Hello again, friends. It still feels like 2020, and that I made another list just months ago. Time has gotten weird as hell, but it has managed to unfold itself in such a way as so I could game like a heathen finally. Here are some I had fun with in no real significant order (Returnal is probably the best out of them this year, if I had to pick):
For some reason I was sort of bummed about this finally coming out! I loved the original and just sort of assumed it wouldn’t be as neat but it was neater and meatier (no meat circus though). It was nice to go back into that world and see those little people again. Some really clever bits. Pop psychology based enemies and devices, and they made the platforming fun this time.
A superb Tony Honk, for the first time since marijuana has been legalized recreationally. Things have been rough all over lately for everybody, just a wave of life’s most bummed out shit. A burst of light rocketed out of that darkness, and silver fox old man Tony Hawk did a 50/50 grind down it.
This one is old but I didn’t know about it until this year so whatever! Sorry! It’s space Civilization. Lots to fiddle with. You end up with a galaxy sectioned out like a lunatic would add toppings to a pizza. Each topping is a trillion strong multi planet civilization of bird men or robots with feathers or Gundam space civil warriors. You can be a real sociopath to the citizens you are shepherding, a lot more than in any Civ and at a larger scale. It all sort of slopes into that eventually. Kind of bleak to think about, but a lot of fun.
I liked this better than a lot of the 3D Zelda games. I liked how the little crow you controlled doot-dooted around like the claymation penguin Pengu. Great difficulty curve, very fun to move around in that world.
I have not played Quake (Quake 1, the trent rezone rocket jumper) since the Old Man Murray days (Chet’s new game looks really cool. ‘The Anacrusis’). They made it so it sort of feels alright playing it with a controller, which is wild to me. Playing it makes other games feel like when you step off the automated walkway at the airport.
They put out Nocturne again. I can let my rusty old PS2 rest now. You could almost feel the wave of frustration at people playing it for the first time hitting the Matador wall. Palpable. SMTV looks excellent but hell, I wanted to play this one (again). Now I want them to re-release Digital Devil Saga, immediately.
Had moments that were genuinely and innovatively disturbing. Reminded me of one of my favorite Phillip K. Dick short stories, “I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon” and that Stephen King story ‘The Jaunt” just a bit. Tangent but damn that would be a good one to finally get adapted for a film or etc. By someone who knows what they are doing. Returnal is extremely fun to play on top of everything else being excellent. Housemarque makes great games, they always have.
Another horror film inspired RE, this one going in on euro-sleaze Hammer films. I did not enjoy it quite as much as the gnarly, moldy previous game (I liked that nasty house as a location a lot) but this shit rocks, no question. First person torture porn. That Ethan’s hands get real messed up, I tell you what.
A fascinating concept. It is the old Tower Defense type of game with roguelike/card battle/generative Dragon Quest map creation. I wish I had a Switch and this game back in the day when I was working a job fixing projectors. I played hundreds of hours of Binding of Isaac on that work computer. I would have loved to Loop as well.
It’s been a good year for these. One of the best “metroidvania” games and its two older brothers (one of them is cool but kind of boring, the other one is a fuckup who still lives at home and keeps slamming his weener in the bathroom door), and the glory of numbers going up. Disgaea type games, those numbers just keep going up. Always a treat. The second volume of the NIS classics apparently is including ZHP (Zettai Hero Project), the NIS take on “mysterious dungeon” type games, it is incredible. The time devourer.