Games Inbox: Cuphead’s best graphics of 2017, Destiny 2 scaling system, and Skyrim VR appreciation

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Games Inbox: Does Cuphead have the best graphics of 2017?
Cuphead – best graphics of the year?

The evening Inbox has more ideas for Animal Crossing on Switch, as one reader hopes there are no more historical Call Of Duties.

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Draw you in

Since it’s getting near the end of the year I’m sure we’re going to have lots of awards and such like going over the year’s biggest release. I was thinking about some of my favourites and was trying to work out what I thought had the best graphics. The obvious choice is Horizon Zero Dawn, but maybe it’s because I found the game itself a bit boring but I can’t find myself getting that excited about it. I thought about it some more and realised the best graphics – or at least the game that has impressed me the most with how it looks – is Cuphead.

I didn’t have any interest in that style of game but the graphics looked so completely different to anything I’d ever seen (except the original cartoons, obviously) that I was taken in and really ended up enjoying. To me that’s a very important benefit of looking so unique, and I’m so glad they didn’t go for just spaceships or something. The whole thing is super imaginative and you end up loving how it looks not because of how many polygons it’s pushing but because you can’t wait to see what weird design is next.

The house always wins

I’ve been following all the fallout from this Destiny 2 XP ‘scaling system’ for a few days and all I can say is that none of it comes as a surprise. Not the specifics but the idea that the developer is sitting there, behind the scenes, manipulating things so you never get the advantage you work for you and everything is stacked against you unless you pay.

What makes Destiny 2 worse is that bright engrams never have anything interesting in them anyway, and people who are earning experience are almost certainly not doing it to get more bright engrams. That and how shady Bungie was: immediately giving in to demands but not admitting or explaining anything. I mean, obviously the explanation is: ‘we were greedy’ but the whole situation just stinks.

And of course you can only assume this sort of thing is going on with every game that can do it behind the scenes. Yet another reason I’m happy to just retreat with single-player game instead of acting like somebody else’s fruit machine.

Making amends

I have to say I’m surprised and disappointed that Nintendo has gone in so hard on microtransactions with Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp. I knew it would have them, but I didn’t think it would be with all these timers and things that are impossible to buy without paying real money. Clearly casual gamers don’t seem to care but I’m not sure that really forgives anything. A lot of people don’t care about things they should, until the effects everyone was warning them about finally come around and bit them on the rear.

But to end on a more positive note this has got me interested in an Animal Crossing for Switch, which I guess is ultimately the point of these apps. I just hope that they really expand into a proper open world game where you can customise your house inside and out. And no reusing any objects that have been in the game before! Some of those have been around since the N64 days!

Give it some good online features and it could make up for Pocket Camp. Add microtransactions to the Switch version and you can forget about it.

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Suspicious behaviour

I bet those Devil May Cry V rumours are true, or at the very least I bet Capcom are making another one. Those special editions a couple of years back were very suspicious and sounds like around the time they’re supposed to have started work on the game.

I don’t know how far they would push it, but I really like the idea of an open world action game like this. Reading the rumours there’s a mention of it being almost like Musou (Dynasty Warriors) game which I also like the sound of.

Dynasty Warriors has always been a great idea, it’s just the implementation that’s always been terrible. I’ve always wanted someone else to take the basic concept and do it better but they never really have. Capcom, or at least Capcom in their prime would be the perfect ones to give it a go and I hope they do with Devil May Cry. Couldn’t be worse than Sengoku Basara (Devil Kings).

Simulated war

I hope the next Call Of Duty doesn’t stay historical. Historical war games creep me out and I always find it very disrespectful and weird. People usually go on about them being realistic but if they were really realistic you’d be scared out of your mind and hating every last minute.

There’s nothing realistic about Call Of Duty, it seems to be more interested in copying movies than the actual real world conflict and although the games that result are all perfectly entertaining I’d rather not pretend to be an immortal superhero (spoiler: when you get randomly shot in a war that’s it, no respawning) winning the war on my own.

