The Friday letters page celebrates the life and works of the late Archer Maclean, as one reader wonders why Oxenfree 2 isn’t on Xbox.
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Sooner or later
Interesting breakdown of 2022 sales in the UK. I guess I would’ve expected things to be down given the cost of living crisis but to see console sales down by a third… that is a lot more than I would’ve thought. I don’t even get the stock explanation. I know it was bad for most of last year but surely it was better than 2021 and pretty much no problem by Christmas? Seems to me that people are just tightening their belts and the lack of news games is not tempting them to do otherwise.
The real issue though is for Nintendo, since the falling sales of the Switch are not primarily down to stock. It’s not surprising it’s peaked, given how old it is now, but I think in an ideal world its successor would’ve been announced by now and yet the rumours suggest there’s no chance of it coming out this year.
I would be very surprised though if it wasn’t announced this year, probably at E3 in June. I increasingly hold with the theory that Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom is the last big Switch game and that everything else will be for its successor or at least cross-gen.
Obviously, predicting Nintendo is madness but if they don’t announce it this year then I think they are going to be missing a beat. I guess they could announce it next year and release it a few months later but while that may work with some games, I don’t think it’s a good idea for a whole console. We’ll have to wait and see, but I feel this year is going to be filled with some very important reveals.
According to plan
A friend of mine is convinced the PlayStation VR2 is going to be a massive flop and on the face of it it’s hard to argue with him. It’s hideously expensive at a time when most people are not looking to spend large amounts of money on unnecessary luxuries.
On the other hand though, wasn’t it the same situation with the original headset? It didn’t have the bad timing problem but it was super expensive and not exactly essential. And yet apparently it did well enough for Sony to support it for a long time and I can only assume it did well enough that the idea of doing a more expensive follow-up didn’t immediately get shouted down.
I don’t know how much Sony can afford to sell it at a loss, or if they even need to, but I’m prepared to believe they know what they’re doing with this one.
So I took the plunge and bought Elden Ring, as CDKeys recently had it for £29.99.
I can appreciate the craftsmanship and all that, but I very quickly came to realise that I’m just not interested in devoting so much of my precious time to master something where the learning curve is the Y-axis.
Good for people who love that sort of thing but I’m putting it on the backburner for now to focus on more… enjoyable gaming experiences.
It was a digital purchase, so no selling it on for me, which means maybe I’ll jump back into it in a few months, give it another go.
FoximusPrime81 (gamertag/NN ID/Twitter)
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Having finally laid the Valkyrie Queen Gna to rest in God Of War, and received the platinum trophy, I decided to stay in a masochistic mood and began playing Nioh 2. I’ve a long backlog of titles yet to be played and having not had the time to play the first I jumped right in. Although I was initially perplexed with the Burst Counter mechanic, eventually it all clicked and now I’m in love with it.
The combat is probably better than most of FromSoftware’s work (Bloodborne excluded) and there’s a dizzying array of alternative move sets when both switching between stances and weapons. Most feel excellent to use and the Yokai Shift is a welcome addition. The bosses are great to experiment on too. It does occasionally pay too much homage to FromSoft’s work (Mezuko’s intro coming straight from Father Gascoigne’s) but it is far, far better than other clones.
As someone who wasn’t a fan of FromSoft going open world, due to the sheer weariness of that genre, Nioh 2 reminds me why I love intricate looping levels. They’re not as good as Bloodborne (what is?) and it’s wonderfully crafted layouts but they’re still great. I have to confess though. I’m using the photo mode as a way of spotting where the hidden enemies are situated. One never can loathe enough the surprise attack that robs you of your accumulated hard work.
It seems to have been rather overlooked on release, but it certainly deserves a lot of praise.
GC: It’s great and we agree with your assessment. You might keep an eye out for Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty in March, which is by the same team and seems similar in many respects.
