Horizon: Call Of The Mountain – the PS5’s most exciting new game? (pic: Sony)

The Monday letters page is worried Sonic Frontiers is going to follow the Sonic cycle, as one reader looks forward to The Callisto Protocol.

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Solid state
I thought that was a really good State of Play from Sony on Friday (well, I only saw it on Friday – why was it so late?). I’m surprised they didn’t hype it up even more than they did, considering it turned out better than people expected. I liked all the reveals really: Final Fantasy 16, Street Fighter 6, The Callisto Protocol, and Resident Evil 4 remake.

Even the indie games looked good, although it was the PlayStation VR2 stuff I was most excited too. It’s a shame two of them were existing games, but they still looked good and I’m excited to see the other exclusive games. Horizon: Call Of The Mountain looked fantastic, and in my opinion was the best game that was shown. I hope it can have the same impact that Astro Bot: Rescue Mission had when I first played that.

I would’ve like that to be one of the exclusives that was shown but hopefully – surely – it must be in development. Anyone that’s played a good VR game will tell you it’s like nothing else and I hope Sony can make the new headset cheap enough that even more people can try it.

Very positive overall and I hope that there is a second event, focusing on first party non-VR games soon. I assume there will be but it’s hard to predict what’s going on at the moment.

Straight from the source
Capcom are not going to be happy about that Street Fighter 6 leak I can imagine. I was surprised to see that, based on the text, it seemed to originate from Japan, which is unusual. Although I guess it could’ve been some kind of document they were sharing with Capcom USA or something.

Whatever the source I really like the look of the characters. The classic ones have been updated really well and I like the idea that they’re getting back into the idea of having younger up-and-coming fighters and older veterans. I imagine it’s only a matter of time before one of them is revealed to be the daughter or son of one of the classic characters.

I’m also very intrigued by the open world exploration angle, although I’m also very dubious as to whether they can pull it off properly. That is going to take a lot of money and work to get right and considering it’s just a sideshow to the main game that doesn’t seem like something Capcom (or anyone really) would do. Here’s hoping it works out but it strikes me as something that could cause more trouble than not.

Evil opposite
100% agree with the Reader’s Feature saying that Resident Evil 4 has to remain cheesy. The graphics were great and all but what worried me about the trailer is that everything was taken so seriously… in a game about rescuing the president’s daughter from alien head parasites and a dwarf dressed up like a 17th Spanish admiral. (Seriously, what was going on with Ramon Salazar?)

I guess they might change all that too, but at what point do you change so much the whole thing is pointless? The gameplay’s going to be completely different, the tone is going to be completely different, and I imagine the characters will be too. How much can you take out and still call it Resident Evil 4?

The trailer also looks scary, which is impressive on one hand but Resident Evil 4 was never scary. This is like the negative image of the game not a remake.

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Missing the chance
That new Sega Mega Drive 2 mini-console sounds great, the first one was definitely my favourite of the mini-consoles and I felt it was surprisingly good value despite it all. The Mega CD didn’t have many good games, so I can see why they didn’t focus on that, and the Mega Drive 2 was always a cool design – even if the name was blatantly to make people think it did something different.

Once again though, I have to contrast the effort Sega makes in re-releasing its games compared to making any new games. We still haven’t had any news on any big name reboots yet and I don’t think I’m the only one that is very dubious about what I’ve seen of Sonic Frontiers so far.

The reason it seems especially silly to me is that the long Sega don’t do it the harder it gets to revamp these old franchises. The people that remember them are getting older and older and without that foundation to care about a new Altered Beast or Golden Axe or whatever the harder it is to bring it back as something someone would care about.

Up there
I’ve been playing Forza Horizon 5 for around 30 hours now and I’ve had a great time with it so far. The last entry I’d played in the series was the very first one, so it’s been eye opening to see how far the scope and complexity of the racing playground has advanced in the intervening years. I’m playing on the Xbox Series X and the graphics look astonishingly good most of the time, it’s certainly up there with Ratchet & Clank: A Rift Apart, Demon’s Souls, and Microsoft Flight Simulator for the best graphics I’ve seen this gen so far. I’ve yet to play Horizon Forbidden West or Gran Turismo 7, however.

As was expecting the driving handling and car physics to feel first class and the graphics, weather system, regional diversity, and cultural richness in the Mexican setting has had me in a state of constant awe. The variety in the objectives is also quite impressive, the ‘story’ focused drives and spectacle events are a highlight, and of course the selection of cars is quite staggering.

Furthermore, thanks to music app Spotify the pure driving experience has been enhanced considerably with the injection of a personalised playlist – playing ‘ You Can’t Stop The Rain ‘ by Loose Ends when it’s raining just feels right!

