourite ending sections of all time.

Now onto Lost Judgment!
PS: Also have Like A Dragon Gaiden on order from Play-Asia, so looking forward to that turning up (I like physical games!).

Fast forward
I wonder if the mediocre success of Starfield is going to shorten the length of time that Bethesda spends on its DLC? I agree that mods are definitely going to help the game but you could argue that’s even more reason to just leave the DLC up to fans and get on with The Elder Scrolls 6 – the game people actually want.

I think it’s shame Starfield didn’t do better because it discourages publishers from funding new IP but beyond that I’m happy to move on and put it down as a failed experiment. If only games weren’t so stupidly expensive and time-consuming to make that shouldn’t be a major problem, but unfortunately it is.

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Extra space
Replying to Andrew across the pond, I added a Seagate FireCuda 530 Heatsink 1TB SSD for PS5 a few months ago, read/write speeds are almost identical to the native PlayStation 5 one and it’s an official pairing. It’s been flawless and installing it was a couple of screws and the PlayStation 5 takes you through formatting it, although there’s plenty of YouTube guides.

I went for the 1TB option as that was the best overall value (£94.99) when I bought it, but there are 2TB and 4TB options as well.

Other good options are the Samsung 980 Pro and 990 Pro or the WD Black SN850 or SN850X; the 980 will probably see discounts now the 990 is out.

Whichever you go for make sure to get the heatsink model, otherwise you’ll need to source and attach a separate heatsink that still fits in the PlayStation 5 expansion slot, it’s just added hassle.

Good hunting.

RE: PlayStation 5 SSDs. I looked into this when buying mine earlier this year. Any playStation 5 compatible one with a heatsink from any reputable brand is fine. For example, I have this one (Other brands and shops are available).

Corsair MP600 PRO LPX 1TB M.2 PCIe Gen4 NVMe SSD – Up to 7100MB/s – 3D TLC NAND – M.2 2280 – Optimised for PS5 – Black

Don’t look up
Teardown looks great but as someone who always inverts the Y-axis I would struggle to adjust if the game doesn’t have that option.

The PlayStation 5 has system levels settings that are applied to games by default, where amongst other things you can select if you want the first and third person cameras to be inverted. It’s in Settings>Saved Data and Game/App Settings>Game Presets.

The game has to support the feature of automatically applying the system levels settings though. Any idea if Teardown does support it?

GC: It doesn’t work, presumably because the option just isn’t part of the game. We’re sure it won’t take them long to patch it in though.

Absolutely wonderful
I never intended to buy Super Mario Bros. Wonder but took the plunge after your review. I’ve been holding off playing it but now I’ve completed most of the game I’d have to name it as my game of the year, even above Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom.

I thought it’s going to be another New Super Mario Bros. game when I first saw the trailer, which isn’t an entirely bad thing, but they have lacked sparkle over the last few entries.

For Nintendo to advance the 2D platform genre the way they have with this game, wow! Then you just do have to take your hat off to them and sit back and applaud. It’s unlike anything else.

While I was playing, I was thinking I haven’t seen this much invention to the formula since Super Mario Galaxy 2. It’s really that good.

Can’t praise it highly enough. Outstanding game.
Nick The Greek

Role-playing legacy
Nice review of Super Mario RPG, GC. I didn’t realise it came out while the first PlayStation was already out, that must’ve seemed odd. Although I guess early PS1 games often didn’t look much better than SNES games if they had 2D graphics.

I really hope that the next Paper Mario is a proper sequel to The Thousand-Year Door and just ignores all the others. The Origami King was good but it was barely a Paper Mario game. I want the real thing, plus a remaster of the original Paper Mario on N64. It’d be unfair if that was left out, it was great.

Tense strategy
I’m still enjoying your pages since the days of Teletext, despite gaming becoming almost an irrelevance to me given my busy life. Thanks for your consistently level-headed approach to gaming and a back clap to the community of sane gamers that you’ve nurtured.

Anyway, what a fantastic game Aliens: Dark Descent is. Especially the opening levels. It’s so tense, exciting, authentic, respectful to the source material and inventive… and did I say, tense?! Yes, I save scummed a bit. Yes, it dragged on a lot. Yes, the last level went sideways… and the plot didn’t play out coherently. That level before the end, back on the ship, was naff and all filler. Oh and the female lead turned into a moralising hypocrite. And yes, it was a bit buggy.

But it was so tense! What a game! Hats off to the developers. Surely, that engine needs to be re-used for another game/franchise/movie?

But now Aliens: Dark Descent has ruined tactical gaming for me. I first played Laser Squad on an Atari ST and followed the lineage on various platforms, including Full Spectrum Warrior… all the way to XCOM 2 (I don’t count the unsatisfying misstep of Chimera).

I simply can’t imagine going back to a traditional slow-paced, turn-based strategy game after the unique, real-time/Pause dynamic of Aliens: Dark Descent,

So now I’m a bit stuck…. what can I do? There’s not much replay value in Aliens. Maybe Phoenix Point?


GC: Thank you. Phoenix Point is okay but it’s a step down from XCOM. If you have a Switch, Mario + Rabbids: Sparks Of Hope is a really innovative and fun strategy game. It’s turn-based but with free movement and quite fast-paced.

Inbox also-rans
On the topic of Y-axis I was not inverted until I played the game Freedom Fighters on GameCube, around 2003/04. Either there wasn’t an option or I just couldn’t see it but I was forced to learn inverted and I’ve never turned back.

The song How Music Makes You Feel Better by Peruvian electronic musician Sofia Kourtesis definitely sounds like the score from a lost Rez level, right? Especially when that final third kicks in.

GC: You’re right, it does. We love Rez.

This week’s Hot Topic
The PlayStation 5 turned three years old on Sunday, and the Xbox Series X/S two days before that, so for this weekend’s Inbox we want to know how you think they’re both doing.

Do you own either console and if so, what do you think of them in terms of the hardware and the current software line-up? If you don’t own either console, why is that and what would convince you to get them?

What are your hopes and expectations for the future, for both formats, and do you think this console generation has so far been better or worse than the previous one?

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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 via email or our Submit Stuff page, 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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