A gaming update, with a dash of “Play or Pass”

If you’re not familiar with my “Play or Pass” series that I completed last year, it may behoove you to check out my page devoted to it. In fact, I strongly suggest that you do, if only to affirm the fact that I just used “behoove” in a real sentence.

I’ve obliquely stated before, here and otherwise, that my current interest in games has little to do with current games. Outside of a handful of new titles on which I’ve set my sights this year, most of what I’m interesting in playing is from the past. Sometimes the recent past; sometimes the long forgotten past. But, the past, nonetheless. This sentiment is something that I rather inadvertently bolstered with my “Play or Pass” series. It confirmed and emphasized what I already knew: I’ve missed out on a hell of a lot of games. And while not all games on that list were ones that I’d readily accept, a few of them stood out as ones that, yeah, I really should tackle. Add to this an impromptu trip to a newly-discovered used game store, as well as the barging bin at Wal-Mart, and, a Listmas promise to myself to purposely delve into my backlog (goddammit!), well…I’ve been in gaming heaven for several months.

No really…I can’t recall the last time I felt so at ease with my gaming choices. For the past few months, I’ve haven’t given a damn about the latest gaming so-and-so, the newest gaming thingamajig, or that OMGUNEEDTOPLAYTHISRITENOW title. I’ve been playing games that I want to play. It’s totally something I should do more often.

As such, I realized that a few of my choices had indeed been influenced by the “Play or Pass” list, so I figured I do a quick rundown of those games, along with a few others that count as “cleaning out the backlog.” Is that enough exposition? I could go on, but wouldn’t you rather I get to the games? I know I would.

From “Play or Pass”

Assassin’s Creed II
I already summed up my experience with this one over on United We Game, but suffice to say, it was really enjoyable. While I’m still not the biggest fan of the game’s movement and stealth mechanics, I fell in love with Ezio…’s story. Ooo, that charming Italian accent…I could listen to that all day. *ahem* Along with all that shit about his family and stuff. That was pretty keen too.

See: The Will, The Way: Assassin’s Creed II

The Secret of Monkey Island
After calling this game a personal “must,” did it live up to expectations? Um…in some ways. If I sound a little disappointed, it doesn’t have anything to do with the game itself, but rather that…well, I really wish I had played the game when I was super into Sam & Max and other point-and-click adventures. I think it would have absolutely stood out as a champion then, and likely have remained so for me. Playing it now was, in truth, difficult. I feel bad for saying that, but, there’s a time and place for point-and-click games, and I think my timing was off. Although I truly enjoyed the writing, humor, and animations, I got frustrated with the plodding pace of the game. Like I said, this really was a case of “it’s me, not you.” It’s an excellent game, and I want to play the sequel, but only when the timing feels more right.

Borderlands 2
OMFG…this game is So. Much. FUN! Like, it’s hard for me to even sum up in words just how much I’m enjoying this game. I really wasn’t sure about getting back into FPSs, but this game has made it an all-around blast. It’s my current obsession (until Mass Effect: Andromeda comes out), and I’m still only in the beginning stages of the game. I’m playing single-player as Zer0, I’m up to level 12, I wish I could horde more guns, and I really, really, really want a real-life Claptrap to follow me around to badly beatbox and make awesomely snide comments at strangers. I heart it all so, so much! Promise I’ll have more to say about this title in the coming months.

From the backlog

Batman: Arkham Asylum
First I played Arkham City, and then I played Arkham: Origins. And then I thought I might play Arkham Knight, but instead I decided that it was finally time I see how this whole Arkham thing started. It did not disappoint. Having played City and Origins on console, I opted to play Asylum on PC, and hot damn, did it look bee-you-tee-full! What can I say, really. It fulfilled all of my Batman needs, with a cast of brilliant characters, a host of weaponry, lots of stealthy moments, and plenty of secrets hidden here, there, and everywhere.  I was a little worried that, after playing the later Arkham games, that the world of Asylum was going to be rather small. And though it was smaller than the expanding playing fields presented in other games, it was by no means tiny.

Fallout: New Vegas
Again, this one I already covered on United We Game, so I’ll refrain from gushing further. I loved this game, and the rumors that there may be a New Vegas 2 in the works has my heart all a’fluttery. New Vegas is easily one of the best RPGs I’ve ever played. And with Mass Effect and Dragon Age in the mix, I don’t say that lightly.

See: Ruling the Desert in Fallout: New Vegas

Fable Anniversary
Playing this enhanced version of the original Fable was really just a case of me wondering if the game still held up after 10+ years.  Believe it or not, it does. And I still think it’s a good RPG for newcomers to the genre because it’s not an overly cumbersome game to play, nor does it weigh players down with having to make severe moral choices. If anything, the game is “morality-lite;” choice is present, but making choices doesn’t feel like a burden as it does in some modern RPGs. And though Fable’s look and graphical stylings aren’t for everyone, the game looked damn pretty even so.

See: Can Music Make the Game?

