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.