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Games Inbox: Digital video game pros and cons, Detroit: Become Human controversy, and Doom on Switch

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Games Inbox: Do you buy only digital games?
What would need to happen to make you go digital only?

The morning Inbox asks for advice on buying a HDR TV, as one reader chooses between a Switch and PlayStation VR.

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

Good luck with that

I read this weekend as people’s gaming rituals mostly involved physical copies. One reader even said they can’t understand digital copies, and something about not actually owning the game. I for one am ready and excited to embrace the digital age of gaming. My two main gaming machines a PC and the Nintendo Switch are both completely digital (minus Zelda which I bought in cartridge form).

I have a huge library of games which I own and enough storage on both systems to be able to have most of my games available to switch between at ease. Now some may say I’m a dreamer, but with a digital age I’m hoping to see a few changes that could help ease the transition for the physical dinosaurs (I’m joking).

1. Price cuts across the board, no more need for packaging and production.
2. A lovely digital interface, which is streamlined and customisable to help show off your digital collection.
3. A form of trade or sale system that cuts shops out of the picture. A chance to resell your games back to the console store for credit or a way to trade games with other people for a small fee to the publisher.
4. More storage in consoles or cheap solutions for external storage.

I understand the need for physical copies for the collector types, but if they can eliminate the trade-in value of a physical copy and provide easier storage solutions. It might just work.
Anthony Daniels

Unorthodox storytelling

Just back from teaching situational awareness and its influence on tactical decision gains. Which of course fits nicely into the Detroit: Become Human trailer. I’ve yet to meet someone who hasn’t had an emotional response from it. I liked the interconnection of decisions that it implies. It also implies heavily that there is a win scenario, this being a game. But we’re assuming this, and David Cage, is definitely up for challenging orthodoxy.

It’s interesting that Mr Cage is being accused of trivialising child abuse by putting it into a video game environment about decision making.

I was playing Persona 5, the first castle, when the Harvey Weinstein stories came out and the game narrative hits tremendously close to home. An establishment figure who uses his power and reputation to serially practice abuse of those beholden to him. A group of victims intimidated into not speaking by an establishment that fetes the reputation of the abuser and victims half convinced it’s their fault, with no way of speaking out or escape pushed breaking point… in a game.

Would it pompous to suggest that the inclusion of these difficult themes represent an elevation of games as an artform rather trivialisation of the theme? That in moving these graphic themes into an arena dominated by other aspects of storytelling its knocking on the boundaries of conventional narratives.

David Cage was suggested as being taken aback by the criticism, and quoted as saying if this was a film or a book, there wouldn’t be an issue. So is this the genre needing to be accepted as an adult artform by gamers and the establishment alike? I dunno, it just feels like there is change… and difficult decisions are being made.
Rubycon5 (PSN ID)

GC: Those complaints have as much to do with David Cage’s dubious talents, and poor track record, as anything else. Any subject can be handled by any medium, the only prerequisite is that it be handled well.

New reason to play

With all the talk of games as a service and single-player story driven games not having as much replay value. I disagree with this, because personally a good single-player campaign I will replay several times if I really enjoy it, usually a year or two after my initial playthrough – maybe attempting a harder difficulty or trying to get achievements gives me something else to do with the game.

I see it like rewatching a favourite film. But one thing that used to increase replayability is a New Game+ mode, especially when it makes the game more challenging or at least different in some way keeps it fresh. But I’ve noticed New Game+ modes seems to have faded away in recent games.

The last one I remember is Dark Souls III but maybe GC or the readers can name other examples. If publishers want to give us reason to keep single-player games, New Game+ is a great way to increase replayability.
Big Angry Dad82 (gamertag)

GC: Lots of games have New Game+ or an equivalent, such as Wolfenstein II’s twin timelines. We’ve been playing Horizon Zero Dawn recently, because of the DLC, and that seems to have added one since launch.

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

Switching decisions

Is there any discernible difference between the PlayStation 4 and Switch versions of Sonic Mania GC? I ask as I became a proud owner of a Switch for my birthday a couple of weeks ago, but I have £20 of PSN credit to use. I have no such monies on the Switch as yet.

I am absolutely loving Super Mario Odyssey at the minute. I’ve heard nothing but good things about Sonic Mania, but the Banned Footage DLC for Resident Evil 7 has me interested as well. On one hand I get Sonic Mania on PlayStation 4 and miss out on Resident Evil 7 DLC for now or I buy Sonic on Switch and can have both but be £16 out of pocket.

Plus, the price of the DLC for Resident Evil 7 has gone back to £24.99, from £18.99 a few days ago. Meaning I’d have to add a fiver to my PSN wallet. Damn me for procrastinating on my decision! What I am trying to get at is if Sonic on Switch has any advantages over the PlayStation 4 version. That way I have two games for Switch and it’ll justify a significant purchase in my household this month… even though it’ll cost more in the long run!
SolidPete82 (PSN ID/NN ID)

GC: There’s a little bit of stutter on the 3D stages but otherwise Sonic Mania on Switch is the same as the other versions. The first Resident Evil 7 DLC is very good, the second less so. But more is coming out in December, along with a Gold Edition, which is something you may want to bear in mind.

