23 votes

What were the best games you played this year?

Any game you played this year counts — not just 2021 releases.

What were the best games you played this year, and what made them so good?

69 comments

  1. [12]
    cfabbro
    (edited )
    Link
    I actually didn't play that many new games this year, and only started playing Monster Train on my Switch a little over a week ago, but it's already making me lose sleep because of how addictive...

    I actually didn't play that many new games this year, and only started playing Monster Train on my Switch a little over a week ago, but it's already making me lose sleep because of how addictive it is. It's a roguelite deckbuilder in a similar vein as Slay the Spire, but much better, IMO.

    Wildermyth is another roguelite, but a turn-based tactical RPG one that focuses heavily on procedural story generation, that also blew my mind, and I have sunk a lot of time into. I really wish they would port it to Switch though, since I think that's the perfect platform for it.

    And like @Thrabalen, I have also been enjoying the hell out of Forza Horizon 5 too. My only complaint with it is the music doesn't feel as good as the previous games, and the NPC traffic density is a bit low for my tastes too.

    12 votes
    1. [9]
      Fal
      Link Parent
      I've also been playing quite a bit of Wildermyth since we last talked about it, and the multiplayer is surprisingly fun with a couple of friends. The combat is a bit of a hot mess since everyone's...

      Wildermyth is another roguelite, but a turn-based tactical RPG one that focuses heavily on procedural story generation, that also blew my mind, and I have sunk a lot of time into. I really wish they would port it to Switch though, since I think that's the perfect platform for it.

      I've also been playing quite a bit of Wildermyth since we last talked about it, and the multiplayer is surprisingly fun with a couple of friends. The combat is a bit of a hot mess since everyone's trying to act at once, so any kind of strategy is hard to coordinate, leading to more injuries than usual. That kind of chaos is surprisingly entertaining though, and character sacrifices feel even more impactful now since we've locked every player to just 1-2 characters. The story vignettes and random events, side quests, and romances/friendships/rivalries are also pretty fun to act out too.

      4 votes
      1. [2]
        arghdos
        Link Parent
        I was wondering how the multiplayer worked out, its odd to hear that it’s not turn based there too, but it sounds like fun

        I was wondering how the multiplayer worked out, its odd to hear that it’s not turn based there too, but it sounds like fun

        2 votes
        1. Fal
          Link Parent
          It is turn based, kind of, just everyone is trying to do their turn at once, so whoever clicks fastest acts first.

          It is turn based, kind of, just everyone is trying to do their turn at once, so whoever clicks fastest acts first.

          2 votes
      2. [6]
        cfabbro
        Link Parent
        Damn, that actually sounds like a ton of fun, and makes me wish I had someone to play it with. I might just have to buy a copy for some friends, and try to convince them to play it with me. :P

        Damn, that actually sounds like a ton of fun, and makes me wish I had someone to play it with. I might just have to buy a copy for some friends, and try to convince them to play it with me. :P

        2 votes
        1. [4]
          arghdos
          Link Parent
          I’d give it a shot sometime after the holidays if you need an extra!

          I’d give it a shot sometime after the holidays if you need an extra!

          1 vote
          1. [3]
            cfabbro
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            For sure, I would absolutely be down for playing with you after the holidays. And by then my new PC should be built too, which will be nice. It's a tad overkill for playing Wildermyth, but go big...

            For sure, I would absolutely be down for playing with you after the holidays. And by then my new PC should be built too, which will be nice. It's a tad overkill for playing Wildermyth, but go big or go home, right? ;)

            2 votes
            1. [2]
              Pistos
              Link Parent
              Nice box -- but my eyes nearly popped out of their sockets at the price of that graphics card!

              my new PC

              Nice box -- but my eyes nearly popped out of their sockets at the price of that graphics card!

              2 votes
              1. cfabbro
                (edited )
                Link Parent
                IKR? My old computer honestly couldn't have picked a worse time to finally die on me, since the PC parts market is fucking nuts right now. :( But despite the jaw dropping price, $1450 for a 3070...

                IKR? My old computer honestly couldn't have picked a worse time to finally die on me, since the PC parts market is fucking nuts right now. :(

                But despite the jaw dropping price, $1450 for a 3070 Ti is actually a bargain compared to what they have typically been going for recently. And in order to even get it for that "low" price I spent over a week monitoring availability of 3070s and 3070 Tis on pcpartpicker, and as soon I got an alert to some showing up below $1800 I jumped on it. And within an hour of that alert all 12 of the newly available cards were gone, and the next cheapest was almost $3k, so I'm glad I did.

                To give you some perspective on how crazy and restricted the market currently is for GPUs in Canada, here is all the ≥3070 cards available to us right now through online retailers. The cheapest 3070 Ti is currently $1900.

                And sadly it's not just GPUs either. RAM and Storage prices and availability are going crazy too. I had my build jump up in price by $400 overnight when the Samsung NVMEs and Corsair Vengeance 3600 RAM I had originally chosen both went out of stock at the cheapest retailer. So I had to swap them out for WD NVMEs and Vengeance 3200 RAM to keep the build cost within my budget.

                4 votes
        2. Fal
          Link Parent
          I think Wildermyth supports steam play together, so that could be a way to trial it out, but it might be even messier than normal multiplayer. Either way, it’s generally a good idea to have a...

          I think Wildermyth supports steam play together, so that could be a way to trial it out, but it might be even messier than normal multiplayer. Either way, it’s generally a good idea to have a designated driver on the world map or else things get... difficult. Although I suppose there’s something to be said for the RP value of letting everyone go their own way :p

          1 vote
    2. [2]
      vektor
      Link Parent
      You're welcome ;)

      You're welcome ;)

      1 vote
      1. cfabbro
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Yeah, thanks again! @Deimos contributed to my new Monster Train addiction too though... he let me know it was on Xbox Gamepass for PC, which is where I tried it first. But after a few hours of...

        Yeah, thanks again! @Deimos contributed to my new Monster Train addiction too though... he let me know it was on Xbox Gamepass for PC, which is where I tried it first. But after a few hours of playing I knew I was hooked, so I decided to purchase it for my Switch, since that's where I do the majority of my gaming these days. And now I already have 60 hours played, got max level on all the factions, have unlocked all the cards, and am on Covenant rank 6. :P

        4 votes
  2. [4]
    Pistos
    Link
    Without hestitation, I say: Kingdom Come: Deliverance https://store.steampowered.com/app/379430/Kingdom_Come_Deliverance/ For me, the greatest game I've ever played in my life. I realize those are...

