Since I'm basically talking to myself at this point with making blogs, I figure I'll start a "For me" blog, since I'm probably going to be the only one who reads it. But this is a blog I want to do from time to time to track and take note of the state of my backlog over time. So I'm pretty much going to list the number of games that are in my backlog along with my current wish list. Plus I might as well throw in the names of the games. Hurray for lists!
13 Playstation Plus
Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed
Plants vs. Zombies
Shadow of the Colossus
ModNation Racers: Road Trip
GTA: Liberty City Stories
Far Cry 2
4 unplayed and owned
Dishonored GOTY edition
God of War: Chains of Olympus
God of War: Ghost of Sparta
Hot Shots Golf: Out of Bounds
5 in need of re-visting
God of War 3
8 Non-PS4 Games
The Wolf Among Us
South Park: The Stick of Truth
Metro: Last Light
Batman: Arkham Origins
God of War: Ascension
7 PS4 Games
inFamous: Second Son
Killzone: Shadow Fall
Batman: Arkham Knight
The Evil Within
That's interesting, I suppose. Playstation Plus is definitely inflating my my backlog, especially considering that I probably wouldn't even be playing half of those games if they weren't "free". I'm hoping this list shrinks over time, which it may, and not necessarily due to playing all of them. Sometimes I just decide not to play games, though other times I add games to my backlog on a whim. But hell, I don't even have a PS4 yet, so I'm sure my backlog will only grow once I get one, though I've already included PS4 games. For now, I really want to tackle my PS3 and Vita games, which I will continue doing even once I own a PS4.
It's been a while since I've blogged. I still come to this site often, it's just that I haven't had any blog ideas, nor does anyone read blogs anyway. But now I have something I briefly want to rant about. I may even make this a recurring thing, with A Short Rant #2 and so forth being possible. However, I'm usually not very vocal when it comes to certain gaming discussions, or in general. So I don't expect to do this often. And I hate to come across as whiny or anything, but this is something that's nagging at me at the moment that I feel the need to address.
I'm sure most gamers are aware of the Xbox Live and PlayStation Plus services that Microsoft and, more recently, Sony have implemented on their consoles, so I won't waste too much time explaining either of them. But for comparison's sake, Xbox Live has been around much longer. For the vast majority of its time frame, its primary function has been to allow Xbox users to play online. There have been a few other perks I won't dig into too much. Now, on the other hand, there's PlayStation Plus. Its main benefit includes access to an Instant Games Collection, with a few new titles pouring in and replacing other titles, which subscribers still to get to keep so long as they claimed them while they were a member and so long as they remain a member.
Once PlayStation Plus released, the only thing about it comparable to Xbox Live was the price. But still, the services were completely different. Skipping ahead to get to the point, Xbox Live and PlayStation Plus are now quite comparable due to each of the newest consoles requiring them for online play. In an attempt to compete with PlayStation Plus, Microsoft has fairly recently implemented Games with Gold, which gives Gold subscribers 2 free games per month. And now to the main focus of my rant, PEOPLE ARE COMPLAINING ABOUT THIS.
Now, let me get something about of the way here. PlayStation Plus arguably blows Xbox Live out of the water, even before it became mandatory for online play. I get that. But the fact of the matter is, Xbox Live has actually improved as a result of Microsoft's need to compete with PlayStation Plus. Yes, Games with Gold has thus far offered significantly older games than what you see on PlayStation Plus, but SO WHAT? To my knowledge, these are games you can actually keep FOREVER so long as you claim them while a Gold Member, and they don't have the downfall of being unplayable once your membership runs out.
Being a PlayStation Plus Member, I can understand the envy of Xbox users. They're paying the same price for a service that offers less than what the competitor does. But, a lot of these people have been at least somewhat willingly been paying for Xbox Live for years without any free game bonuses. What baffles the hell out of me is that every time new games are announced for Games with Gold, people vilify Microsoft to death for adding games they're clearly not interested in. I know, people like to jump on the Microsoft-bashing circlejerk. I know, people like to complain about virtually anything and this probably isn't a special case. But I'm just surprised that, in an attempt to improve a service by ADDING FREE GAMES, Microsoft may actually be damaging their reputation and service due to negative outcry.
In short, this kind of nonsensical bitching from gamers isn't good for anybody. You can visit this article if you want that's currently on the front page to get a taste of what people are saying. And, spoiler alert, it's an overwhelming majority of negative comments. Someone did bring up the point that "complaining gets results", citing the initial underwhelming nature of PlayStation Plus as an example. They may have a point, but I don't think this mindless hatred towards Microsoft for their game selection of Games with Gold, something, once again, that would never be possible without PlayStation Plus would be possible; and, the fact that people would still be shelling out $50 a year for online functions alone, is doing anyone any justice.
To be clear, I am not an Xbox user. If anything, I'm more biased towards Sony and the PlayStation. I'm just trying to be reasonable, though I don't know why I bother sometimes. There are probably a hundred topics I could discuss and complain about people complaining about, but this one really stuck out to me. If I do another rant, I'll try to address something a little more thought provoking and hopefully something that just isn't about other people complaining because that would get repetitive fast. Then again, I'm not huge on ranting. I just try to enjoy games and not get too much into certain discussions. Anyway, thanks for reading or skimming this. It didn't turn out as short as I intended, but I'll still call it a "Short Rant", since rants tend to ramble on even more than this.
So I recently did a blog on my top 10 games of the generation. Overall, I was pleased with how the list turned out and I had a lot of fun reminiscing as I wrote it all out. However, just today I realized I made a pretty big mistake in leaving out one important game entirely. In the early days of planning this list, I intended for this game to squeeze into my actual top 10. Looking at what made my top 10 cut, I still feel this game deserves to be #10, as bad as I feel for having to push Red Dead Redemption out from #10. Though I'm not going to make any changes to the initial blog, I'm just going to note that Red Dead Redemption is technically an "Honorable Mention" game now. I suppose that also means I'd have to push Sleeping Dogs out of that final Honorable Mention spot, but it's not like I'm going to delete that part of the blog.
Anyway, this is more for me, but here's my real #10.
