Putting all the games I played in a given year into one big blog has become a tradition, but it's one I'm going to have to modify for the godforsaken year known as 2021. I thought the list of games I played last year was long, but I spent even more time inside as 2021 went on, destroying everyone's hopes and dreams time and time again. This is the year I truly embraced Game Pass, something I've payed for since 2019 but only really used to play a few big releases.
Sometime in the summer I decided I would play at least an hour of every Game Pass release, because why not? I had time and no other plans besides existing, so it seemed like a fine plan. It was fun for a while, but it's created some problems when it comes to the blog you're currently reading. At my count, and I could be wrong because I just compiled this list a few minutes ago, I played over 90 games in the year of our lord 2021. That's about 80 more games than one would usually put in an end of the year list, so I had to make cuts. The last 2 years I've been writing at least a sentence about every game I played, but I just can't do that when the list is close to a century long. So right here at the start is a list of games I played but didn't really invest myself in. Some are just games I love that I replayed and have nothing else to say about. Most are Game Pass releases that I stopped playing after an hour. Nothing against these games, but I just couldn't be bothered
I'd like to say sorry to the following games. It's not you, it's me: Resident Evil Zero, Resident Evil Remake, Resident Evil 2 Remake, Resident Evil 3 Remake, Resident Evil 4, Resident Evil 5, Resident Evil: Revelations, Wasteland 3, Rainbow Six Siege, Resident Evil 7 + DLC, Injustice 2, Mortal Kombat X, Mortal Kombat 11, Forza Horizon 3, Hotshot Racing, Art of Rally, Recompile, Subnautica: Below Zero, Gears of War 3, Rock Band 4, Streets of Rage 4, Resident Evil 6, Dead or Alive 6, Virtua Fighter 5: Ultimate Showdown, 12 Minutes, Boyfriend Dungeon, Haven, Psychonauts 2, Myst, Breathedge, Crown Trick, Mighty Goose, Ghost of Tsushima Director's Cut, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas - The Definitive Edition, Forza Horizon 5, Phoenix Point, Astria Ascending, Unsighted, AI: The Somnium Files, Dandy Ace, Sable, Aragami 2, Quake, Space Hulk: Deathwing - Enhance Edition, Signs of the Sojourner, Surgeon Simulator 2, Flynn: Son of Crimson, Nuclear Throne, Scarlet Nexus, and Final Fantasy 13 (but not really for FF13 because it sucks)
With that out of the way, let's move on to "My Game of 2021," starting with a true banger.
Hades barely missed my 2020 list, and I'm ashamed I waited so long to play it. I picked it up on the Epic Store on sale, but it's easily worth full price. Everything about Hades screams quality and polish. The gameplay is second to none, the characters and story resonate, and it looks so damn good. I've always been more of a story guy and tend to avoid the roguelike or roguelite genres, but Hades manages to make the genre accessible to people like me with tons of options and an impressive variety of weapons and abilities. I can't say enough good things about it, and I even played another dozen or so hours when it came out on Xbox mid year. You should play Hades.
This game was 100% off my radar until I heard an impassioned discussion about it on a GOTY podcast for 2020. There were so many batshit insane things being said I just knew I had to play it. I'm so glad I managed to avoid most of the spoilers, because 13 Sentinels is possibly the best piece of mind fuck media I've ever had the pleasure of engaging with. The tower defense sequences were nothing special, but the visual novel side of things is so utterly compelling I ran through the entire thing in a couple of days. If you like having your mind blown, play this god damn game.
I so wanted to like The Medium. The last blog I wrote about 11 months ago was about The Medium, and I only wrote that because I was so disappointed. Bloober Team always feels like they're on the edge of making something compelling, but they keep falling short. It's not the worst game, but it's just kind of boring.
I wish I was more into Yakuza, I really do. It feels like it should be right up my alley, but I just fell off after about 15 hours. I couldn't do the random battles anymore. It became too repetitive too fast, which sucks. I like the characters and I want to see what happens, but I don't want to play it anymore. Maybe one day I'll find a fun playthrough on YouTube and finally see how the story ends.
The Outer Worlds was a good game, but it wasn't great. It has a lot of issues, among them the lack of variety in environments, equipment, and enemies. Murder on Eridanos was a great piece of DLC that didn't really solve those issues, but it did mitigate them a bit with some fun new areas to explore and a great plot.
I replayed essentially all the mainline RE games in early 2021, but the one I wanted to highlight was Revelations 2. This often forgotten sequel to the meh first game is a real delight. You can feel the budget for sure, but the gameplay is solid and the story is fun. There's perhaps a bit too much bad teen dialogue, but like Life is Strange it sort of becomes endearing by the end.