    Without hestitation, I say: Kingdom Come: Deliverance https://store.steampowered.com/app/379430/Kingdom_Come_Deliverance/

    For me, the greatest game I've ever played in my life. I realize those are strong words, but I mean it! Extremely historically accurate. Cool, fun and relatively unique melee combat system. Main playthrough quest line is very deep, with dozens of hours of story and play time. Plenty of side quests and tasks besides. Best scenery/nature graphics I've ever seen in a game. Great voice acting. Lifelike facial rendering and motion capture. Near perfect balance between realism/historicity and arcadey game play. Decent replay value; I played about half way through on normal mode, then started over in Hardcore and finished the game. Then I played through from start to finish on Hardcore with all handicaps (to get an achievement). Over 500 hours clocked by Steam. Some really good DLC, too.

    If you are at all interested in history, especially European medieval times, this is absolutely a must-play. I can't recommend this game enough.

    10 votes
    1. [2]
      Magical_Stardust
      Link Parent
      Kingdom come deliverance is such a fantastic game. It's basically my dream medieval game . The concept of learning how to read, complex combat and unforgiving gameplay made me feel good when I got...

      Kingdom come deliverance is such a fantastic game. It's basically my dream medieval game . The concept of learning how to read, complex combat and unforgiving gameplay made me feel good when I got the hang of it

      4 votes
      1. Pistos
        Link Parent
        Ah, another fan! Great. The amount of research they did, and the attention to detail that they put in -- just staggering. I believe the game was something like 5 or 6 years in the making. So many...

        Ah, another fan! Great.

        my dream medieval game

        The amount of research they did, and the attention to detail that they put in -- just staggering. I believe the game was something like 5 or 6 years in the making. So many fascinating aspects of medieval life built in. The political context; the religious context; the attempt to make combat realistic and not stereotypical (watch the extra documentary they put out, which is fantastic itself https://store.steampowered.com/app/970070/Fechtbuch_The_Real_Swordfighting_behind_Kingdom_Come/ ); the realistic weapons, armour and clothing (so much detail if you stop and take a close look); the real life locations (you can find them on Google Maps, and some KCD fans have sprinkled meme comments in the areas); the social strata, and their effects on interpersonal interaction ("don't talk to me, peasant" / "I am honoured that a knight such as you would speak to me"). I could go on and on. KCD is a monumental work.

        3 votes
  3. [7]
    Protected
    (edited )
    Link
    I played through Hades this year, for over 120 hours. It's a roguelite. Very good. Well balanced. A zillion lines of dialogue. Supergiant music = good music. I'd describe it more seriously but I...

    I played through Hades this year, for over 120 hours. It's a roguelite. Very good. Well balanced. A zillion lines of dialogue. Supergiant music = good music. I'd describe it more seriously but I think everyone knows of it by now.

    Other good games I played (and finished) this year so far (and that I hadn't played before this year) include in no particular order:

    • Psychonauts 2 (also requires no introduction I hope), in a couple ways it wasn't as good as the original but in many ways it was a straight upgrade that stays true to the spirit of the original and everyone seems very happy with it.
    • Death's Door, a tough top-down-open-world-action-puzzle-platformer about a grim reaper crow who discovers a conspiracy involving their employer...
    • OMORI, an overwhelmingly praised and incredibly adorable, heartfelt, traditional-styled JRPG that takes place in a boy's real life and in his dreams simultaneously. Warning: Contains themes of trauma and self-harm. Expect tonal whiplash from the skips between all is friendship and all is darkness.
    • Lifeslide I previously described here I think. An aerodynamically consistent game about flying paper planes through complex, beautiful landscapes. The game can be played without interruption and a lot of people seem to find it relaxing. I find it very tense and stressful, since the plane is constantly losing integrity and will get destroyed if you don't constantly gather, uh, triangles. A lot of fun though! Cool music.
    • Omno is a super chill 3D landscapey puzzle solving game. Looks great and is not very hard.
    • Mayhem in Single Valley is a surpisingly good pixelated top down game (stylistically a bit like Earthbound) about a boy whose town is invaded by zombies after a radioactive spill. The protagonist is a pacifist and won't kill anyone, so you have to navigate and platform from place to place by tossing the zombies objects that they like so they'll chase the object instead of you. The zombie epidemic is contagious so there will be many types of zombies including humans, forest critters, zoo animals, birds, etc. which desire different objects.
    • Yoku's Island Express after prompted by kfwyre. It's a pinball metroidvania. The sidescrolling world functions like a giant pinball machine where everything is controled by flippers.
    • The Wild at Heart was described to me as totally like Pikmin. I'll take people's word for it as I never played any Pikmin game. You control an army of little spirits of various types to navigate obstables in a top down world, remove obstables and enemies and, uh, save the world or something. There's a day night cycle and you have to return to camp by night if you want to sleep through it, or wait it out by a light source, because a monster comes after you when it's dark.
    • The Artful Escape is a narrative sidescroller on acid. No, not the developers. The game itself is on acid. Teaches good lessons. You can go through a good 90% of this game while continuously shredding on a guitar.
    • (EDIT) I have now finished Inscryption, which is a... thing... It has previously been discussed on Tildes, so I won't try to explain it, but most of the gameplay uses card-based mechanics. It was quite fun, though I think some of the many mechanics were barely explored and had potential for more.

    Also a shoutout to Jackbox Party Pack 8, it's a good one, especially Job Job!

    Hope I'm not forgetting any good ones. I did play several more.

    10 votes
    1. Apos
      Link Parent
      Hades also gets my vote this year. Same amount of time played.

      Hades also gets my vote this year. Same amount of time played.

      4 votes
    2. moocow1452
      Link Parent
      Inscryption has a mini expansion in beta that reworks the card gameplay into new challenge runs if you want to play a version of the game that does explore those mechanics a little more.

      Inscryption has a mini expansion in beta that reworks the card gameplay into new challenge runs if you want to play a version of the game that does explore those mechanics a little more.

      3 votes
    3. Protected
      Link Parent
      Congratulations to Hades for winning the Hugo Award for Best Videogame!

      Congratulations to Hades for winning the Hugo Award for Best Videogame!

      3 votes
    4. [3]
      dubteedub
      Link Parent
      How long is Death's Door and how challenging was it? It is a game I saw recently and was on the fence on purchasing.

      How long is Death's Door and how challenging was it? It is a game I saw recently and was on the fence on purchasing.

      1 vote
      1. [2]
        Protected
        Link Parent
        According to GOG Galaxy I played it for 24h exactly and have 79% of the achievements. On two or three spots it can get a bit frustrating to get through sequences of hard fights due to poor...

        According to GOG Galaxy I played it for 24h exactly and have 79% of the achievements.

        On two or three spots it can get a bit frustrating to get through sequences of hard fights due to poor checkpointing. Some boss fights and optional fights are also pretty tough and may require several attempts. Nothing too overwhelming, though. Worst case if you're having trouble with a boss fight I recommend setting down the controller and trying again after a good rest, since it's one of those games. It can also help to acquire (and use) different weapons and to carefully keep an eye out for the hidden, rare, but incredibly important health/mana meter upgrade shrines.

