Backlog Blitz: The Games of November 2014


November can be a painful, evil month for gamers. With publishers wanting to take advantage of the holiday shopping season by getting big titles out to market, and retailers offering deep discounts on even the newest games, giving in to temptation is easy. And give in I did, as weakness overcame me this month on a number of hard-to-resist deals and new releases.

Anyway, even though I dropped quite a bit this month — and recovery in December looks bleak — I still managed to finish several games, including my pick for Game of the Year.  I was a bit bummed, however, that my spending total was the highest it’s been since January. The format, as with previous updates, is Game Title (Platform, Purchase Price, Play Time).

Games purchased (-10, $195.75 spent):

  1. MW_WII_CVR SHT_3MadWorld (Wii, $10.00)
    After getting into the Bayonetta series from Platinum Games, I began picking up some of their other games. Last month it was Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, and this month it’s this stylish black and white action game for the Wii. I know close to nothing about this game, but I’m guessing it was highly influenced by Frank Miller’s Sin City. I’m looking forward to checking it out after I’m done with The Wonderful 101.
  2. The Humble Jumbo Bundle 3 (PC, $5.75)
    The folks at Humble Bundle continue to offer up some of the best deals in gaming, to the point where it’s almost criminal. This particular bundle contained the following titles: Always Sometimes Monsters, Blackguards, Euro Truck Simulator 2, Full Mojo Rampage, GRID, GRID 2, Half Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax Ultimate Boy, Insurgency, KickBeat Steam Edition, and Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure. I’ve heard so many good things about that Euro Truck Simulator series, so I’m curious to check that one out soon!
  3. WiiU_HyruleWarriors_BoxartHyrule Warriors (Wii U, $51.00)
    I have to admit that this was one of my more haphazard purchases of the month. I’ve been on a third-person action game kick recently, and the thought of playing one featuring a bunch of Legend of Zelda fan service seemed like reason enough to pick this up. Something tells me that this will be much cheaper soon, just because it’s one of those games on the fringes, but oh well, I’ve heard it’s good fun with near-limitless content.
  4. Bundle Stars: Lego Super Heroes Bundle (PC, $15.00)
    Bundle Stars is another bundle provider who puts out some really nice collections from time to time. I really enjoyed Lego City Undercover on the Wii U earlier this year, and so I’ve been looking for a reason to check out more games in the Lego series. This appeared last month and included the following: Lego Batman, Lego Batman 2 DC Super Heroes, Lego Marvel Super Heroes, Lego Marvel Super Heroes: Asgard Pack DLC, and Lego Marvel Super Heroes: Super Pack DLC. It’s not that inexpensive in bundle terms, but it’s still a good deal at about $5 per mainline title.
  5. ssb_wiiu_boxSuper Smash Bros. for Wii U (Wii U, $60.00)
    Nintendo strikes again with their big release for the holidays. I’ve admittedly never been much of a Smash Bros. fan or player, but this one seemed a lot more interesting to me, and given that it’s been a long time since I’ve played any sort of fighting game, I figured now would be a good time to ease myself back into a genre I once loved in the early/mid-’90s. I also picked up a Yoshi Amiibo, which you can check out in more detail HERE.
  6. The Humble Crescent Moon Games Mobile Bundle (Android, $8.00)
    Humble got me not once, not twice, but three times this month. This second one contained so many games that I have no idea where to start. At this point I feel like a collector of Android games since I rarely ever play them to completion. This bundle contained: 2-Bit Cowboy, Aralon: Sword and Shadow, Blocky Roads, Clash of Puppets, Exiles: Far Colony (Alpha), Mines of Mars, Neon Shadow, Paper Monsters, Pocket RPG, Ravensword: Shadowlands, Relic Rush, Shadow Blade, Siegecraft Defender, Slingshot Racing, Space Chicks, The Deer God (Alpha), and Topia World Builder. Whew! 17 different titles in total. I think my Android library is about to eclipse my Steam library, which is a little scary to think about.
  7. Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call (3DS, $20.00)
    Black Friday is always a day where I like to stay home. I just don’t like crowds who are going nuts over cheap, no-name TVs and throwaway DVDs. This time, however, I wandered out later in the weekend to see what was left, and this was one of them, which was about the going price at most of the online retailers as well. Living in Oregon means no sales tax, so it’s nice to get things for the actual advertised sale price. I put a decent amount of time into the first game, but plan on really sinking my teeth into this pseudo-sequel.
  8. diablo_3_ps3Diablo III: Reaper of Souls (PS3, $15.00)
    This is the other Black Friday weekend deal I picked up, which was an even better deal than Curtain Call at a very nice $25 off. Perhaps this is a bit of a shocker, but I’ve never played any of the Diablo games on PC. I’ve heard very good things about the console port, so I’m very excited to finally see what this is all about.
  9. The Humble Weekly Bundle: Zen Studios 2 (PC, $6.00)
    I love pinball games, with Zen Studios’ Plants vs. Zombies table is one of my recent favorites. This second pinball table bundle from them is full of good stuff: Base game and Civil War Table, Captain America Table, Excalibur Table, Deadpool Table, Doctor Strange Table, Mars Table, Marvel Pinball Vengeance and Virtue Pack, Star Wars Pinball: Balance of the Force Pack, and Star Wars Pinball: Heroes Within Pack. I like what I’ve played of the past Star Wars tables, so I’m hoping the ones included here maintain that level of quality.
  10. Sega 48-Game Mega Arcade Pack (PC, $5.00)
    This was part of a Black Friday deal on It’s been priced this low before, but not for a while. Not a bad deal at all given that it’s normal price is a very steep $70. These games have been part of past collections, but the emulation used in Steam seems quite good, and includes some decent visual options and save states. Included are the following: Golden Axe, Altered Beast, Comix Zone, Ecco the Dolphin, Gain Ground, Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master, VectorMan, Crack Down, Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi, Space Harrier II, Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle, Bonanza Bros., Columns. Ecco Jr., Eternal Champions, Fatal Labyrinth, Galaxy Force II, Kid Chameleon, Ristar, Super Thunder Blade, Alien Storm, Bio-Hazard Battle, Columns III, Sword of Vermilion, Virtua Fighter 2, Ecco: The Tides of Time, Decap Attack, Flicky, ESWAT: City Under Siege, Golden Axe II, Alien Soldier, Gunstar Heroes, Landstalker: The Treasures of King Nole, Light Crusader, Shining Force, Shining Force II, Shining in the Darkness, Streets of Rage, Streets of Rage 2, Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair, Sonic 3D Blast, Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine, Sonic Spinball, Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic 3 & Knuckles, ToeJam & Earl, and ToeJam & Earl in Panic on Funkotron. Sadly missing is the fifth Genesis pack, but at this price, it’s impossible to complain without sounding ridiculous.

