Happy New Year and all that. Sorry, and I must confess, I haven’t been my usual pesky self lately. BUT I’m going to try to do this yearly wrap up post thingy because… why not?
I beat a grand total of… wait for it… 8 whole games last year! Go me! Yeah… my backlog monster will rule me until the end of my days, Ah, well. I blame the two open world games I got lost in. I enjoyed all 8 of these games a lot, but here’s my order of liking them for no reason other than all the cool bloggers do top game lists.
- Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
- Dragon Age Origins (Ultimate Edition)
- Horizon Zero Dawn
- Dragon Age II [Will probably do a review sometime… maybe]
- Final Fantasy IV
- Final Fantasy Brave Exvius
- Cthulhu Saves the World
In Progress Games
Final Fantasy XIII Trilogy
I was feeling really miserable… and I heard Scout Harding (voiced by Ali Hillis) talk in Dragon Age Inquisition (more on this game below)… and I almost cried… and then I saw the Steam version of FFXIII trilogy was on sale…. so I bought the games (even though I have the PS3 versions)… and a cheap PC gaming controller… and now I’m 5 hours into my second playthrough of Final Fantasy XIII. Sigh…
For those of you who don’t know, I have some serious feelz for the entire trilogy. I haven’t been able to bring myself to do another playthrough, before now, because it reminded me of the mess I was when I played the games back in 2014. Well, I’m sort of a dark little ball of anger and sadness again, so I needed to see my shero again. Yes, I cried like a loser during the first tutorial boss, but after that I couldn’t stop smiling. I really missed Lightning and her crew. I love the comforting music, inspiring story, stunning environments, and all of the interesting characters mean the world to me (including cranky little Hope). There’s just something special about these games that makes me really happy, no matter how miserable I am. I really can’t explain it.
So yeah, most of my 2018 will likely be spent on Cocoon, Gran Pulse, Valhalla, and Nova Chrysalia, again, and I couldn’t be happier about that. Obligatory “haters gonna hate!” but the XIII trilogy will always be my second favorite video games of all-time (Fun fact: Ocarina of Time is my favourite).
Dragon Age Inquisition
Oh, Maker… did BioWare ever overreact to the linear criticism from Dragon Age II. Don’t get me wrong! Inquisitor Ellen is having a blast. It’s just that I spent 15 hours in the Hinterlands (it’s, like, the first area). I have an obsessive need to side quest so the open world bloat trapped me, I guess. However, I loved exploring the peaceful area while picking away at those near-infinite side activities. There is structure to it all, and it feels like I’m making progress (unlike Zelda BoTW… more below). I hit a wall there and moved on to Fallow Mire (super creepy), and now I’m in the Storm Coast (found out the Inquisitor can’t swim, sadly). These areas seem to have nothing to do with the main story, but I don’t care.
I can safely say that Scout Harding is my most favourite Dragon Age character ever! Yes, and for reasons, I like her even more than Alistair. I’m 20 hours total into this game and will likely be playing well into 2018.
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty HD
I picked up the PS3 version of the HD Metal Gear Solid: The Legacy Collection for cheap last year. I randomly gave MGS2 a spin on the last day of 2017, while bugging an amazing friend who was playing alongside me. I loved it! I’ve been playing a lot of lengthy RPGs lately so a stealthy action game was a great change of pace. It did take me a while to force myself into a stealth mindset though (my default playstyle is the “brute-force guns a blazing” type). There are so many cool things to discover in this game! Snake just rocks, Raiden is amusing, don’t equip the pack of cigarettes, and almost everything you can think of doing is possible. Wanna stuff that guard in a locker? Go for it! Wanna hide in that box and run around with it on? Definitely try it! The story is hella confusing (especially since I haven’t played the first MGS yet), and some of the fixed camera angles are frustrating, but this game is a true gem. I plan to go for the sweet Platinum trophy. I’m 8 hours into my first playthrough, so far.
The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild
Sorry. Almost everyone else may consider this the GoTY 2017, but this game is my BIGGEST disappointment of 2017. I was so pumped for the next big Zelda game. As you can tell from my first impression post, I tried really hard to convince myself I loved it (c’mon it’s Zelda!). The truth is I dislike the weapon mechanics, I never wanted survival or stealth mechanics to be a big thing in a Zelda game, the story is weak, and all those shrines scattered across an empty, directionless (albeit pretty), massive open world fell flat with me. I much prefer the classic Zelda dungeon experience, thank you very much. Since it’s freaking Zelda, and I don’t hate it, I do intend to give it another chance later this year. I guess Horizon Zero Dawn is partly to blame for stealing me away from Hyrule too. I am happy for everyone who loves this game though! This is just my wrong opinion of the best game ever. I love FFXIII a lot so that should already tell you I have a horrible taste in games, eh?
