The 24/24 Backlog Challenge 2014 – PART 2

BACKLOG 2014 GAMES

IT’S THOSE GAMES…AGAIN!!!

It’s time for Part 2 of 2. Which makes it the second half of a whole. The completion of the gaming journey. The end to the means. Etc etc etc.

In case you missed Part 1 here you go. And if you would like to revisit last year’s listmania of titles, here’s Part 1, and this right here leads to Part 2. Caught up? Good.

What I’ve noticed while playing this pile of titles is the overabundance of third-person action titles. Could they be my favorite genre of game? Maybe so, at least for this gen. And not nearly as many first-person shooters. Last year was fairly heavy with them, what with 7 separate titles, but this grouping only has 3. And I’m perfectly ok with that.

 

Just a reminder (in case you slept thru the first day of class):

THE GROUND RULES

1. The clock starts when I have control of the character for the first time. No counting installs (even should I probably should) or introductory cut scenes.

2. I will play the game on the default difficulty.

3. No bothering with online/multiplayer/co-op crap.

4. I will play for a solid hour, then stop, regardless of where I am in the progress of a level.

 

The Ever-So-Crucial Judgmental Bylaws:

HOW MUCH DID I PAY FOR THIS GAME (AND WHERE FROM):

WAS IT WORTH THAT MUCH:

DID I WANT TO KEEP PLAYING THIS GAME AFTER THE FIRST HOUR:

WILL I KEEP PLAYING THIS GAME/PLAY IT TO COMPLETION:

DO I PLAN ON KEEPING THIS GAME AFTER I “FINISH” IT:

 

Ok, enough small talk – time for even more mostly biased opinions!

Mgs4us_cover_small

METAL GEAR SOLID 4: GUNS OF THE PATRIOTS

Not-so-secret reveal: I tried to play this game back when it came out (which also was the time period when I first got my PS3). I got about half an hour into it (not counting the time spent watching the million disjointed cutscenes), got bored/frustrated, and gave up. Flashback to today, and history repeats itself: everything I just wrote happened again!

Maybe I’m just not made for stealth games such as this (then why did I truly enjoy Dishonored? oh that’s right – the amazing atmosphere that instantly drew me in). I generally have little patience for slow-paced games, and when you can’t do much of anything without risking being chased around for 5 minutes, the ‘fun element’ of the game just about disappears outright. So I guess I’m in the minority of not worshipping the ground this title walks on (having never really completed any of the previous Metal Gear games). What am I missing people? Clue me in!

HOW MUCH DID I PAY FOR THIS GAME (AND WHERE FROM): $6 from a GameStop.

WAS IT WORTH THAT MUCH: ???

DID I WANT TO KEEP PLAYING THIS GAME AFTER THE FIRST HOUR: Nope.

WILL I KEEP PLAYING THIS GAME/PLAY IT TO COMPLETION: I MIGHT give it one more go, just to say I gave it a fair shake, although it’s unlikely I’ll be able to tough it out for the duration. The other Metal Gear game on this title is MUCH more my speed.

DO I PLAN ON KEEPING THIS GAME AFTER I “FINISH” IT: Unlikely so far.

SoulcaliburV

SOUL CALIBUR V

So why is it that I can play this game with no qualms, but stuff like ULTRA SUPER MEGA STREET FIGHTER 27 does nothing for me? Maybe because I don’t totally suck at this? Random button mashing usually equals to a decent measure of success, and that’ll keep me playing longer getting beaten to a pulp repeatedly (a la SF). Story mode is quite ridiculous, but it IS a fighting game, which are rarely known for containing sensical plot lines. Highly playable, plus the ability to create wacky-ass characters just adds to the zaniness.

HOW MUCH DID I PAY FOR THIS GAME (AND WHERE FROM): $5 from a pawn shop.

WAS IT WORTH THAT MUCH: Yep.

DID I WANT TO KEEP PLAYING THIS GAME AFTER THE FIRST HOUR: While it does get old after awhile, I am mildly curious to see how the ‘epic story’ wraps up.

