stepping away from the ledge

I came this close to buying a PS4 yesterday.  Amazon suddenly had them in stock yesterday afternoon, and I got as far as having one sitting in my cart and getting it scheduled for Saturday delivery, before ultimately bailing on it.  In fact, I did this twice.  But each time I sat there with my mouse hovering over the CONFIRM button, I found that I couldn’t pull the trigger.

Here’s the thing that I had to repeatedly remind myself of – there’s almost nothing in the launch lineup that I need to play.  There’s only 2 games for the PS4 that I’d even consider buying right now, and the thing is, I’d just spent 60 hours playing one of them (Assassin’s Creed 4) on my PC.  And while I’m intrigued by Need For Speed Rivals, it’s not the sort of intrigue that’s worth spending over $460 on.  The rest of the PS4 launch lineup doesn’t really interest me all that much – I suppose I’d like to see Battlefield 4, but I’d rather see it when it isn’t completely broken.  And I can pass on the sports titles.

Xbox Ones have been much easier to find – on Amazon, at least – and I suppose I’m kinda interested in Forza (microtransactions notwithstanding) and Dead Rising 3 (even if I’m not really a big fan of that franchise).  And I’ve heard enough decent things about Ryse to make it worth checking out.  But the rest of the XBO baggage (like the Kinect and the buggy dashboard) is what’s keeping me away, and in any event I’m still finding myself wanting to dive into GTA V Online every so often – or, at least, I want the option available – so I don’t necessarily want to disconnect my 360.

But I’m also in this weird, post-AC4 period where I’m wanting to play new stuff, even as I have a huge backlog of stuff I haven’t finished.  Indeed, I’ve been stuck all week in this paralytic state where I just stare at my Steam library and don’t actually play anything.  That backlog, incidentally, includes quality stuff like:

  • Legend of Zelda: Link Between Worlds
  • Shadow Warrior
  • Antichamber
  • Rayman Legends
  • Lego Marvel
  • The Swapper
  • Kentucky Route Zero
  • FC3: Blood Dragon
  • Dishonored DLC
  • Mass Effect 3 – The Citadel DLC


In the meantime, GTA San Andreas is currently loading on my iPad, and The Room 2 is already there, so I can maybe calm down with the next-gen consoles for the time being.

Also also, I’m hoping to have the Best of 2013 post up some time next week.  In addition, I think I’m going to be involved in the voting process for the NYVCC awards, which will mark the first time I’ve gotten to deliberate with peers (or, rather, people that I’d like to consider me as a peer one day), as opposed to the usual howling into the void that happens here.  In any event, keep your eyes peeled.

of piracy and patience

1. I’d hoped to get the 360/PS3 post up before Thanksgiving, but you know what?  It can wait.  There’s no rush.  I’m dealing with a thousand other distractions, to be sure, but the fact remains that this generation is still not over.  And in any event, I’d rather put the post up when people are back in front of their computer monitors, freed from tryptophan-induced eye-glazing (and family-induced eye-rolling).

2. I continue to be tremendously impressed with Assassin’s Creed 4, even if I’m starting to realize that the reasons why I’m enjoying it so much are because of all the things that are cribbed from other games.  The platforming is still very much classic AC, though the controls feel much tighter (most likely influenced by Uncharted and Tomb Raider), but the hunting and crafting is straight out of Far Cry 3, a lot of the treasure map stuff and related ambient events feels lifted wholesale out of Red Dead Redemption, and the customization of the Jackdaw reminds me very much of Mass Effect‘s Normandy.  All games steal from everybody else, and it just so happens that these are good things to steal from, and I’m very glad to have them in this particular context.

Moreover, I love that the game is letting me play at my own pace.  If there’s an undiscovered island between my ship and my next mission objective, you can be damned sure I’m going over there and clearing out as much of it as I can – opening chests, chasing down sea shanty pages, clambering towards Abstergo artifacts.   And along those lines, I’m happy that the incentives for finding all of that side stuff are, for the most part, worthwhile.  (The sea shanties alone are worth it.)  The Mayan statues are a far cry from the weird future glyph puzzles in Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, but they’re a fun enough diversion.

And even though I’m not particularly interested in the naval combat (partially because I’m not particularly good at it), I don’t necessarily have to engage with it if I don’t want to.  I suppose I’ll have to get better at it at some point, as I’m sure the game will require me to engage in some heavy-duty naval battles in order to get through the narrative, but for the time being I’m happy to ignore it, and I’m pleased to not be punished for doing so.

I’m also really intrigued by AC4’s “modern” storyline, though I’m reluctant to say more on that until I get around to a full-on spoiler post.

I guess the thing that’s impressed me the most is how relatively un-glitchy it is, especially compared to AC3.  I’m probably 12-15 hours in at this point, and I’ve only ever gotten stuck in a tree once.   That being said, the glitch in the video below is maybe the best glitch I’ve ever seen:

3.  While I’m glad that I’m still resolute in my decision to hold off on buying one of the new consoles (even if it’s been less than a week since the Xbox One launched and I’m already getting super-fidgety), I’m finding that the decision itself is becoming harder and harder to make as more impressions come in.  I suppose this is a good thing.  Ever since E3, I had always been hell-bent on acquiring a PS4 as soon as possible, but the more and more I hear about the XBO, the more intrigued I get.  The short version of this argument is that the PS4 is, essentially, a super-deluxe version of the consoles we currently have, but that the XBO is a machine from the future.  Of course, the Kinect is still a bit buggy, and the idea of constantly talking to my television is strange (especially during the hours when the baby is sleeping in the next room), but that’s stuff that can be fixed with software patches, and I expect that when that stuff is working the way it’s supposed to, it’s going to be very cool indeed.  If any of you have either or both of the new consoles, I’m very curious to hear your thoughts and impressions.

talkin’ next-gen blues

This is my mantra for the next few months:




I can, too, is the thing.  I have never bought a new console on launch day.  My Dreamcast was a birthday gift from a (now ex-) girlfriend; my purchase of an Xbox was almost a full year after it first came out; I bought a 360 via Craigslist about 2-3 months after it came out, so I suppose I was weak in that moment, but I didn’t get a PS3 until 2008, and at the time it was mostly being used as a Blu-Ray player.   And Wiis were impossible to find for the longest time, too; I think it took me at least 6-8 months to get one after it launched.

The point is: I’ve established a precedent when it comes to not buying a console on day one.

Furthermore, the launch lineups for both systems are, in my opinion, kinda weak – especially with Watch_Dogs getting pushed back.   Yes, Titanfall looks amazing, but I’ve never been much of an online-multiplayer-shooter dude, so it does nothing for me.  Yes, the next-gen versions of Assassin’s Creed 4 look impressive, but I can also play it on my PC.   (Side note: I think I’ve decided that I will play it after all.  *sigh*)

Let’s also not forget how gimped both the PS4 and the XboxOne are going to be out of the box; both systems will require rather sizable software patches out of the box, and those patches will most likely require patches of their own.

To be honest, the money I have saved for a next-gen console could just as easily be spent upgrading my PC graphics card; I’m already doing most of my gaming on the PC anyway, and even though my PC currently runs with an ancient nVidia card that still manages to pump out nice graphics, a newer card would make everything look a hell of a lot nicer.  (And now that I’ve successfully swapped out a busted hard drive for a new one, I feel a bit more comfortable swapping out a graphics card…. like that GeForce GTX 770….)

And I’ve still got a rather sizable backlog of current-gen games to get through…

…and I’m still not necessarily done with GTA V Online…







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