Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – SteamWorld Heist

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

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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”

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”