State of the Game: Backlog Goals

Despite having a pretty regular posting schedule these days, I still don’t touch on all of the things that I’m doing in my day-to-day life. I play other games besides the ones I write about, have thoughts about various titles or my progress on projects, and still mess around with my Magic cards. I also do that thing called “living” so there’s much more going on than might be alluded to here on the blog. It’s been a while since I did a round up post so I thought I’d take the time to do so today. Besides working on Everquest II and making my way through the backlog, I’ve got some specific updates and then some thoughts to round things up. Let’s get started.

I’ve made steady progress with Clash Royale, the only mobile game I play with any regularity. The last time I wrote about it, Supercell had just added another arena. The Electro Valley arena became Arena 11, pushing Hog Mountain down to Arena 10, and making the Legendary Arena #12. At that time, I was placed in Arena 11 due to my trophy count, so that was a nice little boost. I have since pushed my way into the Legendary Arena and also upped my King level to 12. Hitting 13 is a long ways off, mainly because it’s going to take 80k points to get there and I have somewhere in the neighborhood of 20k at the time of this writing. My highest trophy count is 3914, which happened recently. I pushed into Legendary status a while back but then fell back down into Arena 11, and pushed my way back up to 12 where I have stayed for the last month or so. Getting to Challenger status isn’t too far off.

 

My two main decks are above. I used to only focus on one deck, but I have found that having a couple to choose from is nice to break up the monotony. I tend to use my Hog/Loon deck the most, especially when trying to work my way up the ladder, while I use the Golem deck primarily in 2v2 matches, but I have a feeling that it might be more consistent as I get up into the Challenger scene.

 

I finally got my hands on a Mega Knight (actually upgraded him to level 2 already as well) since my last post, which was the last card I needed to “catch em all” at that point. Since then the Royal Ghost released and I recently got one of them out of a chest. The most recent card is the Magic Archer, which we just got to check out in one of the Challenges, but he hasn’t released just yet. He’ll be the only card I need once he comes out. Overall the game is still a blast to play and I do so daily.

I’m still plugging away at The Order 1886, which has been a pretty fun title, but a bit more challenging than those I played through recently. There are some stealth bits that require you to not be detected, and if you are it’s instant-death which is rather frustrating. Regardless, I have worked my way through the 6th chapter and progress is steady. I want to complete this one before really starting on something new, as I have been trying to keep focused on clearing out my backlog. I have some ideas for where I’ll start next, but I’ll get back to that in a bit.

Over the weekend my girlfriend and I did some errands and while we were out I spotted a couple of older MTG starter decks that I picked up on a whim. At $15 a pop they tend to have alternate art or Planeswalkers at the helm, a preconstructed 60 card deck along with a couple of booster packs for whatever particular set they are from. I picked up the Nicol Bolas Planeswalker deck from Hour of Devastation, along with a starter deck from Eldritch Moon (a few sets back, before they started doing Planeswalker decks for each set). I really only picked them up because I wanted the Nicol-Bolas Planeswalker and the alternate art Noosegraf Mob that came with the starter kit.

The face cards are on the right there, Noosegraf mob is a card I needed for the Alesha deck I’m building, and Nicol Bolas for another EDH build I’m working on. I ended up pulling some nice additions out of the booster packs – Unesh will slot into my Sphinx deck and Tamiyo is another Planeswalker that will go into the deck with Bolas. Nice pulls!

I also resubscribed to the Humble Monthly service again for March, as Dark Souls 3 + DLC was the featured game. Steam is having a Lunar New Year sale at present, and this game was on sale for $15, but via Humble I was able to get it plus DLC for only $12. This is great for the wallet, but unfortunately I still haven’t completed the first two games in the series, so this is just more fodder for the backlog!

Speaking of which, I am having trouble deciding what to start next after I complete The Order. I have Alien: Isolation which I started just to check out and only played for about an hour, I also have Shadow Warrior 2 which I spent a few hours on but didn’t complete. There’s Monster Hunter World which I would like to dive into, along with the aforementioned Dark Souls trilogy. The latter few would be a significant time investment, but still worth doing. I also have plenty of other titles that are collecting dust, so it’s going to be a tough choice! I’ll write about The Order again once I’ve completed it, and perhaps by then I will have decided what to do next.

