What video games did you play this year and what did you think of them? 2020/Quarantine edition

This could have gone in the quarantine forum, but it is gaming related so it goes here. I found that one thing that happened at my house was that we had a lot more time to play video games than I had pre-quarantine. It is no coincidence my reading of books actually went down. I purchased a mid-range gaming laptop in March as well(stimulus check!) and it opened up a few games I had not gotten to.

What games did you play the last nine months or so? What were your thoughts? I guess we could make it 12 months and call this the “games you played in 2020” thread as well.

Here is what I played and what I thought of them:

Breath of the Wild - I had played this through twice before and it remains my pick for the greatest video game of all time. It’s pretty much flawless. I recommend it to anyone.

Subnautica - My first use of the gaming PC. I got a free copy of this game on Epic, but it would not run on my non-gaming 2012 laptop. The game looked beautiful and was a lot of fun to play, but it honestly became too much of a grind for me. No levels to gain here, but lots of searching to find the exact materials, especially in the late game. I ended up making it super far, but did use the “creative” mode or console to create the final machine I needed in the game. A gorgeous, wonderful game. I do recommend it and am thankful it had a console/creative mode to skip the last chunk of the game.

Skyrim - I had also played this one before, but my 2012 laptop ran it in low settings. I thought I was supposed to have the SE version since I owned this game already, but it was still standard. Anyway, it ran in ultra settings and looked amazing. I still love it. I’ve played all the Elder Scrolls game except the first one(Arena) and I do believe Skyrim is the best one. A lot of people rally around Morrowind, which I played upon its release, but I feel like Skyrim finished what Morrowind really started. Oblivion is cute and nice, but a bit of a mess. Elder Scrolls VI should have been out a couple years ago in my opinion, but who knows when it will be released? 2023? 2024? I want to play it the day it comes out, but who knows if I’ll have a machine to run it.

Fallout 4 - Definitely been on my list for a long time. I played Fallout 4 and the DLC Far Harbor. Yeah, so this is the worst of the bunch and I am disappointed. It wasn’t terrible, it was not a franchise-ruiner, but I preferred every main Fallout game(I count New Vegas as “main”) in the series ahead of this. The effort is there. I see what they were going for and I actually commend them. However, I felt like it just did not come together as a great Fallout game. I would recommend it, though. And I would be interested in Fallout 5 immediately. I just hope they abandon settlement-building all together. I avoided about 95% of it, but I still felt it had zero place in this series.

Final Fantasy XV - Well, it was terrible. Gorgeous, but horrible. I used to LOVE this series. Played every game up through Final Fantasy XII and all of them were great in some ways. Final Fantasy XIII and XV were huge misfires. Beautiful to look at, but I quit both. I was really hopeful for XV, but it was a slog and boring.

Immortals: Fenyx Rising - This is an amazing game and is the game I am playing now. It’s the first real attempt at copying Breath of the Wild’s style and they did a great job. Much smaller than Breath of the Wild and the decrease in size is a good thing. They shot big, but they did not attempt to take-on or defeat Breath of the Wild at its own game. A smaller Breath of the Wild with, honestly, a few improvements(no rain!). If you liked Breath of the Wild, you should get this game. I picked it up for $30 and it was only two weeks old. Available on all systems.

The Witcher 3 GOTY edition: Another game I missed up on release and was very excited to play. I got the full game with both DLC add-ons for $15 and let me tell you, this was the best new-to-me game I played this year. It’s considered a top-of-all-time type game and I think it deserves it. I logged between 60-70 hours on it and I think that I could find another 20 hours of content there without doing everything. A beautiful world, great stories(DLC are actually better!), and a really fun game throughout. I kept saying that it was what Ultima VII would look like today and it really is. A game that lived up to its hype.

I’m not good at remembering exactly which games I might have played in early 2020 vs. late 2019, but I know for sure I played the following.

Mass Effect 1/2/3/Andromeda (replay): The original Mass Effect trilogy is probably still my all-time favourite game series. Yes, that includes Mass Effect 3 which is my favourite of the series (notwithstanding the mediocrity of the last 5 minutes). Mass Effect Andromeda was probably not worth replaying, but it has its moments.

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel/Borderlands 3: B:TPS felt a little “off” in terms of tone, but it grew on me over time and I liked the gameplay. Borderlands 3 was okay, but it hasn’t hooked me in particularly. I’ll probably come back to it in a few months.

Fallout 3/New Vegas/4 (replay): Fallout 4 would definitely be my favourite of the series if it didn’t crash so damn often on my Xbox. I still fail to see the appeal of New Vegas (at least the base version without DLC). Fallout 3 wasn’t as much fun as I remembered, but it still had its moments.

Red Dead Redemption 2: I think this got over-hyped for me. I like it about as well as RDR 1, which I thought was a good-but-not-great game.

