Note any die hard Ghosts fans (if they exist), this is a non functional disc and it’s use as a coaster is not indicative of my opinion of it. There is a story behind this and it gives you an excellent motivation to read the article!
The first thing you need to know about me is I’m terrible at completing games. Sadly, I’m not too hot at playing games either – I would class myself as an enthusiastic idiot. I play games for 5-10 hours and then I get distracted by the next new shiny release. I have a pile of shame large enough to reach the moon. I also like hyperbole. But then, at some point in the middle of the year I read a comment on a website (I’m 90% sure it was Kotaku) about how someone had started using howlongtobeat.com and they had made a large dent in their back catalogue. I decided it was time to change my ways.
My sense of shame over the piles and piles of never finished, shiny discs lying around (seriously I could probably do a ducktales and swim in them if I wasn’t scared of scratching them) compelled me to give it a shot. It didn’t hurt that my borderline OCD levels of neatness liked the idea of putting all my games into a database. I put everything in (a multi-day project in itself) and made some rules: I would play one console game and one handheld game at a time and I wasn’t allowed to move on until they were completed.
My rules were stupid and unmanageable. I got fed up within a week of just playing two games and had to revise them. My new rules were that I could play an action game, an FPS game, a RPG, a handheld game (later changed to two handheld games) and an online/ongoing game. I had determined this was enough to stop myself going stir crazy and aborting the whole experiment. This turned out to be pretty much spot on and I started relieving my conscious of the mountains of money spent on these games.
To my shock, when I checked my progress at the year’s end I found I had finished 33 games. 33 games! I would estimate that I had never finished more than 10 or so games in previous years. Now this was slightly inflated as I did use previous save games in some instances but I’m still pretty damn proud of myself.
After I had put the list together I started putting comments next to each one and then that kept going and going and before I knew it I had what looked like a blog post. I thought TAY would be the best place to post it. If any of you have a massive pile of shame I can’t recommend howlongtobeat.com enough
Anyways enough talk of methods, onto the games!
Note this is in alphabetical order since I stupidly didn’t track when I completed them.
Assassin’s Creed Black Flag
Come for the pirates stay for the borderline nonsensical Assassin plot
I bought this at the launch of the PS4 and had a merry pirate adventure doing absolutely everything but the main quest, I spent a good forty hours in the game, just treasure hunting and fighting other ships. I then went into the main story and ran through that as quickly as possible before getting stuck on the last mission. There was a platforming bit that I failed about ten times or so in a row and frustration with the jump coupled with the long load times after each failure made me stop playing the game for around three and a half years. I picked it back up after Origins was announced and my interest in the series was peaked once more. I did the jump first time, go figure…
Assassin’s Creed Unity
Like all the other Assassins Creeds, but much prettier with half the features
After my embarrassing failure with Black Flag I didn’t bother with the series after that and the negative reaction to Unity made me feel a bit vindicated by this. After I finished Black Flag I picked this up off eBay for about £5 and prepared myself for the worst...
I absolutely loved it.
This came down to a few factors, firstly, I hadn’t played an Assassin’s Creed game in three and a half years and I’m a sucker for their kind of gameplay. At this point in the game’s life Ubisoft had patched out all the major problems (I didn’t run into any bugs or major slowdown while playing this) and I paid less than a fiver for it and got all the DLC for free. I enjoyed the story, the many side quests (especially the detective ones) and, while Arno isn’t by any means the best Assassin we’ve had he is far better than Connor. At this point in it’s life I would recommend Unity to an Assassin’s Creed fan with the caveats above.
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate
Fan requested for years – do you forgive us for Unity yet?
I gave myself a few months before starting Syndicate but found myself enjoying it more than Unity. This was mainly down to the setting (being British I very much enjoyed roaming through Victorian London) but also because of Evie. Evie is by far the best Assassin we’ve had since Ezio and I played as her as much as possible, even switching my gameplay style more to stealth to better suit her strengths. On the other hand, Jacob annoyed me no end and having half of Evie’s storyline being clearing up Jacob’s messes became very wearing by the end.
