Release day quandry

Alongside my PlayStation and television there is an ever-growing pile of games I refer to as my “to-complete pile.” Each time a new title is released, the pile grows and I feel a little worse about myself.

As pictured below, the games that I’m so heavily avoiding are some of the best games to be released lately, and LEGO Marvel (which I’ve since obtained the platinum in).

Currently, my pile sits in the order I want to complete the games in; of how annoyed I’ll be if the plots I’ve so carefully been avoiding are suddenly spoiled for me. Not playing these games is exhausting. Constantly on the alert for spoilers from podcasts, articles and loose-lipped friends, these are games I am going to go back to, games that I loved playing. That I will love playing again.

“I’m not going to buy any more games until I’ve finished the ones I’ve got” has become a catchphrase of mine, but as release day for a new game rolls around, I get caught up in the hype and want to be instantly involved. I don’t want to work through the pile just to get the new game, I want it now.

I’ve recently managed to restrain myself from buying both Thief and South Park: Stick of Truth on their own release days, and have made an internal promise that I’ll be caught up with my gaming pile by the time Watch Dogs rolls around.

Using new releases as an incentive brings about it’s own issues. If I really do want to make it through these games before I buy anything new, I have to add new titles to my ever-increasing list of spoiler-blocking.

With game developers bringing out so many worthy games in recent months, the urge to buy new games gets stronger and stronger. With each new release that I deprive myself of, I feel like I’m learning a valuable lesson about the perils of spreading myself too thinly across too many games.

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Eurogamer 2013: Assassin’s Creed 4, The Sims 4 and LEGO Marvel

Having gone to Eurogamer with the intentions of sampling some games I might not otherwise entertain, I walked around spying the likes of FIFA 14, Forza, Minecraft, and thought “Not really my thing. Best to stick to what I know I like.”

What I know I like is Assassin’s Creed, so I headed to the demo booth to play the new title, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. The queue was a little daunting, with some people criticising the gameplay of those already participating the demo. One comment that I overheard was, “That guy’s a retard.. He’s died three times in two minutes.”

As I neared the beginning of the queue I prayed that I would be on a station that others couldn’t see; my assassin skills in AC:3 left a lot to be desired, and I really struggled with the change in combat mechanics. As luck would have it, I was ushered to a TV and console (PS4 again, that race is yours, Sony) which was in full view of the queuing public.

As the demo started, it was a bit of a let down. Not in technical terms, but the demo didn’t really ask you to do anything specific. Whereas Tearaway and Octodad took you through a mission, AC:4 just left you to your own devices. I spent much of my time sailing around, before attacking a passing ship (I won the battle, thankfully), but was all too aware that I wasn’t experiencing much on the ground stuff.

I hopped off the ship and swam to the nearest island. The water mechanics in the game are breathtaking; there was a tide, meaning I had to swim faster just to get anywhere, and there were also some quite big waves. Sitting about a foot away from the scene, I can honestly say I was getting a bit seasick. Once on the island, I headed towards the nearest synchronisation point, because, well, it’s Assassin’s Creed, and you’ve just got to really. As I got to the top of the point and looked around, I could see just how spectacular the graphics were, and just how much effort has gone into the game. Definitely one to get excited about.

Sticking with my theme of “what I know I like”, I joined the main arena and headed to the eight or so computer stations showing The Sims 4. I’d have liked a demo of the gameplay, like in The Sims and The Sims 2, with good old Bella and Mortimer Goth (or their new generation equivalents, but there is plenty of time for that between now and the 2014 release the game is currently slated for.

The demo was in fact, the create-a-Sim screen. Plenty of fun to be had, and I’ve spent more time than I care to mention creating Sims in the past. The create-a-Sim screen of The Sims 4 really shows just how far the game has come. You can customize every inch of your Sim, from pupil size, to the way they walk, as well as some of the same old features; athleticism, bust size etc.

As I’ve already said, I would have liked the demo to show a bit more of the new features the game has to offer, especially surrounding the new ways of interacting with people and how moods affect certain situations. What I did play was enough to get me excited about The Sims 4, and the potential it has.

To round off my Eurogamer experience I spent some time with LEGO Marvel Superheroes. If there’s anything I love, it’s a LEGO game, and LEGO Marvel looks set to build my infatuation.

Capitalising on the continued success of superhero films, LEGO and Travellers Tales have ventured into creating favourite Marvel characters as little blockheads. I was lucky enough to play a level in story mode and then experience all free-play has to offer. Though a lot of the characters were unlocked, I am looking forward to seeing which characters made the cut and we’ll get to experience in LEGO form.

LEGO Marvel follows the same game mechanics as previous LEGO games, continuing with the new introduction of voices for the characters. I anticipate enjoying the game, I’ve never been disappointed with a LEGO title, and with a different trophy lists for PS Vita and PS3, am looking forward to having two new platinum trophies in the bag.