Category Archives: wishlist

The games of E3 2017 that have me keyed up

E3 2017 is not technically over yet, but a majority of the big announcements and reveals have come and gone, with Nintendo swooping in yesterday to present a world where a hat can Mario-ize any object, living or not. It’s a fascinating gameplay hook, one that does now have me interested in owning a Switch far down the road. Forget vapor champers and 4K streaming and how good rain looks in your driving game–that hat is where it is at. Still, not a single one of my wishes was granted, and for that I’m a sourpuss. Just kidding, all–I love videogames, even the ones I don’t like, and there’s never been a better time to be playing these digital thingies.

The following is a list of the games announced at E3 this year that have got me all full of excitement and curiosity. They are in no particular order, and no one company “won” E3, especially not Sony, which definitely only won the “Did Not Win” category. Sorry, y’all, if that was confusing, but it’s true. Look into your heart, and you’ll see it’s so.

A Way Out

I enjoyed what Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons did, both thematically and gameplay-wise, and I think I’m going to dig A Way Out‘s focus on cooperatively escaping from prison. This comes from Hazelight Studios and will be published by Electronic Arts. Josef Fares, the game’s creative director, spoke about this project passionately and with excitement, and it is difficult to ignore that and not let yourself stir at the thought about distracting guards and crawling through a tunnel of poop in the middle of a thunderstorm to taste that freedom air.

Anthem

I’m glad there’s not a new Dragon Age game coming from BioWare. I’m still working on that last one, though I hope to complete it this year. No, I must complete it in 2017. For those wondering, I’m around 60 hours in, maybe three-fourths of the way through. Anyways, this, this Anthem, sure looks a lot like Destiny and Dragon Age/Mass Effect, but it’s third-person and seems more focused on exploration that bragging about some sick gun I found in a cave. I’m interested for sure, but if this is the kind of game that requires a full team of peeps all the time to enjoy…well, count me out. Either way, curious to hear more.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds

I’ve watched a lot of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds over these last few weeks, fully understanding that I myself might never play this Battle Royale-inspired extravaganza. I don’t believe it requires that big of a machine to run, but now I don’t have to worry about even attempting this on my ASUS laptop because it’s coming, exclusively, to the Xbox One this year. I’m so ready to find a quiet, hidden hole and sit in it until the number of participants left on the island rapidly depletes and then stumble into a firefight unprepared and get killed unceremoniously. You heard it hear first.

Super Mario Odyssey

New Mario is new Mario. And this one keeps on surprising, with the reveal of Mario’s hat friend Cappy able to take over people and items in the environment for Mario to use. It instantly made me think of Brave Fencer Musashi and how you could steal abilities from enemies to help you on your journey. A Nintendo Switch is most likely a long way’s off for me, considering I can still get Breath of the Wild for my little used Wii U, but whenever I do eventually acquire the device, this will be an obvious purchase.

Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions

I’m pretty sure I have a digital copy of Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga on my Wii U. Let me go check. Yup, definitely do. I think I got it a while back by redeeming some Nintendo Club points before that system vanished. Anyways, naturally, I bought it and have not played it. Looks like I can continue to hold off because an enhanced remake for the 3DS is coming out soon, and that’s probably the better version to play at this point in time.

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

The turn on Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle happened fast. It all started with people scoffing at the inclusion of guns on the hands of Nintendo’s sweet, innocent original characters, the absurdness of Rabbids wearing costumes to look like those characters, and the fact that no one really knew much else about the game other than its title and that Mario was ready to shoot something. Well, now we know–this is XCOM plus Nintendo silliness. I’ve always been intimidated by permadeath-driven strategy games, but this tone seems gentler and more fun, so I’m interested in seeing how it plays.

Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology

Sigh. Radiant Historia has long been a game I’ve put on my “I will play this game this year” lists…and have failed to do so. Boo to me. The thing is, I really like it, but it’s a game about time travel and manipulating past events, and at this point I’d be totally lost going back to my years-old save file. Might as well wait for Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology, an enhance remake for the Nintendo 3DS. I wonder if it’ll have any StreetPass functionality.

Well, that’s that. I’m sure I’m forgetting a few key names here–there’s been a lot to keep track of these last few days–and don’t be upset that Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, Days Gone, and that new God of War aren’t here. The hard truth is that I have never been excited for them and never will be.

