We all know 2020 will go down as one of the worst years in history, especially American history. I don't want to dwell on that, instead I'd like to share an obnoxiously long list of games I played while the world burned. I played a ton of video games in between the horrifying experience of waking up every day and the somber ritual of overthinking every possible aspect of my life and the world around me before passing out for the night. I'd like to start the already extremely fucked year of 2021 by looking back at the time I spent on the only hobby I have left to distract me from the existential dread of being alive. Why? Because I fucking love lists.
The structure of this list if loosely chronological in nature. I'm going to write at least a sentence for every game I invested more than a few minutes in during the year. It's going to be really damn long, longer than I imagined when I started putting it together. It feels like it's been years since games like Final Fantasy 7 Remake and The Last of Us Part II came out, and the reality that it's only been 8 and 6 months respectively is shattering. Another important note about this list is that it's not limited to games that came out in 2020. Like many, I started streaming in 2020 to my 3 bot followers, and spent a significant amount of that time playing games from the past. With those caveats in place, let's get on with it.
Probably the most "okay" Dragon Ball game I've played. It's not great, it's not bad. It lets you relive the Dragon Ball Z story with competent fighting mechanics and a good replica of the world. It's no Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3, but it's aight.
A great game that I feel was let down by the horrible final boss fight. I picked it up on game pass and I thoroughly enjoyed it for 98% of its run time, but that last boss makes me never want to touch it again. I wrote about it way back in January before the end times if anyone is interested.
My second game pass game of 2020. I played a bunch of Tekken when I was younger but kind of fell off at 5. Tekken 7 was a great time for the 10 or so hours I played it. The story mode is has a weird framing device with a journalist that really doesn't work, but it still has a few fantastic moments. Treasure Battle is a cool mode. I also really suck at fighting games.
Tekken 7 kind of got me on a fighting game kick, and the upcoming Persona 5 Royal led me back to one of my old favorites. When it came out almost a decade ago on the 360 I got super into it for about 2 weeks before I hit the usual fighting game wall. I've never had the patience to really grind and improve. Not that it mattered too much with this game. 90% of my time was spent in the story mode, which is a visual novel with occasional fights that players of any skill level can complete. It's a fun story if you're really invested in the characters of Persona 4, but even I got bored at times.
Hot off the heels of the first game, I promptly bought a used 360 on Facebook marketplace and downloaded Ultimax. This was back when buying and selling things on Facebook marketplace had a slightly lower chance of getting you killed. Ultimax is a fantastic sequel, improved in pretty much every aspect. The story mode here flows a lot better and thankfully doesn't make you repeat scenes like the first one. I also greatly enjoyed the focus on characters from Persona 3. I'm ready for 5 to get the fighting game treatment any day now.
I really don't know how to feel about this one. I definitely enjoyed the way it fleshed out the ending of the game, and some of the scenes were great. The problem is that it's 30 bucks for a couple of hours of content, a lot of which is repeated from the main game. I feel a little ripped off, even though the content itself is okay. I'm told the optional super boss fights are cool, but I'll never do them. I tried one and got my ass kicked so fast I went straight to YouTube to watch them.
I played through and 100% completed this game when it came out. This year, they added the game to game pass and it came with all the DLC. So I installed it and ran through them all in a couple days. They're all super short, and not the best, but they're serviceable. I actually quite enjoyed the final DLC staring the main villain of the game. Nothing mind blowing, but it was fun for what it was.
I bought this game for my then 4 year old niece. For a licensed game based on a YouTube channel, it's fine. It's just a basic bitch kart racer, but for a 4 year old that's more than enough. It also has some great options that make the game accessible for young kids like auto turning and accelerating. Could definitely do worse.
I've never been a big Street Fighter guy, but when they put this out with all the DLC for 30 bucks I figured I'd give it a shot. I didn't play a single match with other humans. I solely played through the bizarre "cinematic" campaign and the separate character stories. I kind of regret wasting my time on this looking back, because all the story content is trash, but at the time I guess I enjoyed it?
