Monday, 9 January 2017

Hello, 2017!

A little bit late, but here it is, the traditional round up of how rubbish I was in the previous year. First, though, there is one more game that I finished last year that I never got around to writing about, so I'll just say a few words here. It was Flower for the PS3. I actually finished it years ago, but just returned to tidy up a few loose ends and hoover up a few trophies. Flower was another early PSN game to use the tilt controls rather than the D-pad, but here it never feels like a gimmick. It's a beautiful game by the same people that made flOw and Journey, and the control and feel of the game is wonderful. You play the part of a petal...or a flower...or the wind...or the dream of a flower...whatever - you play a thing that breezes across a landscape activating other flowers in the landscape and adding their petals to your own...tail. It's, umm, pretty hard to describe. Just play it, okay! It looks beautiful, it feels beautiful, it sounds beautiful - every flower you pass over has its own note that combine to form beautiful melodies - I can imagine it probably smells beautiful, too. If you're looking for ActionKillerStressRelief then this is not the game for you, in fact, you probably wouldn't even call it a game. If you're looking for an ambient, relaxing, thoughtful game, then Flower will fit the bill perfectly. That's not to say it isn't hard, or puzzling or downright scary, it can be all of those things at times, but at its heart it's about flight and control, and the peacefulness of nature. It's about wonder and the dreams of flowers. And what more could you want?

Onto the round up, then. I played a lot in the first half of the year in the dying days of my previous job, before starting the new one and being swamped with new things to learn and do. I settled down into a bit more of a rhythm, though, and I think got through a few things. It feels like the year's been mostly spent playing the Fallout series (which is no bad thing), but I'm sure there must have been more to it than that. Did I manage to stop myself buying a million games this year? Haha, of course not! But I'm hoping it wasn't quite as bad as it has been. Let's find out...

This time last year we started out with:
   Done: 462
   Total: 4070
   Completed: 11.3%

Here's where we stand at the start of 2017:
   Done: 531
   Total: 4353
   Completed: 12.1%

Which means, for all you maths fans out there, my totals for the year were:
   Done: 69
   Total: 283
   Completed: 0.8%

So, not too bad. I managed to finish about the same number of games as last year - with the usual caveat that a big bunch of those are games I couldn't get to work or that I just skipped over (especially on PS3); there's no way that I've actually played through and finished more than one game a week! The total new games purchased is down by about 60 on last year's number, but still completely ridiculous. As always, about 70 of those are PS Plus games, but I still can't quite believe I've bought another 200 games. What is wrong with me?! I was going to make my usual resolution to not buy any more this year, but I've already bought a bunch of Assassin's Creed games in a bundle this week, so bang goes my will power. It is silly, though, I really must try and curb the habit a little bit. Still, at least the total is moving in the right direction!

In terms of games - just looking back over the list - I actually still had the second half of the Tomb Raider series to play at the beginning of the year (I thought I'd finished more of them the previous year!) and they were great. The rebooted Crystal Dynamics series breathed new life into it and went out with a bang. I still haven't played the latest one, but I'm sure I'll pick it up one day. I also played a couple of the Lego games, which I really enjoyed. Max and I did start a few of the others, but he lost interest so I haven't been back to them since. There were a couple of surprisingly solid maybe double-A rather than triple-A games that I didn't know much about, but enjoyed thoroughly - The Last Templar and Mars: War Logs, one at the beginning of the year, and one at the end. Neither of them were spectacular, and I don't know if I'd particular recommend them over other examples of the genre, but they were fun surprises when I wasn't expecting much from them. Another pair of similar games that spring to mind are The Knights of Pen and Paper and Pixel Heroes, but this time I remember them for all the wrong reasons. They both started off well and seemed light hearted and fun, but soon turned into an evil grind-fest that sucked all of the fun out of them. Biggest disappointments? Dive Kick? Oof, I don't even want to think about it. Mega Man 9? I guess I can't really blame the game for how rubbish I am at it. No, the biggest disappointment has to be Inquisitor. Ack, I put so much into that damned game, only to lose the whole lot in a stupid crash. Arrgghh. I'm feeling the red mist creeping up again, I'd better think about something else. Best game. Cthulhu Saves the World? Great fun and light hearted, but a bit too samey. 10 Second Ninja? I think it's not so much that the game was good, but that I was so please with myself that I managed to get through it. No, the best game of the year has to go to Fallout. Or Fallout 2. Or maybe Fallout BoS? Oh who knows, I've enjoyed all of them. Fallout 3 is also pretty fun, if only it weren't for the constant crashing. Story of my (gaming) life...

It only remains for me to wish all of my faithful (two) readers a fantastic 2017. I hope the new year brings more time for family, more time for friends and more time for a game or two.

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