Games finished (+3, $104.00 value):

  1. TF2-EApcSLP03Portal (PC, $10.00, 2 hrs.)
    For some reason, I got it in my head that it might be a good idea to “train” myself to play mouse/keyboard games right-handed. As a southpaw, I’ve always had to rebind my controls every time I want to play something like a PC FPS. It’s not that big of a deal, but it’s just annoying enough that I will usually go the lazy route and play with a gamepad. While it was going OK, I realized that I rely on my left-handedness too much for other PC-oriented tasks, like Photoshop and other art/drawing applications, so I decided to stick with what has worked for me all of these years. I was going to help train myself with this game, and although I didn’t play it right-handed, I went ahead and played through the entire thing yet again. It’s still one of the most tightly constructed FPS puzzle games, but wow is it short if you know what you’re doing!
    Overall: A
  2. Bayonetta 2 (Wii U, $60.00, 20 hrs. and counting)
    As I mentioned in this post’s intro, this is my Game of the Year, and I played some excellent games this year. Problem is most of those games came out in 2013 or earlier, such as Grand Theft Auto V, Batman: Arkham Asylum, The Last of Us, Super Mario 3D World, and Volgarr the Viking. I can’t get over how beautifully executed this game is, and it will be remembered as one of the best games on Nintendo’s most challenged console to date.
    Overall: A+ REVIEW LINK
  3. luigi_dark_moon_boxLuigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon (3DS, $34.00, 15 hrs.)
    This game took me forever to finish. I started it back in June, but for some reason, it never really hooked me. I appreciated it for what it was and for how it improved upon the GameCube original, but there were aspects of its design that I felt held it back from being a truly great and classic Nintendo title. Still, like the works of Studio Ghibli, even a “just OK” game from them is better than what most other companies produce, so it still managed to be a memorable adventure with lots of replay value for those who like collecting stuff and racing against the clock.
    Overall: (Review Forthcoming)

And with that, we head into the final weeks of 2014. It’s been a fun journey filled with some of the best games I’ve ever played, with some big ones set to hit in 2015, including the next Legend of Zelda, Batman: Arkham Knight, and Uncharted 4. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Time to start saving up those pennies! Have a great weekend and see you next time.