WILL I KEEP PLAYING THIS GAME/PLAY IT TO COMPLETION: After the story concludes, it kinda simplifies down to either online battles (which will end badly, I’m sure) or playing against my wife (who usually beats me…somehow). Both of which don’t hold a lot of promise, but we’ll see.

DO I PLAN ON KEEPING THIS GAME AFTER I “FINISH” IT: It’s always good to have around for a round or three between friends (or spouses).

DDDA

DRAGON’S DOGMA: DARK ARISEN

Now this is more like it. I’m getting a strong Kingdoms of Amular vibe from this – and that’s a good thing. When it comes to modern RPGs, I have no patience for the traditionally boring JRPG style of Final Fantasy and the like anymore. Even stuff like the Elder Scrolls series does nothing for me. But add in the ability to smack the shit out of enemies in real time, and you have full attention. I could do without all the micro-managing of inventories and such, but that’s all part of the package, I suppose. Just gimme quests and chance to whomp on (and climb on a la Shadows of the Colossus) all manner of mythical beasts, and I’ll be happy.

HOW MUCH DID I PAY FOR THIS GAME (AND WHERE FROM): $20 from eBay.

WAS IT WORTH THAT MUCH: Highly likely. Billions of hours of playtime ahead.

DID I WANT TO KEEP PLAYING THIS GAME AFTER THE FIRST HOUR: Oh for sure. I could feel its’ claws digging into my soul almost immediately.

WILL I KEEP PLAYING THIS GAME/PLAY IT TO COMPLETION: I’ll do my best. See you on the other side of 100+ hours…

DO I PLAN ON KEEPING THIS GAME AFTER I “FINISH” IT: If it’s as good as Amular, no doubt.

dantespeced580pxfullsize

DANTE’S INFERNO DIVINE EDITION

How did this game not cause much of a controversy when it was released? Oh, that’s right: EVERY game is supposed to be rife with controversial imagery and enough Satanic references to make a Death Metal band blush. If only all the anti-Christian stuff actually made a difference: this is still a blatant God Of War knockoff, plain and simple. Button mash to your hearts’ content, pull off some ill-advised Quick Time Events – this one’s got it all! Even down to the color-coded health pickups…yeesh. But does all the copycat stuff ruin the experience? Not really, as long as the controller holds out from all the mashing, I think this’ll work out just fine.

HOW MUCH DID I PAY FOR THIS GAME (AND WHERE FROM): $9 from Gamestop.

WAS IT WORTH THAT MUCH: Sure.

DID I WANT TO KEEP PLAYING THIS GAME AFTER THE FIRST HOUR: While I could already feel the repetition starting to kick in, the lure of “one more level” was kinda hard to resist.

WILL I KEEP PLAYING THIS GAME/PLAY IT TO COMPLETION: Quite possibly. I’ve beaten all the main GOW titles, so why not this one?

DO I PLAN ON KEEPING THIS GAME AFTER I “FINISH” IT: Undetermined. Only if I truly like it.

Turok_2008

TUROK

Now I remember playing Turok back on ye’ ol’ N64 back in the 90’s. And if I can recall correctly (mind you, I’m getting quite advanced in age), it was mindless fun. Shooting dinosaurs with all manner of guns and bows equalled a good time back then. Story? Who cared. Keep in mind this was during the heyday of Jurassic Park, so dino anything was fair game.

So what makes this generic FPS stand out from the zillion other ones on the market? The dinosaurs, of course! But to be honest, it feels me feel kinda bad. I mean, what were all those cute little dinos doing before my ship crash-landed on their home planet? Just running around being cute? Eating each other? So what gives me the right to be Mr Bad Ass and kill everything that moves? And adding in the typical, disgruntled Space Marine as a companion makes me want to empty my clip on him instead. Enemies are dumb, weapons aren’t exactly pinpoint, and the whole thing feels kinda low-rent (which it bascially is).

HOW MUCH DID I PAY FOR THIS GAME (AND WHERE FROM): $9 from Cartridges Galore (small local game shop).

WAS IT WORTH THAT MUCH: Probably shoulda been less, but for some reason it’s hard to come buy at a cheap price.