But that’s just me. Now I’d like to hear from y’all…what games are you most excited for, whether this year or slated for 2018? And on a scale of 1 to 100, how upset are you that Suikoden VI is still not a thing?

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My E3 2017 wishlist because a boy can dream

It’s one of the best times of the year, with E3 kicking off this weekend, followed in a month by Awesome Games Done Quick. In short, time to watch a lot of livestreams. Either way, I’m always excited to hear about new developments in the industry, even if I ultimately never procure many of the new machines or play a majority of the big name games to come. It’s fun being in the know, and I love the nightly interview segments with a mix of industry peeps over at Giant Bomb. Still, I do have some desires for this year’s event, and they are as follows:

Borderlands 3

Look, it’s time. It’s beyond time. No one really got into Battleborn, so Gearbox needs to accept this and move on to the thing that retains a strong fanbase to this day–the Borderlands series. Specifically, the one where you collect a million guns and shoot them at cel-shaded enemies, not the one where you talk your way out of a bad situation into a worse scenario. I’ve been dipping my toes back into Borderlands 2 over the last few months, but a service built solely for these new consoles would be extra great, and I’d love to see something along the lines of Hitman contracts with new raid-like bosses to attack every few weeks instead of a lackluster DLC package.

Death Stranding

We already know this game exists, but I want more info on it. Especially since Mel and I have been working our way through Hannibal and I’m finding Mads Mikkelsen to be highly watchable as an unpredictable villain. I’m still curious if it’ll play like Metal Gear Solid 4 or be a completely different thing. I suspect Hideo Kojima really likes stealth action, so it’s a good bet, but he himself can be unpredictable. I don’t expect the narrative to be clear until the game is out and played through multiple times; I just want to know what the running around is like. Either way, tell us more.

The Elder Scrolls VI: Valenwood

Fallout 4 did not take hold of me and never let go. Instead, I played it, enjoyed a decent chunk of it, beat it, murdering a lot of people to my dismay, and have not really gone back to the thing. I’ve thought often about returning to Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, but that would require booting it up on my Xbox 360, and I don’t want to do that. I’d rather wait for the next installment. Which, maybe, might be set in Valenwood. I don’t know. Your guess is as good as mine, but Bethesda is hosting its own press conference again this year, so maybe we’ll get some updates about what is next from their blockbuster high fantasy RPG time-eater. There’s probably going to be a Doom sequel too for those believing that lightning can strike twice in the same spot.

LEGO james bond

Rest in peace, Roger Moore, my favorite 007, but maybe we can bring you back to life in LEGO form. There are still plenty of LEGO games I haven’t gotten to play yet, but if this thing became a reality it would move right up to the top of my priority list. Traveler’s Tales could either do like they did with LEGO Harry Potter and split this across multiple games, or, if they loved us even just the littlest bit, put out a super compilation of Bond’s best and coolest movies for us to play through. These have everything a LEGO wants: colorful cast of characters, cool gadgets and gizmos, enhanced vehicles, and globe-trotting adventures.

Picontier

I don’t remember when this “slow living miniscape RPG” was announced, but it was some time back. Immediately, it reminded me of Stardew Valley and Rune Factory, which is great, and it was destined for the Nintendo 3DS. It’s also now coming out for the Nintendo Switch. When that is, I do not know, but I love the retro look, and having this kind of experience on the go is really appealing to me. Hopefully we’ll get some more concrete coverage during Nintendo’s streaming hours. Or it’ll just be a tiny tidbit hidden in some press release that goes out after their Nintendo Direct vid.

Suikoden VI

This is never going to happen. I know that, you know that, Konami knows that. But still, a boy can dream. Is it too much to ask for a game with an empty castle that one can fill up with people they meet along their way to stop an evil thing from becoming the ultimate evil thing? No, Dragon Age: Inquisition–you do not do the job well enough.

Right, right. What games are you looking forward to hearing more about at this year’s E3? Speak up and share your wishlist in the comments section. Be sure to include Suikoden VI and get it trending on social media.

