Home > Chronological Challenge > Chronological Challenge Update – 11th January 2017

Chronological Challenge Update – 11th January 2017

January 11, 2017 Leave a comment Go to comments

Hello! So, I sure went quiet for a while there, didn’t I? (My 2016 “awards” being an exception, of course) Things went a bit wonky over on the BTPF YouTube channel thanks to a million technical errors (that are thankfully now ironed out) but that plus some personal issues led me to just abandoning a lot of my creative pursuits.

But with the BTPF Advent Calendar done and dusted over on the channel, and since it’s a new year, it’s time to start getting back into things.

And I’ve been doing some thinking. I’ve enjoyed doing my Chronological Challenge reviews, but honestly, I’m so far behind on them that trying to catch up is proving to be more of a chore than anything else. As of the last posted review, I’d gotten up to the start of 2001. But as will become obvious from this post, I’m on the end of 2003 and the start of 2004 in reality. There are 42 games between my review status and my current play status, and that’s a lot to catch up on, and honestly, I don’t feel like doing it.

I’d like to change tactics though. I’ve recently been following LightningEllen’s Conquering the Gaming Backlog blog, and I’ve really been enjoying her weekly roundups of progress, and I’d quite like to do something similar. It’s less formal, more conversational, and it’s something I can do once a week and cover a lot of ground and opinions of games as I play them, rather than trying to round up each game as I finish it and offering an in-depth opinion on it. Especially as, for some of the less exciting games, I struggle to go in-depth!

So, starting right now, I’m shamelessly stealing Ellen’s idea and doing a weekly Sunday update to share my thoughts on my Chronological Challenge thus far. Admittedly, it’s not Sunday when this goes up but let’s pretend it is. As for 2001 up to what won’t be covered of 2003, I might do quickfire roundup posts on those years at some point soon.

But let’s finally bring things up to speed. It’s 2017, and I’d spent the last week of 2016 catching up on games I’d missed from that year, putting the challenge temporarily on hold. But this week I decided to change things up for the new year. The way I’ve been playing games has been to alternate between two games, in the hopes that shorter games can be gotten through while I’m slogging through a big game. It’s been largely a good system but I decided to go further. Now I’m alternating between three games. Each game is assigned a number between 1-3 and they’re played on specific days of the week – Game 1 is Monday and Thursday, and 2 and 3 follow on logically. Sundays are a “wild card” day, where I pick one of the three to continue with, whether it’s the game I’m having the most fun with, or the game I feel I need to make the most progress with. It’s an experimental system and I’ll see how it goes, but it could be interesting to see if it helps me speed my way through my massive list.

Which brings us to this week. Game 1 is currently beloved cult classic Beyond Good & Evil, Game 2 is Final Fantasy X-2 (the not-so-guilty pleasure of the FF series) and Game 3 is adorable strategy game Pikmin 2. And what a selection that is.

Oh, and spoilers ahead for all the games, because of course I’m talking about specific things I’m doing/have done.

Game 1: Beyond Good & Evil
(Ubisoft, PS2 version, Released: November 2003)

Started this week after finishing up Tony Hawk’s Underground previously at the end of 2016, Beyond Good & Evil has been fun to return to. My goal for this is to finally get all the pearls and animal photos, as I’ve previously gotten to the end of the game. I feel like the last time I played this I got close, so I imagine this’ll be an easy thing to manage.

I am definitely of the consensus that Beyond Good & Evil is a cult classic that didn’t get nearly enough recognition on its original release, and deserves all the attention it’s gotten in certain circles. One thing that stands out about it so far is that it’s so odd in so many ways, but it all works. It’s got that Michel Ancel style to it that seems slightly off to anyone not French, but unlike the Rayman games I’ve played so far, this feels like it holds together much better, and it’s clear why Ancel sees this as his real baby.

It’s also smaller than you’d expect, which can be a little disappointing, as you expect this huge world to explore but it’s mostly just a tiny “city” and a bunch of small caves in a lake. But it’s so well-crafted that even this feels alive and makes you want so much more of it.

Also, there’s this guy

But what of my current progress? It all started well with the prologue and venturing to Black Isle for a dangerous mission for cash. Animal photos galore were taken, including a hair-raising time when my porcine uncle almost died when I tried to take a picture of a space wasp that was attacking him. We need the money, alright?

I lost my first game of air hockey in the Akuda Bar, but nailed it the second time to get one of the trickier pearls, but the races and Looter’s Caverns have proven much simpler to get through. I did have to return to Black Isle, however, when it was obvious that I’d missed a giant snail hidden in a cave hidden down a passageway.

Then it was off to the Nutripils Factory, where Jade’s uncle was kidnapped and we swiped his shoes to open a secret door to a spacecraft that we can’t currently use. Had some serious trouble with the boss in the Factory for some reason, resulting in me using up every health item I had to prevent a game over. It’s weird because I don’t recall having problems with it before, but clearly I was just being an idiot this time.