Batman Arkham Asylum
Batman meets Metroidvania
This was my second run through of the game – I bought and finished the main story at launch but never went for all the Riddler trophies. I replayed it on PS4 and had a fantastic time collecting everything (beside from the requirement to destroy all 100 something Joker Teeth throughout the mansion, that got tiresome super quickly).
Batman Arkham City
You liked Arkham Asylum? NOW IT’S OPEN WORLD
Everything I said for Arkham Asylum applies to this one, I originally finished the story at launch and replayed it on PS4 to get all the collectibles. Rocksteady definitely went a bit over the top with the collectibles in this one and overall I prefer the focus of Asylum, but this is still a fantastic game.
Batman Arkham VR
Finally you can actually BE Batman and finally realise that you could NEVER actually be Batman...
You thought that you could be the Batman in the other Arkham games?
This was my main reason for getting a VR headset. I could finally be Batman! I spent a good 20 minutes staring at myself in the virtual mirror after putting on the cowl making him do a dance then just tilting my head. It was all downhill from there sadly, as I now know definitively that I could never be Batman due to my being a big, fat coward at heart. For the record, I have never been scared in any of the other Batman Arkham games but this one freaked me out so much. Trying to free someone from a cage in the sewers while you know Killer Croc can jump out of the water at any point was one of my most stressful moments of the year, and walking through Arkham Asylum and opening the slats in doors to see who was in each room almost made me quit the game. As I previously said, in my heart of hearts I know I can’t be Batman. It isn’t the money or the martial arts training or the intelligence required, it’s just down to me being an enormous coward.
Batman: The Telltale Series
Just like Walking Dead, but with Batman!
I finished the first three episodes of this last year and then for numerous personal reasons didn’t get round to playing the last two until April. I enjoyed this take on the Batman mythos, I’ve read enough Batman comics to be intrigued when they are played with and subverted. I am also enjoying the second season of this, which isn’t on this list as the final two episodes are yet to be released.
Call of Duty Ghosts
This game doesn’t really deserve a funny summary, just think of your standard COD
I have bought this game three times and I don’t even like it that much. The first time was from CEX after my brother informed me that he had sold his copy and I couldn’t borrow it again. I went to play it about a month after I bought it and found that they had given me an Advanced Warfare disc instead, which I already owned. My second time buying it was on eBay and everything looked good, I checked the disc was correct and I verified that it worked in the console, I went back to play it after a few months and it was no longer recognised, after inspecting the disc I saw that there was a big discoloured section on it. My current working theory is that the previous owner had dropped it and it started delaminating slowly over time. This version is now my favourite coaster. Third time was indeed the charm! Except it was an American copy and apparently my British save game wasn’t good enough for it. After starting again I had a fairly good time with the campaign, I have a funny relationship with Call of Duty games, I buy them for the single player and don’t touch the multiplayer and because of this I buy them second hand and try to get them for under £10. The campaign was your standard Call of Duty and I found the end cliffhanger magnificently funny playing it now four years after release and knowing it will never be resolved.
Call of Duty Advanced Warfare
COD + Academy Award winning actor = Bland
The allegations against Kevin Spacey have retrospectively raised him as the villain in this game. When I played this over the summer he was just a standard evil businessman but you can now see previously hidden (and almost certainly non-existent) nuance. Other than that it was just exactly as I expected, big action moments and a fairly dumb plot.
Just like Phoenix Wright, except if you lose the trials you die and you are in high school and you get to build relationships with other people. On second thought, only moderately like Phoenix Wright.
The most surprising game of the year for me, I won’t spoil it but I thought there couldn’t be anything in it as shocking as the twists in the first or second ones but I was very wrong. I’m not sure where this series goes from here but if you like visual novels you need to play this game.
Deus Ex Human Revolutions
Conspiracies! Transhumanism! Crawling through vents and reading people’s emails!
