Monday, December 26, 2016

Gaming Goals of 2017

I may need to re-evaluate these gaming goals I set every year.  My time is increasingly taken up by things unrelated to my gaming backlog: a busier professional life, writing and podcasting with RPGFan, and a new addiction to Japanese tokusatsu shows.  Regardless, I'm going to add one to the sum total again and try for 17 in 2017.

I finished 6 games out of 16 targets in 2016.  Yikes.  That's maybe my worst-ever mark for these.  After acing my quest in 2011 and getting 11/12 in 2012, I've never done better than 65% in the last four years.  That's embarrassing.  There are plenty of excuses I can make, chief among them Super Sentai shows, Heroes of the Storm, and Final Fantasy XIV.  So will I readjust expectations?  Set a lower bar?  Give up on these Gaming Goals posts entirely?  Nah.  In 2017, I will attempt to complete 17 target video games.

I know how futile this looks; I don't have past precedent working in my favor.  Me completing 17 in '17 sounds impossible (and may well be) but I don't feel like totally giving up on these yet (more on this later).  But one odd question: how do I split up the number 17?  17 is an awkward prime number.  I ended up doing it thus:

In 2017, I will attempt to complete 5 games from my recent backlog.  "Recent backlog" is a relative term.  Two of these I received as gifts in 2016.  One is a game I bought in 2015.  Two of them are PS2 games I've owned a LONG time, but abandoned playthroughs partway through.  I'll start those from scratch.  The uniting factor is that none of them have shown up in a Gaming Goals post before. Three JRPGs, one shooter, and one platformer. 

In 2017, I will attempt to complete 5 games from my 2016 Gaming Goals quest.  I had a nice selection of games on last year's list, and finished less than half of them. Three of these games debuted on one of my lists last year, and two have been on three Gaming Goals posts in a row!  Three hardcore JRPGs, one action game with RPG elements, one shooter with RPG elements.  I play a lot of RPGs, guys. 

In 2017, I will attempt to complete 5 games coming out in 2017.  I'm really excited for these five, especially one title that's been delayed over and over since 2015 (should be easy to guess).  They will each be major priorities for me to play upon release.  Three JRPGs, one action game with RPG elements, and one visual novel / puzzle adventure game. 

In 2017, I will attempt to complete 2 Final Fantasy XIV expansions.  Final Fantasy XIV was a major addiction of mine in the last few months of 2016, but I haven't touched the game's two expansions yet (one is out, and one comes out in mid-2017).  I will get to them both in 2017, so I decided to include them in this year's list. 

Also, I'm going to give myself an ultimatum.  I've failed in these Gaming Goals quests too many times.  If I don't score at least a B- this year, it'll be time to give up.  I'm not blogging as much as I used to (blame podcast work and other interests) and I haven't had a successful run since 2012, as I mentioned earlier.  Fortunately, one integer divisor of 17 works out to 82%.  If I don't complete at least 14 out of these 17 tasks, this will be my final Gaming Goals blog post.  Now on to the list:

Seventeen Games I'm Giving One Last Chance

Pokémon: Y Version

I received Pokémon Y as a gift last month (thanks, Tobias!) and I'm excited to try it.  I'm not a Pokémon super-duper-fan (I don't own Sun or Moon yet), but every few years I play one and almost always like it.  And holy shit did I play a lot of it in the mid-2000s (near-complete Pokedexes in Leaf Green and Diamond).  I had Y on my Amazon wishlist over X completely because of the Pokemon on the cover; the bird-dragon Yveltal looks way cooler than the fairy deer Xerneas.  Y Version will be my Pokémon jam for at least a few weeks in 2017. 

Shadow Hearts: Covenant

This will likely be my first completed task of 2017, as I'm recording a podcast about it in January (I should get to playing it soon!).  I'm also going to try and finish the first Shadow Hearts before playing Covenant, which may or may not happen.  Anyhow, I started Covenant several years ago, but abandoned that playthrough around the halfway point and do NOT remember enough about it to continue from that spot. It's a popular, acclaimed early-2000s RPG and I remember liking it when I tried it several years ago.  

