Starglider 2 – surely it won’t get a comeback?

The morning Inbox continues the debate on video game review scores, as one reader compares video game and movie fanboys.

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Phoenix from the flame

Just crazy how many old games we’ve seen coming back this year, just in the last month or so really. I don’t care about Kingdoms Of Amalur myself, but I can only imagine how happy – and surprised! – its fans are right now. I also appreciated GC banging the drum for more Dino Crisis and Power Stone with Capcom, and I think there’s a good chance we might actually get the first one.

I know we only just had a Hot Topic on your most wanted phoenix from the flame but for me I would love to see the return of British classics Starglider and Mercenary. God knows who owns the rights nowadays but they’re the games I remember most fondly from my childhood and they’re a kind of game that barely exists nowadays.

I remember the guy that made No Man’s Sky talking about them as an inspiration and I guess they are similar. But in my mind at least (haven’t played them in years) there was much more substance to the old games and proper gameplay. I’d love to see someone come in and make a big budget game that allowed you to explore a whole solar system but actually had a good mix of shooting, puzzling, and talking.

It’s the sort of thing Mass Effect was always dancing round the edge of but never really went in depth enough to do. Of course I’ll settle for a spiritual sequel as well, but I’d love to see those names come back.


Comfort food

I for one was heart-warmed by the saving of Kingdoms Of Amalur: Reckoning. Yeah, it was generic and straightforward, but for me it was like a massive dose of open world comfort food. So easy to digest, and you could almost play in a zen-like mode (not quite autopilot, but to be honest not far behind) where there was just enough to not get bored but not so much to be overwhelmed.

It was like a bite-sized single-player World Of Warcraft and I’d gladly consider playing a follow up. The FIFA/Call Of Duty of fantasy action role-playing games, if you will?


Putting a price on it

I have no idea what THQ Nordic are doing (or who they even are) but I’m glad they’re doing it. Darksiders and Kingdoms Of Amalur: Reckoning are two of my most favourite forgotten games and I will absolutely be buying the new remasters/sequels.

It makes me wonder though just how much some of these franchises and names are worth. I mean, I’ve never met anyone that had any fondness for THQ as a company so why bother buying the name and using it for your company? I can only assume because it was really cheap. But how cheap? A few thousand? A few tens of thousands? I’d love to know.

And what about some of these franchises? Was there a bidding work for de Blob and Sphinx And The Cursed Mummy? I’m going to bet there wasn’t, so how much were they? I’m almost tempted to try and find something really obscure, buy it, and then sell it to THQ Nordic. Anyone any idea how much Soul Bubbles would cost?


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Need to know

One of the games I’m most looking forward to this year is Life Is Strange 2, so I’m wondering if you’ll be doing anything on that from Gamescom? I’m upset that it won’t be about Max and Chloe but I’m still definitely going to give it a try because I really like what Dontnod do and not making a direct sequel is pretty brave.

The thing is I want to know as much about it as possible but on the other hand I don’t want any spoilers, which is pretty impossible with a game that’s all about the story. Anyone else have this problem about other games? It’s why I’m actually okay with the idea of announcing games only a few months before they come out. I basically can’t stop myself from looking at spoilers and it’s only the fact that it’s out quite soon that’s likely to save me from ruining Life Is Strange 2 for myself.

I kind of wish they weren’t going to reveal all the characters in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate before it’s out though, as I’d love all that to come as a surprise. I doubt that’ll stop me from watching the Direct when it gets rescheduled though.

GC: We did see it, but it was just a hands-off demo so we didn’t think it was worth writing up; especially as it would have been full of spoilers. One scene in particular was extremely well done and makes us optimistic it’s going to be a worthy sequel.


It’s not you, it’s me

Well, I’ve come to realise video games are just not for me anymore. Unfortunately, after trying to get back into gaming having bought The Last Of Us and hopefully thinking it would be like the good old days back when I played and completed the original Resident Evil, well it wasn’t!

No matter how advanced the graphics are in UHD, etc. I’ve come to accept that I’ve just lost complete interest in gaming all together as I haven’t been back to it since Monday when I received it. Obviously it’s not the game. It’s me!

I want to have the interest to get back into gaming again after all this time. And before anyone says anything like have I picked the right game, I think I did. So I’ll just continue reading these pages on a daily basis like I always do and write in as well when I can.


Shocking overaction

Well, if I inferred that Jade Empire was trash that was not my intent. Just that, after leading the genre with the likes of Neverwinter Nights and then Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic the anticipation for Jade Empire could not be higher.

But what we got was quite the disappointment. They had all of ancient, mythic China and they gave us about a playpen’s worth. The combat was dull and repetitive, the characters among BioWare’s weakest, and the adventure was just simply ‘okay’ when it should have been incredible.

It shocked me, anyway.
PS: In Shenmue I, when I played Space Harrier I noticed that the titular hero sticks to the centre of the screen and you have to force him stay in any other position. I don’t remember that ever being the case before. If I put him on the ground or the far sides he’d stay there until I said so. Am I doing something wrong or is it the game?

GC: You listed a mild disappointment (that’s generally liked by most fans) amongst the most shocking moments in gaming history, including the console crash of 1983 and Sega leaving the hardware business.


Reviewing the reasons

RE: Cranston asking why sites don’t have review scores. There are two good reasons I can think of:

1. Dealing with the ridiculously obsessive fanboys can get tiring, so it’s cutting them off before someone has to ban them, or sort through their abuse.
2. Many publishers refuse to pay their staff bonuses if a game doesn’t achieve a particular score on Metacritic, which I personally find utterly unconscionable (much like many practices in the industry) and by not giving a score, you are not contributing to said practice.
Joseph Dowland

GC: Number two generally doesn’t happen anymore.


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Rotten system

I am also against the idea of getting rid of review scores. The example of movie reviews is a good one. Scores have been used for them for decades and there’s never been any problem. But then nor, as far as I know have their been stupid fanboy wars over whether they ‘prove’ one film is better than another.

Although I suppose the equivalent is people completely misunderstanding how Rotten Tomatoes works. I’ve spoken to so many people that thing the main percentage is a score I wonder how the site ever became popular. It’s the percentage of reviewers that gave it a positive score, it’s not an indication of the score itself!

Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is that all fandoms are obsessive in their own way and it all boils down to resenting when something you like isn’t celebrated by other people and getting upset when something you don’t like is praised. It’s human nature I guess, but it’s so basic you’d think we would’ve learned to rise above it by now.


Inbox also-rans

Nice Ace Combat 7 interview, GC. I would love it if they tried to do a space combat simulator next, that would be amazing. And we heard it here first!

Shame about the Nintendo Direct delay but totally understand the reasons. Nintendo are always very sensitive to those sort of things. Hopefully it’ll just be next week now.


This week’s Hot Topic

The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Agro, who asks what would be your dream comic book video game?

Spider-Man is out on PlayStation 4 this week but comic book tie-ins are surprisingly rare nowadays, despite their popularity at cinemas and their general suitability for games. So if budgets and licenses weren’t an issue what game would you make based on what hero and storyline?

It doesn’t necessarily have to be superhero-related, as long as the property is primarily known as a comic book, but what sort of game do you imagine it would be and how would the gameplay work in terms of powers and abilities?

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