Grinding Down’s 2017 gaming resolutions

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This is always dangerous, making promises. I’ve done it in the past here on Grinding Down, only to burn myself and those written words when it, for instance, ultimately, took many more years for me to beat Final Fantasy IX. Still, it’s always good to have goals, something to reach for and hopefully achieve after putting in the hard work, and, at the very least, these empty checkmark boxes give me direction, a place to go when I’m not sure what to do next. I’m not saying I’ll be successful on every account below, but I am willing to try. For all we know, 2017 could be the year of our very unmaking, and I might as well go down fighting for a cause, trivial as some of these may be.

Right. Allow me to highlight some future gaming goals…

Suikoden III

It’s always been my intention to play (and replay) the entire Suikoden series from start to finish to get to the games I’ve never touched yet, specifically Suikoden III, Suikoden IV, and Suikoden Tactics. Actually, now that I think about it, I don’t believe I ever saw credits roll on Suikoden V, but I do have a memory card save…somewhere. I got through replaying the first two games rather quickly, but then moved on to other non-Konami adventures after that.

For 2017, I’d like to get back to collecting them 108 Stars of Destiny, especially after finally playing some Dragon Age: Inquisition last year and seeing a few strong connections between the two. The roadblock is that I want to finish up everything for Dragon Age: Inquisition first before moving on to another large, time-demanding RPG. I just became friends with Dorian and am looking to move things forward romantically with Blackwall before tackling many more side missions. It’s probably going to be awhile.

So, I did play a bit of Suikoden III a few years ago, but my PlayStation 2 copy seems scratched up and unreliable. Thankfully, during some past PSN flash sale, I purchased a digital copy for the PlayStation 3, which means I really have no excuse now. It’s installed, ready to go. The real question is, as always, what to name my castle once I acquire it.

Earthbound

I’m not sure what it’s going to take me to finally start playing EarthBound. I was hoping buying the game, for more or less zero dollars thanks to Nintendo Club’s closing back in May 2015, was a solid place to begin. Alas, nope. I haven’t loaded it up once. Honestly, having this game available on the Wii U gamepad and not actually a Super NES locked to a TV should make this process even easier, considering I can take the experience with me into bed (hey now) before the Sandman visits.

However, that would mean I’d have to put down my Nintendo 3DS for some time, and with Disney Magical World 2 taking up all my pre-sleep time and Pokemon Moon waiting in the wings–as well as the remake of Dragon Quest VIII waiting even further in the wings–this might not happen just yet. Maybe by Spring 2017. I mostly wrote that to both give myself some breathing room, but also a starting point to stick to. This one’s for you, Iwata.

Steam backlog

At the time of writing, I have 362 games in my Steam library. Yeowza. Granted, many are not installed, and not all of them are huge, triple A titles that can’t even run well on my struggling-to-breathe ASUS laptop. Many have not been played at all, in fact. See, I have a bad habit of downloading just about every free thing released on the platform, as well as gobbling up indie bundles for real cheap to bloat this thing out even more. It’s gotten to the point that, when I do finally occasionally scroll through the list, I can barely remember where some of these titles came from, and then I freeze in fear, unable to decide what to try next, eventually settling on something safe, like AdVenture Capitalist or another unsuccessful run in Runestone Keeper. This is a problem.

I’m not here to make any kind of crazy schedule, like trying to play X number of games every week. That’s not going to gel with life. I am, however, here to make an effort, and make that effort known. I’m going to start small, using HowLongToBeat to help identify the not-so-big-timesinks and start whittling away from there. My problem, and I’m sure I’m not alone in this, is that I always want to experience as much of a game as possible, that I can’t remove it simply after beating it if there are, for instance, collectibles remaining to find or extra challenges that could be accomplished. I need to work on that. I need to accept that not every game needs to be squeezed dry, leaving nothing behind but a colorless husk. For 2017, I need to let go more often.

80,000 Gamerscore

This seems more than doable, especially considering that I jumped 10,000 Achievement points in the matter of six months last year. This goal also feeds into the constant sub-goal of clearing up hard-drive space on my consoles and removing finished games, as I continue to download those freebies every month, but not do much else with them except wonder when I’ll find the time. I’m looking to polish off Earthlock: Festival of Magic real soon, as well as a number of those single introductory episodes from Telltale’s numerous adventure gaming series, which will probably help make a good step forward towards this next milestone.

