Battlefield 3: End Game Review

March 25th, 2013

Battlefield 3 End Game imageEnd Game could not be more aptly named. Over the course of the last 15 months, developers DICE have released a steady stream of expansions for their seminal first person shooter, running the gauntlet from tight arena sized combat in Close Quarters to the all out vehicle warfare the series is most renowned for in Armoured Kill. End Game is the culmination of the Premium service, the fifth and final planned expansion, and provides a fitting send off which showcases everything that makes Battlefield 3 great.

As has been the case with previous expansions, End Game features four all new maps, tenuously linked by the fact that each one represents a different season of the year. The first of these is Kiasar Railroad, which is set in the lush green springtime forests of northern Iran. The titular railroad stretches across the far reaches of the map, and provides an obvious focal point for combat. While the railroad itself provides the most direct route to traverse the locale, the ease of crossing is countered by a lack of concealment from enemy forces. The forests and undulating hills of the surrounding area as well as the logging equipment provide ample cover for ground troops to make their way between objectives without being spotted.

Nebandan Flats is a huge open expanse of flat desert, and takes place during the summer months. Aside from a large warehouse and small number of other buildings towards the center of the map, there’s very little in the way of cover. It’s a map where chopper pilots and tank commanders can have a field day with ground forces. Bales of hay dot the landscape but these don’t last long under heavy gunfire.

Operation Riverside is End Game’s autumn map. Bisected by a small river, the electric power station at its center becomes a massive point of contention, as do either of the bridges crossing the stream. Control of these areas can be vital. The mountainous terrain and many points of cover can mean going on foot can often be the quickest and safest route between points of interest, and the changing verticality of the surrounds lends itself to troop ambushes as well as escaping tense situations.

Battlefield 3 End Game imageSabalan Pipeline’s snow capped terrain make up the fourth and final map. Based around a contested oil refinery in the depths of winter, the narrow roads and hilly expanses mean each individual area needs to be approached with caution, as line of sight is sorely lacking between capture points. These narrow roads also cater for a varied mix of play styles; vehicular combat as well as an infantry approach can be successful here. There’s a lot to be said for the snowy locale, as it provides some of the most stunning settings of any Battlefield 3 arena.

The four maps contained in End Game are solid and well balanced. The capture points and areas of interest are evenly spread, and offer no distinct advantage from either deployment. None of the maps have a single focal point or exploitable feature meaning you’ll need to be at your best to succeed. It also means that the core gameplay can come to the fore. However, it is plain to see that certain placements are catering for the dirt bike that has been pushed front and center of the release, with several obvious jump locations littering each location.

Read the rest on Thunderbolt >>

Vita turns one: do or die for Sony’s handheld

March 7th, 2013

Originally published on Thunderbolt on February 26th 2013

Vita systemWith all the hype and excitement surrounding the announcement of Sony’s PlayStation 4 this past week, another milestone slipped under the radar. A year ago last week – February 22nd to be exact – the PlayStation Vita celebrated a year on sale in European and North American markets. Heralded as the “Next Generation” of on-the-go gaming, it boasted the most powerful specifications of any portable system, and promised a console quality experience no matter where you were. The system arrived to stellar reviews. It looked as though Sony would have a hit on its hands. However the Vita has, in all honesty, failed to gain traction with the consumer. Sales are below expectation; having originally set a goal of 16 million units sold in the fiscal year 2013, this was first reduced to 12 million, and then 7 million as Sony tempered their expectations. Even this modest goal will most likely not be achieved as at last count the handheld had sold approximately 4 million units since launch. But is the system dead in the water, or are the reports of the vita’s demise greatly exaggerated?

One common criticism of the Vita, and one that is easily dismissed, is that the console lacks any sort of competent games library. This couldn’t be further from the truth. At launch, it had arguably the strongest line-up of titles present at the initial release of a new system. There was a solid batch of established franchises such as Uncharted, Wipeout and Lumines, and throughout the launch window, owners saw the release of impressive titles such as Gravity Rush and LittleBigPlanet. PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale, Need for Speed:Most Wanted and Persona 4 Golden showed the system had life beyond its initial release period. At E3, Sony unveiled another two promising announcements surrounding PlayStation Vita – PlayStation Plus support and Cross Buy. The latter would see a free Vita copy of certain titles bundled with their PS3 counterparts, while the former promised the same support for free games and discounts as its console brethren. Add to that a constant slew of quality PlayStation Network titles (Sound Shapes, Super Stardust and Escape Plan being amongst the standouts), and there’s no arguing that there isn’t something for almost everybody.

