Posted by ThunderSlash (1731 posts) -

Over the years I've stockpiled a ton of videogames. I have too many games on my Steam account (Damn you bundles and Steam sales!) and quite a few unplayed PS2 and PS3 games (Damn me!). So for the past few months, I've been making it a goal to try to finish at least 4 new games every month, I won't guarantee that I've done this every month however. I figured that if I play them at this rate, I would go through most of the game I want to play (it would be crazy to think that I would be able to finish all my games, so I'm limiting it to the games I want to play). Of course, doing this with RPGs will be difficult, since most RPGs are hella timesinks (Still haven't finished that Dragon Age 2 playthrough that I started earlier this year). So here are the rules that I've put in place for myself, they don't really matter since I can always bend the rules but it's nice to have something in place that I can follow.

The Rules:

  • DLC does not count towards this, unless it has enough content to justify a spot in the list. So expansion packs like The Shivering Isles count, but something like a BioShock Infinite's horde mode DLC probably won't.
  • It has to be new games, so games I've played already don't count towards this. Kinda incentivizes you to play your unfinished games instead of doing replays.
  • The games have to be finished in the month to count, so starting a new game a month before and then finishing it the next doesn't disqualify it.

That's about it. There are probably other makeshift rules, but they are too unnecessary to list. Onto the games I finished in October.

Games of October 2013:

Mark of the Ninja

After months of owning and not playing Mark of the Ninja, the advent of a recent Humble Bundle finally reminded me that I had the game on my Steam account. This

The special costumes you unlock look pretty badass too.

game reminds a bit like the recent Batman games. The stealthing is not frustrating and the enemies are super dumb. Also, the game gives you a ton of

options to mess with the enemy AI. It almost feels 2D version of the stealth portions of the Arkham games: Enter room, take out dudes one at a time, watch as the AI freak out and start

doing dumb mistakes like shoot at each other. The gameplay is top notch, however it is way too easy to fall into the trap of using the same solutions over and over (I was a fan of using those man eating bugs to scare every bad dude in the vicinity as an opening move). And although the game is fun to play, the story feels like an afterthought. The ending is just... weird. Feels kinda like they put in a plot twist and a choose your ending choice for the sake of it. Tonally, it feels like it was trying to do too much, while the story stuff before the last bit is paper thin at best.

GTA: The Ballad of Gay Tony

The mission involving a celebrity blogger and base jumping was GOLD.

Because of the recent GTA V hype, I had decided that I must finish the rest of the GTA IV addons that I had been putting off. I think The Ballad of Gay Tony is definitely an improvement over The Lost and Damned. I preferred the upbeat atmosphere to TLaD's gritty biker culture thing. Maybe I just don't understand biker culture, but I felt that nothing worth caring about happened during that DLC. Its plot definitely had a hint of something that would eventually inspire the plot to Red Dead Redemption however (dude's style of living is dying out and he just doesn't fit in). But enough about TLaD, Gay Tony has an atmosphere that was just enjoyable. The new side stuff like club management and base jumping are welcome additions to Liberty City. The new characters are probably one of the best in the GTA IV storyline too. Luis and his interactions with Gay Tony are always fun, and even when things got serious you can always tell that these two have known each other for a long time. The scenes with Brucie and his brother are hilarious, I like that Brucie acts way different in the presence of his brother. Also there is Yusuf. The game still plays like GTA IV, but the new stuff makes it wholly enjoyable.

F.E.A.R. 2

Yeeeeeeep...

FEAR 2 started off promising. It even felt like an improvement to the first game in some spots. You can aim with iron sights and you can actually push over stuff in a room to make your own cover. But that feeling of the game being a better FEAR did not last after the first few missions. FEAR was never about the scares for me, but in this one it even seems like kind of an afterthought. There are basically 3 types of scares in the game, each one followed by a spike in string music: The one where Alma pops up and it turns into a QTE, the one where a new enemy type is introduced by popping up in front of the player's vision (cue QTE), and the one where dudes die in front of you when you turn a corner. None of them are all that scary. The game also gets a bit samey halfway through. The enemy types don't seem to change much (there is always a heavy dude, and then followed by smaller fodder). And your time slowing potion is basically infinite, making the game basically a cakewalk, even on the hardest difficulty. But still, it's not bad if you want to shoot dudes in the face and see them slowly fall to the ground. Also, this game's got mad ghost problems. Oh yeah, this game is part of the Humble Bundle as of this moment.

