RPG

Conquered Games of 2014

Video Game Accomplishments via MRWGifs

Backlog, I hate the word. I choose not to put any of my games in that list. Instead, each individual game I conquer goes into a cleaner, better list. A list that shows the date and name of each game I beat. I started this list back in 2013 and will continue to make a list each year. The reason why I love this list is because it shows my gaming habits and brings back memories of games that I might have forgotten. One thing worries me each time I look at this list: it looks like I game less and less each year. Am I losing interest in video games? Do I focus too heavily on certain video games? Maybe, just maybe, my life is becoming more important than video games?

Stacks on Stacks of Games by Pioneer Project

Enough speculation; here is my list:

January

  • 01/01/14 – Dead Rising 3*
  • 01/02/14 – Dead Rising 3 Overtime Mode
  • 01/10/14 – Papers, Please (2 different endings)
  • 01/14/14 – Need for Speed Rivals (Racer mode)*
  • 01/19/14 – Rogue Legacy*

February

  • 02/07/14 – To The Moon
  • 02/08/14 – Do You Remember My Lullaby (interactive movie/game from the “To The Moon” creator)
  • 02/15/14 – Poker Night 2 (Tournament’s Won = 1)

March

  • 03/18/14 – Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes

April

  • 04/11/14 – Cool Pizza
  • 04/20/14 – Rayman: Jungle Run (100%)*
  • 04/22/14 – Trials: Fusion

May

  • 05/03/14 – Metroid: Fusion (3:47 with 46%)
  • 05/26/14 – Super Time Force

June

  • 06/06/14 – Mario Kart 8 (50cc)
  • 06/14/14 – Mario Kart 8 (100cc)
  • 06/14/14 – Wolfenstein: A New Order
  • 06/27/14 – New Super Mario Bros. U

July

  • 07/04/14 – 140
  • 07/04/14 – Shovel Knight
  • 07/13/14 – Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag

August

  • 08/03/14 – Final Fantasy X
  • 08/03/14 – Final Fantasy X Eternal Calm (interactive movie/game)
  • 08/24/14 – The Banner Saga
  • 08/30/14 – Finding Teddy

September

  • 09/01/14 – Invisible, Inc. (Early Access)
  • 09/21/14 – Kingdom Rush*
  • 09/21/14 – 10000000*

November

  • 11/28/14 – Kalimba (Beta)

Please Note: The games with a * were started in 2013.

Conquering 29 games is pretty successful, especially when you consider three time-consuming games I did not put on this list: Titanfall, Destiny, and Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U.

Titanfall’s Shot Put via Reddit

Titans Can’t Fall

Titanfall is a game that is meant to be played online. The story is insignificant and, possibly, pointless. If you wanted to beat the “story mode,” you had to join matches in progress and hope to play two different sides of the story. I did complete both factions, but the game does not end there. I do not want my story for a shooter to consist of playing online matches. The only way I would consider Titanfall fully “complete,” is by completing 100% of the achievements (which is nearly impossible). The only achievement that is next to impossible is “I Killed Them All” achievement.

The “I Killed Them All” achievement consists of killing all the enemy pilots during the evacuation phase, single-handedly. That means when your team wins, the losing team has a chance to escape by boarding an evacuation ship. First of all, if you are on the winning team, there is a good chance that your team members will attack and kill any enemy pilots who are making their way to the ship. If, somehow, all the pilots get inside the ship without being killed by your team members, you must be the one to destroy the ship before it departs. However, since everyone will be shooting at the ship, it is nearly impossible to be the one that gets the final shot off. This achievement is nearly impossible, and I know I will never achieve it with the diminished number of people who play now.

The Never Ending Game via TFJ

Destiny’s “Endgame”

Destiny never ends. I have completed all of the story missions (including the new Dark Below expansion), but that does not feel like I beat the game. I almost wanted to consider beating the raids on their hardest difficulty was “beating the game,” but I just cannot do that. I continue playing the raids over and over again to get better gear or upgrade my current gear. It never stops and it almost seems pointless at times.  It feels as if there is no ending to this game since there are continuous updates, expansions, and possibly hundreds of hours of gameplay.

Sleeping Soundly via Mii Gamer

Super S-“Meh” Bros.

