New Game Plus

I haven’t been nearly as heavily involved with the current generation of game systems as I was with the last. There a few reasons why this is so.

First, Wii is a piece of shit and if you like it you are too. There’s that.

I jest. Mostly. But I had a Wii for a couple of years, and once the novelty of Mario Kart and Smash Bros. wore off (which it did very quickly), there was exactly one game left that was any good, and nobody seemed to care about it. That game was Metroid Prime 3, and it was the end of an excellent series that should have been the new face of Nintendo’s third-biggest IP (I assume), after Mario and Zelda. I actually sold the Wii in order to buy a new PS2, because my old one had burned out some time previously. Wii was basically the Windows Vista of this generation: I consciously rolled back to an earlier system because it was so bad.

Since I had fallen out of gaming for a while after college, and I was so frustrated with my Wii experience, I missed out on a lot of big releases. When I finally got my 360 in 2009, we were well into the current gen and I never got around to playing the games I’d missed. There simply weren’t titles that I felt that compelled to play from the back catalog. Even moving forward, there have only been a handful of must-plays.

Partly this is due to the issue of replayability. In the SNES days, when Crono Trigger formally introduced the idea of new game plus to console games, games became something you could revisit multiple times and have different experiences each go-round. I must have played Crono Trigger, start to finish, a dozen times. New game plus has become a fairly common thing, which is great. It’s a reward for the hard initial slog through a tough game. The Mass Effect games have all featured this mode, which is one of the reasons why I’ve become so familiar with the history of that universe.

But Mass Effect, for whatever reason, is the only game of the current generation that I have replayed to this degree. No other game has been able to hold my attention for so long, even with new game plus. Even Arkham City, which is easily one of the best games of the generation, and certainly the best superhero game ever, hasn’t really merited much of a replay. I can’t say why that is, exactly. Maybe it’s me.

One thing that’s always been true about me is that I get into ruts: with music, with games, with everything. Mass Effect has kept me occupied for a long time. But now, it’s not as easy to find the next rut as it used to be.

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