This is the game I was in the middle of playing when people in the US decided to sort of take the virus seriously. I've long been a fan of the rhythm game genre, and when a collection of all the Persona dancing games went on sale on PSN, I pulled the trigger. I'd say this is easily the best of the 3 dancing games, mainly because it has an actual storyline. They managed to make dancing to satiate shadows make sense in the universe, and I love that.
The perfect game to kick off a pandemic. I'll always remember the opening scene with news stations reporting about the pandemic sweeping Raccoon City. It was amazing timing, bravo Capcom. Outside of that, this game suffers from an extreme lack of content. The sheer disappointment of seeing how much was cut kind of ruined my enjoyment at the time, but the game is a lot of fun to play. I just wish it was on the same level as 2.
I got a bit of thrill out of seeing some of my favorite characters in HD, but for the most part this was a time waster. Easy platinum trophy, but lacks the extra production they put into 4. It's clearly made on a budget.
This was the big one for me this year, as I'm sure it was for many. I would probably put this at number one if this was an ordered list. It definitely has some problems, especially towards the end with that horrendous final dungeon that splits the party, but they got so much right that I find it hard to be angry. I'm one of those people who grew up with Final Fantasy, and while 7 isn't my favorite, it does hold a special place in my heart. I had little hope that Remake would be what I wanted, but it truly succeeded my expectations. When this game hits, it hits fucking hard.
I heard so many things about this game back in 2012/2013. Almost every gaming personality I listened to had nothing but great things to say about Journey. It might be because of those things, but I didn't really feel it the way I expected. It's a cool concept, and the random co-op aspect is awesome, but in the end it was mostly forgettable.
For some dumb reason, I honestly thought that I might get into Fallout 76 again. I played a lot of it at release, mostly out of spite really. It was easily the worst game I played in 2018, and once I put it down I expected to never come back. Then I started hearing people say how it was so much better now, and that the Wastelanders update added NPC's and actual story quests. So I downloaded it again, and after maybe 2 hours I uninstalled it and wondered what the fuck people were thinking. The game still plays like shit, and is still a framey mess even on an Xbox One X. It's buggy, laggy, and fucking boring. Nothing has really changed on that front, they just added some shitty quests. I tried to do a few of them, they were garbage. Don't let anyone fool you into trying Fallout 76.
I love the new Wolfenstein. I thought that New Colossus was great, though it had some gameplay issues. I even played Youngblood, which was mostly bad but saved by co-op. Old Blood was the only piece of the new Wolfenstein universe I hadn't touched, so I decided to fix that. I was hoping for more story, but there is virtually nothing here. Old Blood feels like an old school shooter, for good and bad. It's not for me, but if you're looking for a pure shooting experience it's probably worth a try.
Sometimes the Ubisoft open world formula is fine. Sometimes I just want to play a gamey ass game, and this was one of those. I believe this is the last of the original gameplay style of Assassin's Creed games. I haven't played any past this one, but I had a good time here in London. I fell off hard after the shit show that was 3, and this is the first game in the series I've fully completed since. I kind of want to play Unity now.
It's Gears as a turn based tactical game. It seems like an obvious idea that someone finally decided to greenlight. It's really good, but it's another game that suffers from a lack of meaningful content. The gameplay systems can only carry it so far. For some reason the baffling decision was made to require the player to do multiple side quests in between campaign missions. This completely destroys the pacing. If the padding was cut out and some more crafted scenarios were put in, Gears Tactics would been something really special.
Can you believe it's already May? My how time flies when you're living in constant fear. Anyway, Streets of Rage 4 is fucking awesome. I want it to be known that this is an achievement that's on par with Sonic Mania in terms of truly capturing the spirit of the franchise. It deserves the number 4. Play this if you have any affinity for the original trilogy. Cherry is the best.
Not even I can remember what compelled me to want to play this again. I think it was a combination of playing RE3 and buying that used 360. 12 dollars on eBay later and here I was, playing this piece of shit again for a couple hours. Fuck this game.
What a great quarantine game. I played 110 hours over the course of 6 weeks with this game, and I enjoyed every minute. Important to note here, this is the original Persona 5. I bought this on sale for 10 bucks at some point, and I thought it would be a waste to spend 60 on Royal. I don't know why I waited so long honestly, considering I played Persona 3 and 4 around when they came out. I guess I just kind of lost interest in JRPGs somewhere along the line. That was a big mistake on my part. I fucking loved playing this game. Maybe one day I'll get around to Royal. Just waiting on that Persona 3 PC release.