Surprisingly, the newest Smash Bros. is not all it is cracked up to be. I love the game, it is polished and well balanced, but something is missing from my experience. The main reason it feels “meh” to me is because my friends have lives of their own and cannot usually come over to play this party game, so I have no one to look at my awesome kills, swift dodging or bat-swinging madness. Playing this party game solo is not quite as thrilling as it is with a group of friends, but I have beaten the single-player mode with seven or so characters, and I own two amiibos (Little Mac and Fox). It is a fun game to pick-up and play, but only for a few minutes. I have not tried to play online much since it is not the same as having the person next to you and talking trash. Players can complete this entire game by either collecting all of the trophies or unlocking every challenge. Since this can take nearly 120 hours to complete, and since I have lost motivation to play, there should be no surprise as to why I haven’t been able to add Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U to my list.

Conclusions

I have no idea where I will end up this year with video games. I beat two games already this year, but continue to play Destiny more than ever. I want to work on all the games I received during Christmas and try to get away from Destiny. I do not believe I am losing too much interest in video games, I just have other priorities that are more important. Video games are not a lifestyle, it is a hobby. I would rather look at my accomplishments in video games, and be impressed rather than force myself to play every video game on the planet. Luckily, I have tons of video games that I am looking forward to playing in 2015.

Scott Pilgrim Always Continues via The AWL

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Another Year, Another Game

The Very Best via shawnblanc

2014 is over. There is only one way to start off 2015, and that is with my Game of the Year (GOTY). My GOTY is not an easy choice to make. I believe my GOTY will surprise many, and video game websites and magazines will probably not even give my game a mention. Instead of picking one game to talk about, I picked three. All three of the games on my list were very close, but there can be only one.

Shovel Knight

Shovel Knight Camping Out by Yacht Club

The moment I saw Shovel Knight in 2013, I knew this game would be great. Shovel Knight is no ordinary game, it is the Kickstarter game. I was one of the early backers before every gaming website and editorial wrote about it. When the media basically made it a must-have in 2013, everything changed. The Kickstarter page blew up with more goals, promises, and backers than anyone could have imagined. Shovel Knight’s Kickstarter goal was only $75,000, but it raised over $310,000 instead. That is an incredible feat.

I backed Shovel Knight on April 13, 2013. The game was set to release in September 2013, but with more and more support, new stretch goals appeared. In their fourth update, stretch goals introduced achievements, new music, genderswap, battle mode and much more. While the new additions sounded nice, it only meant that the game would most likely not release on time. At first, I was a little upset since I am impatient when it comes to video games, but once Shovel Knight released on June 26, 2014, my entire view of on the game changed.

Shovel Knight Stretch Goals via Kickstarter

I remember the first level like it was yesterday. The game looked flawless and everything felt right. The controls were spot on with simple to use jumping mechanics (inspired from the greatness of Scrooge McDuck from DuckTales) and the simplicity of its attack/spells system (heavily inspired from Castlevania and even Zelda II). The puzzles were not mind numbingly hard, the characters/villains were all hilarious, and the music was phenomenal. Without a doubt, Shovel Knight was better than most platformers I have played in recent years. The worst part about Shovel Knight was the ending; only because I did not want this game to ever end.

Comedy At Its Best by IGN

Shovel Knight will go down to be one of my favorite Indie Games of all time. If you have not played it for yourself, what are you doing reading this? Go play Shovel Knight, right now!

Destiny

Squat Like A Guardian via Verge

If you have been reading my blog, you noticed the large number of Destiny articles. Yes, the game is very addicting and I am still going to write about it. However, it is not my GOTY.

Instead of stating reasons why this game should/could be my GOTY, I would rather make a list of concerns.

  1. My total play time is currently 334 hours.
  2. I am stuck at level 31 since I do not have enough Radiant Shards (a new currency which came out with the new Dark Below expansion).
  3. I have three different characters.
  4. I play at least 1 to 2 hours a day.
  5. Changing the volume in the game’s option menu is impossible.
  6. I lose heavy ammo when I die, everytime.
  7. The Iron Banner is not a constant thing.
  8. I have lost a lot of interest in Player vs. Player (PvP).
  9. Random Number Generators (RNG) is the worst.
  10. The story is hidden in the grimoire cards.

Y U DO THIS via Troll.Me

Again, these are just concerns, not complaints. I want to state one thing though: the Destiny Raid’s are the absolute best part about Destiny. It would make too much sense to put Destiny as my GOTY with all the time I spend with it, but it did not change anything. It is a Massive Multiplayer Online (MMO) game with lots of potential. I believe future installments in the Destiny world could change my opinion about the game, but it is not my GOTY.

Titanfall

Titanfall = GOTY via WCCF

I bet you did not see that coming. Titanfall is my GOTY. After talking to myself on numerous occasions, I picked this game because it reminded me of how good PvP can be. I do not care that Titanfall has no story (it was there, somewhere), I do not care that I always had to be online, and I do not care what people say about my decision. This game was the multiplayer experience I have been waiting for after all these years.

