(Props to my buddy Greg for helping me find a temporary alternative to Random Ramblings.)
1. My future as a professional games journalist is, obviously, going nowhere. So I’m grateful that Patrick Klepek keeps saying what I’m thinking, and saying it much better than I can – in this case, about how The Witcher 3 has ruined Bethesda RPGs for us both. As he notes, I think the biggest reason why I couldn’t get into Fallout 4 – a game I’d been anticipating like crazy, a game I was so excited about I spent an extra $50 or whatever for the special Pip-Boy edition, which I’ve used exactly once – was because Witcher 3 raised the bar for open-world RPGs so incredibly high that FO4 was doomed to be a disappointment from the get-go. Fallout 4 doesn’t feel particularly different from Skyrim or Fallout 3 or anything – nor does it even look that different, for that matter – and it suffers for it, I think. I never felt the pull to just go in a random direction and explore the way I did in previous Bethesda games, and I think it’s because, for whatever reason, Fallout 4 felt particularly uninspired. The whole thing looks and feels very last-gen – which is not necessarily a bad thing, given how much I adore Fallout 3 and Oblivion – but I couldn’t help wanting something new and fresh. Bethesda owns iD, right? Shouldn’t it be able to use their graphics tech?
2. I am reminded, yet again, that I need to get back to Witcher 3 and finish Blood and Wine.
3. OK, so have I mentioned yet that Picross 3D – Round Two is one of my favorite games of the year? I have only two complaints, and neither of them are necessarily the game’s fault:
- I’m about 180 puzzles into it, and I’m playing on the hardest difficulty, and I’m usually able to finish every puzzle with 1 error at most. And that 1 error is, 99.9999% of the time, because I hit the wrong button, not because I made a mistake in deduction.
- The 3DS is murder on the wrists after more than 20 minutes, especially when lying down in bed.
Other than that, it’s easily in my top 3 for GOTY.
4. For the bulk of this current console generation, my platform of choice has been the PS4. As I’ve mentioned, however, I’ve been hoping to crack 100K on the ol’ Achievements by year’s end, and so I’ve been mostly playing Xbox One games of late. And I must say – while it’s true that multi-platform games look better on the PS4, I really like the Xbox One experience. For starters – the Elite controller is, bar none, the best controller I’ve ever used. The Xbox One’s interface is so much more enjoyable to navigate – sure, the store could use some work, and neither of the two consoles has quite figured out the ideal way to look at your cloud-stored games – but, by and large, I’ve really enjoyed using the Xbox One over the last few weeks.
Remind me of this paragraph when the PS4 Pro comes out in a few weeks, by the way. I don’t have an HDR-enabled 4K TV, nor do I have any inclination towards getting one at this particular moment in time, so there’s literally no reason why I should get the PS4 Pro beyond having a marginally better experience with PSVR (assuming that PSVR is worth picking up in the first place); and so if Microsoft’s upcoming Scorpio console is as amazing as they’re touting it to be, I kinda feel like that’s the upgrade I should continue saving for.
5. My 3-year-old has started being interested in games. And I’ve been struggling to figure out what to let him play that he could actually make sense of. I bought Minecraft: Xbox One edition because I figure that’s an inevitability, and he liked chopping down trees and such, though he can’t figure out the controls. So I’m opening up the floor here: are there any good games for 3-year-olds with super-simple control schemes, where he wouldn’t necessarily need my help in terms of moving around? Is 3 too young to expect that sort of thing? Do I have to buy a Nintendo console?