Coins, Collectibles & Trophies
Bonjour! Got the Monday blues? Still recovering from that massive weekend hangover? Maybe you’ve just been enjoying the beautiful British weather by sitting inside and playing Elden Ring? Whichever way you’re doing your Monday suffering, we’re back with another issue of The CGV to bring you some gaming news and opinion that might just cheer you up a bit.
A bit of housekeeping- The CGV is written by two very like minded gamers who have more games to play than we have time to play them. So to avoid confusion, and to make sure you know how casual we both are, all sections written by one of us will be denoted with P1 or P2, and anything that is a joint effort will be Co-op.
Now then, on to today’s issue. If you enjoy, don’t forget to subscribe and share!
Playstation Plus Revamp, 3D platformers and Trophies
With the rapidly approaching launch of Sony’s response to Game Pass, Playstation Plus Extra/Premium, Playstation owners willing to foot the price tag will see a plethora of readily available titles added to their libraries this summer. I'm sure I'm not alone in amassing a monstrous digital backlog of titles already collecting digital dust in the ‘to play’ pile, but this change of format (from the PS+ monthly free games consisting of 4-5 freely downloadable titles) comes as a welcome change for its users.
The ‘what do I play next?’ complex tied to a concern of wasting your precious time can be frustrating as an adult, in the same way scrolling through an endless Netflix catalogue for an hour before choosing or abandoning entirely.
Despite the promise of instant access to hundreds of high quality games that have slipped through our nets, I can't help but feel slightly thankful for the limited amount of free titles Sony previously offered, specifically the recent addition to the April selection Spongebob Squarepants: Battle for Bikini Bottom - Rehydrated. A seemingly strange game to be talking about, especially two years after its release. It's a game which overall holds up surprisingly well, and due to its albeit strange but massively entertaining, dedicated speedrunning community (well worth researching) sold pretty well too.
Having a nostalgia fuelled soft spot for 3D platformers (understatement), I couldn't resist downloading and playing SBFBB:R for an hour of mindless entertainment, which quickly turned into many hours. It sparked within me a compulsive feeling I had playing the remastered gems of my childhood - Spyro: Reignited , Crash Bandicoot: N.Sane Trilogy, Ratchet and Clank (2016). Although these games, despite having a much deeper place within me than the anthropomorphic sponge and his sea friends, were arguably far better in terms of gameplay, content and carried some critical acclaim - they shared one thing which drives a neurotic cog somewhere in my brain which compels me to not only play, but 100% complete them. Easily obtainable trophies - and lots of them.
Some of my favourite adult gaming experiences were suddenly spent charging through the dragon realms as Spyro in all his 4k glory or taking down Crash Bandicoot’s boss battles or time trials which at one time were capable of reducing me to child-rage tears. Alongside this nostalgia trip I found a feeling I was rectifying my inability to complete these in-game achievements in the form of the satisfying ‘ding’ when a trophy is obtained.
Until revisiting the games of my past trophies had never particularly interested me. A platinum trophy in a playstation game is the penultimate achievement for completion, and what started as a trip down memory lane turned into me clearing up the unfinished business of my childhood years and earning that platinum to flex upon, well, nobody at all - But the short dopamine which comes alongside the platinum ‘ding’ is great.
You probably won't catch me chasing down the platinum trophies in Elden Ring, Dark Souls or Bloodbourne any time soon, but Spongebob Squarepants: Battle for Bikini Bottom - Rehydrated is definitely in my sights.
The value of gaming
*WARNING: Writing this part of the article has made me realise that I'm at the stage of my life where I'm one of those blokes that talks about mortgages in the pub. If you don't want to be bored to death by made up algorithms and talk about gaming costs, skip to the next section.*
We’ve all had enough of hearing about the cost of living crisis, you can’t watch a single news-related programme on TV without being reminded about it. Instead, we want to look at how you can maximise your gold coins when it comes to our favourite hobby. Like everything else in sight, games and consoles seem to be going up in price on a weekly basis. Yet still, gaming is easily pound-for-pound the cheapest form of home entertainment. Clearly for a lot of people buying new games is the bottom of the pile in terms of priorities, but when you consider the cost of gaming compared to other entertainment mediums you might actually be surprised at how much you get for your pound.
