Di­a­logue

Edge read­ers share their opin­ions; one wins a PS+ sub­scrip­tion

EDGE - - SECTIONS -

Kick off

I’m sure many who have man­aged to com­plete Breath Of The Wild will have seen Corey Bunnell, the sole non-Ja­panese name to ap­pear on Nin­tendo’s de­vel­op­ment end cred­its. Ten years ago he posted on an on­line fo­rum shar­ing his dreams to go to Ja­pan and work for Nin­tendo. It’s truly in­spir­ing to see that af­ter years of hard work he didn’t only achieve his dream but had a hand in mak­ing the great­est game of all time. And in 2017, we need all the in­spir­ing sto­ries we can get.

So I’ll be do­ing a Corey my­self. What with some seis­mic changes in my per­sonal and work life that all came to a head at the end of last year, topped off with the dou­ble clus­ter­fuck of Brexit and Trump, I’m mak­ing plans to bid good rid­dance to the west and start over in Ja­pan.

You can say my love of Ja­pan was rooted in my grow­ing up with videogames, but at the same time my favourite games over the years have en­riched my un­der­stand­ing of Ja­panese cul­ture. Still, there’s only so much that playthroughs of Shen­mue, Project Diva, Yakuza and Per­sona can show me - I need to be there liv­ing it for my­self.

Of course, I’m not so naive to be­lieve that it’s go­ing to be all sushi and cherry blos­soms. The lan­guage bar­rier is go­ing to be a prob­lem (but hey, I still en­joyed play­ing through the Ja­panese ver­sion of Per­sona 5 de­spite putting my Google Trans­late app up to the screen ev­ery other minute), and I’ve read my fair share of hor­ror sto­ries from English teach­ers work­ing there.

I also won­der if the Ja­panese cul­ture of over­work­ing will mean I’ll once again have no time for gam­ing. Lug­gage lim­i­ta­tions mean I might not even be able to squeeze a PS4 into my suit­case, though I sup­pose I could just buy a Ja­panese model once I’m there. But that’s also why I’m very happy to own a Switch, on which I’ll be able to squeeze in ses­sions dur­ing com­mutes and still play at home whether or not I have a TV.

So wish me luck as I try to get a job and visa to get to Ja­pan in the next few months. And if you fancy get­ting me a go­ing away gift, then maybe I should def­i­nitely find a way to hang onto my PS4. Alan Wen All the best to you on your ad­ven­ture, Alan. And when you get set­tled – be­fore March 2019, ide­ally – make sure you send for us.

Fi­nal score

Hav­ing en­joyed games for over 20 years, and fol­lowed critic re­view scores for nearly as long, I’ve be­come con­vinced that there is a genre bias in scor­ing games. Al­most all games that re­ceive the high­est scores across mul­ti­ple mul­ti­for­mat pub­li­ca­tions seem to be lim­ited to a nar­row scope of gam­ing gen­res. A cur­sory look at Edge 10s re­veals a heavy pres­ence of cer­tain ti­tles – Zelda, Mario, GTA, etc. But my favourite genre, JRPGs, al­though pro­vid­ing the most mem­o­rable ex­pe­ri­ences for me, rarely seem to hit those ‘per­fect’ scores across pub­li­ca­tions.

I be­lieve it is the nature of dif­fer­ent gen­res that is re­spon­si­ble for this. A game like Bay­o­netta is lots of fun and prob­a­bly wor­thy of a 10, but in many ways it’s a sim­pler for­mat to re­fine and per­fect. JRPGs, on the other hand, have to bal­ance story pro­gres­sion with world ex­plo­ration, the con­trol you can have over sup­port­ing char­ac­ters ver­sus fast­paced bat­tles, etc. There are so many more pit­falls to fall into and be­cause they re­ally are im­pos­si­ble to bal­ance per­fectly, it dam­ages their chances of ac­quir­ing leg­endary scores.

And yet the am­bi­tion and scale of FFXV and the ef­fort that went into it can never be fully recog­nised in a score be­cause the genre type forces too many constraints. How­ever, I won­der just be­cause a game has ‘flaws’ or is

“My favourite genre, JRPGs, rarely seem to hit those ‘per­fect’ scores across pub­li­ca­tions”

slightly ‘un­bal­anced’ in parts should that re­ally take away from the whole pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ence of what they have achieved? Robert Gil­bert If FFXV is a 10 to you, then great, but it’s not our job to play favourites. Still, it’s not long ago that Fi­nal Fan­tasy XII was Edge’s game of the year; it could hap­pen again.

Open goal

The lead de­signer of Magic: The Gath­er­ing, Mark Rose­wa­ter, has of­ten de­scribed three types of play­ers: Tammy, who val­ues ex­pe­ri­ence (think: Shadow Of The Colos­sus or Thumper); Spike, who val­ues ex­per­tise (think:

Street Fighter or Drop7), and Jenny, who val­ues ex­pres­sion (think: Fa­cade or Deus Ex). Th­ese player archetypes are of­ten dis­cussed in board-game cir­cles but rarely when it comes to com­puter games. Luck­ily, th­ese are eas­ily looked up on the in­ter­net.

