Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Transformers: Devastation

How does Transformers: Devastation treat one of my favorite franchises?

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Check out my previous Final Thoughts for Rogues’ Adventures. Keep up with my adventures in backlog gaming via the Facebook group.

Rogues’ Adventures Season Eight

Final Thoughts #61

Developer: PlatinumGames

Publisher: Activision

Release Date: October 6, 2015

After two big AAA stealth-action games I opted for something a bit tinier in scope. I’ve already had to shuffle my schedule around this season as my initial line-up of games proved far too optimistic in the amount of time I could devote to backlog gaming.

Transformers: Devastation caught my eye for obvious reasons. I love Transformers! The eye-popping art style and slavish devotion to the original 1980s cartoon characters was right up my alley. Unfortunately I fought with the gameplay the entire step of the way.

Continue reading “Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Transformers: Devastation”

Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Dishonored 2

The long-awaited sequel in a unique steampunk-magic world.

Check out my previous Final Thoughts for Rogues’ Adventures. Keep up with my adventures in backlog gaming via the Facebook group.

Rogues’ Adventures Season Eight

Final Thoughts #60

Developer: Arkane Studios

Publisher: Bethesda Softworks

Release Date: November 16, 2016

I played the first Dishonored nearly three years ago during Rogue’s Adventures season four. At that point the game was already several years old, and I was able to play all of the post-launch DLC.

Dishonored 2 was a long time coming. As far as sequels go it plays things pretty safe, presenting the same cool steampunk world and satisfying magical-stealth gameplay. Where Dishonored 2 succeeds is in its incredible level design and far more engaging story. Continue reading “Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Dishonored 2”

Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

It took five years to get a sequel to Deus Ex: Human Revolution. How does Mankind Divided hold up?

Check out my previous Final Thoughts for Rogues’ Adventures. Keep up with my adventures in backlog gaming via the Facebook group.

Rogues’ Adventures Season Eight

Final Thoughts #59

Developer: Eidos Montréal

Publisher: Square Enix

Release Date: August 23, 2016

I’m finally back on the backlog gaming grind! As I feared I already got behind in my first game of season eight, but not nearly as bad as last season.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is the long-awaited sequel to 2011’s Deus Ex reboot/prequel, Human Revolution. I adored Deus Ex: Human Revolution. It presented a unique mixture of open-world RPG with linear missions that still offered plenty of options and ways to tackle them. The stealth gameplay and cool cyber-tech stuff was top notch.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is basically more of the same. That makes it a solid sequel, but it’s astonishing that it took five years. Many of the basic gameplay mechanics, particularly the UI, now feel dated. The story is decently compelling as you work as an agent to foil a terrorist plot, but it feels like it’s building to a much grander tale only to abruptly end once the immediate threat is over. Continue reading “Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Deus Ex: Mankind Divided”

Rogue’s Adventures Season Seven Recap

I recap my final traditional Season of backlog group Rogue’s Adventures as we move on to a new format.

Read more about Rogue’s Adventures on my blog. For updates follow @RoguesAdventure, join the Facebook page and Steam group. For videos Follow me on Twitch and Subscribe on YouTube.

carmageddon wrecked

Last Season I bemoaned my dwindling gaming time. Real life has definitely caught up to me in my 30s, with a family and a steady writing career. The final stake was selling our old house and buying a new one this Summer, which completely turned my life upside down for a solid 2 months. Only just now getting back on track!

I still find time to play games with friends, and obviously I write about them. My backlog gaming is the thing that’s suffered the most.

Last year in Season Six I was able to finish nine games. Now I finished four – and it took me an extra month. Granted these were longer games, but the writing is definitely on the wall.

So, Rogue’s Adventures will undergo some changes. For now, let’s recap Season Seven – the Season of Kickstarter Games!

Season Seven Schedule

Game Estimated Hours to Complete Start Date Total Hours/Completion Date Goal
Carmageddon: Reincarnation 16hrs 1/11/2016 14hrs/Jan 25, 2016 1/27/2016
Hard West 24hrs 2/16/2016 21hrs/Mar 14, 2016 3/15/2016
Shadowrun: Hong Kong 30hrs 3/22/2016 22hrs/May 2, 2016 4/20/2016
Grim Dawn 35hrs 5/10/2016 24hrs/Aug 1, 2016 6/30/2016
  • Carmageddon: Reincarnation – 16 hours in 15 days = 7.46 hrs/wk
  • Hard West – 24 hours in 28 days = 6 hrs/wk
  • Shadowrun: Hong Kong – 22 hours in 41 days = 3.75 hrs/wk
  • Grim Dawn – 24 hours in 84 days = 2 hrs/wk

Total Hours: 84 (Estimated 105)

Total Average Hours per Week: 4.8

hard west suspicious

As you can see, the Season started off well enough early in the year. I blazed through Carmageddon in January. After PAX South in February I still managed to keep up with Hard West, despite both XCOM 2 and Fire Emblem Fates launching. Both games I would play the crap out of and write reviews and articles for.

Then things really fell off the rails. Shadowrun fell way off as my freelance writing picked up. I also got terribly addicted to Stardew Valley! And I started poor Grim Dawn the week before we decided to move/sell. Craziness.

For the first time ever I missed a deadline goal, and missed it bad. Since Season Two I’ve given exactly six months per Season. Season Seven will be the final one in that format.

