The morning Inbox considers the difference between UK and US Horizon Zero Dawn reviews, as one reader imagines an offline-only future.
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Great to see Horizon Zero Dawn getting great reviews almost across the board, although I see some of my concerns about it being all graphics and no gameplay have some basis in reality. It’s going to be very interesting to see how this compares to the new Zelda as both games seem to have a lot in common. But there are of course the tables will be turned and it’s decent graphics and (hopefully) amazing gameplay.
It really is a shame that we never get both at the same time though. Nintendo games always have great art design but they’re never working on top notch hardware so it’s never going to be them that does The Double. Maybe Guerrilla will improve with a sequel but I think they’re just too focused on graphics. On the other hand Bethesda just don’t seem to care and their Fallout and Elder Scrolls games seem doomed to always be one generation behind in terms of graphics.
Even something like The Witcher 3, which is an excellent game that looks amazing, still has some pretty obvious flaws in terms of gameplay, specifically combat. For an action role-player in particularly I don’t know that we’re any closer to seeing both sides of the equation equal out.
Across the pond
The thing that strikes me about the Horizon Zero Dawn reviews is that, yet again, the UK sites have marked lower than the Americans. Eurogamer didn’t give the game a recommend, and GC, The Guardian, and Videogamer gave the game an 8/10. Most other European sites seem to be in the 8/10 range too, with the high scores dominated by the big US sites.
We’ve seen this happen before with other games but my question is whether this is because Americans like the game more or because of a fundamental difference in how American reviewers do their job. It used to be that American sites would always mark much higher and generally not give a bad review to any big name game. I thought that had changed in recent years though and they were generally more reliable.
Ignoring any conspiracy about being paid off is maybe just the graphics being really good that makes the difference? Are Americans more drawn to state-of-the-art graphics and we Europeans are less impressed? It’s not something I’ve noticed to be honest, but there is definitely a pattern here when it comes to big games.
Two good reasons
After reading your review of Horizon Zero Dawn, I’ll certainly be getting it. I’d prefer to play it on the PS4 Pro, as you said it makes the graphics even prettier, but I can’t justify buying a new console just for that. I would, however, fork out a few quid to upgrade my PlayStation 4 to Pro standard, but you can’t do that. Why not?
I know the cynical answer, but is there a technical reason why Sony couldn’t release a hardware upgrade to the original console? Nintendo did it with the N64 expansion pack, and Sega did with the Mega CD and 32X!
GC: We’re not sure if there’s a technical reason but the success, or lack thereof, of the Mega CD and 32X is one reason. And your cynical answer covers the rest.
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Can’t go back
Been playing DiRT Rally on PlayStation VR over the weekend and it’s fantastic, I found it much easier on the eyes than Driveclub due to the graphics being sharper. I’m getting quicker times than when I played it in 2D, due to it being easier to judge corners and bumps. On a wheel it feels so natural and I’m going to struggle playing racing games the standard way now.
just wondered if Codemasters were adding a VR mode to DiRT 4 when it’s out? Hope so, because I don’t know if I will get it now if it has not got a VR mode.
I’ve also really been enjoying Steep, but it would be awesome if that was in VR. Especially when using the wingsuit, it’s nerve wrecking in normal mode but in VR it would be a real adrenaline rush!
GC: They’ve hinted at VR support for DiRT 4, but not confirmed it. It seems a no-brainer if DiRT Rally’s VR support proves popular.
Dare to dream
With all this talk about what Microsoft might or might not be showing at E3, I can’t help but get excited myself at the prospect. But then I remember the E3 rule of thumb, that you always end up being disappointed because there’s no way things can live up to six months of your imagination hyping up what’s going to be there.
And then I remember Sony’s Shenmue III/The Last Guardian/Final Fantasy VII show and you realise that sometimes dreams can come true! (They weren’t actually my dream games, but I get that they were other people’s). So does that mean I can imagine half a dozen brand new games and there be a chance that’s actually what happens? I hope so. This needs to be Microsoft’s E3.
Game of two halves
So now that most people have probably had a chance to beat Resident Evil 7, do you wish it was more or less serious than it is? I think they got the cheesiness just about right, but I’d definitely say the game was better in the first half than the second. Maybe they couldn’t have sustained that kind of setting and atmosphere for the whole game but I would’ve like to see them try, rather than go in the direction they did (trying not to give any spoilers here).
Just wondering what everyone else though though? Should it have been more serious? Should the sequel add in more traditional Resident Evil sci-fi stuff or keep the same sort of style? I’m kind of torn. There is some classic Resi stuff I’d like to see in first person (and VR) but the problem with any reboot like this is that you just end up slowly creeping back to what you were trying to get away from in the first place. Very interested to see how they handle the Resident Evil 2 remake given that.
Time for another
Crackdown is now 10 years old, as it was released in North America on February 20th 2007 and worldwide on February 23rd 2007.
It has been 10 years and I had the pleasure of playing this and Crackdown 2. Let’s hope we see something to celebrate this milestone, in the future like backwards compatibility with other Crackdown titles on Xbox 360 via the Xbox One, or a possible remaster of the previous two games.
gaz be rotten (gamertag)
GC: Or, you known, some news on the new sequel?
I’ve yet to delve join this generation of gaming – party because I’m skint and partly because all of the stories I hear of the capers that have hampered the majority of games that have come out the last few years. Most games apparently are released half-finished and require ridiculously huge updates that you need the Internet for (which I don’t have) before you even get to play the product you paid good money for.
This is incredibly off-putting to me as it sounds like a lot of hassle and doesn’t seem to be slowing down (referring to a recent letter about Hitman, which also requires an Internet connection to play to its fullest, eugh).
I really want to join this generation, as there are quite a few great single-player games being released (which I would have thought impossible in the age of online multiplayer) and with more to come in the future it seems it would be a great time to take the plunge and I was wondering how bad it ACTUALLY is. Do most games work after the updates? Do the majority of games require updates? Is it worth buying a PlayStation 4 without Internet connection? I’d ask around the net but find most gaming forums/comment sections full of *insert swear word* and GC and its loyal – and decent readers – are the only folk I trust.
Ahh, I just wish game companies would just start charging 70-80 quid per game. The cost of making games gone up but the price has pretty much remained the same. Yes, people will moan, but any game that has literally hundreds of hours worth of content (Skyrim, The Witcher 3, Fallout 4, etc.) more than deserves a higher price tag.
It would also allow companies to produce better quality products that actually work, as we all know money (or lack thereof) is the reason they ain’t working right in the first place.
GC: Most games will work, but almost all have updates – sometimes very important ones. We really wouldn’t advise getting any next gen console without an Internet connection at home.
Resident Evil 5 had a big ship in it!
GC: Oh yeah. This is quickly become a conspiracy.
Not that I’m hoping, but do we know if Tingle is going to be in Zelda: Breath Of The Wild yet? I dread to think what will happen with his voiceover.
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Sarge, who asks what game would you find it impossible to play without its original soundtrack?
For many people a video game’s music is an intrinsic part of the appeal, but what soundtrack do you love so much you wouldn’t dream of playing the game without it? Sometimes having the sound on is a problem, and sometimes people like to use custom soundtracks – or just turn the soundtrack down and their own music up. But what game would you never do that with?
Have you ever been upset with remasters or other versions that change or remove the original soundtrack? And do you own the soundtrack separately, either digitally or on CD or vinyl?
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