That’s all for this wrap up. Until next time, happy gaming!

What I’m Looking Forward to in 2016

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The New Year is here, and now that the holiday festivities are over, we can get back to focusing on the next wave of great games that will be releasing. Over the past month the blogosphere (and Internet at large) has been listing off its favorite games, moments and stuff of 2015 but why stop now? Let’s kick off 2016 with a list of games I’m most looking forward to, and some titles that I’m hoping for more information about.

Coming This Year:

Street Fighter V (February)

I’m a Street Fighter fan boy. Always have been, always will be. The mechanics required to play the game are superior to that of any other fighting game in my opinion. I’m really looking forward to the next title in the series, as I enjoyed Street Fighter IV, but I think there are some better characters in this iteration. I also love the fact that you don’t need a bunch of friends to be able to have people to play against (like we used to back in the day), you can just hook up with people online. Many fighting games die out over time, but Street Fighter tends to have staying power in that department. I hope to get this one on release.

XCOM 2 (February)

I loved XCOM back when it was a 2-D pixellated mess, and I especially loved the reboot of the series. I played the game on both console and PC, and look forward to seeing how the battles and grand strategy will play out this time. Apparently the aliens run Earth in the sequel, so you’re in charge of reforming the XCOM program and taking back earth. It’s not a huge twist, but it should be interesting enough.

Uncharted 4 (April)

I’ve talked about Uncharted 4 a few times over the past couple of years. It was announced at E3 year before last, and was on the last two of my E3: Most Anticipated lists, but it deserves a slot here as well because it’s actually coming out. The multiplayer beta was running a couple weeks ago and I really enjoyed that as well. It took the best elements of the multiplayer from 2 and 3 and ditched some of the stuff I didn’t really care for. The addition of the grappling hook adds a new element to an already vertically-minded game. I can’t wait to see how the story shakes up as well, in what will likely be the last entry into the series. I’m also hoping that we hear what Naughty Dog has up their sleeves in the way of a new series. Or perhaps we’ll be hearing about The Last of Us 2? One can only hope.

Doom (Spring)

DOOM, as it’s being called (but was at one point referenced as “Doom 4”) is sort of a reboot of the series. It’s taken the fast-paced, hip-firing action of the originals and paired that with today’s graphical capabilities. The campaign looks to be solid, carnage-filled fun, and the multiplayer reminds me of Quake III Arena. I managed to play some of the multiplayer Alpha on PS4 and it ran beautifully. I had technical hiccups when trying to play it on my PC though, so hopefully that won’t be the case once it releases. Either way it had an old school feel that was very welcoming and I look forward to it!

No Man’s Sky (June)

Provided this game goes off without a hitch, and is as grand as the vision I have of it, this will likely be my GOTY for 2016. I’ve spoken about it many times on the podcast and on this blog (it too made the last 2 of my E3 Most Anticipated lists), but it’s supposed to be out this summer. Originally I was under the impression that it was a Playstation exclusive, but it appears to be launching on PS4 and PC simultaneously. Either way it still looks fantastic and I can’t wait to go exploring. I’m torn as to which platform I should buy it on, because I’m hoping to have a PS4 with my tax return this year. I suppose we’ll have to wait and see what the multiplayer situation is going to look like. I have far more friends on Steam than on Playstation Network.

Mass Effect Andromeda (Q4)

This is slated for a quarter 4 launch but it’s a possibility that the game gets delayed. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was. That doesn’t stop me from being very intrigued. I loved the Mass Effect games, though I still need to get ahold of the first title, as it wasn’t ported until much later (originally an Xbox exclusive). I’m sure Bioware is going to have a whole new world with familiar ideas prepared for us, and I can’t wait to dive into another worthy Sci-Fi RPG.

Divinity Original Sin 2 (December)

I’ve honestly not played enough of the Original game, but I know that I rather enjoyed what I did play of it. Since this isn’t launching until December, I have the year to beat the original and be prepared for the sequel. I’m sure that it will be just as good. I’m a bit of a fan of the isometric RPGs of old, so I might be biased. Here’s hoping it doesn’t suck.

