By Vinny_Says 17 Comments
At the beginning of 2014 I made a promise to myself to finish a whole bunch of games that are sitting here unplayed. Like any project I undertake I began with a list, and that only made me more depressed. There were 43 games that I haven't completed yet, not including the unreleased games and new announcements that are happening every other week. We are now a third of the way through the year and I've only managed to complete 16 games. I'm hoping to finish the whole lot before we are bombarded with more games this holiday season.
I'm going to quickly review all of these and follow up later again in the year. I may have won the battle, but the war against this massive backlog is still not over. I'm doing this mostly for me but feel free to tell me how wrong I am about these games.
Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
If this is truly the last Zelda of this type, it's a great way to go out. I never played A Link to The Past but that didn't detract at all from the experience. Phantom Hourglass is my favorite Zelda game (yeah I'm not the biggest fan of the series) and that's probably why I like this game so much, overhead Zelda is just better! The music, the dungeons, the non-linear approach, the story, everything about this game is wonderful in its execution and simplicity. Bare-bones but finely crafted is the best way to put it.
Something about the controls irked me all the way to the end. I see what they were going for but I would have preferred a stiff 3rd person camera rather than the weird floaty changing-sides-every-other-minute over the shoulder view. Ah yes, the story was pretty good, but it really dragged on towards the end. Besides a few cool encounters, most of the fights were pretty tame and not worth it. A cool premise but they fumbled on the execution.
Rainbow Six Vegas
I loved Rainbow Six Vegas 2, the sequel to this, but playing the story backwards was really weird. Both these games are a little too similar to each other, down to the UI and music, but both are extremely solid games. I like me a brainless shooter but I much prefer having to figure out how to take out a room of baddies tactically without getting shot up. I'm really hoping something new finally comes out this year with the words "Rainbow Six" on it. It's about time Ubisoft.
This was my first completed pokeman game (I was big into the cards, never the games) and I finally understand what all the hype is about. Capturing the monsters, building your ultimate team and then becoming wold champion is a universally awesome concept that is brilliantly executed here. Yeah it's probably waaaay too similar to the other 12 pokemon games but you probably already knew that.
Zelda: The Wind Waker HD
As stated above, overhead zelda games are preferred, and even playing what is arguably the best zelda game of all time didn't change my mind. I'm not saying that this is a bad game, in fact it is very good, and made even better with the changes in the HD version. I had a ton of fun exploring the dungeons and killing the bosses, but being stuck in the empty overworld not knowing what to do next was awful. I thought Hyrule field was pretty empty back in the 90s, but this is almost even more pointless. The story was pretty good tho!
Batman Arkham Origins
You have to really really really like the Arkham gameplay to excuse the "been there done that" feel of this game. It's not bad, but this is the third time I've cleared this room of bad guys by way of stealth or violence, and it's gotten very stale. I found all the secrets in AA and AC, but I couldn't be bothered to do a single side mission in this. Also there are massive game breaking bugs (such as loosing all your progress) that left a really bad taste in my mouth. So not only was this a stale saltine, this saltine also had some mold on it.
There's nothing really bad about this game, besides the dialogue, but there's also nothing that makes this stand out, even in a genre that isn't as overplayed as this (open world superpower games are nowhere near as prevalent as shooters or racers). It's not a stale saltine but it's not sirloin steak either, it's just mac-n-cheese: simple and quick. It ends and you're just left with a big "eh this was okay" feeling.
I adored the original game back in the day, and this HD remake proved to me that it was more than just nostalgia. Yeah the game never lived up to the promises made by a certain British gentleman but it was still a solid action adventure game at the end of the day. The combat is simple and the story is nothing too special, but I still managed to do every side quest and find every secret because it's so much fun to just be in Albion.
Mario and Luigi Dream Team
Yo fuck this game! It starts off great with your typical Mario story but with RPG elements that are really fun and dialogue that is clever and humorous. Then it drags on for 40 hours, and you skip all the witty dialogue that pops up every 5 steps, and you restart every battle on easy mode because you're sick of the combat, and you throw your 3DS on the ground because the big boss battles aren't battles at all but rather long quick-time events that you need to perfect otherwise you need to restart the whole sequence all over again, and then you lie on the ground crying because you're 35 hours in and still haven't gotten the power that lets you break boulders. This is the polar opposite gameplay of South Park Stick of Truth.