        There are plenty of collectibles to find, some of which aren't easy, but if you lose patience for those you can always use a walkthrough (or just not get them?) I got them all.

        You can get through the circular manholes by falling on them from above and using the attack button to stomp-flip them. It doesn't require any special item or power. The game never tells you this, so I'm telling you now. Not explaining this properly is the game's biggest failing, and there is no reason why you shouldn't know.

        5 votes
  4. [3]
    Thrabalen
    Link
    It's probably no surprise, but Forza Horizon 5. It might just be the best driving game (for me) ever. It had everything I wanted: open world, quests, and a driving aesthetic reminiscent of GTA V's...

    It's probably no surprise, but Forza Horizon 5. It might just be the best driving game (for me) ever. It had everything I wanted: open world, quests, and a driving aesthetic reminiscent of GTA V's driving. Plus, upgrades, unlockables, and achievements (I'm a sucker for all of those.)

    9 votes
    1. [2]
      UntouchedWagons
      Link Parent
      Is the world of FH5 more alive than FH4? I (foolishly) bought FH4 only to find the world fairly dead and underutilized.

      Is the world of FH5 more alive than FH4? I (foolishly) bought FH4 only to find the world fairly dead and underutilized.

      1. Thrabalen
        Link Parent
        As alive as a high-speed traffic simulator can be, I suppose. The roads are populated with vehicles (though sparse at times), but since you don't actually get out of your vehicle, it has that same...

        As alive as a high-speed traffic simulator can be, I suppose. The roads are populated with vehicles (though sparse at times), but since you don't actually get out of your vehicle, it has that same "you are a car" vibe that every racing game has.

        That said, it has weather, a day/night cycle, and a few areas that have spectators, but like every racing game (even an open world one) you could be forgiven that assuming the world of Forza Horizon is the same as Pixar's Cars... the cars are the only life form there is (with the exception of animals in a few places.)

        3 votes
  5. rkcr
    Link
    My favorite game I played this year was Sayonara Wild Hearts. It's a short little thing but it really burrowed into my head. The aesthetics and music just work so well. Runners-up are SOMA...

    My favorite game I played this year was Sayonara Wild Hearts. It's a short little thing but it really burrowed into my head. The aesthetics and music just work so well.

    Runners-up are SOMA (fantastic story, mediocre gameplay) and Deltarune chapter 2 (which only loses the top spot because it's incomplete).

    9 votes
  6. [3]
    dubteedub
    (edited )
    Link
    Here is a quick recap of the games I played this year. I gamed almost entirely on my PS5. Disco Elysium: The Final Cut - This is easily one of my favorite games of all time. The writing,...

    Here is a quick recap of the games I played this year. I gamed almost entirely on my PS5.

    • Disco Elysium: The Final Cut - This is easily one of my favorite games of all time. The writing, worldbuilding, music, art style, and dialogue choice gameplay is just perfection. I love the characters in this game. I love my version of the protagonist. The added fully voice acted script and additional quests added to the base game in the final cut really just solidify this. I can not wait for more games from the studio ZA/UM. 10/10 everyone should play this game.

    • The Last of Us Part II - Loved this one and just finished it a couple weeks ago. The storytelling in this game is incredible. I had been upset by the leaks released last year that pushed me off playing it until now. Even knowing the major story twists early on I still was gutted by how everything played out over the course of the game. The action is really gripping and left me on the edge of my seat after many encounters. 9.5/10.

    • Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart - This is the first game that really felt next-generation to me with the ability to seamlessly warp between worlds. I have played just about every R&C game since the first one came out on the PS2 in 2002. It has been a real treat watching this series evolve and build on its strengths. I highly recommend this one for those just starting the series or returning to. 9/10

    • Demon's Souls Remaster - The original Demon's Souls is a real masterpiece and the improved visuals and framerate in the PS5 remaster are top notch. Still has some of the best levels in any souls game for me. Seeing how much the series has evolved shows some cracks in several boss designs, but this is a must play for anyone that was unable to play the PS3 version at the time. 9/10.

    • Final Fantasy VII Remake - I adore the original FF VII and was blown away by how Remake expands on that world, its story, and characters and plays with and subverts it. It took me awhile to get used to the fighting, but by the end it was great. Another very great looking game. The ending of this game was incredible and I am so excited for the next part. I do have to say you have to play at least the opening hours of the original FF VII before playing Remake. Otherwise I think you will be missing a lot. 8.5/10.

    • Wasteland 3 - I had not played any other Wasteland games prior to this one, but checked it out for the turn-based tactical squad gameplay. The fights were great and there is a fairly rich RPG story to hold it up. Some of the elements felt a bit underused, but this is a great choice for anyone that loves games like the original isometric-style Fallout 1, 2, and Fallout Tactics. 8/10.

    • Returnal - Really tight and fast rougelike action shooter. the lighting and crazy visuals were really cool and were a delight on the PS5. It has a really tough difficulty curve at the beginning, but I enjoyed this one a lot. I still have not unlocked the secret ending yet, but it is a game I will definitely come back to again in the future. 8/10.

    • Ghost of Tsushima - Beautiful Samurai game. There were plenty of moments where I stopped to just look around at the scenery. Loved the combat and switching between fighting styles depending on the opponents was very rewarding. Some fantastic quests, but the main campaign was a bit lacking for me. 8/10.

    • Deathloop - Really cool start to this game that really petered out by the end. Great visual stylization, voice-acting, and combat that was drug down by a story that didn't come together as cleanly as I wanted. 7/10

    • Cyberpunk 2077 - A fun enough game that suffered from a rough launch. I am waiting to see how the big next-generation patch and free DLC comes out in 2022, but right now I would not recommend this game. 6/10

    9 votes
    1. cfabbro
      Link Parent
      Ditto. It's by far the most interesting, intriguing, unique, and thoroughly engrossing CRPG I have played in a very long time. And I would put it squarely up there with Planescape, Baldur's Gate,...

      Disco Elysium: The Final Cut - This is easily one of my favorite games of all time.

      Ditto. It's by far the most interesting, intriguing, unique, and thoroughly engrossing CRPG I have played in a very long time. And I would put it squarely up there with Planescape, Baldur's Gate, Neverwinter Nights, and Arcanum, in the ranks of my all-time favorites. Anyone who enjoys classic CRPGs but hasn't played it yet is missing out.

      5 votes
    2. Protected
      Link Parent
      FF7 Remake (part 1?) was great, saying this as a fan of the original as well.

      FF7 Remake (part 1?) was great, saying this as a fan of the original as well.

      3 votes
  7. [4]
    vegai
    (edited )
    Link
    Prey (2017) is the game I've been looking ever since I played the original System Shock. An amazing, although not extremely novel, experience. It still had some innovation and was generally very...
    • Prey (2017) is the game I've been looking ever since I played the original System Shock. An amazing, although not extremely novel, experience. It still had some innovation and was generally very good. This made me interested in checking Arkane's other games...

