June 2019 Backlog Update

Half way through the year and for the sixth month running I’ve managed to complete or abandon some games on my Backlog. Woot! Although I purchased a few new games and accessories from the E3 sales.

New game pickups

  • The Elder Scrolls Online 6-months subscription
  • Kingdom Hearts: The Story So Far (PS4)
  • Kingdom Hearts 3 (Xbox One)
  • Forza Horizon 4: Ultimate Edition (Xbox One/PC)

I’ve been looking to play Kingdom Hearts for many years, and indeed did own the remasters on PlayStation 3 but unfortunately never got around to it. The release of Kingdom Hearts 3 earlier this year peaked my curiosity again and The Story So Far collection is still pretty expensive, so I jumped at everything on disc for just under £40. Also after seeing the new LEGO Speed Champions DLC at E3 I finally purchased Forza Horizon 4.

I also picked up a Sony PlayStation Classic, another DualShock 4 and 12-months of PlayStation Plus in the Days of Play 2019 sale. The PlayStation Classic for £26.99 made it too interesting a proposition to ignore. In addition I also picked up the grey version of the 8BitDo USB Wireless Adaptor and a PAXO High Performance 2,000 mAh Battery for my launch DualShock 4 controller (you can read more here). And finally I managed to convert my existing Xbox Game Pass subscription to Game Pass Ultimate for a £1.

So overall a number of new games and videogame related stuff purchased this month.

Been playing (Grouvee)

  • Mass Effect 3 (Xbox One)
  • Mutant Year Zero (Xbox One)
  • The Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr (PC)
  • Halo: The Master Chief Collection (Xbox One)
  • Doom (2016) (Xbox One)
  • Wizard of Legend (Xbox One)
  • Metro Redux (PS4)

I have made some serious progress with Mass Effect 3, although with all the DLC it is a fairly large endeavour. I’m probably about two thirds through the main storyline so still have a lot to do. However I am getting tired of the game so it is going to be a real slog to get to the end of this one. Which I still feel compelled to do.

I started playing some of the new Elsweyr expansion for The Elder Scrolls Online. Including trying the new Necromancer class. I specifically created a Breton as a Magicka based Necromancer and get the feeling this is going to become a very useful support class.

I also started to play Doom (2016) again. I played it on PC when it first came out but didn’t get that far into it. Hopefully this is something I can remedy. And I also completed Metro 2033 Redux in Metro Redux and have already moved onto the sequel included in the same package.

Completed/Abandoned/Shelved

  • Completed: Halo: The Master Chief Collection
  • Abandoned: Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden (Early Impressions here) and Wizard of Legend.

I previously played Halo: MCC and used it to complete Halo 4. So this is really a case of correcting Grouvee on my backlog status. I had a quick look since the relaunch last summer and was really impressed with some of the changes (4K, HDR, downloading choices etc.). That said I’ve previously played and completed all of these games so this is more for when I fancy replaying some classic Halo.

Wizard of Legend has just entered Xbox Game Pass so I wanted to give it a try. I think it’s got a really awful start as the game explains nothing and is very hard. Although this is to be expected in a rogue-like. The combat system is fun, although I’m just not feeling it enough.

So that’s 1 game completed, and 2 abandoned.

Website updates

I’ve updated a number of things on the site including adding new categories with new summaries and updated the Backlog page. A few more in-depth posts are planned for the next couple of months, and I would like to look at some of the Game Tracking Websites in more detail.

Up next

Try to finish Mass Effect 3. And then try to complete Metro: Last Light Redux and/or Doom (2016).

My thoughts on E3 2019

So another year and another set of E3 live streams passes by. Often I tend to keep up with E3 more by accident rather than passionately following events. However this year I’ve managed to see quite a bit and I thought I would write down my thoughts. Obviously the way things are presented to those of us not at E3 is probably a very different experience to those actually there. Particularly as we miss out on the show floor and playable games. That said I can only talk about what I saw and so outline my thoughts based on the conference schedule.

Google

Hard to criticise the Stadia showing. They have an impressive list of publishers, games and some influential people at the helm. The initial founders pack due in November this year seems to be good value (£119 in the UK). And the two types of account; Base (free) and Pro (£8.99 per month) make a lot of sense. Also they might just beat Microsoft to market. Like all these things success may depend on the service being good enough and latency deemed acceptable. But there are billions of Chrome and Android users out there.

