Where Does the Time Go? - Pile of Shame Oct.-Dec. 2023

All right, we're in the home stretch for 2023. As a relic of years gone by, this thread lasts three months due to the tendency for the games industry to drop a lot of titles in the last quarter of the year. While this isn't as prevalent as it was when I started doing these threads (way back in 2007), I like tradition.

Some housekeeping notes.

If you're interested, trueheart78, has the 12 month 2023 pile plan thread over here.

A quick reminder, in order to be considered "Pile of Shame" the game needs to be at least three months old. Otherwise, it's just a new game you haven't gotten to playing yet.

Also, if you are curious about some of the previous threads, Picks of the Pile, etc... Please go here and check out the spreadsheet I setup.

13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim - brokenclavicle, Malkroth, TheMostRad, bobbywatson
Alan Wake - detroit20
Bloodborne - 93_confirmed
Cuphead (DLC) - 93_confirmed
Cyberpunk 2077 - Hemi
Darksiders II - brokenclavicle
Dead Space 2 - AUs_TBirD
Diablo 4 - jdzappa
Doom (2016) - brokenclavicle
Dying Light 2 - 93_confirmed
Earth Defense Force - detroit20
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - jdzappa
Final Fantasy IX - AUs_TBirD
Fire Emblem Shadow Dragon - Malkroth
God of War (2018) - AUs_TBirD
Gris - brokenclavicle
Guacameelee! (Super Turbo Championship Edition) - AUs_TBirD
Hades - detroit20
Invisible, Inc. - LastSurprise, jdzappa
The Last of Us Part II - 93_confirmed
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga - Forlorn Hope
Luigi's Mansion - brokenclavicle
Monster Hunter Stories 2 - Malkroth
No Man's Sky - detroit20
A Plague Tale: Requiem - Forlorn Hope
The Quarry - jdzappa
Say No! More - Forlorn Hope
Sekiro - 93_confirmed
Shadow of the Colossus - Forlorn Hope
A Short Hike - Forlorn Hope
Stray - detroit20
The Talos Principle - detroit20
Undertale - detroit20
Witcher 3 - 93_confirmed
Yakuza 5 Remastered - Forlorn Hope

Expeditions: Rome - Malkroth
Old World - LastSurprise
Sam & Max Hit the Road - AUs_TBirD
Warhammer 40k: Gladius - jdzappa
Wildermyth - jdzappa

Fire Emblem Engage - Malkroth
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom - brokenclavicle, TheMostRad, Stele, Forlorn Hope
Metroid Dread - Forlorn Hope

Gravity Falls: Legend of the Gnome Gemulets - brokenclavicle

Neo Geo Pocket Color
Dark Arms: Beast Buster 1999 - - AUs_TBirD

Thanks for the carryover, Hemi. You da real MVP, as they say!

I'm happy to report that Gris and Gravity Falls have bit the dust, so only Tears of the Kingdom remains from September's picks.

I am, however, adding a few picks more because why the heck not! So here's my list for ease:

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom (Switch)
Luigi's Mansion (Multi)
Doom - the 2016 iteration (Multi)
13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim (Multi)
Darksiders II (Multi)

I'm bringing back a couple of games that I have tackled before but failed to get through, so these are getting their last chance; if I can't get through them, I will jettison them.

Thanks for the carryover Hemi!

With this being the last thread for the year, I am going to try and wrap up games I started earlier in the year that got pushed out because of new releases or playing JRPG club games. So with that, here is my goal for the end of the year. Also included is the final JRPG club game for the year.

Expeditions: Rome (PC)
13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim (multi)
Monster Hunter Stories 2 (multi)
Fire Emblem Shadow Dragon (multi)

Feels like a pretty respectable list, and hopefully not more than is possible. Will probably be a bit of a stretch to complete them all, but that is a bit of the fun of this!

Thanks for the carryover, boss!

In an effort to be honest with myself, as is the pile's way, I'm dropping Knights of the Old Republic. I can't imagine going back to it with any enthusiasm a week out from last thinking about it. AMCA's coverage should be more than enough to sate my curiosity.

Add on top that my partner lent me their copy of TOTK and JRPG Club gearing up for Q4, and I think I have a meaty slate for the outset. May add on Paper Mario should time permit towards year's end, but for now, mark me down for:

13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim (Multi)
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom (Switch)

With 13 Sentinels on PS4 & TOTK on Switch, this gives me a go-to game for each of my main systems. Should be a good fall for gaming!

I guess I'm still playing Zelda TotK but I haven't really played in weeks

I have quite a few that are about 75% finished... but it's difficult to go back to them with all the new games dropping. In no particular order:

Bloodborne (playing now, 95% complete)
Cuphead (DLC)
Last of Us II
Witcher 3
Dying Light 2

Didn't take part in last month's thread as I just wasn't up to gaming for the most part (though I did play through Quake II's remaster - my second time completing the Q2 campaign, which definitely holds up).

