Games Inbox: Starfield being worth the hype

The Tuesday letters page is excited at the prospect of F-Zero returning, as one reader prefers Armored Core 6 to Starfield.

To join in with the discussions yourself email [email protected]

Impossible standards
Although I accept there’ll never be any agreement on the quality of Starfield I do think there’s one thing that most people can agree on and that is that it has not lived up to the hype. Even if you enjoy the game, it’s not what most people expected when it was first revealed, and it does have some pretty obvious problems.

Despite what the Reader’s Feature said at the weekend I don’t think it’s the fact that the game is mediocre which is causing the arguments but that it was clearly overhyped. It was basically advertised as one of the best games ever and I don’t think anyone is claiming it’s that or anything close to it.

As many readers have already pointed out, even those reviews that give it high marks end up saying most of the same things as GC and others. It can be a good game and still a disappointment and I think that’s at the heart of what’s causing so much argument.

Still waiting
Just wanted to write a quick note on how disappointed I am with Naughty Dog and the lack of multiplayer for The Last Of Us Part 2. The game was released in 2020 on the PlayStation 4, for goodness sake, and there’s still no sign of it.

I did read some rumours about it not being very good but don’t know if those are true. As a fan of the original multiplayer, which I still play, I would have been happy with the same game simply with new maps. Surely not too much to ask, is it?

I guess I’m just frustrated as even the original PlayStation 3 release of the first game had the multiplayer.

Do you know what Naughty Dog are even up to these days?

GC: They’ve just started a new game, which probably isn’t The Last Of Us Part 3, and there’s rumoured to be a The Last Of Us Part 2 PS5 edition coming. Nothing has been heard about the multiplayer spin-off in months, so the rumours of it being put on the backburner may be true.

Power speculation
Nintendo could have the Switch 2 positioned quite well come next Christmas if the rumours of what it can do are true, however people really do need to keep their expectations in check with it, as the recent Reader’s Feature shows. The Tegra chips in it have been rumoured for some time and they provide PlayStation 4 power upscaled using the some custom Nvidia DLSS tech.

That would lend it enough juice to run something like Final Fantasy 7 Remake, as suggested, and potentially a much stronger line-up of third party titles given how many PlayStation 4 games are still being released, from Elden Ring to Resident Evil 4 Remake, Street Fighter 6, and Armoured Core 6. Nintendo and Nvidia would be smart to build tools to allow developers to port over their PlayStation 4 titles as quickly and cost effectively as possible.

Then when it comes to The Matrix Awakens tech demo in Unreal 5… only the invited guests have seen what it looks like or how it runs. Mortal Kombat 1 in Unreal 4 is launching this week on PlayStation 5 and the Switch and they’ll be quite the variation in the visual experience between the two versions (wonder is GC will look at both?). I’d expect The Matrix Awakens could similarly be sliced back to run on a more powerful Switch 2 at lower resolutions, frame rates and reduced effects, with the console still being significantly less powerful than a PlayStation 5.

Not to be a downer though. PlayStation 4 output would still be a noticeable generational leap over the current Switch and give Nintendo a lot of oomph to pour into sequels to its own franchises, a new Mario Kart and 3D Mario would look terrific. But I wouldn’t expect more than PlayStation 4 with some clever modern tricks, it’s still a portable at heart remember.

GC: We mean… maybe, but you’re just speculating. The rumours, from multiple different sources, all say The Matrix Awakens looks comparable to the PlayStation 5 version; it’s not unreasonable to imagine they’re correct, even if that is through using DLSS.

Shopping list
Can anyone recommend any games to get before the Xbox 360 Store closes next year, please? I was going to add the games to my wishlist and then buy them when they are on sale. I have Xbox Gold and I have been claiming the Xbox 360 games since they gave away Toybox Turbos.

I have added Split/Second recently to my wishlist and I also have Double Dragon Neon on there too. I left it to the last minute for the Wii U Store buying games, but I want to buy the games gradually on sale for Xbox 360, as suggested by MagicSquirrel with the Wii U store.
Andrew J.
Currently playing: Somerville (Xbox Series X)
PS: Just seen that Amazon are selling the PlayStation VR2 for £499.99! £30 saving.

Voice of experience
I’ve been reading a lot of negative press about Starfield and whether it’s a good game or not but after playing it now for a few days I have absolutely no problem with it and love it. I come from that generation of gamers who grew up in the 1980s Speccy era, where we had Atic Atac in place of Resident Evil and the open world city in Turbo Esprit in place of GTA 5.

I was there playing Space Invaders and the black and white Gun Fight in the 1970s, so I’ve had my fair share of gaming experiences. To me a game should envelope the player in the illusion of that world and to my mind Starfield absolutely does. Yes, there are lots of loading screens and the graphics, while they look great, look like they could have been done on a PlayStation 4 but to my mind it immerses me completely into that world.