One of the best games of 2019, that was also one of the best games of 2020, is also also one of the best games of 2021. I played through the game again for no particular reason and once again enjoyed every single minute of it. It's only about 2 hours long, so give it a shot if you have the time.
I could say a lot about Nier but I want to keep things brief. I loved the game when it came out in 2010, and this version is technically better. I miss Papa Nier, but the improvements to the combat make it a worthwhile trade. Here's to hoping the supposed Papa Nier DLC comes into reality.
Someone convinced me to try and play League of Legends in 2021. From the years 2011-2014 I basically only played League, and cutting it out of my life was a boon. Still I downloaded the client and played a few games, but thankfully didn't come under it's spell. Bless.
After playing all the games leading up to it, Village was alright. I like that they expanded on the first person combat of 7 and made Ethan into more of a character, but it just didn't hold the same sway as it's predecessor. It's good, but it's just not special.
Mass Effect is the best, what else can I say. I like the improvements to the first game. The ending of the trilogy still sucks but don't let that stop you from enjoying all the hours leading up to it.
The new DLC for FF7 Remake was awesome. When it was announced I was extremely happy to see Yuffie, and they really nailed her character. It's a shame it was limited to PS5 players, but I guess you can get it on Epic now if you want to pay 70 bucks for a shitty port.
The third great entry in the Saint's Row franchise was my GOTY in 2011, and the remastered version looks fantastic. I'll admit it did lose a little bit of it's shine over the last decade, but I still had a lot of fun beating people to death with a giant purple dildo.
This game isn't great, but it's about 100x better than the movie it's based on. It's a short and simple beat 'em up, and sometimes that all you need.
This game was a pleasant surprise. It came out in Game Pass and I almost missed it until I saw a random trailer for it. It's a walking simulator in the vain of Edith Finch or Firewatch, and it's really fun. It's not quite at the level of those masterpieces, but it's well worth playing through if you like a nice narrative.
I played through Titanfall 2 again on a whim, and I still think it's one of the best shooter campaigns ever made. Effect and Cause has still not been topped.
I've heard a lot about Donut County over the last couple of years, but it was finally my time to play it when it came to Game Pass. It's an irreverent good time, and I loved the atmosphere the game built. Funny games are hard to come by, but this game made me laugh time after time.
Look, 2021 was a rough year for all of us. Sometimes you just want to relax and play a nice hentai game. I can't say Sakura Agent is any good, because it's not. It's clearly a story made to paste some anime tits onto. Still I played it to completion and then reloaded some saves to fill up the image gallery because I'm just an animal like everyone else in this world.
I really don't know where to start with this game. I tried it because it was on Game Pass, and even though I played it for about 2 hours I have no clue what it's about. It's a kind of deck builder battle game with a weird plot about capturing people in books or something. Even though I can't adequately explain it, I fell compelled to come back to it. Somewhere in the back of my mind I want to understand, and I guess that's a testament to the games style. Will I ever get back to it? Find out on the next episode of Dragon Ball Z!
Yet another game that I really don't know how to explain. At a high level it's a survival game set in a forest area, but there's just so much to it. I played it with some friends who knew what they were doing and it was a fun time, but I was just playing follow the leader. I have no idea how to actually play this game, but I look forward to more.
I downloaded this game to play with some friends who insisted on it, but in the end we only played it for about 2 hours. Since it was on my hard drive, I decided to play through the single player campaign and it was mostly a slog. There were a couple of nice set pieces but overall it felt like a waste of time. Luckily for me I have a lot of time to waste.
What compelled me to try this game I'll never understand, but I did and it sucked. The problem wasn't with the actual gameplay because it was a surprisingly decent racing experience. The problem is that it's a free to play mobile game, and it pulls out all the stops to wring your wallet dry. I gave up about the time I had to start waiting for timers to do another race.
This game is every video game in one. It has everything you can think of. It's got crafting, it's got dungeons, it's got combat, it's got stamina and climbing, and it's got a lot of boring assets. This game is so many things but it excels at none of them. I could see this game being huge with the right amount of polish, but as of now it's more of an experiment than an actual video game.
I played Metro 2033 Redux half a decade ago, and never found the time to play it's sequel. When Metro Exodus went on deep sale earlier this year and I bought it like an idiot, I decided I should probably play Last Light before I played the sequel. It was alright.
This game is a gem. I knew I wanted to play it when I saw the trailer, and lucky for me it dropped on Game Pass day one. I really love this game, it reminds me of Sayonara Wild Hearts. It's ostensibly a platformer but it ends up being so much more. I still listen to the title screen song from time to time.
I knew Skatebird was a joke, but I expected it to at least be competent. While all the various birds look great and it's appropriately cute, actually playing it is a nightmare.
