Games Inbox: Nintendo Direct verdict, Kena: Bridge Of Spirits, and Epic Games legal madness

Splatoon 3 screenshot
Splatoon 3 – just one of many games featured in the Nintendo Direct (pic: Nintendo)

The Friday Inbox compares the Nintendo Direct predictions to what actually happened, as one reader hopes that FIFA 23 is not free.

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Job done
Wow, that was a really good Nintendo Direct. I forget how good Nintendo are at these things. I shouldn’t because Nintendo has been doing them for a long time now and Sony has basically copied the format exactly for State of Play, while Microsoft… are still a little too keen on waffling and using uncomfortably attractive actors to pretend they’re playing games.

With Nintendo though we got the N64 and Mega Drive virtual consoles, a Mario movie starring Chris Pratt (?!), Bayonetta 3, Splatoon 3, an ActRaiser remake (!), a ‘massive’ Monster Hunter expansion, a Kirby game that didn’t look rubbish, a weird card game by NieR’s Yoko Taro, and promises of reveals for Animal Crossing and Smash Bros. soon as well.

All that and you’d almost forget that Nintendo has a pretty barren release schedule for the rest of the year, and I mean that as a compliment as they hid it really well and made it seem like buying a Switch now is not a bad idea. So you know what? I think I’m going to! They didn’t mention the OLED model (I think, it was hard to keep track) but I now I’m going to finally jump in, after never committing to get one until now. So I guess that means it was a good Direct!

Mamma mia
Even by Nintendo’s standards, that was a wild Direct which left me feeling utterly bewildered in a good way… I think. Announcements of announcements. Having the audacity to imply that being able to play Sonic 2 via Nintendo Switch Online was in any way a luxury (is there a system that game hasn’t been ported to yet?). A post-apocalyptic 3D Kirby game. Chris Pratt as Mario!? I need to lie down.

Never change Nintendo. Never change.

How did he do?
I’m writing this on Thursday afternoon so very curious to know what is going to be in the Nintendo Direct. We might get a Zelda release date but since they showed it off relatively recently I don’t think it’ll be there. Metroid Prime 4 seems too far off but maybe Bayonetta 3, as there have been some rumblings about it recently.

This Metroid Prime 1 rumour might be an attempt to bridge the gap to the new game and remind people that Metroid isn’t always 2D, so I could see that being true too. Maybe that will be now and trilogy collection will be closer to Metroid Prime 4 coming out?

I wouldn’t expect too many other surprises, since they’ll want to concentrate on the Christmas stuff but I guess the N64 reveal is likely too? Although changing that patent listing makes it sound like it’s been delayed by a month. Who knows, though. Well, technically you do, reading this in the future. I don’t know I wrote this in the past.

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Indie radar
Bit of a disappointing run of promising looking indie games not quite delivering in Eastward, Kena, and Sable. I played about four hours of Sable today and would so far go with your review. The glitchy speeder, especially, dampens what should feel like joyful traversal of a unique looking world but feels more like traversing the world in a permeant state of falling down the stairs. But the world is not without intrigue so I will go back to it.

I did really enjoy The Artful Escape buy it did only take shy of four hours to play through and it doesn’t really have much gameplay. But as an audio visual experience it was top notch. Still, Outer Wilds DLC next week and there’s a game called Unsighted coming to Game Pass, PlayStation 4, and Switch on the 30th that could be good.

GC: Unsighted wasn’t on our radar but it does seem quite promising.

Spaced out
So I purchased a new WD SSD for my PlayStation 5. I opened the bay to install the new drive, and attempted to unscrew the screw and spacer, but it was far too tight and I can’t get it off now. I tried to contact Sony, but received no response and even tried Twitter, but again no response.

I’m looking for a replacement screw and spacer that would fit the PlayStation 5, as there is space in the bay for the drive. Has anyone had the same problem and what did they do in the end? I’ve seen some SSD screw sets on Amazon, but I’m not sure if they would fit or not. Many thanks in advance.
Cu8e5 (gamertag)/Cubes (PSN ID)

Legal advice
I’m not a lawyer. I don’t know anything about the law, but can someone please explain to me what on earth the point of the Epic Games v. Apple court case? Is this the most extreme example of a company doing something really dumb, that everyone said was dumb and would only go one way, and then they still acted surprised when everyone but them was right?

I mean what did Epic expect to happen? For Apple to just shrug their shoulders and pretend like it didn’t happen? I don’t know how much Epic pays their lawyers but for £50 and a packet of chips I could’ve told them the purposefully breaking Apple’s rules and then suing them was not going to go well. They even said they planned for it and that’s one of the main things that made sure things didn’t go in their favour.

Obviously there are some very clever people working at Epic Games. They made Unreal after all and Fortnite and everything else but I think something happens to really rich people when they’ve had a taste of success, they can no longer understand that things don’t always got their way and there’s nothing they can do to stop. The world is crazy.

Pretty okay
I’ve already heard bad things about Kena: Bridge Of Spirits but I’ve got to say it looks pretty amazing for an indie game, PlayStation 5 or not. It’s a shame it’s not that great to play but the fact that it’s okay is pretty big achievement in itself and I will watch Ember Labs in the future with some interest.

I also hope to see more indie developer being able to do graphics of this quality, as between this and Sable and Eastward even the failed indie games are better than their big budget equivalents. It would be ironic if better graphics made the overall quality of indies worse but I don’t believe that’s what happening here and that will continue to see new and exciting games from a variety of devs.

The genie is loose
I don’t know about FIFA 23 and beyond going free-to-play. It sounds like a good idea in theory but if EA does as a means to avoid government scrutiny then that means they’re just going to double down on the microtransactions and Ultimate Team rip-offs.

I realise there’s no real point complaining about it, since it’s the fact that it’s popular that’s the problem. EA wouldn’t do this stuff if people don’t pay for it but I really wish they wouldn’t. It’s such a rip off and the number of people wasting their money (or their parent’s money) on meaningless digital items that will be obsolete in a year’s time is huge.

I’m not sure what to hope for though, really. That microtransactions get banned around the world and EA go back to just selling a new £50 game every year? Yeah, that’s not happening. The genie is already out of the bottle. That people realise what a con microtransactions are and rise up against it? I can’t see that either. It’s not like it’s a new phenomenon and while everyone enjoys having a moan about something they’re not invested in, football fans don’t want FIFA or Ultimate Team to suffer.

I fear we’re caught in a downward spiral that we’re never getting out of. Especially now that PES seems to have signed its own death warrant.

Inbox also-rans
I don’t know about the difference between Xbox Live and PSN but I can tell you that Sky broadband is awful. I quit it earlier in the year to go to Virgin Media and while they’re not great at least they actually seem to realise that fixing your broadband is part of their job.

What, hang on? Fortnite is not on iPhone any more and might never be again? What were Epic thinking? I would assume the mobile version was probably the most profitable one?

GC: Actually, the console versions are. Probably because Fortnite isn’t that big in China (but PUBG is, surprisingly).

This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader notoriouschucky, who asks what video game do you consider to be worth a full 10/10 score?

Accepting that 10/10 does not mean something is literally perfect, what game would you give that mark to and why? How well did it review on release and do you feel it got the recognition it deserved – and if not, why not?

What makes that particular game better than any sequels or similar games and how well do you expect it to age over time? If it’s already an old game how has its reputation changed over time and how much life does it still have in it?

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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, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

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