Super Mario Odyssey
At first, I was too cranky to enjoy the whimsical charm of Mario’s latest adventure, but it has grown on me since. I had a chance to play this a lot on my super portable Switch over the holidays. The game finally stole my heart when I found out Mario had a pirate costume! Yarr!! Anyway, I’m in the Luncheon Kingdom now. I’ll likely pick it up occasionally during the year. I heard it was short so I’m in no rush to beat it.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Single player is mostly frustrating with that stupid Blue Shell, but the game is still fun (especially since I created a Lightning Mii to race with). The computer AI always cheats when you’re in 1st place, and I’ve accepted that. My goal is to just get first place trophy in every 150cc cup, and maybe play online a few more times until Nintendo starts charging for online services.
This game just doesn’t hold my interest long. I bought it on launch day, and played it on and off over the years as the needy settlements constantly distracted me from my main objective (save my son or something, right?). I last picked it up in Feb. so it has been a while. Maybe 2018 will be the year I beat it, finally?
I love the Jak and Daxter style platforming, the simple combat is fun, but the environments are kinda dull. I like the main character Joule, and the bond she has with her Corebot buddies is adorable. The long load times were what bummed me out on this game. Plus it being from the creators of Metroid Prime skyrocketed my hopes to an unrealistic level. I will turn on my Xbox One again this year. And then I will give this fully patched version of the game a serious go. When exactly? I don’t know. But I haven’t forgotten about Far Eden.
Fire Emblem Heroes
I installed this game on my cheap Android device last summer. I played it maybe 4 times since then so I haven’t really mentioned it. The freemium mechanics are annoying (as always), and the strategy combat is very simplistic. The graphics are stunning, and this game would be great for anyone who wants a bite sized taste of the Fire Emblem series. I’ve only played a few Fire Emblem games, meaning most of the characters are new to me. I do however have Nowi – an overpowered dragon lady who breathes lightning (awesome). She often solos most maps because my other people suck, and Lightning based attacks pwn. I just want to finish the main campaign before uninstalling the game to free up precious phone memory.
2018 Gaming Goals
I’ll aim low-ish this year, but these are all subject to change based on my miserable mood swings throughout the year:
- Clear out the mess of in progress games listed above (either finish them or officially give up on them)
- Enjoy kicking ass with my shero in Dissidia Final Fantasy NT, releasing later this year. I have the game preordered and you get one of three steelbook designs for the game… I better get the one with Lightning on it.
- Play a Mass Effect game. Ideally beat all 4 of them, but I’m being realistic here.
- Beat RiME.
- Beat the Horizon Zero Dawn Frozen Wilds DLC.
- Beat Ori and the Blind Forest.
2017 Blogging Highlights
Sorry, I was a bit of a dramatic self-loathing blogger for most of the year. Right off the bat, I axed my old domain (conqueringthegamingbacklog.blog) and went in a more whatever I feel like doing direction, thus becoming lightningellen.com
I mostly stuck to babbling about games after that, but community collaborations were definitely the highlight of my blogging year! Here’s a few of my favourite things that happened:
- Adventure Rules Blogger Blitz competition – Round One, Semifinals, Grand Finale – I actually won this… and I’m still in a state of grateful shock! Thank you to everyone involved.
- Later Levels Question of the Month Challenge – September, October, December – I never won any, but it was fun to talk about other characters besides Lightning for a change.
- Later Levels Christmas Collaboration – Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7, Day 8, Day 9, Day 10 – Sorry, miserable me rage-deleted my Day 11 and 12 posts and they were never published 😦
- Well-Red Mage’s Asking Big Questions – 001, 002, 003 – I want to do 004 soon-ish.
- My babble-through of Dragon Age Origins (links are in my review) – This got hardly any views and took a lot of time, but I loved doing it! I always have something to look back on now.
