The Monday letters page asks how important a game’s soundtrack is to a review, as one reader is upset at the lack of PSVR2 backwards compatibility.
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In at the deep end
So, here’s a question: I’m curious to see how God Of Ragnarök has turned out but I haven’t played the last one, or indeed any of them. It looks like my sort of thing though and if it’s roughly in the Sony formula I can’t see how I can go wrong.
Except this is part two of a story so I’m worried that I won’t understand what’s going on. I do actually know a bit of Nordic mythology – I expect everyone does nowadays – so I imagine I can keep up as long as they don’t veer too far away from the source material.
This is the problem nowadays though, spending £70 on a game that might not actually be a good idea is not exactly an impulse purchase. I’ve had a bit of a windfall recently though, so I thought I’d treat myself.
GC: You should be all right, actually. All you need to know is that Kratos used to be an evil god but at the start of the new game he’s a stay-at-home dad. There’s a brief recap video in the game but we’re sure the internet can help you catch up if you have any specific questions (except for the one about where all the ordinary mortals are, we still don’t understand that one).
Music to our ears
I was just wondering your thoughts on video game music when it comes to your reviews. I have noticed that many games I tend to really like have good soundtracks, such as God of War 2018. I read your review for God Of War Ragnarök and noticed you did not mention the soundtrack. Not sure if you did for Bayonetta 3 or Elden Ring.
Although it may not seem so, I do feel like music can enhance a game. I think the music in Sonic The Hedgehog, Super Mario, and Metal Gear Solid is very memorable and can last with the player. Music can create an atmosphere of joy, thrill or horror. So does music matter when it comes to reviewing a game? Do you consider it favorable to a game if the soundtrack is good?
I wonder if the music in a game can influence how you score a review.
GC: It’s unlikely to affect the final verdict or score, but we do make a note of the music if it stands out to us. We can’t say it particularly did with Ragnarök, but the soundtrack is definitely mentioned in today’s Sonic Frontiers review, when it goes up, as it’s very… distinctive.
Two bad habits
Currently playing Dark Souls inspired Metroidvania Ghost Song. It has most of the tropes associated with those games and I’ve run into two I wish would disappear from them. They are increasingly diminished health on death and the boss runs back.
In regard to Ghost Song, the running backs mercifully haven’t been difficult, unlike say Capri Demon in Dark Souls. The health degradation once again is mercifully mild, with killing a few low level enemies and visiting a sparse repair point being all that is required to restore full health. So you just have the tedium of these mechanics with Ghost Song but when you add in the difficulty they become like a PlayStation blog site: grotty.
With Ghost Song I find it a shame this is marring an otherwise compelling, well-made game. The mechanics, although familiar, are well implemented. The fights are fun once you get there. The melancholic, mysterious sci-fi mood is totally my cup of tea and I’ve really enjoyed the non-player character interactions.
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Medium to hot
I like reading the Reader’s Features, sometimes good info, sometimes negative, but hey, that’s opinions and free speech.
In reply to reader Pressure, I don’t think Sony has gone insane. He mentions that the PlayStation VR2 wasn’t asked for and is a niche product; I agree it’s a niche product but some of us gamers have asked for it, myself included. I agree it’s expensive but in comparison to the other headsets it’s reasonable even for a wired headset, but to enjoy immersion in games this way at home is another art form of gaming excellence and enjoyment.
I’ll personally be using this with my Woojer vest for full immersion. Yes, it is expensive, but that’s the niche market Sony is aiming for. And about the games, the launch line-up is medium to hot for PlayStation VR2. I agree a few more would be better but, again, the niche market will go for this.
We still have an amazing year ahead of us, with many upcoming AA and AAA games on the horizon. Survival horror is coming back, with massive games like Silent Hill, Alan Wake, and Resident Evil. We have Forspoken at the beginning of next year, which is also looking awesome after its delays. Just my opinion.
One little thing
After reading and enjoying the reader’s article at the weekend about Gotham Knights, it occurred to me that Warner Bros. Games have had some other releases that have had a similarly poor reputation.
Although Middle-Earth: Shadow Of War was mired in loot box controversy they are now completely gone and I am currently playing through it for the first time and having a lot of fun. I also played Max Max earlier in the year, which I also had a great time with and regard as similarly underrated.
Toxicity hits the financial return on these games for the publisher, but it must also be hard on the developers when they have put so much work into creating their games, only to see a total focus on a perceived negative to the exclusion of everything else about their work that may be positive.
ameisa (PSN ID)
Apologies if I’ve missed a previous answer to this but I don’t see why the PlayStation VR2 isn’t going to be backwards compatible. I am very technically inept so I’m sure there is a good and obvious reason, but I thought the new headset would be connected to a PlayStation 5 to play the games. And the PlayStation 5 plays PlayStation 4 games. And all of the first gen PlayStation VR games are on the PlayStation 4?
