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Games Inbox: Is Horizon Forbidden West worth playing?

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Games Inbox: Is Horizon Forbidden West worth playing?

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Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition – it sure is pretty (Picture: Sony)

The Friday letters page signs the praises of Stardew Valley and its new update, as one reader discovers Will Smith’s Undawn.

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

Pretty good recommendation
I see Horizon Forbidden West is out on PC this week, which led me to wonder how the game and the series is viewed now? When it first came out on PlayStation 5 there was a lot of talk about there being too many Horizon games, what with the VR game and rumours about live service titles, but that doesn’t really seem a problem now, as no one bought the PlayStation VR2 and we’ve never had anything official on the live service game.

My personal view is that both the main games are good and that Forbidden West is an improvement, but that the whole series could go further. The graphics are obviously fantastic, that’s its biggest appeal, and all the robot animals are great. But the story and characters are pretty meh and I don’t care about any of it. The explanation for what’s going on is pretty cool but the actual plots not so much.

I feel like this could be Sony’s Zelda series if they managed to beef it up a bit. The combat’s fine but it’s kind of shallow. What they need is some proper puzzle-solving and exploration that isn’t just finding one of the four different side quest types. The platforming requires zero skill too, which makes its kind of pointless.

If I sound negative, I do say that I like the game but looking back at it, it feels like it’s pulling its punches, too afraid to upset causal gamers. Maybe that’s the curse all big budget games are going to face from now on, but I feel that with just a little tweaking Horizon could be something truly special. If any PC owners are reading this and wondering if it’s worth playing, I’d say yes. Just expect something pretty but shallow.
Colt

Option two
So I just found out about a Will Smith fronted game called Undawn (how bad is that name?) that has now failed despite apparently having millions pumped into it. Now, far be it from me to put down anything but this game clearly did not exist and is some kind of extravagant set up for an April Fool’s joke. I mean it’s that or the entire games industry is about to collapse from gross negligence. Couldn’t possibly be the second one, could it?

For anyone who’s interested in reading about this fake game I’ve included a link to a related article.
Chris in Belfast

Justified win
I would absolutely agree that Capcom has been the best publisher of the last year and, really, for most of their existence. Them and Nintendo (who are basically second in the list) are the only two companies where I’ll be automatically interested in any game they make.

Resident Evil 4 and Street Fighter 6 were both 10/10s for me last year and I also appreciated the Mega Man Battle Network remaster compilation. I was never a big fan of the first Dragon’s Dogma, and it doesn’t look like much has changed, but I’m willing to give it a go based purely on their pedigree. I don’t know if they’ve got much else out this year, but here’s hoping they come number one again soon.
Korbie

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

A product of its time
I read GC’s preview of Princess Peach: Showtime! which contained a commentary on Super Princess Peach. This is a criticism I have seen leveraged against this game before, and perhaps at the time it was released. The criticism is that Princess Peach uses her emotions to progress in the game because she is a woman. She is denied any ‘real’ or impressive powers, and it is a bias from the developers.

I have two main points on this. Firstly, the story is somewhat different to what the prevailing criticism implies. The intro shows Bowser attempting to gain control of this emotion wand, subsequently he becomes overwhelmed with emotion, along with Toads, Mario, etc. Peach appears as the only one who can control her emotions and save Mario.

This brings me to my second point; Nintendo often shows everyday observations by its developers. Not massive social commentaries or biases but just normal everyday people living their lives.

Boo is apparently based on a developer’s wife being shy in public but angry at him for working late when no one else is there! Chain Chomp’s influence was a dog that used to scare the creator of Mario, Pikmin was inspired by gardening.

My second point, then, is that at most the game hits upon an observation that perhaps some women are potentially more emotionally mature. That is a complete guess though.

I can’t talk about the end of the game though as ultimately it was just a bit boring. Something that I found disappointing as I wanted something new and different.

My feeling is the new Peach game will fall into the same bucket.
SB

GC: Super Princess Peach was much criticised for its portrayal of Peach in 2005, let alone now. It probably is a better game than Showtime! though, even if it’s still not great.

Computing pioneer
I worked in a computer shop in North London from 1979-92 (and IT support after that) and used to go to all the product launches, exhibitions computer shows and fairs, like this one (I wish I had brought a camera).

I have been collecting old computers and computer games from the mid-1980s to the present.

I was on the BBC TV show The Net about collecting old computers and software in 1994. (After the Doron Swade interview, about 13 minutes and 45 seconds.)

