Games Inbox: Lego Dimensions and toys to life, Star Wars: Battlefront II prospects, and Cuphead score

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Games Inbox: Are you glad toys to life is dead?
Lego Dimensions – will you be sad to see it go?

The morning Inbox encourages everyone to buy a new game this Friday, as one reader praises Yoshi’s Island’s boss battles.

To join in with the discussions yourself email [email protected]

Death of a fad

So I see Warner Bros. has officially announced that Lego Dimensions is dead. Which means that toys to life is also basically dead. Technically they could make a new Skylanders next year, but I don’t see it happening. There’s also Nintendo’s amiibos, but they aren’t tied to any specific game and even then they’re making a lot less of them than they used to.

So in other words another gaming fad that’s started and ended in the space of just six years. You’d think Activision of all companies will have learnt from the death of the music game but apparently not. I remember when there were stories about Skylanders being the most profitable franchise in the whole of gaming and now it’s probably dead forever.

If only they’d taken things slowly, but no. It’s a shame as I had a few of them and me and the kids enjoyed them. They were very well made and a lot better than you’d think. We have Lego Dimensions too, but the mistake there was that the second ‘season’ was just all standalone sets. The best thing about the main game was seeing all the characters interact and the funny dialogue but the second season kept them all apart and it wasn’t as fun.

Oh well, let’s hope the loot box and games as a service fad doesn’t take six years to go away…

Star Wars test

So I see the obvious and predictable is happening in the charts, with The Evil Within 2 a flop and Shadow Of War not seeming to do that well, or outdoing the first one. A 74% drop in the second week is extreme and I’d put that down to bad word of mouth, some of which will definitely be due to the loot box complaints.

I guess it’s harder to tell from the retail chart, since people are more likely to buy that one digital, but I also don’t get the feeling that Destiny 2 has been quite as big as expected. Maybe it has somehow but I don’t feel people have been talking about it and getting excited about it as much as they did the first one.

The big test though will be how Star Wars: Battlefront II does. It’s coming at a busy time and the original doesn’t have the best name in gaming, but with all the bad comments about loot boxes I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw it underperform. I hope so, we need to send a message to these publishers or things will get much worse.

GC: A 74% drop in the second week isn’t that unusual. It’s almost always over 50% for any game.

Whale of a time

Some interesting stuff here from someone who worked on the last two Mass Effect games. You should listen to whole thing, because there’s a lot about the Visceral situation and he says that it’s not single-player that EA has a problem with. It’s linear single-player. The Star Wars game was like Uncharted where you just play through it once or twice but EA wants the games to be open world so you can go through them again and again and you can do loot boxes and stuff.

The most incredible thing for me is he talks about people spending $15,000 on multiplayer cards for Mass Effect 3. Mass Effect 3!? I mean it’s multiplayer was all right, but who really cared that much about it? I’m sure you could get a deposit on a house in America for that, and I’m willing to bet these people weren’t super rich.

If they’re paying that sort of thing for a game where the multiplayer is just a side option imagine how much is getting spent on things like Overwatch and GTA Online. It’s crazy. You’d think with that sort of money publishers would be happy with just cosmetic loot boxes, but no. They’ve got to be even greedier…

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Island boss

Have been going through Yoshi’s Island for the first time in years on the Mini SNES and I had forgotten how good the boss battles are. Most of them are very easy but they are still a lot of fun, and so imaginative that I really enjoy playing them and I am not a massive fan of boss battles in general.

It got me thinking which is my favourite boss battle of all time and the one that pops into my head is the David boss fight from The Last of Us – the fight is genuinely scary and has so much riding on it, plus it has a very satisfying conclusion.

Maybe an idea for a Hot Topic?

GC: We haven’t had that one for a while so yes, probably.

Below par

Just completed Cuphead and what an amazing game. Took me 33 hours to beat all levels and the bosses well below average comparing to HowLongToBeat. In my eyes it is a 9/10, as the bosses are so inventive and creative. The balance of gameplay and weapons means you can play it how you want more aggressive attack or defensive.

GameCentral marked it down because of the difficulty and the side-scrolling levels mainly. I understand the side-scrolling levels criticism but the difficulty I’m struggling with. What makes this different to Dark Souls, for example?

Looking forward to Super Mario Odyssey, whilst Hitman will stay in the backlog.

GC: They’re not really comparable games, but in Dark Souls there’s always something else to do if you’re stuck, or you can level grind to make things easier for yourself. In Cuphead there are a lot of brick walls, which tend to be more frustrating.

Price matching

Not sure if it’s been mentioned on here yet but Amazon are selling the digital copy of Super Mario Odyssey for the same price as the boxed copy (£41.99) and there’s an additional £2 discount applied at checkout for digital games at the moment.

Through the Nintendo store the game is £49.99 and it’s this ridiculous price discrepancy that stops me from going digital-only. If the price is matched like this from now on then I might finally make the move.
StellarFlux (gamertag)

Vintage year

RE: Pete and Blade Runner 2049. Yes, it was utterly superb. It exemplifies what cinema and science fiction can be. It stands alongside The Empire Strikes Back, Terminator 2, Aliens, and The Dark Knight as the greatest sequels, and one of the best films I’ve ever seen. With Dunkirk and Baby Driver, and The Last Jedi still to come, it’s been a great year.
PS: I’ll mention games too… just got to the Dust District in Dishonored 2, trying to get it finished before Wolfenstein II on Friday.

Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here

Positive statement

I know everyone’s still up in arms about loot boxes, and understandably so, but I’d just like to point out that the three games out this week are all loot box free. Two of them are practically guaranteed to be amongst the best of the year and I think Assassin’s Creed Origins is at least definitely going to be the best since Black Flag.

That’s not only some really positive games to look forward to, but it also gives us a chance to show our appreciation. For anyone out there that read GC’s feature about loot boxes and thought it didn’t apply to them this is the reverse of punishing publishers, it’s rewarding them when they do good.

So if you have any interest in Super Mario Odyssey, Wolfenstein II, or Assassin’s Creed Origins then buy one of them new. Don’t put them off in favour of some loot box-ridden game (or, god forbid, some actual loot boxes) put your money where your mouth is.

The way I see it anyone that complains about loot boxes but doesn’t take positive action for games they do want to support is part of the problem. The industry is watching and we want to be sending the right message…

Inbox also-rans

WWE games have sucked this whole generation. I genuinely think they’d be better if they just released them on Xbox 360. At least then they’d have the time and budget to do them properly.

I’m very happy that they are still making 2D shooters. But I have to say almost 35 quid is a bit steep.
David Reed

GC: Not many people buy them, so they have to charge a lot for them to make their money back. It’s a Catch-22 situation. But Raiden V, and many others, is a better game than many full price games.

This week’s Hot Topic

The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Trancer, who asks you to imagine what the video games industry will be like in 10 years’ time.

Before you start imagining holodecks and virtual reality connected to your brain bear in mind that in 2007 the best-selling games of the year included FIFA 08, Call Of Duty 4, and Halo 3 (as well as Brain Training and Wii Play) so in some ways at least it wasn’t really that different. But what do you think will change in the next 10 years, in terms of the hardware and the games that are popular?

Which franchises do you think will last another 10 years and which do you think will not? How do you think games will be paid for and will consoles still exist or will streaming, or some other technology, have taken over?

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

The small print
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