4iF Notes

Little did I know that I would post NOTHING while I tried to complete my Four in February. The challenged proved more difficult to complete than I first imagined. Last night, at 11pm, I finished my fourth game in February. I spent around 20 hours a week gaming, so all told I spent roughly 80 hours gaming this month. The playtime for the four games I beat totaled somewhere near 60 hours. The 20 remaining hours were spent on games I didn’t finish. Here’s my notes on my Four in February experience:

I was off to a blazing start after beating Portal in just a couple hours. I enjoyed it, but it seemed a lot easier and shorter than Portal 2. Though, had I known what Wheatley was when I played Portal 2, I would have trusted him a lot less. Even though I played it fast, I still got chills from Portal’s creepy, abandoned vibe. Actually, I get that vibe from any game that sends my character to prison or leaves them alone for a stretch of time… perhaps it‘s just my own fears of isolation…  

Anyways, with only three games left on February 2nd, I thought I had this challenge in the bag. The next two were Assassin’s Creed: Revelations and Fire Emblem Awakening. Fire Emblem was a bit of a struggle to find, due to some unexplained shipping problems. AC:R is one that had been sitting on my shelf since launch, still in the plastic.

Assassin’s Creed wasn’t bad, especially for a game that juggled three main narratives (Desmond was exploring as Ezio who was tracing the steps of Altair). I think this one took around 15 hours to beat. I didn’t do any side missions, only crafted bombs when forced, and took no time to explore the cities. It sucked the joy out of the experience a bit, so I’m eager to go back and fill in some of the gaps. Fire Emblem took considerably longer, even though I played on the easiest mode (Normal Casual). I still pushed through the story a little faster than usual. I think without the Four in February challenge I’d still be farting around, playing DLC and fighting in skirmishes.

I had the first three game completed in the first two weeks of February, but I wasn’t celebrating yet. My fourth game represented a history of abandonment. You see, my next game was Ocarina of Time. I have no trouble starting this or any Zelda game, but usually at about 10 hours in I realize that I’ve got something better to do. I was determined to change this. 

I failed. I was sinking a lot of time into the game and making little progress. More importantly, it wasn’t fun. I found myself feeling impatient and frustrated. Some games are not meant to be tackled in a time-based challenge, especially not as a first playthough. You need to have time to wander, time to enjoy, time to get lost in that world.This is precisely the reason I didn’t choose Skyrim as a February game.

So, it was time for an alternate. I looked over the games I already owned (quite a few) and considered the ones I haven’t already beaten (not so many) and narrowed that down to ones I thought I could beat in under a week (very few). I tried Banjo-Kazooie Nuts and Bolts briefly, but the multitude of individual challenges lead me to try something else. I settled on Assassin’s Creed 3 (which was still in wrap from launch). I had just played Revelations, so the story was fresh in my mind. Also, I was confident that I could beat it quick. By this point, I only had four days left. 

 The first three chapters were horrible. The next couple were long. I was getting very concerned that I’d be playing until midnight tonight trying to get finished. The second half of the game, however, was quick. It wasn’t a great game. In terms of the Assassin’s Creed series, it wasn’t even a good game. Nevertheless, I beat it. Just like the AC game before it, there was a completely WTF ending, then a half hour of unskippable credits.

I enjoyed the 4if Challenge. I don’t know when I would have gotten around to beating the last two AC games without it. I may have never played Portal. I would have played Fire Emblem regardless. I intend to write a meta-review about all four in the coming days.

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