By Sparky_Buzzsaw 15 Comments
Welcome, one and all, to Sparky's Update, where the points don't matter and everybody wins! Or loses, probably. Well, that's just depressing. Let's soldier forward, shall we?
I didn't actually play many video games this week besides Xillia, which I beat Friday or Saturday. I delved a little bit into the post-game, alternate storyline stuff, and it seems pretty rad. But I'm going to hold off on playing more for fear of burning myself out on it. I played a little more Blackwell, having moved on to Convergence. I'm guessing I'm very close to finishing that one. So it's been a fairly quiet week, game-wise, and I really don't have enough material to write up a standard Sparky's Update. Instead, I'd like to take a moment and talk about the new generation of consoles, and give some brief thoughts as to why I'm holding off a few months post-release on them.
Oh, there is one bit of news - Saturday, for a brief shining afternoon, I had managed to whittle my on-disc to-be-played pile to two unopened games (Xenoblade and Skyward Sword), which I technically don't count since I'm holding onto them for different reasons. Of course, I had to go and ruin the moment by checking my mail, as I received Tales of Graces f. Oh well!
Feeling Like We're Near the End
Looking at the list of releases over on Gamespot from now until the end of December, there are still a fair amount of games coming out for current gen systems that I will be picking up. Beyond: Two Souls, Saints Row IV, GTA V, and Disgaea D2 will all be guaranteed purchases for me (or at least they will be when the price dips on some of them), and there are bunches of PSN and XBL games I'd like to pick up if they run more sales (and doubtless they will in November or December). But with Tales of Xillia's close, I really started to get that feeling that I'm now sliding uncontrollably towards the point where I start to weigh every game purchase against whether or not something better will be coming out on the next-gen consoles within a reasonable amount of time.
I'm also starting to clear out the stacks. For only the second time, I'll be trading in a fair chunk of my current gen games, this time to Amazon. I've got a mountain of old sports games I'll never look at once their next-gen versions start coming out (and make no mistake, we'll be getting EA Sports regurgitations for the next fifty years and idiots like me will probably still sporadically buy them) along with games I know I'll never finish or return to, like Merura... Meruna... that alchemy game. Whatever. Their trade-in prices are fairly reasonable, and selling these games off piece-meal would certainly be far less profitable. So I wave goodbye to games like Dead Space (which I'll never finish thanks to it scaring the pants off me), Bad Company 2 (which I thoroughly enjoyed but will never play again), and Divinity II (which I should frankly be paying them to take). So long, and thanks for all the hours of entertainment, old games!
All this leads me to my latest plans to revisit the games I do want to enjoy again. It's time I target that 75% completion achievement in Just Cause 2. It's time I play a few more rounds of Halo or race a few more cars in Forza, because who knows when I'll be revisiting those series again (more on that in a second)? It's time I finally get around to replaying Heavy Rain, or playing more of the Ratchet and Clank Future games. It's time for me to finally finish up with Rainbow Moon, a game I've been flirting with for nearly a year. It's time I download all those PS1 classics I've bought throughout the years and finish playing. I want to hook up my Wii again and finish up Donkey Kong Country Returns and Mario Galaxy 2. All of these goals, and hopefully more as I search my stacks (oh man, I'd love to sink some more time into Mass Effect 3's multiplayer if there's still a community playing it), should keep me entertained for My Big Next-Gen Goal. Hey, that sounds like a great segue!
My Big Next-Gen Goal
...is to wait.
Hold the phone, Sparky. If you're so excited for the next-gen of games, and you most certainly are (seriously, was that drool coming out of the corner of your mouth during that Titanfall demo?), then why are you waiting?
Thanks, Other Sparky! Great question, and may I add, you look just amazing today. that beard, I swear, it shines when the sun hits it. You look like a bespectacled Adonis, you.
History repeats itself, gang. Remember the RROD? Remember the Wii shortages? Remember the hubris Sony had going into the PS3? I doubt any of those things will repeat themselves, but you can bet your ass there will be new hardware problems. You can bet there will be hidden shady shit that only unveils itself when we power on the new PSN or XBL. You can bet publishers will slowly shift towards one or the other in the months following the console release, shining a bit more light on which console will have clearer developer support.