Final Fantasy IX PC (TBA)

Final Fantasy IX released back in 2000 on the original Playstation. One of three main-series Final Fantasy games to debut on the system, for some reason this one isn’t available on PC yet, despite pretty much every other title being on Steam already. Besides VII, this is my favorite in the series but I never got to finish it because my Playstation was stolen when my apartment got broken into. I’ve though about buying the downloadable classic version on my PS3 a few times, but now that it’s coming to PC I’ll likely just pick it up via Steam. I’m starting to toy with the idea of playing through them all, but I’d have to start collecting them from the beginning, as I currently only own Final Fantasy Tactics, and that’s it.

Dark Souls III (TBA)

Another fantastic game series that I’m too far behind on. I played through and completed Demon’s Souls, the first of the Souls games to come out as a Playstation exclusive on PS3. Dark Souls soon followed, and I own that one on PC, but haven’t beaten it just yet. I have Dark Souls II on my Steam wish list, and Bloodborne is a title I can’t wait to pick up once I grab my PS4. Dark Souls III will likely be a PC purchase just to keep that series all on one platform. As this one is still “to be announced” it’s possible it won’t release this year, but I think it will pop up. I’ll just have to dig into the older titles or it’ll end up in the backlog.

Allison Road (TBA)

This is one of those under-the-radar titles. Remember PT, the Silent Hills demo-thing? That whole deal got nixed when Konami and Kojima parted ways, but apparently the PT demo got some fan attention. Enough so, that a fan-created full-fledged game is coming, and it’s called Allison Road. Honestly, it looks equal amounts of creepy and awesome, and definitely has the same feeling to it that PT had. I just hope that they manage to keep things compelling. It’s supposed to release this year, but we’ll see.

Overkill’s The Walking Dead (TBA)

I didn’t hear about this game at all somehow. I’m a huge Walking Dead fan, including the show and the comics, but the only game that’s really hit the mark when it comes to that IP was TellTale’s two seasons that were mostly based on the comics. There have been other titles, but they were pretty meh. This one is also supposed to be based on the comics and looks more like The Last of Us, in that it’s a mixture of survival horror and gunplay. If I hadn’t been doing research for this article I wouldn’t have heard of this game at all (yet) so I’m glad I stumbled upon it.

Want More Information:

Final Fantasy VII Remake

This is the second trailer to have come out since E3 last summer, and it shows more in-game footage, but we still don’t have a total picture for the game. I feel like it’s going to be fantastic, but I’m not sure that it will make it out this year. As my favorite of the series, I can’t wait to see this in action and I hope that it holds true to the nostalgia while eliminating some of the dated annoyances coming from old-school mechanics.

Resident Evil 2 Remake

Another great classic title that is being remade. Capcom has gone pretty crazy with Resident Evil remakes lately, as many of the older titles have received HD upgrades. The original had a remake from top to bottom though, and it looks a hell of a lot better than it did back in ’95. This looks to be something of the same, where it’s not just an HD (resolution) upgrade, it’s supposed to be reworked from the ground up. If they preserve the storyline but give it a new coat of paint it should be pretty good. Time will tell, but it’s likely we won’t see this one release in 2016.

Crowfall

The game that still remains my MMO of the future, the next MMO I plan to play, the only MMO I’m looking forward to. Crowfall. There has already been some pre-alpha testing, and it’s likely they’ll be into either deep alpha or early beta testing by the end of the year. This latest video from the devs focuses on new systems added to the game, crows and vessels, which is a brand new concept in an MMO world, and looks to tackle some of the issues present in the current crop of titles on the market. Honestly I’ve been hating on MMOs for a long time, but I still love them. I just don’t love what’s on offer (even if I dip my toes in them once in a while). Crowfall is the only game I’ve ever backed on Kickstarter, and there’s a good reason for that. They are trying new things and sound like they’re going to hit the nail on the head. I can’t wait to see what further developments occur and I hope that it meets expectations.

Indivisible

Finally, a game that came out of left field for me. I happened to get Skullgirls packed in with a Humble Bundle, and as a result caught word of that developer’s next project, called Indivisible. The Kickstarter page had a downloadable alpha demo that was surprisingly fun and unique. The game combines platforming and turn based RPG mechanics with some elements from 2-D fighting games like Street Fighter. It’s hard to describe, but cool to play with. They were successfully funded but the game isn’t due until 2018, so I’m just hoping for more information before year’s end.

So there you have it. What games are you looking forward to the most in 2016?