Thursday, December 31, 2015

Gaming Goals of 2016

Another one of my blogging traditions: I acknowledge my failure to complete the prior year's gaming goals, then create goals slightly more ambitious than those failed ones.  Time is a flat circle.

So in 2015 I finished a whopping 60% of my gaming goals on the year.  Personally, I blame Blizzard for that bad number.  Diablo III and Heroes of the Storm annihilated a ton of my spring, summer, and winter game time, and my addiction to those probably won't slow up by much.  This year, I'm going to try and continue playing those while balancing MORE spinning plates in my video game circus, but I will try and acknowledge one specific thing: I want to play new games when they come out.

Let me explain.  I started writing reviews on this blog in part because I wanted to tackle my backlog, and blogging about games and adding games to a list as I completed them motivated me to do so.  It's mostly worked.  Still, I buy more games every year and many of those new purchases interfere with my backlog plans.  I'm not going to attempt to change that behavior, even if I probably should.  Instead, I'm going to add anticipated purchases and recent purchases to my gaming goals.  Since 16 is a nice, divisible perfect square of a number, I made four target game categories, with four games in each:

In 2016, I will finish four of my most-anticipated 2016 releases.  The first four games in the below list are dated for 2016.  Instead of ignoring games on my backlog to play them, I'm adding them to a sort of "future backlog" and dropping everything to dive into the shiny new thing.  That would be my instinct, anyway.  In case one of those gets delayed into 2017, I'll acknowledge it and add an official replacement.  Don't have to worry about that for several months at least.

In 2016, I will finish four games I obtained in 2015.  That's right, the next four games in my 16 in '16 are a few of my backlog's most recent additions.  Two of them are in the same series (?) and one is a game that I bought two years ago and recently was delayed into early 2016 (???).  Yeah, this is an iffy category.  Don't judge me.

In 2016, I will finish four of my missed 2015 targets.  I left six games out in the cold by the end of this year, with one of them being dropped partway through because I didn't like it (Heavenly Sword).  I'm re-upping on four of the others because, well, I'm still interested in playing them.  I never even started any of 'em, and still want to replay another game before getting to one in particular.  Yeah.  Video games. 

In 2016, I will finish four more games from my normal backlog.  My last four games in the below list are from my backlog, but haven't shown up on this blog before.  Nothing terribly fancy here.  Crossing off another game in my unplayed Atlus game list, plus adding in a few impulse purchases from 2013 and 2014.  So, without further ado, here are the target games in my quest for 16 in '16:

Sixteen Games from my Past, Present, and Future

Bravely Second

First of all, I apologize for the wildly varying quality of the images in this post.  I got English-language cover art for most of it, but it's all in different sizes and regions and quality.  Second of all, I'm really excited for Bravely Second!  The follow-up to my favorite non-Zelda 3DS game is coming to North America in spring or summer of 2016, and I will be ALL OVER IT when it lands.  BS (...heh) has been out in Japan since April, and nothing I've heard has diminished my enthusiasm to play it. 

Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past

I'm still in a pleasant state of shock from this sorta-recent announcement.  I never thought North America would get Square-Enix's 2012 port of Dragon Quest VII, but here we are; it's scheduled for spring 2016.  I adore Dragon Quest, and I've beaten every numbered Dragon Quest game from I to IX with the exception of VII, despite owning the PS1 version of the game for several years now.  That PS1 game is slow and weird.  This 3DS version looks better, sounds better, and (allegedly) has improved pacing.  Sounds the game I wished PS1 Dragon Quest VII actually was. 

Fire Emblem: Fates

Possibly the most time-intensive game on this list (unclear, since there are a BUNCH of lengthy RPGs here...), Fire Emblem: Fates is two full games, plus a "third chapter" which unites the two original story pathways.  I'm gonna have to play all three of them, since I'm buying the special edition containing all of them and I'll want to see every side of the story for myself.  Yes, that's a little ridiculous.  And yes, I'm going to do it soon after Fates launches in North America in February.