    • Deathloop, Arkane's latest game, was an ok experience. I really enjoyed the aesthetics, game mechanics and the acting generally. Ending was a bit... swift.

    • Undertale. Yeah, it was excellent in almost every way. The combat became a bit grindy and once I realized how I should've actually done it, I was disheartened a bit.

    • Insurgency: Sandstorm hits a sweet spot between realism and arcade. I have a love/hate relationship towards this game. It's easily the most hours I've spent on a game this year, and sometimes I hate that it does that to me. It's the closest I have to digital heroin right now and I have tried to permanently remove this game from my Steam account dozens of times, but apparently that's not something that can be done.

    • Disco Elysium. Superb generally, but I felt sad about all the small storylines I must have missed.

    7 votes
    1. MimicSquid
      Link Parent
      With Undertale and Disco Elysium both, I'd say that if you liked them, replaying and making different choices will expand your appreciation.

      With Undertale and Disco Elysium both, I'd say that if you liked them, replaying and making different choices will expand your appreciation.

      4 votes
    2. [2]
      Kuromantis
      Link Parent
      So you did a neutral run where you fight everyone you see but didn't grind in the ruins for genocide run? Yeah, that definitely sucks and very much undersells the game. I agree with MimicSquid's...

      Undertale. Yeah, it was excellent in almost every way. The combat became a bit grindy and once I realized how I should've actually done it, I was disheartened a bit.

      So you did a neutral run where you fight everyone you see but didn't grind in the ruins for genocide run? Yeah, that definitely sucks and very much undersells the game. I agree with MimicSquid's comment, doing True Pacifist and Genocide is definitely a good idea.

      3 votes
      1. vegai
        Link Parent
        Well not quite. I killed the couple first monsters (starting from Toriel of course :-|) and then went in a neutral/good direction, sparing everyone I figured out how to and killing everyone else....

        So you did a neutral run where you fight everyone you see but didn't grind in the ruins for genocide run?

        Well not quite. I killed the couple first monsters (starting from Toriel of course :-|) and then went in a neutral/good direction, sparing everyone I figured out how to and killing everyone else. I think I saved all the bosses except Toriel and that final jerkweed.

        Yeah, I'll probably try to do True Pacifist at some point. I watched that one significant battle of Genocide and that was enough for me :)

        3 votes
  8. [3]
    spctrvl
    Link
    Definitely Valheim. It's got a lot going for it, but here are a few of the top ones: PvE instead of PvP. While I did like PvP survival games like Rust back when it was new, and still like them...

    Definitely Valheim. It's got a lot going for it, but here are a few of the top ones:

    • PvE instead of PvP. While I did like PvP survival games like Rust back when it was new, and still like them conceptually, the problem was always that it only ever took one semi-organized band of 10 people without lives to ruin the dynamic of any server. Making the game mainly PvE, while replicating raids by event, gives you a lot of the same thrill without being totally obnoxious.

    • The game is stylistically unique and completely beautiful. It looks like a cross between Morrowind and something that would've been released on a console between the 6th and 7th generations, Skyrim on the PS2.5.

    • While frustrating at times, it does have one of the best build systems I've seen in a game like this. You can build some really unique structures, like my viking high-rise cantilevered off a cliff-face, and they'll look beautiful.

    • Progression is pretty neat. I love the interplay of access to materials, boss fights and biomes. I just can't wait for them to add more. I also like the skill system, and how it's portable between saves and servers, without being totally game breaking.

    • Transportation is wild. You get access to portals fairly early, but while a lovely convenience feature, you still have wagon trains and longships traveling everywhere because raw metals can't be taken through portals. Meaning there's incentive for seaport construction and canal digging.

    • Finally it just has a great ambiance. Hard to quantify, but it's really chill and inviting.

    7 votes
    1. [2]
      Pistos
      Link Parent
      I somehow lost interest in Valheim. I think my main problem was coming back to a server, and finding that other people had progressed the story line, or progressed the village construction, or...

      I somehow lost interest in Valheim. I think my main problem was coming back to a server, and finding that other people had progressed the story line, or progressed the village construction, or such. It just gave this negative feeling like someone else had played your save game. If, somehow, I could coordinate with a group of friends so that we always all came online together at the same time, to progress together, I think I'd have a much better time of it.

      2 votes
      1. spctrvl
        Link Parent
        Yeah, it's definitely better when you're in sync with your group progression-wise.

        Yeah, it's definitely better when you're in sync with your group progression-wise.

        3 votes
  9. knocklessmonster
    (edited )
    Link
    Oddly this year they're all older, and I can't say much about them that hasn't been said already. Elder Scrolls III-V: I started Skyrim first, after a twitch streamer talked it up to his chat,...

    Oddly this year they're all older, and I can't say much about them that hasn't been said already.

    Elder Scrolls III-V: I started Skyrim first, after a twitch streamer talked it up to his chat, insisting a major reason it is still popular with an active modding scene is that it's just a good base game. I decided to test this, and agree with him. I then wanted to go back through to at least Morrowind, so I played these three games more or less in tandem, with Skyrim getting the most attention, Oblivion the second, and Morrowind (via OpenMW) getting the least. I eventually beat all three and they're great, simultaneously similar and radically different to each other.

    Fallout: New Vegas: The legend itself. I wanted to scratch this RPG itch that Skyrim put in, and saw the entire Fallout series on sale for a total of around $30. It's difficult but fair, and if you're in trouble it's probably because you asked for it (Unlike Fallout 4, for example, which will just spawn a Legendary Deathclaw in your way for the hell of it).

    Pillars of Eternity: Deeper down the RPG rabbit hole, I wanted to play an isometric RPG and couldn't wrap my head around Icewind Dale. PoE does a great job of holding your hand if you're new to help you figure out the game, and this is a pretty good game, even if I'm in a position I have to grind a bit to progress.

    Rimworld: I watched a few streamers in the Rimworld Hot Potato Challenge, which raised money for Doctors Without Borders by passing a save to a new streamer every 4 hours. I didn't know what this game was, and the moment I saw it was a sort of a Dwarf Fortress clone I decided I had to play it. It hasn't disappointed so far, even if my difficulty is leading to slower progression (but a solid understanding of mechanics).

    For two that actually came out this year:

    Rolled Out: It's a Monkey Ball clone that was funded through Kickstarter and released in March. It plays like the original games. If you liked SMB 1 and 2 you'll like this. I'd also recommend Paper Ball, which was scratching that itch before I could get Rolled Out

    That Flipping Mountain: Jeff Weber makes these games for a hobby, and previously released Just Ski, a simple game in which you ski down a mountain, and use flips to prepare for landing. In "That Flipping Mountain" you're jumping up a mountain in a similar fashion to Getting Over It with Bennet Foddy: You jump, use your flip to position your feet, land, repeat, and progress. Unlike Getting Over It, in TFM if you mess up you should only be reset a bit, but I got yeeted past the start at one point because of a bug (reported, and fixed within a few hours). For about $6 I think this game is well worth the price if you want something to chip away at or something simple to try to get really good at.

