Playing Console Catch-Up

Long story, short: MMOs have dominated my gaming time for the last 12 years or so.  I’d estimate that around 90% of all of my time gaming has been done in front of a PC over the internet.

PC vs Console Sure, I’ve set aside a few hours here and there for a few sessions of Knights of the Old Republic, multiplayer Mario Kart parties, or maybe a weekend to beat Bioshock. But that’s as far as it went.

I honestly can’t remember the last time I actually beat a console game.  Bioshock, maybe.  And before that…GUN?

The point is that the console is the reason I fell in love with gaming in the first place, and I have left it far, far behind.

Until now.

Right now, MMOs are in a bad place, at least for me. We Fly Spitfires started me thinking about this, and I agree with Gordon.  The offerings this year have been “bleh,” as they lead into next year’s promising titles. Yeah, Star Trek: Online and Star Wars: The Old Republic and World of Warcraft: Cataclysm look great in comparison to Aion, Champions Online, and Darkfall.

But are they going to be great for the long-haul?  I have my doubts.

ST:O? Fanboy/Trekkie paradise once the tourists leave.  WoW: Cataclysm? Will bring back many disgruntled, burned out veterans, only to burn them out again on tried and true wash/rinse/repeat gameplay.  SW:TOR? Loads of potential in storytelling (which is why I’m interested), but we’ll see how character progression goes and whether it’s a mindless gear grind once the story plays out.

I’ve recently cancelled my WoW account despite my love for patch 3.3 and the Random Dungeon Finder. Why?  Because I was already tired of the forced grinding and lack of story I was told that Icecrown held.  I was kind of burned out before, but combine that with my hectic teaching schedule next semester, and I’m going to need a break.

But I still need to game.  On my time.

final-fantasy-x-2 So I went back to my first love: consoles.  Given that my most desired console games—Bioshock 2 and Final Fantasy XIII—aren’t released until Q1 2010, I went into the attic, unboxed my PS2, and popped in Final Fantasy X-2. I am now seven hours into the game, wondering why I waited so long to play it.

Sure, it’s not as enthralling as other FF’s I love (namely VI and IX), but Final Fantasy: Charlie’s Angels does have some interesting stuff going for it.

When I beat X-2, I plan on moving directly into Final Fantasy XII and giving the pseudo-real time Gambit combat system another try.  I wasn’t a huge fan when the game was released, but I was also under the MMO genre’s thrall.  So we’ll see if my desire for a good, solid narrative wins out over an iffy combat system.

I also think I may be getting a few console games for Christmas, maybe Final Fantasy VI Advance and Dragon Age: Origins. So that’s a whole lot of hours to kill just waiting for me.

(If you can’t tell, I’m an RPG kind of gamer, through and through).

super-mario-galaxyEven my best friend has recently been bitten by the console bug.  When I last visited him, he spent the evening playing Batman: Arkham Asylum and Assassin’s Creed 2, both of which looked amazingly fun.

So while MMOs may have had a lackluster year (or last couple, actually) with a promising 2010, console gaming has had a pretty good last couple with just as solid a 2010 in their own right.

Plus, I can get my wife into console gaming.  That woman loves Super Mario Galaxy and Mario Kart.

Do you guys have any recommendations of games for me to pick up and give at least a rental?  I’m quite far out of the console loop at the moment.

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About B.J. Keeton

B.J. KEETON is a writer, teacher, and runner. When he isn't trying to think of a way to trick Fox into putting Firefly back on the air, he is either writing science fiction, watching an obscene amount of genre television, or looking for new ways to integrate fitness into his geektastic lifestyle. He is also the author of BIRTHRIGHT and co-author of NIMBUS. Both books are available for Amazon Kindle.

12 thoughts on “Playing Console Catch-Up

  1. Pingback: Playing Console Catch-Up | Console Gaming

  2. I don’t know if you have played them before, and I am not sure what consoles you own, but two must play games that I absolutely loved were Mass Effect and Metal Gear Solid 4. I can’t speak for AC@, but I played the original Assassin’s Creed, and while it got monotonous at times, it was a pretty fun game. And Arkham Asylum is just tons of fun!

    And for a small amount of money, and a fun time, you can’t go wrong with Burnout:Revenge on the 360.