Now I’ve al­ways loved the ele­gance of this triad, and have given it much thought over the years. One thing I keep find­ing my­self busy with is if there should be a hi­er­ar­chy be­tween them. In my own ex­pe­ri­ence, ex­pres­sion is the high­est form of play, with ex­pe­ri­ence the low­est (and nat­u­rally, most pop­u­lar). I can also de­fend this ra­tion­ally by ar­gu­ing that ex­pe­ri­ence is eas­ily found in other me­dia, al­though a sense of ‘be­ing there’ is only eas­ily mass pro­duced in dig­i­tal forms. Ex­per­tise is some­thing best prac­ticed in games, due to them be­ing safe to ex­per­i­ment in, but this at­ti­tude rarely fo­cuses on any­thing but the game’s rules. And ex­pres­sion would be the high­est, as it not only has you in­ter­act­ing with the rules of the game, it can also have one in­ter­act­ing with the joys and the sores of re­al­ity. No­tice how only the best man­age to jug­gle all th­ese:

Dark Souls, Zelda, WOW and Su­per Metroid. Years ago, Edge once boldly stated that they al­ways choose game­play over graph­ics. Read­ing that as a kid meant a lot to me. Twenty years later, I’m still cu­ri­ous as to what my favourite mag­a­zine con­sid­ers valu­able in games. Per­haps this triad is the ideal di­chotomy; per­haps Edge has an even bet­ter one. So what I’m ask­ing is, where does Edge ac­tu­ally stand? Robert Au­gust de Mei­jer Heav­ens above, Robert, isn’t a bit early in the day for this? As far as we ‘re con­cerned, there’s only one type that mat­ters: the one that reads Edge. En­joy your PS Plus sub, and please stop ask­ing such dif­fi­cult ques­tions.

Free kick

I’m cer­tain much has been and will be said about how fan­tas­tic an ex­pe­ri­ence Breath Of

The Wild is in sin­gle­player, but it turns out it’s a fan­tas­tic mul­ti­player ex­pe­ri­ence too. At a re­cent StreetPass event (thank­fully de­spite the Switch not hav­ing it, Nin­tendo is still sup­port­ing the com­mu­nity) many of us had our Switches and Zelda. We had two pro­jec­tor screens and two docks. On one we had the var­i­ous games of that event’s tour­na­ment, the other was for Zelda.

I cre­ated an­other pro­file on my Switch for new play­ers to get a chance to ex­plore the Great Plateau, but we also switched con­soles fre­quently so peo­ple could show off the new things they’d found.

Watch­ing some­one else play and point­ing out things in the dis­tance was great. We found a labyrinth in the desert, one of the drag­ons and a bunch of shrines. It was easy to swap back and forth be­tween play­ers with the dock, so every­one got to join in.

I’ve seen a lot of peo­ple wor­ried about spoil­ers for Breath Of The Wild, but I’ve been only too happy to learn of other peo­ple’s dis­cov­er­ies then look for them my­self. Spoil­ers in Breath Of The Wild feel more like travel guides to get the best out of my hol­i­day – and, like most hol­i­days, it’s more fun if you don’t go alone. John Ed­wards It’s a rare game that feels so im­mune to spoil­ers. Just as well, re­ally, be­cause it’s all any­one round here wants to talk about.

Full time

The de­light­ful sever­ity with which the top end of the year has filled with star­tlingly good games that beg to be ex­pe­ri­enced has been as­ton­ish­ing. Res­i­dent Evil 7, Hori­zon

Zero Dawn and now Per­sona 5: th­ese ti­tles sing to me. I am also the proud owner of a neon Switch, loaded with Zelda, Snake

Pass, Snip­per­clips and I Am Set­suna. Yet I am de­jected. I am a ma­ture stu­dent in my fi­nal term of com­puter science, un­der­go­ing con­tin­u­ous as­sess­ment from lec­tur­ers and try­ing to com­plete my the­sis on the ap­pli­ca­tion of ag­ile method­olo­gies in soft­ware de­vel­op­ment.

I have no time. I knew this term would be busy, but not to this de­gree. I have man­aged about five hours of game­play in Zelda. Five! I’m stunned to hear of peo­ple on se­cond and third playthroughs when I have yet to carry the blue flame to the sod­ding fur­nace! Or save the ru­pees for reg­is­ter­ing a horse.

I don’t be­gin my job as a demo en­gi­neer un­til mid-Au­gust, so my last sum­mer off bodes well for my back cat­a­logue. There’s some­thing in­her­ently wist­ful, even in your 30s, about day­time gam­ing. For those of us who aren’t privy to this as a ca­reer it’s a joy. Owen Gro­gan Hey, this job isn’t just about play­ing games all day, you know. There are also bribes to col­lect and ne­far­i­ous so­ciopo­lit­i­cal agen­das to sub­tly ad­vance. Still, best of luck with the fi­nal push. We hope a sum­mer off is worth the ef­fort, and def­i­nitely aren’t jeal­ous.

High­lights

We for­got to send you an email last week about film night, so just in case you have a look at your emails to­day here is a re­minder that we are show­ing My Old Lady star­ring Mag­gie Smith. Slim Of course we’ll be there! And prob­a­bly for the next few af­ter that, since we doubt our spam fil­ter’s get­ting fixed any time soon.

Is­sue 305

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