It is worth noting that my favorite multiplayer experiences are from Call of Duty 4 and Gears of War. Both of these games showed me what PvP was all about. I found many of my current friends online with these two games. I have never played anything remotely close to these two games that resembled an excellent multiplayer experience, until Titanfall came along.

Titanfall was a breath of fresh air (or exhaust from the Titans). It gave me the first-person shooting (FPS) aspect I like with Mirror’s Edge mixed in; the wall-running and platform climbing changed everything. Titanfall is a fast-paced game with mechs thrown in for fun. The maps are are easy to remember and strategic on their own with numerous game type. A huge plus was that I played/met tons of great people because of this game.

I do not play Titanfall much anymore, but overall, it was a phenomenal trip (all 107 hours of it). This game gave me hope that PvP can change, and will change with time. Call of Duty: Advance Warfare and the next Halo game took a page out of Titanfall with their increasing speeds and unique futuristic equipment. The FPS experience is changing for the better.

Even though the community may be dead for Titanfall, I know I can still go back with a group of friends and have fun. The updates they provided are some of the best in the industry. We have seen tons of new game modes, new and improved burn cards (these give your character boosts with their equipment, Titans or extra experience), and even emblems.  I am very surprised by how far Titanfall has came and will continue to watch it close; I am definitely looking forward to the next Titanfall.

Conclusion

I use the term “Game of the Year” cautiously and believe my opinions are probably not ideal. I am not handing this prestigious award to just any game, but I hope that Titanfall can/will change the FPS experience. I would be surprised if someone agrees that Titanfall is the GOTY, since there are so many strong games that came out this year. I have yet to play Far Cry 4, Shadow of Mordor and other indie titles, but will eventually. My opinion could change down the road, but I hope we all can agree that 2014 was one of the best years for video game enthusiasts everywhere.

Unrealistic Racing Games Are The Best

Burnout Paradise via Analog Addiction

The racing game genre has never sat well with me. Every year, I wish for a racing game that will stretch my imagination and let me create my own high-adrenaline experiences. I am not a fan of realistic racing games, so it is hard for me to find the perfect game in this mediocre genre. I never get an adrenaline rush whenever I play a realistic racing game. Instead, it feels like I am driving in circles with no extra value tacked on. I may be able to side swipe a car or T-bone them, but it still does not live up to the unrealistic racing games I truly love.

There are three upcoming racing games that stand out from the rest: Mario Kart 8, Burnout, and Need for Speed Rivals. The game qualities that stand out compared to series like Forza and Gran Turismo include the more unrealistic speeds, crashes and nostalgic value, all of which persuade me to buy Mario Kart 8 or Need for Speed Rivals as my next racing game.

It’s-A Me, Mario!

Super Mario Kart via Nintendo UK

My very first racing game was Super Mario Kart; that game was incredible. To this day, it is still my favorite Mario Kart game in its long-running series. My racer of choice was always Yoshi. I have no idea why, but I always felt like he went faster than the other racers. The game had 3 cups to race in, the Mushroom, Flower and Star, with an unlockable cup called the Special cup. With each cup came three different speeds, 50cc, 100cc and 150cc. To give you an idea of what each speed is like, think of 50cc as your average turtle Olympics, while 150cc is a speed that could technically break your neck in real life. Also, the fact that different items and weapons could be used in this game made it even better. I remember perfectly when I threw red and green shells at racers to throw them off the track, which always turned the entire race around. Even more satisfying for me was when I used the mushroom item, which acts like a speed boost, right at the end of the race so I could move up to first place instead of second. This game entertained me for possibly hundreds of hours over the years I played it.

Normally, I raced on 50cc or 100cc, but I remember trying to do 150cc. Never in my life have I so badly wanted to throw my controller through my television, all because of the Ghost Valley 2 race track. At 100cc, I usually fell off that track every 5 seconds. Not only is the track pitch black with a rickety bridge, but the blocks on the side of the bridge that prevented racers from falling into oblivion would disappear after hitting them once. I do not want to think about the outcome of a race on this track at 150cc. I remember yelling at my television because Donkey Kong or Mario would give me a little tap, and I go flying off the bridge. The reason I got frustrated with Super Mario Kart is because I wanted to be the best. As Ricky Bobby would say, “If you’re not first, you’re last.”