DID I WANT TO KEEP PLAYING THIS GAME AFTER THE FIRST HOUR: Sure, it’s basic, but it’s also been fairly easy so far.

WILL I KEEP PLAYING THIS GAME/PLAY IT TO COMPLETION: Possibly polish off a run-through.

DO I PLAN ON KEEPING THIS GAME AFTER I “FINISH” IT: Unlikely.

Puppeteer_cover

PUPPETEER

Why have I never finished this game? I got for Christmas last year, and was dying to play it (especially after hearing Jason rant about it in his GOTY post). So I played about three levels’ worth, and never touched it again. In theory, it should be a no-brainer: a highly charming platformer stuffed with artistic touches and a great premise (the whole game takes place on stage, complete with curtain drops and audience noises). Why did I give up on it? Even now, I’m not too sure. This will definitely be one of the first games I dive into once the Challenge is complete.

HOW MUCH DID I PAY FOR THIS GAME (AND WHERE FROM): $20 from Amazon.

WAS IT WORTH THAT MUCH:  Although it’s the highest cost of any game on the list, it seems to be worth it, just based on stylistic merit alone.

DID I WANT TO KEEP PLAYING THIS GAME AFTER THE FIRST HOUR: Yes. The basic story is interesting enough to engage, and the cast is a bunch of oddball weirdos (which I appreciate).

WILL I KEEP PLAYING THIS GAME/PLAY IT TO COMPLETION: This time, for sure.

DO I PLAN ON KEEPING THIS GAME AFTER I “FINISH” IT: Most likely. The kids like it, and there appears to be replay value in unlocking bonus stuff.

God_of_War_Ascension

GOD OF WAR: ASCENSION

Haven’t I played this before? Oh yeah – only about 5 times. But I can’t complain too much: it’s still fun to dismember and disembowel all manner of mythological beasties in Quick Time Event form, even if it’s been the same basic format for a half dozen titles. And that’s not counting the wide range of knockoffs (including Dante’s Inferno above) who stole the GOW method of play wholesale. The bottom line is even if the game feels essentially identical to the previous titles, the gameplay still holds up and rewards the bloodthirsty button masher in all of us.

HOW MUCH DID I PAY FOR THIS GAME (AND WHERE FROM): $7 from Amazon.

WAS IT WORTH THAT MUCH: Sounds like a good price.

DID I WANT TO KEEP PLAYING THIS GAME AFTER THE FIRST HOUR: These games have always been great at hooking me early on, regardless of how ludicrous the storyline appears to be. This one is no exception.

WILL I KEEP PLAYING THIS GAME/PLAY IT TO COMPLETION: I’ve finished every other GOW game (minus the still-unplayed PSP titles), so I guess so. Even if it’s all more of the same. Again.

DO I PLAN ON KEEPING THIS GAME AFTER I “FINISH” IT: How can I not have the complete series?

Deus_Ex_Human_Revolution_cover

DEUS EX: HUMAN REVOLUTION

This game is basically what the boring shitfest Alpha Protocol was aiming for: choices that matter, the ability to accomplish objectives in actually different ways, and production values. Somebody had a budget! The future-based story has a nice Blade Runner vibe to it. While the action parts (shooting and aiming) aren’t necessarily the smoothest, the game just feels playable. Storyline seems promising, as well.

HOW MUCH DID I PAY FOR THIS GAME (AND WHERE FROM): $5 from Gamestop.

WAS IT WORTH THAT MUCH: Certainly.

DID I WANT TO KEEP PLAYING THIS GAME AFTER THE FIRST HOUR: The frustration that comes with games like this (the ability to die/fail quickly) usually puts me off (like it did in MGS), but for some reason, I’m giving this one a pass for now.

WILL I KEEP PLAYING THIS GAME/PLAY IT TO COMPLETION: If I can get into a rhythm with a method of play I’m comfortable with, then yes.

DO I PLAN ON KEEPING THIS GAME AFTER I “FINISH” IT: The ability to replay the game with different abilities may have just earned this game the ‘keeper’ status.

