Conquering the Backlog Part 2: Journey, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, Just Shapes and Beats

Eric Abent - May 8, 2020, 4:16pm CDT
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Conquering the Backlog Part 2: Journey, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, Just Shapes and Beats

Last week, I kicked off a new series called “Conquering the Backlog,” in which I decided – in the middle of the year, no less – to finally begin sticking to my New Year’s resolution of working my way through my backlog of games. Like many of you, I have a deep, ever-growing backlog, particularly on PC, and the rate at which I was completing these games was vastly outpaced by the rate at which I was acquiring new ones. We have World of Warcraft Classic to thank for that, and WoW Classic ruining my plans is going to be a running theme throughout this entire series.

Now that we’re one week in, how am I doing toward accomplishing my goal? Well, I’m sure you’ll be pleased to know that after the first week of this “challenge,” there’s a new entry on my list of completed games. That game is none other than the PlayStation indie darling Journey.

Those who read last week’s article probably won’t be surprised to see Journey joining the list of completed games this week, as it isn’t a very long game. It only takes a couple of hours to complete, and if you take your time and explore the world a little closer than most, you might push that time-to-beat to three hours. Any way you want to slice it, it isn’t a very long title, but at the end of the day, a completed game is a completed game, so onto the list it goes.

Before we dive into the progress on the other games I’m working my way through, I want to address a very good comment I received on last week’s article. This comment first asked if I would force myself to finish games I’m not enjoying or otherwise find boring, and the best answer I have to that is “probably not.” There are dozens of games in my backlog – possibly even more than 100 if I tally everything up across all platforms – so I see little point in forcing myself to stick with a game just so I can say that I got my money’s worth.

That’s a particularly easy call to make when the majority of my backlog is on PC and I can reasonably say that I purchased these games for far less than their usual retail price. It isn’t odd to pick up games for less than $10 or even $5 on PC if you do most of your buying during sales, and there’s never any lack of those. For most of the games in my backlog, I’ve got my money’s worth even if I spend only one or two hours playing before deciding a certain game isn’t for me.

That commenter also asked if I’d say whether or not I recommend the games that I’ve completed along the way. I really like that idea, so let’s get caught up by quickly running through the four games I’ve completed so far.

Journey

There are two types of people in this world: those who have played Journey and those who are annoyed by the people who have played Journey. As of this week, I can at last count myself among the former group and begin annoying those who haven’t played it by talking about how amazing it is at every opportunity. It’s honestly ridiculous that it’s taken me so long to finally sit down and play it, given that (A) it’s widely loved, (B) it’s very short, and (C) my job is to play and then write about games.

Recommended? If you’re one of the eight people who hasn’t played it yet, then definitely. It’s a fantastic experience that doesn’t overstay its welcome, and the ending sequence had me quite literally watching in awe. It only takes a couple of hours to complete, but don’t let that dissuade you from picking it up, because Journey is one of those games you’ll probably want to revisit as time goes on.

Turok: Dinosaur Hunter Remastered

Turok is a game that I played a ton of as a kid, but never completed legitimately. I cheated my way to the end of that game many times, but its large, open levels were too much for kid me to navigate while playing it straight. While Turok is most widely associated with the N64, it actually got a very bad PC port as well. This remaster, which was released in 2015 by Nightdive Studios, finally fixes everything that was awful about the PC version.

Recommended? Maybe. Did you grow up with the N64 and the original PlayStation? If you did, then this is a safe buy. If you’re younger, there isn’t a whole lot to love here, because while Nightdive did a very good job with the remaster, there’s no getting around the fact that this is still a remaster of one of the earliest console FPS games around. If you’re a younger person who has a fondness for the classics, then go for it, but otherwise, you can probably give this a pass.

Cat Quest

Cat Quest has the distinction of being the first game I completed in 2020, and I loved every minute of it. It’s not particularly challenging, nor is it particularly long, but good lord it’s cute. Like Journey, Cat Quest isn’t a game that overstays its welcome, and I’m looking forward to buying and playing Cat Quest 2 at some point this year to see what it does to improve on the formula.

Recommended? Yes, assuming you like cats and cat-related puns. Cat Quest is a very charming game that will make you smile at pretty much every turn, and I think it’s a great game to kick back and relax with.

Chrono Trigger

This one is kind of cheating since I’ve played Chrono Trigger before, but since this was my first time playing the PC version (which cost me $15, I might add), it’s going on the list. I actually replayed Chrono Trigger again this year in anticipation of a series of articles I’d like to put together for its 25th anniversary, so keep an eye out for that later this year.

Recommended? Absolutely, unequivocally, one-hundred-percent yes. Chrono Trigger is my favorite game of all time and it’s one of the best RPGs ever made. I hesitate to say that any game is perfect, but if there is a perfect game out there, Chrono Trigger is it. Everything about this game is incredible, from the characters and story to the soundtrack and gameplay. Everyone who enjoys video games should play it.

So, now that we’re all caught up on the recommendations for the games I’ve completed, let’s dive into what I spent the last week playing. I’ve continued working my way through Ori and the Will of the Wisps and that game is shaping up to be just as wonderful as I’d hoped it would be. I was a big fan of Ori and the Blind Forest, and so far, Ori and the Will of the Wisps just seems like one giant step forward from that game. When I’m not playing World of Warcraft Classic, Ori and the Will of the Wisps will definitely be taking priority until I finish it.

With Journey done, I needed to start playing a new game, and while last week I said that I would probably start on Turok 2: Seeds of Evil or Hollow Knight, those plans got shelved temporarily by a game called Just Shapes and Beats. I have quite a fondness for rhythm games, and though this one caught my eye when it was first announced, I didn’t pull the trigger until the developers added music from Shovel Knight.

I’m having a lot of fun with Just Shapes and Beats, but I’m also very, very bad at the game. It’s probably going to take me a while to work my way through this one, so even though I do plan to complete it, I might only play this in bursts as I play through other games. Now that you’re up to speed, here’s the list as it stands as of May 8th, 2020:

PC

• Cat Quest
• Chrono Trigger
• Turok: Dinosaur Hunter (100%)

PlayStation 4

• Journey

Hopefully next week I’ll have one more game to add to the list in Ori and the Will of the Wisps. Be sure to check back next Friday for Part 3, but for now, head down to the comments section and let me know what games you’re playing this weekend.


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