wipeoutAnd yet, while the back catalogue of games is suitably impressive, the sparse release schedule of 2013 must be a major worry. Outside of Keiji Inafune’s Soul Sacrifice, the brilliant looking Tearaway and Killzone Mercenary, the Vita lineup this year is somewhat lacking. Of course it’s early in the year, and with E3 still to come, there’s ample time for previously unannounced games to make themselves known. But the fact remains this is compounding the vicious circle the Vita currently finds itself in, with potential customers waiting to see what support the system will receive from development teams, and those same development teams waiting for a larger install base before they will commit to the system. Getting studios to develop for the handheld needs to be of the utmost importance to Sony, and they themselves need to show the way with stellar first party support.

Even this in itself has its own pitfalls. Whenever word breaks that an established first party title is being developed on the Vita, development is being done by a different studio to the console version. It’s as if the teams want their games on the portable system, but don’t want to commit their core resources to creating it. Golden Abyss was developed by Bend Studios and not Naughty Dog, and the upcoming Killzone game was farmed out to Guerrilla Cambridge, whose shooter history doesn’t inspire confidence. Occasionally this strategy pays off (the God Of War PSP titles being a prime example) but with others it is an unmitigated disaster. One only has to look at Resistance: Falling Skies and the dreadful Call of Duty: Declassified for evidence. It’s hard to imagine Naughty Dog or Quantic Dream putting their full weight behind a Vita title, and if the first party studios don’t have full confidence in the system, neither will consumers.

unchartedAlso of concern entering the Vita’s second year is the lack of a discernible “system seller”. While the Vita has many highly praised and well reviewed games in its catalogue, it is missing a title that people need to buy the system for. There’s nothing that evokes the feeling that it’s an experience only available on PlayStation Vita. This is a side effect of the home console feel that was targeted. Anybody who wants the full Uncharted experience would more than likely opt for the PS3 version. Again, while Bend Studios did more than an admirable job translating Nathan Drake and co. to the handheld, it still amounts to an experience derived from the console titles. The Vita is in need of those titles that scream “Buy Me”, much like a Mario title on Nintendo’s rival platform. It needs that “killer app” that will make the system more desirable than it is currently. After all, it is the software that sells systems.

“A fully fledged system”Last week, they had the perfect opportunity. The eyes of the world were upon Sony as it made known its plans for the next generation of home consoles. There was speculation that the PlayStation Vita would receive some much needed attention at the event. A Japan focused Vita presentation mere days before further served as a precursor to these hopes. But the PlayStation 4 event came and went, with scant new information with regard to the Vita being unveiled. Sony is definitely not dropping support for it, and even went so far as to call it the “ultimate companion” to its next generation system. But it would be a safe wager that very few owners bought their Vita to be a companion to their home console. They want a fully fledged system in its own right. Steaming content from the PlayStation 4 as well as Gaikai is all well and good, but the network requirements of that particular functionality would serve to make this mobile console a lot less mobile.

killzoneThere is one factor above all else that is limiting the potential of the PlayStation Vita: the price. When the $250/€250 price point was first revealed, it was seen as the perfect balance, the sweet spot for the system. But this was a time when the Nintendo 3DS was similarly priced. It also didn’t factor into the equation the cost of the proprietary memory cards that are required for the majority of the Vita’s library. $250 is attractive, almost $350 with a large card (which is all but a necessity for the majority of titles available, as well as the library of download-only games and PlayStation Plus freebies) isn’t as appealing. At this point, a price drop is a must. At the aforementioned Vita presentation in Japan, a price drop was announced which was equivalent to $50 reduction. Yet Sony have said that this drop won’t be seen in the US or EU territories, despite the evidence that this would lead to a large uptake in purchases of the system. Black Friday deals in the US, which were at the $199 price range, were extremely popular, selling out in all retailers where they were available. Sony needs to take a page out of Nintendo’s playbook, and reduce the cost to increase demand.

For all the mismanagement, negative stories and press-written obituaries of the PlayStation Vita, it’s not all doom and gloom for Sony’s handheld system. It wasn’t too long ago that another system launched at a high price point, and was pronounced a failure. Sony needs to take lessons from how it got the PS3 back on track after its disastrous beginnings. The Vita is a solid system, a desirable piece of technology and gaming platform, and with the right direction, can recover from its lackluster beginnings and become a fully fledged success in its own right.