Electronics Arts

Unless you were in to an existing EA game, the series of lengthy live streams wasn’t particularly notable apart from the unveiling of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. I am genuinely not sure what to think of this one although it was nice to see a fairly lengthy demonstration of the gameplay.

Microsoft

Microsoft have been praised over the last few years for their E3 shows. Even though they often are filled with CGI trailers, multiplatform games with very little new IP. Microsoft’s show format was the same this year although a few notable exceptions. Cyberpunk 2077 surprised with a release date and Keanu Reeves. It felt like the big standout from this show was just how impressive Xbox Game Pass has become. The new PC service has been well received and Microsoft were keen to remind us many games would be ‘day one’ on the service. Forza Horizon 4’s LEGO Speed Champions DLC looked brilliantly light-hearted and fun.

There was very little time spent on either xCloud or the announcement of new hardware. The Project Scarlet announcement seemed to mirror 2016’s Xbox One X acknowledgment. The hardcore fans probably understand the specifications Microsoft name dropped but the announcement lacked the impact of Sony’s recent instant loading demo.

Bethesda

Yeeeeaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!!!! Bethesda’s show used the lure of The Elder Scrolls Online freebies for those watching. Which is great although with short notice and a US friendly schedule perhaps there can a better way of accommodating non-US players in future (1.30am BST in the UK!). Last year Bethesda’s show was probably one of the more memorable. However this year most content shown was for existing games. In more ways than one Ghostwire: Tokyo stole this show. A great concept in the CGI trailer. Beyond this a lot of time spent on mobile games which I didn’t personally find interesting.

PC Games Show

Loads of interesting games shown, but I did like the look of Valfaris (2d retro style platform shooter like Contra), Griftlands, Cris Tales (just looks uniquely beautiful) and Songs of Conquest. Although there has been criticism of the Epic sponsorship this year, the format of this show does work really well. Particularly the presenters. I really enjoyed Larian Studios talking about how they’ve tried for a few years to get the Baldur’s Gate 3 licence.

Ubisoft

Ubisoft opened strongly with Watch Dogs: Legion gameplay. And then unless you are particularly invested in one of their existing games not much afterwards. Mirroring a larger trend with E3 this year. Personally disappointed if Rainbow Six Quarantine is just Co-Op PVE. As a solo player I would love a Rainbow Six game to play. Gods and Monsters might be interesting though we didn’t see anything of it.

Square Enix

Square Enix got off to a good start and had one of the better shows. Seeing Final Fantasy VII Remake in action and hearing the developers passionately talk about the game was excellent. Also loads of other games; Dragon Quest Builders 2, Dragon Quest XI (Switch), Kingdom Hearts 3 DLC, Final Fantasy XIV Shadowbringers, Dying Light 2, Outriders and Final Fantasy VIII Remastered. I liked the look of their overhead racing game: Circuit Superstars.

The only let down was ironically the Marvel Avengers unveiling. A poor trailer which probably lacked impact in part as it isn’t related in anyway to the iconic Marvel Cinematic Universe. It also didn’t help that Square Enix talked about lootboxes, business model, exclusive PlayStation 4 content and roadmaps before we’ve even seen the game.

Nintendo

A short and snappy Nintendo Direct where Luigi’s Mansion 3 opened the show and looked great. The anticipated The Witcher 3 and Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 also impressed. More was seen of Pokémon and Animal Crossing, although the latter is delayed until 2020. However perhaps the real measure of the success of the Switch is the flood of multiplatform games from third-party; Dragon Quest Builders 2, Alien Isolation, Minecraft Dungeons, Dauntless and Wolfenstein Youngblood etc. An impressive mix of old and new games sometimes releasing alongside other formats. And finally Nintendo confirmed a direct sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. A very good showing.

Overall

A quiet E3 which reminded me of the show in 2012 as games like Watch Dogs were shown before the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One became reality. From a trends point of view this years E3 Live Streams included; lots of CGI trailers, a lack of games probably due to the impending new consoles and number of existing Live Services games. Although there were a few games which I am interested in but perhaps the fact there isn’t much more provides a little relief for those of us that need to spend the next 12-18 months catching up with our backlogs.