Games Inbox: Are video game review scores useless?
Star Fox Zero – zero consensus

The evening Inbox asks how many games you play at once, as one reader compares Dark Souls to Dead Rising.

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Getting it right

It has been interesting watching the Star Fox Zero reviews roll in and just confirms my feelings that it’s sometimes a fool’s errand to rely on reviews for anything other than to see if a game is mechanically broken. An 8 out of 10 is a strong score in the world of GC, considering you’re one of the few outlets to enforce the 10-point score scale to its full.

But looking around at other outlets, it is a mixed reception, perhaps below par. What is ironic is a lot of these outlets tend to score on a 6-10 basis (meaning a 6 is a pretty poor effort) and it has dropped below that in some cases, so they must have been really displeased.

I’ve even read that the guys at Polygon binned the game off and didn’t finish it. In my mind, reviews are little more than an opinion piece, there appears to be very little objective consistency amongst the outlets, where they are seemingly unable to agree on most things.

That doesn’t mean they are useless, far from it, but I think people would get far more use out of reviews if they knew who was reviewing it and knew what their preferred tastes are. In an ideal world you’d find someone (or a few people) who has similar tastes to yours and be able to use their reviews to gauge whether it is worth taking a look at.

I know GG trusts your opinion, so he seems to have found a reliable source in terms of his taste. Although, I’m not sure he was too fond of your Evil Within verdict…
Joe @ DImp Digital

GC: In our opinion there shouldn’t be any agreement on reviews. Look at the listing for an average movie on Metacritic, and then compare it to a game. There’s far more variance in the views of film critics, and this seems to us to be far healthier – and more interesting. And yet it’s gamers themselves that often push for conformity in review scores, as if there’s some correct answer that everyone needs to arrive at. That said, not finishing a game as short and inoffensive as Star Fox Zero seems bizarre to us.

Get Pigma

I played a bit of Star Fox Zero this morning. Feels very good. The controls aren’t as off-putting as I’ve been led to believe and only my lack of skill seems to be holding me back.

Space combat with woodland creatures and a dogfight with a mouthy pig? I can’t say no to that. Each mission starts with the right ‘good luck’ as well. Top stuff.

GC: We don’t know where this idea of the controls being awkward is coming from. Apart from the largely optional motion controls they’re identical to the previous games.

Getting it

There’s been a lot of talk about Dark Souls III, which I haven’t played, but recently picked up the Xbox One rerelease of Darks Souls II which I’d never played. This might sound weird, but my main point of comparison for it has been… Dead Rising?

I remember playing Dead Rising 1 and not ‘getting it’ at first, before realising the point was to kind of play over the first parts a few times and get your skills up and level up. Seeing as you could never really succeed on your first playthrough, but your character carried his upgrades between plays. And then that allows you to take on longer, further forays into the game world, discovering where the best weapons and all the OJ, etc. was. And the best order to take on some maddening bosses.

Dark Souls, I feel, is much the same; you (well, I) hang around more reasonably easy parts of the game, collecting up souls and levelling up, to be able to eventually venture further afield with a beefier character better equipped to take on more difficult creatures, and repeat. There’s still more technique involved in Dark Souls to actually fight without getting massacred, but in general looking at it that way has made me like Dark Souls a lot more, to be honest.

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Good enough

The answer for me, for all these 4K rumours or soon to be tangible consoles, has not really changed my way of thinking. Meaning, the PC market has always had a higher resolution over consoles and when I play the newest console version of a game which also happens to be on the PC, I know this game could always have the potential to look better but it has never bothered me.

Looking at the console version is as good in my mind as it’s ever going to be, and quite frankly it always takes my breath away at how good each new generation looks in the graphics department. And this generation is no different.

So what I am trying to say is: yes, release a 4K upgraded console for the newest TVs. It’s not going to make a difference to me as it will just be me thinking of what I always thought of PC versions of the same game: ‘Yes, the graphics are good but I am quite happy the difference, though nice, is not dramatically different to the awesome visuals I am currently looking at and enjoying right now’.

