Continued from part 1 of our 2022 gaming resolutions, which are completely a real thing.
I took a long hard look at my Backloggery progress from last year and was once again upset (-34, 14 games beaten) despite firmly deluding myself into believing that I stick to ye olde rule of “I only get a new game once I ‘beat’ a game I already own.” ‘Beat’ here, meaning hitting the credits for the first time. This year, and perhaps a pseudo-public declaration might help me stick to these resolutions, I want to, have to, must to beat these three games.
Ghost of Tsushima: A beautiful game and one I was trying to play in the spirit of an old samurai movie. Taking the time to pose against sunsets, stare wistfully over sea sprayed cliffs, and gently mosey along roads on my horse. But I’ve just started Act 3 and there’s another fuck off huge great map to explore. Time to wrap this one up and possibly dip into the new game + and Legends mode stuff to really nudge that trophy bar up.
Fire Emblem Three Houses: Again, one that up until now I’d been taking the time to smell the roses in by extensively exploring war-Hogwarts in between missions and trying (and failing) to keep everyone alive, learning, and growing their relationships together. Oh, and some hard-core flirting with pastel-haired classmates and one drunkard Professor. There’s at least an obvious two more playthroughs with the other two houses and the trash house DLC so I should really see this through to the end for the first time.
Starship Patrol: Taking a slightly different tack with this one. This is the last DSiWare game that I own that I haven’t beaten and it’s a good one. One of the best Tower Defense games and a surprise, ahem, “gem” in the DSiWare range. Unfortunately, all my progress was wiped when I shifted the software from DSi to 3DS which has made me reluctant to get back to where I was before.
Tyranny: After the somewhat disappointing Torment: Tides of Numenara, I was pleased to see that Tyranny (which admittedly came out earlier) was received somewhat better. I was impressed by parts of Pillars of Eternity, so a follow-up with more time dedicated to writing and making decisions more meaningful is certainly appealing.
Although Tyranny doesn’t classify as a “white whale”, along the lines of, say, Mother 3, its unique premise, positive reception and relatively short reported length all add up to “I should get to this”, over, say, Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous which will probably take me two months to play even if Pathfinder is the more immediately accessible and shinier of the two.
I considered making Pillars of Eternity 2 my pick over Tyranny. As long as I’m varying my diet of games (which tends to be JRPG-heavy), I’d consider playing either in this slot depending on the mood.
Mother 3: I’ve owned a copy of Mother 3 for over a decade. When I bought it, I was hoping to play it in Japanese. Despite some efforts to retain it (more on that in the coming months), my grasp of the language has atrophied in the meantime, and while I would like to fix that, I will likely seek out the translation patch rather than try to muddle through a game that’s likely to have quite a bit of dialogue with a dictionary in hand.
I like Earthbound, but I’m not as sure as I used to be that I love it. It’s certainly a heartfelt, quirky game but it can be slow at times. Since I don’t have the time I used to, a replay is not likely anytime soon. Nonetheless I am looking forward to finally trying Mother 3 this year, after Nintendo’s 5th time disappointing us by publishing Earthbound and Earthbound: More Punishing, Less Fun editions on Switch and not mentioning Mother 3.
SMT: Strange Journey Redux: I don’t have nearly the time anymore to play every JRPG that comes out, not that I ever did. I haven’t played Octopath Traveler or Bravely Second, and likely won’t get to Triangle Strategy (this seems like a trend where I avoid games with nonsensical names). I’ve still been making time for Shin Megami Tensei games, though. I played Strange Journey when it first came out, and really liked its style and atmosphere, but it got overtaken by other more recent games. Its story of exploration, survival, and the gradual unveiling of a weird and messy demonic world (presumably, with the games blatant environmentalism from the start, of our own making) all really resonate with me.
I still think about Strange Journey occasionally despite only getting 10 or so hours in, so it’s natural for me to want to play the Redux version (more for its QoL improvements than for story additions). I caught it digitally on sale recently, and since 3DS sales are likely to stop soonish, I figure now is the time to pick up the games I still don’t have.
Shenmue III: While my original desire to play Shenmue III was to see and experience the resolution to Ryu Hazuki’s epic quest to avenge his father (and to know what the hell that sword is that was revealed in Shenmue II’s cliffhanger ending), I’ve since discovered that, in the brief few hours I’ve been able to play, Shenmue III is a nice sojourn to an older style of adventure game that I grew up on. Weirdly, Shenmue III feels as if it was released only a few short years after the release of Shenmue II, and while you can argue that video game design has progressed quite a bit since then, you could also argue that it has lost a lot of the charm that the previous generations had. You get the impression that game designers back then did a lot with little, but now that technological restraints are near-nonexistent, designers aren’t forced to come up with those innovative solutions we got excited about. Simply put, Shenmue III is a game that reminds me what video games once were, and how far they’ve come, for better or worse.
Death Stranding: As a self-professed Metal Gear Solid fan, I’m essentially obligated to play whatever Hideo Kojima produces. It’s the contract you sign, which is revealed later in a twist that involves dense psychosexual philosophical commentary and, yes, nanomachines. Unfortunately, I’m starting to see the seams in his particular brand of video game design, which I feel started with Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots: it all just feels a little too much. The first few hours of Death Stranding are thick with various gameplay mechanics, and it’s made it hard for me to progress without feeling overwhelmed. And it’s one of the few games I can recall that makes it tense just to move! That’s either genius, or a cruel joke. I had to restart the game due to lack of motivation, and by replaying I learned a lot that I hadn’t on my first time through. And again, I was only an hour or two into it, my mind boggles at what else the game has to offer. Regardless of the awkwardness I’m sensing, it’s Kojima, the number one video game auteur. Weird shit happens in a Hideo Kojima Production, and you just can’t miss out on that.
Nier Automata: One of the few games that’s vaguely similar to Final Fantasy XII, something I’m always on the lookout for. A game that allows you to roam around a large 3D environment that lets you attack things and level up, with an epic storyline to give it all context. There’s just nothing better.