In my younger days I used to begrudge handing over £40 for a new title, often rustling up the dregs of my last year’s worth of games to trade in and knock a few quid off the price. Now though, I like to look at it in the scope of a “cost per hour” value (CPH). This value can be calculated as follows:
Cost ÷ Approximate time spent playing = cost per hour
So if I went to the cinema to watch Sonic the Hedgehog 2 at £7 an adult ticket with a run time of roughly 2 hours, your CPH is £3.50 per hour, and that’s before you’ve bought snacks or tickets for the rest of the family. In contrast, if I took a game like Final Fantasy VII: Remake which I bought for around £45 on release, and used the rough amount of time I spent on it (60 hours), we’d have a CPH of £0.75 per hour. Suddenly FFVII:R looks like a bargain, especially when you throw replay value and New Game+ modes into the mix.
Better still, this is taking a fully priced game that has a fixed end point. If you were to choose a competitive/online multiplayer game like Mortal Kombat 11, Call Of Duty or FIFA then you get an unquantifiable CPH, as you can play these games for as long as there is a community available to play them. I dread to think how many pennies my personal cost for Overwatch currently sits at (it’s around £0.035 without giving too much away). It’s not rocket science to highlight any of this, but having this perspective has generally helped me make better choices when picking what I want to play next.
Too often I’ve felt guilty for buying a game, yet wouldn’t think twice about signing up to Netflix at £7.99 a month, or Spotify premium at £10 a month. On that note, even if you were to compare subscription services, you could make a good argument to say that Xbox Game Pass offers a lot more than Netflix, as there are hundreds of games that can be accessed that are multiplayer or have 20+ hours of gameplay. Of course, like anything with a monthly cost it always depends on how much time you put into using them, but XGP has an absolutely insane value when it's used properly.
Ok, serious adult talk is over now. I hope I haven’t lost you here and that I’m not getting too geeky about entertainment choices, I just think this is a great argument winner for your internal self when you’re considering buying that new game you’ve been itching for. If you can afford it, and you’re going to put the hours in then why not take the plunge on something new? Or better yet, buy used games to help recycle unused media, create a bit of money for someone who might need it and help the environment by reducing the demand for new products.
Element of surprise
Sometimes the most fun you will have playing a game comes out of nowhere. In all honesty I don’t usually touch the free PS+ games, and if I do then I often play them for about half an hour and never really touch any of them ever again. Spongebob was also right up my street, so that was always getting a download and Sonic Team Racing from the previous month was a great co-op game to play with my partner. Other than that, I’m often not interested in the free games, even those that actually look alright. Perhaps then, it was the extra time we’ve all had over Easter to get some gaming done that inspired it, but over the bank holiday break, and with a massive hangover crippling me into submission, I decided to give Slay the Spire a go.
I’ve never really been a huge fan of card systems in video games, but I do like turn-based combat and I’ve developed a love for roguelikes, so with nothing better to do I fired it up. Now I’m hooked. The gameplay style allows for unique runs each time you start, and it has a really deep system that allows for different deck builds for each of the 4 characters. It is the kind of game that should be boring, but is weirdly addictive making it a really great addition to PS+. I highly recommend everyone who subscribes to the service to check it out, even if the idea doesn’t sound like your cup of tea.