Create something one might call a game or experience or waste of time

Now, I know nothing about programming and code and how to submit something for certification with the big console-makers. It takes me upwards of three minutes to remember how to hyperlink something using HTML when the button doesn’t work here on WordPress. That’s fine. I’m not looking to do all that and beyond. This can obviously be argued, but: I can draw, I can write, and I have ideas.

And so, I want to create something. An experience, with emotions and mood and meaning and jokes, maybe stuff to click on, a puzzle or two or twist you never saw coming. Something interactive. Which leads me to think that a piece of interactive fiction is a good starting area. I plan playing a few pieces of interactive fiction soon, which will hopefully help bring the inspiration juices to a boil (ew gross). The trickier part would be deciding what story to tell, y’know, from the hundreds bouncing around in my brain every day.

Well, there you have it. Five things make a post. Two named games to finally dive into, a whole bunch of things within my Steam library, a larger Gamerscore, and something creative. We’ll stop there, as any more goals will just tip the boat over.

That said, how about y’all? What are you looking forward to accomplishing in 2017? It need not be related to videogames. Perhaps you are finally ready to start cleaning up that garage full of clutter (hi, Dad!) or want to exercise more or get into knitting. Either way, let me know in the comments. I like knowing.

The Top 10 Videogames I Didn’t Get to Play in 2014

top 10 games not played in 2014 sad puppy

Actually, I played and beat a lot of games this year, somewhere around 73 according to my well-kept list. That’s my highest count yet since I started keeping tabs. Many of those games were from last year, years past, or tiny indie darlings. I did get to a few titles that came out this year, such as Transistor, Diablo III: Reaper of Souls, and Fantasy Life, to name a few, but as things often go, I missed out on a big chunk of the heavy-hitters.

Truth be told, this is one of my favorite lists to put together at the end of the year. Sure, it can seem like a bummer to miss out on some of these, but I’m a patient man and will get to some of them in due time. Or maybe not ever, given that Red Dead Redemption showed up on these lists a few times in a row, and I’ve still not ridden a horse to Mexico. My bad.

And for those curious to see how this feature ran in the past, here’s a bullet list:

Remember, this is a list of games I didn’t play that, if I had the time, money, and chance to, would totally play. Just putting that out there if you’re wondering why Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare or Titanfall isn’t showing up below. I don’t want to touch those, not even with a ten-foot pole. Your thoughts and mileage may vary.

10. Destiny

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Hmm. I really like Borderlands II and the idea of a loot-driven first-person shooter. Shoot things with guns, get cooler guns, do it all again. That’s perfectly fine. While the Borderlands series might not have the most illuminating or powerful story, it at least has a story, with characters and twists and resolutions. Sounds like Destiny doesn’t, which is scary, given Bungie’s plan for ten years worth of content. I don’t know. It looks pretty, but I’m a solo player, and a lot of the later game content is slanted towards group play.

9. Assassin’s Creed: Unity/Assassin’s Creed: Rogue

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Another year, another new Assassin’s Creed game to slip past me in the crowds while perfectly pilfering my purse. Based on reviews and fan feedback, neither of these two titles sounded all that great, riddled with bugs and repetition. Still sounds like Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag has been the series high point. That said, this year, I did finally start playing Assassin’s Creed II and am enjoying it very much, though I wish the feathers showed up on the map. Collecting is hard.

8. Child of Light

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Visually pretty RPGs make my knees buckle, but I never got around to trying Ubisoft’s take on the genre. Heard some complaints about the rhyming mechanics and the lackluster combat, but I can see past that for its watercolor painting graphics. It came out on a bunch of platforms, too, though I feel like this might be a good one to grab on sale sometime next year. Until then, Child of Light

7. Divinity: Original Sin

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Instead of playing Divinity: Original Sin this summer, I dabbled in The Temple of Elemental Evil. It was decent fun, but not the same. Hoping to see the newer, better CRPG pop up in some bundles next year.

6. Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

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Generally, if I can’t play a specific game or have trouble gaining access to it, I’ll search out a similar experience elsewhere. See above with Divinity: Original Sin. For Hearthstone, a card game everyone was gaga over this year in the same vein as Minecraft a few years back, I just never got to play it. I don’t have an iPhone or iPad, but I did discover Might & Magic: Duel of Champions, which is a lot of fun. Maybe next year I can try this and say “Job’s done!” myself.

5. Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel

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Remember in the blurb under Destiny where I said I really liked Borderlands II? Well, that’s true. I really liked it. I still like it. I’m still playing it. And so I’m not ready to move over yet to another game that is very similar save for a different setting and an oxygen mechanic. Sounds like there is some collection coming for the series, and it would be awesome to see Borderlands, Borderlands II, and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel all together, bundled with every bit of DLC that’s ever been made for the series. One can dream, I know.

4. Bravely Default: Flying Fairy

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Here’s the thing. While I did not play the full retail release for Bravely Default: Flying Fairy, I did get to try out the special demo put out a few weeks before the game dropped. It’s fun and gorgeous and a modern take on the older style of Final Fantasy games. I meant to pick up a retail copy, but never did. And then a few weeks ago, I had to remove the demo from my 3DS to save space and make room for important things, like new puzzle pieces and themes.

3. Shovel Knight

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An old-school action platform where you hop around on your shovel like Scrooge did his cane in DuckTales. I really shouldn’t have to write any more to sell you on the title, and I’m very sad I never got around to this. Think it would be perfect to play on my 3DS, so maybe some Christmas money can help with that plan.

2. Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes

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One of my goals for this year was to play through every Metal Gear game in order of release. I got all the way through Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. Still, a pretty good effort. I won’t be able to try out Ground Zeroes, purported to be the Metal Gear game with the best controls yet, until I finish a few others ahead of it. Hopefully by the time I get to it I can play it like a prologue to The Phantom Pain. Fans believe we’ll hear the release date for that one in just a few days, on Christmas, a gift worth unwrapping violently.

1. Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

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All right, here’s the big one. A Lord of the Rings game, and I didn’t play it. I try out just about every title I can. Yup, even Aragorn’s Quest. Yes, even The Fellowship of the Ring on the PlayStation 2 despite its terrible grammatical errors. That said, the reason one plays Shadow of Mordor is to experience the Nemesis system, which is deep and complicated and cool; however, the last-gen versions of the game have the Nemesis system removed due to limitations, leaving behind a more hollow product. My laptop certainly can’t run a game like this, so I will have to wait until the day I get a new-gen console, which won’t happen until I also know when Fallout 4 is definitely coming out. Sigh. This one hurts the most.

Right. That’s my list. Those are ten games I wanted to play, but ten games I didn’t get to play. Boo-hoo. What titles did you miss out on this year? Speak up in the comments below, and may you get to everything you want to in the next, new year! Until we meet again, dear Grinding Down readers.

Borderlands 2, a treasure hunter’s wishlist

Not surprisingly, Borderlands 2 has been officially confirmed. That’s cool. Looks like a possible April 2012 release window, which is also cool as I’m still plugging away at the original Borderlands and have plenty to do there. Mainly trying to find slices of pizzas, panties, and fish in bags, as well as creep towards level 69. Once most of that is done, I’ll definitely be done with the game as I am not interested in replaying it for like a third time with a brand new character class or anything. So a new Borderlands game sounds just about right.

And here’s a quote from Gearbox about the newest entry in the series:

“Combining invention and evolution, Borderlands 2 features all-new characters, skills, environments, enemies, weapons and equipment, which come together in an ambitiously crafted story. Players will reveal secrets, and escalate mysteries of the Borderlands universe as they adventure across the unexplored new areas of Pandora.”

Looks like we’re back on Pandora. I kind of felt like most of the planet had been explored, but I’m sure they’ll come up with truly new locations. I’m excited for this, but I do have some wishes. They seem sound in my head, but you might not agree. I’m sure all many want is just more shooting, shooting, shooting, and weapons with a thousand and four different stats. I get that. I’d like that…and more. Here’s my wishlist for Borderlands 2!

Character customization

In Borderlands, there were four classes: soldier, hunter, siren, and berserker. I’ve only played at length with the soldier, Roland, but I did give the other three a sporting chance. Meh. Once you have your class and increase in levels, you’ll gain skill points, which allow you to customization your character’s skill tree and how he or she plays more effectively. What you can’t tweak is what they look like, other than changing armor colors. I guess this isn’t a huge deal as you don’t often actually see your dude unless they are getting in or out of a vehicle, but it definitely doesn’t give you the impression that your treasure hunter is any more special than somebody else’s.

