Assassin’s Seed on Gaming Rebellion

This week I published an article about my experience watching the Assassin’s Creed movie and the various continuity issues it has when compared with the world of the games. This is not really a review, but there are some review aspects to the piece.  I published this article on Gaming Rebellion but here’s the introduction:

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Recently I saw Assassin’s Creed the movie. It should come as no surprise to anyone, but it was a bad movie. To be clear, I’m not just saying it was a bad experience in comparison to playing the games. I’m saying that it was a badly made film whether connected to a video game or not. But what I thought was interesting was that it was bad for many of the same reasons I complain about the games. Because of how Ubisoft has talked about the movie, I feel that it’s completely acceptable to compare the movie directly to the games. To be fair though, there are a number of possible key differences that make it plausible to place the movie in its own separate universe from the games. I am choosing not to do that here, because for the most part it’s not necessary to do.

You can read the rest right here. Please check out my Author’s Archive for other articles by me on Gaming Rebellion.

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My Gaming Goals 2017

It’s already a month into 2017, but I thought this post was important to publish late than not at all. Last week, I published an article about my thoughts on gaming in 2016. Several weeks before that, I published an article about my experience last year completing The 52 Challenge. To complete the transition into 2017, I thought it was important and necessary to write a post about my gaming goals for this year.

I believe in the power of writing things down. I believe that when you take the time to put something to paper that gives it power and motivates you to stick with your goals. That’s how I got through two years of saving to build a high end gaming PC. I finally got the money together and have already purchased most of the parts. That goal will be completed by the end of February. A lot of people make New Year’s Resolutions but most people don’t stick with them. Writing them down is the first step to getting them done. So here’s what I’m committed to accomplishing in 2017.

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  1. Finish Toukiden Kiwami (PS4)
    1. This is an action RPG from Koei Tecmo. It was released for the PS4 as an enhanced version of the original PSP game from 2013. This is an excellent game that I purchased in a flash sale and started some time last year. Because of a number of different factors I got really far into it but then ended up not finishing it. That changes this year. I’m finally beating this game.
  2. Final Fantasy 7 (PS4)

    1. Full disclosure: I’ve never played FF7. My first and still favorite Final Fantasy is FFX and I’ve beaten every one released since then, but I’ve never played FF7. Yes I realize this is a criminal offense and I mean to pay for my crime this year.
  3. Infamous Second Son and First Light (PS4)

    1. I bought Second Son for $20 back in 2015 when I first got my PS4. Still haven’t had time to play it. Then I got First Light several months later from PS+. This year I’m gonna put the time aside to finish both back to back.
  4. Xenoblade Chronicles X (Wii U)

    1. I’ve never played any of the Xeno games, but my friend couldn’t stop talking about how good Xenoblade Chronicles X was. I got it on Black Friday back in 2015 and still haven’t tried it. I’m just tired of looking at it unplayed on my shelf so this year I’ll have to get to it.
  5. Super Mario Maker (Wii U)

    1. I bought SMM back in 2015 because everyone did. I honestly loved the concept but had little actual interest in a Mario game where I had to build my own levels or trust other people who aren’t professionals to make them for me. I don’t consider myself creative enough to be a great level builder. The only reason I bought this game was because I’m an avid Mario supporter and I buy all the console release games in the franchise. Just want to get to it this year so I can cross it off the list.
  6. Yoshi’s Wooly World (Wii U)

    1. I bought Wooly World back in 2015 and even sprung for the Yoshi amiibo. I hate amiibo and I never buy them. To this day it’s the only one I own. I only bought it because my girlfriend wanted it with the game. I would have bought the game either way because I like the yarn games from Nintendo. Kirby’s Epic Yarn was tons of fun. Still haven’t gotten to this one because I wanted to co-op it with my girlfriend but I’m tired of waiting so I’m just gonna solo it and make use of that amiibo I paid way too much money for.
  7. Bloodborne (PS4)

    1. I’m an avid souls fan going all the way back to Demon’s Souls. I was never not going to buy Bloodborne. I just hadn’t had time to play it before this year. I actually already started it like the first week of January and I’m steadily making my way through it. I’ve loved it every step of the way and I’m glad I finally got to it.
  8. Dark Souls III (PS4)

    1. Pretty obvious that I was gonna buy this if you read #7. Once I finish Bloodborne I’ll take a break with some other genres and then jump into this one.
  9. Platinum Ratchet and Clank (PS4)