I truly hate this game.
Another Game Pass game I jumped into during the summer, Superliminal is a great novelty idea. Using perspective as the primary gameplay driver is brilliant, I just wish I was smart enough to not have to look up solutions regularly.
Somehow I've never heard of this game, despite the fact that it's right up my alley. It has a heavy story focus and uses the framework of a journal in incredibly creative ways. Within the first 5 minutes I knew I was all in.
In an era of endless first person shooters Lemnis Gate comes out swinging with an entirely original idea. Having players take turns moving characters in real time for 20 second increments turns the game from an FPS into a strategy versus game. It's incredibly cool, but I had to stop playing when on the second day of it's release it started taking me 5 minutes plus to find a match.
The first actual PS5 I've bought, despite having one since late last year. Deathloop is the culmination of a lot of Arkane game theory, but I do feel it lacks the deeper storytelling and systems found in Prey and Dishonored.
I bought Cookie Clicker when it came out on Steam and it was all I played for a solid week. I would leave if and do some work only to buy more grandma's and portals. I had to give the game up because it was starting to become an obsession.
Last year I played through all of Fallout 3 and it's DLC and this year it was New Vegas' turn. The game is still an all time classic, and I greatly enjoyed finding a few new things I'd never seen before, even after dozens of runs.
If I had to make a numbered list it's like that True Colors would be at the top. I've long loved the franchise and I think all of it's entries are great, but True Colors really took it to the next level with it's amazing facial animation and outstanding voice cast.
I bought a Quest 2 just to play this game, and I don't regret it one bit. This experience is unlike anything I've ever seen before, and even among VR games the polish and depth is second to none. Playing one of the best games ever made from such a radically different point of view was a groundbreaking experience for me in 2021.
I preordered this game because I just plain love Far Cry. I thought I would love 6 as well, but I think it's the one that finally broke me. After 5 I was unsure but New Dawn was a lot of fun for me last year. Riding that wave into 6 and it wasn't long before I crashed and burned. I don't know if I'll ever finish Far Cry 6, and that makes me a bit sad. Also fuck Ubisoft.
I had a core group of friends ready to play this game to death when it came out, but it just never really happened. We eventually finished our first run through the campaign only to never touch the game again. It's good fun in the moment, but it lacks the staying power of a Left 4 Dead. Maybe it'll get there one day.
Like with Sakura Agent, I came into this game with porn game expectations. What I found was a pretty good coming of age story with some fun and interesting characters. I was constantly surprised by the quality of the writing and by just how invested I was in the fates of my virtual friends and companions. Sure there was also a ton of hardcore fucking, but that wasn't the point.
While I enjoyed House of Ashes, it might be the weakest of the trilogy so far. It's fun and it looks great, but the only thing that really stands out is the bizarre setting for a horror story. Once the novelty of that wears off it's a run of the mill monster movie you control.
After being impressed by Being a DIK, I decided to explore the adult genre a bit more and landed on this as my next title. It's not bad, but it's also not very good. I guess they can't all be masterpieces, but this game was passable and served it's purpose admirably.
I replayed the first 3 Halo games and Reach in anticipation for Infinite. It was fun, but nothing to write home about. What I did discover is that MCC is still a buggy mess in a lot of ways, and trying to work around the co-op issues made a lot of the experience frustrating to say the least. I never did get around to 4 and 5.
I fell into the multiplayer hype for the first couple of weeks of release, but since I finished the campaign I haven't been back. The campaign was fun but kind of forgettable. I'm not sure if I ever will come back, but the game remains on my hard drive just in case. I also bought the cat ears for 10 bucks in spite of me just saying I don't play it anymore.
After finished New Vegas I tried to stream Fallout 4. I got about 12 hours in before I just couldn't play it anymore. It's a shame that this is what we got back in 2015, and now the scars are fresh again.
It certainly seems like this game flopped commercially, but not critically. I couldn't resist the hype around this game in certain gaming circles. I bought it on sale for 30 bucks and I greatly enjoy the cast dynamic and the dialogue. The problem lies with the boring as hell gameplay. I'm in chapter 12 out of 16 and I'm really forcing myself to finish it at this point. If the combat was just a bit more engaging this would be a modern day classic.
I just started playing this game last night, and it's a delight. It's fairly simple and extremely easy on the normal difficulty settings, but you only have so many Christmas games to choose from. I like Zeboyd's other games and mostly enjoy their sense of humor, although the 4th wall breaks can get overwhelming.
That's all for 2021, unless I slip something in these last few days. Here's to hoping 2022 is slightly less horrific, even though we all know it won't be.
Merry Christmas I guess.