Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune

How well does the original Uncharted hold up a decade later?

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Adventuring through my backlog of games, one game at a time. 

Developer: Naughty Dog
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Release Date: October 2015 (Originally Nov 2007 on PS3)
Played On: PlayStation 4

backlogAnd so begins my grand backlog adventure into the Uncharted series.

I’ve never held any dedication or fandom toward Sony or Microsoft. I dabbled in the PS1, loved my PS2, and then skipped the entire PS3 generation in favor of the Xbox 360.

With this console generation I’ve returned to Sony with noticeable gaps in my gaming history. Thus much of my current backlog gaming will be dedicated to playing catch up some of the biggest PlayStation games of the last and current generation.

You already read my Final Thoughts on The Last of Us: Remastered. Now it’s time for Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection, beginning with Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune. Continue reading “Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune”

Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – The Last of Us Remastered

How does one of the most beloved PlayStation 3 games hold up?

Adventuring through my backlog of games, one game at a time. 

Developer: Naughty Dog
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Release Date: July 2014 (Originally June 2013 on PS3)
Played On: PlayStation 4

backlog gamingWhen playing through my backlog I occasionally reach a game whose reputation is impossible to ignore. It becomes an interesting exercise to see whether a beloved classic still holds up, particularly if I lack the nostalgia factor.

My experiences with such games have been all over the place. I’ve gone back and played classics like Half-Life 2, The Longest Journey, Baldur’s Gate 2, and both Portal games, and come away with just as much respect and admiration as their ardent supporters.

Yet a few beloved cult classics, such as Psychonauts, The Witcher 2, and Beyond Good and Evil mostly fell flat for me. Their aging graphics and clunky gameplay not quite able to keep their memorable qualities on a high enough pedestal.

Despite not being all that old, The Last of Us Remastered falls somewhere in the middle. Continue reading “Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – The Last of Us Remastered”

Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – SteamWorld Heist

Does the turn-based tactical combat of XCOM work in a 2D game?

Adventuring through my backlog of games, one game at a time. 

Developer: Image & Form
Publisher: Image & Form
Release Date: December 10, 2015
Available On: 3DS, PC, PS4, Vita, Wii U, iOS, Switch
Played On: 3DS

gaming backlog final thoughtsIt’s been far too long since I was able to properly start and finish an older game from my backlog. My workload as a freelance writer continues to increase (and part of my job is to play new games), and 2017 in particular had a bunch of long games that have taken up a big chunk of my personal play time, such as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Horizon Zero Dawn, and Divinity: Original Sin 2 (consequently, the #1-3 games on my Top Ten list).

But thanks to waiting in line every day to pick my daughter up from school, I’ve been slowly plugging away on my Nintendo 3DS, finishing a lot of recently released games like Pokémon Moon, Metroid: Samus Returns, and Monster Hunter Stories.

After those I fired up an older game that had been sitting in my digital library for so long that I accidentally purchased it again during a Steam sale at some point: SteamWorld Heist.

SteamWorld Heist is a spin-off of the SteamWorld Dig series that takes place in the same steampunk-robots-in-space universe. But instead of another action-platformerer, it’s freakin’ 2D XCOM, and it works brilliantly. Continue reading “Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – SteamWorld Heist”

Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Transformers: Devastation

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

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.