    5 votes
  10. dedime
    Link
    I had an absolute blast playing Halo: Infinite campaign, which was released a week or two ago. The gameplay is incredibly solid, and the grappling hook is super fun to play with. Two complaints I...

    I had an absolute blast playing Halo: Infinite campaign, which was released a week or two ago. The gameplay is incredibly solid, and the grappling hook is super fun to play with.

    Two complaints I have are that the grappling hook is too good for travel - it regenerates so quickly, it allows you to travel straight up along a vertical surface to no limit. I would have preferred if they made you ration it a bit more. My other complaint is that the limitless supply of flying vehicles later in the game makes them dominate the meta - it's way faster to collect everything while flying around, and you miss a lot of the small (and very fun) enemy encounters on the ground along the way. I would have preferred them to be rarer somehow - not just a resource you can order unlimited amounts of from base.

    5 votes
  11. [11]
    rosco
    Link
    I don't play many games but I got really into Baba is You after watching the beginning of cracking the cryptic on it. It is an entirely frustrating game, but endlessly interesting. I still haven't...

    I don't play many games but I got really into Baba is You after watching the beginning of cracking the cryptic on it. It is an entirely frustrating game, but endlessly interesting. I still haven't beaten it but it's fun to throw an hour or two at a week.

    5 votes
    1. [2]
      nothis
      Link Parent
      This game... One of my favorite games of all time but it absolutely destroys me. I'm really into this new school of puzzle game design where puzzles are guaranteed to be "fair" in the sense that...

      This game... One of my favorite games of all time but it absolutely destroys me.

      I'm really into this new school of puzzle game design where puzzles are guaranteed to be "fair" in the sense that there are no hidden or rule-breaking twists needed and where looking up a solution (or even a hint) is considered a "spoiler" in the way that someone telling you the end of a book you're reading is a spoiler. So I went into this thing blind and plan to beat it blind and... holy hell.

      I reached the first "ending" after comparable little effort (slower than the Cracking the Cryptic guys but still). But I knew there's more to it. So I went for 100%. And then discovered something more. And then went back and found a meta-meta version of what I discovered before.

      I'm now 100 hours it. One hundred. I need breaks. I have bursts of weeks where I play nearly every evening. I also have levels that I have spent way over an hour on despite them having only like 5 things you can push. It puts you into a rather intense state of mind. It's a journey.

      I'm having more fun with this game than any other game in recent memory (Outer Wilds comes close), absolutely loving my time with it. But it's a special, hardcore kind of fun. Easily the hardest game I ever played. I'm not into kaizo-like platformers or competitive gaming so this is probably the most I'll ever be invested in a single game, lol.

      8 votes
      1. rosco
        Link Parent
        Totally agree on the new school of puzzle games, I love how you need to bend your interpretation of the rules and know there will be a solve in there somewhere. Some of the levels I've played so...

        Totally agree on the new school of puzzle games, I love how you need to bend your interpretation of the rules and know there will be a solve in there somewhere. Some of the levels I've played so far floored me with their creativity.

        It sounds like you moved through it incredibly quickly. I stopped after watching the first solve by Cracking the Cryptic exactly for the reason you mention (no spoilers!!!) so I don't have that as a barometer. I'm going to assume I am molasses compared to you. I'm 13 hours in and the game says 5% played. It really is something special.

        Outer Wilds comes close), absolutely loving my time with it. But it's a special, hardcore kind of fun. Easily the hardest game I ever played. I'm not into kaizo-like platformers or competitive gaming so this is probably the most I'll ever be invested in a single game, lol.

        I will definitely be checking it out after your review. Although I am a little intimidated after hearing how well you fare at Baba!

        4 votes
    2. [8]
      Adys
      Link Parent
      Be warned, there are hundreds if not thousands of hours of gameplay in there. You might be in for a few decades at your current rate :) Do you know the Zachtronics puzzle games? I recommend taking...

      Be warned, there are hundreds if not thousands of hours of gameplay in there. You might be in for a few decades at your current rate :)

      Do you know the Zachtronics puzzle games? I recommend taking a look at Opus Magnum. It’s very different to Baba Is You but I suspect you will like it.

      4 votes
      1. [7]
        rosco
        Link Parent
        That's the hope! It's relaxing to chip away at. Thanks for the suggestion, these look awesome. I'll definitely be checking them out. Do you have a favorite?

        Be warned, there are hundreds if not thousands of hours of gameplay in there. You might be in for a few decades at your current rate :)

        That's the hope! It's relaxing to chip away at.

        Zachtronics puzzle games

        Thanks for the suggestion, these look awesome. I'll definitely be checking them out. Do you have a favorite?

        2 votes
        1. [6]
          cfabbro
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          Not who you asked, but SpaceChem and Opus Magnum are my favorites, due to how remarkably satisfying I found seeing my carefully designed and refined automata successfully complete the given tasks....

          Not who you asked, but SpaceChem and Opus Magnum are my favorites, due to how remarkably satisfying I found seeing my carefully designed and refined automata successfully complete the given tasks. My only issue with both games is that they caused me to experience an incredibly vivid and prolonged Tetris effect, that would even infect my dreams, if I played them too much in a day. So I was only ever able to play them in short spurts, otherwise I would have probably gone a bit mad.

          4 votes
          1. [5]
            rosco
            Link Parent
            What an endorsement! I'll be sure to check them out. I had never heard of the Tetris effect, that's incredibly interesting. I used to get that with climbing.

            What an endorsement! I'll be sure to check them out.

            I had never heard of the Tetris effect, that's incredibly interesting. I used to get that with climbing.

            2 votes
            1. [4]
              cfabbro
              Link Parent
              A climber, eh? Are you a fan of Magnus Midtbø or the Wide Boyz, by chance? ;)

              A climber, eh? Are you a fan of Magnus Midtbø or the Wide Boyz, by chance? ;)

              1. [3]
                rosco
                Link Parent
                I definitely am. I love the Magnus/Juji/Wide Boyz collaborations. I am completely useless at crack climbing (I mostly boulder) but after watching the Wide Boyz I built out a little crack under our...

                I definitely am. I love the Magnus/Juji/Wide Boyz collaborations. I am completely useless at crack climbing (I mostly boulder) but after watching the Wide Boyz I built out a little crack under our back porch and talked the gym owner into unearthing a pair of massive crack volumes from the back of the gym. Still terrible, but having a very fun time trying all their techniques. I am decidedly a slim boy. Also, this amazing feat blew me away!