BioShock 2: Minerva's Den

Since the folks at 2K decided to give all of us BioShock 2 PC owners on Steam free copies of the Minerva's Den DLC, I figured it might be the time to finally play through Giant Bomb's 2010 DLC of the Year. Let me start by saying that I knew the big twist at the end when I started this (that you are playing as Porter). This would probably be reflected in my opinions of this DLC. So Minerva's Den unsurprisingly plays a lot like its main game. You run around as a big daddy drinking liquor, killing splicers, hacking stuff, and stealing other big daddy's kids. The narrative sets to explain one of the main underlying mechanisms that govern Rapture, The Thinker computer. And while the world building is nice, it feels a bit unnecessary; I guess this is why it's an addon. I didn't really care much for any of the characters in this DLC. The main antagonist felt like a sub-Sander Cohen, and Porter was just a dude telling you what to do. The audio diaries strewn about serve to give a bit of a backstory for both main characters, but it's just not enough in my opinion. Maybe there wasn't enough time to grow attached to these characters, but the story felt pretty bare. I will say this though, the attention to detail at the very last bit of the DLC is pretty great. And on another note: Tenenbaum's role, despite being advertised on the DLC's store blurb, is surprisingly miniscule. She just seems to be there; they could've removed her and nothing would've changed about the story.

Also, the PC version seems to crash a lot from my experience. I'm not sure if this is the result of removing the GFWL stuff.

Other stuff that I've been playing:

Silent Hill 2

Replayed this two days before Halloween. It's still pretty good even though I know this game inside out and it has ceased to be scary for me.

Dead Space 3: Awakened

Isaac and whatshisface bro it out in space. It certainly has an interesting ending. #MoonCrew

Skullgirls

Skullgirls is a pretty great fighter on the PC. It's a shame that its community is super small.

It's been my goto fighter since its PC release. I'm not really good at it, but it's still fun. The PC community is really dying though. It's a shame because it's a competent fighting game that is still being supported by the devs (there are at least 3 more characters in the works and the game gets patched like every week). And the online uses the delicious GGPO netcode. If you like Marvel-style fighters you should consider trying out Skullgirls. 'Cus I don't want to see this thing die off like MK9's PC community.

I'm also messing with the Unity3D game engine:

For the past few weeks, I've been looking up some 2D games tutorials for the Unity engine in my spare time. I already know a bit (emphasis on "a bit") of the C Sharp programming language, but I'm still fairly green when it comes to creating something big like a video game. But you know what, I figured that I should at least try. So I had decided that I should probably start small if I want to get things done. A shmup like Smash TV shouldn't be too hard to program, and while I was at it I decided that implementing randomized dungeon layouts might be fun. Sounds simple enough. However, even something like this can be a bit difficult to make. It took me an entire week to create a successful dungeon generator; I think I might've overcomplicated it. The implementation of "doors" is a bit easier, it only took me an hour or so it hook all that up. I haven't implemented anything else besides that, because writing enemy AI is hard stuff. The art is reused art from the 2D tutorials I was following, because I don't know where to begin when it comes to drawing and animating sprites. Here's a link to the web player for my little experiment:

http://thunderslash.site90.com/mazetest/mazetest.html

Please keep in mind that it's pretty much nothing right now. I hope that if I keep at it, it might start resembling a game. I hope that I keep at it.

Edit: Oops, something messed up when I posted this and it ended up with a billion images for Mark of the Ninja.

Edit x2: Did they remove the ability to tag pages to a blog? It's not sticking for me. Bug?

#1 Edited by beard_of_zeus (1687 posts) -

Good luck on your backlog journey, I feel your pain. One of these days I keep telling myself I'm going to just stop buying games and play through my backlog...but who knows if that'll ever happen. I feel like I do a pretty good job of playing through games, but my purchasing seems to keep up with my rate of finishing things.

According to my list on the site, I've finished 73 games this year so far (73 / 10 months approx so far = 7.3 per month) which is a pretty decent clip, but I still probably have enough games in my backlog to last me through the rest of my life at this point. Mainly because RPG / jRPGs are my favorite genre, and like you said, hella timesinks. I think your 4 games / month rule is pretty doable, though.