I’ve experienced the surprise hit feeling before, around a decade ago when I picked up Mass Effect for cheap on Xbox 360. The idea of a Sci-Fi Action/RPG was intriguing, but I used to tend to stay away from shooters unless they were multiplayer. Still, with the sequel being released around the same time and getting rave reviews I thought it was worth a shot. The series ended up becoming one of my favourites of all time, and going in with little expectation really helped open my eyes to a new type of game. Similarly I remember checking out Mortal Kombat XL and being hugely impressed, despite having no interest in the MK games. Admittedly fighting games are probably my favourite genre (from a very casual perspective), but in my mind MK hadn’t been good since the old 2D days. I couldn’t have been more wrong, and after developing a bit of love for MKXL, Mortal Kombat 11 became a day one purchase and remains one of my favourite games of the PS4 generation.
This is what excites me about the rise in popularity of subscription services. Granted, it is a commitment to put down £8+ a month to play games, but since subscribing to Game Pass I have tried out more games than ever. Hopefully I’ll continue to find other sleeper hits while I’m at it, even if the “to play” pile gets bigger and dustier by the week.
Have you ever been really surprised by a game you’ve tried out? Let us know in the comment section below!
It’s been a bit of a slow news week, but here is our pick of what’s happened:
Kingdom Hearts 4 was surprisingly announced during the 20th anniversary celebration for the release of the original. Yes that makes us feel old, and no I don’t understand any of the plot for KH3. After loving the first two games and the GBA game Chain of Memories, I kind of lost track of the plot. There has been roughly 10 million releases in the series, all with mad titles, but I thought I’d be fine skipping them to play number 3 a while back. Clearly not as I was lost immediately upon starting the game. Still, this is a beloved series and it’s great to see SquareEnix carrying on with it. They’ve even teased the inclusion of Star Wars in this one, and now that Disney own Marvel too we could see all sorts of worlds being in there. If we see the return of Final Fantasy characters then maybe we’ll see that Spider-Man and Cloud crossover my teenage self always wanted.
Sonic Origins, a previously announced collection of Sonic 1-3 and Sonic CD, has finally had some details released. It looks like Sonic Mania developers Headcannon are involved to some extent (we suspect with the emulation needed to make sure Sonic 3 & Knuckles is fully implemented) and that there will be some minor changes, like being able to play as Sonic, Tails or Knuckles in all of the games and missions available to obtain unlockables. It sounds promising, but the price points are not great and there seems to be a bit of a weird structure for the DLC. This one might be a purchase when it’s on sale!
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge has been given a release window for this Summer. It’s also been announced that the original 1987 cartoon cast are returning to voice the turtles. This game is being published by DotEmu, and if they can recreate the joy of Turtles in Time, like they did with their release of Streets of Rage 4 then we are in for a real treat. Hopefully this will be an Xbox Game Pass day one release too, much like their other games SOR4 and Windjammers 2.
DualSense controller owners can finally, and officially, update and use their pad on PC. If you don’t own a PS5 then the DualSense might not be worth the expense to use while PC gaming. Still, it is easily the best controller I’ve ever used and the added support to use one on my PC is very welcome.
What we’re playing
Game play time has been a little bit low for us recently, with holiday breaks and work commitments taking up a huge chunk of time recently. As mentioned above, we’ve managed to give Slay the Spire and Spongebob a blast. There’s also the continuous FIFA 22 save that fills in any gaps in time. We’ve yet to return to Returnal or Tunic, they seem to be games that are black holes for time, so we might need to wait until work commitments have eased off a bit.
TMNT is firmly on our radar, but more immediately than that we also have the Lego Star Wars: the Skywalker Saga in our sights. It looks class, returning to the Star Wars universe with a full revamp of the series and mechanics. It’s being described as the best Lego game yet and has reviewed incredibly well, so we can’t wait to give it a go.
P2 has also been itching to get The King of Fighters XV, but with no one else to currently play it with, it seems a bit steep to get it at full price. I’ve never played KOF but Terry being included in Smash: Ultimate has made me more interested than ever to pick one up. The netcode is also supposed to be decent so that’s a huge plus. Nothing says casual more than being stuck in the low ranks of an online fighting game!
Anything you think that we have missed this week? Drop a comment below or follow us on social media (Twitter & IG: @TheCGView) and send us a message.
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