    1. Every year I make sure to get at least one platinum trophy and have since I first got my PS3. Along with that tradition I have always made it a point to platinum all the Ratchet & Clank games. If you look at my PSN profile you will see that I’ve platinumed all the trophy generation games in the franchise except All4One because it’s a shameful excuse for a R&C and I refused to buy it after playing the demo. I actually tried it again today on a friend’s console and it’s just as bad as I remember. The newest R&C came out last year and I decided to make it this year’s platinum. I’ve already started it and have been streaming it on my Twitch channel. You can check it out here.
  10. Build a PC
    1. I first decided to build a PC in 2014. Before that I had wanted to do it but was always afraid to. Many of my friends had told me to do it, but I didn’t really see the need as a predominantly console gamer. What finally motivated me to make the decision was when I tried to play The Witcher 2 on my laptop. My laptop is a piece of junk Sony Vaio from 2010. A friend recommended The Witcher 1 & 2 during a sale on GOG. I reluctantly bought them and played 1. One of the best gaming decisions I’ve ever made. Tried to play 2 but my craptop wouldn’t run it. That was the exact moment I decided to build a PC. I’ve been saving for more than two years but I finally have the money and I’ll be building it soon. Hopefully I’ll have it done before March.
  11. The Witcher 2 (PC)

    1. See #10.
  12. Finish The Last Guardian (PS4) with my Girlfriend
    1. I have waited 10 years for The Last Guardian to be released. Finally they got it out in 2016, two generations later than they should have. My girlfriend got me the collector’s edition and we’ve been playing it together. Not sure how much longer it is but I’m glad I’m finally getting to play it.

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If I can get all of this done I’ll consider it a good year. It’s a lot of RPGs and open worlds and I’m a busy man. But I beat 52 games last year so I’m confident that I can get it done. Some of these games have already been started as well. If by some miracle I can get all this done there’s a few extras I’d love to get to this year as well. Probably won’t make it to these but one can dream.

Bonus Goals

  1. Uncharted 4
  2. Rise of the Tomb Raider
  3. Magrunner
  4. Finish the Talos Principle
  5. Mighty No. 9
  6. FFXV

What are your gaming goals for 2017? Let me know in the comments.

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2016 Year in Review

I know this post is rather late because it’s already almost February and so much has already happened this year. I will get to topics like the Nintendo Switch and Scalebound as soon as I can, but it’s tradition for me to do a review in gaming of the year before so I decided I’d have to squeeze it in.

Let me be honest and say that while I always have my ear to the ground and I’m constantly checking gaming news, I wasn’t nearly as focused on current gaming last year as I usually am. This is mostly because I was busy trying to complete the 52 challenge. Ultimately I did complete it and you can read all about my experience doing that here. But if you look at the list of games I completed last year you can see that most of them, especially the big ticket titles, weren’t released last year. Of the 52 games I completed in 2016, the only ones released in 2016 were Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: India, Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: Russia, The Division, Hyper Light Drifter, Attack on Titan, One Way Trip, and Strike Vector EX. Of those seven games, only two of them are AAA titles and only five of them are titles that had any possible significance to the general gaming public. I also put in a decent amount of time and effort into 12 other 2016 releases and purchased an additional 16 2016 releases that I have yet to try. My point is that as far as more than just lip service experience through reading and watching videos, I was not personally involved heavily in 2016 AAA release gaming. So while I feel that I am equipped to judge gaming in 2016 as a whole, I am happy to admit that for this particular year I wasn’t nearly as focused on current gaming as I usually am.

When I look back on 2016, I’m a lot more neutral in my feelings than I was for 2015. And even in my 2015 review I wasn’t leaning too far to either side. 2014 though, I was super unhappy with. I would say that this year we saw a number of bad practices and trends start or continue, but for the most part things ran pretty smoothly. So let’s look at the highlights.

Erasing Memories

Crowdfunding has become even more rampant with companies like Square Enix having the nerve to email people in their newsletter to go fun indie games that they’ll take a cut from without having to fund them. This year we didn’t see any crazy Kickstarter projects like Shenmue 3 in 2015, but the practice of larger studios pan handling for money instead of taking the risks on like they’re supposed to has become even more normalized. I just hope people start to see that this model doesn’t breed great games a majority of the time in the coming year. As far as indie crowdfunding goes, I’m still opposed to it but in cases like Hyper Light Drifter the model works. That was an excellent game that had a true justification for crowdfunding the project because the developer was literally unsure about how much longer he would be alive and wanted to have the funds to complete the game before his passing with no designs on profit.