Ghost Valley 2 Track by Adam Redsell

Besides my few frustrations with Super Mario Kart, I had a lot of fun. The best times to play was when a friend would come over, and we would race against each other all day. The other racers, played by the computer, could not talk trash to me, so having a friend sitting next to me, laughing and yelling, made the experience much more satisfying. The next game in the Mario Kart Series, Mario Kart 64, had many of the same experiences as its predecessor. Both of these games were solid racing games that always held my attention. After Mario Kart 64, I quit. I was onto other types of games and my GameCube would gather mostly dust during the time new Mario Kart games were released. Since I bought the Wii U, I decided to give the franchise another try with Mario Kart 8.

Mario Kart 8 via Giant Bomb

Mario Kart 8 is one of the best racing games I have ever played. It feels and acts like its predecessors, it reuses many of their popular race tracks, and it gives me the same enjoyment that Super Mario Kart and Mario Kart 64 gave me. The Mario Kart series has come a long way by adding more vehicle customization and newer items that make Mario Kart 8 more strategic than ever.

For example, one of the new items in Mario Kart 8 is the Super Horn. This horn emits a giant shockwave around the racer that defuses any item that might damage or slow down the player. It is super effective against red, green and blue shells, which can alter the race entirely. The shells are some of the most deadly items in Mario Kart 8 since they can make racers suddenly stop for a brief moment or even knock racers off the track if timed right. Whenever I get one of these horns, I try to save it until the very end of the race. At that time, many racers start getting items that could easily knock me out of first place. Holding onto this weapon is a key strategy that many Mario Kart enthusiasts use today.

Mario Kart 8 looks beautiful on the Wii U. I normally race on the gamepad, but I am truly in awe every time I use my television. The racing is always smoother, playing online brings new challenges, and seeing race tracks from old versions of the game updated in this game reminds me of the great experiences I had with Super Mario Kart and Mario Kart 64. Below are a couple of videos I recorded from my racing experiences:

All I Do Is Crash

While I believe Mario Kart 8 is one of the best racing games on the market, my all-time favorite racing game is Burnout. This racing game felt like the first of its kind. In 2001 and 2002, Burnout was released on the GameCube, Xbox and PS2. I remember the first time I played it all those years ago. I was at Blockbuster and saw tons of advertisements for the video game. The media kept showing how beautiful crashing could look, so I was intrigued and gave it a try. After bringing it home, I played non-stop. I wanted to be the best at this game and I have not felt this way about a racing game since the Mario Kart franchise.

Banned Burnout Ad via cactusbones

Insanely high speeds and the spectacular crashes were two things that made this game different from other racing games. The high speeds made realistic racing games look like Driving Miss Daisy and the crashing mechanics created slow motion Matrix-style movie theatrics. Burnout was oddly addicting, but hard to master.

The main gameplay revolved around the Championship mode. It involved a selection of events with a few races, and the level of difficulty would rise after each event. Once the racers completed certain events, they could do something called a “Face Off.” These were challenges that would unlock new cars if the racer beat its competition. Burnout never focused on brand named cars. The only types of vehicles used were small compact cars, sedans, pickups and muscle cars. Each vehicle drove differently, but the controls felt extremely accurate compared to other racing games.

Burnout received a great consumer response, but the series itself peaked when Burnout 3: Takedown came out for the PS2 and Xbox. After playing the past Burnout games, I knew I should buy this one instead of renting it. Burnout 3 played very similar to its predecessors, but it included one new feature that would change the entire series, a feature that was cleverly hidden in the title: takedowns.

An Easy Takedown via Moviefan Central

Takedowns happened when racers knocked out the competition. This new gameplay mechanic made crashing even more reliable and involved some strategy. If a couple cars were behind me, I would slow down to rear-end them into medium or oncoming traffic. This new mechanic also brought a new game mode called Road Rage. During Road Rage, racers had to takedown as many vehicles as possible in the allotted time to get a certain medal. I remember playing this mode for hours and hours. Each Road Rage event had a number of takedowns I had to reach to get a bronze, silver or gold medal. I would usually takedown at least 5 extra vehicles over the requirement for a gold medal. This was also the first Burnout game I introduced to my friends since it had head-to-head racing and Road Rage, so my friends and I would usually go back and forth trying to kill each other. This game is easy to play, but hard to master. This reason, coupled with the multiplayer modes, helped us bond through video games when many of my friends were not hardcore gamers like myself.

I Feel the Need for Speed

Years have passed since the last real Burnout game in 2008. Burnout Paradise released in 2009. It was fun, but it never felt like the original that I truly loved. In the meantime, I had to look elsewhere, but I was skeptical about the Need for Speed series since their previous games looked too realistic for me. Since I purchased the Xbox One, I wanted to try as many new games as possible. I decided to give Need for Speed Rivals a try; that was one of my best gaming decisions since purchasing my new console.