It's really weird when your first playthrough of a game takes you 16 hours to finish and then you second playthrough takes less than 4 hours. Talk about padding the experience out....This game isn't bad or anything, it's just that the overworld is poorly designed and the story is boring nonsense. If you liked previous Thief games you're probably going to hate this. If you love Deus Ex Human Revolution this will seem like a real B-Team type of game, and if this is your fist experience with a stealth game you might go "huh this is alright, I wonder if other stealth games are better?" (yes they are).
This is the closest I've felt to reliving my Call of Duty 4 days. Titanfall is pretty bare-bones but the simplicity is what makes the experience. I don't feel overwhelmed by weapon upgrades, kill streaks, weapon levels, perk upgrades, attachments, etc. Yes know there are a ton of these types of games that are simple and fun but I've yet to find on that lets me call in a giant mech from the sky. And the fact that you're never more than 3 minutes away from one just adds to the crazy hyped up feel of this game. It truly feels like Call of Duty on crack, everything is running at 110% speed at all times. This is how CoD4 felt back in 2007; when most other shooters were about slow ass weapons, and slow ass players scoping each other out on oversized maps, Modern Warfare came in and gave you big assault rifles, gave you fast movement speed and put you in small maps and let you fight it out to the bitter end, and even if you died you could still fuck someone over with martyrdom.
Metal Gear Solid 2
It's weird that "Raiden" was the reason so many people fell of Metal Gear after this game and not the shit gameplay. The controls in this game are probably the worst I've ever dealt with, and the "stealth" is nothing more than a huge distraction until the next boss fight. Nothing about being stealthy is important to the game or even matters because in the end you're in a big arena fighting some...thing....and the amount of enemies you've killed or left alone doesn't matter at all. And it's certainly not a matter of "play it how you want mayne" because you can't play this as a shooter or anything else either.
Metal Gear Solid 3
Which brings me to my next point: Even if you made the controls slightly better, and made the stealth actually matter, and made the levels more than just one oil rig, it still doesn't make the series any more fun. The story and characters are still lame, the gameplay is now even more boring and the bosses are somehow worse than before. I thought I was done and shouldn't bother with the next game in this HD pack, but then something happened....
Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker
That thing was a game that actually game me options. I had the option to use different controls, I had the option to be stealthy or shoot up the place (and survive), I had the option to play with others, I had the option to go and level up before redoing a hard boss. This game is awesome, and it only sucks when I'm stripped away from having options and am forced to play a scenario in only one way (like MGS2-3 does). Maybe through attrition I finally began to like the story and characters but something finally clicked and now I'm excited for new Metal Gear, something I would have never said had I not experienced Peace Walker.
Dark Souls 2
If you've played Dark Souls before you'll know exactly why this game is awesome or why it sucks. If you haven't, well then I'm not good enough with words to explain it to you. It one of those games you need to experience to know if it's for you. For all of you Dark Souls fans, all I have to say is that Shrine of Amana is just bad, there's no excusing the design of that area. The rest of the game is awesome and much more accessible, which I really enjoyed. I finished this in 35 hours, and now feel way more prepared to finally finish Dark Souls Uno.
And that's it up until today, March 29. I've still got a lot more to go, and I'll probably follow up in 3 months or so to see if I've made any real progress. The shotgun approach may not be the best way to formulate thoughtful opinions about games, but this backlog is something I need to get rid of, I just have to...
Thanks for reading.
P.S. Here's the rest of the backlog:
-Viva Pinata TIP
-Hitman HD Collection
-Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks
-The Orange Box
-Super Mario Galaxy
-Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze
-Paper Mario Sticker Star
-Lara Croft & the Guardian of Light
-Silent Hill: Shattered Memories
-Super Mario Galaxy 2
-Zelda: Skyward Sword
-Final Fantasy XIII
-Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D
-Donkey Kong Country Returns
-Bit Trip Runner 2
-Castlevania Lords of Shadow