The multiplayer is particularly distasteful, with the swastikas and the Nazi team allowed to be something other than white men. It’s so sanitised it’s actually disturbing, and dangerous to young minds that are going to be playing this stuff five hours a day. The only way to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past is to understand them, and you don’t understand anything of WWII by playing Call Of Duty.

Simple life

I’ve seen a few other readers say something similar, but I’m not surprised the Switch is doing so well at the moment. All this stuff about loot boxes, rigging multiplayer games, and generally treating customers like dirt is so depressing and off-putting. Just the stories themselves make me not want to play games.

We all know Nintendo is no saint (the Animal Crossing app is proof of that) but everything I currently own for the Switch is either single-player or local multiplayer. I don’t have to worry about online, loot boxes or any of those other things. I just enjoy the simple life of playing great games wherever I want.

It’s pretty clear this is resonating with other people too and I hope Nintendo pick up on it and let it influence their future line-up. I’m not interested in its third party support if it’s going to mean horrible skeevy games that just want my money. What we’ve got is great as it is.

No hanky panky

RE: Wiggly Blade. Yes, I have to agree Gran Turismo Sport does come with some issues. I have been a long-time fan but Mr ‘KAZ’ is trying to change things. Bound to be teething troubles and there are no microtransactions in GT Sport. No loot box hanky panky.

Also, major update coming in December to deal with most issues, like a single-player career mode. Thus far it has been a good experience as a whole.
David Reed
PS: Hope this helps.

Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here

The sight of things to come

Skyrim VR is a beautiful mess. Mostly due to the limitations of PlayStation 4 and PlayStation VR, but Bethesda’s glitchy programming certainly contributes.

It’s the open world sections that suffer the most from the low resolution of the headset and the lack of horsepower to render it properly. The result is a somewhat blurry world that seems to be being part built around you due to the pretty bad draw distance and pop-in, even of the Pro. The overall effect of looking out across Tamriel is still wonderful but there’s not much detail in the mid to long distance and it’s all simply textured until you get close. Even large structures that are relatively close are indistinct.

As with VR at the moment though when you get close it’s a different story and all of sudden you find yourself craning your neck up at an impressively imposing edifice. It’s pretty amazing and as with every other game I’ve played in and out of VR I’ve found VR brings far more to the table than it takes.

Resident Evil 7 was made with VR in mind and in part worked so well in VR because it’s myopic, claustrophobic viewpoint nullified the issues of resolution and draw distance. Clearly vast open worlds are far more difficult for VR right now, but it’ll be remedied in time with better headsets and more processing power.

Hats off to Bethesda and Sony though for getting behind VR. It was very ambitious to port Skyrim to PlayStation VR but Bethesda’s risen to the challenge and pulled it off successfully. A year into consumer VR’s life and Bethesda has hopefully laid a foundation for more full triple-A games coming to VR. It’s also fantastic that it looks like Sony reducing the price of PlayStation VR was meet with strong sales as it shows there’s an appetite for VR out there.
Simundo Jones

Inbox also-rans

As funny as the idea of Super Mario cereal is I am kind of surprised Nintendo hasn’t used this idea with amiibos before. The actual amiibo bit is only a tiny sliver of film so they could put it anything. Nintendo really don’t think outside the box with these things, kind of the opposite to games.

I swear I remember a Sonic The Hedgehog cereal from when I was a kid. Although I’m not 100% sure it wasn’t just a promotion with a regular cereal.

This week’s Hot Topic

The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was inspired by the recent Reader’s Feature – about how few people ever beat the games they play – and asks how often do you usually finish a game to the very end?

What percentage of your games have you gotten to the end of, and how many of those have you beaten 100% – or thereabouts? For those games you haven’t beaten, why is that? Is it because they were too hard, you lost interest, or something else? When do you decide to give up on a game that doesn’t have an ending, like Destiny or other multiplayer games, and do you ever come back anyway?

Without giving away any spoilers, which game do you think had the best and most worthwhile ending, and which has been the most disappointing?

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