I’m only querying it because I have a number of old VR games in my library, many of them are very good, and it seems a shame to lose them all. Ah well c’est la vie or hasta la vista or one of those phrases I guess. Easy come, easy go too.
GC: Supposedly, it’s not the software, it’s the differences in headset hardware. A number of the launch games are existing titles though and they do offer free upgrades.
I recently started the definitive edition of Dragon Quest 11 after it dropped on PS Plus Extra. I played the original when it came out on PlayStation 4 and it was one of my favorite games of the generation. I remember it started slowly though, both in complexity of the battle system and story wise, but post credits it became a joy to play. Up until then, I’d been ranking it below Octopath Traveler for game of the year, but after completing it, those rankings reversed.
This time I’ve enjoyed it more from the start, I think just knowing it gets better and better has helped. It feels like a warm, familiar blanket and I know it will keep me warm for a few weeks.
The quality of life improvements are welcome – particularly the ‘craft anywhere’ option. The Tickington quests are nostalgic, although I admit I don’t particularly like the graphical style, which is so jarring with the main game lushness.
It’s rare I replay a game from the beginning, but this one was definitely worth it.
I looked to see if there was any news of Dragon Quest 12, and all I’ve found is a vague mention of wanting to appeal to a wider audience. I really hope this doesn’t mean the end of turn-based combat, but I recognize not everyone enjoys them. Do you know anything more about the next game? A remake of Dragon Quest 9 would also be welcome for me, considering it was only ever released on handheld.
GC: It was announced last year with the subtitle The Flames Of Fate and will apparently have a darker tone and ‘overhaul’ the turn-based combat. That implies they’re not getting rid of it entirely, but you never know how accurately that sort of thing is translated.
I saw some guys asking where to buy a PlayStation 5 from? You can purchase directly from Sony.
The console has been in stock for several months. It’s probably a safe way to guarantee PlayStation VR 2, for those few people who are interested.
GC: The PlayStation 5 is also currently available at GAME, but only as part of a bundle.
Just wanted to say your reviews are the best in the business. I’ve always liked your house style, where you put the game’s place into a broader context in the first paragraph; it’s very educational. I also like your summaries at the end and that you have kept scores all these years.
Your review of God Of War Ragnarök was especially refreshing. I can imagine the flaws you described, having played through the 2018 one, enjoyed it, vaguely followed the plot, and became bewildered by its skill tree.
Likewise, the meandering pace you describe in the new one makes me see that it likely suffers from a trap lots of games of its first do: a contradiction between allowing the player to explore at a slower pace and at the same time trying to persuade us that what needs to be done next is clear and urgent. After a while you forget what the characters are trying to achieve and just follow the waypoints to the next set piece. Or at least I do.
The fact that so many publications have given it a 10 out of 10 makes me more grateful for your lack of hyperbole. So, I think I’ll just pick it up on sale one day, if ever.
I’ve been reading since the Teletext days and love the daily magazine, GC, which I’m sure you put together with a pretty small team and modest budget, so keep up the good work and never change.
Owen (NongWen – PSN ID)
GC: Thank you very much.
After reading your article on vintage consoles still in use, I still have my Dreamcast, PlayStation 2, and GameCube all still hooked up to my TV.
To be the pedantic one: the oldest piece of hardware I use in 2022 is my Intel CPU, It’s sixth generation, sure, but it’s compatible all the way back to the 8086 from 1978. So that’s the oldest thing I use for gaming.
GC: Backwards compatibility doesn’t really count.
This week’s Hot Topic
With Sonic Frontiers out this week the subject for this weekend’s Inbox asks what’s your favorite platform game?
Platformers are one of the oldest genres in gaming, but which do you like best and why? Do you have a favorite 2D and 3D game and which style do you generally prefer? How much difference does the main character make and which is your favorite?
What do you think of the general state of platformers at the moment and what new ones are you looking forward to? What direction could developers take them in the future and what do you hope new technology will allow?
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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.
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MORE : Weekend Hot Topic: What’s the oldest video game hardware you still use?
MORE : Games Inbox: God Of War Ragnarök game of the year, Call Of Duty unbanning, and Gotham Knights
MORE : Games Inbox: Modern Warfare 2 as the best Call Of Duty, Saturn mini-console, and Resident Evil Re:Verse
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