State of the Game: Housekeeping Edition

Recently I’ve been doing some housekeeping when it comes to the backlog. As you well know, I have a problem. That problem is being sensitive to sales and bundles; having a subscription to both Playstation Plus and Humble Bundle, and being a frequent shopper when deals are presented. I’m seriously a walking Darth Kermit Meme.

That inner monologue goes something like:

Me: “You shouldn’t buy that game,  you don’t have time to play it.”
Also Me: “But it’s been on your wishlist for ages! You’ll make time! Plus it’s only $10 bucks and  you get all of the DLC!”
Me: “Damn me, you always know how to spot a great deal! I’m in!”

And so it goes.

Because I have this habit, I tend to play games a while after they are new. Occasionally I’ll spill for a full priced game, and in most cases that’s a good thing, but sometimes it’s a bummer. Other times you get a game for a great deal and it sucks. These are all things that have happened recently. Isn’t going to stop me from buying more games I don’t have time for. Me is right, I’ll make time eventually. The thing is, games aren’t making the cut as often as they used to. I’ve honestly bought more games in the past 5 or so years than for the remaining 30 years of my lifetime, and yet I play less of them to completion. It seems I have become more picky, and my time more valuable. As such, some games have been marked as completed, or as completed as I’m going to get them, and other games have been marked for deletion (in some cases I’ll card farm them and then delete). Some games I desperately wanted to like turned out to be not so great. And in some cases the games were simply there to add to the collection, not necessarily for immediate use. I do this from time to time, then kick myself for not playing the damn things. Regardless, let’s move on to the games discussion, shall we?

Mobile: 

I’ve been playing Clash Royale daily. It’s my go to game when I’m not at home. This makes sense because it’s a mobile game, but I do have other titles installed on my phone. A big one coming up is Super Mario Run, which was previously an iOS exclusive. That looks like it will be fun. I’m still playing Fire Emblem Heroes as well, but I typically only play that one when I’m stationary for a while. Clash is something I can run on my breaks at work and when I’m hanging outside of the house. Progress has slowed due to the fact that I’m level 10 and getting to the upper eschelons takes a while, along with being stuck in Arena 8 for quite some time now. I know my deck works, and I’ve tweaked it here and there to make it work even better, but it seems that I’ve hit a wall, and will continue to beat my head against that wall until some of my cards are levelled up. It seems to me that I only lose when someone has a card I don’t (of which there is only a handful at this point) or they have similar cards of a higher level. I know several members of my clan are in the highest arena and have far more trophies than I, so it’s doable, but I’m not there yet. Also, I deleted Tiny Tower from my phone. It was becoming more of a chore than fun.

Console:

During a recent sale I picked up a copy of a few games on PS4. Winkings is a arcade style game in the vein of Joust, but with far more creatures on screen at once. It’s got local co-op that I have yet to try (but will soon), and feels like a fun little time waster. Nothing amazing, but if you enjoy running around and killing stuff with a variety of weapons with a viking themed character, you might enjoy it too. Plus members can get it right now for like $3. Another game that was on sale was Q-bert Rebooted, which is one of those classic titles everyone should have in their library. Not only did it come with a rebooted version of the game, but the original is included as well, and boy is it a tough game. I was interested in picking this one up as I bought a bundle of other classic arcade games including Pac-Man, Galaga and Dig-Dug a few months back, and I enjoy having old collections of games. I have a version of Tetris and of course my Sega collection on Playstation consoles as well. It’s fun for me to go back and play some of these old games once in a while, and it’s great to have on hand to introduce people to some classic titles when the opportunity arises.

Lastly, the closed beta for Paladins, Hi-Rez Studio’s latest multiplayer free-to-play title went live on PS4. I had access to the beta on PC as well, but just like SMITE, I figured I would be more attracted to the game on console. It’s a team shooter similar to Overwatch or Battleborn, but has enough there to differentiate it from the others. I’m a big fan of SMITE on the console and still play that regularly, but I’m hoping that this one picks up steam too. The console SMITE population is excellent, but so far it seems that there might not be as many people playing Paladins. It was a buy in, but with that you instant access along with some perks. I’m sure the population will level out once it’s out of beta and anyone can join in. I liked being in on the SMITE beta and watching the game take shape on the console, so being in on this game from the start should be fun as well.

Housekeeping wise, this list of games are mostly ones that are those that aren’t going to be completed, so they don’t really take up backlog space. I’ve called it quits with Destiny. I had fun making my way through most of the game, completing The Taken King and leveling to 40. But I’m just not interested in the Light grind. With talk of Destiny 2 around the corner, and other games like Mass Effect Andromeda coming out soon, I know I’d rather spend my time elsewhere. I’ll do the mad dash light grinding before Destiny 2 releases, if the rumors about some of your progress transferring over are true.