The Witch 3 GOTY (replay): Still a great game with enough replay value to go through for a third time.

Ooh, watching!

I am not a gamer. I decided to learn to play video games as my pandemic project. I am clumsy, and I don’t own a gaming computer (and the little laptop I bought just before the pandemic is great, but doesn’t have a video card – in retrospect, I wish I’d bought the larger, more powerful one. Who knew I would not be carrying it around, but would be using it at my desk.) I also bought a Switch. So any comments on which games will work for me – a clumsy, older person with mediocre hardware – would be appreciated.

I bought a copy of Witcher 3, but couldn’t get out of the training segment. I’ve gotten more coordinated, though, so I may try it again. That plays on my laptop.

I also bought a copy of Minecraft, java edition. I have been playing that with friends, and that’s why I may give Witcher another try. I’m still clumsy compared to the kids (by which I mean people in their 20s and 30s) but I’m way more coordinated than when I started. This is a terrific open-ended game, with gorgeous graphics. But you need to be able to set your own goals. I’ve built several structures, including a labyrinth and a maze, a drowned farm, and I’m working on a zoo. I have almost all the animals, but need to build the “biomes” for them. I’m also working on the “visit every biome”, “breed every animal”, and “tame every cat” achievements.

I tried playing my son’s copy of Breath of the Wild before the pandemic, and enjoyed it. I just poked around, and didn’t make much progress – my goal was to learn to walk and navigate. I think I’ll pick up my own copy, probably for the switch. Also a gorgeous game that doesn’t force you to follow a particular path.

(I also want to get Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening. I’m told it’s easier than Breath of the Wild.)

I played some Ig and Og with my daughter, on the switch, and got well into Portal on the PC. I actually purchased Portal years ago, and was surprised and delighted that I was able to remember my steam password and it still remembered that I had the game. I wasn’t able to use it when I bought it (I just had a touchpad, and it REALLY isn’t touchpad friendly) but it was fun to play with a mouse. I am better at the puzzle aspect than at the dexterity aspect – fortunately, the puzzle aspect is usually more important. Ig and Og is a fine puzzle game for two players. And I could usually give the harder role to my daughter, who is way more coordinated than I am.

I also got a copy of Baba Is You for the switch. It’s terrific. It’s not a story game, it’s a puzzle game. And it has really clever and interesting puzzles. Highly recommend. (And it requires almost no dexterity.) It’s all about “out of the box” thinking. Really really excellent game.

My daughter liked The Witness except it gave her headaches. I might try it. All my friends like Hades, but I’m pretty sure it’s too hard for me. I’m also considering picking up a copy of Skyrim, probably for the switch.

Let’s see… I played a lot of “Fall Guys” earlier in the year- fun with buddies, but otherwise not really my game.

I’ve played a LOT of “Escape from Tarkov” over the past year; I bought it in February not long after getting my new PC, and have been playing it ever since. Even though it’s far from perfect, it’s in many ways, my ideal FPS. I’ve long railed against the cartoonish aspects of the military-themed shooters like Call of Duty/Battlefield, where weapons aren’t lethal enough, and there’s no incentive to take cover, etc… as you just respawn seconds later in the same fight, or your buddy resurrects you. Fun, but absolutely unrealistic. Tarkov has that incentive; if you die, you’re out of that raid, and other people can steal the stuff you painstakingly have gathered playing the game. And in general, you die FAST in Tarkov- while weapons and first aid aren’t 100% accurately modeled, it’s better than any other game. So you have plenty of incentive to play smart and stay in cover, etc… I like it, even though it’s got some glaring issues (desync/netcode and hackers being chief among them).

I did buy and install Wasteland 3, but really didn’t get into it. I loved the first Wasteland back in the 1980s when I played it on the C64, and also loved the spiritual successors the Fallout games. But the actual branded Wasteland sequels seem to have doubled down on the grimdark and in large part abandoned the surreal humor that marked the first game and also the Fallout games. Yes, there’s some in there, but the games are fundamentally post-apocalyptic RPGs played straight, not tongue-in-cheek like Wasteland and most of the Fallout games. I couldn’t get into Wasteland 2 or 3, and I tried, believe me.

Oddly my gaming buddies and I spent a lot of time playing older games- Vermintide II and Iron Brigade. Not sure why, but that’s just how it shook out during the summer.

I played Skyrim with all of the DLC, Fallout 4 with Nuka World and Far Harbor and the Mechanist add ons, and a car crashing game called Wreckfest that was given to me as a gift. Until there’s a new Fallout, Elder Scrolls, or Grand Theft Auto I can periodically go back and play Skyrim and Fallout 4 and have lots of time killing fun doing so.

