Its a marathon not a sprint

Often when I play a game its sprint to the finish. Mostly I stick to one game at a time, however due to a current influx in consoles, games and a massive back log its turned in to a marathon of switching between multiple games and finishing them when i can.

Even now I have multiple games on the go; some would call me a bit of a player, jks… please help me.

Currently I’m working through Witcher 3 including all add-ons, FF14, Zelda: Breath of the wild and occasionally a game of Overwatch. My back log, includes Mass Effect Andromeda, Warhammer Total War, Mario Kart, Arms, Splatoon, Draksouls 3 and Dishonoured 2.

Most open world games can drag you in for 100 hours, and some I’m choosing to slow down such as BOTW a game I just don’t want to end. Of cause MMO never end but in this regard i set myself a goal and once its achieved – I quit. Unless its WoW which is basically crack to me.

Its proving more difficult to keep up with gaming the older i get. I think its time to change my mindset and just play what I’m feeling and eventually I’ll work my way through it. And if a game comes out i just want to smash my way through, then thats what I’ll do.

This post was bought to you by: First World Problem.

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Games now loading

E3 is now over and for the most part it was pretty – okay. xxxBoxOnexxx managed to reveal some sequels to well know franchises but also gave us some new ip: Sea of Thieves, Anthem and A way out. Sony gave us an update of all the games it showed us  2 years ago. For the first time in about 4 years Nintendo actually put some effort in and gave us what we wanted.

Not too bad really.

Now we just have to wait for everything to show up. Unfortunately this is where it all falls down. Beyond Good and Evil 2, is rumoured to have only just started development and games like God of War 4 are still another year away. Problem with this approach is people get bored of waiting, or generally loose interest in games which are still a good 2-5 years away.

Some games manage to buck this trend and take ages to be released but then people loose their shit when it finally comes out. For example: Breath of the Wild. Some games release never ending gameplay trailer until it looks dated or someones already re-hashed the ideas into a game thats available now. Others choose to release early and go with the episode approach like Hitman. For some people this is fine, but for me I like to buy the complete product not be drip fed episodes then made to wait for the next one, which could turn out to be crap.

The best announcement for a game, I can remember was the announcement of Fallout 4, a game that rode the hype train and then massively under-delivered. But people rode that hype train, they didn’t have chance to think much about it. From announcement to release was about 4 months.

Most of the time dragging something out is worse than not announcing anything at all. If Sony took the approach of only announcing games that where at maximum a year away people would loose their shit more than a game thats like 5 years away.

But then if all you have is a selection of games 3-4 years away the last thing you want to do is a Nintendo where you go on stage and cry into the camera.

Difficult.

 

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The Nintendo Switch

I jumped on board the Nintendo switch basically as an impulse buy, which for me is a bit out of the norm. I’m normally the first one to throw Nintendo on the fire, but not for the reasons most people hate on the company. I see Nintendo as the kid with allot of potential, unfortunately they always just do the minimum.

I see Nintendo as the kid with allot of potential, unfortunately they always just do the minimum.

Nintendo lives very much off its fan boys. Die hard fans who see 8 versions of the same game as some kind of achievement. New IP are slow to hit the Nintendo console, the last one being Splatoon(?). Admittedly they do like taking old IP and throwing them into new situation, like Paper Mario, Breath of the Wild, Mario sunshine, Mario.. cocaine filled drive-by.. etc. However this is unlikely to attract a new player base.

In my opinion Nintendo never quite reaches its potential and nothing highlights that more than the Wii-u failure, maybe it was the Dreamcast of its time.

The Wii was a success but mimicking that success is going to be hard. The casual player base it managed to crack have no idea that any other console exists and is still playing Wii tennis with their nan.

The Gamecube was an excellent machine and one of my favourite consoles, but if you think back to it – what did you actually play: Wind Waker, Twin snakes, Pikmin and Metroid. A good selection, but does it justify a whole console.

We have the usual games that show up each generation, Mario Kart and Smash-bros. Someone once told me that buying a Nintendo console, not to play Nintendo games is pointless. Which would be good if the Nintendo market share wasn’t shrinking.

I think all this might have finally sunk in at the Nintendo office, like the kool-aid guy showing up to your dads funeral.

Which is why I have faith in the Nintendo Switch. Rumours have it that this years E3 is going to be Nintendo, after a dismal few years. They have invested heavily in getting games on to the system, along with re-energising some of their older IP. BOTW has easily pushed the sales of the console but I’m confident the system will continue to grow.

If all else fails, I still own a N64.

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Sandbox Gaming: Too much of something can be a bad thing

“We made a massive map full of interesting things and cool sites to see, how will we get our player to explore?”
“Make them collect 5 of something, over and over again”

This idea was once kept to the boundaries of your typical MMO. Go out see the world and kill x of every animal or being you can find until, eventually the killing for experience stop and the grind for gear began.

Unfortunately the more sandbox games get released the more of a cross over we begin to see.