Then it was clearing some more stuff out and about in Hillys with the access cards gained in the factory, and using our new friend Double H’s concrete head to bust through doorways we previously couldn’t access. And now, we’re off to the Slaughterhouse!

My progress towards 100% looks like this: 44/88 Pearls (seems like a lot left, but there are a couple of instances where you get about 10 in one go later), 49/56 Animal Photos (final roll of film!), 10/14 MDisks.

Game 2: Final Fantasy X-2
(Square Enix, PS2, Released: March 2003 in Japan)

Help I’ve been playing this since November and it just keeps going! But that’s okay, but as Final Fantasy games go, this is one of my favourites, and while the general opinion of it seems to be “that’s just a stupid dress-up game that destroys Final Fantasy X’s legacy”, that opinion is wrong and I will fight you over this. No really, let’s take this outside. Right now.

It’s been a difficult game to try and 100% though. For those who’ve played the game, you will know that this involves doing very specific things at very specific points in the plot to make specific events happen, and very often this requires a guide to prevent you from completely screwing things up. Good job that I do have the official guide that does just that, but it’s still been a tricky one.

Especially with my current progress. I’m now on Chapter 5, getting those last few “Episode Complete!” notifications that will lead me to that sexy, sexy Mascot Dressphere.

Oh baby

Oh baby

I’ve cleared out all the chapters which end with just a few scenes of story and now it’s onto the juicy dungeon-based, battle-based and/or complex fetch quest-based areas. Had some trouble on the Thunder Plains against a Behemoth type boss that casts every possible positive status on itself, and boosts its own stats to an obscene degree. Managed to get through it, but it was tricky.

Then it was a trek through the cave it was guarding, where I found Yuna’s uncle Cid injured and miserable, and then a giant machina leapt in to attack. This boss fight was much easier than expected, particularly as it followed on from the nightmare that was the previous fight.

And now I’m onto the Chocobo quest. Have to find some special ruins where an Amazing Chocobo awaits, but in order to get this I need to catch Chocobos, which is a SLOG OMG. I’m not happy with the random element running its way through this quest, because it’s causing it to take infinitely longer than it should.

Current progress towards 100% is 94%, a bunch of which came from the original playthrough I did since I’m on New Game Plus for this attempt.

Game 3: Pikmin 2
(Nintendo, Originally on Gamecube, playing Wii “New Play Control” version, Released: April 2004 in Japan)

When I first bought the original Pikmin shortly after getting my Wii and deciding to grab some Gamecube games, I didn’t get on too well with it. The time limits imposed on you by the game seemed restrictive and too stressful to be enjoyable, and I put the game to one side. Returning to it during this challenge, however, was a very different experience as I learned to work with the timer and be friends with it, and had a blast with my adorable carrot men.

And here’s Pikmin 2, which so far is proving to be more of the same but so much better in pretty much every way possible, particularly as I can take my time with it much more than the first game. Individual days still have a timer but the game itself doesn’t have a day limit, which is nice. And it’s horrendously addictive, to the point where it ended up being my “wild card” game at the end of the week.

So how’s it been going? Well, I’ve managed to draw out all five Pikmin types, so I have access to pretty much anywhere now. I’ve got 60% of my debt cleared, but this doesn’t equate to 60% total completion as there are about 200 treasures and I have only a quarter of that.

The most notable moments so far have included all the following:
– been stressing my way through the Subterranean Complex in the Valley of Repose, thanks to endless bomb rocks and tank-like enemies (although I lured one of them off the edge of the map somehow, which made my life easier!)
– getting terrified by a Creeping Chrysanthemum that popped up right in my face during a routine exploration of Awakening Wood
– frantically assembling a squad of blue Pikmin as the sun was setting once I’d discovered them so I didn’t have to do it the next day
– endlessly struggling to find uses for Louie, the second captain

Other than that, it’s been a lot of addictive strategizing and planning and wanting to just…keep…going! It’s awesome.

And that is last week. It’s looking very much like this week will be more of the same games, but there’s a chance I could finish Beyond Good & Evil before the week is out, which would allow another 2004 game to come in and erode 2003 further from my list. I will see you then!

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  1. January 12, 2017 at 1:50 am

    Thanks for the shout out! I “borrowed” the idea from other bloggers so feel free to use it, haha

    I loved Beyond Good and Evil. Such an underappreciated game… I’d love to know what the fate of its alleged sequel will be. It seems to be stuck in development purgatory.

    Happy gaming!

    • January 13, 2017 at 12:03 am

      No problem! I’ve been really enjoying your blog and was like “I should totally do that too!”

      Current rumours are suggesting that Nintendo are helping to fund the BG&E sequel, and that it’ll get a release on the upcoming Switch. No idea how true that is, but that’s the latest I’ve heard about it.

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