A bad sign
I was going to write in and recommend everyone that Marvel’s Midnight Suns is currently 33% off on all formats, and then I realise what it must mean: the game’s been a massive flop. It only came out a couple of months ago and yet it’s already got massive discounts across every version… that is not a good sign at all.
It’s a fantastic game and I strongly recommend it to anyone, whether you’re a strategy fan or not, but what its failure means is final proof that a Marvel game is not a guaranteed sell. In fact, it seems to be box office poison. Avengers, Guardians Of The Galaxy, and now this… the only thing that’s not failed is Spider-Man.
If I were EA I’d be wondering whether that Iron Man licence was really worth the money because I’m not sure it’s going to sell no matter how good their Robert Downey Jr. impersonator is.
Call of the ditch
I have put plenty of hours into Vampire Survivors recently after your highly rated review. I was never put off by the graphics as I used to love Gauntlet as a kid and it’s very reminiscent of that, aesthetically. It was very, very addictive and lots of fun and I’ll definitely come back to it without fully completing it all. The price for it means anyone can play and afford it, as well as it being available on Game Pass.
One that had gotten away from me was Rogue Legacy 2. Until I read your top 20 games of the year, I hadn’t heard of it. I must have missed the review when you did it. What a game that is! I’m having lots of fun with it. The character classes and random runs absolutely make the game. Love the Gunslinger in particular and all the burdens you receive to increase gold as you re-enter the castle for another playthrough.
It makes me wonder how many triple-A titles played less well than these indie games? I for one have left Call Of Duty in the ditch, to play the indie games you have recommended.
For me it will always be gameplay first above all else and those indie gems have that in abundance.
Nick The Greek
GC: We didn’t review either game when they originally came out, we had to catch up on them later.
Is there any reason why Oxenfree 2: Lost Signals is coming to every format except any Xbox console? Your review of the first game got me so intrigued that I purchased the game on release day at full price, especially as I like to support these types of games.
I’m glad I did as I can thankfully say that I enjoyed every minute of the game and I was looking forward to the sequel when I heard about it. I have to say it does feel like a little bit of a kick in the teeth.
GC: The exclusivity deals for indie games are often mystifying. Perhaps the developer recently being bought by Netflix had something to do with it.
Rest in Peace
Firstly, happy new year to all of GC, the readers, and contributors.
I was sad to read the news, just before Christmas, about the passing of Archer Maclean. As a Commodore 64 owner I am fully aware the impact his games had at the time. Dropzone was a brilliant Defender derivative and International Karate carried on where Way Of The Exploding Fist left off and improved on it in many ways. I also remember purchasing Archer Maclean Presents Pool Paradise on the GameCube, as you could play Dropzone as a bonus game. I am really feeling the need to dig that out of the loft now and to have a bash on it for old times’ sake.
RIP Archer Maclean and thank you for the memories.
Speaking of memories, a few people in the Underbox asked for an update on my recent Reader’s Feature, My Most Memorable Christmas Video Game Gifts 1980 – 2022, wanting to know what I had received in 2022. The answer to that is a Sega Mega Drive Mini 2.
I’ve only managed to spend about one to two hours on it since Christmas, but first impressions are very good. I’ve dipped into Sonic CD, Final Fight CD, and Viewpoint, which is a game I’ve wanted to play for a long time after seeing some screenshots in a gaming magazine many years ago. So I still have plenty of other games to work through.
I had also been hoping for a copy of the Wonder Boy Anniversary Collection, from Strictly Limited Games, which included the Sega Master System versions. Unfortunately, this doesn’t get released until later this year.
Wishing everyone a very happy 2023.
Mulled Wine Tinted Glasses
Happy new year everyone! I’m feeling optimistic about 2023. 2022 was better than I expected (for games) and I’m hoping the pandemic is going to be even less of an issue now.
Just noticed that the Suicide Squad game comes out two weeks after Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom. Is it going to be the latest Western game to be Horizon-ed by a big name Japanese open world game?
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