Review: Unit 13

February 24th, 2013

Unit 13Portable systems are suitable for many game types and genres, the best of which have been designed with the features of their host platform in mind. Historically, cover based shooters would not have fallen under that umbrella, given the lack of a viable control scheme. The PlayStation Vita, with its dual analog stick setup, makes that barrier a moot point, and Zipper Interactive have aimed to shore up that gap with Unit 13, a title that offers all of what its bigger brothers can do, but aimed squarely at the portable market.

Unit 13 is well aware of its target audience, and does an admirable job catering to the strengths of it’s intended platform by virtue of the structure of its campaign. The main mode is split into 36 different missions, each with their own objectives. These come in four flavours. “Direct Action” missions allow goals to be approached in whatever manner best fits the situation. “Covert” missions task players with completing objectives without being spotted – tripping an alarm or otherwise alerting the enemy results in a mission failure. “Deadline” puts players in a race against time to complete their objectives. And the final type, “Elite”, removes automatic health regeneration and checkpoints, meaning a tactical approach is an absolute must.

“Well aware of its target audience”As well as the above categorisations, each mission also states a difficulty rating and length. This allows players to pick and choose missions catering to their current situation whether looking for a quick five minute blast or a longer, more involved play session – a definite plus on a mobile platform. Once completed, your performance is ranked based on a number of criteria and a final score assigned. The integrated leaderboards for each mission easily let you compare scores with friends, adding an element of competition into the mix. Each of these missions can also be played dynamically, randomising the objectives and enemy placements on the levels and adding even more replayability beyond seeking a better mission score.

Unit 13 ScreenAs well as the aforementioned solo mode, Unit 13 offers online co-op play, allowing you and a buddy to tackle those same missions together. However, a friend with a copy of the game is almost a necessity as at the time of writing the community seems sparsely populated and random matches are few and far between. HVT, or High Value Targets, are unlocked by achieving a certain number of stars in the solo missions. Playing out as an assassination, each of the nine on offer task the player with killing an essential cog in the terrorist machine. Rounding out the modes on offer are the Daily Challenges. Each day, a new assignment is available for 24 hours and in much the same way as the single player campaign, set certain objectives that need to be completed. There’s little doubt that as a package, Unit 13 offers a plethora of content.

Thankfully, that content is backed up by a very capable engine. Zipper Interactive have clearly drawn on their experience developing the SOCOM franchise whilst working on Unit 13. The game plays as well as any other third person shooters, serving as proof that the genre is technically viable on the PlayStation Vita. The shooting is solid with a real weight behind each of the weapons. The cover mechanic can be a little hit an miss on occasion, but functions well for the most part. Zipper have also cleverly implemented touchscreen controls which are subtle and never feel out of place or forced.

Read the rest on Thunderbolt >>

Review: Alien Breed

February 13th, 2013

Alien BreedAfter a six month tour of duty of the relatively quiet Outer Spiral arm, Johnson and Stone were looking forward to nothing more than a well earned break. That was when the command came through – outpost ISRC-4, in orbit over Gianor, had gone dark and needed to be investigated. But as they docked the IPCC Miraculous to the space station, an eerie silence was evident. Everything was not as it seemed…

Originally released on the Amiga in 1991, Alien Breed is held in high regard by many gamers. The special edition remained in UK charts for over a year and the franchise has seen iterations on many generations of consoles, including the Xbox 360. Having seen success with a port on the iOS store and PS Mobile in recent years, Team 17 has seen fit to release the definitive version for PlayStation Vita.

“Perfectly suited to gaming on the go”The core gameplay of the original remains intact in this iteration. The game is viewed from a top down perspective and Johnson and Stone must navigate increasingly labyrinthine levels to complete objectives, which in most cases is to reach a designated room on the map. Controls are simplistic – the left stick is assigned to movement, and the right designated to directionality of fire. Aliens will block your every path but you have access to a veritable arsenal to obliterate the extraterrestrial horde. Once the objective is complete, the deck is set to self destruct and a countdown begins, signaling a dash back to the spawn point before the time expires. It’s a simple but effective mechanic to create a sense of tension and haste in the final moments of a level.

