The Delfies 2017 Abridged

It’s about the time of the year when one would start considering contenders for their game of the year selections. Many strong titles have released already, there’s a few right around the corner, and the big release season is about to kick off and continue pretty much until the end of November. A good chunk of the games that might be considered are already out and being thoroughly digested already.

…And then there’s me, still not writing up his picks for 2017. Go figure.

I said a couple of months back that I was going to do an abridged version of the remaining Delfies, and I genuinely did attempt to do so. Only issue is that, in true Delf fashion, it took me no time at all to continue rambling until the abridged versions… weren’t so abridged. When there was always something more to say, I wanted to make sure I was saying as much of it as possible, and as I got closer to #1 it only got more unwieldy.

Now, it’s August. I should have had this up in January. At this point, it’s nothing but a mental thorn in my side that’s serving as a writing block that keeps me from wanting to put to paper any other topics on video games and utilising this blog as intended. I’m going to fix that here and now, and get the Delfies out of the way so it no longer weighs me down.

So: a single paragraph! That’s what each of the remaining seven games is getting, no more and no less. You know where to find me if you want to hear more in-depth thoughts on each of the games, and no doubt I’ll have plenty to say about them in future discussions. For now though… let’s just get this over with at long last, shall we?

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Backlog Battle Report (5th Feb 2018)

Rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated.

I hadn’t been intending to skip over the last couple of reports, but with the focus being on keeping up with the Delfies I didn’t get the chance to write it. Clearly, I didn’t really keep up with the Delfies either. After having to put Right Click to Zoom to an intermittent release schedule due to not meeting my regular plans, you’d think I’d know better, but alas! I’m still working to get those written and out as quickly as possible, so do stay tuned.

Given that I was trying to write a lot during the skipped weeks, I didn’t play all that many different games at first. After three weeks though? Well, I’ve accrued quite a bit of playtime in various games and sampled a few titles, so I’m going to hit as many as I can. Let’s go.

Super Robot Wars J (GBA)

At some point a few weeks ago, I got to talking about mecha in a Discord chat. Very soon a handful of us were nerding out about our favourite giant robot anime or games, our favourite robot designs, and other such discussions. I love this stuff, but this knowledge tends to lie dormant for extended periods up until something reminds me about that love.

In this case, the discussion was enough for me to immediately go out and order a couple of giant robot games to fill the void. Problem is, good games that utilise good series and designs don’t tend to be all that common of late. I wanted to go to the heart of it, but in order to do so I would have to order a couple of games that don’t get western releases.

Rather than have to muddle through Japanese menus and incomprehensible plots, however, I nowadays have the option of ordering games from Southeast Asia that have cheaply done but perfectly functional English translations. The only catch is that those usually take a few weeks to ship. So I ordered my mecha fix, and then immediately was left waiting for it to arrive… meaning I had to take stopgap measures in between.

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The Delfies 2017 #8

Among the many strong titles of 2017 vying for a gamer’s time, there’s always the allure of the persistent games from yesteryear further muddying that choice. It’s not even a case of going and cleaning your backlog of The Witcher 3; I’m referring to the multiplayer games that remain a constant time sink in the gaming landscape. The MOBAs like Dota 2, the shooters like Counterstrike, the card games like Hearthstone, and, of course, the MMORPGs.

While the genre has retreated to more of a niche in the past few years, the behemoths of the MMOs still lurk… and one of them put out an expansion pack in 2017 that I thought was pretty damn good.

Delfies 2017 #8: Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood

Genre: MMORPG

Played on: PC, also available on PS4

Final Fantasy 14 has a development history unlike any other title in video games. If a bad game is released, it will usually remain bad, and even if the developers are somehow able to improve the situation it is unlikely to receive the attention of gamers a second time. It doesn’t matter what company you are or the size of your budget; releasing an awful game to abysmal scores and catastrophic results should not ever see the game rise above it to become great.

Still, most developers don’t have the budget or pedigree of Square Enix in order to make their second attempt. Even then, that pedigree isn’t exactly saying much when a trilogy of Final Fantasy 13 titles produced only one good game between them, and there’s a lot I could say negatively about their last ten years of JRPGs. Nonetheless, when the release of FF14 proved disastrous on all fronts, Square Enix decided to double down on the project and do their best to fix it, to the point of remaking the entire game from scratch as a sequel.

By all accounts, Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn should not have been possible. Even reusing assets and concepts from the original release, they effectively built an entire MMORPG from the ground up in just two and a half years. And somehow, that newly released title managed to recapture the goodwill of players who had written off the first, continuing to grow and improve into one of the largest and most successful MMORPGs in history.

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The Delfies 2017 #10

The first entry on this list is somewhat special, as it immediately stretches the criteria I set up for determining my favourite games of the year. That said, had I not done so, you’d be reading either a Top 9 or instead reading about another game that I finished but didn’t consider worthy of this list.  Given what I feel about that game compared to this one, that’d just be unfair, so this title gets the sole exception.

The Delfies 2017 #10: Prey

Delfies Prey header

Genre: FPS/RPG
Played on: PC, also available on PS4, XB1

(Note: For future entries, I’m planning to include a launch trailer here. In Prey’s case… the launch trailer just does a disservice to the game as a whole, quite frankly, so it’s omitted.)