To start, I have been working through the Itch.io “Racial Justice” bundle from this past summer. I’ve tried over 200 games at this point with short blurbs about them here.

On the more established front…

Division 2 - There was a short thread about this not long ago but I had been playing this since launch and carried over throughout this year. Third person shooter taking place eight months after a plague swept across the globe. The world building is extraordinary between both the map itself (Washington DC recreated with GPS data to be spot on) and the environmental storytelling, various recordings, etc. I like the gear and shooting mechanics as well and had a lot of fun with it with friends.

Wasteland 3 - I crowdfunded this years ago and it was finally released this year. I didn’t have a ton of expectations for it either way but found it to be predominately fun both in plot and mechanics. I think it was just about the perfect length for me, ending before it wore out its welcome.

Operencia: the Stolen Sun - RPG with turn based combat. Made by some Hungarian studio which meant both some interesting critters and lore derived from local stories and also a bit of not-AAA jankiness. There was plenty to not like about it: Uneven voice acting, repeating enemies, a couple obnoxious puzzles… but it had a charm that kept me going and completed it.

Last Year - Some friends and I bought this one for 49¢ a pop under the premise that it’ll provide at least that much entertainment. We actually found a pretty entertaining game in the “Dead by Daylight” asymmetric genre. One person plays a killer, the rest are students trying to escape the map. Unlike DbD, the students can fight back (and even temporarily kill the stalker) and killed students respawn in a locked room for rescue. Everyone had more fun with that than “Well, I’m dead, buzz me for the next round”

Control - I got derailed from this by Cyberpunk launching but was enjoying it. I really bought it mainly because it was (pre-CP2077) the title for showing off your ray tracing but the game itself is interesting and fun. Third person game with you exploring a paranormal government facility under the control of a strange power with plenty of gun shooting, psychic powers and weird environments to traverse.

Doom Eternal - I was looking forward to this one finally hitting MS Game Pass but then didn’t care for it much at all. There’s an obnoxious game play loop of needing to use the chainsaw/flamethrower/punching to get ammo and I just want to shoot things, not jump through hoops to get to shoot for 20 seconds. Was a bummer after the last game.

Wolfenstein: Youngblood - It was okay. I played solo and the forced bot co-op didn’t really work for me. Game looked nice but, again, seemed to be getting further from the formula I wanted to play than the (modern) originals.

I’ll probably remember more later.

Set it to the easiest difficulty setting and enjoy. Or even use the console to turn on immortality. No shame. Just play however helps you enjoy it.

My Time At Portia is one of those resource management type games, in this case you are a builder who has to make machines and structures around the town, fulfilling tasks, gathering resources, fighting off villains in dungeons, etc, with a couple of epic storylines in play. I really enjoyed it, and there’s a sequel coming, but I started looking around for similar…

…And found Summer In Mara, an almost exactly similar game, but it’s farming on an island while racing around the sea, doing tasks for villagers, with a larger story arc as it goes. Really fun dialogue sequences with some funny animated avatars.

I also enjoyed the puzzle game Filament, though I haven’t finished it as the last part is really really difficult. The Unfinished Swan got ported to PC many years after its initial PS release. That’s a funky game. As was Journey, though I prefer a similarly inspired game called RIME.

Every year I replay the Portal, and recent Tomb Raider games. They’re good for a few hours of time-wasting. And as usual, I also bought a bunch of games on Steam that I haven’t even opened yet.

Going by Steam and by memory, games that I sent considerable time playing this year include:

For The King - I’m not generally a fan of turn-based combat but I liked how this game executed it and I enjoyed the board-game aspect of it as well. There were definitely different strategies to get thru each of the different scenarios/game types. I had fun figuring out how to play this game and then figuring out how to play it well.

Dawn of Man - a deceptively simple 4X type game that the devs keep tweaking and adding things and just generally improving. I now shelve it for months at a time then play obsessively for a week or two when new features get added (like the recent addition of cheese).

AdventureQuest 3D - awesomely fun, silly, stupid MMORPG. Looks like EQ but is far sillier. It satisfies my MMORPG jones for free and requires approximately zero hours of grinding for anything.

Bloons TD 6 - picked it up on sale for $5 and play it every day now. The Bloons series is renowned because every new version is always the best tower defense game ever. #6 is no exception and the addition of user-created “challenge” maps now ensures nearly limitless things to do.

And of course:

Rocket League - still simply the best game out there IMO. I play just below Diamond level right now but I’m confident I can break into those ranks this season. Yeah; I’m a try-hard. :smiley:

Ooo, good idea for a thread. Here’s what I’ve been playing over the last nine months.

The Uncharted series. I’d never played them, and with the pandemic I had lots of free time (and a gift certificate), so I got the three-game remastered disc plus the fourth, and played through the whole series. I’ve always heard about them, so I wanted to check off the box.

