Fort knocks

For gamers of a cer­tain age, “cross play” refers to the feel­ings ex­pe­ri­enced whilst try­ing to get off Level 5 of Manic Miner. These days, the words usu­ally ap­pear in sen­tences in­clud­ing “Sony”.

As a res­o­lutely sin­gle­player gamer, I’ve been am­biva­lent about Sony’s stub­born stance. That was un­til my kids’ pester power got me into Fort­nite. Great game, but no lo­cal co-op – un­less you have mul­ti­ple de­vices in the same room. Imag­ine our fam­ily’s ex­cite­ment to learn of Fort­nite com­ing to Switch! Pic­ture the scene of fa­ther and daugh­ter boot­ing up the PS4 and Switch to play to­gether and get­ting un­cer­e­mo­ni­ously blocked by Sony’s greedy pol­icy.

I’d for­got­ten about that episode un­til Sony’s CEO, Kenichiro Yoshida, popped up to say, “On cross-plat­form, our way of think­ing is al­ways that PlayS­ta­tion is the best place to play. Fort­nite, I be­lieve, part­nered with PlayS­ta­tion 4 is the best ex­pe­ri­ence for users.” Tell that to my daugh­ter watch­ing me play with her Switch pow­ered off on her lap.

For a com­pany that lost its PS2 dom­i­nance to Mi­crosoft through ar­ro­gance only to see the same fate hap­pen again but in re­verse, this dis­play of lu­di­crous pom­pos­ity is be­wil­der­ing. The de­sire for player lock-in is em­bar­rass­ingly trans­par­ent and ev­ery­one can see through it. As this gen­er­a­tion ma­tures, it’s no co­in­ci­dence that both Sony and Mi­crosoft are up­ping the qual­ity of ‘free’ re­leases via PS Plus and Xbox Live to give you an im­pen­e­tra­ble back­log that’ll be hard to give up.

But Mi­crosoft is show­ing ad­mirable de­ter­mi­na­tion to com­pete. Back­wards com­pat­i­bil­ity and Game Pass means an in­stant game li­brary to de­fec­tors. Their Achilles’ Heel this gen has been ex­clu­sive ti­tles, but their sud­den splurge in new stu­dios shows some strat­egy to move away from the bor­ing Forza-Halo-Gears loop.

Sony might feel com­fort­able with their mas­sive user­base and qual­ity ex­clu­sives be­ing pumped out on a reg­u­lar ba­sis, but his­tory has shown that it can be lost in a gen­er­a­tion. I re­cently pulled out of buy­ing a PS4 Pro – how could I in­vest in a com­pany that has stopped our fam­ily play­ing to­gether? Sony needs to look over its shoul­der – the Vic­tory Royale that seems so close can be quickly ter­mi­nated by a Leg­endary Pump blast to the back! Ivan Hard­ing And, as we send to press, every­thing ap­pears to be fine. This whole episode proves that, how­ever big you get, there’s al­ways some­one big­ger – and Sony knew it needed Fort­nite. En­joy your new PS Plus sub­scrip­tion.

Road well trav­elled

Re­cently I have found my­self com­pletely over­whelmed with a com­pul­sive de­sire to play role­play­ing games, par­tic­u­larly Ja­panese-de­vel­oped ones. Whilst I won’t go into the depths of the back cat­a­logue, this year has added Xenoblade Chron­i­cles 2’ s DLC, Ni No Kuni 2, Dragon Quest XI and Oc­topath to my pile of shame. This feels like an over­load, and I have found my­self un­able to re­ally get stuck into one game for fear of for­get­ting the spe­cific me­chan­ics of an­other ti­tle, a prob­lem I have never pre­vi­ously had.

Now, I don’t think the hum­ble RPG has ever gone out of fash­ion – it seems that post- COD4, it was more that the sys­tems and me­chan­ics of tra­di­tional role­play­ing games be­came meth­ods of player re­ten­tion and were amal­ga­mated into other gen­res.

Re­cently, how­ever, it seems that the old­school, ‘tra­di­tional’ RPG-sys­tem-based game has made quite a re­nais­sance in both the indie and the main­stream cir­cuit. It could

“Sony’s de­sire for player lock-in is em­bar­rass­ingly trans­par­ent and ev­ery­one can see through it”

just be that lo­cal­i­sa­tion time has dropped last year’s Ja­panese re­leases like DQXI into 2018, but it seems that there is a real glut of them re­turn­ing. It may be that as gamers get older, some of them be­come nos­tal­gic for the days of yore, or that 2018 has just be­come that far into the cur­rent gen­er­a­tional life­span that these games, which tra­di­tion­ally take long pe­ri­ods to create, are now com­ing (a pat­tern seen on pre­vi­ous sys­tems, es­pe­cially the SNES) out with more reg­u­lar­ity, but I’m won­der­ing what the Edge take on it is? Also, can you add two more hours to the day so I can grind in Oc­topath? Martin Hol­lis No to the last bit – the bods who wear af­ter­shave would see that as jus­ti­fi­ca­tion to stretch us even fur­ther. But you’re right to note the resur­gence in a once-for­got­ten genre. For our money it’s part nos­tal­gia, partly it be­ing eas­ier to take risks late in a con­sole gen­er­a­tion, and part – sorry – devel­op­ers hav­ing run out of ideas.