The games to movies thing tried to happen again in 2016 and no surprise it was all talk and no delivery. Warcraft the movie fizzled out long before it ever began. I personally didn’t even go see it because it looked boring as hell and everyone I talked to said it was a waste of time and money. Just for reference, it got a 28% on Rotten Tomatoes. I actually did take the time to see Assassin’s Creed the movie and that was terrible. It was so bad I took the time to write a rather detailed piece about it which you’ll see published in the next few weeks. Basically again no studio has understood how to properly adapt a game to a film because the people on one side don’t play enough games and those on the other side don’t watch enough movies. We also had Ratchet & Clank the movie, which I didn’t take the time to watch because I wanted to play the game which is a remake of the original game anyway so it seemed redundant to pay money to watch a movie based on a game that I was already going to play that was already based on a game I had already played. But Rotten Tomatoes gave that a 17% which is even worse than Warcraft so I’ll just assume my choice not to watch it was the right one. I’m currently playing the game however and I’m having lots of fun. And everyone seems to have forgotten the importance of narrative quality in visual based entertainment mediums in general. But now let’s get to the actual gaming.

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They don’t even really show the leap of faith properly.

I’d say the best way to do this is to just touch on the highlight games of 2016 one by one. So in my opinion the top 10 games of 2016 in no particular order were The Division, Uncharted 4, Battlefield 1, Final Fantasy XV, No Man’s Sky, The Last Guardian, Street Fighter V, Quantum Break, Pokemon GO, and Overwatch. Please note that when I say “top games of 2016” I am in no way, shape, or form saying that these were the best games of 2016. In fact some of the titles I just listed can and should be considered on the list of the worst games of 2016. By “top” in this case I mean popular and /or noteworthy. These are the games that garnered the most attention from the press and public in 2016. There were some other honorable mentions such as Dishonored 2, Titanfall 2, Mafia III, and Doom but these 10 are the ones that caused the most buzz for the longest amount of time and I think sum up gaming in 2016 as a whole best. So let’s tackle them one by one.

The Division was another Destiny scenario. A great concept ruined by a lacking plot, terrible end game, and a screwed up economy. Again, I fell for the beta and preordered it and again I, like so many others, was left disappointed. The Division however, was a lot faster about their updates and added multiple new modes of play in the first year of the game. But Ubisoft, like so many other developers, failed to realize that once a player base is lost it’s nearly impossible to bring it back. The loyal players are still playing and some returned, but most of us never took the time to try it again after finally getting fed up. I preordered the gold edition yet I have not logged back in to even try Survival even though I have multiple friends still playing it that have told me the new expansion is great. This always online, PVP focused, crappy end game scenario just keeps coming more and more and it’s really a problem. Probably one of the lowest points for gaming in 2016, but by no means the lowest.

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Buyer’s Remorse courtesy of Ubisoft

Uncharted 4 was a high point for both the franchise and 2016. It won countless awards including PlayStation game of the year by the users, which in my opinion might be the most important award a game can win. As in player’s choice game of the year, not specifically PlayStation. I haven’t played this one yet, but I already bought it and can’t wait to complete Nathan Drake’s adventure. That was also a high point in my book. The fact that Naughty Dog chose to conclude the franchise instead of milking it for as long as they can. The plot drives development other than being added in last minute like with so many other games and franchises today. I hope 2017 has more moments like Uncharted 4.

Battlefield 1 was heavily hyped from the beginning and set against Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. I don’t play either of these franchises and I didn’t buy either game, but I have to say that both games impressed me this year because they did things differently for once. Battlefield 1 decided to go the opposite direction of every other mainstream FPS game for like the last two to three generations of consoles. You’re always either in WWII fighting Nazis, in the Middle East fighting “terrorists”, or in the future fighting aliens and it’s gotten so old. Battlefield 1 goes back to WWI which is pretty much unheard of in modern shooters. The trailer looked great and the gameplay looked like it would at least be kind of different from the same boring crap these studios dish out every year. But I also think Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare deserves to be commended for actually trying last year. COD is a series that always gets panned for having a crappy campaign. It’s a game that people buy for the PVP and until recently they never took serious issue with that. But in recent years Infinity Ward has legitimately been trying to be taken seriously in the narrative gaming genre. Advanced Warfare was praised by many people for actually having a story worth playing. I didn’t play it, because I never buy COD, but I was actually curious about the story starring Kevin Spacey. The trailer for Infinite Warfare looked even more legit for plot with epic speeches by Kit Harington (Jon Snow from Game of Thrones). I was so impressed by the trailer that I actually considered buying this one. Kudos to both franchises for finally thinking outside the box. I don’t like the fact that new CODs are made every year, but if these pew pew franchises will actually put some effort in then more power to them.