Super Mario 3D Land

Uncontroversial opinion: Mario platformers are always at least good, often great.  I bought 3D Land on sale in 2015 and fully intended to play it, but I got busy with other games instead.  I've long felt that platformers are among the "purest" genres of video game, and love them dearly even though I'm terrible at them (I feel the same way about fighting games).  I always try to get my run-jump on at least once a year with a new platformer, and for 2017 it's 3D Land.  

Tales of the Abyss

I haven't finished a Tales Of game since my playthrough of Tales of Vesperia in 2013 (which I enjoyed very much), but I've started and stopped several over the past decade, including this one.  Tales of the Abyss is a PS2 title that I liked a lot before stopping (I think during college in the late 2000s?  Not sure.) but it's been so long that I don't remember enough of the story to pick it up where I fell off.  Yeah, just like Shadow Hearts.  I did buy a copy of the 3DS version of Abyss a few months ago, and will use that to restart and finally finish this fan-favorite Tales Of title. 

Tomb Raider

Small confession: I own at least four Tomb Raider games, but have started none of them.  They were always easy to find, often cheaply, but I never tried any that I bought.  The most I've played any Tomb Raider title is messing around with the first PlayStation game many years ago at a friend's house.  I don't dislike Lara Croft or her series, but I have almost no experience with them and never became a fan.  I received the 2013 Tomb Raider reboot game as a gift earlier this year (thanks, David!) and I figure it's a good place to start.  Playing the PC version on Steam.   

BioShock Infinite

A mainstay of these lists that I have spent exactly zero minutes playing.  I thought the first BioShock was really good, and I love a lot of the ideas around BioShock Infinite (Art Deco aesthetic, 1900 interpretations of American nationalism, giant steampunk robots), but I'm also curious about its reputation as a divisive game.  I still need to play it for myself to form my own opinion, which I think is almost exactly what I said in late 2015 and late 2014. 

Cosmic Star Heroine

CSH's delays have been disappointing (original target date was December 2014, and it's still not out at the time of posting this list), but I should have a physical copy of the game in my hands in the next few months.  When I do, it'll become priority one to finish.  I gave $350 to the KickStarter, and co-designed a monster for the game with my best friend (I think it'll be an optional mid-boss?).  Cyberpunk space opera spy RPG starring a cast of humans, robots, and aliens?  Yes please.  Been looking forward to CSH for a *long* time now.   

Persona 2: Eternal Punishment

I tried out Eternal Punishment in 2004- or 2005-ish; I definitely liked it more than Persona 1, but didn't totally get what was going on.  Well, five or six Persona titles later, now I have a better idea, and I definitely want to play P2:EP.  I enjoyed Innocent Sin quite a bit when I finished it in 2014, and now it's time to play the second half of the P2 duology.  I own a PS1 copy of Eternal Punishment, but I'll probably download it for Vita so I can play it wherever I please.  I'll also probably use a guide, because those PS1-era Atlus games were awfully obtuse.  

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel

I never got to Trails of Cold Steel in 2016 in large part because I wanted to finish Trails in the Sky Second Chapter first.  Well, TitS SC is complete, and Cold Steel awaits.  I really dig the look of the main cast and what I briefly played of Cold Steel II (which I also own, eep!) at E3.  I'm really excited to finally give this one a try.   The cast looks as diverse and fun as any Nihon Falcom game, which is a positive endorsement indeed.  

The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask

The next logical choice in my Zelda fandom journey, Majora's Mask is the only Zelda game made before 2010 that I haven't at least tried.  And it's not an issue of access!  I own the game's GameCube port and can easily borrow the 3DS version from my roommate (Majora's Mask is his favorite Zelda, and he's a little annoyed I haven't tried it yet).  Well, this is round 3 for Majora on this blog series, and we'll see if the third time's the charm.

Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony

Another relatively recent fandom of mine, I first read about the Danganronpa games several years ago when they appeared in a Famitsu best-of-PSP list in the early 2010s.  I was curious, but didn't seek them out.  I played the English-language Vita version of the first game in 2015, and was hooked instantly.  Now I've played the two main-series Danganronpa games, and I'm deeply invested in Danganronpa's weird world of high school murder.  This new one ought to be a treat.  

Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King 3DS

Dragon Quest VIII is one of my favorite PS2 games, but I've only played it once: it's a long time commitment at 60+ hours, and I had and endless list of other games to try (he said, having played Persona 4 four times between then and now).  A DS remake with new extras, characters, and portability is just what the doctor ordered.  I'll be able to re-experience an old favorite with an extra decade worth of experience and jadedness.  

Persona 5

My most anticipated game of 2017.  And 2016.  And also 2015 (wishful thinking for that last one).  To say I've been hotly anticipating the newest game in one of my recent favorite series is a huge understatement.  I'll be playing Persona 5 and doing very little else when it lands in April of 2017.  


I loved Bastion and thought Transistor was super-cool (but maybe didn't love it?) but I'm more interested in Pyre than Supergiant Games's previous two joints.  A crazy combination of Oregon Trail, NBA Jam, and FTL, Pyre's basketball rituals, team customization options, and stylized art designs appeal to me a great deal.  I had the privilege of speaking to Pyre's lead writer, Greg Kasavin, at E3 earlier this year, and it only fueled the hype.  Pyre looks dope.   

Tokyo Xanadu

Tokyo Xanadu is the second Nihon Falcom game on this list, but I'm showing restraint.  I think were five Falcom candidates on my initial brainstorming list of 25 of 30 games.  Anyhow, I've been interested in Tokyo Xanadu since its first trailers in early 2015, with its Ys-influenced combat, Persona-influenced setting, and kickass Falcom Sound Team musical score.  TX received lukewarm reviews in Japan, but that's not stopping me.  Another day-one purchase.

Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward


Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood

After hearing several of my RPGFan coworkers sing FF XIV's praises for several years, I finally gave the game a shot in August.  I haven't put hard time into an MMO before for a variety of reasons, but FF XIV had me instantly.  It's a streamlined, fun version of traditional MMO mechanics (but a little slow-paced), and also sports a beautifully-realized Final Fantasy story and setting.  I haven't been this transfixed by a video game open world since Dragon Age: Origins.  Possibly earlier.

But I've only played the basic 2.0 story for Final Fantasy XIV - I am at the final dungeon and will finish it this week.  After that I still have the 2.X content, the Heavensward story (patch 3.0), the post-Heavensward 3.X content, and the 4.0 Stormblood story to play.  The last of those once the expansion launches in June.  That's a lot.  I expect I'll be playing FF XIV throughout the year, probably in stints as I try other games, but I am certainly invested enough to go through with it.  We'll see how far I make it, but right now the goals are the main story quests for both Heavensward and Stormblood.  Wish me luck.

Contingency Plan: if any of the 2017 titles above are delayed into 2018, I will replace them with Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth.  That game looks super-neat.  If more than one game is delayed, I will update this post with additional replacements from my backlog.


So those are my 2017 goals.  Final Fantasy XIV is going to take up a very large proportion of my 2017 game time, and several of the other listed titles are lengthy RPGs.  I don't know if I can pull it off, but dammit I'll at least put forth a good-faith effort.  And if I finish fewer than 14 out of 17, this will be the last post of this nature you'll ever see on this blog.  Whew, that sounded a little grim.  Not my intention!

Anyhow, I'm posting this on the day after Christmas, and I'm gonna try and finish one last Super Sentai review before the New Year: Carranger, the 1996 parody Sentai.  It's a good one.  Hopefully I finish the review on time and do it justice!  

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