- Various Horizon Zero Dawn Ramblings (links are in my review)
Stats ‘n’ Stuff
For the first time ever, here are some traffic numbers for my blog! I’m very pleased with them. This year was my best year ever for views, but I’m pretty sure most of them are from the army of spam-bot minions hovering on my homepage (not sure where I picked them up?). Based on my viewer-to-view ratio, it does seem like I have a few loyal readers who keep coming back, so thank you kindly to those fine folks! I like interacting with people more than seeing heartless numbers accumulate, so double thanks to any human (keyword) who has taken the time to leave a comment on anything. 🙂
Total Posts: 120 (including this one)
Amusing Search Terms That Brought People Here:
- lustful lali ho (Oh, Final Fantasy IV… tee hee)
- horizon zero dawn badass (True story)
- aloy asleep (I could see Aloy being tired after all the open worldness)
- almighty: fantasy clicker game! (NO IDEA what this is and scared to Google it)
- amiibo prototype for sale (I do love Amiibo but don’t deal in prototypes, sorry)
- when was the nintendo wii invented (I don’t know this)
- creative ways to tackle retro game backlog (No answers on that concept here)
Top 5 Viewed Posts in 2017:
- A New Direction: What Is Blog Anyway? (211)
- Have I Really Learned Anything From Blogging? (179)
- Blogger Blitz Grand Finale (160)
- Happily Ever Inked (156)
- Blogger Blitz – Round 1, Fight 1: Retail Rumble! (151)
Plans For The Scary Future
If I don’t finally give up and delete this ol’ blog, I will likely continue my game reviews in the form of Post Playthrough Roundups (I LOVE wordy titles 😀 ). Here are some other blogging ideas I’m pondering:
- Babble-through post for Dragon Age II, before my review. I do want to remember everything my fourth Hawke did, and my memory slips further with time. Maybe Inquisition too, but there is A LOT of stuff to do in that game.
- Babble-through series for the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy. This would be so FUN for me!! If any trolls show up, I’ll edit their comments to say how amazing Lightning is. My blog, my rules. Bwa ha ha ha!! 😈
- Book reviews, maybe? I’m not really qualified for these but I want to try.
- Reviews for swag I buy, like Amiibo and stuff.
- Throwback posts from my old blog I had in high school. These horrible posts could be great for laughs.
- I’m always open to collaborations so let me know if you have any!
Firstly, special nod to my top 5 commenters:
- The Shameful Narcissist – Sephiroth is to TSN as Lightning is to me! It’s so nice to have a friend who understands how important fictional characters can be to people. She is very supportive and a fantastic blogger. I have no idea how she keeps up with all of her “State of the…” posts. Impressive! Also, her knowledge on the iconic Final Fantasy series is second to none.
- The Otaku Judge – The awesome dude has taken the time to read, like, almost all of my posts and leave comments. Thanks!! I’m not big on anime but I love reading his entertaining reviews on the subject, as well as cool thoughts on video game stuff. Bonus points for loads of amusing puns!
- Mr. Wapojif – I may be a n00b who doesn’t love the latest Zelda and Mario games, but he has forgiven me and still takes the time to read my wrong opinions. I’m also grateful for the daily dosages of surreal humor randomness, expert book reviews, and cool video game opinions Mr. Moron dumps on the internet. Oh and check out his fantastic houmous-related short story too.
- Aether – Honest and knowledgeable, this blogger rocks! I’m really enjoying reading his Fallout playthrough series, and was intrigued by his thoughts on female characters in games. He may not like FFXIII, but he respects that I do! The internet would be better off if we all respected each other, eh?
- Athena of AmbiGaming – The Goddess of Wisdom’s blog is easily one of my favourites to read! I was so inspired by the video game coping project she did last year, there are always fun discussions going on, AND she makes badass booze mixes based on video game characters. I’ve personally tried all of them and they are all superb… hic. Oh, and it’s her fault I’m in love with BioWare now… thanks!! Check out her Patreon page if you want to support her video game relevancy crusade!
In no logical order at all, here is a small sample of cool blogs I enjoy following:
- Adventure Rules – Blogger Blitz was a big highlight of my blogging year so thanks to Ian for hosting it, along with the fun Charming and Open event in December.
- Evil Wizard, Esq. – I’m always grateful when we make it through another year without being toasted by this cranky dude! He is the bestest most evilest blogger friend, ever!
- Power Bomb Attack – Posts lots of awesome and honest reviews from the review copies developers give him.
- Falcon Game Reviews – Very professionally entertaining reviews, and he often includes his wife for neat back and forth segments. Consider supporting this great blogger on Patreon.
- Later Levels – Definitely check out Kim’s GameBlast18 campaign! A gaming marathon to support a charity that gives people with disabilities more access to video games? A super-worthy cause in my book!
