Games Inbox: What is Nintendo’s best franchise?

Better than Mario and Zelda? (pic: Nintendo)

The Tuesday Inbox asks for some suggestions for non-violent Xbox One games, as one reader hopes for a Golden Axe 4 sequel.

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No repeats
I liked the Reader’s Feature at the weekend, about Nintendo sticking with the Switch, and I can see the logic of it. But staying with the Switch Nintendo are almost forced to bring back old franchises and invent new ones, and I’m all for that.

And yet… that nostalgic part of my brain still wants to see them bring back older, more obscure franchises. Pikmin, F-Zero, Advance Wars, Star Fox, Wave Race, Mother, Pilotwings… this is the reason Super Smash Bros. is such a hit, Nintendo has such a breadth of games they can pick and choose from that they could go on for years without ever having to repeat themselves. Except of course they will.

With so many game franchises it becomes difficult to say which is the best, even though most will see it as a two-way fight between Mario and Zelda. Personally, I want to say Metroid, because I love Metroidvania in general. But there have been so few official entries it feels almost a cheat. But those are the games I think of when we hear about secret games on the horizon and I get to imagine it could be anything. It almost never is though, I wonder about you?

Cycle of love
Can I just say a big thank you for reviewing Lonely Mountains: Downhill. I wouldn’t have known about this wonderful game if it wasn’t for you, a quick look on Metacritic shows that barely anyone else has reviewed it. I downloaded it on Game Pass, but was so impressed I bought it to keep at 20% off. I’ve been telling all my gamer friends at work about it, and they have all loved playing it too. We can now compete on the leaderboards like the good old days.

The controls and physics feel spot on and satisfying, just shows how good an indie game can be. The graphics are bright and colourful, and better in action than they first appear. It’s one of those easy to pick up and play games, but hard to master, and has that ‘just one more go’ quality.

I managed to unlock all the trails on all the mountains over the weekend, now to try and complete the expert challenges. Thanks again.
ShaunLeeGregory (gamertag/PSN ID)

Room for more
I don’t want to get into too much prophesying over what the next gen will and won’t do, however, is it just me or is the slide that Sony produced when talking about backwards comparability look suspiciously like there is room for more ?

I would speculate that it would include PlayStation 3 with enhancements (as there is a little space) and then plain vanilla support for PlayStation 1 and 2?

There just seems a fair bit of wasted space on the slide for no reason.

I still think it’s a little crazy that we know next to nothing about the PlayStation 5 at this point, aside from tech specs most people don’t understand or care about. Even without the Covid situation we would have got nothing at E3, with Sony not attending and doing their own thing.

I think Sony are expecting the hype to snowball very quickly through social media once they finally start their marketing push. Personally I just don’t think it will work on me and if the trailers from Microsoft’s reveal event are anything to go by there will be a hefty proportion of casual gamers that really don’t see much of a difference in graphical quality, as it does all lack that WOW factor we got between previous generations.
irve77 (gamertag/PSN ID)

Is there space for more? (pic: Sony)

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Lions led by donkeys
The thing that struck me today, reading the news, is how so much is being reported but so little actually seems to be happening. No games are being released, no previews are happening (and even when they do they don’t have any gameplay), and most news is rumours.

Even when a company says something, like Nintendo today or Microsoft last week, it can be interpreted 10 different ways and ultimately means nothing. So, Nintendo are worried that the coronavirus might delay their games but… they don’t think it will? That’s great, what a useful piece of information that is.

The people that make games are amazing and I don’t know how they do it with such a strange mix of technical ability and artistic creativity. But the people on the business end of things? Sometimes I’m surprised they remember how to breath. When this whole pandemic is over they have got to work on their communication and project management because it is shocking.

Zen runner
I tried MudRunner on Xbox Game Pass and loved the physics but found the map dreary, so didn’t play much of it. But I thought I would give SnowRunner a go and glad I did. I love racing games so SnowRunner is a real change of pace, but in a good way. It’s just so relaxing to play and feels like a zen experience. It’s the attention to detail that really amazes me, like the way your muddy tracks slowly fill with water or any foliage you run into acts realistically; even the way the trucks move and bend all has me mesmerized.

When I complete a mission it feels like I have achieved something and also feels like I’m going on a muddy roadtrip. I’m also surprised how big the games is, with 11 huge maps. This is a game I will be plugging away at for a very long time.

When I want a bit of fast-paced action I go back to Wreckfest, which I’m still playing a year and a half later. The latest updates have really kept the game going and for me its the best racing/destruction game iv played.with both these games im set for a good while and has kept me busy through lockdown,i love gaming!

An end to violence
I’m just finishing The Witcher 3’s DLC Blood And Wine and before I get onto the main thing, let me just say my twopenn’orth that with Hearts Of Stone these surely are the best DLC a game has ever had. Considering how bad a lot of DLC can be, these felt like full proper extensions of the main game; made with love, care, and a sense of humour.

OK, onto my main thing which is, I’m OK with killing monsters and fantasy stuff, but don’t care for the people killing. I do it when it can be sort of justified, like Witcher 3 bandits or Far Cry’s recent cultists. Noticing Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was being discounted this week, I topped up my Xbox account and bought it. I’m now waiting for my slow internet connection to download all 60-something gigs over the next week or so (I kid you not). And although I’m looking forward to exploring a big new map, I started getting that here we go again feeling of another killing spree of disposable characters on the horizon.

