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Culling the backlog...

Brad Gallaway's picture

Note: Not my actual stack of games - just a dramatic re-enactment.

So 2011's over. What's next?

At the moment, I've fulfilled all of my GameCritics obligations and I'm just coasting for a couple of weeks. Although it feels weird to not have fifteen projects burning at the same time, it's nice to take a quick breather from the hectic pace—especially from all the madness that happens in the fourth quarter.

Personally, I'm not playing anything substantial at the moment; just a little of this, and a little of that. However, instead of starting up something big, it's usually around this time of year that I get the urge to go through my backlog and weed through the accumulated pile. I've got quite a bit of stuff stacked up, so I need to start deciding what I'm actually going to try to play, and what I'm never going to get around to. If nothing else, that "never" stack can stop collecting dust and be put to better use by being traded in for some credit towards a 3DS or a Vita...

Here's what's in the stack, not counting all of the XBL/PSN/WW downloads I haven't touched yet:

    Wii:
  • A Boy and his Blob (shelved @ 30%)
  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Boom Blox (thinking about it makes my arm hurt...)
  • Broken Sword
  • Chocobo's Dungeon
  • De Blob (didn't like #2)
  • Endless Ocean 2
  • Madworld (shelved @ 80%)
  • Monster Lab
  • Munchables
  • No More Heroes 2
  • Punch-Out (shelved @ final boss, IIRC)
  • Red Steel 2
  • Safecracker
  • Super Mario Galaxy 2
  • Super Paper Mario
  • Tatsunoko vs Capcom
    360:
  • Army of Two 2
  • Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts (shelved @ 25%)
  • Batman: Arkham City (shelved after 4-5 hours)
  • Bayonetta (started/quit three times, never finished)
  • Castlevania: Lords of Shadow (wife's 20hr save was killed by a glitch, scared me off)
  • Child of Eden
  • Conan
  • Darksiders
  • Dead Space 2 (shelved @ 50%)
  • Earth Defense Force 2 (shelved @ 50%)
  • Eternal Sonata
  • Fracture
  • Gears of War 3 (waiting for a 2nd copy to co-op with the wife)
  • Halo Wars (shelved @ 50%)
  • LA Noire
  • Legendary
  • Metro 2033
  • Red Faction Armageddon (shelved @ 50%)
  • Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper
  • Singularity
  • The First Templar (shelved @ 50%)
  • Velvet Assassin
  • Viva Pinata 2
  • Wolfenstein
    PS3:
  • Resonance of Fate
  • Tekken 6
  • White Knight Chronicles (shelved after 4hrs)
  • Yakuza 3
  • Yakuza 4
    PS2:
  • Bard's Tale
  • Baroque
  • Disgaea 2
  • Jak & Daxter: Lost Frontier
  • Final Fantasy XII (shelved @ 40hrs)
  • Manhunt 2
  • Okami (the wife took 65-ish hrs to finish, didn't want to commit that much time)
  • Sakura Wars
  • Scarface
  • Silent Hill: Shattered Memories
  • Spy Fiction
  • Summoner 2

Sooooooooo.... I've definitely got a few ideas about which of these titles still hold interest for me and which don't, but I figured I would throw this list out to you, dear readers, and see if you have strong feelings about any of 'em, either positive or negative.

Are there some in this list I should absolutely get to? Are there some that I can toss aside without a second thought? If you've got any feedback either way, post a comment or hit me up on Twitter and let me know. The great purge hasn't begun, but the time is coming.

(Side note: I will weep tears of blood if/when we finally move to an e-only future and lose the ability to trade/sell games we don't want any more. Fizzical m3dia 4 lyfe, yo.)

Games talk aside, I'm a little ashamed to say that I did not meet my deadline for the edits that were due on my book this year.

I'm not trying to make excuses because I'm big believer in personal accountability, but with everything that was on my plate, it was just too easy to keep putting the book on the back burner and tell myself I'd get to it later. That's exactly what happened, and "later" was a while ago... hopefully the publisher I had lined up will still be interested, and if they are, I'll probably take this time between now and February to buckle down and get it done.

Otherwise, I've got a screenplay that I'll be shopping around and I'm considering starting a collection of short stories. The idea of starting and completing a tale in less than a year is starting to look more and more appealing these days... we'll see, though.  I'm trying to be much more realistic this year in terms of time management, so I think I will have to scale my expectations back accordingly.

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Platform(s): Xbox 360   Wii   PS3   3DS   Nintendo DS   PSP  

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Darksiders, post-haste!

That is all.

None of it.

None of that looks interesting. Makes my backlog look fun and exciting if you ask me. Not that I'll ever get to that either. Stupid Saints Row 3 checklist of Challenges.

uh-oh...

wow... that is one depressing list, lol. i do not envy you, Brad, if you do in fact feel obligated to play any of those games.

personally, i'd dump every single title on Amazon.com for credit towards a new TV and watch some movies instead.

speaking of TV's, what kind of setup do you game on? is that sorta thing important to you?

Games to Play

For a really good, atmospheric experience that is not as lengthy as many games on that list, I would check out Metro 2033. Had a lot of fun in with that game. It would also give you a different, and possibly more realistic (though at the same time sci-fi) take on the whole nuclear apocalypse thing since you just got off of Fallout.