                I'm a part time setter at our local gym so I'm also big fans of Bouldering Bobat and Eric Karlsson Bouldering. Like Magnus, they do some great videos on their sets (particularly Jake from Bobat and the Gotland Setters Session). My weekly highlight is going in and trying out some of the weird moves they put together. I'm so happy our gym reopened in May (masks mandatory :) ), I really missed the community.

                1 vote
                1. [2]
                  cfabbro
                  (edited )
                  Link Parent
                  Juji, Hafthor, and Martins are the best!!! They're who motivated me to finally get back in shape. Damn, that's awesome! I'm not a climber myself (yet?), but I enjoy watching the sport, and some of...

                  Juji, Hafthor, and Martins are the best!!! They're who motivated me to finally get back in shape.

                  I built out a little crack under our back porch

                  Damn, that's awesome! I'm not a climber myself (yet?), but I enjoy watching the sport, and some of my friends are climbers, which is how I got into watching it. And I am also a big fan of Eric Karlsson (Nikken is a beast!) and Bobat too, as well as Climber's Crag, Sofya Yokoyama (also a beast!), DabRats, Josh Rundle, Adam Ondra (King of the beasts!), and a few other climbers on YouTube.

                  p.s. Jason Momoa recently released a video at the climbing gym in my home area (Mississauga) that you might also get a kick out of.

                  1. rosco
                    Link Parent
                    That's awesome! Those videos always make me want to train harder! If there is a gym near you that is open and adhering to Covid protocols, give it a go! The community is super welcoming and at...

                    Juji, Hafthor, and Martins are the best!!! They're who motivated me to finally get back in shape.

                    That's awesome! Those videos always make me want to train harder! If there is a gym near you that is open and adhering to Covid protocols, give it a go! The community is super welcoming and at least here it is one of the few indoor places I feel good about (our gym has a well enforced mask mandate and great airflow).

                    Also, I noticed you were the one who shared the Beau Miles video. It is fun to chat with someone with a similar Youtube channel preferences. What I wouldn't give to see a Beau video with a climbing focus.

                    1 vote
  12. Rudism
    Link
    I played a bunch of games this year but the one that stuck out the most to me is Outer Wilds. Something about the mechanic of learning something new each cycle, plus catching a glimpse of the next...

    I played a bunch of games this year but the one that stuck out the most to me is Outer Wilds. Something about the mechanic of learning something new each cycle, plus catching a glimpse of the next mystery to explore further in future cycles really hooked me and I got sucked in like no other game I can remember. I never actually completed it (the final time-sensitive rush was too much for me), but I had a ton of fun in the lead up.

    5 votes
  13. [5]
    Comment deleted by author
    Link
    1. Toric
      Link Parent
      just this month, ive fallen into deep rock galactic... again.

      just this month, ive fallen into deep rock galactic... again.

      4 votes
    2. [3]
      dootdoot
      Link Parent
      Do you play multiplayer? Is matchmaking good or do you have to go in with people you know?

      Do you play multiplayer? Is matchmaking good or do you have to go in with people you know?

      3 votes
      1. nullvoid
        Link Parent
        The game is multiplayer, you can play with your friends and/or online with strangers

        The game is multiplayer, you can play with your friends and/or online with strangers

        3 votes
      2. TheJorro
        Link Parent
        The game can be played solo but it's much, much, much better to play online. It's almost required if you want to experience most of the game beyond the intro. DRG's mechanics are carefully...

        The game can be played solo but it's much, much, much better to play online. It's almost required if you want to experience most of the game beyond the intro. DRG's mechanics are carefully constructed to maximize teamwork and camaraderie with very little avenue for griefing or people being jerks to each other. Not to say it can't happen but it is heavily disincentivized and prevented by how the game works.

        3 votes
  14. emnii
    Link
    Cyberpunk 2077 - At first, I liked this game. I played it through to an ending, and then I did what I always do; I looked up how to get the other endings. I learned there was a secret ending, and...

    Cyberpunk 2077 - At first, I liked this game. I played it through to an ending, and then I did what I always do; I looked up how to get the other endings. I learned there was a secret ending, and I had a save game old enough to backtrack a dozen hours and get it. That dozen hours turned into completing every single mission (except the boxing one) and side activity, seeing a lot of the game for a second time, and getting that secret ending. By the time I completed it for the second time, I loved this game.

    Devotion - I love a good horror game, and Devotion is a good horror game. It's not particularly long or difficult, but it's real dark.

    Fatal Frame: Maiden of the Black Water - I'm not going to pretend I fully grasp the folklore presented in FF: Maiden of the Black Water, but I did find it super creepy, and I enjoyed busting ghosts with my camera. It took me longer than it should've to grasp the combat, but it's fairly easy. I tried to go back and play the older games, but their controls aren't as good. I played this on Switch and the gyro controls really improved it for me.

    Prey (2017) - I've owned Prey for a long time and just this year got around to finishing it. In my opinion, you sort of have to dedicate yourself to sinking into an immersive sim like Prey, and I guess I wasn't ready to do that until now. Prey is fantastic. I also managed to score the best ending on my first run, which I'm still pleased about because I don't play many games twice.

    Metroid Dread - I've been waiting for this game for 17 years, since Zero Mission. It's a great Metroid and a great Metroidvania. I loved the moments of panic escaping and hiding from EMMI, and I especially enjoyed the process of destroying them. It does a good job of gating progress while also giving me space to explore while also pointing me in the right direction when I do want to get moving. I've seen complaints about the difficulty of Metroid Dread. I am a veteran Metroid player, and a lover of Metroidvanias in general, and I did not find this game particularly difficult. It's at least not a cheap or punishing difficulty.

    4 votes
  15. [2]
    Adys
    Link
    This year, I played Hades and Beat Saber. By far the two best games I played this year. Also the only ones. I miss gaming. But still, the fact they made the cut into my free time means they’re...

    This year, I played Hades and Beat Saber.

    By far the two best games I played this year. Also the only ones. I miss gaming. But still, the fact they made the cut into my free time means they’re incredibly good. I have nothing else to contribute.

    4 votes
    1. Protected
      Link Parent
      I didn't mention Beat Saber myself because it was technically also one of the best games I played last year, and two years ago... But I did easily spend ~100 hours on it this year and intend to...

      I didn't mention Beat Saber myself because it was technically also one of the best games I played last year, and two years ago... But I did easily spend ~100 hours on it this year and intend to keep playing it for the foreseeable future.

      2 votes
  16. [5]
    simplify
    Link
    I've had a difficult time giving myself the permission to play games this year, especially the second half of the year. Added to that, I've recently grown really tired of looking at the...

    I've had a difficult time giving myself the permission to play games this year, especially the second half of the year. Added to that, I've recently grown really tired of looking at the television. But I'm a Nintendo Switch JRPG lover, and the game I played and enjoyed the most this year was Bravely Default 2. I'm a sucker for turn-based RPGs, which were the games that raised me, and Bravely Default 2 hit a lot of the right notes. The art style was a little strange at first, but I didn't mind it by the end. I haven't fully completed the game, as there is some post final boss content, but I did enough to feel finished.

