Games Inbox: What is the best PS5 exclusive in 2024?

Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth – the best exclusive on PS5? (Square Enix)

The Wednesday letters page compares Nintendo to EA and Capcom, as one reader wonders what has happened to the Fable reboot.

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Next gen favourite
I’m going to take a glass half full approach to the State of Play last week and say that the new Astro Bot game looked great. Like, really great. It doesn’t excuse the rest but at the end of the day, how many classics do you get per year? Not many and I’d say that this year has already seen two contenders for best PlayStation 5 exclusive ever, in Helldivers 2 and Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth.

Which makes me question what is the absolute best PlayStation 5 exclusive now? As the console is now well into its fourth year and sales are apparently slowing down. For me the other contenders are Returnal, Demon’s Souls, and Spider-Man 2. Horizon Forbidden West and God Of War Ragnarök are also good but I would put them on a lower tier overall.

I’m tempted to go with Returnal but maybe it’s recency bias, but I honestly think it might be Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth. Maybe it is a bit bloated but I’ve loved it all anyway and the production values are sky high and feel really next gen. Curious to know what other people think?

Different worlds
I wonder what the heads of Western publishers think when they see stories about Nintendo hiring 400 new people or Capcom giving everyone 30% pay rises. They must think they’re mad. And yet here we are with most Japanese companies doing perfectly fine, and not laying anyone off, and their Western equivalents in an absolute shambles.

There’s so little in common between Nintendo and Capcom and, say, EA and Take-Two it’s hard to believe they’re even in the same business. It’s a cliché to say that Japanese companies are more focused on the long-term than Western ones but that definitely seems to be the case for Nintendo in particular.

They’ve always been in it for the long-term and they plan for it. Whereas I get the feeling that the people in charge of Take-Two or whatever are purely doing what they’re doing for the share price and their own personal money pot. I mean, it’s not going to stop me buying GTA 6, but a part of me resents giving them my money.

Fabled appearance
I wonder what effect on things it would be if Microsoft have a really good Xbox Games Showcase. Last year’s was accepted by everyone to be good but it didn’t seem to change anything, especially once Starfield came out, but they have got potentially larger announcements this year, including Call Of Duty on Game Pass and new hardware.

I’m sure that if the next gen portable is teased it’ll be just a single image or something equally minor, but it could be the momentum that Xbox has so desperately needed. For once it would put Microsoft ahead of Sony and if it did well it’d have to be PlayStation that was catching up.

What worries me though is that there’s no indication that Fable is going to be there. That game has been in development for what seems like forever and all we’ve had is one very orchestrated trailer and no real sign of gameplay or a release year. At the moment we’ve no way of telling whether it’s going to be another Starfield style failure or a Zelda level epic. The lack of news is very worrying.

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Free to enjoy
I’m interested to hear what GC and other readers feel about XDefiant? I went in with low expectations, and the first few games I found it pretty frustrating. However, I stuck at it and really enjoying it. The skill levels are quite wide, lots of cool levels, super smooth loading and frame rates, good gunplay, good classes and… it’s fun!

Oh, and did I mention it is also free too?

I’ve not invested in any battle pass or skins, as none so far have grabbed my attention, but I’d consider it in the future if something grabs my attention.

Give it a go, stick at it a few games until you level up a good gun and have a good time.
Tom (Nebutronical is my gamertag if anyone wants a chilled parent session in the evenings)

GC: What we’ve played of it so far seems impressive, which appears to be the general consensus.

Short list
Can any readers recommend any arcade or simulation racers on PlayStation 4? As a friend has asked me for suggestions. Off the top of my head I said Horizon Chase Turbo 1 and 2, Art Of Rally, and Onrush. I have just
remembered there is Wreckfest to to add to the list.

I got Onrush when it was on sale on the digital store but have just noticed the game has been delisted on the PSN Store, sadly, but you can still get it on disc for under a tenner. I know GameCentral isn’t too keen on lists but if someone wanted to email in a list of games and my friend can see if he can pick them up cheap in sales.
Andrew J.

GC: We can show lists, but the minute we encourage them we get sent dozens that are half a mile long, with no commentary or context.

Oops, they did it again
How does FromSoftware keep excelling at game design and, most spectacularly, the creation of amazing DLC content. It doesn’t need repeating how truly amazing Shadow Of The Erdtree looks. But it is shaping up to be the best thing releasing this month. I still can’t actually wrap my head around the fact this expansion will be 40 hours long.

That’s twice the length of Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 and even longer than Sekiro and Resident Evil 3 combined. It will feature over 10 bosses, an insane amount, and it boasts a collection of over 100 weapons. I’m buying it absolutely but the fact I’m acquiring it for £26, feels as if I’m robbing FromSoftware. It deserves every penny.

So I’ll be honest, I’ve not beaten or come close to even the first boss in Elden Ring. Good old Margit. I’m actually at the start of the game. Just killed Erdtree Burial Watchdog. The creepy cat boss. So, I’ve a great amount of deaths, bosses, and patches to look forward to. But I don’t know if I’ll honestly make it or be good and skilled enough to make it to Shadow Of The Erdtree. It will be a much more difficult piece of content.

That’s the norm, after all and I’ll give it my best shot. But I’ll still buy the expansion. It deserves every cent. On a final note. I realised that Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, seems a better game to play on the Steam Deck, than a PlayStation 5. Perhaps I’ll pick that up again, in the June Steam Sale.
Shahzaib Sadiq

Old fears
I know it’s had some mentions on here before but just wanted to say what a great indie game Crow Country is. If you miss old school PS1 survival horrors it’s an absolute blast, without being a copy of anything in particular.

There’s a real creepiness to the old low-polygon graphics of back in the day and it’s something I’d like to see other games lean into as well. People talking about new Resident Evil games, I’d love to see an official game with old school graphics. Like a Resident Evil Minus One type deal. Probably won’t happen but maybe as an anniversary special?

Stellar soundtrack
Marhaba (Hi). I’ve been having a rollicking good time with Stellar Blade these past few weeks; it’s really been scratching that NieR:Automata/Bayonetta/ Sekiro itch for me, with its setting and combat.

The game’s soundtrack is also simply sublime; right up there with Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth as my favourite video game soundtrack of the year so far. And much like Square Enix’s games I love how the music shifts up in battle to reflect intensity.

There’s a raft of styles in the lush soundscapes, from snazzy jazz and punk rock to Korean/dream pop and NieR-esque ethereal orchestral music, the rousing sounds just do not stop.

There’s even a hauntingly beautiful piece that evokes Ghost In A Shell/Bulgarian women’s choir music. The music direction in general is just performed with aplomb, proper sets the mood and makes me wanna groove. The track list is brimming with delightful tunes.

If you enjoyed the music in NieR:Automata I think you’ll probably dig this because the game shares one of the same composer in the luminary Keiiche Okabe. And he was firing on all cylinders here.
Galvanized Gamer
PS: Would you consider adding a best soundtrack/audio design category in your best of the year wrap-ups, GC? For me personally, the music in gaming is such an integral component of the overall experience. Even slightly elevating some games that would otherwise prove to be a disappointment (Final Fantasy 13 instantly comes to mind).

GC: Maybe, but we can’t say we were particularly enamoured by Stellar Blade’s soundtrack.

Inbox also-rans
Someone made a game of Killer Klowns from Outer Space? And they turned it into a boring multiplayer game? What a horrible waste. I’d say I’ll still try it but it’ll have to be on a heavy discount.

Just finished Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door and would recommend it to anyone. Haven’t enjoyed all of a game like that for a very long time. Very funny and great combat system.

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