Now, I know I chose the game, and I will enjoy it, but sometimes I just feel like a break from the violence that I seem to be thrust into these days every time I pick up the gamepad. So I’d like the help of the GameCentral community to suggest some (Xbox only) games I could try that I could just mellow out to. I loved Limbo, wished I had a PlayStation to play Journey, and have sat on the fence about downloading What Remains Of Edith Finch. I’ve recently been breaking up all the killing with Cities Skylines and Night In The Woods, but their charms are fading.

I tried looking through the Xbox Live store but just got overwhelmed reading through game details for nearly an hour. There must be quite a few people who have been moved by a playing experience or found something they can fall into every now and again to get away from it all. Thanks in advance.
Spooky Dreamer (SpookyDreamBoo – gamertag)

GC: We would certainly give What Remains Of Edith Finch a go, or how about Outer Wilds (not The Outer Worlds)? It’s a great puzzle/exploration game that we think you’d enjoy.

Not dead yet
One of the games I’m really looking forward to is Dying Light 2. I really enjoyed the first game and Techland’s previous Dead Island games last gen. Also, while we’re on that, have we really been waiting the entire gen for Dead Island 2? Although I’m not really interested in that and it seems to be stuck in development hell having changed developers multiple times and been delayed as many. I did get a glimmer of hope when Yager were the devs. Are they still making it?

Anyway, back to Dying Light I think Techland are the best developer for this style of game. While the Dead Island games had many, many flaws I thoroughly enjoyed them regardless and had countless hours of fun with them. Likewise, Dying Light and the parkour and the world being a lot more dangerous at night made it even better. The sequel looks to improve things even further.

Are Techland independent now? Are they publishing the game themselves or is there a publisher? Just trying to work out where it might show up during Summer Games Fest. I think it was Xbox’s E3 we last saw so I’d assume they will show it again or it might be at the PlayStation 5 event, unless Xbox has the marketing.

I’ve just installed Dying Light for another playthrough again soon in the meantime.
Big Angry Dad82 (gamertag)

GC: Alas, Yager were taken off Dead Island 2 years ago, and nearly went bust as a result (they’re currently in early access with The Cycle). The new developer is Homefront: Revolution maker Dambuster Studios. Techland has always been independent and have recently been embroiled in some controversy, suggesting development of the game is a mess. But although the game still doesn’t have a new release date, they’ve denied everything.

Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here

Vocal minority
So I succumbed and gave in and read up on The Last Of Us 2 spoilers and well I can’t say I’m too enthused by the decisions made in regards to the story, but it hasn’t changed my mind and I still plan to get the game.

I can’t understand the backlash. Sure, narrative can be important but at the end of the day video games are meant to be an interactive experience and gameplay should be the primary concern. I doubt anyone plays Mario or Zelda for the riveting storyline. Also, perhaps it’s best to reserve judgement until after the game has been released. Though the direction the game is taking is not the way many people, myself included, would have chosen it all depends on how this is executed, and Naughty Dog obviously have a good track record in this regard.

At least Naughty Dog are taking a bold approach and not taking the easy option. I think the reaction is all too commonplace these days. Both with games, TV, and other forms of media. As soon as someone dares to go against what fans want they are shot down. It seems like at times they can’t win.

Play it safe and they are accused of being boring. Be bold and fans accuse them of ruining things. Fans need to realise that we don’t own the things we enjoy and the creators are free to make whatever creative decisions they see fit. Voice your displeasure, sure. But at least reserve judgement until you have seen the finished article.

GC: These backlashes are never as big as they seem to be. Pre-orders for the game are extremely strong and a lot of those complaining are upset merely because they think it’s got too many women in it – they make a lot of noise but thankfully they’re a tiny minority.

Inbox also-rans
It’s been 12 years since we last saw a new Golden Axe game and also 27 years since the release of Golden Axe 3. Here’s my question, with Streets Of Rage 4 being released and doing really well does anyone, including GameCentral, ever think we are going to see a Golden Axe 4 and do you think Sega will ever get to making it?
gaz be rotten (gamertag)

GC: Do we think Sega will ever make it? No. But Streets Of Rage 4 developer Lizardcube might.

I know I will get a lot of grief for this but I would welcome 3DS remasters/rereleases on the Switch. I have been playing Luigi’s Mansion 3 a lot and would like to play Luigi’s Mansion 2 but don’t want to buy a 3DS. I wouldn’t mind a few other games as well, such as Metroid: Samus Returns.
Alek Kazam

GC: Many would welcome such things. The worry is that you’d be taking time away from them making anything new.

One of my mates could only play GoldenEye and Perfect Dark with the analogue stick on the right and used the D-pad in place of the ‘C’ buttons. Everyone else thought it was just weird.

When will the PlayStation 5 be on sale?

GC: This Christmas, maybe. If you’re lucky.

This week’s Hot Topic
The question for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Ishi, who asks what are the most impressive video game graphics you’ve ever seen?

With the next generation of consoles fast approaching what’s the most impressed you’ve been up until this point? Was it purely because of the technical achievement or did the art design and camera work play a part as well?

What kind of things are you generally impressed by in games when it comes to visuals and what are you hoping will become possible in the next gen that is impossible, or very difficult, at the moment?

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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.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time, 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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