Its been quite refreshing playing Uncharted 2 over the last month, a game thats driven by story content and the occasional killing spree in an ancient temple. I managed to sink about 8 to 10 hours into the game which for me is a good amount of time. The problem I find with open world games is you never know when to stop the fucking around collecting werewolf dicks and actually put sometime in the story.

Final Fantasy 15 has an interesting approach to the sandbox vs liner gameplay. They essentially split the game up into both categories. The first part of the game sees your driving around with your j-pop boyband – killing the odd monster, collecting the occasion special weapon and upgrading your car. From what I can see none of this seems to be getting your kingdom back its just helping you prepare for the final story.

However even Final Fantasy cannot escape the MMO trope and you soon find yourself killing monsters over and over again for loot and exp, and of course lets not forget collecting things. Earlier Final Fantasies like 7 and 9 had an open world feel to them but managed to avoid the unnecessary repetitive quest approach which seems to be plaguing new sandbox games. Even FF10 which was a much more linear game felt open enough to give you a sense of freedom.

I must admit i managed to spent at least 75 hours in Skyrim and again maybe about 50 hours in fallout 4. A game that in my opinion was incredibly weak. I also managed to spend the equivalent on Witcher 3, again a game i felt was weaker than it previous games simply because it was a sandbox game.

Too much of something can be a bad thing

In all these games i mainly focused on the main story quest and any secondary quest which i can find meaning in, like a little side story. In some cases i get bored of the game long before i even complete it. Too much of something can be a bad thing and this is probably my main issue with sandbox games.

After sinking 45 hours into Final Fantasy XV i managed to make it to chapter 13. At this point i was pretty bored with the game but having read that chapter 13 was just bad, i dragged myself through. Now i’m on the final 3 bosses and to be honest i really don’t give a fuck any more.

Uncharted left me wanting more, so once i completed 2 i moved on to 4 (i’ll go back to 3), however when i complete a sandbox game… well you can’t really, you just get fed up and do the last mission so you can say you sort of finished it.

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2017, predictions in gaming

2017 is starting to look like a good year for games similar to the explosion of quality we received in 2015. It hard for me to choose a GOTY for 2016, simply put i never played allot of new games over the year. However now i have a rather large back log of games from last year, including Deus Ex, Dishonored 2 and Uncharted. Undeterred I’m aiming to blast through them ASAP.

If i had to choose – DOOM won GOTY for 2016 followed by Overwatch and Firewatch. This was picked up by Polygon, but not followed up by the Game Awards who went with Overwatch. Personally I can’t see a purely multiplayer game taking GOTY, but thats the elitist in me who see’s online games as little more than crack and insult generators.

So 2017.

I have a few predictions for this year. Im not going to list all the games coming out, just the ones i feel could be contenders for 2017 GOTY and ones which will amount to nothing, like how No Mans Sky was the best thing since the atom bomb but failed to take off (thats a space joke).

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard: The last 2 Resident Evils have been pretty under whelming. Resident Evil 4 took a different turn and became an instant classic. Five saw you play a steroid addicted beat the shit out of the locals followed by a fight in the a volcano. Six, something happened… but I’m confidant that seven will take the franchise into a different direction and could potentially take GOTY.

Conan: Exiles: This showed up late to my game radar and i predict it going down as a cheap mans Skyrim. But i’m hopeful its more.

For Honor: I’m going to call it now, this is going to be a buggy disappointment. Not only is it made by Ubisoft (boo) its all so hyped up to shit. Personally i hope i’m wrong, but something seems off about this title.

Horizon: Zero Dawn: This game is the reason i bought a PS4 (that and FFXV), I hope it lives up to my expectation. I hope it even goes down as GOTY.

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands: This ones here for the bro’s, you know who you are. It’s likely to be a Steam Sale (Origin?) buy for me. I can see the appeal and i hope it does well, but not the game for me and unlikely to be GOTY.

Mass Effect: Andromeda: Its Mass Effect, its going to be good. The gameplay seems to have further evolved from the original cover shooter idea, but in general it seems to be grounded to the originals. People love Mass Effect so i see this doing well and maybe even taking GOTY. On a personal level i felt disappointed by the two and three, I can’t see me being that impressed by the fourth outing.

Prey: Im not entirely sure what i expect from Prey, its definitely not a sequel to the original Prey released in 2006. The game play and media released around it gives off a solid appeal which could do well. Definitely one to look out for.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: You could put a good amount of money on this taking 2017 GOTY. It’s Zelda, it’s Nintendo, it’s taken fucking ages to release. The gameplay released around this title looks polished and i’m generally excited for its release. Zelda being one of a few title i generally give a shit about when it comes to Nintendo. However the constant delay and the over the top hype coming in from the gaming media might see it fall flat on its arse, followed by a large amount of blog post entitled “It’s time to stop over hyping games”.

Read Dead Redemption 2: Another strong contender for GOTY. Unfortunately i see this getting delayed to early 2018. But still i’m hyped. Having not played the original for more than 2 hours i’m looking forward to getting into this sequel.

 

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