Alien Breed ScreenshotPickups are scattered throughout each environment. Bonus orbs increase your overall score, keycards open locked doors and medipacs and magazines replenish your health and ammunition respectively. Credits make up the remainder of the collectibles and can be used in the in-game shop. Accessible from the pause menu, the shop provides the ability to purchase all manner of items from extra lives and the aforementioned keycards to, more importantly, weapon upgrades. Initially, your character is only equipped with a standard automatic weapon but flamethrowers, missile launchers and other assorted tools of destruction can be purchased, with each having vastly different ranges and effects.

Alien Breed is perfectly suited to gaming on the go. Each environment will take only a few moments to complete but will encourage repeat play sessions. Every level has its own leaderboard, allowing friends to compare scores and vie for the top spot. The collectibles in each map also carry through to subsequent outings, so it’s almost encouraged to farm credits to unlock new weapons. Co-op is also an option in each level, with the Vita supporting both Ad-hoc and wireless multiplayer. The game is comprised of thirty levels, including those from the original and special editions, plus all new content created for the Vita. Considering the title is also cross-buy with the PS3 version, that’s a lot of content on offer for minimal investment.

Read the rest on Thunderbolt >>

Introducing Nessa

February 8th, 2013

We got a doggie! It’s been something myself and Jess have known would happen since we moved house – I literally didn’t have a choice in the matter, a dog would be part of our family, but I was always on board with the idea. This week, Nessa entered our lives. Jess had seen quite a bit of Nessa (then called Candi), a black Labrador Retriever, in her volunteer work, and had already fallen in love. I’d seen pictures of her even before we considered adopting. Once we’d set our minds on a puppy, Nessa was the only one.

Nessa

It’s been a long time since I’ve had a puppy, and I still remember joys of puppy training and the endless “presents” we woke up to each morning, but aside from one or two minor gripes, Nessa has been an absolute star. Surprisingly, she took immediately to house training (her previous owners must have done some work on that), and every day she is seeing improvements in her lead walking and command training. She gets a little over excited around new people and other dogs, but Jess is constantly working on those point. I swear she has the patience of a saint and definitely a lot more than me.

We’re also taking a slow approach in introducing Nessa to Farnsworth. All of their contact so far has been brief, controlled interactions. It’s progressing as well as can be expected after five days, but Nessa’s “enthusiasm can sometimes makes kitty nervous, so it’s something we need to continuously work on.

Review: Skulls of the Shogun

February 8th, 2013

Skulls of the ShogunAs the last of his enemies lay dying at his feet, General Akamoto stands triumphant on the battlefield. Set to be proclaimed Shogun of all feudal Japan, Akamoto’s celebration is cut short as a mysterious figure stabs him in the back, sending him on his way to the Shores of the Dead. But even here, he finds nothing but treachery, as another warrior is impersonating him and attempting to keep him at bay. Betrayed and robbed of his destiny, the general and his band of ragtag warriors set out to carve bloody vengeance in the afterlife, and restore the great general to his rightful position.

It is here, on the Shores of the Dead, where Skulls of the Shogun begins. Vengeance is carried out in the form of a turn based strategy title. During each round of battle, Akamoto may activate and order up to five of the units under his command to move and attack the enemy forces. They come in three flavours: Infantry units are your bread and butter front line troops. They have above average defence which allows them to absorb more damage. Your Cavalry forces have the widest range of movement, and thus are able to cover more ground, whilst only having average attack and defence points. Finally, your Archers can hold back and kill enemy troops from afar, boasting the strongest attacking skills of your entire army. This is offset by their abysmal defensive rating; these guys cannot attack when things get up close and personal, and will not withstand many blows. As general, Akamoto can get involved as well, and boasts the ability to make two actions versus the standard unit’s one. However, if he should fall in battle, the army is defeated.

“Well balanced”Whilst the core of the game is kept intentionally streamlined, Skulls of the Shogun does well to consistently introduce new elements as progression is made. As each enemy is defeated, your troops can devour their fallen skulls. Each one consumed increases the toughness of your unit, and eating three causes your unit to transform into their demon form, a super powered version of the original, gaining an extra attack each activation. Rice paddies and shrines are also strewn throughout the battlefield, which can be captured by “haunting” them successfully for one complete turn. The former give you access to rice, which acts as the games currency and allow you to summon new common units to the battlefield. Capturing a shrine, however, lets you command one of three monks; Fox Monk acts as your army’s healer, Salamander Monk spews fire and lightning from a distance, whereas Crow Monk is the trickiest of the three, using magic to steal rice and move enemies around the terrain with his “Gust” ability.