Persona 5

The last of my guaranteed purchases of presumptive 2016 releases on this list is none other than Persona 5, which has been my most-anticipated game since we first got that "YOU ARE SLAVE. WANT EMPANCIPATION?" teaser in late 2013.  The above image is a poster from the Tokyo Game Show last September, and everything about Persona 5 from the masks to the heists to the (deliberately) edgier personalities of the main cast has me intrigued.  Day-one purchase, possibly buying a special edition, hopefully sometime in 2016. 

Contingency plan - Persona 5 has been delayed into 2017.  Thus, I am going to replace it in my list of targets with Zero Time Dilemma, another 2016 game I am purchasing this year.  

Cosmic Star Heroine

I gave $350 to the KickStarter Campaign of Cosmic Star Heroine (with part of the donation accepted as a gift from my best friend David) in 2013, and the release date was pushed from late 2014 to late 2015 and finally to early 2016.  Yikes.  I'm counting this as a 2015 game I'm playing in 2016, because I don't even know what year it is anymore.  I'm getting the physical Vita version as a KickStarter backer reward... maybe soon.  Don't really know.  Gonna be a must-play the day I get it. 

The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky Second Chapter

Talk about a game with a troubled localization.  North America got the first Trails in the Sky on PSP in 2011; in Japan it was a 2006 PSP port of a 2004 PC game.  Trails SC came out in 05/07 for those two platforms in Japan, but the U.S. and Canada got it in late 2015, after XSEED finished dealing with bug-ridden test builds, translating a script more than double the length of that of the first game, and suffering a variety of staff issues, including one attempted suicide scare.  Yikes.  Well, I've been excited for several years to see the ending to the story that I first played in mid-2011, and my Vita is back in my possession after being on loan for several weeks.  TitS SC will very, very likely be my first completed target game of 2016.  Starting it this weekend. 

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel

Trails of Cold Steel *seemed* to have an easier time in localization than Trails in the Sky SC did, which is odd, since it launched in the United States at an unusual time: a week ago, a few days before Christmas.  Cold Steel is set in a military academy in the same world as the other Trails games, because incorporating teenagers in school is a must for RPGs these days (I guess?).  The visuals look great on the Vita, the character designs seem to meet Falcom's high standard, and I will happily dive into it after I finish Trails in the Sky SC.

Transistor had mixed reviews when it came out in 2014, but I've always been interested in it because 1) it looks stylish as fuck; 2) it's Supergiant Games's follow-up to Bastion and I really liked Bastion; and 3) the soundtrack absolutely rocks ass.  It was number one on my Steam wishlist for about a year, and I got it as a gift from my buddy Ben earlier this month.  Thanks, Ben!  I will find a few weeks in mid-2016 to play this, beyond a shadow of a doubt.  

BioShock: Infinite

I'm still not sure if BioShock: Infinite is controversial or not.  Its plot (set in a utopian early-1900s flying city) deals directly with social issues in late-1800s America with a distinctly modern perspective, and that's ripe for controversy; but its art direction, high-concept setting, and rock-solid mechanics seem excellent.  It also received widespread critical acclaim, and was a 2013 Game of the Year candidate at just about every major games writing outlet.  Still, I was surprised at the amount of hate Infinite seemed to get from certain corners of the internet (i.e. certain people I follow on Twitter).  I thought the first BioShock was really good (maybe not a personal favorite) and I'm still intrigued by what BioShock: Infinite has to offer.  I need to play it for myself.  Didn't happen in 2015, but this is a new year. 

Digital Devil Saga 2

I really liked the first Digital Devil Saga, but I made a few mistakes when I first played it (basically I regretted a few story choices I made).  I planned to do a New Game Plus to fix that, plus challenge a few optional super-bosses, before taking on the sequel.  I'm currently in the middle of that New Game Plus, but once I'm finished I'm going to jump into DDS2, which looks to resolve the story cliffhangers at the end of DDS1 and give me more of that sweet, sweet SMT combat.  Really looking forward to this one. 