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You almost got me this year Infinity Ward

Final Fantasy XV finally dropped. It had a very long and very disheartening development cycle. Originally it was supposed to be a completely different game. At times people didn’t believe it was ever gonna get released, but it finally did. I first tried it at a mall in Taiwan back in 2015. Right away I was impressed. This was not another shitty FF13 scenario. This was the Final Fantasy game we’d all been waiting for. A real time FF game that runs smoothly, looks beautiful, and has characters that people really relate to. Square Enix has disappointed us a lot in recent years, but FFXV is a step in the right direction. I haven’t really started it yet but I already bought my copy. My one beef with the game going in is that it takes less than 40 hours to beat. It seems the days of long RPGs that give you over a hundred hours of high quality gaming are a thing of the past for Square Enix which is sad because they basically invented the genre. Overall though FFXV is definitely a win for 2016.

What can I say about No Man’s Sky that hasn’t already been said about the Assassin’s Creed movie? It came out exactly as disappointing as I predicted it would be months before release. You can read about that here if you’re interested. Everybody hyped it. Everybody, well except for me, preordered it. And everybody was disappointed. Ok that’s not entirely true. Some people liked it. But an overwhelming number of people were unhappy with the finished product. It set a new record for refund requests on Steam. Hello Games failed to deliver so many of the things it promised and then went dark after release in the wake of all the negative press. The game was overpriced, under done, and a huge blunder for everyone involved. I’m just glad I saw it coming and was able to help the few people who took my advice seriously from making a big mistake. Probably the lowest point for gaming in 2016.

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This may be the best No Man’s Sky troll I’ve seen.

The Last Guardian was finally released. After more than 10 years of waiting for that game, Japan Studio finally got it out. People had lost hope. Even my resolve had begun to crumble. But I kept hope alive and I was rewarded. Preordered the collector’s edition and for the first time in years I have no regrets about a preorder. The game is excellent. Now I’ll be honest and say it doesn’t live up to 10 years of waiting. The graphics are good, but it would have looked fine on PS3. And, like all games in the series, it’s not that long. My only real complaint is that I can’t pick up a magic sword and start slaying enemies like in ICO. But it is a great game and I’m glad we finally got to see it released in 2016. We’ll definitely consider this a high point.

Street Fighter V was just a big disappointment for all the wrong reasons. It’s a franchise that has set the standards for most fighters for the last 30 years. The formula isn’t hard. Yet for some reason this time Capcom decided to get all modern DLC and release the game prematurely with a fraction of the normal content. Eventually they put out the single player campaign but honestly the game shouldn’t have been released until that was ready. And you have to pay $30 for a character pass on top of an already $60 fighter. What the hell is that? This is just another example of developers/publishers rushing things out and not delivering the quality necessary to stay competitive in what has become a very expensive and extremely competitive industry. The game also had a lot of controversy surrounding censorship because once again the SJWs decided to get involved in gaming even though they don’t play the games they’re complaining about. Capcom gave in and censored the American version of the game taking NA one step closer to a Nazi police state where no one can have their own ideas about anything unless it agrees with the vocal minority or demagogues. Street Fighter V was not only a low point for 2016, but also possibly a bad omen for the future of game development and release.

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Quantum Break was yet another example of how Microsoft doesn’t know shit about keeping their customers happy or just flat out doesn’t care about it. The game was announced as an XB1 exclusive only to last minute get ported to PC, angering most of the XB1 user base in the process. PC owners felt cheated for being misled into purchasing the console version and console exclusive gamers felt angry that an exclusive title could so off handedly be ported thus negating the value of their console. And Microsoft went as far as saying that they wouldn’t be doing many more XB1 exclusives in general because they want everything to be both XB1 and PC because obviously that’s more profitable for them. While I am all for cross platform games and think exclusives are one of the worst practices in the industry today, even I was disgusted by Microsoft’s comfort with blatantly lying to loyal XB1 users and the gaming public in general. That kind of behavior is everything that’s wrong with the industry today. Also the game ended up being kind of underwhelming as well so just an all-around low point for 2016.

