Edge readers share their opinions; one wins a New Nintendo 3DS XL
I’ve never been a completionist. As someone who only got back into games after skipping a generation, I’ve found the Achievements system both bemusing and intrusive.
But recently I’ve discovered an interesting use for Trophies on the PS4: you can see which percentage of players has achieved what. Since most Trophies are a mark of progress, you can use it to tell at what point said game has been destined for the CEX shelf. Much like Nathan Brown’s column last month, I’m relating this to Street Fighter V.
For four months, I’ve been in a Sisyphean state between the Bronze and Super Bronze leagues. It’s not just that points docked for losing become so unforgiving the moment you reach the latter, but also that improvement is becoming near impossible as I constantly find myself matched up against players literally leagues ahead. Is matchmaking broken? Not really. The playerbase has just bottomed out, if you look at the Trophy stats.
For the ‘Fighting On The Internet’ Trophy, you need to only play ten ranked matches. Last I checked, that’s only been unlocked by 31.6 per cent of players, which already writes off most of the 1.4 million userbase. If, like me, you’ve been playing regularly since launch, you’ll have easily played 300 ranked matches and got ‘A Fiendish Trap’, right? Only 6.4 per cent have. To top it off, the number of players to have reached Silver (‘Muscles Bring Victory!’) is just 5.8 per cent.
So, 5.8 out of 6.4? That basically gives me a nine-in-ten chance of being matched up with someone way above my abilities, and considering my daily sessions haven’t even lasted ten matches... well, why bother? So I’ve officially retired from ranked matches before I lose my sanity. That said, casual matchups are just as bad, if not worse, so it really does seem the less-skilled majority (over 90 per cent) have given up altogether. Because what else is there? No arcade mode; the prologues don’t fill me with much confidence for the June story update; and when I finally managed to beat all ten combo challenges as Chun-Li, the pittance of Fight Money awarded was another slap in the face. So cheers to Capcom for delivering the most mechanically perfect Street Fighter to date but alienating most of its playerbase in the process. How’s that for a Trophy?
On the flipside, it turns out I’m only one Trophy away from joining the 7.1 per cent of
Bloodborne players to have got the Platinum. Even though my research indicates that it’ll require fighting that bastard Logarius again, my odds are surely better than in another game of SFV. Alan Wen Such painstaking research deserves a New 3DS, but a warning: if you thought that the SFV playerbase was small, you’re in for a shock when you play Super SFIV: 3D Edition.
99 per cent invisible
Do we no longer own games? Are we merely the temporary custodians of the things we buy? I’ve been playing and buying games for over 25 years. Some of these games I still own and play, particularly a good few that I bought in the early ’90s.
With constant online connectivity, are we actually still buying games, or just renting them until the companies shut down online services? Disney Infinity, which has been a family activity for me and the kids for the past three years, is disappearing, and Project Spark is at the end of its life. No more user content, all those hours of shareable levels gone. So what happens when I buy and play No Man’s Sky and it somehow becomes unsuccessful? Eventually it will become a shiny coaster or a useless download.
It would be a great strategy to provide some untethering from online services so
“After skipping a generation, I’ve found the Achievements system bemusing and intrusive”
that some time down the line I can show my grandkids the thrills of the first Destiny. Games are art, but shut down my servers and you’ve effectively closed the door on the virtual art gallery.
It would be great, but it’s not possible, so we just have to wait for the game, and after ten minutes it discovers the server is gone, followed by a cheery, Hitch-hiker’s-style “Thanks for playing”. How many current-gen games are dead in the water? But hey, let’s just wait for version 2.0. This grumpy old bum is off to see if
Timesplitters 2 still works in my PlayStation 2 so I can show it to my son, or plug a good old
Zelda cartridge into my SNES. Now, where did I put that Scart lead? Keith Lawler The lack of fixed generational leaps on PC means it’s less of a problem there, at least in theory. Hopefully Sony and Microsoft shifting to iterative hardware cycles will make such shutdowns less likely in future.