Need for Speed Rivals via Video Games Blogger

Note: I recently wrote about Need for Speed Rivals on Polygon. I have lifted much of the text from there to help me write this section. If you would like to read my past writing, please click here.

Need for Speed Rivals is no ordinary racing game, just like Burnout and Mario Kart. Forza 5 came out around the same time, so Rivals had some competition upon its release. Both racing games featured breathtaking graphics, new features, and unique driving mechanics, but one thing made me favor Rivals over Forza 5: unrealism. As I stated at the beginning, I hate realistic racing games. Forza 5 was too real for me, and did not involve high speed crashes like the Burnout series. Undoubtedly, Rivals was Burnout with a fresh coat of paint (pun intended).

Rivals had beautiful cars that felt great when handling them on the road. The entire game was open world, so driving anywhere at any time was welcoming, but I was always wary of the police. This game was meant to be played online at all times, since the police and other racers on the road could be real people. It made for an interesting concept, but I would have liked to have individual modes for me to play without interference from other players, like in the old Burnout games.

Every vehicle in Rivals handled perfectly during any weather situation. Drifting felt tight more sensitive compared to the Burnout series but was easy to maneuver with practice. Plus, the further I upgraded my vehicle, the more powerful I became on the road. Rivals had a little Role-Playing game in it since upgrading vehicles was important. I could be driving faster, use new power-ups to fend off police, or use boost for longer periods of time. Not only that, but I was able to upgrade my cars durability to take more damage, maneuvering and strength so I could total police vehicles much easier. However, the one thing I hated and loved at the same time was crashing.

 

Crash in NFS Rivals via Dual Shockers

The crashes were great, but still nothing compared to the Burnout series. It was fun driving reckless, but if I hit an onlooker at 70 mph with the police on my tail, there was a good chance my car is about to be totaled. If the car takes too much damage, it could mean losing the points accumulated by driving recklessly or completing events which, in turn, means no upgrades or new vehicles. Every second lost, turn taken, and point made mattered in this game.

Here is video that shows off power-ups from the game. Racers could use an Electrostatic Field that could immobilize anyone hitting the car, an EMP blast that had to lock onto cars and delivered a pulse that shuts down their car, a Jammer that hides cars from the map, and the reliable Turbo that boosts cars to unbelievable speeds.

Conclusion

I recommend Rivals to anyone wanting a new Burnout game. There is a story mode that is very forgettable, but the gameplay will keep on giving, just like Burnout games always did for me. I also recommend Mario Kart 8. This game plays like Super Mario Kart and Mario Kart 64 more than any of the other game in the series by reaching back to its roots and creating memorable moments.

The main reason I play racing games is to experience something wildly unrealistic and beyond belief. I will most likely stick to these types of racing games because I know I will never be able to do anything from those games in real life. The more power ups, speed, and crashing, the more chance I will love the racing game. Maybe someday I will give realistic racing games a try, but for now, I want to live in racing world where recklessness is my middle name.

Time Is Money

Wario with Money while Ben Franklin sits idly by, from Minutebuzz

“Time is money.” Benjamin Franklin used this phrase in Advice to a Young Tradesman, Written by an Old One. This phrase rings true for everyone with or without jobs. People who work full- and part-time positions truly know the meaning of this phrase. No matter our hourly wage, we are doing one thing: using our valuable time to earn money. However, this phrase can also relate to video games purchases. It sounds improbable, but our time spent playing a video game is worth a significant part of our money. I want to show everyone how it is possible to budget video games with my equation: “Playtime is Money.”

The Equation

Purchase Price ÷ Hours of Game Content = Hourly Cost of Game

When you purchase a video game, do you ever think about how many hours of playtime you accumulate? For example, one of your favorite video games comes out and you purchase it the day it is released. The video game is priced at $60. You realize that it is within your budget and decide to purchase it. But, if you play your favorite video game for only 4 hours, was it worth it? In reality, you spent $15 per hour of playtime which sounds like you wasted a lot of your money for no playtime.

If you are wondering where all of the hours compiled for each video game come from, you can visit HowLongToBeat.com to search for the average playtime for all of your favorite games.

How It Work by HowLongToBeat.com

How It Work by HowLongToBeat.com

What if you knew the game was only 4 hours, would you have rented it instead? There are many questions that warrant you to either buy a video game or rent one. In some cases, it may be more fiscally responsible to rent a video game, but your options are limited. There are only a few renters currently, which include Gamefly and Redbox. Instead of buying a $60 video game, you could use a subscription service like Gamefly and spend $16 a month and save $44 with how much time you spent playing your favorite video game in the scenario above. You need to know that not every video game warrants a purchase. I want to break down a few different types of video games to show you how to estimate a fair price for a video game.