If I had to mention any negatives though it would be the insufferably Americanised characters and brash festival ethos, intrusive pop-up notifications/event invitations (haven’t checked to see if I can disable these yet, so I could be at fault here) and the suffocating deluge of icons on the map. I would’ve definitely preferred a more minimalist, organic Zelda: Breath Of The Wild-esque approach to the map design here. Yes, I am aware that you can filter the density of the map icons so that you only see certain tasks, etc. but in its default mode it’s still pretty annoying.

Then there’s the question of the car damage still being purely cosmetic and inconsequential. No doubt the car manufacturers would have it no other way, but then again perhaps it’s for the best because you wouldn’t be able to drive off a mountain without it ending in a fiery death.

Haven’t partaken in any online races yet but fret not, for I’ll soon be burning rubber adjacent to ye GC/Facebook stunners!
Galvanized Gamer

Hard to see
So after completing my back log of games, I finally got around to playing Cyberpunk 2077, which I downloaded some time ago on my PlayStation 5.

My initial impressions are positive, game looks okay, not brilliant but okay, with a steady frame rate and I’m enjoying the gunplay.

But the game is not without issues. Night City feels a little empty, not exactly teaming with people and there’s next to no cars on the road. I’m assuming this is to give me my steady frame rate.

But the biggest issues I have is the teeny tiny text for the in-game menus. The on-screen subtitles are fine, but the menu text is Impossible to read.

When playing this type of game I love reading the descriptions of new items, whether it be guns, clothing or upgrades, and this has been robbed of me.

I’m pretty sure I read on GC that the PC is the preferred option for the best experience, which is great if you have a PC.

But surely, like me, lots of people will be playing this on a console, which means using a television whilst sat on a couch.

Is this a compromise that console players will have to get used to or might we get a patch at some point in the future?
Johnny five stars

One or the other
So it looks like The Callisto Protocol will end up being the first of the new survival horror renaissance, if it comes out this autumn. I hope it does well and sets the scene for the others to be a success. I do wonder how much chance it really has though because Dead Space is both scary and gross and I don’t think that’s a combination that is ever going to be popular with the mainstream.

Resident Evil can be scary (but often isn’t) but it’s never that gross. Ditto Silent Hill and Alan Wake. I think once you start having a game that is both really disgusting and really scary it’s just too much for the average person, and I don’t even mean that as an insult. We’ll, but while I’m sure I’ll enjoy it, it all seems like it might be a bit much.

More: Gaming

Healthy State
I really enjoyed Sony’s State of Play last week. Hopefully it sets the tone for an exciting run of events over the summer.

The Resident Evil 4 remake reveal was nice. I like these big budget remakes like Demon’s Souls. Not just for the better graphics but also for tweaking and improving performance and things like controls. It’s also a good way to find a new audience for these classic games. Having been around since the dawn of 3D console graphics Resi Evil 4 on PlayStation 4 looks great but to lots it will still look like an old game and put them off playing it.

The VR portion interested me the most. I’ve put off playing Resident Evil 8 and No Man’s Sky in the hope of them showing up on PSVR2 and the State of Play delivered. On a side note, my dream VR game would be Stunt Car Racer, where you drive around drag racing/hot rod cars on a tarmacked roller-coaster. Roller-coaster experiences were a big part of early VR promotional shtick, so it should work.

Stray being announced as day one on the new extra and premium PS Plus tiers was a nice surprise. Sony’s troubled Asian launch for the new service involved an issue where current PS Plus subs upgrading to a higher tier lost any savings they had made by buying PS Plus cheap. Sony released a statement the next day explaining it was an error and has now been corrected. Which I was glad to hear as I picked up PS Plus for a year for £25. That saving, plus ShopTo having a permanent sale on PSN wallet top-ups, means it will be pretty cheap upgrading the last of my five months of PS Plus to the extra tier.

Chuck in Street Fighter 6, The Callisto Protocol, Final Fantasy 16, Tunic, and Rollerdrome and it was an enjoyable 30 minutes.

Inbox also-rans
I can see what the Reader’s Feature is getting at with the Final Fantasy 16 trailer but in its defence I would say that it still looks good. Does it really matter what franchise it’s part of, as long as it’s good?

I was going to say I’ll laugh when Sonic Frontiers proves to follow the Sonic cycle perfectly, but that’s a bit mean. Fans deserve better. You just know the next disappointment is going to be revealing a bunch of his awful friends are in it though.

Is it inevitable? (pic: Know Your Meme)

This week’s Hot Topic
With the Xbox & Bethesda Showcase set to take place late on Sunday, this weekend’s Inbox asks you what you’re hoping to see announced, both at it and other E3-esque shows this June.

E3 may never be coming back but Microsoft, at least, is keeping to the same schedule with its big 90 minute preview event. So what games and other reveals are you hoping for? What surprises do you predict, including new hardware and service announcements, and games intended for release this year?

Sony, Nintendo, and third party publishers haven’t confirmed if they’re doing anything similar this month but if they do what do you hope from that? And what do you think is probably not going to happen?

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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 via email or our Submit Stuff page, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

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