Usually I don’t talk about mobile games, but how could we talk about gaming in 2016 without mentioning Pokemon GO? Niantic Labs delivered a great concept with record breaking downloads and profits only to somehow screw it all up with greed, bad management, slow development practices, and general negligence. I still play Pokemon GO and I genuinely enjoyed the times when it was a thing everyone was doing. But I’m in no way surprised that the game died off for most people because it has so many problems. And the worst part is that most of them could easily be fixed if they would just stop being so blatantly greedy. Pokemon GO is just like Destiny and The Division. Proof that great marketing and a great concept go a long way but don’t hold a user base if the developer doesn’t make player enjoyment the main priority.

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And finally, let’s talk about Overwatch. Now for me you can’t talk about OW without mentioning Battleborn. You can choose to say they weren’t competing with each other, but the public directly compared the two and the public chose Overwatch. Now personally I played the beta for both games and I didn’t buy either. But what saddens me is that the public chose Overwatch. I’ll be completely honest and say that OW has the better basic gameplay, but it’s by no means the better game. Probably the most played game of the year was a game that has no single player campaign or mode, no story, and requires you to be always online to play. People basically told Blizzard and all developers that from now on they can produce half a video game and still charge $60 for it. In return that game will win game of the year, get used in esports, and be the leading search on PornHUB. What the hell is wrong with everybody? If Overwatch had a campaign I would have purchased it. The gameplay is solid and the graphics are good. But I’m not going to pay $60 to have to always be online and rely on other people to define my gaming experience. That’s not acceptable. If the game had of been $30, which would have been an appropriate price for a match based PVP only game, then I wouldn’t be complaining, but you can’t just throw out COD multiplayer with lesbian porn stars and charge the price of games like The Witcher 3. I think the number of controversies surrounding Tracer are hilarious and telling about how people feel about the game. They love the gameplay but they want a story and that’s why they care so much about things like comic books that in no way affect the game. It’s Star Wars: Battlefront all over again with a more diverse roster. Battleborn may not have been the better game mechanically, but it had a story with a cooperative campaign and people chose Overwatch because of the “sexy” female characters. And the most ironic part is the fact that the game is being championed for its diversity while being one of the biggest drivers of sexism and the objectification of females in the gaming community in 2016. It’s not fair to call such a successful game a low point in 2016, but calling it a high point means accepting a future where developers don’t even try when they steal your money.

2017

Ultimately 2016 wasn’t a terrible year. I guess based on my opinion of these 10 specific 10 games it leans a little more towards the negative side, but not by much. It had some very low points both in and outside of gaming. But there were also some great moments in gaming that made 2016 a year worth remembering. The game I was probably most impressed with in 2016 was Attack on Titan by KOEI TECMO. It was a perfect recreation of the show that played well, looked good, and had a lot of play value in it. I’d like to see more adaptations so expertly done. Here’s hoping that 2017 will be a great year of gaming but based on the announcements we’ve seen so far I’m already losing confidence. Fingers crossed for Horizon I guess.

What were your high and low points of 2016? Was it a good year for gaming overall?

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As always, thanks for reading. Please take the time to follow my blog, leave a comment, and check out some of my other channels if you enjoyed what you read.

Asdivine Hearts Review – 8/10

This week I reviewed an excellent turn based indie RPG called Asdivine Hearts. It was originally built for mobile but was recently ported to PS4 among other PlayStation platforms. I published this review on Brash Games, but here is the introduction:

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JRPGs are a difficult problem as a busy gamer who is constantly backlogged. It’s one of my favorite genres and I am not alone in that opinion. It’s one of the only remaining types of games you can buy where story is as if not more important than gameplay. It’s the best genre when it comes to getting a fully developed and detailed story with multiple characters and interweaving story lines. They’re the type of games that inspired studios like Bioware to make games like Mass Effect and Dragon Age that blur the line between Western style action games and Eastern style plot focused fairy tale adventures. The problem with playing them is that they’re very long. And that’s how it’s supposed to be. Their characteristically long length is not a flaw on their part but an issue on that of players for not having the time to always be able to commit to hundred or more hour long adventures. But life has to come first so it’s no body’s fault.

You can read the rest of the review here. For this and other reviews by me on Brash Games you can also check out my Author’s Archive page.