So for the final three months of the year, here's my plan:
God of War (2018, PS4/multi) - about 45% done according to youtube longplays. With one exception, I haven't touched it since the end of July, so hopefully that changes asap.
Dead Space 2 (PS3/multi) - my scary-game-for-Halloween game, which I will declare off and on for 10ish years. Hello Silent Hill 2!
Guacameelee! (Super Turbo Championship Edition, PC/multi) - my random pledge of the thread.
Sam & Max Hit the Road (PC) - tried this a few times since picking it up in the mid 90's, but never made it too far. It's the only S&M game I've not finished.
Final Fantasy IX (Switch/multi) - the JRPG club isn't officially playing this anymore, but I do want to get through it. Halfway through disc 2 (of 4). After a multi-month hiatus, I've begun picking it up again for short sessions.

Also want to get through Telltale's The Expanse, but that wouldn't be eligibe until Christmas (since the last episode just released).

Only one game for me at the moment: 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim (multi) for the GWJ JRPG club.

Not even sure I'm going to finish it, for some reason I just don't feel like playing games these days and want to focus more on my art instead.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom (Switch)
Yakuza 5 Remastered (Multi)
A Plague Tale: Requiem (Multi)
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga (Multi)
Say No! More (Multi)
A Short Hike (Multi)

Mostly just aspire to clear my current plate with the first four. The last two are short experiences that I hope to do to keep momentum going. Haven't had a ton of time to game lately but maybe things will get better.

I'm going to declare:

Invisible, Inc. (multi)
Old World (PC)

And actually finish them this time! More to come too, probably.

Might as well start with these and see if I can do more:

Invisible Inc
Diablo 4
Elder Scrolls Skyrim

Finally diving back in to Cyberpunk 2077. Played about 3-4 hours since it launched. Started a new game after 2.0 and I've put in about 10.5 hours now. I'm enjoying it. Playing on easy, cuz I'm old and ain't got time for that mess.

Invisible, Inc. is done!

Diablo 4 is down - well at least the campaign. I got a new Switch Lite where I'm plugging away at Skyrim and am on to Invisible Inc on the PC.

Sorry guys for double posting but I would like to add a game to the list. I'm playing COOP with my son on The Quarry for Halloween.

October update:

Dark Arms: Beast Buster 1999 (NGPC - Neo Geo Pocket Color) - undeclared
So this turned out to be my "scary game" for October. It's not actually scary, but it's a pretty ok diversion. You've entered into a pact with a grim reaper looking character to destroy monsters ("beasts") in a sort of underworld using your soul catcher gun and other weapons. Turns out there is more going on than Mr. Skull told you (whodathunkit?), and you're off to decide the fate of the underworld as well as the living one.
So off you go, fighting monsters from a Zelda-like 3/4 top-down perspective, either destroying them straight up with regular weapons or capturing their souls using a special gun. During downtime, you create new weapons from discovered "oums", and then....feed the captured souls to those weapons to power them up and evolve them into more powerful weapons.
I guess it is a bit of a horror game after all.
This mechanic is fairly interesting, and it's fun to experiment with the various weapons, but the rest of the gameplay is nothing to write home about. Perhaps I'm not being realistic about the limits of the hardware, but I feel like the action could be a bit more dynamic. The optional 50ish screen post-credits dungeon - while a nice extra - really highlights how repetetive the gameplay is, though amusingly, it's possible to skip several screens in a row two or three times.
Overall, it's a decent way to pass a few hours without too much mental investment, and it likely was pretty good for its time (I feel like it was one of the better non-fighting-game titles for the system), but I don't see myself returning to it.

Sam & Max Hit the Road (PC)
I just realized that I finally beat this just in time for the game's 30th anniversary, and have now completed every S&M game released except for This Time It's Virtual (which I had forgotten existed). In previous attempts a quarter century ago, I'd only ever dabbled in the opening areas, though the memory of a fishing Woody Allen and the world's largest ball of twine have never left me.
Plowing through from start to finish took less time than I expected (3 sessions), though I did have a walkthrough handy that I used about 5 times without shame. I really appreciated how well many of the jokes still landed, though others would probably leave Gen Z'ers (and beyond) puzzled. Speaking of puzzled, most of the actual puzzles were logical enough to not stump me, and a few of those I didn't get made some kind of sense in retrospect (Hint: if stuck, use Max on object).
Glad to finally mark this one off of my pile, and definitely enjoyed my time with it. It's a shame the IP has gone dormant save for various remasters of the Telltale titles.

Also completed, but not eligible:
Quake II: Call of the Machine
Think of it as the Master Levels for Quake II. This free episode for QII's 25th aniversary features six good mini-campaigns and a final boss fight. Level architecture is very impressive, stage design often inspired, the stages often feature 3-digit enemy counts and sometimes you end up with overwhelming odds reminiscent of a Serious Sam encounter. Each campaign also has a hidden secret level in which the designers really go crazy. At least I assume each campaign does - I only found 4 of 6 of them.
A great free bonus for Quake II.