Also Bard's Tale for the lolz

A boy and His Blob,

A boy and His Blob, MadWorld, and Red Steel 2 are worth finishing, with high levels of content enjoyment to time ratios. Mario Galaxy 2 is great, but a timesink. If you didn't like de blob 2, don't bother with the first. Super Paper Mario is great when you are not in the hub (which happens too much). The others aren't worth it (unless you really liked no more heros, or are more interested in BB: Bash Party).
Batman, Darksiders, Castlevania, Dead Space 2, Gears 3 are all worth it. I'd put La Noire, Metro 2033, Velvet Assassin, Singularity, Pinata 2 in a second tier as worth it if you like those genres.
ps3, all 2nd tier unless you like those genres.
ps2, none of those are really worth it timewise, except okami. Which is long, but has very little filler, less than anything other game on your list. The controls for the wii version make it more enjoyable (for me).
But as the other poster said, go darksiders.

is this helpful?

how can you start & quit bayonetta 3 times? as a pure action title, the game is stupidly brilliant, while the character & art style are up to personal taste, i guess (i loved it!), but how can you be so indecisive? just finish it already.

okami: great game, but definitely too long, although you should be able to take around 20 hours less than your wife (i took close to 50 hours with a lot of essentially useless item collecting thrown in). also has some of the best boss fights i can think of.

shattered memories might be the best silent hill game since 3, although it really hasn't much to do with silent hill at all, neither story nor gameplay wise. it's not even survival horror but more of a point&click adventure. while it doesn't quite live up to its promise of psychologically profiling you, it's still worth playing once and doesn't take long (even less than the average silent hill game). i'd call this one "interesting".

eternal sonata has fun gameplay, but the story is so obvious and simple that i doubt it would engage you much. it really came across as kid's game to me, but not the smart kind. characters also aren't anything to remember. typical tri-ace (tri-crescendo) stuff.

speaking of tri-ace, i wouldn't recommend resonance of fate either. personally, i loved the game, but it takes quite long, and while the battle system is innovative and clever, it does get quite repetitive due to the length of the game and the lack of variety.

can't say much about any of the other games since i haven't played them, but if i had a xbox360+kinect, i would totally play child of eden.

I'd really like it if you'd

I'd really like it if you'd review Resonance Of Fate at some point, simply because, even after finishing it, I still don't know what to think of the game. I haven't read any good reviews about it that go a bit more into detail of the game (not necessarily about the game mechanics) and about what it wants to be.
However even though I was (and still am) generally interested in the game, I can't say I enjoyed it. I only have the vaguest of clues about the game's story and plot, because everything story-related is extremely hazy and at the same time heavily stylized, almost beyond recognition.
A feeling of disparity permeates all parts of the game - from the repetitive, silly and overly melodramatic story-sequences about peace and love to the lines after battle ("Guys don't make passes at girls who kick asses", "See ya", "That's gotta hurt") after the enemies breathe their last breath, tearfully soliloquizing their last thoughts in pain and distress, silence. The huge disconnect between the fast-paced action and the slow brooding angst, horrendous dialogue and message-mongering of most of the story-sequences. The melding of clockpunk with almost medieval settings. The stark contrast between the presented needs of the world's inhabitants and the actual gameplay, both on the battlefield and on the world-map. And finally the dystopian setting of the game mixed with shopping for new outfits, which doesn't amount to anything more than playing dress-up.
The whole game feels camp, however it doesn't want to acknowledge this. I have no clue how a game like this could even have been thought up, personally I wouldn't even know where to start. It's like they picked a lot of cool stuff, threw it together and voila, Resonance Of Fate. They didn't even bother to somehow modify conflicting parts of the game to make the whole game more coherent. However this quasi-limbo is exactly why i find it so interesting.
Somehow i get the feeling that there's some hidden quality to the game which I haven't completely grasped yet. Or the game could just be a slapped together piece of overly melodramatic tripe. Either way, for some reason I simply find Resonance Of Fate a very interesting cultural artifact, and I think I would enjoy it immensely if I could read your thoughts on the game.

Dang, I wish I had your

Dang, I wish I had your problem. My list of back logged games is just as long, but I am reliant on GameFly for my fix and the turn around for a game is a week plus in my neck of the woods. So, feel free to send those games my way...

Actually just played through Super Paper Mario myself about a month ago. Great game, though a huge time commitment. I spent 18 hours on the game, with little exploration other than the main quest. Great tongue in cheek humor that Paper Mario pulls off better than quite possibly any other franchise. If nothing else, might be worth playing through the third (or was it fourth?) level with an excellent send-up to videogame nerds.

Can't really say I blame you on Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts. Having LOVED the original game, I played through the first segment of Nuts & Bolts, found one puzzle piece, or jiggy, or what ever it was you are to collect, then quit. Sold the game a few months later. No regrets.

Yakuza

Your list is about as long as mine.

Yakuza 3 was my 2010 GotY. Yakuza 4 is pretty high on my list for 2011. Go with those.

No DS games?

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