Tuesday, March 21, 2017

A Lego Backlog Update

Last post I gave some detail about The List that I created for tackling the mighty stack of the backlog. I've come to discover that The List can be both good and bad. It's good because it has given me direction and motivation for completing those games that I purchased but never played. It can also be bad because not only can it be intimidating seeing all those games labeled as backlog, but there are actually some games on there that I might not want to actually play.

What I do is sort The List by category then go to the oldest game on the list and start from there. However, there are a few games that go way back that I am just not really wanting to play right yet. So the moral of the story is to be flexible, play what you want because gaming isn't suppose to be work. That is unless it is your job, in which case gaming is work.

I do have an update on the backlog - I finished Lego Star Wars the Complete Saga and Lego Batman recently. I've been wanting to play Lego Star Wars for ages and now seemed like a good a time as any to give that a go.

Turns out, I don't really like the game all that much. I am what you would call NOT a fan of platforming or puzzles, and when you mix the two together it's even worse. The Complete Saga is actually two games in one; the prequel trilogy and the original trilogy. And boy do they play differently as well. The main difference for me is the original trilogy levels are longer and have more jumpy and puzzly bits in them.

I just found The Complete Saga to be a chore to get through. The first three episodes are actually tolerable, albeit annoying. But the last three episodes drove me nuts. My dislike for platforming and puzzles can be attributed to my very lack of patience. I'm not saying it's a bad game, it is neat seeing a franchise that I have grown up with and love turned into legos, but it just wasn't for me.

I admit that after finishing The Complete Saga that maybe I was a bit hard on the game, I decided to give Lego Batman a go. I actually got Batman for free because my son received a Lego Batman set that came with a free code for the Steam version. So right there I was already loving the game.

Lego Batman has two campaigns so to speak - the heroes and the villains. The hero side is of course, Batman and Robin. Aside from all the suite changing stuff that was required to progress through the levels, that portion was quite fun. Playing through the hero story missions was so enjoyable. There was very little platforming puzzle bits, just the suites and bashing bad guys. I loved it.

Then came the villain story missions. It wasn't bad, but the villain story missions were much more tedious, much like the original trilogy episodes from the Complete Saga. Overall Lego Batman was enjoyable and I'm really glad that I gave it a try. I have decided to play through the Lego games in my Steam library in order of release so I'm looking forward to playing one that has actual voice acting!

Monday, March 13, 2017

The List of Jayedub!

I've written about the all mighty backlog in the past. You know, that thing that we as gamers constantly have looming over our shoulders, taunting us, yet we continue to feed the backlog with holiday sales on a regular basis. Honestly, it really sounds like an addictive relationship!

But in my seemingly overwhelming quest to slay the backlog dragon I have done what I believe is a few things that will help break the painful cycle of buying endless games I won't play and once and for all kill that nasty monster called the backlog.

While I do have a number of games on physical discs, the backlog really started becoming an issue when I began to make digital purchases. As the digital retail market grew and holiday sales became the norm, I found myself buying loads of games. Games that I may not have otherwise played. And each time I defended my purchases with the thought that I was saving money buying whatever game now while it's on sale because someday I will play it.

Last year I made some great strides at not purchasing a game that I wasn't intending on playing right away but it didn't stop me from buying games and putting them on the virtual shelf. It may seem silly because gaming is suppose to be a hobby, not a job. But I often felt guilt knowing that I had this ever growing list of games that I keep contributing to but never actually playing.

So I decided to scour the interwebs to see how others dealt with such an issue. The first thing I learned was not to beat myself up. I had to accept that I may or may not play every game that is on my backlog and that it's going to take time and effort to get to a point where I feel that I have accomplished my goal. Once I came to that conclusion and I stopped beating myself up, I then had to figure a way to accomplish my goal. Believe it or not, it's as simple as making a list.

The most common advice on the webs was to make a list. My start date for the list began with January 5th, 2006, the day I downloaded Steam and installed Half-Life 2. To be fair, Half-Life 2 was actually a physical purchase, but it gave me a great starting point to begin my list. I created a list with every purchase made from an online retailer that could be redeemed on Steam, Origin, Uplay and GOG. 453 games later I have my list.

The next step I did for myself. I started tracking my monthly expenses and purchases that I make online or otherwise. The idea was to see exactly how I was spending my money and on what. This has actually been an eye opener for me. If you couldn't tell, my wife and I don't exactly have a family budget. Because I like buying games during holiday special sales, I lose track of when, what and how much when it comes to buying games. I already knew that I was not playing the games that I was buying, but to see it on paper really helped me to give more thought about my game purchases.

It probably sounds like I'm making a bigger deal out of this than I should, and I agree. Unfortunately I am a bit impulsive with my game purchasing and I needed something to help me gain control over an area in my life that I felt has been out of control for so long. I'm the kind of person who doesn't like chaos, and having a mound of unplayed games for me is chaos.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Ghost Recon Wildlands Open Beta Impressions

I will admit that I wasn't all that excited for a new Ghost Recon game, after both Advanced Warfighter 1 & 2 and Future Soldier I was pretty skeptical that Wildlands would be any good. You see, I really hate GRAW 1 & 2, and Future Soldier was enjoyable at times but quite frustrating most times. After spending the weekend in Wildlands I can safely say that it is a load of fun. Most times.

When I first saw GRW gameplay it instantly reminded me of The Division mixed with Far Cry. Turns out it's more akin to Future Soldier mixed with Far Cry but with the third person controls much like The Division. GRW plays so much better than the past few Recon games and is an awesome coop experience. Full disclosure: I played maybe ten minutes of the single-player so I cannot comment on that.

The game looks good, plays great and is a ton of fun when playing in a group with friends. The enemies are pretty relentless which keeps the game from becoming boring. We did run into a few bugs during our time over the weekend, the worst being unable to complete a story mission. Otherwise it was a blast.

I look forward to March 7th when the game is released and writing about my adventures in Bolivia!