Skulls of the ShogunAll of the above combine to make up an extremely well balanced and surprisingly deep, strategic affair. Don’t let the game’s heavily stylised graphics fool you; beneath the colourful exterior beats an extremely tactical heart. Mistakes are severely punished, and each encounter requires a delicate balancing act. Knowing when to push on and attack a particularly troublesome unit, and when to hold back and use a turn to capture a shrine or paddy, or to eat that one remaining skull, are the keys to success. Given that only five troops can be activated and act each turn, prioritising threats and evaluating where resources are required is vital. The positioning of the individual units is also of the utmost importance. Any that dare to traverse too close to a cliff or river make for easy prey, as they can be knocked off for a simple kill. Aligned units benefit from a greater resilience to knockbacks, so synchronising their movements across any narrow ravines or bridges is crucial to avoid the big drop.

Read the rest on Thunderbolt >>

Dispelling the notion of tacked on multiplayer

February 5th, 2013

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve taken up a position at Thunderbolt Games. I’ll be discussing the gaming world, as well as reviewing titles for them when the chance arises. To that end, these will be reproduced in part here. Presenting my first Thunderbolt piece, discussing the fallacies of tacked on multiplayer


Tacked on Multiplayer

The current generation of consoles have introduced many features which we gamers now take for granted – HD graphics and achievements immediately spring to mind – but by far the feature that has shaped the course and direction of the video games industry more than any other is the introduction of out-of-the-box online play. Previously regarded as a bastion of those with high end PCs and a working knowledge of network protocols, the advent of Xbox Live and PlayStation Network, as well as the spread of broadband infrastructure, has lead to more than ever venturing online than ever before, vanquishing all in their path, from Bangkok to Berlin.

With this change in focus comes the notion of “tacked on multiplayer”: a traditionally single player experience being complimented by a non-canon or superfluous multiplayer experience, very much to the detriment of the product as a whole. Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer announcement was met with vitriolic commentary, and there were audible sighs of relief around the world at the announcement that Bioshock Infinite’s multiplayer component was being left on the cutting room floor, showing the clear disdain that some hold against this notion. But they couldn’t be more wrong.

Case in point: the Assassin’s Creed series. When the announcement was made that Brotherhood, the continuation of the story of Ezio Auditore, would also come bundled with an online mode, reactions ranged from skepticism to outrage. It was labelled by many as a dilution of the experience, and one that would take away from the quality of the story. At the time, I was one of the many adding my weight behind that notion, reasoning that a multiplayer addition would take time away from the development of the core elements that made the first entries in the series so enjoyable. When Brotherhood arrived, I tried out the multiplayer, if only to satisfy my curiosity and prove myself correct. It left me eating humble pie, as the tense, tactical versus matches proved to be one of the highlights of the series to date, and has continued to grow and become more polished and enhanced in each successive release. More importantly, it hasn’t compromised the integrity of the single player experience, and can safely be ignored by those who choose to do so.

Those that espouse the belief that the addition of multiplayer will lead to the downfall of the series commonly site a redistribution of development resources as a justifiable concern; the sacrifice of hundreds of man-hours on a “ticking the boxes” exercise to satisfy the tropes of what comprises a AAA game in today’s ever changing landscape. Such a time consuming and effort expending process has to effect the quality of the work, no? Considering that the development of any additional content is generally handled by a secondary studio or team, and the meticulous budgeting and planning that goes into game development, it’s not too much of a stretch to conclude that adequate resources and funding have been allocated to all components.

Read the rest on Thunderbolt >>

Warmachine: The collector’s bug bites!

January 28th, 2013

Another blog post, I’m on a roll :)

I’ve always liked the idea of miniature war gaming. There’s something intangibly satisfying about having the actual pieces in front of you, being able to analyse them and survey your next plan of attack. It’s why I’ve always preferred actual chess boards to digital representations, for example. This past weekend, I decided to take the plunge and begin my first1 foray into war gaming with Warmachine.