Standard battle

OK, so this letter is not strictly games focused, more games related but I feel the GC reading fraternity is a knowledgeable bunch when it comes to audio visual matters.

I’m of the opinion that a 40” TV is plenty big for my needs and available space. Having idly looking at 4K/HDR televisions after reading the Xbox One X article and the associated comments it seems that there are very few 4K TVs that aren’t huge behemoths of at least 50” in size. Probably due to the need to sit with your nose pressed up against a smaller set or to sit reasonable distance from a very large set for the extra pixel count to make an appreciable difference over 1080p.

But there do appear to be a couple of 40” 1080p sets that support the (seemingly inferior to the Dolby Vision HDR standard) HDR10 standard.

My question is this: will an HDR10-enabled 1080p image blow a non-HDR10 enabled 1080p image out of the water?

Many thanks in advance for anyone that replies.
Meestah Bull

GC: You mean a HDR10-enabled 1080p versus a non-HDR one? Or HDR10 vs. Dolby Vision HDR? If it’s HDR vs. non-HDR then we think most people will agree it makes a big difference. Often more so than 4K. Although as ever, the game has to support it.

Catching up to do

I fancy a new gadget for Xmas. I already have a PlayStation 4 and an Xbox One, the idea of a more powerful version of either I find boring. So that leaves me with PlayStation VR or a Switch. Never tried VR yet and at the grand age of 37 I have never owned a Nintendo despite gaming since 10 years of age (Sega fanboy), which would give most entertainment?

Mario and Zelda certainly have me interested and my four-year-old really wants to play games, but really struggles with the controllers so that could be an advantage of Nintendo. But how configurable are games such as Mario Kart to a four-year-old’s ability? Or would a DS be better for that age?

Plus do PlayStation VR games rely on massive updates, etc.? As unfortunately I have to live with a 100GB data allowance per month.

Any advice appreciated.
Mal

GC: You’re comparing apples to oranges here, so we’re not really sure what to say. Although almost all PlayStation VR games are digital downloads. And the idea of you, let alone your child, growing up without Nintendo sounds like a problem that needs fixing to us.

Worth the price

I would love to get a Switch, no one makes games like Nintendo. From the first time I played Super Mario All-Stars on the SNE I was blown away. And then Zelda, Probotector II and all of the other amazing games that made me shake with just the anticipation of playing them.

I’ve played a lot of great games but the magic Nintendo create makes me shiver like a child on Christmas morn. I know it’s worth the asking price, to me anyway, but it seems a bit steep.
Matt

GC: Probotector II was by Konami, and a NES game. Unless you mean Super Probotector, aka Contra III.

Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here

Exaggerated issues

I’ve been reading with interest the letters regarding loot boxes/DLC, the death of single-player gaming and the rise in sales of digital games and just wanted to throw my tuppence in.

Loot Boxes: they’re here and they’re not going anywhere. Rage against the storm all you want but if you’re really bothered don’t buy the game. The numbers suggest your protest won’t matter at all, but you won’t be frustrated by real or perceived imbalance in the games you play.

Death of single-player gaming: don’t make me laugh. Check the numbers, more single-player games have been released this gen than any other. Life Is Strange, Hellblade, and the Telltale games are good examples but the rise of digital distribution has helped lower risks and expand the genres of all games.

Kids are the only ones buying digital: I don’t dispute that kids are probably the main target for microtransactions. They’ve grown up with them and won’t have the strong negative feeling that is shared on these pages. But I’m a 36-year-old parent and I buy all my games digitally, in fact Dishonored 2 has been sitting in my local Asda for £10 and I can’t bring myself to buy it as I’m so used to digital. I’ve written before about why I prefer digital but it comes back to my reason for writing.

My favourite thing about GameCentral is the positivity and lack of toxicity in its letters page. I understand there’s always a resistance to change but to me it seems the introduction of the Internet (the route of all these concerns) to gaming has brought far more positives than negatives.

Look at that ha’penny change.
DarKerR (gamertag)/DarKerR-UK (PSN ID)

GC: More single-players games have been released this gen than any other? C’mon.

Inbox also-rans

Super Mario Galaxy 2 > Super Mario Galaxy 1 > The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild > Super Mario Odyssey > The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time > [the rest]
Ciara

Are you likely to cover the Switch version of Doom? It looks like an excellent port.
Dan

GC: Yes, but be aware it runs at only 30fps, which is not ideal for a game like Doom.

This week’s Hot Topic

The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Franky, who asks what’s your favourite single-player game?

With the long-term viability of big budget single-player games currently facing serious questions, we wanted to know what your favourite game is that’s solely, or at least primarily, single-player. It doesn’t matter what kind of game it is beyond that, but we want to know why you like it so much and how it compares to other similar titles.

Do you prefer single-player or multiplayer games, or do you have no preference? How would your enjoyment of gaming be impacted if single-player games became less common, and do you think that is a genuine concern?

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

The small print
New Inbox updates appear twice daily, every weekday morning and afternoon. Letters are used on merit and may be edited for length.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word 4Player viewer features at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

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