Aliens_vs_Predator_cover

ALIENS VS PREDATOR

Not unlike RE6, this game just so happens to have multiple storylines to choose from at the outset (even though they all show different views of the same main plotline). And just like the branching tales of that game, not all the options are interesting as the others. Take the standard-issue ‘space marine from Doom‘ option: use the world’s worst flashlight to kinda see down barely hallways, shoot everything with underpowered guns, and follow directions like the nameless, brainless dolt you are. After 20 minutes of that excitement, I decided to slap myself awake and try out the other two campaigns. While the Predator one seems like the coolest (what with all the gadgetry and whatnot), the cloaking ability barely works like it should, and still requires way too much up close murdering. I want that thing that ripped out Jesse The Body’s chest, dammit! And as for the Alien section, all I can tell is that you fly around the levels at super high speed, walk awkwardly on most surfaces, and hurt people by slashing at them repeatedly. Blah. But the best part of all three campaigns? The ‘grab and kill’ animations. This is where the game really shines: ripping out spines, tearing off heads, inserting tails and/or mouth tongues into faces = solid gold.

HOW MUCH DID I PAY FOR THIS GAME (AND WHERE FROM): $9 from Gamestop.

WAS IT WORTH THAT MUCH: For the variety of playmodes you get, sure. Even if they’re not equally enjoyable…

DID I WANT TO KEEP PLAYING THIS GAME AFTER THE FIRST HOUR: The Alien/Marine ones, not so much. But the Predator levels holds promise.

WILL I KEEP PLAYING THIS GAME/PLAY IT TO COMPLETION: More than likely, even if it means suffering thru the Alien/Marine stuff.

DO I PLAN ON KEEPING THIS GAME AFTER I “FINISH” IT: Maybe.

ShadowsOfTheDamned

SHADOWS OF THE DAMNED

Not unlike the recently played Brutal Legend, this game goes all-in on atmosphere and setting, sometimes to the detriment of the gameplay. Typical RE4-style third-person action shooter. Like Dante’s Inferno, it has the standard-issue ‘save the girl from baddies’ storyline, except they replace Hell with the Demon Homeworld or some such place. Humor is prevalent (and actually kinda humorous), as long as you don’t mind countless dick and sex jokes. Hell, the main character’s name is Garcia Fucking Hotspur, and his traveling companion/weapon of choice just so happens to be named Johnson (could they be anymore blatant about that one?).

HOW MUCH DID I PAY FOR THIS GAME (AND WHERE FROM): $9 from Gamestop.

WAS IT WORTH THAT MUCH: I’m thinking so. Seems entertaining if nothing else.

DID I WANT TO KEEP PLAYING THIS GAME AFTER THE FIRST HOUR: While very linear, it keeps adding just enough variety/new powers to keep it interesting.

WILL I KEEP PLAYING THIS GAME/PLAY IT TO COMPLETION: It’s worth a shot, I suppose.

DO I PLAN ON KEEPING THIS GAME AFTER I “FINISH” IT: It’s certainly a game with tons of style, but if the difficulty spikes like mad at the end, probably not. I hate having games around that remind of how much torment I went thru while playing them – looking at you, Psychonauts.

KillerIsDead

KILLER IS DEAD

The second batshit crazy Suda 51 headtrip in a row. Basks in being ultra weird for the sake of being weird. Simple, button-mashing attacks lead to buckets of bloodshed, almost to the level of Splatterhouse. Chopping creatures in half dramatically rarely gets old. Graphically striking, with a heavy focus on lighting and dramatic camera angles. I could easily see this being a ‘love or hate’ kinda game.

HOW MUCH DID I PAY FOR THIS GAME (AND WHERE FROM): $13 from Gamestop.

WAS IT WORTH THAT MUCH: Coulda been a bit cheaper, but I got the itch to have it. Which happens more often than it should…

DID I WANT TO KEEP PLAYING THIS GAME AFTER THE FIRST HOUR: Yep, just to see how much stranger it can get.

WILL I KEEP PLAYING THIS GAME/PLAY IT TO COMPLETION: Most likely.