In other words, no new upgrade for me thank you very much Sony and Microsoft.

Multiformat multitasking

I am interested to know, do people play one game solidly for say a week or month until completion? Or do they get bored and then move onto the next one, or do they have two or three on the go at any one time that they alternate between?

So for example, take myself, I am currently alternating between Quantum Break (good game but why is the last level the only bit I am failing to beat!), DiRT Rally (difficult but immensely satisfying), and Ys: Memories Of Celceta (underrated gem – at the last ‘boss’) on the PS Vita. I’m sure everyone is different, and sometimes I’ll just focus on one game at home and one on the Vita to and from work, then play another one with my five-year-old.
Westhamwhit (gamertag/PSN ID/NN ID)

Never enough

People must be getting bored of Dark Souls III letters now. Well I’m not. This is the first of the Souls series that I have properly invested online time into. I got Dark Souls I and II very late on the Xbox 360, whilst I had my PlayStation 4, and so although I enjoyed them I didn’t invest an awful lot of time into them. Plus, I got stuck on the Capra Demon on Dark Souls I and just gave up after about 50 attempts!

However, with Dark Souls III I have taken time to research the game mechanics and have massively enjoyed the online co-op playing. I am not very far into it, literally only just got up to about the fourth area, but summoning people to beat a difficult boss and succeeding is a great feeling in the game.

Infuriatingly hard at times, you can physically feel your heart pumping out of your chest knowing that one false move or one error could send you back to the start, but the relief when you achieve victory is palpable but short-lived until you venture to the next area.

Excellent game.

Old media

To the reader asking about video game soundtracks, if you happen to be a fan of vinyl then UK outfit Data Discs have been producing a well-received line-up of Sega classics.

So far they’ve released Shenmue, Streets of Rage (1 and 2), Shinobi, and Super Hang-On. Announced for the future are some titles that don’t begin with the letter S, namely Panzer Dragoon and OutRun.

My fingers are crossed for ToeJam Earl at some point!
Dynamite Headdy (@2Tweet2BeSour)

Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here

Ultimate Rage

I read with interest Trepsils’ Inbox letter and fully agree with him on the Streets Of Rage remake game not being made official by Sega as baffling.

The remake merges all the Streets Of Rage games, including stages, weapons, bosses, etc. into one amazing Streets Of Rage game, which is what makes it highly playable. Also, the fact you can play as bosses as well as all of the main characters is exactly how a Streets Of Rage game should have been done in the first place.

I don’t know why Sega has not yet got the ball rolling on this and why they do not make this official and get it released. It has gained a substantial amount of popularity with gamers and would very clearly sell. We have not seen a new Streets Of Rage game since Streets Of Rage 3 and considering a lot of Sega games have had remakes maybe it’s time Sega did this with Streets Of Rage.
gaz be rotten (gamertag)

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Inbox also-rans

Here is a Mirror’s Edge Catalyst beta code for PlayStation 4.
ThePowerFeeling (PSN ID)

GC: That’s very good of you. This will be first come first served, and if you’re quick we’ll send it out this evening.

I want to play a Dark Souls game after enjoying Bloodborne. Would you start with Dark Souls on Xbox 360 or jump straight in to Dark Souls III on PlayStation 4?
SuperTrevDX (PSN ID)

GC: They’re both great games, and there’s no real story connection, so it’s really up to you.

This week’s Hot Topic

The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Chickenmoose (gamertag), who asks if you’ve ever been a lapsed gamer and if so what game brought you back?

For whatever reason – whether it be work, family, money, or simple falling out of love with gaming – have you ever given up playing video games for a substantial period of time? If so what brought you back and why? Was it something you’d been specifically waiting for or did you just happen upon it or have it recommended by a friend?

If you’re currently a lapsed gamer, or close to it, then what would it take to reenergise your enthusiasm and is there any particular release in the future, either hardware or software, that you’re waiting for?

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