Action/Adventure

The Action/Adventure video game genre is very popular today. You may find that the story in these games are unpredictable when it pertains to how many hours it takes to beat one. However, many Action/Adventure video games encourage you to explore and collect an absurd amount of items that can greatly extend your playtime.

For example, The Legend of Zelda for the NES takes roughly 10 hours to complete. It is currently $5 on the Wii U eShop. If you were to play the game for 10 hours, you are paying $0.50 per hour of playtime. That is a great deal for this classic game. How about The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time? Ocarina of Time is priced at $10 on the Wii U and roughly $35 on the 3DS. Both games take around 30 hours to beat, but the difference in price is substantial. Would you rather spend $0.34 an hour for the Wii U version or $1.17 an hour for the 3DS version?

The Legend of Zelda Series by CT

Another video game we can  look at is the new Tomb Raider that was released for all platforms. The main game plus side missions takes roughly 15 hours to complete. If you want to do everything in this game, like find the collectibles and complete every side mission, then it can take nearly 20 hours. The PC version of Tomb Raider goes on sale all the time and is currently $7.50. The main game plus side missions would cost you $0.50 per hour while completing every task would cost you $0.38 per hour of playtime. Those are incredible deals when you look at it from the perspective of the “Playtime is Money” equation.

The last game under Action/Adventure video games that we should examine is Watch Dogs. Currently, the game costs around $50 for both the PS4 and Xbox One. Watch Dogs can take around 18 hours to complete without touching any of the side quests. However, if you played the main game and completed the side quests, it could take up to 32 hours to complete. For only the main game, you are spending $2.78 per hour while doing many of the side missions will cost you $1.56. This game leans more toward renting for me since I am not into free-roaming worlds as massive as this.

First-Person Shooters

The next type of video game, and personally one of my favorites, is the First-Person Shooter (FPS). Many of the single-player campaigns in FPS video games feel like blatant copies of each other with different stories painted over them; your missions is this, you must accept, go kill this person/alien/terrorist/zombie/gangster/Nazi, now escape, rinse and repeat. I realize some people enjoy playing the single-player campaign more than the online multiplayer, but I am not one of them. The “Playtime is Money” equation can illuminate a massive difference in the worth of a game if you only play the single-player campaign compared to someone playing the virtually endless competitive multiplayer.

The first game I want to review is Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. This was one of the last FPS video games that had a decent story. I believe this game helped start a trend of online competitive multiplayer video games that others have copied extensively (as well as copy itself with Call of Duty games releasing every year). Players could finish the single-player campaign in 7 hours. If you were to buy this game at launch, it would have cost you $60 which would set you back $8.57 per hour on gameplay; that sounds like a rentable title to me. However, this video game’s competitive multiplayer was very addicting, and many players put hundreds of hours into it. On average, some players played 30 hours online while other went upwards to 100 hours. Based on those numbers, if you put at least 37 hours into the game, it cost you $1.62 per hour of playtime while 100 hours cost you $0.60. I know I had over 100 hours in multiplayer alone, so this game was well worth the purchase.

Call of Duty 4 Sniper by Coolchaser

Titanfall is a new, online-only multiplayer game for the PC, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. If you do your research, you can buy this game for $40. Amazon has it listed for $39.96 and Xbox Gold digital deals had it listed for $39.99 last week. I have put over 80 hours into this game and I bought Titanfall for $60. In other words, I spent $1.34 per hour of playtime which has been worth every penny. I continue playing this game and will most likely not stop until the next big FPS video game comes out.

Role-Playing Games

Finally, the last type of video game that deserves mentioning is the infamous Role-Playing Game (RPG). RPGs are relentlessly long. They need to focus on their story and most of the gameplay takes time to master. Another reason for their length is that, oftentimes, there are RPGs that demand that you grind through character levels and go on ridiculous quests, while some have mini-games thrown in so you can earn special items and awards.

The first RPG I want to dive into is one of my favorites of all time, Final Fantasy VII. This game is massive and since the turn-based combat takes time, the game lasts for hours on end. The main story will take you roughly 39 to 40 hours to complete, but if you want to complete the entire game 100%, it could take upwards to nearly 100 hours. At the time of its release (1997), the game was around $40. If you bought the game at this price, completing only the main story would cost you around $1 per hour of playtime, while completing all the content it has to offer would cost you $0.40. In my opinion, this game is worth the expensive purchase. Luckily, you can go buy it on Steam for $12 or even less when they have it on sale.