The original Deus Ex is in my top five games of all time and when this was announced I could not be more hyped. I followed along with it from 2007 and probably watched that trailer a good 50 or so times. I then got it in August 2011 and promptly got to Shanghai then stopped playing. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there is something just slightly off about this compared to the original. It may purely be down to my age as I played the original as a 12 year old and remember my mind being blown when I worked out that I could sneak around and find passwords to bypass fights. I used to replay the original every year at Christmas so I know it very well and Human Revolutions, while a very good game, is just not quite at the same level as the original.
Dishonoured (I am aware this is a misspelling of the title but I am British and need the u to be there)
Victorian-esque, immersive sim with morality choices
I originally bought this in 2011 and got halfway through the first proper mission before stopping. As you can see, this is a recurring theme with me. I finally picked it up again this summer and blazed through, finishing a low chaos no kills run, a high chaos slaughterfest run and a low chaos DLC run (I was feeling a bit burnt out at this point so forwent a high chaos run). The main game was marvellous and felt more like Deus Ex to me than Human Revolutions.
Dictionary definition for violence
I was so excited before I played this over the summer as the word was it was a return to the original style of Doom and then I played it. I got about halfway through the second level before stopping, it just didn’t feel right. The combat wasn’t satisfying and I was constantly worried about my ammo. I came back a month later and finished the second level and from the third one onwards it started to click, I got more weapons, increased my ammo capacity and started to get into the groove. What tipped me over the edge is the super shotgun, if you haven’t played Doom then the super shotgun is the best weapon by far and when you have unlocked the double trouble perk then it is just stupidly overpowered. I went from a mix of the rocket launcher, machine gun and shotgun to only switching from the super shotgun for range or when I had run out of shells, that gun made the game for me. After finishing the campaign, I went back to replay levels and find secrets but it just wasn’t the same as the first time through and I stopped fairly quickly. I reckon that this will be an amazing second replay in a year or so.
You know the Elder Scrolls? Just like that but with guns!
I finished the main quest of this on PC in 2008 but never got round to the DLC, I picked up the GOTY edition on Xbox 360 and quickly ran through the main story and most of the DLC in winter last year, I just had point lookout to finish up. I was a bit sick of Fallout 3 by the time I got round to point lookout and I didn’t really enjoy it as it was an obligation at this point. It doesn’t help that I view Bethesda’s Fallout game as a weaker sibling to the Elder Scrolls (I am a sucker for Fantasy).
Far Cry 3
Open world tropical island hunting simulator. Did I ever tell you the definition of insanity?
This was another game that I had completed most of previously and just had the last few missions to do. I wasn’t interested in the game pre launch, I had been badly burnt with Far Cry 2, which I really disliked for reasons I can’t properly articulate. I have a theory about Ubisoft that their open world games only get good in the sequel (I maintain Far Cry 3 is the first sequel since the original Far Cry was a Crysis developed game) and this was a fantastic pre-Christmas surprise in 2013.
Like in Assassins Creed Black Flag I just spent hours wandering the island doing random tasks trying to put off the end of it as long as possible. I then left it on my PC playing a few hours here and there over the years before I started my quest to reduce my game backlog over the summer and this was at the top of my list. It turns out I had been two missions from finishing it since 2015. Great game and one I will probably be revisiting for years.
Firewatch (Spoiler Warning)
Suspenseful walking simulator, I originally tried writing a description in the style of Hey there Delilah, you are very welcome for me deleting it.
I played this through in one sitting and found myself disappointed at the ending at first. Going in after watching the trailers I was expecting some massive conspiracy type thing to occur and when everything turned out to have a very mundane explanation, I felt cheated. After thinking this over I felt it was the best way they could have gone with it since any ending that involved supernatural or some shadowy government entity would have felt hollow, like the ending to Lost. I also liked the way they handled the relationship with Delilah. I was fully expecting to meet her at the end, so when she’s not there I thought back to every interaction with her and started questioning her motives especially when it came to Brian and his dad. It also didn’t hurt that it was an absolutely gorgeous game especially at 4K.
This post has run much longer than I expected so I have split it into 2 parts. Look out for the second part tomorrow.