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Games Inbox: How important is single-player to video games?

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Posted on: February 18, 2018
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Games Inbox: How important is single-player to video games?
Horizon Zero Dawn – just one of the year’s many great single-player games

The evening Inbox struggles to feel sympathy for EA’s share price, as one reader names Forza Horizon 3 the best racer of the generation.

Weak excuse

I just don’t understand where EA is getting this idea that single-player games are suddenly unpopular. Almost all Nintendo and Sony first party games are single-player only, and they’ve been huge hits this year. Persona 5 has sold more than ever, Final Fantasy XV was huge, Red Dead Redemption 2 is the most anticipated game of next year and the original was almost entirely single-player.

To me this is an obvious and weak excuse for a mismanaged game that they really only wanted to be a vessel for microtransactions. You can see that’s all EA think of for any game now: how can we fit loot boxes into it so we can make the real money. From a business point of view I can understand why, except that it’s short term. They’re literally destroying the entire concept of gameplay while they do this, and if that takes over completely than the reason to play video games in the first place is gone.

I just hope that secretly, behind the scenes, they do understand what they’ve done and are trying to backpaddle and all this talk in public, trying to make it sound like a minor mishap, is just putting on a face for investors. If single-player games went away I know I would too, they are video games to me and multiplayer is just a side interest.

Consumer power

This stuff about EA is just surreal. They lost $3 billion already on Star Wars: Battlefront II?! I hope that sends a message to all the apathetic gamers who were writing in before its release to say that nothing could be done. Now you’ve got wonder whether EA can even survive this. If they go on like this they’re almost certainly going to lose some top execs and maybe the whole company will go under. Probably not likely, but if there are laws against microtransactions it could legitimately happen.

I doubt we’ll be that lucky but at the same time you can see the tide turning against Bungie and Destiny as well. And they gave into fans almost instantly too. The lesson here is that money does talk and any dumb decision a company makes can be turned around if we complain loud enough.

I just can’t wait to see what happens when EA tries to add microtransactions back into Battlefront II, because as far as I’m concerned the whole system is broken. But that’s what you get when you design the microtransactions first and the gameplay second.

GC: EA as a company didn’t lose any money, their share value did. Still, that’s not something they’ll be happy about.

Non-Christmas present

The last time I wrote in was regarding the dilemma of an early access code for the beta of Star Wars: Battlefront II and whether I should ruin my Christmas present by playing this. Well, I had another decision to make once receiving the full game and after reading your review (I even consulted the general feeling on Metacritic, which for once agreed with you). I had to make a decision as to whether to send the game straight back and get a full refund or not.

The decision to remove the paid-for loot boxes supported me opening it up and trying the game. I completed the single-player mission on the hardest difficulty, occasionally exploiting the game’s design by deliberately going out of the battle area to recover health and shoot aggressors whilst they couldn’t attack me. The whole campaign was like a messy jukebox musical, shoehorning in all manner of exciting, different characters to play and then concocting a story around them and included another ubiquitous dream-like level. It was more like a nightmare!

Possibly the only reason the single-player is acceptable is that it’s set in the Star Wars universe. I tried the multiplayer, eventually carving out a successful role for myself as a sniper at the back of the field, scanning the area ahead for my eventual victims before transforming into an unconvincing and ineffective hero character. But it’s really the same boring mission every time – even on different planets.

I even played the split-screen co-op and versus with my children. These missions were dull, short-lived, and unimaginative. I returned to better games: the original Battlefront, Overwatch, and Titanfall 2 last night, online with my son, and my Christmas present has been sold at a small loss before December has even started. The game simply isn’t good enough.
Mydeadgran (PSN ID)

GC: Well, we did warn you. Although you don’t mention Starfighter Assault, which is the best bit.

Never say never again

Merry Christmas guys (it’s Christmas right? I get so confused sometimes).

Nintendo have done it, I don’t know how but they have. I’ve been a diehard supporter since the SNES glory days but after the Wii U I really believed they had taken their foot off the ball to the extent that I swore I’d never buy another Nintendo console. As much as I love them I just didn’t feel it was enough value for money to just buy a console that other game makers didn’t support.