One di­rec­tion

Nin­tendo: a com­pany who has made an ex­treme re­vival. It was widely thought that should the Switch fail, the com­pany will fail, and it was be­lieved that the Switch would be the con­sole to put an end to the lon­grun­ning con­sole-mak­ing com­pany. But the Switch has over­whelm­ingly suc­ceeded. Nin­tendo’s stock price hit a ten-year high this year. Its shares have taken a slight tum­ble re­cently, but in com­par­i­son to what they were like just two years ago, it’s un­no­tice­able.

And, last week at the time of writ­ing, the lat­est Nin­tendo Direct pre­sen­ta­tion aired. Peo­ple’s hopes were mixed. Af­ter all, Su­per

Smash Bros Ul­ti­mate has taken much of the fo­cus for all of 2018’s pre­sen­ta­tions – most no­tably E3 – and is ex­tremely an­tic­i­pated by all Switch own­ers. But this Direct was not a fo­cus on Ul­ti­mate in the slight­est. In fact, only a small pro­por­tion of the 35 min­utes was given to the huge ti­tle. Some in­cred­i­ble an­nounce­ments were made for the con­sole; start­ing off with Luigi’s Man­sion 3 was a won­der­ful sur­prise. The ru­moured port of the Wii U’s New Su­per Mario Bros U was con­firmed. Half of the Fi­nal Fan­tasy se­ries seems to be mak­ing the jump to Switch. And fi­nally, An­i­mal

Cross­ing was an­nounced to be mak­ing the cross to the hy­brid con­sole. The only down­side was the lack of con­tent of the new paid on­line ser­vice that Nin­tendo has brought to the sys­tem. But at the end of the day, ev­ery­one is go­ing to buy it any­way, re­ally. It still shocked me, how­ever, when peo­ple came out of the pre­sen­ta­tion com­plain­ing.

Af­ter all that Nin­tendo gifted us, I ex­pected Twit­ter to be full of hap­pi­ness and ex­cite­ment, yet in­stead, I was greeted by mixed thoughts and un­con­vinced peo­ple. But why? We only got glimpses of most games – the likes of LM3 and AC, but also Dae­mon X Machina and games like Fi­nal Fan­tasy – which could ir­ri­tate some peo­ple, yet this time six months ago, every­body was yearn­ing for a new An­i­mal Cross­ing. So to even con­firm its ex­is­tence should be some­thing for most peo­ple, right?

It just doesn’t seem that way and that is where I can­not un­der­stand how some peo­ple ask for all these games, get the con­fir­ma­tion and then crit­i­cise it. Things like E3 were heavily focsed on Su­per Smash Bros Ul­ti­mate, where we had lots of game­play footage and most of the game’s me­chan­ics con­firmed that day. There was even a whole Direct for that par­tic­u­lar game, so we were never in doubt about cer­tain things for Smash. Nin­tendo has been vary­ing how they an­nounce games, so I think peo­ple should be­gin to ac­cept that if they aren’t ready to show the games off with footage, then let them be.

I per­son­ally thought the Nin­tendo Direct was ex­cel­lent. It seems 2019 could be an­other good year for the Switch. 2017 was ori­en­tated hugely around Breath Of The Wild and Odyssey; 2018 around Ul­ti­mate; 2019 is now look­ing like it’ll be set around Man­sion 3 and An­i­mal Cross­ing; and look­ing even fur­ther, we still have Bay­o­netta 3 and Metroid: Prime 4 on the way. I find it hard to com­plain. But, I guess, peo­ple al­ways will. James Baldwin Well yes, stay off Twit­ter, es­pe­cially at Direct time. The heart of the is­sue is, how­ever, Smash

Bros, and what it means for this year. De­spite its all-star line-up, it’s not for ev­ery­one, and af­ter such a stel­lar 2018, this year has been a quiet one for Switch, par­tic­u­larly where first­party re­leases are con­cerned. Next year, at least, looks like quite the re­turn to form.

Cap­ture the blag

I’m gonna write a short let­ter on your ar­ti­cle about Spi­der-Man, I think one of the best fea­tures that made Spi­der-Man amaz­ing is the qual­ity of roam­ing around the town. You will never get tired of web-swing­ing around Man­hat­tan’s tall build­ings and that’s some­thing a few games have achieved in the whole his­tory of videogames; to en­joy the path and des­tiny all at once spe­cially in an open world type of game with a big scale. Some side mis­sions might seem lack­lus­ter but the com­bi­na­tion of ex­cit­ing com­bat and free­dom of move­ment makes up for it. Aside from that, I think we should re­ally ap­plaud In­som­niac for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of su­perb dy­namic light­ing, grad­ing, depth of field and many other great ef­fects that turned this game into a beau­ti­ful mas­ter­piece. Of course it has its downsides as well, boss fights aren’t that chal­leng­ing and it doesn’t feel like you are fight­ing a wor­thy op­po­nent; I mean it’s true that Spi­der-Man is al­ways the strong­est but it shouldn’t be this easy to fight his tough­est en­e­mies. The story is com­mend­able but it starts slow and some parts of it are re­ally pre­dictable. Marry Jane’s char­ac­ter was amaz­ingly por­trayed though, out­side of comics it was the first time that I felt she had a great im­pact on the story, Aunt May and Miles were great ad­di­tions to the story as well. In the end I have to say that

Spi­der-Man def­i­nitely showed that sin­gle­player games are still in high de­mand, if you put proper time and ef­fort into them. Reza Hamid This, it seems, is what hap­pens when you put out a call on Twit­ter of­fer­ing a year’s PS Plus to the best let­ter of the month. In any case, what about those pud­dles, eh? Dis­gust­ing.

Is­sue 324

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