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As always, thanks for reading. Please take the time to follow my blog, leave a comment, and check out some of my other channels if you enjoyed what you read.

Let Players Play Their Way on Gaming Rebellion

This week I published an article about how developers seem to be putting their own opinion based priorities about how their games should be played above those of the consumers at the expense of players’ enjoyment. I focused a lot on Activision and Destiny in this post, but many other developers today are just as guilty. I published this article on Gaming Rebellion but here’s the introduction:

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I know a number of the ideas put forth in this post are controversial in today’s world of constantly evolving games. I also know that many trolls will chalk the whole thing up to me just crying about things being too hard and that’s fine. What would the internet be without haters? But the general idea is one that I believe resonates with all gamers, both casual and hardcore. Players should be given the ability to enjoy games the way they want to enjoy them regardless of how others feel, as long as those others aren’t seriously affected by it.

You can read the rest right here. Please check out my Author’s Archive for other articles by me on Gaming Rebellion.

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Shantae: Half Genie Hero Review – 7/10

This week I reviewed the recently released fourth installment of the Shantae series. This retro style puzzle platformer was quite the enjoyable experience. I published this review on Brash Games, but here is the introduction:

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I have been aware of the Shantae franchise for a long time. But with each of the three previous installments I’ve never been interested. I’m not exactly sure why, but the way the games were presented in the marketing just always seemed like something I wouldn’t enjoy. Honestly I only tried the latest installment because I was bored. Shantae: Half Genie Hero is the fourth and latest installment in the Shantae franchise. I’m happy to say that I greatly enjoyed it and it saddens me that I waited so long to play one of these games. If I had realized how the franchise actually played, I would have jumped in so much sooner.

You can read the rest of the review here. For this and other reviews by me on Brash Games you can also check out my Author’s Archive page.

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The 52 Challenge 2016 Complete!

I don’t know what year it first came to my attention, but I know that for as long as I’ve been gaming on my own dime I’ve wanted to complete the 52 Challenge. For those of you that don’t know, the 52 Challenge is the task of completing 52 games in a single year. For some this might sound easy, but for people like me it’s quite difficult. Finally after a number of years believing I would never manage to complete this achievement I finally finished it this year with two whole weeks to spare.

For me the 52 Challenge is extremely important and meaningful. I don’t consider it something that no one can do. Actually I consider it something that anyone who commits to can do. But the fact that anyone can do it doesn’t make it any less challenging or any less special in my opinion. The fact that all gamers can accomplish this goal doesn’t mean most of them will. It’s the fact that it’s so hard to commit to even though it’s very doable that makes it special and something worth doing . . . once.

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The concept of beating 52 games in a year is difficult because even after you get past the challenge of being able to purchase/acquire 52 games in a year you still have to have the time and ability to beat them. There are very few moments in a normal person’s life where all the pieces just easily come together to do it. When you’re a kid you have school and in my case a job even back when I was in elementary school working under the table as a delivery boy. Even if at the pre-college age you do have the time to actually complete 52 games in a year there’s a good chance that you don’t have the money. My parents weren’t wealthy but they did the best they could to be able to provide me with video games as a kid. There was no year before I moved out that they purchased me 52 different games in a single year or could have even if they wanted to.

Similar issues of time and resources come up when you’re in college. I was a full time student with two majors and two minors while also working a job and trying to have some semblance of a social life. I played a lot of games in college. In fact fellow gamers were always impressed by my completion numbers per a semester. But I still never came close to completing 52 in a given year.

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I think there’s a deadline in life to completing the 52 Challenge as a normal person with a believable amount of money and work responsibilities. Once you get too old and you have a spouse and children it just doesn’t seem like a practical goal to have. Even when you aren’t married and don’t have kids, a relationship can put significant strain and reduction on your gaming time.

I think the only practical moment in life where a normal person can seriously hope to complete the 52 Challenge is sometime after college, but before marriage and parenthood, having already found a legitimate job. That’s where I am right now. That doesn’t mean it was a walk in the park though. I still had to maintain my blog, YouTube, Twitch, and Twitter, and Instagram throughout the year, never once missing my normal posting deadlines/behavior all while still maintaining a long term relationship. It’s only because my girlfriend supported me from day one of 2016 in completing this goal that I was able to manage it. She took this goal seriously for whatever reason and made sure to do her best not to get in the way of my dream to complete it. It also comes down to taking it seriously on a personal level. I went into January 1st of this year knowing that I was going to not only attempt but commit to completing the 52 Challenge for the first and most likely only time in my life. A time where I don’t yet have the responsibilities of a family, but also have the resources of a full time job made it possible, but not easy.