10. The Walking Dead: A Telltale Game Series
I think this one skipped over my mind because of how it was divided into episodes and my individual ratings for the episodes weren't up there with my other top games, aside from the last episode, which reflected how I felt about how the game turned out as a whole. Nevertheless, this game took me by surprise, least to say. Being a fairly new fan of The Walking Dead at the time, I still didn't have much faith in this game initially. A game based off of a TV show based off of a comic book series? Not exactly a recipe for a remarkable game. My expectations were fairly low, but I took a leap of faith in buying the season pass after playing the demo and feeling the game had some potential.
The first episode was a good intro, but nothing more. It wasn't until completing the second episode that I felt this game was really growing on me and had a lot of potential going forward. What this game lacked in terms of visuals and gameplay was easily made up in superb writing, well crafted characters, and the difficult decisions and dialogue choices thrown at you the entire game. Brutal, shocking, and emotional are some of the key words I would use to describe to this game. Yet, Clementine is one character that portrays hope, and I just loved how Lee and Clementine bonded throughout the journey. The Walking Dead was definitely a tough game to play at times, but it was the devastating ending that truly got to me. I'll be one of (seemingly) many to admit that the conclusive of the final episode left me in tears. This remains the only game to do that to me. I'm usually not very emotional, but some games have caused my eyes to water up; still, this one resulted in full blown waterworks. I'm not sure whether or not to feel good to admitting to that, but it just goes to show how powerfully the game impacted me.
So there's that. I feel dumb for completely forgetting about one of 2012's best games. My main issue with this series is how long it takes for episodes to release, which was problematic for the first season and probably won't be any better with the second season. I would wait until all episodes come out, but for a game as good as this, I simply can't do that. I don't expect the second season or any possible future seasons to be as stunning as the first season, but I'll continue to eagerly play each and every episode as they come out. While the second season is off to a good start, I'll be surprised if it turns out to be as phenomenal as the first time around.
I might be a little late with this, or maybe even a little early depending on how you look at it. On one hand, all "next-gen" consoles have been out for about a month and a half now, though with the Wii U, 3DS, and Vita having been out for quite a while now. On the other hand, some significant games will still be releasing for the PS3 and 360, though mostly cross-gen games. Anyway, I've been planning this blog for a while, and I had fun constructing my personal list. It was difficult, to say the least. Keep in mind of course that this is my personal list and am not trying to make any sort of statements. Also, since my of my gaming occurred on the PS3 "last" generation, most of my games will be limited to that console.
Now, without further ado, let me start my list with...
10. Red Dead Redemption (2010)
Honestly, this didn't even originally make my top 10. I had Persona 4 Golden at #9, but realized it was on a "next gen" device. Red Dead Redemption barely didn't make the cut in the first place, thus I had to promote it to #10 due to my error. I felt bad in leaving it out of my top 10 to start with, because it truly is a great game, one that would probably be higher on most people's list. I even went as far as declaring it my Game of the Year is 2010. The story was fantastic and it was a fun game to play once I got into it. The world was big and there was quite a lot to do, as expected from a sandbox game from the likes of Rockstar. I never had any real gripes with this game. I simply was not into the setting as much as I am with modern or futuristic games. Nonetheless, I'm glad to name this as a Top 10 Game of the Generation, even if due to a technicality.
9. Portal 2 (2011)
Portal 2 was my initial #10, narrowly making its way to the top 10 in the first place. In short, Portal 2 was a pleasant surprise for me. Having not played the first game, the gameplay was fresh and exciting to me. The humor was also definitely a high point of this game. The puzzles were fun to solve. They were consistent in being challenging enough to make me think while also not being too frustratingly difficult to solve. It was simply a blast from start to finish. Even the short co-op campaign proved to be as enjoyable and humorous as the single player campaign. My only regret was how soon I was finished with everything in this game. Interestingly enough, this is my only top 10 game that I don't own or ever actually owned. I was able to do everything whilst renting it, but more importantly, it was a quality experience.
8. Uncharted 2/3 (2009/2011)
Okay, so this is where I start cheating by cramming two games into one spot. But truthfully, I enjoyed Uncharted 2 and Uncharted 3 to roughly the same extent. Plus, it would be a bit redundant to name multiple games of one franchise near the same ranks. Anyway, Uncharted 2 may arguably be the superior game, yet it wasn't until I played Uncharted 3 that I finally realized my genuine affinity for the Uncharted series. The first Uncharted was a great start to the franchise and a solid game in its own right, but Uncharted 2 blew it out of the water. It truly set Uncharted down its crazy over-the-top-action-y path that its well known for. Uncharted 3 accomplished essentially the same thing, and was yet another fantastic Uncharted game. I believe Uncharted is easily one of the Playstation's best current franchises. Speaking of Playstation exclusives franchises...
7. inFamous & inFamous 2 (2009 & 2011)
inFamous was one of my earliest Playstation 3 games and has remained one of my favorites throughout the 5 years I've owned the console. Though not as critically or commercially successful as the Uncharted games, inFamous especially appealed to me for some reason. Perhaps its open world gameplay, ease of traveling, and zapping the hell out of enemies (or people on my evil playthrough) were a few of the reasons I enjoyed this game. The story was also quite captivating and had a nice twist at the end. inFamous 2 improved on inFamous in various ways, namely visuals and smoother gameplay. I don't think the story was quite up there with its predecessor, yet it concluded in a satisfying way. It feels right keeping these two games together in the same spot because I cannot ultimately decide which game I prefer more, mostly for reasons mentioned previously. Though it's fairly popular, I believe the inFamous games are the most underrated Playstation 3 exclusives. I cannot wait to play inFamous: Second Son, which is one of the primary reasons I'm currently holding off on buying a Playstation 4.
6. Grand Theft Auto V (2013)
I'm almost tired of talking about this game at this point, but nonetheless it's an incredible game in my opinion. The mechanics, visuals, and sheer amount of things to do surmount previous GTA games, making it perhaps the best GTA thus far, depending on how strong your nostalgically attached to say Vice City or San Andreas. GTAV was definitely an excellent game to sort of close out the generation before the PS4 and Xbox One rolled out. That's not to say we won't be seeing games on what I have to get use to calling "last-gen", but I can almost guarantee we won't be seeing games with the quality of GTAV coming out exclusively on "past-gen" in the future.
5. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011)
The first game to crack my top 5 is, suitably, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. I was honestly skeptical coming into Skyrim, being a newcomer to The Elder Scrolls franchise and all. And I was so skeptical I actually rented the game first. My main reason for even playing it in the first place was due to its vague similarities to the recent Fallout games, which I thoroughly enjoyed of course. To get to the point, I was incredibly blown away by Skyrim after the first few hours of playing it. It's hard to put everything I think about this into words, but I'll go with the obvious factors like its vastness, engaging leveling system, solid visuals and a good amount of variety for an open world game, and the simple fact there's a ridiculous amount of things to do for the reasons as to why Skyrim is so addicting. To date, I've put over 200 hours into Skyrim, and on just one character astonishingly enough for me. That said, I haven't even explored everything in Skyrim. Conclusively, I shouldn't have had any reason to worry about when getting into the wonderful world of Skyrim, and I regret not playing not only this game sooner, but immersing myself into The Elder Scrolls sooner.
4. BioShock/Bioshock Infinite (2008/2013)
The Bioshock games are amazing. And yet this was another series I nearly ignored entirely. Even after hearing all the wonderful things about BioShock, I put off on playing it until the middle of 2012. Suffice to say, it would have been a grave mistake for me to never play the original BioShock. I've since then caught up with the rest of the games, including Infinite of course. Given that the original and Infinite are tied together at #4 on my Top 10 Games of the Generation list, it's left quite an impact on me. The original BioShock felt a bit awkward to play at first and I thought it was just outdated. It didn't take long for me to push that worry aside and become immersed in the dark and literally deep world of Rapture. Big Daddy encounters were tense and there were a plethora of interesting characters, albeit ones mainly heard through audio logs and intercoms. Some twists and turns left me very satisfied upon completing BioShock, and I felt like an idiot for not having played it sooner. Infinite, on the other hand, leaves the depths of Rapture and takes off to the skies with a new set of characters and a new story, though there were plenty of parallels to Rapture and the previous 2 BioShock games. Though Columbia was vibrant and lively, it turned out to be nearly as dark as Rapture. Gameplay and visuals were enhanced, plus the conclusion to the story was simply jaw-dropping. So which game is better? I can't really answer that since they both have very strong points and very few weak points.
3. Mass Effect 2/3 (2011/2012)
As a non-owner of an Xbox 360 or viable gaming PC, Mass Effect was barely a thought until Mass Effect 2 made its way to the Playstation 3. Ultimately, that was perhaps one of the best things to happen to me last gen. Despite not knowing heads or tails about the Mass Effect universe or any the main characters, it didn't take too long for Mass Effect 2 to grow on me. I found the plot to be highly interesting, even if it took a while for me to grasp what all was going on. The characters, namely my squad mates were easy to become attached to. And finally, the gameplay was some of the best I've seen from a third person action game. I felt Mass Effect 3 was just as strong in all the aspects that made Mass Effect 2 an incredible game. I know much has been said about the conclusion to Mass Effect 3, namely negative things of course. While I don't think Mass Effect 3 ended terribly, I felt it was a bit muddied what with the choices and how it all closed out. Nonetheless, even if the ending wasn't as satisfying as it could have been, I still feel Mass Effect 3 was an otherwise excellent game. Even the multiplayer mode was a surprisingly enjoyable addition to the game. I still feel bad that I wasn't able to start out with the first game, but Mass Effect 2 and 3 did a fantastic job in sucking me into its deep lore and letting me experience an unforgettable story.
2. The Last of Us (2013)
Though The Last of Us looked like a great game from the start, I didn't quite expect it to be as stunning as it turned out to be. I never imaged it would make its way to one of my favorite games of all time, but here it is, #2 on my Top 10 Games of the Generation list. I feel it deserves #1, but I just have too much of a personal affection for the next game. Anyway, I'll keep light on the details of this one since I've wrote about it so much at this point. It's a 15 hour, linear, action game, yet it's just so incredibly well done in my opinion. It's the characters, namely Ellie, that really keep this game going. The gameplay is distinctive and highly intense, and there's a pretty good survival element to the game as well. Lastly, the multiplayer deserves a nod because I did not expect it to be nearly as good as it turned out to be either.
1. Fallout 3 (2008)
You didn't see this coming, did ya? It's not like I have some sort of obsession for this game or anything, because I totally don't. Joking aside, Fallout 3 was also one of my very early Playstation 3 games, and to this day I generally regard it as my favorite game of all time, if I had to chose. The best part about this is the fact that I didn't even like Fallout 3 when I first started playing it. And it's not just that, I loathed the first couple of hours after coming out the vault. I was simply lost and confused as to where I was supposed to go because I found it difficult to navigate what with the metro tunnels and everything. Plus, I kept getting my ass kicked by Raiders and Mutants. I was on the verge of selling this game and getting some of the $30 I paid a friend for this game back. I took a short break and resumed my struggle to find out what I should be doing and how not to die or use up all my resources. By some miracle, I quickly settled myself into the game and shortly after really starting having fun with it. I didn't realize it at the time, but I was genuinely becoming immersed in the game, which caused me to play it virtually non-stop for a little while. It only took me about a week or so once I knew what I was doing to complete the story and earn all the trophies. And it wasn't until I finished with all that that I realized how much I really enjoyed playing game. From thereafter, I sought to explore even more of the world and collect rare weapons and whatever else. Plus, I made an Evil character for fun. The DLC, which I thought would never come to the PS3, definitely expanded my experience and pretty much introduced me to DLC. My only real issue with Fallout 3, of course, was with the glitches and freezing. It honestly wasn't too bad with the core game, but the GOTY edition had some serious issues. Nevertheless, Fallout 3 is definitely my #1 game of last gen and I still feel comfortable considering my favorite game of all time.
That concludes my Top 10 Games of the Generation. However, upon constructing this list, I felt too bad for leaving out some other great games I genuinely enjoyed. So, up next is another 10 games. These aren't necessarily in any particular order since ordering my Top 10 games was difficult enough. But these games I feel deserve a nod. I'll try to be more brief with these games since it's taken so long for me to type everything up at this point.
BioShock 2 (2010)
BioShock 2 wasn't quite good enough to include with BioShock and BioShock Infinite, but it was still a very solid game in its own right. I think it gets some undeserved hate for not being as spectacular as its predecessor, although that just might be the sound of neglect. I suppose it wasn't as dark and mysterious the second time around, but it still improved upon the original in a few ways. BioShock 2 received a bit of flak for including an unwanted multiplayer mode, but I'll be one of the few to say it was actually pretty fun. I forced myself to play it and reach the highest original level for the trophies, but it really wasn't bad at all.