It wouldn’t be accurate to say that Prey 2017 completely flew under the radar, but it did seem to get less attention than it otherwise should have. Perhaps that’s because people still long for the now canceled Prey 2 cyberpunk alien bounty hunter action shown only in glorious trailers. Maybe it was following right on the heels of a string of hotly anticipated games from February to April. Whatever the reason, people are missing out.

Prey is probably the closest an action game has gotten to evoking the sense of tension and unease that made System Shock 2 one of the most memorable games in history. Most other titles that accomplish this are usually firmly in the horror genre, and they usually do so by taking away any sense of empowerment a player might have against the creeping terrors; it’s hard to maintain that same sense of fear and tension when the game puts a shotgun in your hands.

Now some might quickly interrupt me here and say that Resident Evil 7 managed to accomplish this in the same year as Prey, and you’d be correct. But I would say that Resident Evil was firmly a horror game, pitting you against tough situations that you had limited resources to overcome. Prey? Prey doesn’t limit you nearly as much.

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Backlog Battle Report (15th Jan 2018)

This week’s report is sponsored by sleep; appreciate what you get of it, because you probably are more rested and feel better for it than I do presently. In conjunction with a big sleep deficit, I’ve also been very fickle and have jumped from game to game pretty rapidly, meaning we’re back to having a wide assortment of titles listed today. So here’s what I’ve been up to this week.

Heroes of the Storm (PC)

I’ve eased up a little bit on the relentless Heroes games over the last week, but it’s still seeing at least a game or two from me on most days. As suggested, the latest patch went through last week and attempted a few balances to keep the games from being snowbally stomps. It also introduced the newest hero: Blaze, a Firebat from Starcraft. Betcha that name took a while to come up with. There’s also been a handful of buffs/nerfs and another rework for Malfurion.

I haven’t played Malfurion just yet so I can’t speak on how that treated him, but I can talk about Blaze and the other changes. So, did the changes make the game less early game centric? A little bit. Towers and keeps hurt a bit more so minions won’t completely bulldoze them if a specialist walks up to them with a wave and a funny look, but they’re still not the threats of yore. Things are a little slower and late-game is a thing, but it’s certainly possible to keep rolling through and win fairly easily. Probably could use more tweaks, but we’ll see. As I said last week, I don’t really mind the faster pace of the games.

So, Blaze. At long last, the long awaited and anticipated Firebat enters the field. With his release, every leaked hero from a credible source has now hit the Nexus, which means anything further from here is new ground. No idea who’s next, which is always a fun place for speculation… but even if the next release is a way off, I’ll probably need that long to fully acquaint myself with Blaze.

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Backlog Battle Report (8th Jan 2018)

Aaaand I’m immediately back dating the first article. Figures, right? Well, in my defence, it was half finished on Monday evening and then continued to prove larger and more unwieldy as the week progressed. There was also nearly a month of material to go back through, a lot of which I’ve cherry picked for the sake of preserving briefly played games for Right Click to Zoom related articles. This isn’t a comprehensive list, far from it… and reasons for that will quickly become evident.

Anyway, with that said, here’s the bulk of what’s gotten my playtime in the new year.

Heroes of the Storm (PC)

(Addendum: This was the first game I covered for the article, and since it’s been a while since writing, there’s been an update patch and the Firebat hero Blaze has been released. That wasn’t the case when this was written though, as it was still a day before the patch. Thoughts and feelings of the patch and new hero next week!

…The Hanzo buffs, though. Oh god, the unnecessary and powerful Hanzo buffs…)

The inevitable constant and semi-dependable comfort game in my library, Heroes of the Storm was a given to be listed in any recent playtime. It might shock people to know just how damn much I’ve been pouring into this game over the last few weeks, however. I’d normally play a couple of games to in a week, usually in one or two sessions with friends.

By contrast, I began December as account level 830, and I am now 885 at the very least.

To those who don’t play, it’s worth explaining that account level is derived from the total level of all heroes. Those levels start out fairly swift, and you’ll probably get level 2 with a new character on all but the fastest, worst games imaginable, but it becomes increasingly tougher. Once a character is level 12, the experience needed remains constant, and will usually take about four or five games (provided you have an experience boost, which I do).

There were two characters in this patch I played from 1 upwards, that being Hanzo and Alexstrasza, but everything else was about level 6 or higher all the way up. You can do the math there if you’re really interested, but we can sum it up as “Delfeir played a ton of Heroes of the Storm to close out the year”.

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Backlog Battle Report (11th Dec 2017)

Yep, okay, this one’s late. It’s been a week, and I’ve got no excuse. Doesn’t matter, it’s here now, so let’s get into it. Not a lot of games this week but here’s what’s been there nonetheless.

Realm Grinder (PC)

Need to bring this one up first again because, quite frankly, it’s becoming a problem. Addiction to the notion or sensation of progress isn’t uncommon for me, and I’ve bounced around between a few idle games offering similar stuff, but something about this one is keeping me checking on it to the point that it’s actually inhibiting my other gaming or writing.

It’s seriously gotten to the point where I will set up things or do what seems like a maximised build for this run, then sit and see it through. I’m not spam clicking the entire time or anything, but I’ll be watching Youtube or chatting on Discord in between managing that when I should be doing other things. It’s not entirely to blame for my hold-ups and delays, but it is a factor and I need to start really limiting how I go about maintaining this.

All that said, I’m a way into Reincarnation 6. More upgrades and challenges are right around the corner of unlocking, I think. Seems like more aspects of the game go quite a way back if you keep running it… which I will probably do, but in the background. Or offline.

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