Stronger story

There’s so much potential in the Borderlands universe for a great story, and alas, the first game did not do the best job telling one. It had fantastically cool characters, but it lacked a conclusion and a true goal. I mean, if the Vault was supposed to house all this crazy treasure, why did we not get to loot it at the very end? Hmm? The quests and sidequests featured some great lore, but I suspect many gamers didn’t spend a lot of time reading and scrolling down to finish reading. I think some actually dialogue between characters could help strengthen the story, really immerse the player, and maybe even offer some choices in how things play out.

Storage space

I know Gearbox added some kind of storage bin with one of the DLCs (not one I have), but this element should have been implemented from the get-go. If you’re going to have an astronomical 17,750,000 weapons, please give us a place to store all our favorites. It became frustrating to have to either drop or sell gear simply to keep space open for more loot. A lot of times, I wouldn’t even get a chance to try out most of these weapons before giving them the axe.

LESS DRIVING

I hated the driving in Borderlands. Hate, hate, hate, hated it.

Varied multiplayer modes

Okay, the online multiplayer bug has finally bit me. I’d like to see more online interaction for the Borderlands franchise other than co-op. Not just deathmatch things, but maybe online challenge modes or something even wackier. Imagine an online mode where players would be dropped into a randomly generated map, given a time  limit, and instructed to kill as many skags as possible. At the same time, another player is also on the map trying to do the same thing. You may kill each other as well to slow progress/steal skag kills. This I want.

This is just a few tidbits, but I’ll wait until more details about Borderlands 2 are revealed. Until then, Gearbox…please deliver!

Videogames I’m definitely buying in 2011

I kind of thought this would be a light year for DO WANT games, but with each day that hits anew I’m finding myself becoming intrigued more and more with shiny new titles. Too many to remember by remembering alone at this point, which is why it’s great that I have this Grinding Down blog, which is now being used as a forthcoming grocery list, but hey, it still loves me. That said, let’s get to the meat of this post, the tenderloin, the chicken cutlet, the bacon bits.

Here’s everything I’m planning to purchase this year videogame-wise so long as I don’t get mugged in a back alley:

LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game

Release date: May 10, 2011

I’ll have some demo impressions up soon for this one, but I’m pleased from what I’ve already gotten to experience. Sure, it’s the same formula over and over, but it always works for me, and they absolutely nailed the way LEGO Jack Sparrow runs. And it’s one of the franchises perfect for playing through co-op, especially with a loved one. Also, Tara already suggested the next great franchise to LEGO-ize: Back to the Future! Mmm-hmm.

Bastion

Release date: Q3 2011, but I’m hoping for early summer

Like a painting brought to life, Bastion looks simply beautiful. That would be enough to get me interested, but then I learned it’s a mix of action elements and RPG elements. Sold!

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Release date: August 23, 2011

Any game that can be played in multiple ways is a good game to me. Variety trumps linearity. Especially if one of those ways is all about being sneaky and non-confrontational. It kind of reminds me of Fallout 3 in that sense, but shinier, slicker, with more vibrant highlighting. I should, at some point, go back and play some Deus Ex: The Conspiracy even if it hasn’t aged too well.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Release date: November 11, 2011 (11.11.11 for the cool people)

Pretty sure I won’t be the only one picking this up in November. It’s only a huge followup to a huge followup. I’m very interested to see what’s changed from Oblivion to Skyrim, as I was always fond of exploring that game’s world, but found the combat and quest system to be a bit disappointing. Here’s hoping, but it’s gonna be epic no doubt.

Assassin’s Creed: Revelations

Release date: November 2011

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood was certainly a surprise. It was not, as many feared, just a quick cash-in on a building franchise. In fact, it only made the claim truer that, yes, Ubisoft, knew what it was doing with its stabby-stab games. Multiplayer is back, and that’s great as it’s some of the only multiplayer I’ve played and enjoyed. But when is Assassin’s Creed III really coming out?