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (2010)
In my first few years of owning a PS3, I became attached to playing online shooters. It was 95% Call of Duty, though, until I played Battlefield: Bad Company 2. The first one was good, but I never really got into the multiplayer. Bad Company 2, on the other hand, had a highly enjoyable online multiplayer. The single player by the way, was brief and entertaining, though had a more serious tone. Anyway, the main attraction of course was the online, which, for me, pushed Call of Duty aside. The maps, destruction, sounds, and intensity in general were all very good. I've since drifted away from online shooters, but Battlefield: Bad Company 2 remains my favorite shooter and I'll always have some good memories with it.
Burnout Paradise (2008)
I'm not a huge fan of racing games, but I do like the occasional arcade racer. Burnout Paradise was basically perfect for me, especially since I'm a sucker for open world games. Though it's a weird concept, I think Burnout Paradise mixes open world and racing almost perfectly. And it's not just racing, there are other events that I really enjoyed partaking in. I'd never played a Burnout game prior, but this was a fantastic one to play. And it's still the only game I can think of that allows the music on your system to play in-game. Why the hell haven't more games done this?
Mario Kart Wii (2008)
What's this? A non-PS3 game? Yes, believe it or not, I played the Wii for a while before moving on to the PS3. As aforementioned, I do like some arcade racers, so it should come as no surprise that I like me some Mario Kart. Mario Kart Wii easily became my favorite Mario Kart game. 12 kart races were intense and the new tracks were definitely creative. Retro tracks gave me a rush of nostalgia. And lastly, Mario Kart Wii essentially introduced me to online multiplayer, and I had an excellent time racing against others online.
Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars (2009)
Say whaaaat? Another game on a Nintendo system? (I played this on the DS) But yes, I almost forget the DS was in the same generation as the PS3. Though an odd match that explains why it wasn't so successful on the device, Chinatown Wars actually played very well on the DS, which was my main worry going in. I thought I wasn't going to like the whole top-down view, but I realized the controls were seamless almost the second I started playing the game. I honestly don't remember too much about the game in terms of its story and everything, but at the time I felt it deserved a 9.5/10, thus I felt obligated to include it on the list.
Fallout: New Vegas (2010)
If I'm such a big fan of Fallout, why isn't this game in my top 10? you may or may not be wondering. Well, Fallout: New Vegas is definitely a great Fallout game. It does many things right; in fact, it does many things better than Fallout 3. Yet, it doesn't have that same gritty, apocalyptic atmosphere Fallout 3 has. Furthermore, New Vegas manages to be an even worse technical disaster than Fallout 3. I could only overlook so many glitches, freezes, and drastic frame rate drops, which seemed to occur in particular areas regardless of how long you've been playing the game. Despite its issues and minor shortcomings, Fallout: New Vegas is still a fantastic game with even more to do than Fallout 3.
Call of Duty: World at War (2008)
This might seem an odd fit given that I loathe the series now, and I'm choosing to include this game instead of Modern Warfare 1 or 2. Well, I have an explanation. World at War was essentially my first FPS, as hard as that is to believe. Furthermore, it was the first online game I played heavily. Even in hindsight, I prefer World at War to all the Modern Warfares and the other Call of Duty games I've played. I was genuinely amazed with this game at the time. I liked its grittiness and the campaign remains my favorite of all other Call of Duty campaigns. Looking back, there may not have been anything spectacular about the online multiplayer, but again, it's the first one I truly played and became addicted to.
Grand Theft Auto IV (2008)
This was exactly the second PS3 game I played and a significant factor in me finally getting a PS3. I was very excited to play it after all of my time of playing San Andreas. Initially, I was disappointed. The controls felt wonky and the open world wasn't nearly as interesting or diverse as San Andreas. It took me a while, but I eventually got a hold of the mechanics and enjoyed playing through the story. Eventually, I found plenty to like, though it remained quite a ways from being as awesome as San Andreas was. The DLC episodes turned out to be really good, too. Though extremely overrated by critics, I still feel GTAIV deserves a nod.
Far Cry 3 (2012)
Not much needs to be said about this game other than that it's an open world FPS and that it does well in mixing both of those elements. The story is fairly interesting as well, and it contains one of the best antagonist I've ever seen in a video game. Oh, and I learned what the definition of "insanity" is, so there's that too.
Sleeping Dogs (2012)
This final "Honorable Mention" spot was a serious toss-up, namely between this game and Mafia 2. I have games with higher ratings, but I felt at least one of these games needed to be mentioned. They're both modest open world games with solid stories. I suppose I ultimately decided on Sleeping Dogs because it felt like a very smooth experience throughout. There was heavy focus on the hand-to-hand action, and thankfully that aspect of the game was very well done. The shooting and driving mechanics were loose and enjoyable as well. Overall, definitely a modest, yet solid game that exceeded my expectations.
I think that will finally do it for this blog. Again, these were the top 10, or I suppose the top 20-ish games that I enjoyed the most out of previous generation. It was challenging, yet very fun putting this together. I feel I could add another 5-10 games that I really enjoyed if I wanted to as there's plenty of great games I've played last gen that I feel a little bad for not being able to include them on this list. Some such games are the LittleBigPlanets, some of the Assassin's Creeds, the Resistance games, Killzone games, Blur, God of War 3, Borderlands, and some others.
Then of course, there's the fact that I'm still playing last-gen stuff, aside from the PS Vita. I have yet to play some potentially superb games that I plan on playing such as Tomb Raider, Dishonored, Metro: Last Light, and perhaps a few others. But other than that, I'm pretty happy with this list. If I feel like it, I may make a list like this but for DLC. I would probably only do like a Top 5 since the number of candidates is much lower, but I could probably name at least 10 add-ons that I thought were at least great.
I'll end it with this paragraph and conclude with saying that I think last gen was amazing. It might just be me personally, but I haven't enjoyed gaming this much since ever. I played somewhere over 100 games, almost that many alone on the PS3 thus far. Sure, you could say some bad things that started trending last gen like Online Passes, microtransactions, on disc DLC, and so forth. But looking at just the gaming itself, I felt it was simply fantastic overall.
