With another year having tripped and fallen flat on its stupid face it’s time to round up the best games of the year, list style! Of course, my list here doesn’t have the same level of gravitas as the big names, but to be honest I love writing this at the end of every year, so here we are.
Let’s take a meander down the ruined street of memories to a console generation where grey and brown were the predominant colours. The Xbox 360 had been out for a year and was doing well for itself, with several games managing to shift over a million copies. As for me, I was finally looking to move on from my ageing Playstation 2 and join the new generation of consoles with their shiny graphics. As a PS2 owner, the PS3 was naturally tempting – I was familiar with the games already, after all, but the price tag was pretty hefty. The Xbox 360 looked great, but nothing on it stood out to me. And then Epic Games and Microsoft revealed their new game, Gears of War, and suddenly the choice was obvious. It turned out to be a good choice because the Xbox 360 era was glorious.
The Avengers heading to Xbox Game Pass was probably, to steal a phrase from Thanos, inevitable. It sold okay but struggled to make its development budget back, and its reception was rather lukewarm. Hell, my own review was hardly a glowing recommendation. But now that it’s on Game Pass? Well, Marvel’s The Avengers becomes a more enticing prospect. It may have found its true home. Time to suit up.
Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous beings with a daunting boss fight, the kind that makes mere mortals tremble in their boots. I’m not talking about some hulking beast, although one does turn up quite quickly – I’m talking about bewildering and terrifying character creation system with its legions of numbers and arcane terms. By the time the game starts proper I already feel like I’ve had my head kicked in by some demonic foe. In the game’s defence it explains everything in detail, it’s just that to a Pathfinder noob like me those details might as well be written in Latin. While the visual customization is quite limited, there’s approximately 25 different classes, along with sub-classes. There’s tons of feats and skills and abilities to choose from. In short, this CRPG where you control a party of six has a lot going on and is probably only going to be for the kind of people who can invest dozens and dozens of hours into playing it.
It’d be easy to recommend jumping into DOOM Eternal, the 2020 sequel to the 2016 reboot that amps up the action to even more insane levels and complicates the gameplay mechanics. Arguably, it’s the better game, and yet I can’t help but think there’s something a little more pure about DOOM 2016. And anyway, they’re both on Game Pass so why not start at the beginning?
It’s time to take a trip into the murky past, into the olden days of gaming when point and click adventure games thrived and everyone was well versed in their frequently baffling leaps of logic. First released back in 1993, Day of the Tentacle is actually a sequel to 1987’s Maniac Mansion, not that you need to know anything about that game to enjoy its sequel.
Over the course of this mildly inconvenient pandemic I have often sat and passed judgment on the decisions made by governments, safe and secure in the very certain knowledge that I’ll never actually have to make choices that can affect hundreds, thousands and millions of people. The pressure that must come from leading people and being put into situations with no truly correct answers must be immense. It begs the question: if I was put in that position, what choices would I make? Well, according to Frostpunk I’m the kind of person who will put kids into the mines and use human corpses as a source of nutrition. Vote for me, my friends, because you can’t have a Necromancer problem if there’s no dead bodies to bring back.
Videogame development is a complex and challenging task that takes years of experience and learning to master. The very best in the industry have spent thousands of hours honing their craft. They’ve burned away countless hours coming up with ideas and concepts for new games or how to take an existing franchise and spin it off into a different genre. But not The Coalition. Nah, they just took Gears of War and, in their own words, “we actually just took existing Gears and just moved the camera up.” Bloody geniuses.
Are you really a lover of games if you don’t have that one title that turns you into a ball of squealing nerdiness? That one game that speaks to you on some sort of spiritual level, the likes of which your own partner can’t even reach? For me, that game is Hades, one of the finest works of art our beloved medium has seen in years, and right up there in my top ten favorite games of all time. A hyperbolic statement for sure, but I’m going to need to you to shut up and just let me have this one, okay? Because now that Hades has hit Game Pass and launched on Playstation, there’s no excuse for failing to experience Supergiant’s masterpiece.
After living through (Well, so far) a pandemic I will never again question why people would insist on trying to re-open Jurassic Park multiple times despite what happened previously. Humans, as it turns out, have amazingly short memories and will insist in repeating mistakes they just made, even if those mistakes happen to weigh several tonnes and have huge teeth. Jurassic World: Evolution lets you take on the role of yet another idiot intent on turning dinosaurs into a tourist attraction, but you’re doing it for the best possible reasons: science money.