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For me, choosing which games to play was just as important as actually playing the games. I made it a point, for the most part, to only choose practical games that wouldn’t take too long or be too much of a hassle to complete. Games like Final Fantasy were out of the question. Towards the end of the year I was behind by several weeks because of work related responsibilities and had to actively seek out short indie titles that could be beaten in a single day. Some weeks I beat three games to make up for lost time. I also have to admit that I wouldn’t have been able to afford to get the right 52 games if not for already having a hefty backlog of very specific titles as well as the free games acquired from PlayStation Plus and my position as a game reviewer. This allowed me access to a number of short indie titles that I never would have purchased or most likely heard of on my own.

The gaming aspect was no walk in the park either. Especially in the last month of the challenge. As my list will show, I went into December needing to finish nine more games. I cleared nine games in the first 16 days of the month. This meant multiple nights a week having to stay up till at least 2 AM and then still showing up for work at 9 AM. I completed the 52 Challenge without missing a day of work or blowing off plans with my girlfriend, but I did have to give up hanging out with friends on multiple occasions. But it wouldn’t be worth doing if it wasn’t challenging and great challenges require sacrifice and dedication.

the-rules-cut

Everyone kind of sets their own rules for the 52 Challenge, but they’re all very similar. Mine were short but strictly adhered to.

  1. Only games I started in 2016 counted towards the completion of the 52 Challenge.
  2. Game could not have already been beaten in previous years and replayed to be counted towards the 52 Challenge.
  3. Completion of a game will be decided on a case by case basis depending on the genre. All story based games require the completion of the main campaign to count.
  4. 100% completion is not a requirement for games to count towards the 52 Challenge except in specific situations.
  5. All 52 games must be completed before January 1st 2017 (local time).
  6. Game must be recorded in log to count towards the completion of the 52 Challenge.

I know some people are much more strict than I and will only count 100% completions towards the 52 Challenge, but I don’t see the trophies as being that important except in a few specific games.

checklist

Without further delay, I submit for your appraisal my completion list for the 52 Challenge 2016.