PC:

I’ve more random tidbits on the PC side of things. I’ve mentioned recently playing Shadow Warrior 2. Within the last couple of days there was a 2nd free DLC added to the game, and this one adds a slew of new content. Talk about DLC done right! I have made about 30% progress through the main story, and plan to try and knock this one out soon. That is if they don’t flood me with DLCs! I’ve also toyed around with the games I mentioned in a recent post called New and Noteworthy. Along with those newer additions, I’ve also dipped my toes into some other games that came with bundles or were otherwise purchased but never mentioned. One game that popped up in my discovery queue was called Disgaea PC. It’s a PC port of a Playstation 2 JRPG. I remember seeing the title in the past but hadn’t played it, and it turned out they ported the sequel to the game as well so I picked them both up. I know of at least two more titles in the series as well, so perhaps those will come down the pipeline. The game looks like a Final Fantasy Tactics style game, but centers around the prince of the underworld rather than a typical hero type. The combat is sort of wonky, but that’s to be expected from an old console title that is just now being ported to PC. I relish these sorts of experiences; being able to take a trip into the past to experience something you missed.

Sometimes, games that you really wanted to love just don’t do it for you. Last month’s Humble Monthly provided a copy of Total War: Warhammer, and I thought I would love the game. I gave it a test run, found it alright, and then plunked down some cash to get all of the DLC. After playing it a bit more, I felt that I didn’t really enjoy the combat, the strategy, or really any facet of the game. Just putting a Warhammer skin on something doesn’t mean you’re going to automatically love the game, and that’s a shame. A painful lesson. Speaking of Warhammer, Vermintide dropped a new free DLC that adds lore page drops to the game. Having neglected to check out any of the DLC since the Last Stand game mode was added, I decided to do just that the other night. 2 new areas were added to the game, both with 3 maps each. I tried finding players to play with, but ended up running around with dumb NPCs and not getting far in any of them. The new areas look cool, but it’s really just more of the same. I’d love to run through it with some friends, had I enough to fill up a party. A shame that the population has died out so quickly, as it was a very promising title.

Lastly, I finally got around to booting up the Skyrim Special Edition. Every time I looked at it, I just couldn’t justify the 100s of hours I would put into another playthrough when I have so many other RPGs that I want to play through for the first time. But one day I had the itch, and I wanted to play it though I wanted to also play around with some mods, as I have only played the vanilla version of the game. I did some research, and though it appears that you can just install mods via the client itself, I went ahead and installed two programs that were highly recommended: the Nexus Mod Manager and LOOT. The former is a one-click install tool for mods for the game. The latter allows you to sort the booting order of mods in case of issues arising. I ended up installing 20+ mods and it ran fairly well the first time. There was a laughable bug during the opening scene, but eventually things were working great. I didn’t get far enough into the game to really see all the mods have to offer, but again, didn’t want to put too much time into it. I intend to revisit soon.

Housekeeping wise, I have put some of the above titles on farm status. They will be uninstalled afterwards. Others are works in progress, but progress nonetheless. Until next time, happy gaming.

#E32016: Most Anticipated

I’ve made a tradition of sorts to nerding out about E3 for the past few years. In that spirit, I present to you now, my ten most anticipated games that I saw come out of E3 this year. It was near impossible to narrow down this list, and there were games that I didn’t know about that sort of snuck into this top ten. Other games I’m looking forward to I already discussed in yesterday’s podcast, and there are many other titles that I wanted to put on this list. But for now, let’s dive into the games I’m most looking forward to after E3 2016.

Oh, and yeah I know that Nintendo hasn’t even done their stream yet, but I’m not a Nintendo guy anymore, so I already know there isn’t anything I’m looking forward to out of that.

Titanfall 2

I knew about Titanfall 2 already, but after having seen the above trailer plus the multiplayer trailer, I was instantly sold. I really enjoyed the first one, which I played on my friend’s Xbox and later on my PC, so I was already fairly certain I’d go for the sequel as well. The addition of new animations, improved graphics, and a single player campaign, I think this one is going to knock it out of the park. How can you go wrong with mechs?

Horizon: Zero Dawn

Speaking of Mechs, how about Mechanized dinosaur robots? The first time I heard of this game I wasn’t as excited for it as others I know (Like Eri). After seeing this gameplay footage, I was aboard the hype train. I’m pretty sure this one is a Playstation exclusive as well, which is good news for me, but might force some people (like Eri) into buying the console after all. Regardless, this game looks ridiculous, and I can’t wait to play it!

