Games Inbox: Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 first impressions

The Friday letters page continues the arguments of 30fps vs. 60fps (and 40fps), as one reader admits to enjoying Gotham Knights.

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Please be moderately excited
So it’s launch day on Friday for Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and I’m… moderately excited? I’m not expecting any big surprises, in fact I know there aren’t any, but I pre-ordered and I’ve played the campaign and the beta, and I thought it was all pretty good.

I’m not sure why the campaign was cribbing so much from the first Modern Warfare but overall I enjoyed it and I was really impressed by the graphics. Some of the best I’ve seen this generation and while there was still some uncanny valley going on with the characters they’re still really impressive.

The beta was good too. I think I read people were upset with it, but I don’t really know why as I had a lot of fun and I think the new maps were all good, never came across a dud.

I’ve pre-ordered so I’ve already made my choice but for anyone wondering, I’d say that Call Of Duty Modern Warfare 2 is definitely worth getting. It won’t change your , but I think it’s definitely better than Vanguard.
Telmo

Single wow
I find it quite absurd that we are now two years into this generation and the only thing I have played that genuinely feels next gen is Astro’s Playroom – a free tech demo. I am lucky enough to own PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, and Switch but that really is the only new experience that’s made me go wow.

Xbox Series X is my go-to for multiplatform games and Game Pass but I invested in the PlayStation 5 with the lure of the DualSense controller. That works like a dream on Astro’s Playroom but none of the other first party PlayStation games have even come close to giving a similar experience.

It makes me laugh hearing about mid-gen upgrade consoles when everything the industry has produced for the past two years can run fine on the last gen consoles and makes the current consoles little more than a luxury that no one really needs. It really is becoming the least interesting generation ever for unique gaming experiences.
Saints Stickman (gamertag/PSN ID)

Troubled development
Rocksteady on the rocks… my immediate reaction to Sefton Hill and Jamie Walker leaving Rocksteady is as pessimistic as you can get. Years of silence and underwhelming reveals have been strange for a studio who produced a quality trilogy with the Batman: Arkham series.

My biggest worry since the reveal was an emphasis on an open world four-player experience. Seeming to abandon the single-player and tight focus of Arkham Asylum and City has likely led to a messy development of one person wanting one thing and one person another.

My thoughts are that Suicide Squad changed early on to a live service, four-player focussed game, a decision not taken lightly by many, including Sefton Hill, and that there has been creative clashes since then. I remain nonplussed about Suicide Squad since the official unveil and now even more so with the news of departures. I guess we’ll see how this develops.
Anon

GC: We suspect, given the kind of game it is and when it started development, that it was originally supposed to be filled with loot boxes and microtransactions, and that taking all that out caused quite a headache.

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Favourite couple
Regular zombies in Resident Evil 9 would be a great return, but robot zombies? Are you crazy? Nah man. I cannot wait until the Winters’ Expansion DLC comes out tomorrow, I’ve had this pre-ordered and been anticipating it since it hit the scene. I am a major Resident Evil fan (I have every title to date available on PlayStation 4).

The new monsters they’ve added into the series are a great addition, but I long for a taste of the old as well. I often find myself replaying Resident Evil 2 and 3 the most. The puzzles, and zombies, and not to mention my guys Mr. X and Nemesis, I love those two. These are the reasons I go back to those titles so much.

Just wanted to chat about my favourite title a bit.
Anon

Ire discrepancy
So with the uproar regarding Gotham Knights not running at 60fps and some people’s ire at this I have a question….

Where is the ire at A Plague Tale: Requiem?

I just found out that this game also runs at 30fps – with apparently the PlayStation 5 occasionally dipping to 24fps (this is running at 1440p upscaled to 4K).

Now personally I’m not that fussed, as I said previously, I will normally take pretty graphics over frame rate, just wondered why Gotham Knights seem to be taking all the flack when it seems it’s not an outlier?

I have seen an article that suggests the issue isn’t actually the Xbox Series S (again, Requiem just runs on Xbox Series S at 1080p rather than 1440p), but rather, in order to get all the loveliness out of Unreal 5 just requires so much CPU and GPU horsepower! So potentially the issue is Unreal 5, or at least using its more intensive features.

Whether that’s right or not I have no idea, but it kind of makes sense.

Anyway, enjoy your gaming y’all!
The Dude Abides

GC: A Plague Tale: Requiem was mentioned in yesterday’s Inbox. But as you say, 30fps has been the standard for decades. It’s absolutely fine for a game like Requiem, where one of the central appeals are its detailed visuals – which would not be possible on current hardware if it had to run at 60fps.

The gathering storm
I think since NTSC vs. PAL I can remember some debate about the frame rate of games, with higher rates largely considered better. Console gaming has been a predominately 30fps affair for some time. But the mid-gen upgrades last gen planted the notion of PC style options into many a gamer’s head. Where they could choose between the desired 60fps over graphics.

The new consoles delivered this promise in spades, with excellent upgrade patches and performance options. I’ve had my Xbox Series X for 18 months and my PlayStation 5 for 11 months and aside from Microsoft Flight Simulator, A Plague Tale: Requiem is the first game on the current gen where I’ve been locked again to 30 fps (40-ish fps if you have a 120Hz display). I’ve played every game on console at 60fps for a year and half now.