It broke my heart to think I’d never play another Zelda game or get so frustrated at Mario Kart Rainbow Road that I wanted to burn my house down. That was three months ago though, and I’ve just picked up a Switch with the new Mario game and Splatoon 2 and they’re just… awesome. I want to issue a heartfelt apology to all those talented people in Nintendo and hope that they can forgive me for my moment of weakness. I promise I’ll never doubt them again.

Thanks to you guys in GameCentral too – keep up the great work and hope all the GameCentral world has a wonderful Christmas and happy new year.

Switching to Lara

Thinking of last gen games that would work good on the Switch I’m not sure L.A. Noire is the first that would’ve come to mind. But there are others, XCOM would be great given how much fun Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is and given the meandering kind of way you tend to play Assassin’s Creed I’m surprised Ubisoft hasn’t announced Black Flag yet.

I’d really like to see Tomb Raider get a port though. The Xbox 360 version was surprisingly excellent compared to the current gen versions so if you can getting it looking at least as good as that I think it could be a real showcase for the Switch. I’d would hopefully also give Lara a boost because things have been awfully quiet on the front since the PS4 version of the last one didn’t sell much.

It seems like a movie coming out is the kiss of death for a video game franchise. First Assassin’s Creed gets one and has the first year without a game and now a new, and surprisingly decent looking Tomb Raider movie is coming out and things have never been quieter when it comes to the games.

Last gen console

My Blu-ray player in the upstairs bedroom is now defunct so think I’m gonna pick up a second-hand super slim PlayStation 3. That way I can also watch Netflix and now TV on it too. There is a store near me that is selling one for £40 with six months warranty. The only kicker is it doesn’t come with a controller (not sure why). Can anyone recommend an online store that sells cheap controllers? It wouldn’t have to be the official one but would need to wireless.

Also, I may get a few games but primarily it would be for Netflix. However, do physical games take up hard drive space like the current generation? As the system is only 12GB but I doubt I’ll play many games to warrant more disk drive space.

GC: Most PlayStation 3 games are smaller than current gen titles. What controller you get depends on how serious you are about playing games on it. For just Netflix any old third party joypad will do, but an official controller is what you want if you’re playing a lot.

Bright Horizon

Despite all these racing games coming out this year I can’t say I’ve particularly liked any of them. Project CARS 2 is the best but it’s too serious (and buggy) for my liking. I would’ve loved if Need For Speed Payback had been any good but it’s the worst of them all, which means once again we have no decent arcade racers.

I actually think Forza Horizon 3 has been the best racer of this gen and I look forward to the next one a lot more than I do the next Motorsport. Microsoft may have dropped the ball with other first party stuff but Gran Turismo can’t touch Forza nowadays.

Eight good years

I love the Souls games and am also dying to hear some news about what From are working on at the moment – my bet is a revamped Armored Core, since that’s where Miyazaki cut his teeth.

However, I don’t think turning off the Demon’s Souls servers is that big a deal. It’s a not hugely popular (despite the reputation) eight-year-old PlayStation 3 game whose multiplayer, while groundbreaking at the time, is not really required to enjoy the game.

I’ll certainly be giving it another playthrough before they shut it down but I think it’s actually been supported pretty well compared to a lot of games.
SuoTempore (PSN ID)
PS: I was originally going to compare Call Of Duty to Michael Bay but no one deserves that. Then I thought 80s Schwarzenegger films, but was worried that might imply it was on the level of Predator.

GC: But that implies you think Predator is better than Die Hard, which is clearly heresy. It’s good, but not that good.

Inbox also-rans

Completely agree about Cuphead looking amazing. It’s the only game I’ve ever watched a play through on YouTube for. Not because I can’t do it, but because it’s great to watch done quickly by an expert, where you can just soak everything.

So that Avengers: Infinity War trailer looks really good. Explain to me again why there are no proper Marvel video games?

This week’s Hot Topic

The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was inspired by the recent Reader’s Feature– about how few people ever beat the games they play – and asks how often do you usually finish a game to the very end?

What percentage of your games have you gotten to the end of, and how many of those have you beaten 100% – or thereabouts? For those games you haven’t beaten, why is that? Is it because they were too hard, you lost interest, or something else? When do you decide to give up on a game that doesn’t have an ending, like Destiny or other multiplayer games, and do you ever come back anyway?

Without giving away any spoilers, which game do you think had the best and most worthwhile ending, and which has been the most disappointing?

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