Now, look, I'm obviously in the PS4 camp right now, and unless something drastic happens, I'm probably going to be picking one up late next spring or in the early part of summer. They've clearly been humbled by their own magnificent mistakes with the PS3, and they're a company that knows how to fix their past mistakes. Microsoft, well, it has a history of bullying the consumer into buying its products despite its mistakes without ever really taking into account what the customers are truly telling them - see: every release of Office and Windows, ever. That's why Microsoft's recent policy reversals are so stunning. It might even make the Xbox One greater as a result.
And really, it's that uncertainty about where Microsoft will go with the Xbox One that makes this whole thing so exciting this time around. The PS4 is clearly the front-runner right now, but I feel like by the time the next E3 rolls around, we'll have a clearer picture as to whether or not Microsoft's really willing to give it up for gamers, or if they're still going to whore themselves out to the lowest common denominator with the assumption that their core audiences are the dude-bros who don't pay attention to ethics and bad policies.
Plus, and this is going to sound incredibly stupid, I want to see where Bethesda goes. Has their misfortune with the PS3 soured them on the PS4? I don't know. But I do know that Fallou 3, New Vegas, Skyrim, and Oblivion mattered to me more than just about any other games this generation. Once upon a time, that honorific would have gone to Square, but times, they are a-changin'.
So... the plan is to hold off, then, hopefully until E3 or at least as long as the geek inside me will allow. I've already got a fair chunk of change saved specifically for a new console, and plan on dumping in at least $50 every month for games, accessories, and the system themselves. Since I plan on being a one-system man until I either find steady employment or hit a significant windfall of some sort, it makes a lot of sense. I'd be lying if I didn't say the launch lineups look incredible, though. Forza 5? Watch Dogs? Infamous: Second Sun? Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaan...
The iPad Corner
I feel like a complete dick here. A while back, I told user @dankempster I wouldn't be buying a Team 17 game for a long time after Worms Revolution. That game wasn't marked initially as using only a very specific line of graphics card, and so I spent $20 on a game that has never worked. It royally pissed me off, and so I vented to Dan about it (not that he has anything to do with the release - he'd just purchased the game as well).
Well, I'm a liar. Worms 3 came out on the iPad a week or so ago for $5, and I bought it right out of the gate. The skeezy feeling I got from buying a Team 17 game so soon after Revolution aside, I actually really like Worms 3. It's been tailor-made for the iPad, with a more refined control scheme than the prior Worms games we've seen released on the system. There are still some issues with the direction pad being way too small (seriously, iPad developers, give us the option to resize these things!) and the ninja rope being imprecise and awkward, but it's definitely a huge step in the right direction. For the $5, you get a campaign mode, the usual quick game options, and a pass-and-play mode. I believe there are more multiplayer options as well, though I haven't tinkered around enough in that end of the game to say for certain. The big new addition is the ability to use cards at the beginning or end of your turns, which change the gameplay elements in some fun ways. For example, you can lower gravity, affecting jumps and thrown weapons. You can buy these cards with in-game currency, which can (of course) be bought with real-life money should you wish to be a tool and support micro-transactions.
It can be a bit intimidating for newcomers, as there are few explanations for the weapons and tools here, but it's classic Worms at a good price. Five bucks seems steep for an iPad game, but one with as much replayability as Worms? That's a bargain.
-I've started working out and walking more in earnest this last week and a half, and I'm feeling great about it. I haven't altered my diet much save to eat a little less, and it's working well for me. Right now, I'm about 360 pounds. I don't have a timeframe on losing weight, but I'd eventually like to drop to 220 and see where I'm at then. 140 pounds seems like a large number, but I've got all the time in the world and I'm enjoying myself so far. If anyone else is trying to lose weight and wants to b.s. about it, feel free to drop me a comment or a PM. I know having a buddy for these things always helps!
I suppose that's about it for this week. What are your next-gen plans? Going to stick with the current-gen for a while, hunt for bargains, save up some of those dolla dolla bills? Or are you going to be the envy of Sparkies everywhere and pick one up on day one, complete with gallons of Coke and enough snacks to put a rhino into a food-induced coma? What are the games that have you the most excited?