    Last year I loved Fire Emblem: Three Houses. That game is said to have a lot of replayability, but after I finished one of the paths and tried to start it again, I found myself disenchanted by the monastery exploration element of the game. The tactical battle element, I really enjoyed. But I got burned out on running around and participating in the friendship-sim side of things. I hope to give it another go eventually to explore the other story lines.

    I've also started Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and put maybe 20 hours into it, but I just can't get into the battle style. It's very MMO-like and it can feel really confusing and like you're just mashing buttons. I've watched some YouTube videos that teach how to appreciate the battle style, but I just haven't latched on to it. XC2 is often touted as the best JRPG for Switch, with a very in-depth story and a lot of open-world elements, and I will give it another try, but the battling is just a bit too active for me. I also hate wandering around some area only to be attacked by an enemy that's dozens of levels above me and slaughters me without warning.

    This year I also started Atelier Ryza, which is a low pressure JRPG with a lot of crafting, item collection, and turn-based battles. I actually really enjoy the quaintness of it. It kind of gets an eye-rolling reputation because of the fan service elements (much like XC2), the whole Atelier Thighza thing, but it's a solid game. I haven't finished it yet because my playing it coincided with me sort of revoking my own permission to play games.

    Further, I own Atelier Ryza 2 and Monster Hunter: Rise. I haven't yet started AR2, because I haven't finished the first installment. And as for Monster Hunter, I put about ten hours into it and dropped it for similar reasons as I did for the first Atelier Ryza. I just sort of revoked my gaming permission because I needed to focus on my work. But I would really like to get back into a place where I feel comfortable playing again.

    I'm most looking forward to Triangle Strategy, which comes out in March 2022. It's a turn-based tactical battle game with 2D HD art, much like Octopath Traveler (a game I want to play, but haven't). Triangle Strategy has me really excited, both because of the battle style and the art. It's exactly what I want. Eventually I hope to get Octopath Traveler, as well as Dragon Quest XI, but as you can imagine, my game backlog is already piling up. I'll probably end up buying them used on eBay or Mercari eventually (I prefer physical cartridges). The Switch just has so many great JRPGs that I'm spoiled for choice. What it means is that I have years of gaming ahead of me with stuff I already own.

    4 votes
    1. [2]
      psi
      Link Parent
      I'm one of those touters. Regarding the button mashing: if you haven't yet, I'd recommend turning off the timing-based button events. It does get pretty chaotic otherwise. The battle system is...

      XC2 is often touted as the best JRPG for Switch.

      I'm one of those touters. Regarding the button mashing: if you haven't yet, I'd recommend turning off the timing-based button events. It does get pretty chaotic otherwise. The battle system is rather confusing at first, but it's worth remembering that the game doesn't expect you to fully understand how it works until much later (the game will continue to throw tutorials at you 40+ hr in), and in fact, there are yet more systems to unlock (iirc – it's been a while since I've played). Of course, it becomes much easier to build combos later in the game.

      2 votes
      1. simplify
        Link Parent
        With timing-based button events, do you mean the actions where you engage a special attack and then watch the circle close in on the button on-screen and hit the button to initiate the attack? I...

        With timing-based button events, do you mean the actions where you engage a special attack and then watch the circle close in on the button on-screen and hit the button to initiate the attack? I didn't know that could be disabled. But in all honesty, I've gotten used to that and it wasn't much a problem for me. My frustrations, last time I played at least, stemmed from trying to figure out how to coordinate combos with other members of my party.

        I felt like I was paying too close attention on trying to make a combo happen, that I would lose focus on the actual battle taking place. And then instead of, say, opting for a special move to heal, I'd just end up seeing another character die. Then I'd have to break my combo focus to go over and revive them. It was all a lot for what were very inconsequential battles, especially when I was only trying to practice. And that was kind of the rub. I couldn't practice making combos work on low-level enemies, because they would die before I built my combos up. But then if I fought harder enemies, I'd get stuck on what to focus on and then it was just mash, mash, mash when I stopped caring and just wanted it to end.

        The tutorials in the game feel just horrendous, but I could definitely see how battles could feel fun once you get good at combos. But the last couple times I played, I felt like I got stuck in tedious battles that went on too long with a lot of sword hacking, a lot of waiting for things to happen, and a lot of wondering how in control of any of this I actually was. Maybe that's my problem... the battles just have never felt fun.

        One thing I also know could be helpful for building up to combos is putting food buffs in my pouches. But also feels kind of tedious and nebulous to me in a way, because they're real-time based. So maybe this particular buff lasts for 15 minutes, but after 15 minutes I will have definitely forgotten about it and neglect to check it. I remember watching a YouTube video where the presenter recommended only focusing on a couple of the food buffs, because the rest don't really matter much. But still, with the amount of buffs there are, I felt a bit overwhelmed trying to figure it out or even care about it.

        3 votes
    2. [2]
      Akir
      Link Parent
      Do you happen to have a Wii U? Xenoblade Chronicles X felt like it had a better battle system when compared to the original. Though to be fair I can’t compare it to XC2 which I haven’t played...

      Do you happen to have a Wii U? Xenoblade Chronicles X felt like it had a better battle system when compared to the original. Though to be fair I can’t compare it to XC2 which I haven’t played largely because it has pretty much every one of my pet peeves concentrated into one place and the random accents of the English localization drive me nuts.

      The Atellier series is actually huge and long-running. But unfortunately the US publisher doesn’t believe in lowering the prices of their older titles, so you’ll basically have to pay new game prices for if you want to buy the PC versions. Physical console versions also exist but because the series is fairly niche they don’t print a lot of them and they remain expensive on the used market.

      1 vote
      1. simplify
        Link Parent
        I don't have a Wii U, but I have heard that XC: Definitive Edition for Switch has a lot simpler battle system. I'm not really motivated to pick that one up, though, because it seems the entire...

        I don't have a Wii U, but I have heard that XC: Definitive Edition for Switch has a lot simpler battle system. I'm not really motivated to pick that one up, though, because it seems the entire Xenoblade series is action RPG oriented, and I'm finding that kind of system to just not do it for me. I never got into MMOs for that reason. I care more about story and strategy--not say the XC series is missing that, but it's just a different strategy than I usually click with.

        I'm familiar with the Atelier series, even though I just got into it. Before I bought Atelier Ryza, I waited forever to try to find a reasonably priced used cartridge, but they were selling for $80+. They ran a digital sale and I ended up with it for $30. Then, because FOMO got to me, I snapped up a physical copy of AR2 from my local BestBuy because I figured it would be the same thing. But they ended up reprinting AR1 and now you can find it for a reasonable price. Ryza has brought the series a new popularity, so I imagine they'll be doing more reprints in the future. And I know they recently released the Mysterious Trilogy in Japan, at least. Play Asia has a lot of Atelier Switch titles available.

