Saturday, 8 February 2020

Hello 2020! Sorry I'm late

Jinks, are we through the first week of Feb already! The quest for games isn't off to a good start this year, but it's definitely still going. A recent role change at work has meant I've been really busy of late, but hopefully things will settle down a bit in the coming months. It has mean that I really have been down to 5 minutes a day, though, and that's meant I haven't wanted to play any of those big games I should be playing, and have instead been diving into a few cheap and cheerful 'snacks' that just about scratch the itch, but don't do much for my stats! Last year was by far the lowest number of entries since I started, and I have a horrible feeling that this year might suffer some of the same fate. In my first year (and that was only half a year!) I managed 22 entries, and last year I only reached 11. I can't quite believe how shamefully low that is. Definitely have to try and do better, even if they are only short entries. Without any more ado, here are the stats:

This time last year we started out with:
   Done: 646
   Total: 4775
   Completed: 13.5%

Here's where we stand at the start of 2020:
   Done: 667
   Total: 4853
   Completed: 13.7%

Which means, for all you maths fans out there, my totals for the year were:
   Done: 21
   Total: 78
   Completed: 0.2%

Gosh, that's not great. Again, all down on last year. I feel like a lot of those games were skipped ones, too. With only 11 entries, I definitely don't think I completed that many. The number of added games is down, which is good, but I know I've recently bought a bunch of bundles in the sales that I haven't added yet so expect to see that total rise as soon as I get around to updating the master list. What I did do last year was try and focus on getting through some PS3 games, as they're not included in PS Plus any more so I'm essentially paying for the Plus service now solely in order to keep those games hanging around in my 'to play' pile. That's a waste of money that I could really do without. Saying that, though, I stalled on Red Dead Revolver and there are still a LOT of PS3 games to play, so I might be doing this for a while.

I didn't play much last year, so this is going to be a bit of a thin selection, but without further ado, let's take a look at the best and worst. Starting with the worst...hmmm. The DOS Dragonlance games were fairly simplistic and rubbish, but I feel like I bailed on them without really giving them a full chance so I can't really make them the worst games. Same goes for Deathtrap Dungeon, though the bit I played of it wasn't terrible so I don't think it would make the worst game cut anyway. Night Hunter was pretty bad, but I couldn't really work out how to play it properly. Ugh, I think I'm going to have to be a bit unfair in this one. I played a couple of games last year (actually 3 including Red Faction Battlegrounds) that were meant as multiplayer games but that had single-player components: Out of Reach and The Ship. Out of those, I think The Ship was the worst - it was so slow, dull and unexciting in single player that I really feel like they shouldn't have bothered including a single-player segment at all. Just simple bot matches would have been fine. So, as I say, it's a little unfair because it's not really made as a single-player game, but The Ship is my worst game of the year.

As for the best...that's pretty tricky, too. I played through the Prince of Persia games with mixed results. I still adore the first game for its free-flowing feel and time-bending powers, but the series just went downhill from there. None of the follow-up games came anywhere near living up to the first. There's a hint of rose-tinted specs there, but like the first Tomb Raider, Prince of Persia made an indelible impact when it first came out. It was so fresh and new that it burned itself into my memory and the rest of the games i n the series were pale imitations, especially with that wannabe dark, angsty posturing, which is such a turn-off for me. Devil May Cry? Ah, it just didn't do it for me. Solstice and Deadlight were just middling games. Costume Quest 2 was a more of the same sequel... I think it's going to come down to West of Loathing or Ni No Kuni. Ni No Kuni is a great game, a very accomplished JRPG, but it's just a bit too trad. It doesn't really step out into new territory at all and the systems that it does try and innovate in aren't really that successful - like the creature breeding that was just a bit too slow and grindy and didn't really have enough affect on the combat to make it interesting, or the combat itself that wanted to be strategic but was easier just to button mash. As I say, it's a beautiful, warm-hearted game that I really enjoyed, but I feel it just hasn't quite got that spark that makes it a game of the year. That means I'm giving this year's game of the year to West of Loathing! I'd actually completely forgotten about the game, but thinking back on it still makes me smile and that can only be a good thing. It's not a deep RPG by any means, but it's a genuinely funny game and those are few and far between. It also brings back fond memories of all of those hours I spent in Kingdom of Loathing years ago. Probably not a classic game by any means, but almost certainly the best I played last year.

So, what are my plans for this year? I definitely need to try and play more games. I'd like to carry on dipping into the PS3 list and clear some more of that so I don't have to keep playing for Plus (unless I end up buying a PS4, but no sign of that in the cards at the moment). I'd also really like to make a bit more of a dent in the PC list - I don't think I properly completed a single game in the series list last year, which is rubbish. Doesn't help that I'm currently supposed to be playing a bunch of really heavy games, Red Dead Revolver, King Arthur the Role-Playing Game and Rebel Galaxy. I have dipped in and out of a few smaller games, which I've almost done with, so I'll hopefully have something to cross off soon. Anyway, the sky's blue and I'm supposed to be clearing the garden. Big love to one and all, and have a great gaming year ahead.

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