I haven't seen a blog in My Friends's feed for quite a while, so I'm hoping there's still some people out there looking out for and reading blogs. Either way, I've had this sucker planned for a while, so I'll I'm going for it regardless.
Anyway, 2013 was another great year for gaming. Not only did the successor to the PS3 and Xbox 360 release toward the end of this year, but some truly fantastic games were released for "last" gen consoles. I didn't actually play many games released in 2013, but I played the main ones I wanted to. These games as I refer to as the "Big 3" for 2013 because they were my most anticipated games of the year from the get-go. Consequently, there were 5 or so "2013" games I played this year, depending on if you count DLC.
Since these 3 games were all amazing in my opinion, I'll go ahead list these games in the order in which I liked them and deem them my top 3 games of this year.
3. BioShock Infinite
First up is BioShock Infinite, coincidentally the first of these 3 games that I played. After having completed this game, I had no idea it would turn out to only be my third favorite game of 2013. BioShock is a franchise that I've only fairly recently acquired an affinity for since I played the first game a mere year and a half ago. I was simply amazed at how excellent of a game it turned out to be, even though it took me forever to finally decide to play it. BioShock 2 wasn't quite the masterpiece as its predecessor, but it was still a very good game. On to BioShock infinite, which I felt lived up to the grandeur of the franchise.
As far as hype goes, I became more and more excited for BioShock Infinite the closer launch approached. Delays only heightened my anticipation. My only concern was this new location- a seemingly vibrant city located in the sky. Despite its stark contrast to the unmistakable dark, unsettling atmosphere Rapture provided, the world in Infinite manages to be just as immersive. Gameplay-wise, it remains familiar, yet is refined overall. The story and visuals are both top-notch. In short, I enjoyed almost every aspect of this game. Some of the shooting sequences did drag on at times, and the mini-boss fights, namely the Handyman, were a bit underwhelming, especially compared to the Big Daddy fights in the previous games.
Conclusively, BioShock Infinite was a highly enjoyable game worth re-playing. The lack of multiplayer this time around wasn't a disappointment. I personally had very few issues with this game unlike others, and the ending blew me away. In all, I genuinely enjoyed experiencing this game. In fact, it almost feels insulting to call this the third best game of the year, but then these next two games came out.
Now, this game would probably make it on lot of people's "Most overrated games of the year" lists, but massive hype aside, I truly enjoyed this one. My love for the GTA franchise only stems back to San Andreas, but the fact that GTAV was returning to the same location as San Andreas was what blew my hype meter up. For the first time in a long while, I made a day one purchase. And, of course, it was this game since I was set on buying it at or near launch well before it released. Basically, once I started playing GTAV, I could not stop. For about a month and a half, the only game I played was GTAV. I completely neglected everything else and further delayed my backlog, but dammit, it was worth it.
Much can be said about GTAV, and I promise I won't go into too much detail. In many areas, it was a vast improvement over GTAIV; visuals, gameplay mechanics, and a much better open world being some of the primary examples. What gets me about GTAV is that it doesn't do anything incredibly innovative, except for the ability to play the 3 protagonist there are. Yet, it still manages to be one of the best open world games I've played. There's undoubtedly plenty to do in the single player alone. They greatly expanded the amount of side activities, many of which are actually enjoyable to play, such as golf. A wide variety of air vehicles make a much needed return. In all, the gameplay mechanics are easily the most smooth of any GTA title.
Once said and done, I drained some 80 hours into the single player. The story wasn't particularly amazing, yet the game as a whole was a blast to play. The Online is its own separate beast capable of spending loads of time on, but it left somewhat of a sour taste in my mouth. Leveling and earning money legitimately is highly tedious, yet there's still plenty of fun to be had messing around in the well-crafted open world with others. Overall, I can see why people would deem this game the most overrated or would be disappointed with it themselves. The main cause in most instances is definitely due to the hype, not that GTAV did anything especially wrong. Though I can nitpick several small things about GTAV, I feel it was a well-delivered game that lived up to my personal hype. It was my most hyped game for 2013, and it would have been my game of the year if it weren't for this next game.
1. The Last of Us
Of these titles, The Last of Us was the only new IP. That said, I found it difficult to hype it any more than the two previous games. Sure, it was being developed by Naughty Dog, but aside from that and the little I knew about its premise, I held back my excitement for quite a while. But new gameplay footage looked promising and I hopped on the hype train as its release drew near. In short, wow. I was not prepared for this game. I wasn't prepared emotionally. I wasn't prepared for how engaging the action would be. I wasn't prepared for how heartfelt the story would be. I was not prepared for how I attached I would become to the characters. And perhaps even more notably, I was not prepared for how unique and enjoyable the multiplayer would turn out to be.
I don't know what more to say about this game that I haven't reiterated numerous times before. The 15 hours I spent on the single player the first time around were easily among the best I've experienced in a linear action game. It wrapped up just as shocking as it began, and this is a story and game I'll never forget. There is seriously next to nothing about this game I can truly criticize. Rarely, The Last of Us does seem to fall under its own weight since it undoubtedly pushes the PS3 to its limits, and as a result is one of the best looking games you'll play on the system. Other criticisms I've seen didn't have any real impact to me, such as the friendly AI's tendency to not stay quiet when enemies are nearby, who don't react to this noise.
To be brief, The Last of Us impacted me in more ways than any game I've played this year, and perhaps more than almost every game I've played. I felt it was one of the best all around games I've played. It's rare to see a game with a superb story and gameplay, but The Last of Us pulls it off. I could compliment virtually every aspect of this game. Wrapping this up, The Last of Us easily earns my Game of the Year and is also one of the generation's best games for me.
I know that wasn't very exciting, talking about arguably the 3 most hyped games of this year. But I genuinely enjoyed every one of those games and felt they all lived up to the hype and deserve being mentioned. I know they kind of win by default since I've played really only one other full retail game from 2013, but I feel they would remain my top 3 even if I played 20 other games from this year. Very quickly, I'll go ahead and give a game an honorable mention since I felt it was a solid game worth mentioning, even though there are probably a handful of other games from this year that were better than it.