What better way to cap off an epic RPG. All the character I just spent over a hundred hours getting to know back together again. Just like with the dancing game for 3, you can feel the lack of budget here. It's pretty stripped down, but it's still a decent distraction with some fun character moments from time to time.
This was a lead in playthrough for Part II, but it was my first time playing the remastered version. Playing this game in 60fps mode was a revelation. I tried switching to the graphics mode and I could not deal with the sluggish movement. In my mind this is one of the few games that really nails the feeling of always being overwhelmed and in danger. So many survival horror games attempt to limit inventory and script encounters to leave you on the edge, but none in my mind come close to this. The feeling of barely scrapping by after every engagement and the exhilaration triggered by just finding a few bullets or some alcohol and cloth really help with the immersion. It's a masterpiece.
I don't want to spend too much time here arguing why Part II is so special. I truly loved this game, it's tied in my mind with FF7 Remake as the best game of the year, for very different reasons of course. I'll just say here that I appreciated the way the game was laid out, and while I can agree that it's a little bit too long and some things could have been cut, I still think it's one of the best gaming experiences I've had in the PS4/Xbox One generation.
This would be my 3rd personal playthrough. I picked this game up back in the day after Jim Sterling's infamous 10/10 review. Thanks Jim, you did good. Everyone should go read his review to get a sense of what makes this game special. I played it this year in anticipation of the sequel. This time around I used a guide to get 100% of the interactions, and now I love the game even more.
Nothing stops the Kingdom Hearts train. This was another game pass pick up for me. I skipped out on this when it came out because 60 bucks was insane for this small game packaged with a movie and a port of a 3ds title. I had a good time playing as Aqua. I'd already seen everything because I watched it on YouTube back in the day, but still had fun for a few hours.
Dishonored is an amazing game, and this is the definitive version. Not much else to say. I've played high chaos, I've played low chaos. Lethal and non-lethal, always have a good time.
This one hurt. As I said before, I'm a big fan of Deadly Premonition. I actually bought a switch after this was announced as an exclusive. This was the game that compelled me to invest 300 bucks in a new system, and it's fucking terrible. It's not just the numerous technical issues and the fact that it runs under 10 fps at times, it's also the structure. The city doesn't feel lived in and full of cool characters like the first game, it's just sort of there. There's not much to do outside of the story quests. The combat isn't good but it's at least easy, which is a plus. It's also very sparingly used, which is another plus. There are some good aspects, particularly the modern day point and click sections, but not enough to make this worth playing.
One look at this game and you can see exactly what you're getting. It's a lot of fun just being a monster and tearing people apart. They nailed the feel of being a giant tentacle beast, and it's impressive. I did have some issues finding out where to go next, but I always had a good time murdering everyone I saw.
I've always enjoyed the Call of Duty campaigns, and this is one of the best. Not really a lot to say, I guess it looked good but nothing really stood out to me as being a huge step up from the original.
I feel like Fallout 3 has gotten something of a bad rap in the years since it's release. It might have something to do with New Vegas completely eating it's lunch in 2010, but I love a lot of what Fallout 3 has to offer. This was the game I decided to play on my first stream, and me and the 0 people watching loved the almost 100 hours it took to complete every quest and piece of DLC. Even though I've played it all before, numerous times in fact, I never get tired of returning to the Capital Wasteland.
An all time great that for some reason eluded me. I played Dishonored and loved way back in the day on 360, but never picked up the sequel. I can't consciously say why, but I rectified that mistake this year. 2 playthroughs, one as each character, and I'll definitely go back in the future for another. Crack in the Slab is an absolutely stunning level.
Of course I had to follow up my discovery of Dishonored 2 with the standalone DLC. Once again Arkane nailed the world design and powers. It's fairly short, but worth every penny.
I love Life is Strange. Dontnod made something special when they came up with Max and Chloe. Tell Me Why continues the tradition, but doesn't quite reach the highs of their previous efforts. I appreciated the story they told, but I couldn't help but be disappointed with how it came together in the final chapter. It might have been a problem with my expectations more than the actual quality of the plot. Also of note is how gorgeous the game looks. Great game pass game.