DO I PLAN ON KEEPING THIS GAME AFTER I “FINISH” IT: Is there any replay value? Who knows, and getting a ‘high score’ on these types of games isn’t something I ever give a shit about. If it’s enjoyable, I’ll keep it.

DukeNukemForever

DUKE NUKEM FOREVER

The grand finale. And what better way to top off this collection of also-rans and coulda-beens than with this: the greatest time of all time? It might be morbid curiosity or out-and-out stupidity, but I’ve actually eager to play this game. I saved it for last intentionally. And what do I find, separated from all the endless online hate and vitriol? A crappy, outdated game with mechanics from over a decade ago, and humor that wouldn’t even warrant a chuckle from most modern kids. I’ve certainly abandoned worse titles (still glaring in Haze‘s general direction), and suffered thru all manner of mediocre junk, just to say I did. Even with all the time supposedly spent trying to update some of the gameplay, it still feels like a relic from a much uglier time.

HOW MUCH DID I PAY FOR THIS GAME (AND WHERE FROM): $5 from Gamestop.

WAS IT WORTH THAT MUCH: I’m gonna go with…no.

DID I WANT TO KEEP PLAYING THIS GAME AFTER THE FIRST HOUR: Well, around an hour in is some ludicrous ‘driving around in a R/C truck’ level, which was infuriating enough to make me goddamn glad that the timer had expired. Does that count as an answer?

WILL I KEEP PLAYING THIS GAME/PLAY IT TO COMPLETION: All signs point to nope. My curiosity has been sated for now. I don’t foresee myself wasting anymore time on a game that’s more of a time capsule than an enjoyable romp.

DO I PLAN ON KEEPING THIS GAME AFTER I “FINISH” IT: Unlikely, but who’s gonna take this shit now?

 

WRAP UP TIME!!!

In last year’s edition of the Challenge, I broke the games down into 4 main categories: PLAY/KEEP (finish it and hang on to it), PLAY/TOSS (finish it and disregard it), TOSS (get rid of it ASAP), and UNDECIDED (undetermined as of yet). This year, I’ve decided to add in a few extra categories: DARK HORSE (most surprisingly great title), GARBAGE TIME (the absolute worst game) and TOP O’ THE HEAP (the pick of the litter).

The results of THE 24/24 BACKLOG CHALLENGE 2014 are thusly:

 

PLAY/KEEP

DEUS EX: HUMAN REVOLUTION

GOD OF WAR: ASCENSION

PUPPETEER

DRAGON’S DOGMA: DARK ARISEN

SOUL CALIBUR V

RATCHET & CLANK: ALL 4 ONE

VALKYRIA CHRONICLES

METAL GEAR RISING REVENGEANCE

RESIDENT EVIL 6

PLAY/TOSS

DANTE’S INFERNO DIVINE EDITION

TUROK

MAX PAYNE 3

SPLATTERHOUSE

YAKUZA: DEAD SOULS

TOSS

DUKE NUKEM FOREVER

ALPHA PROTOCOL

ANARCHY REIGNS

UNDECIDED

ALIENS VS PREDATOR

METAL GEAR SOLID 4: GUNS OF THE PATRIOTS

SHADOWS OF THE DAMNED

KILLER IS DEAD

BRUTAL LEGEND

MAFIA II

DRIVER: SAN FRANCISCO

DARK HORSE

METAL GEAR RISING REVENGEANCE

GARBAGE TIME

ALPHA PROTOCOL

TOP O’ THE HEAP

DRAGON’S DOGMA: DARK ARISEN

 

So what have we learned from all this? That 9 of the 24 are potentially keepers, 5 are worth the effort to play at least once, 7 are undecided, and 3 outright stink. Also, we’ve learned that at least one of the Metal Gear titles is completely badass. Apparently I’ve bought way too many shitty games (especially at my ‘I’ll buy anything for $5 or less’ mindset), and will probably continue to do so indefinitely!

Thanks for trudging along thru the muck and mire of old games with me. See ya next year?

One thought on “The 24/24 Backlog Challenge 2014 – PART 2

  1. Pingback: The 24/24 Backlog Challenge 2014 – PART 1 | A Bloggy Mess

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