Backlog: What Launch Day? Edition

The PlayStation 4 launched yesterday, and we presume a whole lot of people (maybe even some of you!) lined up the other night to get their very own brand-new console before anyone else. None of us had the inclination to pick one up just yet, but we're eager to see reviews and user impressions roll in. If you've got a PS4, sound off in the comments and let us know how it is!

In the meantime, the rest of us are busying ourselves with the games that are still rolling in on our current consoles, which suit us just fine for now, thank you very much for asking. -- Nick Cummings

Nick

I moved this week. More accurately, I finished moving after a month spent on the road and couch-surfing with various family members. We've finally settled into a permanent residence in Seattle's lovely Wallingford neighborhood and things are finally starting to settle down a bit.

Time's been scarce as a result, but I still managed to squeeze in a couple hours with Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. I remember the last time I mentioned it that I wasn't sure whether this represented a return to form for the series or just the byproduct of annualization to an established franchise; unfortunately, I still don't know the answer. I now have my own ship, which seems to herald the point when the game really opens up, so I guess we'll have to wait and see. Still, I've come to appreciate how much more forgiving the combat and notoriety systems are this time around -- no more monotonously tearing down wanted posters, bribing public criers or chasing down messengers for me!

Doug

Oh, hey, cool: Yesterday the PlayStation 4 launched. I'll go down to the store an...wait, why is everyone driving on the other side of the road? Wait, you mean it's not coming out in Japan until February? And you mean I can't afford one and don't know what to play on next-gen either? I guess I'll have to wait then. I'm excited to read and hear all the impressions, but I'll have a few hurdles to jump between now and getting a PlayStation 4 sometime a year from now.

This last weekend I finally had a chance to sit down, ignore everything else, and play a ton of video games. Sometimes it feels good to be lazy!

The real beneficiary of all this time was Pokémon Y. Oh my god. The comment I’ve made before is there are plenty of games I love but few that just worm under the skin and grab you tight, and Pokémon is the latter for me. I’ve never been huge on JRPGs, but the mix in this one -- collection, leveling, exploring, dungeons and gyms -- has really caught my attention. As mentioned in our Pokémon-centric podcast, the difficulty curve has changed so that the main storyline areas are much easier to chug through than in the past. That change has made grinding much more palatable (and, really, the only time I spent hours searching through the weeds was when I was trying to capture a Pikachu).

I have fallen in love with the world of Pokémon, as childish as it may seem. I almost bought a plush toy of my Pokémon Y starter this weekend at the mall. You won, Nintendo. I might even go buy Zeldasoon too.

As well, it seems like all of my friends have, too. Two of my friends — a couple — smart, grown adults both, went out and bought 3DSes after drowning in "BUY A 3DS FOR POKEYMANS" peer pressure on Facebook. We have a group for expat nerds in the area to share Pokémon tips, tricks, and those oh-so-vital 3DS friend codes. So you could say that Pokémon is super effective on me?

Of course I’ve done more racing in F1 2013 as the season’s wound down. Look for more on that soon. And more time into Civilization V: Brave New World, wherein I’ve explored some of the newest features (like trade routes and the diplomacy changes) through the lens of the new Venetian civilization. In short: You don’t create settlers for Venice, and you can only ever directly control the capital city; instead, you use the Merchant of Venice Great Person to either make a lot of money or buy a city-state. I’ve used this to create a patchwork Venetian empire that has become an incredible money-spinner, the dominant diplomatic force, and also the dominant religious force in my world. I've rebuked Poland a couple times (who have the interesting habit of offering one of their cities as penance for losing to you in a war strangely enough) and I'm this close to igniting World War III with China. Civs become dicks once ideologies come into play.

Aaron

Hello, old friend — why do you treat me so bad?

Hello, old friend — why do you treat me so bad?

Aaron-Backlog-Tiny.jpg

Well, I re-installed Skyrim on Tuesday.

Yeah. I fucked up.

A prolonged flu kept me away from other games for most of the week. Because, and this just might be my thing, playing games while sick isn't enjoyable. So besides Skyrim and steamrolling "teh newbz" in Battlefield 4 for a couple of hours, I've let my controllers and keyboard collect dust.

The nerdiest activity I could manage while being bedridden was clearing out the old TiVO queue, and what a queue it was. This fall's programming lineup kept me totally glued to the tube. And though it's chic to not watch network TV anymore (that's what the hipsters tell me), I can't deny the satisfaction I get from watching such shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (which I would rate a B-), Supernatural (B+), Person of Interest (A+), Arrow (A) and others.

Videogames will roar back into my life next week with the release of Super Mario 3D World and The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. Oh, and my free copy of Assassin's Creed IV (thanks NVIDIA!) unlocks on the 19th.

I'm so excited to be a pirate, man.