Season Seven Stats (with last Season’s numbers)

  • Tweets by @RoguesAdventure: 148 (340), Total tweets: 5, 597
  • Total Number of Screenshots Taken: 591 (1936)
  • Average Number of Screenshots per Game: 148 (215)
  • Most Screen Captured Game: Grim Dawn with 220 (Tales from the Borderlands 669)
  • Total Games Completed: 4 (9)

Not surprising that all the numbers are way lower. My use of the twitter account continues to nosedive, and I may finally drop it entirely. Conversely I may attempt to pick back up streaming or recording gameplay videos. New house/area = better internet!

shadowrun hong kong kindly cheng

Season Seven Rankings

  1. Grim Dawn – Several great concepts and solid gameplay make this indie ARPG a worthy successor to Titan Quest.
  2. Shadowrun: Hong Kong – Another fun Shadowrun adventure, but overall weaker than Dragonfall as the series hits its gameplay limits.
  3. Hard West – A fun XCOM-lite in a dark Western setting hampered by its tight indie budget and odd campaign structure.
  4. Carmageddon: Reincarnation – Frustrating controls and frequent crashes prevent this nostalgic remake from stepping out of the shadow of the original 90s car-smasher.

By far the easiest rankings I’ve ever had to do. Carmageddon was buggy and controlled poorly. Hard West had some neat ideas but was pretty lackluster and limiting. Shadowrun was fun but I reached my peak on what I wanted from that same engine and structure. Grim Dawn was a solid ARPG that I didn’t have time to fully dive into.

Overall this Season was mostly disappointing.

grim dawn

Rogue’s Adventures has been going strong since late 2012, motivating me to play and finish nearly 60 games that otherwise sit in my backlog. The main pillars – chronicling my journey via screenshots and writing my Final Thoughts, will remain in future backlog games.

The change comes to the schedule. Instead of trying to schedule out games and dates to play as motivation, I’m going to use my friends.

Earlier this year I created a backlog game schedule for a friend, and it was incredibly fun to watch him go through them and hear this thoughts (we plucked them from several years worth of my Top Ten Game of the Year lists).

So going forward we’re going to motivate each other to play through backlog games – when time permits. Either playing the same game, or challenging each other to different ones within the same time frame. I may try and rope some other friends in as well.

This will ultimately mean less games per year, and even more infrequent Final Thoughts. But if you enjoy my writing, you can find my professional work on many websites, most notably Pixelkin.org.

shadowrun hong kong ending

Read more about Rogue’s Adventures on my blog. For updates follow @RoguesAdventure, join the Facebook page and Steam group. For videos Follow me on Twitch and Subscribe on YouTube.

Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Grim Dawn

Grim Dawn exceeded expectations with a meaty main quest and classic ARPG gameplay.

I have finished another backlogged game via Rogue’s Adventures. You can read my latest Final Thoughts below and also on my gaming blog on Game Informer.

Developer: Crate Entertainment

Publisher: Crate Entertainment

Release Date: Feb 25, 2016

Alright, so it’s been awhile since my last Rogue’s Adventures update. I was worried at the start of this Season (back in January) that I’d have less time to devote to backlog gaming.

Well, I was right. Things got even worse when we up and decided to sell our house and buy a new one in May, which has pretty much turned my entire Summer upside down! So a 25 hour game suddenly took me 2.5 months to complete. This Season was supposed to last until the end of June, and here we are in August.

Excuses, excuses. Suffice to say that major changes to my backlog gaming format (which has been going strong since Fall 2012) will be Coming Soon. But first, I have a Final Thoughts to get to.

Grim Dawn was one of my oldest Kickstarter games, having backed it back in 2012, just after Double Fine blew up Kickstarter with what would become Broken Age. I was a big fan of Titan Quest back in the mid 2000s, easily my favorite non-Diablo Diablo game. To have a spiritual successor, even after the then-newly launched Diablo 3 was just too good to pass up.

grim dawn

Fast-forward about four years later. Even for Kickstarter indie games that’s a solid chunk of development time. Thanks to half-million or so raised and some wise pacing, Grim Dawn nicely exceeded expectations with a meaty main quest and classic ARPG gameplay. Continue reading “Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Grim Dawn”

Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Shadowrun: Hong Kong

Another fun Shadowrun adventure, but overall weaker than Dragonfall as the series hits its gameplay limits.

I have finished another backlogged game via Rogue’s Adventures. You can read my latest Final Thoughts below and also on my gaming blog on Game Informer.

Developer: Harebrained Schemes

Publisher: Harebrained Holdings

Release Date: Aug 30, 2015

Franchise Fatigue. It happens to the best of them. Many times it’s a “it’s not you it’s me” kind of situation. Maybe you played a bunch of entries in a row, or maybe a sequel simply doesn’t do enough to differentiate itself form its predecessors.

I didn’t think I’d start feeling Franchise Fatigue in the Shadowrun games. Shadowrun: Hong Kong is only the third game after Harebrained Schemes resurrected the series through Kickstarter several years ago. Continue reading “Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Shadowrun: Hong Kong”

Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Hard West

A fun XCOM-lite in a dark Western setting hampered by its tight indie budget and odd campaign structure.

I have finished another backlogged game via Rogue’s Adventures. You can read my latest Final Thoughts below and also on my gaming blog on Game Informer.

Developer: CreativeForge Games

Publisher: Gamibitious Digital Entertainment

Release Date: Nov 18, 2015

hard west banner

Hard West had all the right ingredients that got me excited about its Kickstarter campaign: tactical XCOM combat, Western setting, supernatural elements, choice-driven gameplay. The end result is something of a mixed bag, mostly due to its shoestring indie budget and odd campaign structure.

Hard West mostly tells a classic Western story of revenge. Warren loses his parents, then his girlfriend, then his life (life was rough back then, man).  He’s given a second chance with a not-so-subtle Deal with the Devil, and begins his quest for vengeance. Also an ill-conceived quest to bring back his dead girlfriend.

Now I said “mostly tells” because that story represents only a fraction of the total campaign. And here we come to the crux of my issues with Hard West. Continue reading “Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Hard West”