Beyond: Two Souls
I almost literally just got through with playing this game, but I think it deserves a last minute mention. There weren't tons of 2013 games I was looking forward to aside from the "Big 3", but this was one of them. Despite being released with highly mixed reviews, I wasn't concerned about playing this one. I was a fan of Heavy Rain and felt it was a unique experience in terms of storytelling and not being able to "lose" the game. Beyond: Two Souls is a similar, yet distinctive experience. To be extremely brief, it was a visually impressive game with stunning performances from the actors. The writing was a bit lackluster in some areas, but the ideas presented were definitely interesting. It was an emotional game as it clearly tried to be, though the unconventionally way in which the story is presented takes some away from the attachment I had to the characters. Though there's a bit of flaws present and the gameplay is highly sidelined, I actually enjoyed this game quite a bit overall. Some of the levels are really well done and memorable, and as I mentioned I was really intrigued by the concept and felt the performances were very gripping.
That does it for the Game of the Year portion of this blog, phew. Now on to my overall reflection on 2013 in terms of gaming for me personally.
It may not seem like I've done a lot of gaming this year since I can count the number of 2013 games I've played on one hand, but that is far from the truth. I played around 24 "new" games, finishing and even earning all trophies for most of them. Most of these games were 2012 games, which makes me realize even more that 2012 was a fantastic gaming year as well. In all, I've played in the ballpark of 30 games this year. A good portion of 2014 will likely be spent playing 2013 games I didn't get to.
Now, looking forward to 2014. Honestly, there aren't a ton of games I'm looking at that are releasing this upcoming year. However, more excitingly, I do plan on purchasing a PS4 hopefully sometime in March. In total, the 2014 games I'm currently looking at are:
Infamous: Second Son
The Evil Within
The Wolf Among Us
The Walking Dead Season 2
South Park: The Stick of Truth
In addition to those previous games, I plan on getting my hands on these games I've missed out on playing them in 2013 or even before that.
God of War: Ascension
Saints Row IV
Metro: Last Light
Aside from all these games, I'll continue working on my backlog, which is actually fairly small now.
To finally conclude this blog, I think 2014 will be tough to beat 2013, at least from my perspective. The top 3 games I'm looking at are Infamous: Second Son, Watch Dogs, and I suppose the remainder of The Walking Dead: Season 2, which is off to a good start as I finally played the first episode yesterday. I do expect more exciting announcements this year. I feel this will be a good build-up year for the new consoles, but there won't be any really big releases aside from Watch Dogs, Infamous, and a couple of other games like Titanfall that I'm not interested in.
Thanks to those few of my "followers" I have that still look at blogs. Even if this gets no responses, I plan on making a "My Top 10 Games of the Generation" blog. I think this will be a fun, yet somewhat tough blog to do as there's a lot of games to consider. In fact, I have all sorts of blog ideas lined up, but since the GameSpot changes, there will probably be even less people reading them. Go figure, but oh well I guess.
As Black Friday rolled around, I realized that I purchased my Vita during the around the same time last year. Honestly, it was on a complete whim. I was browsing the Forums here on GameSpot and ran into a topic mentioning a great deal for the Vita on Amazon. And sure enough, it truly was a great deal. And a very limited time offer, unsurprisingly. It was just $170 for the Limited Edition Assassins Creed III Liberation bundle. To sweeten the deal, Amazon was offering a digital version of PS All-Stars and some other bonuses like a month or 3 of PS+ and $10 off Assassins Creed 3. Having a good chunk of Amazon credit, I went ahead and made the purchase basically right on the spot. It was too hard to pass up for the price, especially with it being a limited edition white PS Vita.
So oddly enough, my random browsing of the Forums probably due to boredom that day led me to this unexpected purchase. No less, it was most likely on the Playstation Vita Forum, which means I probably saw the topic on the main Forum page from the old GameSpot. I honestly had pretty much no desire or intention to buy a PS Vita anytime soon, if at all. But seeing this deal combined with a decent number of games I would be interested in playing, few of which I could play right away with PS+, sealed the deal. But now on to what I actually think about the system after owning for about a year now.
While the PS3 has remained my primary gaming system, my newly purchased Vita did see a fair amount of playing time. After about a year, I've played 9 full games, which I guess doesn't seem like a lot. But I have spent a fair amount of time with most of these games, and here's just a quick list of what I've played:
PS All-Stars: Battle Royale
Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified
Resistance: Burning Skies
Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational
Uncharted: Golden Abyss
Persona 4 Golden
However, I actually only own 4 of these games: All-Stars, Hot Shots Golf, LBP, and Persona 4. I rented Black Ops and Resistance, Uncharted and Gravity Rush are PS+ games, and I sold Liberation. These games have been somewhat hit-and-miss. Liberation and Resistance were a little underwhelming and not up to par with their console counterparts. PS All-Stars was just decent. Black Ops was a joke, at least for its single player. I actually thought the multiplayer was fun and rather functional at the time I played around with it. But the rest of the games- Hot Shots Golf, Uncharted, Gravity Rush, LBP, and Persona 4 have truly been enjoyable games. These 5 games alone have made my overall gaming experiencing thus far with the Vita satisfying.
Sadly, I've already run low on games to play, which is the main problem with the Vita. I won't say there's a lack of games as there seems to be a good chunk of games out there, but it lacks big games. Games that people will rush out to purchase the system to play. It's done well releasing some good games from popular Playstation franchises like Uncharted and LittleBigPlanet, but aside from Gravity Rush, I can't think of any decent new IPs released on the Vita. I'm tired of seeing games release for the Vita that can just be played on the PS3 (PS All-Stars and the announced Borderlands 2 for example). That's not going to help the system. I'm torn on whether or not it would be good to see more spin-offs from popular franchises such as Bioshock emerge on the PS Vita, because that's been a bit hit-or-miss what with titles like Resistance, Call of Duty, and Assassin's Creed not turning out that great on the Vita, but with others like Uncharted and LittleBigPlanet turning out just fine.
Maybe I'm wrong about the games. Maybe 9 games isn't bad for my first year of owning the system. Maybe I just have to dig deeper to find more good games, but there is a lot out there that I just don't see interested in. However, I did step out of my comfort zone with Gravity Rush and Persona 4 Golden, and I've loved both of those games. Still, the Vita has been out for almost 2 years now, and it just doesn't seem to have many "big" titles thus far.