The first early computer I had was a Digital Equipment Corporation DEC PDP-8e minicomputer from 1971/2 but I had to get rid of it when I downsized.

Nowadays I have mostly microcomputers from the late 1970s to the 1980s, as they are small, easier to repair and take up less space. I like playing computer chess, adventure, and arcade games on them.

Sometimes I rebuild ‘work a-like’ machines with modern components. I prefer playing on original hardware, but it’s not easy as they are fragile and were never expected to last 40+ years. They need lots of TLC as the plastics get brittle and the components get damaged by heat and regular use.

I am also a licenced radio amateur as well and often try and combine the hobbies.

In the early 2000s I made a career change and switched to photography and did press and celebrity photography. I have been lucky enough to have had a few careers.
Stephen

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The awful truth
Enjoyed the letter about giving the consoles away because you make money on the actual games. If Sony has lost, say, £100 on every PlayStation 5 sold and it’s sold 50 million units… well that’s much better on the bottom line than losing an additional £400 on each of those 50 million units. Not even Microsoft would sign off on that billions sized loss in the hope of signing up a few extra million Game Pass subscribers.

I’d imagine the cost of making the machines to give away would vastly outweigh the increasing market share, the balance of what loss can be made up on software has probably set the market rate we see now. I am surprised that a pay monthly model like how we buy smartphones hasn’t worked for consoles though.

The reader does raise an interesting point, about how on earth the game industry increases the overall size of the market. Something that desperately needs to be done, as the cost of making games ever escalates. Given how much more influential gaming is compared to 20 years ago it is strange that the home console market hasn’t really expanded. Is modern gaming’s prevalence in pop culture now all driven by the likes of Roblox and mobile?

With hindsight, you can see that Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo spotted the problem that escalating budgets would hit the ceiling of the current market size. Their solutions, from Kinect to GamePass, Wii motion controls, and Sony style blockbuster gaming haven’t worked to sustainably expand the player base. So how does the market expand?

Maybe there is an uncomfortable truth that us gamers need to face… that the gaming that we all enjoy doesn’t truly have mass appeal? Factors inherent to gaming, like the amount of time, art design and aesthetic, complex controls, learning gameplay systems, and high levels of violence, etc. mean the market can’t be expanded to cover increasing costs without a major rethink over what games actually are.

Or maybe AI will save it. Turning out games like Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth or Spider-Man 2 at vastly reduced costs, meaning the console market can roll on as before as if nothing has happened… it’s just cost it its soul.
Marc

Re-review showdown
How would GC feel about me reviewing a game you already reviewed a while ago? Doing it as a Reader’s Feature? It’s you that swayed my attention to the game in the reboot of the game in the first place.

It’s been a few years since its release but yet it’s just captured my attention. It’s packed with DLC and since your review it’s gone from pure quality to absolute quality.

I don’t think these Metacritc scores are always fair. They are almost certainly a review based on the initial release of a game.

All I will say is…

The way of the samurai is to know death.
The way of Shura is to know victory.
I am the ultimate fighter, and all those who stand in my way shall…

FALL!
Nick The Greek

GC: We’re always happy to run readers’ reviews.

Valley paradise
I am so loving the 1.6 update of Stardew Valley – the game that always seems to give. Such a generous developer who’s respectful to all the fans of the game. An absolute genius who cares for the game and the Stardew community as a whole.

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So far, I have found a bunch of special items, along with installing the new furniture and testing the new farming type called Meadowland. There is a new quest and some new neighbours and a bunch of new pet updates. Though with this patch, it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

The amazing thing about this game is that I bought Harvest Moon for the GameCube a long while back and enjoyed it at the time, but it was just a waiting room game compared to Stardew Valley.

The festivals are occasions to get excited about and more festivals and seasonal events have been added to this new update and that’s what makes this game so charming to play and work in, as the farming year has new events for you to prepare for.

The music is top tier and the fact that a single developer made this game, including the soundtrack and effects, is mind blowing and still new features are being added.

It’s a definite time stealer and in a very positive mindset way, which is utter genius. With 30 million copies sold, this deserves the awards that a gaming jewel of this nature should be entitled too. Long may Stardew Valley continue.
Alucard

Inbox also-rans
I saw a bit of Dragon’s Dogma 2 gameplay and, honestly, it looks like a hi-res mod for the first game. Same enemies, same moves, same environments.
Bobwallett

I don’t understand why Nintendo thinks Princess Peach fans are only very young but Mario fans can be any age. Why didn’t they just make Ninja Peach the whole game, that would’ve been a better idea, it seems to me.
DocMan

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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