The PC release of this collection came piecemeal over the course of the year, and it was a real treat firing up each game as they appeared. Special shout out to Halo 3: ODST and it's smoky jazz soundtrack.
The lockdown this year not only pushed me to start streaming, it also pushed me back to my old group of friends. Falling back in deep with this group was a true blessing when I was in a dark place, and the game we played the most was Sea of Thieves. I remember hearing about how little there was to do in this game at launch, but 2 years or so later and I had a great time plundering the high seas and participating in tall tales. I'd never play by myself, but with a group this game is gold. Thanks again game pass.
I only put about 5 hours tops into Civ 6, but I'd like to go back. This was another game I started up with my old friend group, but was never able to get everyone back on at the same time to continue our campaign. For the most part I have no idea what I'm doing, but it's a good time nonetheless.
Another blast from the past. 2020 may have been a steaming pile of shit but it was 2 for 2 on big budget remakes. The fact that I can say Final Fantasy 7 and Tony Hawk are GOTY contenders still blows my mind. I'm one of the unfortunate few who actually bought Tony Hawk HD in 2012, and it was a real shame. Not the worst Tony Hawk game, but it just felt wrong playing the stages of the first 2 games with physics that felt so off. Enter this remake, which absolutely nails the feel of the originals. The only issue I had with the game on release was the way goals were set up so you couldn't do them with every character, and they fixed that in a patch a couple months back. Thanks Activision, you did good for once.
Towards the end of September, Konami for some reason allowed GOG to release the PC version of MGS2. Thanks to the work of some underappreciated modders who fixed up the original release years ago, this version is an excellent way to play in 2020. While it lacks the updated visuals of the HD collection, it plays silky smooth. I didn't quite get through the entire game again, but I finished the Tanker and got a good chunk into the Big Shell. I managed to avoid drowning.
This game kicked off spooky game month on my stream. I love RE5, and I will state proudly to all who ask that it's the best RE game. I've played it to 100% completion with all unlimited weapons 3 times over the years on various systems. This time it was the PC release, and it was glorious. Sheva! Come on! You do it. Chris! I'm okay. Thanks partner!!
At this point I'm getting a little tired of writing, but the show must go on. I've probably repeated myself a dozen times in each little blurb. I don't really know what to say about this game. It's a horror game that's not really scary, but it does have atmosphere on it's side. I really have no idea what actually happened when it comes to the literal plot, but it looked good and I jumped on occasion. Art.
I played Costume Quest 2 years ago when it was a free game with gold on Xbox, and I remember it being cool. So as I was browsing for games to play on stream to continue with the Halloween theme, I found this was in my library. I think I got it in a humble bundle from who knows when. I had a great time, but it definitely lost traction as time went on. Even though it's short, there's just not enough variety to keep things interesting. Maybe these issues were fixed in the sequel, but I can't remember a fucking thing about it.
I like the Supermassive style. Playable horror movies with a ton of variations based on your choices. It's good stuff, and Little Hope is a solid effort. I don't think it quite lives up to Until Dawn, but for 30 bucks I had a great time.
I wrote a piece about The Outer Worlds late in 2019. It was about how the game starts strong but soon becomes repetitive. In that piece I said I doubted I'd play through the game again, I guess I was wrong. I downloaded the PC version through game pass when the DLC came out, and since saves don't transfer from console to PC and I wanted to try the DLC, I decided to stream myself playing the game for a second time. I think my first evaluation still holds. Things get stale after the first world, and it never really picked up again. The DLC wasn't an exception. Though it features a new environment and a sort of interesting story, it doesn't change up the core gameplay in any way. I'm on the hook for the second DLC whenever that comes out since I bought the season pass, but I don't think another full playthrough will be happening any time soon.
One might think it's impossible to really improve Tetris these days. One would be very wrong as it turns out. The visuals and the way the music hits as you clear stacks is incredible, and makes for a solid single player experience. It's the connected mode that really drew me in. Co-op Tetris against boss AI seems weird on paper, but in practice it's insanely fun. I spent a fair amount of hours yelling and screaming with friends as we tried our damnedest to beat the final AI bosses. Good times.