And speaking of Skullgirls, they had that on sale on PSN for like $2.50 the other week, and I picked it up but haven't touched it yet. I should check that out!

#2 Posted by Sammo21 (3280 posts) -

There are some games that I realize when I get to them they aren't worth my time and that I didn't end up playing them for a reason. I tried to go back and play Ballad of Gay Tony and the Lost and Damned stuff but those controls were so absolutely fucking terrible I stopped and uninstalled them from my machine. I finally beat Sound Shapes and hit platinum, which was fun, and I am trying to beast through Ghost Recon real quick to see if it pains me. Good luck on your backlog.

#3 Posted by ThunderSlash (1731 posts) -

@beard_of_zeus: Wow, 7 games a month is really impressive. I've probably only done that once, and I'm pretty sure most of those games were short indie games and shooters. Speaking of JRPGs, my PS2 collection is at least 25% of that. Over time, I've learned to accept that I'll probably never get to most of them (sorry Xenosaga).

As for Skullgirls on the PSN, you should check and see if they've released the free DLC character for it yet. She has already been released on the PC, and she's either going through certification for the consoles or already out. The devs say that she'll be free for the first 3 months of her release. I'd say that for $2.50, it's worth a try at least. Don't get discouraged if your first few online matches are against pros with long combos. I can assure you that there are still a couple of newbies out there, plus the dev has said that he is trying to reduce the length of those combos.

#4 Posted by ThunderSlash (1731 posts) -

@sammo21: Yeah, when I played the Lost and Damned a month or so earlier I had a bit of trouble getting used to driving the heavy ass cars. The good thing about Gay Tony was that most of your cars in that section are the high end ones, so the feeling of driving a brick is less so. Also, helicopters are still hard as hell to pilot.

Usually, I will try to complete a game as much as I can. But I will ignore multiplayer achievements however, 'cus most of them tend to be grindy "Get to level X" types.

You're playing through the original Ghost Recon? I remember finding that game pretty dull, maybe it was because I played it on the PS2 though.

#5 Posted by Sammo21 (3280 posts) -

@thunderslash: Umm, its the one that they gave away with PSN+ last year, Future Soldier. The one thing I am thankful for with GTA V is that they have finally crafted controls that don't feel especially terrible so I feel like if they re-release the game on PS4/PC/Xbone sometime next year I wouldn't be totally against picking the game back up. Most of the stuff with GTA IV I have completely abandoned, but that's just me. I know a lot of people who still love that game. I beat Warhammer 40k: Space Marine when it first came out on 360 but since I have a free copy on PS3 I might try and beast through it...or I might just take a break from video games until Friday :p

#6 Posted by ThunderSlash (1731 posts) -

@sammo21: Hmmm... I have Space Marine on Steam from one of those THQ packs they used to sell. I should give it a go one of these days. Looked like mindless fun from the Quick Looks.

#7 Posted by Sammo21 (3280 posts) -

@thunderslash: I really like it and you're assumption is right in thinking its dumb fun. I loved it from start to finish and hope they do a sequel for the next gen.

#8 Posted by me3639 (1760 posts) -

I totally concur with your assesment on Steam sales, they are almost like a pusher. I too follow some rules, though without any time frame. I dont have set list rules in what i play, but i have found if i keep things different i never get bored of certain genres. So my interanl rules are usually as follows:

1. All games start on hard difficulty.

2. Only play 2-3 titles at once to completion, with only 1 being story driven. I wouldn play somthing like Skyrim and GTAV at the same time.

I currently just finished playing Deus Ex HR directors cut, totally amazing. I went pacifist and without triggering alarms and it took me close to 50 hours. I just completed(finally) Ghost Recon future Soldier playing co op with my friend on steam. Its a really good co op game on elite, but wow is the uplay server connection $%^&ed. Sad that series is not getting the repect it deserves. The other game i finsihed this weekend, but going to try it on rouge difficulty is Bionic Dues. Some are calling it this years FTL, all i know is it is totlally addicting.

Currently playing

Underrail

State of Decay

Syder Arcade

If you need a co op partner, or rap about games hit me up on Steam CitizenX3639.

#9 Posted by ThunderSlash (1731 posts) -

@me3639: I can see why you wouldn't want to play more than 1 story heavy game at a time. It's the reason why I lost interest in Dragon Age 2 (that, and I found it really uninteresting). I think I was playing Dead Space 3 at the same time.