  1. Arcade Archives: MAGMAX (PS4) – 1/2/16
    • 100% completion.
  2. Bayonetta 2 (Wii U) – 1/3/16
    • Campaign completed.
  3. Sonic Lost World (Wii U) – 1/5/16
    • Campaign completed.
  4. Shovel Knight (Wii U) – 1/11/16
    • Campaign completed.
  5. Arcade Archives: Shanghai 3 (PS4) – 1/12/16
    • 100% completion.
  6. Poker Knight 2 (PC) – 1/13/16
    • All unlocks and bounties acquired.
  7. Rocket League (PS4) – 1/14/16
    • Won the Season Championship
  8. Pikmin 3 (Wii U) – 1/21/16
    • Campaign completed.
  9. Dragon Ball Xenoverse – (PS4) – 2/19/16
    • Main campaign completed.
  10. Arcade Archives: Double Dragon II – The Revenge (PS4) – 3/21/16
    • Campaign completed.
  11. The Division (PS4) – 3/20
    • Campaign completed. Reached main level 30 and DZ level 30.
  12. Just Dance 2015 (Wii U) – 2/28/16
    • Completed all songs with a 3* or higher. Most songs 4/5*.
    • All UPLAY actions completed.
    • Online ranking above 50.
  13. Assassin’s Creed: Rogue (PS3) – 4/6/16
    • Campaign completed.
    • All UPLAY actions completed.
  14. Just Dance 2016 (Wii U) – 4/6/16
    • Completed all songs with a 3* or higher.
    • All UPLAY actions completed.
  15. Metal Gear Solid (PS3) – 4/16/16
    • Campaign completed.
  16. KNACK (PS4) – 5/8/2016
    • Campaign completed.
  17. Metal Gear Solid 2 (PS3) – 5/16/16
    • Campaign completed.
  18. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (PS3) – 6/9/16
    • Campaign completed.
  19. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (PS3) – 6/18/16
    • Campaign completed.
  20. Arcade Archives: Ikki (PS4) – 6/20/16
    • 100%
  21. Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (PS3) – 7/4/16
    • Campaign completed.
  22. Metal Gear (PS3 Port) – 7/6/16
    • Campaign completed.
  23. Asemblance (PS4) – 7/3/16
    • Campaign completed.
  24. Super Mario Bros. U (Wii U) – 7/13/2016
    • Campaign completed.
  25. Metal Gear 2 (PS3 Port) – 7/14/16
    • Campaign completed.
  26. Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes (PS4) – 7/17/16
    • Campaign completed.
  27. Arcade Archives: Bomb Jack (PS4) – 7/21/16
    • 100% completion.
  28. Arcade Archives: Solomon’s Key (PS4) – 8/12/16
    • 100% completion.
  29. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (PS4) – 9/8/16
    • Campaign completed.
  30. Arcade Archives: Scramble (PS4) – 8/20/16
    • 100% completion.
  31. Super Luigi U (Wii U) – 9/10/16
    • Final Boss defeated.
  32. Assassin’s Creed: Unity (PS4) – 9/18/16
    • Campaign completed.
  33. Tearaway: Unfolded Crafted Edition (PS4) – 10/6/16
    • Campaign Completed.
  34. The Last of Us (PS4) – 11/8/16
    • Campaign completed.
  35. Small Radios Big Televisions (PS4) – 11/12/16
    • 100% completion.
  36. Hyper Light Drifter (PS4) – 11/14/16
    • Campaign completed.
  37. Grand Theft Auto V (PS4) – 11/20/16
    • Campaign completed.
  38. Double Breakout (Wii U) – 11/20/16
    • All stages completed.
  39. Strike Vector Ex (PS4) – 11/21/16
    • Campaign completed.
  40. Attack on Titan (PS4) – 11/25/16
    • Campaign completed.
  41. Journey (PS4) – 11/27/16
    • Campaign completed.
  42. Gone Home (PS4) – 11/28/16
    • Campaign completed.
  43. Contrast (PS4) – 11/30/16
    • Campaign completed.
  44. I, Zombie (PS4) – 12/2/16
    • All levels completed.
  45. Unfinished Swan (PS4) – 12/4/16
    • Campaign completed.
  46. CounterSpy (PS4) – 12/5/16
    • Campaign completed.
  47. One Way Trip (PS4) – 12/5/16
    • Campaign completed.
  48. Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China (PS4) – 12/7/16
    • Campaign completed.
  49. Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: India (PS4) – 12/8/16
    • Campaign completed.
  50. Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: Russia (PS4) – 12/10/16
    • Campaign completed.
  51. Transformers: Devastation (PS4) – 12/13/16
    • Campaign completed.
  52. The Order 1886 (PS4) – 12/16/16
    • Campaign completed.

I’m happy to admit that certain games were really bad and that I intentionally played them because I knew they were short and in some cases easier to beat. But I made sure to play all games on the normal difficulty or higher where the option was available. This was not an easy experience that I was able to take casually. I struggled to get through this on time. Certain games were very irritating and as I played more and more I grew less and less patient with tiny flaws and setbacks. Getting stuck for even a few minutes greatly angered me by the time I got to the last 10 games if not before.

great-success-borat-hd

Completing the 52 Challenge also, in my opinion, affected my physical health. The many consecutive late nights were part of it. Also spending way more time gaming and foregoing usual lifestyle habits like my normal workout regimen definitely had an effect, which I am now working to correct. And I was never even that hardcore about working out to begin with. I’m thankful that I actually didn’t gain too much weight over the course of this year.

Overall I am very thankful that I was able to finally complete the 52 Challenge this year. I wasn’t sure that I was going to make it going into December with a five week deficit. This was an extremely gratifying experience even though it was very difficult and at times both physically and mentally grueling. I have no interest in attempting to do it again next year or most likely ever again, but I am so proud of myself for finally being able to add my name to the list of gamers that have at some point completed this most grueling of gaming challenges.

legendary-big

I would like to take the time to thank all the people who supported me in completing this goal. Thank you for your encouragement, advice, and support whether through Twitter, Facebook, or in person. And of course thank you to my girlfriend for not only putting up with my constant gaming, but also actively supporting me by watching me play at times and encouraging me to keep going and even buy games I didn’t necessarily want to pay for if it meant completing the challenge. 2016 may have been a terrible year, but it was a productive year of gaming . . . at least for me anyways.

Thanks for reading this year whether you started on my old blog page or just recently joined me. I’d like to wish all my readers a Happy New Year and here’s to a great year of gaming and blogging in 2017.

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