I’m late to the Dark Souls party. The series presents a substantial challenge, for sure, yet difficulty is not a new concept.
PS1 games were routinely punishing. Remember the first Tomb Raider? Even the child-friendly Sony mascot Crash Bandicoot demanded precision timing. Resident Evil could be very unforgiving, too.
Then there was Deathtrap Dungeon, arguably the spiritual ancestor of the Dark
Souls series – a traditional dungeon crawler that employed sadistic traps and almost insurmountable enemies, made worse by a schizophrenic camera and blurred pixels, making it impossible to detect a trap or dodge a blow. Even Ninja: Shadow Of
Darkness was routinely impossibly hard. Arguably, the ancestors of the current hardcore are arcade games that, programmed for frequent coin input, enticed then destroyed the casual player, while still creating the feeling that ‘just one more try’ would allow us to progress. And the real enticement (before the phrase ‘endgame content’ existed) was the promise of a glimpse of what the next level looked like. The only way to advance was through familiarity, paid for by coin (or the currency of sustained effort these days).
So when in Edge 291 Shuhei Yoshida observes that, “The game design of Dark
Souls has been a good antithesis to the industry norm,” he is failing to acknowledge what existed before: a challenging, thorny wasteland of difficulty. Andrew Hemsley Yoshida’s point was about Dark Souls in the context of today’s gaming landscape. But now you’ve made us remember all those nightmarish Ghouls ’N’ Ghosts sessions way back in the late ’80s, and we’re crying again.
Mind the gap
Are crossplatform features really a good thing? Fallout 4 mods came to Xbox One recently, and while the idea of console players getting something that only PC owners previously had access to is great in theory, the reality’s been a bit of a mess. Mods created for the PC version have been stolen, ported and reposted by randoms. Some have even asked for donations to support their future non-work.
Street Fighter V’s crossplatform online play means a bespoke user ID system with no voice chat and varying levels of input lag on PC and PS4. Elsewhere, if it’s not souring the experience, it’s simply killing the game, and sometimes even the studio that made it. Both Project Spark and Fable Legends went the way of the dodo for a number of reasons, but it’s tempting to make the connection. Either way, what once seemed an impossible dream is increasingly becoming reality, but seems more likely to annoy than to enthrall. Alex Stevens In future, when people ask why the Edge website was closed, we’ll show them this.
A life well wasted
This year I have spent more time gaming than in the past few years combined. I’ve dedicated hundreds of hours to puzzles, headshots, raids and incursions, all while raising a daughter, holding down a full-time job, and trying not to neglect a very patient and understanding wife.
I’ve had similar periods of ‘intense’ gaming in the past – during school holidays, when I should probably have been playing outside, and other times in my life where free time was plentiful and adult responsibilities were fortunately not. But there’s something that sets my current gaming enthusiasm apart from the good old days. Though I have played games every single day this year, I have played only two of them.
Specifically, Destiny: The Taken King and Tom Clancy’s The Division. Two games that are designed to keep a player hooked at the end of a sometimes fragile line. I’ve been guilty in the past of rushing games in order to move on to the new big thing, searching for the next hit. My perspective seems to have shifted. Now I see myself less as a ‘gamer’, and more as a member of some very specific communities that happen to be based around videogames.
I’m enjoying these games on a deeper level, engaging with forums, subreddits and extended lore. It feels nice to get off of the treadmill of new releases and focus on games I am truly passionate about, turning my lifelong hobby into a smaller, more intimate experience. I hear similar stories from the passionate communities of DOTA 2 and
League Of Legends. As gaming becomes ever more mainstream, perhaps it will also become more and more niche, in order to cater to everyone’s interests. Alan Jeffrey This kind of devotion is no bad thing. Unless you have a professional duty to keep abreast of new releases, and colleagues who wish they could talk to you about something that isn’t Destiny. Or so we imagine, anyway.