Animal Crossing 3DS (no official title yet)

Release date: August 2, 2011

Very few details exist, but you’ll supposedly be the mayor of the town in the next iteration. Maybe that will lead to more control over shops and such. Either way, this’ll give me a reason to buy a 3DS game. Buuuuuurn. I think they could do neat things to with Play Coins and StreetPass functionality, but time will tell. If it’s the same freakin’ game all over again, I’m swearing off the series for good.

Fantasy Life

Release date: Sometime in 2011

Fantasy Life is turning out to not be the Fantasy Life I remember seeing previews for many moons back. It’s instead getting revamped for the Nintendo 3DS, and while the art style and graphics have sadly changed, here’s hoping the gameplay–a life sim in a medieval fantasy setting–hasn’t. I’ve always wanted to know what it’s like to sell fruit in an open market to a range of peasants.

That’s all I can think of right now. I’m sure I’m forgetting a few games, and I’m sure I’ll want another five within a few weeks, but such is the life of a gamer, I guess. Naturally, I can’t list impulse buys, Fallout: New Vegas DLC, and games to add to my PlayStation 2 collection as they go on sale, but yeah…games. I love ’em.

Games Completed in 2011, #13 – Monkey Island 2 Special Edition: LeChuck’s Revenge

So I beat this game. Big Whoop, right?

Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge is a game I wish I had played sooner. Like, maybe when I was in high school or back when I dreamed of being a plucky wannabe pirate. Alas, I only discovered it after a Special Edition was created, released for the Xbox 360 Arcade, and then put on sale a few weeks ago. Don’t worry; I’ve already said three Hail Marys and two Our Fathers, and even then I know that’s not enough repenting yet.

In this sequel to The Secret of Monkey Island–which I’ve also not played yet, grrr–Guybrush Threepwood is searching for the legendary treasure known as Big Whoop. Unfortunately, during this hunt he unknowingly resurrects his arch-nemesis LeChuck, who he defeated in the previous adventure, as a zombie. There’s also some mini-plot thing about a love interest named Elaine Marley, but that never seemed like a vital focal point of the game. This Big Whoop search will span several islands, taking Guybrush back and forth as he collect items, solves puzzles, and interacts with a host of memorable, charming characters.

This Special Edition is more than just a re-skinned game. Besides the updated artwork, which is simply gorgeous, there’s re-worked controls to help players not familiar with the SCUMM engine get along much easier. Right-clicking on an item or person brings up a wheel of options, such as LOOK AT Wally, TALK TO Wally, or even the dreaded PULL Wally. That might seem like a weird option, but I suggest selecting it, as now, thanks to the addition of voice acting, every selection elicits a smarmy response from Mr. Threepwood. And the voice acting is stellar, with every character having a strong personality that is instantly captured upon speaking. My personal favorites include Wally B. Feed, Largo LaGrande, and the constantly quieting librarian. You can even listen to this awesome voicework with the original, retro graphics and gameplay. Another addition that long-time fans are probably super excited about is that Monkey Island creators Ron Gilbert, Tim Schafer and Dave Grossman recorded commentary to go with the game as you played; I did not give this a listen yet.

The puzzles range from obviously easy to eye-stabbingly frustrating, and for those that need an extra nudge in the right direction, two new features can be used: a hint button and item highlighting. I didn’t use either to unlock Achievements come the endgame (I know, I’m a whore), but they are there if need be. For the tougher puzzles, mainly all of Part II, I had to use the Internet every now and then. Some of them hurt my head, and some of them proved almost impossible, like when you had to give LeChuck a hanky a split-second before he zapped you with some voodoo magic. That one took me at least fifteen tries to get the timing right.

Monkey Island 2 Special Edition: LeChuck’s Revenge is both a fun and funny game. Entering a new screen and clicking on everything is thrilling, and I mean that as seriously as possible. I just wanted to know what Guybrush thought about everything, whether it was a stool, a parrot, or even monkey playing a piano. Exploration and an eye for detail is what’s important here, and while the story felt a little rushed during the final showdown, it was wonderful to experience. I have the need now for more point-and-click action, and it looks like I’ve missed out on quite a collection of SCUMM-based games. However, I’ve been warned to steer clear of Escape from Monkey Island. No promises, but I will certainly try.