After two years, I’m finally continuing this series. Candidly, what took so long was forcing myself to write it. This was really difficult for me compared to the first. Arkham City is great – it’s the best in the series – but a lot of that greatness is improvement on the solid foundation laid down by the previous game. Iteration is less exciting to talk about than revolution.
I had intended to get this up for the game’s 10th anniversary but it took much longer and became much longer than I had anticipated. I thought, since I initially didn’t have much to write about, that it would be shorter than the first video but somehow it ballooned into the longest yet for the channel.
I hope I’ve done the game some justice here. Everyone knows it’s good, but it deserves appreciation a little deeper than that.
I will be doing Arkham Origins. Originally I was only going to cover the Rocksteady games, but on replaying them all I reconsidered. Since this one took so long, I’m not going directly into production on the next one. But I definitely intend to finish the series before the 10th anniversary of Arkham Knight – and even of Origins. Since there’s a new Rocksteady game out next year and a new Bat-family game, it would probably be a good idea to get the series wrapped sooner than later. We’ll see.
I was so looking forward to this game. Arkane Studios had become one of my favorite developers out there with their last few games. Dishonored 2? Great game with amazing level design. Prey? Even better and it featured the best narrative they’ve ever done.
For me, Deathloop falls flat in nearly every regard. The one way surpassess previous Arkane games is in the feel and flow of the action. That’s not nothing, but it’s not what makes them unique. Arkane making a game with lousy level design and boring player choice is like if Nintendo put out a Mario game that messed up the jumping but for some reason had a lavishly produced story.
This game got rave reviews from critics. Audiences seem to love it too. And that’s great. If I didn’t come to it with a set of expectations… I still think I would have found it lacking as I explain in the video. I’m honestly not sure how people are seeing this game as a masterpiece. If it helps people find Arkane’s older, better games or brings the studio attention for hopefully improved future ones, then that’s ultimately a good thing no matter how I felt about it.
Although the PS5 has been out since November 2020, they’re still hard to find and it’s still early days for the console. This is sort of a review, sort of a discussion about the PlayStation 5, some games, and the industry in general right now.
This was probably the most challenging and involved video I’ve done yet. The Nintendo Switch review was similarly complex, but this had a few more wrinkles to it.
To begin with, getting the console itself was tricky. I also wanted to do the video in 4K. Over the last couple of years, I’ve acquired the means to do this. I have a 4k camera, monitor, capture device, and now a 4K console. As of this writing, the 4K version is still processing on the YouTube backend. It’s been doing that for over a day now and there’s no telling how long that will take. But eventually this will be viewable in 4K.
4K 60fps video takes up a lot of space especially if you capture in a format that’s good for editing. All told, this project wound up being about 6TB of data. There was a ton of work to do – lots of games to capture, different versions of games, different modes, on-camera footage, and whole lot of graphics and supplemental material. It took much longer to edit than anticipated.
At the beginning, I also wanted to do HDR, but I abandoned that idea after some experimentation. HDR editing workflows are still too cumbersome and the amount of people who are actually going to watch a YouTube video in HDR is miniscule – especially when your channel has fewer than 100 subscribers (hopefully that won’t be the case for much longer!)
I had fully intended for my next Debug Mode video to be the start of new series that I was fairly excited about. Then computer troubles struck and corrupted the footage I’d recorded for that game. That really took the wind out of my sails.
I intend to get back to that previous project, but in order to work on something completely different, I decided to do a quick video on Hitman 3, 2021’s first big release. A “quick” video soon bloomed into a month-long production. The final video is a celebration of the whole World of Assassination trilogy. If you’ve seen my best-of videos for 2016 or 2018, then you’ve heard me championing these games before. They really are pretty special but it’s a little hard to showcase them in a video like this. I think you really need to see someone play the game in realtime or try it for yourself.
I almost passed on making a year-end wrap up video since I already covered several of the year’s big games in previous videos. But I do like this format even if nobody really watches. It’s a good way to cover a lot of ground in a relatively short time.
I actually made more Debug Mode videos this year than ever before… which is still not saying all that much. YouTube isn’t my job and it’s far from my only interest. Creating videos I can feel okay about putting out into the world is hard and very time-consuming. And although I keep entertaining the notion of doing shorter, more-focused videos that are a bit easier to produce, that hasn’t really worked out so far.
From what I understand, the almighty YouTube algorithm wants me to upload a 10 minute video every day. I don’t care who you are – there’s no way you can do that and not have the content suffer or lose your mind or both. Increasingly, I feel sorry for the people who are in that position. It’s often not about making consistently good stuff – but just about making stuff consistently.
Anyway, thanks for watching if indeed you do. Let’s all hope for a happy new year.
Generally I’ve avoided discussing extremely popular things when the iron is hot. I do this gaming YouTube channel in my spare time “for fun.” Trying to keep up with people who do it “professionally” while still maintaining a level of quality that I’m okay with would be utterly exhausting. But I decided to try my hand at chiming in on the discussion surrounding The Last of Us Part II. We’ll see how this goes.
This was maybe the hardest script I’ve ever written for this channel. The game is long, sprawling, and very ambitious. It’s kind of difficult to talk about because there’s so much there and it isn’t laid out in the most straightforward way. I think I managed to make my points in the end but I’m sure I could have done a better job somehow.
This video ended up being a lot longer than I expected or intended and there’s still a whole bunch of stuff I didn’t touch on at all. I barely talk about the gameplay and, really, the gameplay is not why I played the game so it’s not what I ultimately wanted to talk about. The interesting things to me with this game are story structure, pacing, and when it chooses to reveal information to the player.
Going from Animal Crossing to this was a pretty big change of pace. It’s a super bleak game so while putting the video together was a good challenge, it wasn’t nearly as fun. Next up is something I think will be more fun – at least for me.
My buddy Joshua and I recorded a spoiler-filled discussion about Horizon Zero Dawn which would probably be the hottest new video game at the moment except then Zelda happened (and it’s really good too).
The short non-spoiler version is that Horizon Zero Dawn is very, very good and you should play it if you have a PS4 and like action games, open world games, sci-fi, giant robots, good fiction, and/or pretty landscapes. It’s gorgeous. The story is great. Fighting giant dinosaur machines is awesome. The initial reveal trailer from E3 a couple years ago showed a lot of promise and this game delivers on all of it.