Guilty as Charged – What I didn’t play in 2009
As the first decade of the millennium draws to a close I’ve learned to accept a daunting fact of being a video game enthusiast and blogger: holy crap there are a lot of video games out there! Seriously, I don’t know how anyone could be tasked with playing, finishing, and reviewing every single game released between January 1st and December 30th. And seeing as established video game news organizations need to do that year after year, it is no wonder why so many people are needed to complete that seemingly insurmountable task. One thing that we all can be certain of: the number of games being released each year is climbing. And it’s not slowing down. As a lead in to our Best and Worst of 2009 podcast, I thought it would be good to talk about some of the games I missed this year, why I missed them, and whether or not I have any desire to take time out of next year’s busy schedule to try them out.
5. Demon’s Souls
The dark horse of this year’s Game of the Year awards, Atlus’ ‘hard on general principle’ role-playing-game has been beating the snot out of gamers everywhere since its release. And despite their better judgment, they’ve loved every minute of it. I, on the other hand, have been very, very reluctant. Sure, I trust my friends not to lead me astray; when they tell me something is “that good” I’m easily convinced it’s worth my time. But Demon’s Souls sounds like a game that would land me in the loony bin. “It gets harder the more you die? What game does that!?” Frankly, Demon’s Souls is not a game for the faint of heart or stomach. I just fear that I have passed the age where I have the patience or desire to beat a game that wants to beat me just as badly.
4. Forza 3
I think testing this game in the big racing simulator at E3 has spoiled me for life. Since that moment, I’ve dreaded picking up Forza 3 and being forced to play it with a plain old gamepad. However, this game is still one of my must haves, simply because of how much I loved the second game. I’m a Forza fanboy for life! I just have to convince myself I need it for $59 bucks…and that I won’t go right back out and by a wheel to play it with. That hasn’t happened yet.
3. Brutal Legend
I had a feeling early on that the Schafer team wasn’t totally being totally legit with us when it showed at E3. First off, no one ever said that Brutal Legend was going to be and out and out hack’n’slash. More importantly, no one expected the game to be a full out RTS (which it turned out not to be, either). But for it to end up being a game that did neither particularly well is Brutal Legend’s ultimate shortcoming. And that’s probably the main reason why it never ended up in my 360.
2. Modern Warfare 2
Talk about your 800 lb. gorillas. Modern Warfare 2 is ‘the’ game of the holiday season…for those who are into that sort of thing. For the rest of us, it’s a supremely overhyped game that has caused plenty of controversy for gamers on every console it’s being played on. I can’t deny that it’s the biggest game this year, nor will I deny that I want to play it. But Activision has made it clear that it does not believe in being on speaking terms with its customers. So I choose not to buy their game. Rent? Now that’s a whole other story.
1. Dragon Age: Origins
Now that I’ve cut the cord between WoW and my ever-lasting soul, I think I’m long overdue for a game that’s going to suck up whatever remaining free time I have left. But my desire to jump in whole hog is also the thing that’s preventing me from diving in: the time commitment. I left WoW because convincing myself that it was okay to sink 5-10 hours every other day into one game was pretty ridiculous. Such is the case with Dragon Age. We’re talking a 60-hour campaign with enough content to warrant at least two playthroughs. Who has that kind of time anymore?
While there are many other games that I could list (Fifa 10, Muramasa, L4D2), these games stand out as the ones I’m most likely to get to first. They are just caught in the horrible zone that all gamers are getting more and more accustomed to as we all get older: “the queue.” It’s just wrong to keep buying more and more games if the opportunity to play those games is getting smaller and smaller. While I’m sure I’ll get around to playing these games sometime in the new year, I have to be honest with myself: I can’t play everything anymore.