Prey

Coming out of left field (sort of) is Prey. Apparently there was a game by this name some years ago, and I never heard of it. Then there was a sequel in the works that was canned, and now the game has been rebooted. Eri mentioned it to me prior to the announcement, but after seeing this trailer, I am so psyched to check it out. Psychological Horror and Thrillers both make me giddy, so I’ll definitely be checking this one out, but not until next year it seems.

Resident Evil 7

Speaking of Horror, one of my favorite franchises has finally revealed a sequel, and this one seems to be worthy of the title. The trailer was in first person, but I’m not sure if that’s how the game will play or not. Apparently there will be the option to play the entire game in VR mode, so I assume first person it is. This one looks super creepy, didn’t show any of the original cast members, and might be something completely original. Time will tell.

Death Stranding

Another title from one of gaming’s most recognizable names, featuring a recognizable actor from that one show we all watch. The trailer leaves us with more questions than answers, and there was clearly no gameplay, but at least we finally know what Kojima Studios has been up to. I’m looking forward to finding out more, but these sorts of teasers don’t give me the same sort of hype as the gameplay trailers do.

Mass Effect: Andromeda

Continuing with the theme of no gameplay in our trailers, comes another teaser from Bioware. We saw some artwork with the last announcement about the game, and now we’ve got some in game assets. Perhaps in the coming months we’ll see more, but I highly doubt they’re going to meet that original December 2016 release window. Still, it’s Mass Effect, so we know it’s going to be good. I can’t wait for more information!

Skyrim Special Edition

We talked about the Skyrim remaster on the podcast, and it was a known thing prior to E3 that the remaster was coming. No, we didn’t get any Elder Scrolls VI announcement. There were other bits from the universe, in the card game and more stuff for the MMO, but no TES6, alas. Before seeing the above trailer, I thought that the Skyrim remaster was sort of a crap idea, but now seeing the ridiculous difference between the two, I’m sold on the idea. It was also announced that those of you who bought Skyrim and all of the DLC (or GOTY bundles) would get the upgrade for free. It’s unclear though, in the case of someone like me who bought the game on PS3 along with all of the DLC, will get the PS4 version for free (same goes for Xbox 360/One users). This version brings mod support to the consoles, along with a bunch of graphical improvements. It’s been pointed out that you can already make Skyrim this pretty with mods and a decent PC, but once the upgrade comes along it looks like it’s easier to switch mods on and off, so that’s a plus for you too. Now I’m trying to decide if I should just buy the Legendary edition on PC prior to this release and get the upgrade that way, or wait and see about the console edition. Either way I think running through Skyrim again would be fun. It’s been a couple of years since the last time I played it.

Final Fantasy XV

I’m surprised by Final Fantasy XV. I haven’t really paid attention to the series in a long time. I’ve played most of the classic titles, though few to completion. VII was the first I actually finished. I loved IX. I recently bought that again when it was released on Steam, with the intention of finishing it this time around. I’m hyped about the FFVII Remake. But after IX, I stopped caring about Final Fantasy. I never played X, XI, XII, and when I saw XIII in action I was turned off. I also didn’t really care for XIV. However, XV has that open world feel, amazing graphics and actually looks like a really fun game. It will be interesting to see what they’ve done with the battle system, and to see how that might correlate to the FFVII Remake. Either way I plan to check this one out.

God of War

God of War is another surprise on this list. I never played a GoW game. I missed it on PS2 because I was playing MMOs. I didn’t pick it up on PS3 because I was late to the party and didn’t care. I’ve seen a few other iterations over the years and have even watched them played but never really felt like it was the title for me. This trailer sold me on this new reboot, which seems to be moving from whatever mythology used in prior titles to a more Norse oriented one. And I like that shit. That is all.

X-Wing VR 

I had to include at least one VR video, because this conference actually sold me on the concept. They’ve been talking about Occulus, Vive, and other smart-phone based VR for a while now, and I’m not typically an early adopter when it comes to these sorts of things. VR hasn’t really looked that good until very recently. Seeing the announcement for Sony’s Playstation VR (formerly Project Morpheus) has opened up the possibility of VR for me. Occulus is $600 or so, Vive is $800, and I’m sure both would require hardware upgrades. The Playstation VR is only $400, and is said to work with existing PS4 hardware, meaning it won’t be necessary to upgrade to PS4.5/Neo. Seeing the above video along with several others during the presentation really sold me on the idea. I’m sure that in the future, better tech will come along and will be less money, and it will be more affordable to get the hardware for PC, but I think now I’m heading in the direction of VR on the console.

What games were you most excited about this E3?