A Preface in Three Parts:
1: I finished the Forza Horizon 2 Finale race last night. I’ve apparently still got more to do, as the credits didn’t roll, but that was the big one. If I were still keeping track of Achievements, and if I still had a category for “Favorite Achievement of the Year”, I suspect the 50 points I picked up for winning that 20-minute gauntlet would rank right up there with anything else I did this year. After soaking in that victory for a bit, I then headed over to race in Storm Island, and WHOA, that shit is crazy. Extreme weather, terrain, lighting and visibility – total madness, a complete 180 from the relatively calm and serene mainland campaign. I’m not sure what the rest of the island is like, but that first race makes one hell of a first impression, and it shakes up the already-excellent formula enough to make it worth spending some more time in.
2: I hemmed and hawed about whether or not I should buy it; I’d already sunk in a fair amount of time, and felt like I’d seen what I needed to see even if I only got halfway through…. but I also felt like I needed to finish it for real. And so, in the end, Alien Isolation was on sale for $30 on PSN, and I picked it up, and it remembered my last save point from October. So that’s something to look forward to.
3: I want to join the chorus in wishing Patrick Klepek the best of luck in his future endeavors. His is a necessary, vital voice in this business, and I can’t wait to see what he does next. On a purely personal level, he’s also single-handedly responsible for the biggest spike in traffic this site’s ever gotten (scroll down to #3), and so if nothing else I’m indebted to him for keeping this site visible, however marginally that visibility may be.
Pop Culture Consumption Resolutions for 2015:
- No more pre-ordering. As you’ll see below, my “must-have” list of games for 2015 is relatively small, and given what we’ve been through in 2014 with nearly every significant AAA release bogged down by serious issues on release day, I don’t necessarily have any faith that these future releases will be released in an acceptable shape. I can wait; I can rent.
- Along those lines, I’m going to try and beef up my commentary skills this year. Maybe I’m being overly hard on myself, but most of my analysis is pretty superficial, and doesn’t necessarily get to the core of what’s actually going on. Even this Cameron Kunzelman piece about how he doesn’t know how to describe Super Time Force Ultra still explains more about his experience playing it than I do on an average day. I’m always aiming to be a better writer, but now I think I have a better idea of what “being a better writer” actually means (for the purposes of this blog, at least).
- I am going to stop. playing. Clicker Heroes.
- The backlogs are getting dealt with. And if it means that I’m going to start keeping widgets on the sidebar to further shame myself into finishing stuff that needs finishing, then that’s what it means.
- As far as my PC goes, I’m rapidly approaching the point where it’s not really capable of performing on par with my PS4 and XB1, but I still have a frighteningly large backlog to address on Steam that it can handle, and I’m gonna have to deal with that at some point.
- And I still have a bunch of games on my PS4 that I haven’t finished – Shadow of Mordor and Far Cry 4 perhaps being the largest omissions, though there’s also Transistor, Valiant Hearts, and Oddworld New & Tasty. (And also Sunset Overdrive on the XB1.)
- Regarding my Kindle backlog – I’m cutting myself off and not buying any more books until I finish my to-read pile, which at this point is probably 20+ titles deep. (I did end up buying the Your Face Tomorrow trilogy, but that’s it.)
I also further resolve to SPEAK UP and SPEAK OUT when stupid bullshit is happening out there in the world. I can’t call myself an ally if I’m not doing anything to back that up. I sincerely hope that 2015 provides less opportunities for shouting, but if it doesn’t, then I aim to shout as purposefully and effectively as I can.
Game Anticipations for 2015: (with special assistance from this handy Game Informer page)
* denotes a game that I’m not 100% convinced will be coming out in 2015
- Batman: Arkham Knight
- No Man’s Sky
- Witcher 3
- Uncharted 4 *
- Rise of the Tomb Raider *
- Firewatch *
THE RENTALS, AT THE VERY LEAST
- PGA Tour Golf (EA’s first without Tiger, after a year-long hiatus)
- Crackdown 3 *
- Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture
- Final Fantasy XV *
- Mad Max *
- Inside (from the makers of Limbo)
- The Order 1886
- Halo 5
- Star Wars Battlefront
- Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain
- Silent Hills *
Here’s hoping we all have a safe and happy New Year’s, and may 2015 be everything that 2014 wasn’t. Cheers.