Aside from the library, I don't have any real issues with the systems. Games look great on it and they're highly playable with the 2 thumbsticks. I never had a PSP, so I can't imagine playing games with just one thumbstick. The touchscreen and reartouchscreen are usually implemented well enough in games and are not too overdone, but the rear touchscreen can be a bit finicky and annoying to use, but other than that I don't have any issues with the controls. I don't do much other than game on the Vita, so I can't really comment on any other features that might be worth mentioning.
So that's about it. Overall, I'd definitely say I've had a good first year with my Playstation Vita. I still can't help but feel I've already played most of what the current library has to offer, at least with games that interest me. I've played all the games I own, so I don't have a real backlog for the Vita currently. However, I am interested in Killzone: Mercenary, virtually the only Vita game I was interested in for this year. Also, I have to add Tearaway to the list since it looks fun and received great reviews. And after not playing for a few months, I did finally start a second playthrough of Persona 4 Golden, so I am actually playing it now. Looking back on it, making the purchase was definitely a good call. I feel it will be worth it in the long run, but the lack of upcoming games I'm interested in truly concerns me. I guess I'll have to see what I can pick up and try from PS+ once I renew that.
How about you, do you own a Vita? If so, how do you like it so far and what games might you recommend that I didn't list earlier. If you don't own a Vita, do you have any intention or desire to purchase one anytime soon?
Now I can really work on my backlog without having to constantly add games to it :P
But really, the launch of a new generation of consoles is exciting and all, plus I really want a PS4, I genuinely do, but I'm not in a rush. At least I shouldn't be. I've probably said this 100 times, but my PS3 isn't being stowed away anytime soon, even once I get a PS4. It'll be hard to keep myself from getting one soon after the holidays, when I might have most of the money in gift cards (I already have like $180 in gift cards saved, I'm not a big spender lol)
Anyway, what are your next gen plans? PS4, Xbox One, both? Now? Later?
I'll make this quick. So everyone knows about the Fallout series and its mascot, Vault Boy, right? Of course you do, but just in case, here he is in one of his common poses.
He's just giving a thumbs up and a wink because he's a charming, enthusiastic little mascot, right? Well, actually, there might be some significance to this pose. I ran across this post on reddit that has gotten a lot of attention. You don't really need to read beyond the title, which says "If you see a mushroom cloud from an atomic bomb, you're supposed to stick your arm out and hold your thumb over the cloud. If the cloud is bigger than your thumb, you're in the radiation zone and should evacuate. THIS IS WHAT VAULT BOY IS DOING IN THE FALLOUT SERIES"
To me, that makes total sense with Vault Boy's pose and it being a game revolved around a nuclear apocalypse. I couldn't really find any sources or anything confirming this claim, so it could be total BS. I did run across this source regarding the thumb thing, sort of. Halfway through the page it says "Remember the hazardous materials "rule of thumb": if you can't cover the entire incident up by holding your thumb out in front of you at arm's length, you're too close!"
So while I'm still not sure if it's entirely true and this was the intention or just a mere coincidence, but being a big fan of Fallout I found this really interesting and a bit mind-blowing. And I thought why not share this since others might find it interesting (and it's obvious by the reddit post that people do).
When Playstation Plus first rolled out, I wasn't the least bit interested in it. Why would I want to pay $50 a year for some service? One of the reasons I chose to go with a PS3 was because there weren't any services I had to pay roughly $5 a month for. Of course, Playstation Plus and Xbox Live are incomparable as they are offering completely different services. However, at the start, I didn't see Playstation Plus as anything worth dropping money for. It seemed kind of sketchy. Pay $50 a year, or pay less for just one or three months at a time, albeit for a much more expensive money per month cost, in order to access a seemingly small catalog of games, be able to take advantage of the occasional discount, and enjoy a few other bonuses such as the Online Storage.
Naturally, I held off from this service for a while. That was until the whole PSN getting hacked fiasco occurred and everyone received a free month of it. I tried it out, and it seems alright, but again, I decided to not drop any money on it once my time with it ran out. A little later on down the road, I desperately needed to transfer some saves as I was swapping hard drives. Yeah, I had a flash drive, but that was of no use for those pesky copy-protected saves, so I decided to go ahead and purchase 3 months of Playstation Plus so I could use the Online Storage. Obviously, I also intended to take advantage of the "free" games and whatnot too. After that, I took a little bit of time off with the service, but I could see it was still improving. More notably, it had improved tremendously since its launch. More, better quality games added to the instant games collection, more substantial discounts, and I don't remember if game trials were always there, but I feel they weren't so I'll go ahead and mention those too. So, over a year ago I decided to go ahead and purchase a full year of it. And sadly, yesterday it ran out, but I feel now is a good time to share what I think overall about the service.
Simply put, for me, I've easily gotten my money's worth with Playstation Plus. Here are most of the games that I've claimed and played from the instant games collection.
Far Cry 2
Just Cause 2
Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One
Uncharted: Golden Abyss
It may seem like a short list, but I've "claimed" many more games, some of which I don't really have the intention of playing, while others I just never quite got to. Also keep in mind that there have been several games in the instant games collection that I already owned, thus there wasn't really a point claiming them.
On top of the "free" games, I've taken advantage of several discounts throughout my time with the service. So many that I can't even recall all of them, so I'll try my best with this next list.
LBP: Karting for $10
Crysis: $10 saved
RDR: Undead Nightmare for $5
Infamous: Festival of Blood for $3.50?
God of War: Chains of Olympus & Ghost of Sparta for under $20 total
GTA: San Andreas for I don't remember even though it wasn't that long ago
Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational for like $10
Some Hots Shots Golf PS3 crap for under $5
Borderlands & all DLC for $15
And again, those were just the ones that I could think of.
In conclusion, Playstation Plus is a great service. However, I don't believe it's quite for everyone. For starters, it can be quite a bit of a gamble as you never know when the next "big" games will come to the instant collection, or what those games will be. There's also the possibility that you will already have these games. I think you need to be an avid gamer to get the most out of Playstation Plus, and if you are an avid gamer, you probably will get a lot of duds when it comes to the "free" games. Conversely, it can go the other way and this won't be an issue for you, especially if you are open to trying out a bunch of different kinds of games.