After playing all those spooky games in October, I remembered one of my old favorites. This game is backwards compatible on Xbox One, and it's still really cool. While it's definitely dated, especially graphically, it's still fun beating the shit out of crackheads with a lead pipe.
In a year full of nostalgia for the past, coming back to Rock Band was pretty fucking sweet. Finding instruments these days is a nightmare, and I ended up paying way too much for an Xbox One guitar on eBay, but it was worth it. Even though it's been years, playing was just like riding a bike. I spent a torrid couple weeks jamming every day but have since put the axe down for the most part. Just knowing it's there for me whenever I want to rock feels so good.
This is the game this year that inspired me to start writing again. I was so torn about how to feel about this game that I just had to vent about it in written form. Everything is there if you want to know more, but tldr it's alright.
The dark horse GOTY candidate. I was lucky enough to pick up a PS5 in late November, and so far I haven't bought a single game for it. I could have bought Spider-Man or Demon's Souls, but instead I played through the pack in game. I was compelled to do so after watching some video of it and seeing all the little details the game is packed with. I've never been a platformer person. The experience here is so pitch perfect I found it hard to put down. I went out of my way to platinum the game and find every artifact. I even spent a good couple hours trying to get better times on the speed run levels. I never expected to fall quite so hard for Astro. I knew it would be a quality experience based on what I saw beforehand, but it's so much more than that.
Coming off the highs of Astro's Playroom, I decided to play Bugsnax. The sole reason being that it was free on PS Plus and had a PS5 version. I like weird games, but this is something else. The strange way if fluctuates from serious to silly just doesn't mesh. There's a lack of coherence to the whole thing that I just can't quite put my finger on. Can't really say I enjoyed it, but it sure was a game.
Even though I wasn't a fan of Deadly Premonition 2, I'm still a fan of Swery. The man is a treasure as far as I'm concerned. Unfortunately I just didn't enjoy most of my time with J.J. While it starts off interesting enough, and the puzzles are cool, the second half of the game infuriated me in a way that I have trouble describing. I absolutely hated the final sequence of the game, because I had to do it a half dozen times. The game just isn't precise enough to pull off the action it was pushing. The real problem was a lack of checkpoints. Playing the beginning of a chase sequence over and over caused me to snap. I went off on this game, which I was streaming at the time. Now that it's been a couple weeks I'm not as hot and bothered, but I still greatly dislike the way the game plays. The story was great though, and I enjoyed the text message system.
I'm a big Gears fan. I fell off a bit on Gears 5 after it's first season, but came back with a vengeance this year. I've been playing daily the last few months, trying to max the battle pass equivalent. Hivebusters was a nice surprise when they announced and released it in a matter of weeks. I wrote a review of it here, but the long and short of it is that it's worth playing. Also making it free with game pass ultimate was nice.
I bought Ring Fit soon after I got my Switch because I'm fat and heard it was fun. Turns out people were right, it is fun. I kind of lost all motivation to play earlier this year for obvious reasons, but the last couple week of 2020 were spent playing a lot of Ring Fit. So far I've managed to continue it into 2021. I'm hoping this time I can stick with the routine.
I don't want to write too much about this game here, so I'll keep it short and sweet. This game is bad on a fundamental level. The glitches and crashes are one thing, but the game itself just isn't very compelling. It has some strong side quests and the main story is good for the most part, but otherwise it's a fundamentally flawed gameplay experience packed with filler garbage and completely unbalanced combat. I spent the second half of my time with this game clearing rooms without even trying, literally just using one ability then looting the dead bodies. I'm curious to see how much work the developers put in over the next year or possibly more. Fixing the bugs is expected, but I want to see if this turns into a No Man's Sky situation, or they just move on after the game is technically fixed. Only time will tell.
Well that's that. Goodbye 2020, onto 2021 which will surely be a great year for everyone!!
Seriously though I started playing Hades and damn is it good. Should have gotten to it earlier. I've also got Yakuza: Like a Dragon and 13 Sentinels on deck. Time is an illusion. Thanks for reading.