Shit, you guys…why didn’t I play this game in 2007? Why?? WHY??!! Oh…Mass Effect. Yeah. Anyway, after so many years of hearing about Bioshock and seeing people play Bioshock and feeling like I was being kicked in the ass by Bioshock, I thought I kinda knew what to expect from it. Folks, I had no fucking clue that a game could be THIS good. As with Borderlands 2, I’ll more than likely be writing up my feelings in a proper post somewhere down the line, if I would so kindly, of course. I can easily say now that Bioshock has readily deserved all the accolade it’s received over the years. The game is nothing short of a brilliant and beautiful experience, completed with plenty of twists, turns, and general mind-fucks. I have seen Rapture, and it is us.

For someone who professes to have little time to play games, this isn’t a bad list, eh? (Actually, now that we’re starting to roll into Spring, gaming must soon make way for gardening.) We’ll see what the coming months bring, but I’m hoping to make some good progress with Borderland 2 before picking up Mass Effect: Andromeda when it releases. And with that, I’ve had in mind that it would probably be alright if I spent a little time bopping through the original ME trilogy, just to regain that special taste for RPGs in space, and maybe (*wink wink nudge nudge*) get me a little Kaiden again, y’know, just for old times’ sake.


  1. I’ll echo Mr Panda’s words that it’s cool that the “Play or Pass” series has influenced your choices on what to play, and going off your responses it seems to have paid off, with Borderlands 2 at least. That game has been on the shelf looking at me for a couple of months now, still not tried it…! Sounds like I really should.

    I feel similarly about point and click adventures, it takes a certain kind of mood to enjoy them. I got a ways into the first game on the special edition/remake a few years ago and really enjoyed it. Before that though I completed the excellent third game, Curse of Monkey Island. Beautiful game with a great voice cast including, bizarrely, the one and only Gary Coleman!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wait…there’s a third Monkey Island game?! Huh, I feel like I’ve living under a rock for 30 years, because I thought there were only two! Well, looks like I have something else to add to the backlog. 🙂

      I really can’t say enough good things about Borderlands 2. I think I totally misjudged the game (and it’s predecessor) for being a simple if pretty shooter. It’s…it’s…ridonkulously good. There. I said it. IT’S RIDONKULOUS! That’s literally the only word I can think of to describe it. And just when I think the game couldn’t get more ridonkulous, it does.

      Seriously, though, it has some spot-on shooter mechanics, a gorgeous world, and a zany cast of characters. If there’s anything that brings it down for me, it’s that enemies, including mini-bosses, constantly respawn in areas that you’ve beaten. That makes traveling back to spots during sidequests a hassle — you have to beat everyone again in order to get to a certain checkpoint. (Or, if you’re like me and in a hurry, you just run past all the enemies!) Of course, the good thing is that all the re-fighting leads to more XP and loot, so at least you’ll get something for your troubles. In short, Borderlands 2 is great.



      Liked by 1 person

      • Not only 3 – 4 in fact! And wasn’t there an episodic series by Telltale not too long ago? I don’t recall. The fourth game (first one I played, back when it was released) doesn’t have such a good reputation, and I would concur.

        Ridonkulous sounds great – I’ll try to get round to it soon!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. A lot of people say BioShock is the spiritual successor to System Shock 2, and I actually ended up enjoying it more. It had a much more polished story, and the mechanics were a lot more balanced. A problem with System Shock 2 was that you could make the game unwinnable if you leveled your character up improperly.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. cool list, I’m kind of taking gaming the same way outside of a few major releases, namely Zelda and Mass Effect, but my priority is to finish olders games I’ve not only bought but missed out on, and then move onto the next phase

    but yes as everyone is saying, I loved arkham asylum. I tried arkham city and actually don’t nearly enjoy it as much as I did the first game, i also felt it was too open.


  4. Asylum is my favourite of the Arkham series. Whilst City may well be a better game, I found it TOO open, and that it lacked Asylum’s focus. Asylum was more Metroid-Vania in style and I found that worked better.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, that’s a good point. I also enjoyed the tightness of Asylum’s surroundings and gameplay. There was still plenty to explore on the island, and there was no getting lost in an open world. Also, its story was just phenomenal. (Now that I know the whole Titan setup, Arkham City makes so much more sense!) I’m reserving judgement on the series as a whole until I get to Arkham Knight, but Arkham Asylum definitely did not disappoint!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. First of all, let me say that I love that you’re following up on your Play and Pass series. Hope to read more about your backlogged games soon! Second, it’s a shame that you ended up not liking Monkey Island. I haven’t yet played it, but it seemed like one of the best point-and-clicks out there. I think I’d like to try it out too sometime, and Sam and Max while I’m at it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Take my words with a grain of salt! The newly enhanced Monkey Island, which is what I played, is a gorgeous and brilliant game. I think it was bad of my to try to shoehorn it in while I was playing larger, action-oriented titles, like Bioshock. Because of that, it took me longer to get through the game than expected, and I got frustratingly stuck at least once. If I had simply committed myself to playing Monkey Island, and *only* Monkey Island for a weekend, I think the experience would have been much more positive. I hope to find a good nook of free time to tackle the sequel. and maybe I’ll try the first game again too.

      And, oh, Sam & Max! That’s where my LucasArts heart really lies. Monkey Island, though, is a great precursor, and Sam & Max builds upon it in some great and hilarious ways.

      Liked by 1 person

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