Growing on a diet of Speccy games, where something takes sometimes up to eight minutes to load I didn’t have a problem suspending my disbelief and filling in the reality gaps in-between. I’m not a big Bethesda fan but loved Oblivion and Skyrim, which I didn’t even start playing until 2019, but didn’t see what the fuss was about with Fallout 3.

Yes, it was a little naughty withholding review copies of Starfield from the likes of reliable sources such as yourselves and Edge but the game is by no means terrible or boring. Art is subjective by nature, so I think we can only draw our own conclusions but I myself as a long-time casual gamer am completely engrossed.

Doesn’t count
Starfield was never going to live up to all the hype, especially when it wasn’t the game everyone, including myself, thought it was going to be. I thought it would be Bethesda’s take on Elite and I was salty when the news broke that Microsoft had bought them out.

The Elder Scrolls 6 being an Xbox exclusive didn’t sit well with me either but what FromSoftware did with Elden Ring blows everything Bethesda has ever done clean out of the water. I have an insane amount of hours in it. More than Skyrim and Oblivion combined.

The non-player characters quests have aggravating fail points if you play blind but they aren’t bugged. As far as I know there are no quest breaking bugs and I know there are no game-breaking bugs. I stopped playing just before the penultimate boss on New Game +3, so if there was I would have run into them.

When you think about it, the Microsoft buyout of Bethesda was only possible because they have done nothing since 2011, The Elder Scrolls has pretty graphics but at the core it’s just a Skyrim MMO.

I couldn’t care less when The Elder Scrolls 6 eventually sees the light of day, likely on the next gen Xbox. But what FromSoftware come up with as the follow-up to Elden Ring is a very different matter.

GC: What do you mean nothing since 2011? Are you not counting Fallout 4 and Fallout 76? You mentioned The Elder Scrolls Online yourself.

Zero chance
Normally I wouldn’t believe any F-Zero rumours, as there have been so many over the years and none of them have panned out. A free game in the style of Pac-Man 99 I can believe though.

That does sound like just the sort of thing Nintendo would do to test the waters and hopefully it means they can get back to the glory days of F-Zero X and GX. If the game isn’t mind-meltingly fast then it’s already failed.

33% success rate
At the start of this summer, as a parent and generally time short, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed with three AAA games I was interested in: Diablo 4, Starfield, and Armored Core 6.

However, I feel like only one of these games met or surpassed my expectations (Armored Core) whilst the other two were disappointing.

Firstly, Diablo 4. I haven’t even finished the campaign which (as a big Diablo 3 player) I appreciate many could say, ‘You’ve not even started yet!’. Whilst I appreciate that is perhaps true, I just found it all a bit dull and repetitive and just sort of a meh feeling.

Starfield, I’m only five hours in so barely scratched the surface. It is OK so far. I imagine I’ll play it a lot more, but equally it just feels a bit low budget. Some really poor bugs which ruin the immersion. Like last night, I was trying to talk to a character and she was just kind of hovering on top of a table, and then teleported about a metre away to stand on the ground. It just reminds you this is a video game. Not to mention I’ve found the travel system pretty poor and even on the planets the navigation menu is terrible?!

Armored Core 6 on the other hand: sublime game design, well balanced difficulty, good story and doesn’t overstay its welcome. The mech designs are also fantastic and I’ve had great fun making some unique mechs – just made one which looks like G1 Starscream! And I also found some of the art design great, so not sure where the criticisms of it looking dull come from. I’ve captured some awesome shots in the photo mode which are now backgrounds on my Xbox.

I am now wondering about going back to Starfield, although I am actually more interested in Sea Of Stars of New Game+ on Armored Core!

GC: Armored Core 6 and Sea Of Stars are great.

Inbox also-rans
Rather than eating my cables, my cat likes watching F1 23. I’m not sure if he realises it’s a game or not.

Meet Mittens, seen here just after a prolonged assault on my PlayStation 4 controller! He loves wires, sitting on my PlayStation 4 and the motions my thumbs make when moving the analogue sticks! On more than one occasion I’ve come home to find he’s managed to switch the console on.

This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Onibee, who asks what new games would you like to see released for the Switch 2 in its first 12 months?

Rumours about Nintendo’s next console are gathering pace, with reliable sources claiming it will be roughly as powerful as a PlayStation 4 – or perhaps even more so. There has been some vague talk of new games, such as a new 3D Mario, but nothing substantial, so what would you like to see most in terms of first and third party games?

Try and keep things realistic – Nintendo isn’t going to release all its heavy hitters at the same time – but feel free to imagine your dream launch line-up, as long as it’s also reasonably believable.

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

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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