Here we are, at the end of my third year doing reviews with a decent amount of stuff to show for it, in spite of the complications I ran into this year. After last year's huge efforts that resulted in 52 reviews, I decided to cut back on reviews during the first third of 2019 for the sake of my degree. As a result, I only have 28 reviews to share. And even with that sacrifice, it still took me all summer to earn said degree, so I'm scared to think about if I'd even have it now by if I didn't cut back on reviewing games. What is life if not all the things you didn't do?
But once June rolled around, I resumed as if nothing had happened, starting with one of my favorite JRPGs and then doing a 3D platformer, which I thought set the theme for this year's slew of reviews. But looking over my list down there, I think I've managed to keep things varied. Hell, I might have even overdone it with the horror games.
But something I've remained loyal to is the idea of reviewing games both new and old that people don't talk about enough. While it's been a killer year, that's no reason not to peer through the cracks in search of gold. I can't say I found any, but there were the odd pieces of silver covered in aged cheese.
I've noticed that even games I wouldn't really recommend still have novel value for gaming enthusiasts like myself. Ever since really getting into the review mindset I've taken delight in examining mechanics, gimmicks and just plain weird shit hidden away in games that have fallen to the wayside. 3D platformers are my favorite example, as the ones I've looked at this year all had their own unique structure or mechanics. Not all of that is well implemented of course, but most ideas are sound and only in need of a second attempt at implementation.
Following my graduation, I was planning on working up a backlog of reviews to schedule in case I suddenly got busy (like say, by getting employed). This didn't happen. If anything, I've been the most sloppy with writing this year, missing deadlines by as much as a day at worst. And the reason for that is that I've just been playing so many games! Tales of games in particular. I think I beat 6 of the damn things this year. Not to mention 3 Yakuza games. And since I still made time to play games during my break (again, a lot of Tales of games), I've worked up a backlog of review notes that I still haven't gotten through. To think, I managed to invent yet another backlog for myself!
Tying into my somewhat weakened writing resolve is the fact that I've begun to doubt my scoring system. As you are hopefully aware, I use a 4-point scale (Trash->Meh->Good->Great) for simplicity's sake. But while that is often sufficient, there were times where I wanted to add weak or strong (so Weak Trash->Strong Trash->Weak Meh and so on) as a modifiers. Ignoring how weird that'd be to read, doing that would jump me from a 4-point scale to an 8-point scale. And at that point, I might as well go for the standard 10-point scale.
I resisted the urge to do that and instead doubled down on my gut feelings. If I hated the thing, it's Trash. If it has its moments but ultimately fails, it's Meh. If it's a good game that could have done more, it's Good. And if it gets close to everything right, then it's Great. While certain Meh and Good games can be close in quality, the ultimate decider is if I could imagine playing it again and enjoying myself. If not, then the bad outweighs the good and it's Meh. Of course, not even that leaves me without doubts. I'm still unsure on Darksiders 3.
But I'm still happy with how things turned out this year given the circumstances. No trashfire of a production over here at Kerrik52 HQ, no sir. Still, there's this part of me that wants to forsake the reviews and write both more general discussion blogs and more in-depth series on games. I really wanna do one more retrospective, but the scope I have in mind is kind of ridiculous. It's nice to have a reliable output, but it's not as exciting. I'm gonna spend the beginning of 2020 doing more job hunting. Once that's done and my soul has been leased to corporate, I might look over my writing schedule again and maybe cut back on reviews and maybe even squeeze in some more exciting stuff. I was thinking that a monthly schedule of Review-Week->Buffer-Week->Review-Week-> Something-Complex-Week could work. We'll see.
That's everything I wanted to say. You can find links to this year's reviews down below, so consider this your last chance to talk about one of those games even if the thread has been locked. And even if that's not the case, I implore you to check out a few of these games. You never know what you might like. You can also check out the reviews from 2017 and 2018.
Now if you excuse me, I'm gonna wait in the new year by playing Touhou Luna Nights and hope that my cats don't go crazy from all the fireworks. Peace.