Annual State of Gaming Address: 2017

For the past several years now, I’ve taken a day near the beginning of the new year to talk about the video games that are moving through the family cycle and elaborate a little bit on why we’ve chosen each one.

Battlefield 1

2D Boxshot Wizard v1.1Let’s face it; the Battlefield games were feeling a bit much the last few years. The inundation of yearly titles was more than most of us could stand. I know my gaming group had given up on Call of Duty and Battlefield years ago, dabbling in the area only briefly in 2015 with Star Wars: Battlefront.

I don’t know what they changed about the series with their latest entry, but Battlefield 1 feels wonderful to play. The pacing has slowed a bit, which allows me the chance to keep up with my opponents.

Now, I’m not saying I’m great at the game, but I can hold my own. When the match ends, I generally feel like I contributed to the group’s victory. This is an impressive feat seeing as, at its core, the shooter is still a general FPS title with cyclical matches that never end.

It’s the go-to Friday Game Night title, and with the coming expansion titled “They Shall Not Pass“, it’s hard to see this one dropping off our radar anytime soon. In addition, knowing that the game won’t be rendered obsolete this fall by a new Battlefield title means I may actually dive into the map packs and other features that will keep the title fresh!

World of Warcraft: Legion

legion_coverMy relationship with World of Warcraft is complicated. The game has been part of my life, off and on for over a decade now. I don’t think this game will ever really go away for me, though I might have to take breaks every now and again as the toils of home ownership, parenting, and anything else ultimately takes priority.

Warcraft has evolved a lot over the years. It strives very hard to remain a game that I can actively enjoy even with a limited schedule. This expansion, however, returned to some of the roots of MMO games, with what feels like an endless grind of content with the hopes of reaching a nebulous end.

I know I stand apart from many MMO gamers since I never actually got past the hurdle of being a “casual”, despite attempting to several times in the past, but the previous expansion (Warlords of Draenor) is the longest single time I spent subscribed to the game. I liked that the expansion felt like a linear story with a beginning and end. It felt more like a traditional game that included all the wonderful things I loved about Warcraft. Legion feels a little more fuzzy. I know the story, but I don’t feel like it’s right in front of me. They want more time invested to find it and I’m at a point where my time gets invested in higher priorities first.

Regardless, the wife and I enjoy the game immensely and since it’s something we can play together after the baby is down for the night, I suspect WoW still has a place in our heart for some time ahead.

Skylanders: Imaginators

71b6621kckl-_ac_sl1120_We enjoyed this year’s entry in the Skylanders franchise. The levels were fun, the story was weak, but the replay-ability was restored where it had been largely missing from Superchargers. The problem with Skylanders, as always, is the staggered release of characters, the limited supplies of figures in various regions, and the general large overhead price for the full experience.

We haven’t finished everything that Imaginators has to offer, and like Minecraft or Warcraft, it’s a game we’ll return to as the year goes on. One of the joys of these games is that we do still intend to keep them around so that our little one can enjoy something fun and simple as she grows up.

We know now that, like Battlefield, there won’t be a new introduction to the series this year, but we’re hopeful that the entire idea hasn’t been put to pasture. The franchise is a great thing for children and adults, even if it’s a bit too much in the financial department. Perhaps a break is just what everyone needs to figure out how Skylanders can succeed in the future!

Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes

I know what you’re thinking… mobile?!goh_key_art_header_and_featured_image

It’s true. I like to have something on my phone that I can play for a few minutes before bed, or in a lull on the couch, or while I’m out and about. A lot of people turn to Pokemon Go. I go to Star Wars. Though it’s not cheap, nor is it a traditional game when it comes to “play”. This turn-based combat game incorporates a lot of the “collect them all” mentality that kept me logging in every day for many months. I even dropped some real $$$ on this one, which is a rarity for me to do with a mobile game! That has to say something.

Looking Ahead: Astroneer

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As we kick 2017 into full speed ahead, I am looking toward a new indie game that might replace Minecraft as our go-to game for building. It’s just getting started on that “pre-Alpha” route, but the game already looks extremely promising and I’m hopeful it’ll develop into a large title in the future. Minecraft in space? Yes. Please!

Honorable Mentions:

Last year we had several interesting games pop up that I want to reference here, just in case others out there are looking for co-op games they can play with their friends! I also included the systems we used to play the games, though some of them are available on a number of devices:

  • Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes (3DS)
  • Portal Knights (PC)
  • Ark (PC)
  • Overwatch (XBOX)
  • Destiny (XBOX)
  • Skylanders Battlecast (Mobile)

 

I’m sure there’s more that I’m glossing over with this year’s entries, but as always there is plenty to do in the world of gaming. I’m just crossing my fingers that this trend will continue in the future!!!

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