Warmachine Logo

For those that don’t know, Warmachine (and accompanying game Hordes) is a tabletop game where each player controls an army of their desired faction. Movement is not restricted to a regimented game board, instead units are free to move and attack anywhere on the playing surface according to their stats. (This is an extremely brief intro, check out the Wikipedia page for a more detailed breakdown). However, the gaming element is just one part of the hobby, as all the miniatures have to be constructed and painted, allowing for a lot of customisation. The exact nature of the army is also up to you, so you can craft your chosen faction in any way you desire.

I’ve decided that to start off, I’m going to throw my lot in with the “Protectorate of Menoth” faction. Something about their back-story (or “fluff” to use wargaming parlance) was interesting to me – religious zealots who like nothing more than to burn their enemies with fire! Plus, their heavy miniatures look pretty cool.

Protectorate of Menoth Vanquisher

The staff at Gamer’s World Dublin couldn’t have been nicer, and have even pointed me in the direction of other players and groups who would help me starting out. I’ve also found a number of resources on youtube that I hope will help me learn the game. If nothing else, I’ll have another topic to blog about on occasion :)

1technically it’s not my first foray. I actually have a starter set for Warhammer Fantasy. However, I found that game quite intimidating due to the sheer number of factions and scale of the rules. Also, and this is just my personal opinion, but I found the GW a little intimidating for a first time player, and the staff were trying to sell me huge amounts of kit right off the bat (of course, that’s their job but it’s a lot to try and digest right off the bat

Writing for Thunderbolt Games / New addition to the household!

January 24th, 2013

In my goals post last week, I committed to doing more writing in my free time. Writing is always something I’ve enjoyed doing. Those that know me will know that I’ve attempted to launch sites where I could write about games. Maybe I was too ambitious, maybe I took on too much at once, but for one reason or another, those sites failed to take off. Trying to write enough content to justify an entire site was something that was beyond me.

So at the start of the year I decided to go out on a limb and apply to write to an independent gaming site. I’ve been back and forth for a few days now, but I’m happy to say that I’ve been accepted as a Staff Writer over on ThunderboltGames.com. I’ve only discovered the site recently, but they have a rich history (dating back to 2000), and focus primarily on Reviews and Features, which is exactly the type of content and writing I’m most interested in. They have long supported budding writers, and I’m extremely appreciative to have been accepted and being given a shot at contributing to the site.

Also, after much (read: little) discussion, myself and Jess will be welcoming a new addition to the household very soon, all going according to plan. We’re looking to adopt a new dog :) . We haven’t settled on breed or anything of the sort, but we really want to give another loving animal a great home, and give Farnsworth some companionship.

Plus, if I get my way, and he’s a he, I want to name him Wernstrom!

Goals of 2013

January 20th, 2013

I’ve been neglecting my blogging since Extra Life 2012. Getting things done around a new house really takes it out of you, and combining that with making sure Farnsworth doesn’t climb up the walls (literally) doesn’t leave much time for posting. But with a new year comes new initiative, and so my first post of 2013 is one to lay out my hopes and goals for 2013

Write More

Given the opening paragraph, this one is a no brainer for me. I really enjoy writing and conversing about video games, so I hope to get back into the full swing of game writing. I’ve applied to a site, so I’m hoping that something comes of that. Other than that, I hope to keep contributing to A Band Of Gamers with community reviews, and post with a lot more regularity on my own blog here.

Eat better / healthier

It’s no secret to anyone that knows me that I like food. When I first moved house, I began to get lazy and order a lot more take away food. I hope to change that in 2013. I’m going to try to cut out most of the crap that I eat, as well as reducing the portions that I eat. This will hopefully lead to goal number three.

Run a 5K / 10K race

Last year, I began to take up running as a way to improve my fitness. It lasted a while, but again, moving house has a huge effect. Jobs around the house began to take precedent, and eventually I got out of the habit of going out and running. This year, I hope to get back running, and run a few short distance races over the summer.

Reduce gaming purchases / finish more games

This one seems to be on my goals list every year. I suffer from what some gamers call “The Sickness”; an affinity for the new and shiny, having to buy each new release that peaks my interest on release day, and oftentimes playing them very little or none at all. I’ve a huge backlog of games waiting months (or years) to be played. I’m hoping to play and finish more games this year, and only buy those I really want to play at that point. I can wait on the others to drop in price before shelling out my hard earned.

I’m hopeful that writing out these goals will help keep me focused on them, and I’ll be able to look back at the end of the year and see where I’ve succeeded, and where I’ve let myself down.