The next RPG that deserves a mention is the entire Mass Effect franchise. There are three games within this expansive franchise. Each game was longer than the last and, in my opinion, better. The entire Mass Effect franchise can take you nearly 65 hours to beat. The good thing about these games were the side missions and multiplayer mode in Mass Effect 3 which could extend the playtime. If each game cost $60, you would shell out $180 for an entire franchise. Without the extra content, this franchise would cost you around $2.77 per hour of playtime. That seems like a reasonable deal to me.

Mass Effect Trilogy by The Classic Gamer

Rent or Buy?

There are tons of games out there that would be worth renting, especially with the newer generation of games. For example, the main story for Ryse on the Xbox One can take you 6 hours to beat. Is it worth paying $60 though? You are paying $10 per hour of playtime. Instead, you could rent this game and save nearly $50.

Another game that comes to mind is Murdered: Soul Suspect. This game received mixed reviews and was released on every console imaginable. The worst part thing about this game is its length. It takes roughly 6 and a half hours to beat the main story. The game was released at $60 and has now dropped to $15 through the Humble Store promotion that Humble Bundle is running from July 28 – August 1 on different Square Enix video games. Instead of wasting the same amount as Ryse, $10 per hour of playtime and $60 total, it would only be feasible to rent Murdered: Soul Suspect, or at least wait and buy it at a greatly discounted rate.

Humble Bundle featuring Square Enix video games by GameZone

Wait For It

When using this equation, ask yourself some questions:

  1. Do I need to own this game right now?
  2. Should I consider renting this instead since everyone is saying how short it is?
  3. Will it go on sale in a few months?
  4. Does it have multiplayer?
  5. Is it worth it?

There are too many video games on the market. Unless all you do is sit in front of your television or computer screen and play every video game ever released, it is pointless to justify buying a multitude of games. Instead, budget accordingly and base it on the time you have available to spend on gaming. If you work 40 hours a week, is it worth buying every game that comes out in the next few months?

There are 8 games that I want to play by the end of this year that are releasing too closely together. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on games I do not have time to play, I asked myself the questions above to help save me money. I wanted to purchase Alien: Isolation for the Xbox One, but it sounds like it will A.) be too short, B.) go on sale within a month or two and C.) release too close to other games I find more important like Assassin’s Creed: Unity, Sunset Overdrive and Destiny.

Your time is a valuable commodity; do not take it for granted. When looking at the “Playtime is Money” equation, be careful when budgeting. You do not want to be overburdened with video games, unable to complete any of them, while exciting new games are scheduled to be released right around the corner. Instead, rent a video game every now and then, wait for that single player game you want so bad to go on sale, and consider how much money you are really spending on video games.

Stacks on Stacks on Stacks by Supernova125

Early Impressions: The Destiny Beta

The Destiny Beta by Destiny Wikia

Since its release for the Xbox One, I have played the new Destiny Beta at every opportunity because I am still unsure if it is worth buying. You would think that after Bungie created one of my favorite video game series of all time, Halo, that I would trust their creativity and upcoming video games, but that is not the case with Destiny. After over eight hours of playtime, I still harbor some doubts. I wanted to share my positive and negative opinions about Destiny. Again, this is only the beta.

Destiny functions like an Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) video game and gives nods to some of the great games that have come before it. Bungie can deny this all they want, but I intend to present evidence to prove this otherwise. Destiny is being compared to other video games, but that is not necessarily troublesome. Before I start, you need to know a little background about the Destiny beta. There are currently two places where you can explore: the Tower and Earth. The Tower is a wonderful “one-stop-shop” for all your needs, while all of your missions play out on Earth. Additionally, there was a special event that included one more mission available on the Moon for two hours on July 26 which added more gameplay.

Halo Easter Egg by Halo Wikia

The Halo Feeling

This game looks and acts like the Halo franchise that put Bungie on the map. The aesthetics are incredible. I love the environments and character visualizations. I do wish that we were able to see our face without a helmet when we travel to Earth, but that is not my primary concern. The problem is that I view Destiny as Halo, and I do not think I am supposed to do that. There are too many similarities that make it hard to differentiate the two. On one hand, Destiny has the potential to become as successful as the Halo franchise, but, in my opinion, this could be far out of its “Reach” (Halo pun intended). I understand that Bungie has said that this game is not Halo, but the striking resemblances imply otherwise. While playing the beta, I noticed one weapon that reminds me of Halo: the shotgun. (Not that it is a bad thing, since the shotgun in Halo was brilliant.)

