Pile of Shame- Recommendations

Most gamers have a pile of shame, a backlog of games they purchased or received as gifts but never played. Alongside chronicling my favorite games each year, I‘ve started keeping track of the video games I finish from my pile of shame. I’d like to revisit this topic and plan to share future updates as I continue to track my games. Here is the first post of many.

PORTABLE GAME RECOMMENDATIONS

Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Portable (PlayStation Vita)

To tide me over before I tackle Persona 5 Royale, I played Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3: Portable on my Vita. I’ve been playing it on and off for years and finally finished it last year. Like Persona 4 Golden, this game resembles Buffy the Vampire Slayer. To succeed, you must balance school, part-time jobs, social life and slaying monsters at night. The dungeon Tartarus gets pretty dull with the 264 random floors. However, the storyline makes it worth the effort. 

Compared to other Persona games, the 40 to 50-hour length isn’t intimidating. The portability makes it easy to pick up and play bite-size moments in your day and on the go. That said, there are incentives to play again. I want to go back later to play as a female protagonist for a different perspective. Also, I need to watch the social links I missed on YouTube and the animated cutscenes/feature film. In addition to checking out the epilogue on PS3. A good starting point to the series if you’re intimidated by Persona 5 Royale’s 100+ hour length.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney- Justice for All (iOS)

I love the Phoenix Wright games! These visual novels make for a great break between playing longer games. I pick up and play the series on my iPad regularly. While I liked the first game better, this one kept me on my toes with its entertaining and outlandish cases. Many have unexpected twists that keep you guessing to the end, and the writing is fantastic. Not a massive fan of the psyche-lock system, though, which feels overly complicated. It just doesn’t invoke the same excitement as the regular interrogation sections. Other than that, it’s a great game that drags on too long sometimes. I’m committed to playing all games in the series. Next for me are Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney- Dual Destinies.

Hitman Go (iOS)

Hitman Go resembles a board game, and each level set offers something new. You can spend hours doing the optional objectives like retrieving briefcases and completing a level in limited moves making the game highly replayable. It’s exciting to perfectly line up moves to dodge enemies, attack dogs, and other traps blocking Agent 47’s way. I highly recommend it, along with Lara Croft Go and Deus Ex Go. Both are fantastic, like Hitman Go, and offer a fresh take on the mainline series games.

Ever Oasis (3DS)

I’ve written about Ever Oasis before, and I’m glad to say I finally finished it. I spent a lot of time building my oasis and am proud of what I accomplished outside of the main story. I didn’t feel the need to 100% my oasis, though. Since everything required to do it felt like busywork. The same goes for the optional dungeons. Ever Oasis already provided me with hours of gameplay, so I’m satisfied. I’d recommend it if you like both Animal Crossing and the Legend of Zelda. Just don’t expect it to reach the high-quality level of those games.

BITE-SIZED EXPERIENCES

Forza Horizon 3 Expansion Pass (Xbox One)

I finally got a new 4K TV with HDR in late November 2018, and I immediately booted up Forza Horizon 3 to play the DLC I missed. The Blizzard Mountain and Hot Wheels expansions live up to the base game. Each offers hours of content and new ways to race. For instance, night driving and the slippery snow add even more adrenaline rush to races. While making loop de loops, dodging dinosaurs, and turboing off large jumps feels exhilarating. I’m glad I played these expansions, and I can’t wait to play Forza Horizon 4 and 5 on Xbox Series X later.

Metal Gear V: Ground Zeroes (PS4)

Like Persona 5, not playing Metal Gear V: The Phantom Pain remains one of my biggest gaming shames. I’m kicking myself for not playing it sooner after booting up Metal Gear V: Ground Zeroes again. The stealth gameplay is so good! Despite its short length, there is a wealth of gameplay here. The primary mission and six optional missions take time to master. It’s also very replayable, and I had fun approaching missions in optional ways. Discovering all the callbacks to the original Metal Gear Solid was a treat too. Now it’s time I play MGSV!

GAMES YOU MAY WANT TO WATCH RATHER THAN PLAY

Pokken Tournament DX (Switch)

A fighting game that plays like Tekken and features Pokemon? Sign me up! Initially, I felt skeptical about the mashup, but surprisingly it works pretty well. Think of the Switch version as an enhancement of the Wii U version. I enjoyed my time with it. It plays great in handheld mode too. The game does get tedious toward the end with all the repetition. In fact, I ended up watching the rest of the story mode on YouTube. However, Pokken Tournament DX offers a unique spin on the Pokemon universe. It’s a delight to see some of your favorite Pokemon take on larger-than-life battles not possible in the main games.

I am Setsuna (Switch)

A spiritual successor to Chrono Trigger? Hell yes! Unfortunately, I am Setsuna doesn’t hit that game’s high points. But I still enjoyed it for two-thirds of the adventure. Despite being a rethread of Final Fantasy X’s storyline, the story kept my interest, and I liked the characters. I also liked the combat and the challenging boss fights, which kept me on my toes.

However, I never got the hang of the Sprintine spell system. I spent most of the game using physical attacks and spells for healing. I did use the memorable X-Strike from Chrono Trigger and other spells. But after a while, the game got too repetitive. Plus, I didn’t want to grind for better spells. So I decided to watch the last few hours on Youtube instead. Still, I’m glad I played it, and I recommend it to people who miss the old JRPG days of Super Nintendo. It’s not Chrono Trigger 2, though, so temper your expectations, and you’ll enjoy it.

Earthbound Beginnings (Wii U)

Earthbound needs no introduction, but did you play its predecessor, Earthbound Beginnings? More importantly, should you play it? I’d say it depends on how much you love Earthbound. It’s a great example of Nintendo’s history, and remarkable how much it carried over into Earthbound on SNES. Such as the iconic character designs. The creative combat, fantastic music, quirky dialogue, and unique enemies are all here. It’s just more of a rough draft than a full-fledged product. Which comes bundled with some terrible design issues. Which, unfortunately, Nintendo didn’t feel the need to remedy.

For instance, you’ll get annihilated by random enemies from the very beginning. To stand a chance, get ready to grind a lot. It’s the only way to make progress. The game gets more manageable but prepare for even more frustration later. Once you meet your remaining party members, the game gives you a big middle finger by starting them at level one.

Forcing you to spend hours grinding to get them close to your level. It happens three times, and some enemies kill you in one hit. Plus, you have no way to teleport or revive them until late in the game. So it’s frustrating. That said, I found parts of it enjoyable, like the dream world Magicant. I appreciate the excellent writing too.

Like I am Setsuna, I watched the last third of the game on Youtube. If you consider yourself an Earthbound superfan, then cautiously consider playing Earthbound Beginnings. If only to see what this prototype did to lay the groundwork for the superior Earthbound and Mother 3.

There you have it. Some games I played and recommended from my backlog. I hope you find something to play you enjoy. Stay tuned for future posts as I finish more games. 

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