Another point I want to make is value over time. For this first year, again, I feel as I easily got my money's worth, especially with being the owner of PS Vita as well. Yet, I don't feel like rushing out and dropping another $50 right away because I won't be adding anything to what I already had. When I dropped that first chunk of money, the service practically paid for itself that very moment because I had instant access to a number of games I hadn't played before and was interested in playing them. Paying another $50 right away will be risky because I don't know if I there will be more noteworthy games that will be added to the instant games collection any time soon. For now, I can hold off on playing the games I didn't quite get to, but that just shows I wasn't able to take advantage of the freebies as much as I could have since I spent most of my time playing my own games.
While I still feel it's easy to get your money's worth (at least on the first year) via Instant Games Collection, the only other way to get your money's worth it by spending more money. Don't get me wrong, I love the discounts, but I always have to remind myself that I'm practically paying to get these discounts, which is obviously counterproductive. Oftentimes, the discounts aren't much less than the discount for regular users, since discounts are pretty much always for everyone, and PlayStation Plus members just get a larger discount. For those big spenders out there, though, Playstation Plus is a must have.
And lastly, I worry about the future of Playstation Plus with the PS4 since it will be mandatory for online play. My main concern is with Sony potentially dumbing down the service as a result of it being mandatory for online play, which most people take part in, at least from time to time. I feel they won't need to make the Instant Games Collection or discounts as attractive, since online play is what will probably entice most people, or at least the newcomers to the service, to purchase it. I could be wrong, but that doesn't change the fact that there won't be many games to just hand out on the PS4, at least for a while. It's cool they'll be starting with Drive Club, a game I probably wouldn't touch otherwise.
Don't get me wrong, I still overall believe Playstation Plus has been excellent, but it still has its flaws and things to consider. I may not be re-purchase it until I get a PS4, or at least until I see something I really want in the Instant Games Collection or something. Assuming I stay active with playing my Vita and/or PS3, I feel the service could hold incredible value once I have a PS4. It will require some active gaming to get my money's worth, but that shouldn't be an issue.
If you're wanting a clear recommendation, I'll say this: Try it. Not for a month, not for 3 months, but bite the bullet and go for a year. But do this if and only if you see immediate value from it. Find some games that are in the Instant Games Collection that you would want to play, and if their regular prices meet or exceed $50, you'll be practically getting your money's worth right away. Again, I was skeptical of it for quite a while, but in all I think this was a brilliant move by Sony that is overall both beneficial to them and the consumer.
As much as I want to keep reaffirming my hatred for this new GameSpot, I feel it's time to resume to my regular blogging. I'll stick mostly to my little gaming updates I tend to do, but I still have a "special" blog I plan to do by the end of the year, and another one I think is a good idea that I'll do later on down the road. But, for now, I'll stick to my usually infrequent blog post. But, for the record, I've given this new site a chance and I've come to the conclusion that it sucks. Granted, I haven't put forth much effort to "get used to it", but I'm still seeing a bunch of unnecessary changes, and whatever. I said I wouldn't do this lol.
Anyway, in terms of gaming. I've been playing GTAV. I took a break from GTAV for a short while and played some GTAV. After that I played some GTAV. Finally, I returned back and finished up playing GTAV. So, yeah, I have not touched any other game since GTAV came out. I'm bad at playing multiple games in the same span of time, so I figured while I still had stuff to do in GTAV, I'd keep playing it. I've basically shoved my backlog even further back, which is okay. I've been abandoning too many games before being completely finished with what I want out of them. One such example being The Last of Us, which I was hoping to start up and maybe finish another playthrough this month, but that clearly isn't going to happen.
So what do I mean by "conquered" GTAV? Well, as a relatively dedicated trophy hunter, that means I finally obtained all the trophies, thus earning the shiny Platinum Trophy. Does that mean I've gotten everything out of the game? Well, just about. On top of having to 100% the single player and collecting virtually every collectible and obtaining 70 Gold Medals, I had to spend nearly as much time collecting the Online trophies. In all honesty, I short-cutted the online a bit via partnering up and helping each other out, which is a sugar-coated way of saying I did some boosting. I don't feel too bad, I mean the online is set up in a way where you have to invite people if you want to do pretty much anything, play missions, race, etc. so I didn't exactly have to go out of my way to take advantage of the system. It still took 65 hours to reach Level 100, which was my final trophy. I spent a mix of my time grinding/boosting and just playing normally. Add these 65 hours on top of the 75 I spend on the single player to reach a grand total of 140 hours I've spent on this game.
In all, I've really enjoyed GTAV. I still have some nitpicky issues with it, though nothing really worth mentioning. However, sometimes it didn't feel as overwhelming as I thought it would. Furthermore, the online portion overall has been a bit of a letdown, but I suppose that's my fault for being excited about it in the first place. Still, I did spend quite a bit of time on it, and I did have some fun with it. Overall, I think I'm settled on giving this game a 9.5/10. Of course, I'd have to give it a 9 on GameSpot's new shitty rating scale, but whatever.
I guess I simply couldn't stop playing this game, but after spending 140 hours on it and doing almost everything there is to do, I think it's finally time to give it a break and move on. I really wanted to obtain the platinum, and I thought it was going to be a long term investment due to the online, but I'm glad I got it done. Plus, it's currently my "rarest" trophy at the moment, which is kind of cool. It's definitely time consuming, but overall not too difficult, so I suspect it won't be my rarest trophy for long.
Now what? Well, I'm still wanting to focus on wrapping The Last of Us up trophy-wise. However, I recently (and about damn time) purchased Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare. I've literally held off from buying this add-on for 2 or 3 years now. And I want to play it now since it's Halloween and whatnot. It was just $5, so I definitely shouldn't regret finally buying it. As well, I haven't played RDR in years, so it will be nice to get back to it, even if I'm playing as a zombified John Marston or whatever the hell is going on. After this and The Last of Us, I'll possibly be returning to BioShock Infinite to play that DLC I haven't downloaded yet, (I bought the Season Pass) and that first episode will be out soon.
So there ya go. Once again I'll continue blogging on here as I have nowhere else to go, but my activity will likely otherwise remain low. I may as well end with questions to encourage responses, so I'll ask:
If you've played it, how much did you do in GTAV and what's your stopping point? (completing the story, 100% in the story, etc.)
If you played it, how did you like Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare? I'm just curious, the general consensus seems very positive, but I'd just like to know your thoughts anyway.
Thanks for reading/viewing/actually finding my blog! :D