- Galaxy – I enjoy reading about FPS, historical war facts, and the Xbox side of things here (most other gaming blogs I follow are Sony or Nintendo focused). This great blogger aspires to turn this site into something big, so check out their Patreon campaign and support if you want to (totally not pulling an EA either).
- GamersUnitedGG – Luna, the operator of this fine blog, is a great source of fun writing prompts, and I love her Memoirs of a Villain series! Check out her Patreon page too.
- Sheikah Plate – With a creative name inspired by Link’s Sheikah Slate device in BoTW, this cool blogger shows you how to make the delicious dishes from the game (no Dubious Food here).
- Mr. Panda’s Video Game Reviews – I’m way behind on his reviews (will catch up soon, promise) but I can tell you the awesome Mr. Panda has become a YouTube star in addition to already being an expert reviewer.
- Hundstrasse – I loved Luke’s semifinal post for the Blogger Blitz event! It took guts and skill to write Claire Redfield so well.
- Walk Away From The Sun… – The Kirby avatar promises cute things, and this blogger certainly delivers. Always fun to read her posts!
- Recollections of Play – We were playing Dragon Age Origins around the same time, and I loved reading this perspective of the game.
- Graffiti Lux and Murals – I’ve been following Resa for a few years now and I love all of her posts featuring street from around the world. I especially enjoyed reading about a recent marriage in her family. I hope the happy couple is doing well!
- Cheap Boss Attack – I like to refer to this blogger as the Slayer of Video Game Backlogs. Always fun reading about what he’s playing every Friday.
- hungrygoriya – I love reading about what this fellow Canadian blogger (eh!) and video game collector scores from swap meets, pawnshops, and sometimes shady Kijiji people. I especially enjoyed reading about the super-score she bought from a friend last year.
- the Well-Red Mage – I’ve been following the boss mage and his party for a long time now. As you can see, the site had quite an amazing 2017! I’ve been welcomed aboard as the Livid Lightning Mage and hope to write my debut review there soon (terrifyingly exciting!). Be sure to check out the site’s Patreon campaign, and help support good video game journalism if you can!
- Extra Life Reviews – Recently completed a 100th review special (congrats!!). This blog is one of the best places on the internet to go if you want to read detailed video game reviews. I’m looking forward to reading the next 100+.
- DReager – The internet’s best character fighting blog is right here. Clearly, Bass is unstoppable.
- Games With Coffee – I love coffee, and I love video games, so this blog is amazing! I really enjoyed reading his Path of Exile playthrough posts. Oh and he has a very fantastic Sonic and Final Fantasy VII crossover fanfiction. I’ve only had a chance to read one chapter so far, but I can’t wait to read more!
- Comma Eight Comma One – Just finished reading his superb analysis of Splatoon 2. I really enjoy the level of detail in this blogger’s reviews!
- Nostalgia Trigger – Geddy always triggers my nostalgia, especially with this post about MMOs and good ol’ World of Warcraft. I can never go back…
- Nintendo Figures – This website is hard on my bank account, but I forgive him. Lots of great reviews on Nintendo swag and I really, really, want all this Bowser stuff! I need to win the lottery soon, I think.
- Cupcakes and Machetes – The place to go for crazed baked good recipes and fun to read book reviews.
- ignitedmoth – I enjoy reading her comic reviews a lot! And OMG, Saga Volume 8 is out!! Gotta read that soon.
- I Played The Game! – I’ll likely never get a chance to play an XCOM game, so I really liked reading this blogger’s missions in the form of war logs.
- Drakulus – You have no idea how happy I was to see another person not madly in love with the new Zelda game. This blogger offers honest reviews and he’s not afraid to write things how he sees them!
- OverthinkerY – I love rocking out to the songs he has created during his Musical Mayhem posts.
- NekoJonez – We had the scary task of going first in the Adventure Rules Blogger Blitz event last year. Unfortunately, some shady internet sites have stolen articles from his great blog recently. Check out his PSA. Stay safe out there on the wild world wide web.
- Pop Culture Literary – Currently doing a fantastic 2017 reflection in blogs series showcasing many different bloggers in the community. I was also featured in one so… yay! (thanks again)
- So. Many. More. I could really go on forever, but I wanna go play FFXIII now, sorry.
TL;DR – I’m still just doing what I feel like, and I’m honored to be a part of this wonderful WordPress Community. Good luck with your goals in 2018! As my shero says – “It’s not a question of can or can’t. There are some things in life you just do.”
⚡Thanks for reading⚡