Made progress in:
Final Fantasy IX - about 30 (gameplay) minutes away from disc 4, so that should go down in the next 1-2 weeks.
Guacameelee - beginning Desierte Caliente. Gameplay is just SO smooth and music fantastic. Funny af as well.
God of War 2018 - got a bit farther (used a chisel), but not much.
Dead Space 2 - have yet to start.

I allowed myself to be stampeded by the the announcement/release of a number of sequels, in recent weeks.

I am, therefore, declaring the following:

Alan Wake (PS4)
Hades (PS4)
Earth Defence Force 2 (PS Vita)

These are in addition to Stray and No Man's Sky (PS5).

But I have a cunning plan. I've got at least one day off each week before Xmas. When I add those days to the Xmas/New Year break, then I'm confident of completing at least Stray, Hades and Alan Wake.

Of course, I've got to complete Balder's Gate 3 first...

Finished The Quarry last night. Well, at least got a semi-happy ending even if I didn’t get the best one.

Want to add a new game to my pile:

Warhammer 40k: Gladius

It only took - checks time spent according to the Switch - 215 hours over a few months, but I have now put Zelda: TotK to rest. Will I go back at some point to do some more hunting of terrifying beasties and maybe polish of some quests? Maybe, but not for a good while.

I have way too much to play.

1 down and too many to go.

Finished all the episodes for LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga. I don't know if it's because I'm not as big of a fan of Star Wars or if it is of lesser quality but I enjoyed this less than the other Legos game I played years ago, Harry Potter Lego trilogy. It was oddly a comfort playing it with my sister this past month though so I'm glad for that.

I've made next to no progress on Yakuza 5 and Tears of the Kingdom so things are looking down for finishing those before the end of the year. I put Plague Tale: Requiem on pause for a bit since it was a bit too heavy for what was going on in my personal life. I will scratch off Say No! More which was just the levity I need right now.

I started Shadow of the Colossus (PS4/Multi) which I think I'll finish in time but not sure for the other game that I started, Metroid Dread (Switch). I am the world's slowest Metroid player..

I’m going to declare twoone ambitious projects, which I’d like to finish at least one before the end of 2023:

Ni No Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom (PS4, but I think it’s multi)

Stardew Valley (multi)

For Stardew, I have in mind that “finishing” means getting to the end of year 2, clearing the community center, and maybe 1-2 other achievements along the way. I have a save right at the beginning of Year 2.

EDIT: Don't know what I was thinking with this. Obviously NNK2 is enough by itself. I see the list hasn't been updated yet so I'll just strike Stardew.

Managed to wrap up both 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim (multi) and Fire Emblem Engage (Switch) before Thanksgiving vacation got into full swing, so that's those two picks off the list! That leaves Monster Hunter Stories 2 as the next big game to tackle, and since it is on Switch it can go with me on vacation!

I really loved 13 Sentinels, but there's not much I can say about it without spoiling the game. If you are into sci-fi mystery plots, or just well written stories, I would say pick it up and give it a try. Took me around 40 hours on my save file, but some of that is AFK time, probably closer to 35.

For Fire Emblem Engage I enjoyed the gameplay, but I can see why people are put off by the story. It starts out fairly okay, but the tail end goes into hardcore Saturday morning cartoon territory. The emblems work as a better combat wrinkle than the Gambits from Three Houses did in my opinion.

13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim has been completed. Going well for this quarter in game completion, especially taking into consideration how much time I spent on Tears of the Kingdom hehehe.

Yeah I forgot to declare 13 Sentinels here but I already finished it for the club about a month ago. I rushed through to get ready for Spider-Man 2 which will never be in my pile here since it's done too.

Guess I should get back to Zelda heh.

I’ve finished Warhammer 40k: Gladius (well won my first normal difficulty campaign at least.)

Would like to add the following DLC:

Crusader Kings 3: Fate of Iberia
Crusader Kings 3: Tours and Tournaments

DOOM 2016 is down. I think I've generally outgrown FPS games of this style, or maybe I'm just not going in with the right expectations. For a game that's supposed to be an action-packed-tour-de-force, I had way too many sessions where there were no more enemies to kill and some un-achieved goal with very vague guidance and a map that wasn't all that helpful. I am definitely not playing a DOOM game to get delayed by a switch or some silly action that takes me away from the action. I seriously doubt I'll ever get the sequel, as it is. It was fun when firing on all cylinders, but those spots where things got bogged down for me really tarnished the experience.

Finished A Short Hike which unexpectedly made me tear up at the end. A perfect game to play on a snowy winter day while bundled in blankets and drinking hot coffee.

I only have 3 more colossus to go in Shadow of the Colossus so I should be good on that front. And I'm hoping to beat either Tears of the Kingdom or Yakuza 5 before the end of the month.