2020 was a rough year, and especially in the context of 2021 so far (yeah I’ve taken forever to get this one out) we increasingly see how bad it was behind the scenes. 2021 started out pretty rough too, but things are on the mend in some regards and so far 2021 is shaping up to be a mild improvement. Regardless, there were plenty of games I felt things about last year that I feel like talking about a tad, and I’ll talk about them here now! Because as 2020 as 2020 was, it had some darn good games.
Biggest disappointment: DOOM Eternal
Wrote a blog about it, feel free to check it out if you’re interested but at this point I feel like I’ve said my piece enough. Just a shame.
Best Game: Wasteland 3
Feels like it's been ages since this one was just being backed and pitched, but at last in August it came out. It's just a great time-the game starts by throwing you into the frying pan immediately, the musical choices are fantastic, the gameplay is fun and all the little details build up into a lovely game about a post apocalyptic colorado. Multiple jokes in the game made me chuckle, and I found the writing to generally be pretty clever and well done. The game has its faults, bugs and loading times and the like, but overall I just had a blast playing it and once it gets all patched up I’m highly tempted to give it another go. Lovely game, and one I’d recommend to anyone interested in CRPG style games or fans of Wasteland 2.
Best Parkour: Ghostrunner
Yeah, the demo sold me on this one pretty quickly. It's a pretty typical cyberpunk story but the idea of a tower is a fun one, the visuals are great, and the gameplay is very fun and fast. It has some issues to be sure, and probably needs a bit of polish and tightening but overall it's just a fun time to run around and slice up enemies. The instant reload feature is great even though last time I played the game it sometimes let enemies know where you were right away and it's almost a must for a game that feels as Hotline Miami as this game does. Soundtracks also a standout too, but I’m an easy sell for retro synthwave music. I might eventually write a blog about Cyberpunk stuff, musing on it but for now I can say that (on PC at least) this one's worth your time.
Best Roguelike named Hades: Hades
I got into this game near the end of the year. I won’t go too much into this one given how lauded it already is, aside from noting that as someone who normally doesn’t care for roguelikes I really like Hades. It's kept me playing with its good story bits, character relationships, and enjoyable gameplay that's full of enough variety to keep me rolling. Probably their best game of the ones I’ve played (the only one I haven’t played is Pyre).
Best Yakuza game I played this year: Kiwami 2
Going through the Yakuza games has been a good time given how fun they are. While I didn’t overly care for Kiwami and how it approached its story, it was still a good time. Kiwami 2 however, is just superior in most ways-it looks great, plays really well with an updated combat system, and I found the story compelling and interesting. Seeing the tie ins to 0 was always a delight, and the game is just full of classic Yakuza weirdness. Really looking forward to going into the rest of them now that they’re on PC, and eventually getting to 7 which looks like a hoot despite my initial reservations about the combat system shift.
Best Monster Hunter expansion: Iceborne
Came out on PC in the beginning of last year, and yeah it's as good as the main game content wise-hell it's better because it introduces new mechanics, a massive glut of new content, and its just a great time. Don’t really need to say much more that I haven’t already said about the base game-it's great and worth your time.
Best F2P game: Warframe
They finally added an infested open world, a bunch of new infested gear, and big skeleton mechs that you can use to beat the shit out of things. Was a good year for warframe overall.
Best Alien Game: XCOM: Chimera Squad
I really enjoyed my time with this one. Story was more enjoyable that XCOM 2, and using aliens is great. The focus on a squad of pre-made characters means they get more fleshing out and personality, and also makes you toy with your comopostion. Especially as they get injured, you have to shift while also deciding where to devote your resources. Add in different factions, fun locations, fun lore to the city, snake girl brothels (the dev team knew what they were doing there and you'll never convince me otherwise), and you’ve got a pretty good budget XCOM game that I really hope informs the franchise going forward-though I do hope that larger, wider maps make a return. Variety is the spice of life etc.
Best Risk of Rain 2: Risk of Rain 2
Fantastic game. Just a fun time, and now that it's officially out it has plenty of content to play with and get through. I’ve said my piece elsewhere, but if you’re at all interested and you liked the first game I can easily recommend this one.
Best girl and Mermaid that is in a shantae game: Giga Mermaid
Every year, forever.
Thanks for reading. I’ve had a harder and harder time putting blogs out because of a mix of being busy and being lazy and finding it harder and harder to motivate myself to get off my ass and just write. 2020 was a hard year in many ways as I noted above-politically it was an absolute shitshow, and of course we had a massive pandemic that shut down things for a year or so-a massive pandemic that we’re still in and probably won’t see the end of for a while. It really crippled my drive in a lot of ways and it impacted my schoolwork a lot too, forcing me to do online classes and be denied social outlets or some in-class experiences. Other folks have had it worse of course and I’m very thankful I haven’t lost any family to this thing but still, I muse on the impact its had on my own life. Guessing its something we'll be dealing with even if the virus is smothered out for a long time, and just a surreal experience to be in the midst of something I've only ever read about in history books-albeit in a far better position than people in previous pandemics.
Still, I’m grateful for my online friends here and elsewhere-y’all helped keep me sane when I lived alone in Iowa and it helped to have an online community to chat and be with during the pandemic too. Its been rough but all you can do is keep moving and trying to make positive changes in the world, I spose. Preciate you reading, and hopefully this year continues the mild upward trend its had in at least some sectors of life.