        1 vote
  17. bkimmel
    Link
    In the "Golden Age of Roguelites and Deckbuilders" that we're thankfully in, there have been an explosion of really incredible entries to the genre over the last 3 to 4 years that have been...

    In the "Golden Age of Roguelites and Deckbuilders" that we're thankfully in, there have been an explosion of really incredible entries to the genre over the last 3 to 4 years that have been incredibly enjoyable. Griftlands and Steamworld Quest stand out as entries in this genre that incredibly fun and worthwhile examples of this bumper crop. The thing is, I don't think any of them really "surpassed' the game they (and others like them) were clearly inspired by: and for this reason I am giving Slay the Spire my Ghost of Christmas Past award this year.

    My Ghost of Christmas Present award is going to Hades for delivering an experience that is balanced and enjoyable like a great wine.

    Christmas Future and what I feel like is my Game of the Year is going to Loop Hero. Even though we're in a "Golden Age" for these kinds of games, Golden Ages have to come to an end and Loop Hero - even though it doesn't feel polished per se like Spire does, definitely feels like a "growth plate" for the genre. I'm predicting that the core elements from Loop Hero: a "probabilistic protagonist" and control over the environment rather than the character are going to unleash a fireball of inspiration over the next few years just like Spire did.

    4 votes
  18. Akir
    Link
    This year I have been dealing with a lot of anxiety and depression, and so I haven't been able to enjoy most games. There were some that I spent a lot of time playing, but I find that a lot of...

    This year I have been dealing with a lot of anxiety and depression, and so I haven't been able to enjoy most games. There were some that I spent a lot of time playing, but I find that a lot of games tend to be addicting but not necessarily fulfilling. One of the games I found myself playing the most was Castlevania Aria of Sorrow, and while it managed to pull me in long enough to get the true ending, I wasn't really satisfied by it.

    I think a large part of the issue is that a lot of games just aren't that emotionally fulfilling, and as I get older it seems like that's one of the things I want more of in games. That's why I've found myself more and more into Visual Novels in the past few years. And if I look at my all-time favorites, it's always been the ones with really great stories that don't necessarilly have the best gameplay loops.

    So that's why my game of the year for 2021 is 1998's Shining Force III. All three scenarios.

    I've owned this game for a long time but it had been a really long time since I've played it - maybe 10 years. It's a strategy RPG, and any strategy game needs a rest before you can play it 'fresh' again. If you haven't played any of the Shining Force games, they're very similar to Fire Emblem, except there is more role playing elements; you go to towns and control the main character directly, you visit people's homes, walk to the shops, and the game takes steps to ensure that you're not bogged down by menus, so you always feel a bit more "in the game" instead of like you're just some impassionate strategist. Like Fire Emblem, you lead an army of unique characters with individual stats, equipment, names, and backstories. But it's the changes from FE's conventions that make the Shining Force games truely special.

    Characters in this game do not just disappear outside of battle. You can at any time visit your headquarters, where all of them are waiting in ready, and talk to them to see what they think about what's happening. And this is even if they aren't part of the main plot - even if they are hidden or even joke characters. In addition to that, they all have very different stats, equipment, and abilities to make them feel very different in battle, and when that all comes together it makes them feel more realized - more real. Even though you can revive everyone who falls in battle, to see them fall still stirs emotion. It makes every battle more intense when at any time your childhood friend could be struck down with a single hit.

    I don't even know where to start when it comes to story and plot. Things can change at the drop of a hat. People are thrust into conflict; generals are manipulated into fighting their comrades and you end up fighting against coup d'etats. All the meanwhile you are fighting against the manipulations of an evil cult who are trying to ressurrect an evil godlike being. And that's the strange part of this game; the story is arguably bad. A lot of the people you end up fighting are only casually mentioned before they become the bad guy you have to now defeat. But in spite of this weakly told story, the mechanics and effort put into the characters make it really shine through. Many of the people in your force are made up of people who are directly affected by the battles you're fighting. And while the overall campaign in each scenario is relatively short, the world changes drammatically as a result of each sortie; it really makes you feel like you're the leader of a band of heroes by the end.

    When this game was originally released in the US, the ending to Scenario 1 was changed to give it more of a sense of closure - this is because the other two scenarios that make up the full story were not going to be released. I don't know how true this is, but it was supposedly the last game for the Saturn that Sega would ever release in America. It was only relatively recently that the other two scenarios were able to be patched so you could play them in the English language. So with this playthrough, I'm looking forward to finally experiencing the entirety of Shining Force III as it was meant to be played.

    3 votes
  19. AugustusFerdinand
    Link
    Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak or Blasphemous Both amazing games, I don't want to choose which is better. My only complaint with Homeworld: DoK is I wish it was longer, but that's what the other...

    Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak or Blasphemous

    Both amazing games, I don't want to choose which is better.

    My only complaint with Homeworld: DoK is I wish it was longer, but that's what the other Homeworld games are for that I picked up and added to my backlog.

    My only complaint with Blasphemous is some things requiring a 2nd playthrough to complete, which I didn't know on my first playthrough, and so I didn't get to in my 93.7% complete first playthrough. I am far from a completionist in games, but this one made me want to see everything because the story, artwork, and atmosphere is just that good.

    3 votes
  20. BiscuitMuncher64
    Link
    Played through Hitman 3 (with all maps starting from Hitman 1), Mafia Remake and lots of Halo Infinite MP. I also tried a bunch of other games, but I couldn't get into anything of them. Hitman has...

    Played through Hitman 3 (with all maps starting from Hitman 1), Mafia Remake and lots of Halo Infinite MP. I also tried a bunch of other games, but I couldn't get into anything of them. Hitman has gameplay with many choices and is like a puzzle sandbox that you can role-play and set your own challenges in. Mafia has a gripping story and phenomenal graphics. And Halo is just mindless fun.

    3 votes
  21. Spyder
    Link
    Hollow Knight. A cheap indie game that is so incredibly awesome I feel guilty only paying £10 for 80+ hours of content, and that’s not including the DLC

    Hollow Knight. A cheap indie game that is so incredibly awesome I feel guilty only paying £10 for 80+ hours of content, and that’s not including the DLC

    3 votes
  22. under
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    Started and finished Zeroranger this year and it has became one of my favorite games ever. It's a mix of buddhist themes with tons of shmup/anime references packed into some amazing gameplay,...

    Started and finished Zeroranger this year and it has became one of my favorite games ever. It's a mix of buddhist themes with tons of shmup/anime references packed into some amazing gameplay, soundtrack and old-school graphics. It's a hard game to sell but trust me when I say it's a legit 10/10.

    It's also a great shmup beginner game if you haven't ventured into the genre before.

    2 votes