So I don’t think anyone has decided in a couple weeks 30fps is unpayable. It’s just the cats out of the bag for some gamers. They’ve got used to 60fps, they can switch between performance and fidelity mode in a second and see the difference. The reader yesterday could switch between games in a flash to compare with quick resume. This is why a locked 30fps game on the new consoles is getting talked about a lot.

Digital Foundry had an article saying a return to 30fps on console was inevitable. A longer than usual cross-gen period and few next gen exclusives that really push the consoles meant 60fps wasn’t too much trouble for the new consoles. But as consoles are relatively cheap bits of kit compared to a high-end CPUs and GPUs it was only a matter of time before there would be games that the consoles couldn’t run at 60fps, even with reduced graphics.
Simundo

GC: It is inevitable, which makes us dread the debate around it.

40 > 30
Regarding A Plague Tale: Requiem and 30 frames per second.

If you have a TV that supports VRR you can use it to play Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 games to up the frame rates of games that support it.

I played through Ratchet & Clank and A Plague Tale: Requiem and those extra 10 frames really do make a huge difference, I couldn’t really tell it apart from 60fps, whereas the jump from 30 to 40 was very noticeable.
JDB

Unsung heroes
Thanks TommyFatFingers, for that link to the Polygon article about Metal Gear Solid’s English translation. It was fascinating to hear about how these games came to be by people that barely get a credit. The article did little to convince me that Kojima isn’t a thoroughly conceited individual! What did he expect of an English translation in 1998? I hope that guy got paid well in the end.

I’ve always thought criticism of English translations of 90s games is very harsh. Six months to do tens of thousands of words is pretty intense, and then there’s the somewhat strange restrictions of window size, cut scene length and so on. Add to that, the fact that in the 90s (and still today) translators often had scant access to the game itself, sometimes having to guess what exactly was supposed to be going on in a particular scene, and they really are underappreciated.
Owen Pile (NongWen – PSN ID)

Better than middling
I might be the only one, but I picked up a copy of Gotham Knights despite the mostly fair-to-middling reviews it seems to have got everywhere and I really like it. Yes, it is very different from any of the Arkham games, but I did expect it to be different without Rocksteady being involved.

I think that the best description I have read is that it’s like when the Assassin’s Creed games moved to more of a role-playing style of game, and I think that sums it up perfectly. Call me a glutton for punishment but I also picked up a copy of Saints Row, which is much better than I expected. It’s just big dumb fun and sometimes you need that from a game.
Rickandrolla (PSN ID)

GC: It’s perfectly fine and the supposed technical issues are entirely inconsequential. Although we can’t agree with you on Saints Row.

Free turn
With all the love for turn-based strategy games in these pages recently, particularly XCOM 2, I just thought I would give a heads-up that the freebie on Epic Games Store is Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus.

It’s a turn-based game based in the Warhammer 40K universe (no surprise there!). Never played it mind, but it reviewed well! It came out in 2018. Anyway, I’m going to give it a go!
The Dude Abides

COD alternative
Great review of the new Bayonetta, it’s definitely turned out better than I anticipated. Given the older nature of the previous entries (they are both essentially Xbox 360 generation titles) and the Switch’s technical capabilities I thought it would just seem a little bit dated next to current gen action titles like Devil May Cry 5. That they’ve brought in the more expansive elements of Astral Chain and NeiR:Automata is a smart move to update the design.

The popularity of the titles is a funny one though, they’ve never sold well and I have to admit… the idea of playing them on the big TV in the living room when someone might walk in is hardly appealing. Despite the rock solid gameplay it’s all just a bit… ‘weird anime’ and it’s difficult to pick up the campness and irony at a glance if you’re not au fait with video games and Japanese pop culture (this does raise the question over why murdering people in Call Of Duty is deemed more acceptable but that’s another topic).

That might be why they’ve always been cult titles without wide appeal? Even Switch sales of the Bayonetta/Bayonetta 2 ports were really poor early in the system’s life, when everything was selling like hot cakes.

Maybe this will be the franchise’s breakout Persona 5 moment. I actually think it’s smart counter programming from Nintendo, to put it out against Call of Duty, like when movie distributors put out an arthouse film at the same time as some big blockbuster. They know a certain demographic of people will be looking for an alternative at the cinema and have movies on their mind.
Marc

Inbox also-rans
I didn’t know Japan censored all its mature-rated games, even when it produced a second gory version! I’m genuinely surprised by that, I thought they would have been one of the last to carry on like that.
Jole

Between NFTs and Metaverse, the marketing guru that comes up with all these buzzwords really needs some better material to work with. The next big thing has sucked twice in a row now.
Mento

This week’s Hot Topic
Halloween is almost upon us, so for this weekend’s Inbox we want to know what’s the best ever survival horror game and what upcoming title has the best chance of beating.

Big budget horror games are rare but there’s suddenly a lot of them on the way, including remakes of Resident Evil 4, Dead Space, and Silent Hill 2, as well as The Callisto Protocol, Alan Wake 2, all the other Silent Hill games – plus many others.

Are you excited about the new releases, and do you think this will usher in a new era of successful horror games or is it just a blimp? If you’re not interested in any of the new games, what is it about your personal favourite that you enjoy so much?

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

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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