    • I haven’t played a Metal Gear game since the first Solid on the PS1. I loved it, but I never did get into the mood to stealth around like I did in that one. If I had a PS3, I’m certain I’d give 4 a shot. Maybe once Jennifer and I upgrade to an HDTV, we’ll get one and I can try. ;)

  3. I completely agree with Nick, if you haven’t played Mass Effect you need to now. A great game with an amazing story, plus if you get it now you’ll have time to play it through ready for the next installment out at the end of January.
    Also as a fellow RPG-er I’d recommend Fallout 3 and any of the Elder Scroll games for hours of fun.

    • I am part of the way through Mass Effect, and it’s fantastic when I like it, but terrible when I don’t. It has a very strange pattern: awesome bits that make me want to play more, crappy part that makes me turn it off and not want to turn it back on again, time passes because it wasn’t fun, I get into the mood to play again so I fire it back up and beat the unfun part, awesome bit makes me want to play more, unfun part makes me turn it off. Wash, rinse, repeat.

      If I could ever break that cycle, I’d beat it. But it happens every time I start it up. Maybe I’ll get through it sometime before ME2 goes on sale as a greatest hit. ;)

  4. I’m totally with you on this one, Beej. I think I pour too many hours into MMOs and miss out on so many great single player games. Still, when I played something like Dragon Age Origins, I find myself thinking “damn, this would be sooo much better as a MMO” :)

    Some recommendations for you:

    Mass Effect (it is AWESOME)
    Sins of a Solar Empire
    Oblivion
    Dead Space

    I’m currently playing through DAO now, reinstalled SoaSE and plan to play Dawn of War 2 and Fallout 3. It’s kinda nice not needing to worry about all of the stuff that comes with playing MMOs and just play a game for a games sake…
    .-= We Fly Spitfires´s last blog ..The Importance Of Character Customization =-.

    • I’ve never even heard of Sins of a Solar Empire. Give me the lowdown, Gordon! I needs it!

      And I am thinking about Fallout 3. As much as I love post-apocalyptic stuff, I am amazed I haven’t done it yet.

      I am in that boat now: not worrying about the drama that goes with MMOs and just enjoying the game. It’s a nice change of pace. I can appreciate the art and the sound and the narrative and just the love that was put into making a cohesive whole instead of always chasing that dangling carrot. After nearly 12 years, I think I’m getting tired of running after it.

  5. You, my friend, are like me in that we are one of the few who rank FFIX as one of our favorites. It’s underrated.

    Since I am desperately waiting for FFXIII as well, I’ve been playing through Shin Megami Tensei: Persona series. You might like it since it is very dark and requires summons.
    .-= Robert´s last blog ..Writers and Their Environment =-.

    • It really is underrated. Vivi is the most fleshed-out and empathetic character of any FF game I’ve ever played. I honestly felt bad for him with his wanting to be human.

  6. To me, the main appeal of FFX-2 was the nonlinear structure—the whole thing is essentially a series of sidequests, and if you get bored with one, you can just hop back on the airship and go do something else for awhile.

    As for FFXII, the Gambit system (along with transitionless battles) was my favorite thing about it. The downside is that, as much help as it is against endless legions of common monsters, it’s all but useless against bosses. Unlike FFX, you can’t use your wits to beat a boss that has you outmatched; if you’re not within a few levels of a FFXII boss, you have no chance. Which means lots of level-grinding, a term we shouldn’t even have to use anymore.

    Recommendations? I’ve played a lot of Fatal Frame 2 lately. Scariest game I’ve played in a long time, right up there with Silent Hill. And extremely addictive and fun. (Your weapon is a camera; what’s more awesome than that? It’s like Pokemon Snap with ghosts.)

    • I do love the structure of X-2. I’m generally not big on sidequests, so I’m having a hard time not just going directly for the “Hotspot” marker on the map. I need to get myself out of that mindset. The great part is that I can pretty much decide how long I want to take with the game since my main focus is narrative.

      And as for XII, the level-grinding is one of the main reasons I haven’t gone back. I don’t spend a lot of time in FF games just leveling up. I power through most of the games so I can see the story and use a great deal of strategy with underleveled characters most of the time. (My VII battle with Sephiroth was epic…and about 3x longer than any of my friends’.) That’s why I love the ATB on wait with turn-based battles. The Gambit system makes it so I must level up, and that’s not fun for me. So I may not give it a second chance at all.

      I haven’t played Fatal Frame 2, but I watched one of my college buddies beat the first one. It was a fantastic game. I’ve recently picked up Resident Evil 4 and am looking at the newest Silent Hill on 360. I think RE will be my next endeavor once horror gets into my system over JRPG.