The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask

My Zelda resume is... a little patchy.  I adore most of the 2D Zelda games, but have played just a few of the 3D Zelda games: Ocarina of Time, Wind Waker, and Twilight Princess.  I have reviews of all three of those on this blog.  Anyhow, I meant to expand my 3D Zelda experience last year with Majora's Mask, but it never happened, so it's being rolled into 2016.  If my GameCube version doesn't work, I'll borrow the recent 3DS port from my roommate.  Majora's Mask is his favorite Zelda game, and he seemed quite keen on me finally playing it.  Happy to oblige. 

We <3 Katamari

My only experience with the Katamari Damacy series is with the stunning 2004 original.  The second one had a very positive critical and fan reception; the Katamari games that came afterward, not so much.  I've owned We <3 Katamari for a few years, so it's about time I played it.  It's been so long since I've played the first game that it'll probably be about as close to a fresh take as I can get!  Katamari is unique and weird, even within a medium that has a lot of unique and weird things.  We Love/Heart Katamari should be worth a try, if only to see how high the weirdness ceiling goes. 

Asura's Wrath
I was interested in Asura's Wrath from the first trailers I saw, but never pulled the trigger on getting it until I saw it for pretty cheap in 2014.  Inspired by South Asian and East Asian myth, Asura's Wrath seems similar to God of War, but instead of thriving on brutal action and hubris it seems to thrive on brutal action and ridiculousness.  I dig it.  I only hope I can come up with the words to describe the silliness after I experience it for myself. 

Persona 2: Eternal Punishment

By far the game on this list I've owned the longest, I bought Persona 2: Eternal Punishment on sale for $20 at a Gamestop that was clearing out PS1 inventory in 2004 or 2005.  I disliked Persona 1 when I played it a few years before then (and I still do), but I couldn't resist getting a rare-ish PS1 RPG for a reasonable price.  I tried playing it soon after I bought it, but got quite confused, as I didn't know about Persona 2: Innocent Sin (Eternal Punishment's predecessor) at the time.  Well, more than a decade later I'm a Persona fanatic who's played Innocent Sin and decided it's finally time to unearth those PS1 discs for a serious go at Eternal Punishment.  Unlike eleven years ago, now I'm actually quite eager complete my Persona 2 education.  Persona 1 still sucks, though. 

Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus

I adore the main-series Ratchet & Clank games (especially Going Commando, Up Your Arsenal, and A Crack in Time), but haven't totally adored the recent spin-off titles to the series, which were developed by Insomniac's North Carolina studio while the principal California studio was working on Overstrike Fuse and Sunset Overdrive.  Into the Nexus is also made in North Carolina, but it's more in line with the traditional Ratchet games in that it's about crazy guns, great firefights, and occasional puzzles instead of funky gimmicks.  Sounds good to me.

South Park: The Stick of Truth

As a huge fan of traditional role-playing video games, a fan of comedy in video games, and a fan of South Park, I probably should have played The Stick of Truth the moment it came out.  Alas, I got it last year on sale at Target on Black Friday and it's been sitting on my shelf idly all this time.  But as a send-up of RPG mechanics, a vehicle for South Park's signature satire and puerile humor, and as a well-received game in its own right, I have zero hesitations about playing this game.  Really, I have no idea how I let it go unplayed for this long. 


Oh fuck, eleven of those are RPGs.  ELEVEN!  Maybe just ten, depending on how you prefer to categorize Transistor.  No way I'll finish all of these (maybe).  I will be extremely motivated to get to most of them, since I'll be hyped for each one of those new ones as it arrives, and I've been *extremely* hyped to play some of those 2015 games for a number of years.  Whew. 

Right now I'm in the middle of playing a few Pokemon games for the next episode of Retro Encounter.  Yes, more than one.  You'll read all about those on this blog in the next few weeks.  If I can finish the 10+ other reviews I want to finish, that is.  


  1. I'll save you some trouble with Majora's Mask and advise you to play it on the 3DS. The GameCube version doesn't run perfectly, and I lost enough gameplay hours to freezes and save errors that I eventually gave up on the game.

    1. Yeah, I've heard horror stories to that effect. I shouldn't have any issues borrowing a copy of the 3DS version from Kevin. Right now the two Legend of Heroes games are my priorities.