Call of Duty and Borderlands Livelihood

Like it or not, Destiny gameplay reminds me of Call of Duty, while the exploration, loot and weaponry remind me of Borderlands. First, take a look at this clip that I captured from the beta:

See anything similar to Call of Duty? If I wanted to, I could literally play this game like the Call of Duty franchise where I aim down my sights too often, wait for enemies to appear and either hold down the trigger or shoot in bursts. Call of Duty did not invent this type of gameplay, but with the weapon sights in Destiny, it reminds me a lot like Call of Duty. Hopefully, this will not be the only way I play since the powers in Destiny are pretty great.

For my next clip, watch how easy it is to pick off some of these enemies:

This is me nitpicking, but it does still bother me. I remember when I played Borderlands and pulled off easy kills like this. It was not a major problem, but it did get boring after awhile. I could say the same thing about Halo, but that game was not based on the characters level. Destiny and Borderlands have the same mechanics that end up being mundane after hours of playing. In all honesty, Destiny is what I wanted Borderlands to become, but that did not happen. Instead of considering Destiny at face value, I feel the need to compare the two, which could make it difficult for me to purchase this game.

Loot, Loot and More Loot

The loot in Destiny reminds me of Borderlands, but instead, I would rather compare it to the Diablo franchise. I love loot. It is addicting and fun. When I was exploring in Destiny for fun and finding chests, I was fascinated. I never knew what I would find. Because this is the beta, most of the players are still a low level, so most of the weapons, armor and loot were unusable, but it was still fun. I like how the game will have normal, uncommon and rare items. Also, I had to identify some loot at the Tower before the stats for the loot were revealed to me, like how it is in Diablo, which makes the loot even more of a mystery. One thing that was upsetting about the Destiny beta was the fact I cannot trade loot with another player, but I read online they are working on making this a possibility.

A Loot Chest in Destiny by IGN

More Optimism

I absolutely love the Hover Bikes. Here is a clip of me driving one around “Earth”:

It is fast and very easy to control. Plus, I hated all the running I had to do in Borderlands. Once the “Moon” was open on the Destiny beta, I was able to try out the other Hover Bike that had weaponry. I really hope there are more types of bikes because it is really fun and useful to move around so easily. The Tower is another great area. Instead of doing everything in menus, I had a place where I set up shop to purchase new items and ships, identify loot, dye my armor, and more. It takes a little getting used to, but overall, I like this. Another thing I am excited about is some of the weapons. For instance, the Semi-Auto Rifle feels great and shoots incredibly well from a long distances, but my favorite weapon is the Fusion gun. This thing packs a punch and can disintegrate enemies. The first time I used it, I was amazed. Here is a clip of me using the Fusion gun:

Negativity for Nancy

This is not deal breaker, but I felt like the character customization was lacking. Compared to the insanely detailed customization available in Wildstar, I realize how limited I was when creating my Warlock in Destiny. I made a pretty cool cat (he looks just like Cable from the comics), but I wish I could have done more. Another troubling aspect of the Destiny beta was the incredibly slow loading time between missions and going to the Tower. Load times need to be fixed by launch. I am sure they will not be as long as they were in the beta, but really, waiting for a level to load usually took a few minutes which threw off the pacing. The troubles do not end here…

Character Customization in the Destiny beta by She Attack

Questing like World of Warcraft

One scary thought came to my mind: Destiny is just like World of Warcraft. The questing upon questing could easily overshadow any interest I have in my other games, which does not make this game very appealing to me. I am not a fan of MMOs and never have been keen on the endless questing. If I was to buy this game, I would lose interest quickly like I did with World of Warcraft. However, if MMOs are your favorite style of game, then the Destiny beta might be right for you.

Call Me Guardian

My biggest issue with this game is being a nobody in the wide world of Destiny. I was called a “Guardian.” Everyone in the entire game is called a “Guardian.” I want a name. At least in Halo, I was called Chief or Master Chief which made me feel like someone important. In Destiny, I feel so disconnected from my character that there is nothing to distinguish me from any of the other players. One of the best parts about playing an MMO is being an individual with a real connection to the character, and Non-Playing Characters (NPCs) call players by their screen name. I would be happy even if they made me choose from a list of names, but I feel like “Guardian” is just a title and my character is just a character. I have no attachment like I did in other games similar to Destiny.

My Warlock from Destiny Beta

My Warlock from Destiny Beta

Conclusions

I believe this game will be a big deal when it releases, but it may not be right for me. It has lots of positives, but I am still on the fence. There are some great things that this game hits, however it misses opportunities for me. I will say this, if you set up attacks, they make for some really amazing scenes and excellent gameplay. I will leave you with one more clip that made me really want to buy this game. When you get into firefights like the one I show below, the game feels refreshing and fun. Bungie is creating a Destiny that I might want to be a part of.