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Games Inbox: Is Helldivers 2 bad new for console games?

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Games Inbox: Is Helldivers 2 bad new for console games?

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Helldivers 2 is only going up (Picture: Arrowhead)

The Tuesday letters page is sceptical about Xbox’s claims for the next generation, as a reader realises he doesn’t like Sonic the Hedgehog.

To join in with the discussions yourself email gamecentral@metro.co.uk

Diving in
If Helldivers 2 is selling better than Spider-Man 2 then that’s it, we might as well wrap up the idea of single-player PlayStation 5 games on a massive budget. Spider-Man 2 cost over $300 million and I doubt Helldivers 2 was even a third of that. Everyone says it’s a great game, but I fear it’s one we’re going to wish never happened.

I don’t blame Sony or anyone else. You’d have to be a pretty lousy bean counter to not want to order more games like Helldivers and less like Spidey. And, of course, as there’ll be no nuance to any of this, they’ll just throw caution to the wind and make as many live service games as possible and next to no single-player games. I’d like to think it’d be both, but you know it won’t be.

Others will follow suit and I’m only surprised Xbox hasn’t already, as it’s always been more into multiplayer. But then it’s also always been behind the curve too, always arriving late to the party.

My only hope is that the new Astro Bot game proves that smaller, lower budget single-player games can work and Sony goes for that as well. It’s something that should’ve happened a long time ago, long before we got to the ridiculous excesses of Spider-Man 2.
Ashton Marley

Inside the bubble
I don’t know what’s worse, the fact that consoles seem to have outlived their usefulness or that their peak was the Wii. As a major Nintendo fan, I hated that console, which barely had a single worthwhile game on it. I’m only glad that smartphones came along and stole its market, or otherwise we’d be on Wii Music 3 by this point.

I imagine it’ll take a long time for consoles to die out entirely, but I can tell you I have zero interest in playing on a smartphone or a PC. I guess if streaming can go straight through the TV that’d be okay, but technology seems a long way away from that.

Even the success of the PlayStation 2 had a lot to do with people buying it just to have a DVD player. Like another reader said recently, the number of people that care about what we think of as traditional video games is a lot smaller than those of us inside the bubble think.
Trepsils

AI generation
If Xbox is going to keep repeating this brag about their next console being the biggest leap ever I sure hope they know what they’re doing, because if the reveal ends up with them going on about resolution and frame rate only then they’re doomed before they start. Ordinary people just don’t care about that stuff. Also, it is very obviously not as big as the leap from 2D to 3D.

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It’s the obvious use for AI, unless they mean using the cloud to have generative non-player characters and the like, but I don’t know if we’re there yet. Plus, that’s going to require a super-fast and reliable internet connection, or you won’t be able to play anything.

Humbleness is not the first word that springs to mind when discussing Microsoft and if they botch this next gen as well, I just can’t see the money men letting Phil Spencer, or anyone else, have another go. To be honest, I’m surprised they’re being allowed to kickstart the next gen as early as 2026. Given the pandemic it seems like the Xbox Series X/S only just came out, especially in terms of exclusive (for now) games.
Hobbs

Email your comments to: gamecentral@metro.co.uk

Nostalgia only
I’ve been gaming since getting a NES and Super Mario Bros. in 1992, and since mid-1994 have played lots of Sonic The Hedgehog games, spanning the Mega Drive, Master System 2, Game Boy Advance, GameCube, DS, and Switch but the only one I actually like is the first one on Mega Drive.

Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles were OK but, to me, they don’t come close to the first one (I prefer Knuckles as a character over Sonic).

I love everything about the first game; the levels but especially the music.

Maybe I love it because it takes me back to when I first played this game in mid-1994, when I was in what UK gamers will know as Year 7 in school.

I’ve played Sonic Mania (Switch) but soon sold it on eBay and it looks like Sonic Superstars (also Switch) is going to go the same way. I just can’t get into them.

It’s most likely that I prefer the slower-paced gaming of Super Mario and Alex Kidd.
LeighDappa

One wish
I agree it was an excellent batch of Reader’s Features at the weekend but the one that caught my eye was about the 18th anniversary of microtransactions. Hard to imagine there was ever a time without them and I have to admit I forgot it was Bethesda that started it all, so… thanks for that.

Clearly someone else would’ve come up with the same idea though so there’s no real point wishing the genie would go back in the bottle.

What I do wish is if I could understand why people spend so much money on pointless cosmetic extras. The prices of some of these skins on Call Of Duty and Fortnite are mind-boggling. And before you say it doesn’t matter if you don’t but them it does. As the feature pointed out they’ve been influencing game design for nearly two decades now.
Dolen

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Big Mac fan
I found out Pepper Grinder has a demo on MacBook (I’m using an M2 Air) so I jumped at the chance to download it. I did find it initially difficult to control, especially when avoiding the vines on stage two. Fortunately, I found some accessibility settings in the menu. I was able to reduce the game speed by 25% and that enabled me to go on to complete the demo (and purchase the game outright).

If only more games had an accessibility setting like this then my aging reflexes would be able to play them hopefully to completion. It’s a brilliant game and for me another example of great gaming without bloat or huge production costs. I hope it sells well.

I also have Balatro on my M2 Mac and I would really appreciate some recommendations of good indie games for an M2 MacBook. I appreciate it will be slim pickings (I do have my Xbox Series X for big budget games). I’m just after inventive indie games, especially the ones that seem to avoid a console release.

Many thanks in advance.
Chaosphere

GC: We believe Ultros is also on Mac, which is a pretty neat indie Metroidvania.

Previous releases
RE: freeway77. I’ve had a similar discussion multiple times on this website, when people say they don’t have anything to play on their console of choice.

I’ve lost count of the number of times someone has complained about there being nothing in the release schedule that interests them, and it seems anything that’s more than a few months old has just been erased from history!
drlowdon

The last bastion
I could not agree more with Matthew about live service games.

Given how much money they are reported to earn, it sort of seems like being plugged into some sort of money-making version of The Matrix.

From watching kids play Overwatch, Minecraft, Roblox, etc. the people playing them can be about as responsive as they feel like they are in a bubble.

On top of all the usually highlighted things, from a gamer perspective, the games themselves have no real progression, other than earning stats/XP. Which is ultimately pointless when the game servers are (eventually) shut down.

Game preservation has been talked about a bit (I have a 40 year history of gaming, so that is a big thing for me). Live Service games are built to be obsolete, until you get moved onto the next one, or a new ‘season’ comes out and the old season disappears.

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The same games likely won’t be around, playable, the same, or even emulate-able in 20/30/40 years.

They really are the blight of the video game world for many reasons. But, they clearly have massive mass-market adoption and demonstrably earn money for whatever period of time they are out.

Regrettably, the sort of things big companies look for.

For me, it is becoming more and more clear that Nintendo are the only ones still making any standalone, non-live service, new experience type games.

And other than Splatoon (RIP Splatoon 1), they are standalone games that can be ‘preserved’ and played forever.
Si

GC: Animal Crossing: New Horizons was also a live service game, until they gave up support for no reason.

Inbox also-rans
When the uncrowned Game Of The Year 2024 arrives on your doorstep. Just in time for Eid.
Shahzaib Sadiq

GOTY… so far (Picture: Shahzaib Sadiq)

Found this yesterday on the Xbox store, imagine accidentally buying it.
TWO MACKS

GC: It’s down to £29.24 now, whatever it is.

We have so many questions (Picture: TWO MACKS)

Email your comments to: gamecentral@metro.co.uk

The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length and content.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time via email or our Submit Stuff page, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

You can also leave your comments below and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter.


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