In order, from first to last:

I didn’t care for #1 — it’s dated, and it uses the antique “lots and lots of enemies” mechanism as a substitute for difficulty, which makes it a grind (the unpleasant sort, for me). Still, I could see why it was so influential in its day; the cinematic style was a major leap forward at the time. A curiosity and a museum piece, but not much more.

#2 was then another huge leap, and is still a pretty good time. The chapter where you’re working your way forward on a train is one of the coolest things I’ve ever done in a game. My favorite of the four.

Re #3, I know a lot of people like it, but I absolutely hated it by the end. The story is an incoherent mess and it’s just an indulgent doubling-down on the “fun” without any weight or purpose. And it’s way, way too long.

Re #4, it was definitely better than #3, and the most polished of the series, but I didn’t buy at all the emotional-deconstruction theme, trying to use the “rediscovered family” angle to reconsider the hero. It’s an okay idea, but it doesn’t work in the story; every time we think Nathan’s going to pay a price for his irresponsible adrenaline-hunting ways, his loved ones just chuckle and shake their heads and forgive him because he’s just that awesome. If make an apparent promise to actually reckon with the protagonist’s flaws, then you need to follow through, or you’re just going to piss me off.

Bleh. I’m glad I played them, but I’ll probably never revisit.

Red Dead Redemption 2. I liked the first one okay, and I got this one for free (see “gift certificate” above). I put probably 60 hours into it, with lots of side-mission digression and map exploration, which took me to around the 30% mark for story completion. It’s fascinating, but it never really grabbed me, so I set it aside.

Part of the issue for me is that the whole thing seems to be simultaneously overcooked in terms of the game experience while being undercooked in its thematics. It’s a clear deconstruction of Western mythology; it wants you to feel the pull of indulgence in the gunplay and the noble-villain posturing, while undercutting that indulgence by insisting that you brush your horse and clean your guns and chop wood for the camp and on and on. “If you were really there,” the game says, “this is what it would feel like.” Except that the “there” the game wants you to feel was never any kind of reality in the first place, which is a distracting contradiction in intention. Maybe the problem is that I’m already a Western-film superfan, so the dismantling of the mythos is something I’m already decades ahead on, and the game is just spinning its conceptual wheels for me. I dunno.

Whatever the issue, it’s not working for me. I’ll probably go back and plunk away at it from time to time, to see if it gets any better.

Dragon Age Inquisition. My fourth full replay. This was in April-May, when we were all at full emotional crisis, and I wanted something familiar and comforting. I chose a female qunari mage, which put some interesting wrinkles into the development of the plot. Otherwise this was just a big warm blanket, much needed and much enjoyed.

Last of Us, both games. I replayed the first leading into my first play of the sequel. Both are terrific. The first is a solid character-growth piece amid an apocalyptic setting, and the “Left Behind” epilogue is one of the best DLCs I’ve ever played. Then I went straight into the second game, which I flat-out adored. It’s easily one of the best times I’ve ever had being miserable — just exquisite anguish. It’s paradoxical, but as much suffering the characters endure (and, through them, the player), it’s always with purpose, in service to bigger, more sophisticated ideas. As awful as it frequently becomes, it’s simply exhilarating to be in the hands of such a confident experience. I know it’s been hugely divisive, but it totally worked for me (give or take the underdeveloped Seraphite culture), and I’d welcome a separate discussion on it (so as not to hijack this thread).

I finished the LoU games months ago, and I’m continuing to think about them. I’ll probably start a replay on the duology as soon as I’m done with…

God of War (the new one). I’m playing this right now, so it’s fresh, and I have a lot to say about it.

I’m about halfway through the story, and I’m having kind of a mixed experience. I never finished the original games because I disliked the play style; their mechanic, the super-twitchy borderline-constant-QTE combat, is way toned down, in favor of a much better, more interactive fighting system with greater flexibility. However, the aggressively mobile camera still favors visceral intensity over neutral objectivity and wider battlefield awareness, leading to combat play that’s much more purely reactive than strategic. That’s not really my bag.

The settings also don’t achieve suspension of disbelief for me; the “story tunnel” is constantly perceptible and the world feels fake. Every game necessarily puts boundaries on gameplay and channels the player along a particular path, but with elegant design this limitation can be concealed, and the illusion of free travel is maintained. Without it, you feel the artificiality of being pushed along the game’s track. In this game, I rarely feel like I’m moving through actual physical spaces, even within the context of an elevated, mythical, consciously unreal world. There’s a lot of stuff that’s cool to look at (the big dead giant is a highlight), but it’s all false and abstract to me.

My least-favorite carryover is all the hypermasculine silliness. Every time Kratos rears back and punches through the lid of a treasure chest, instead of just opening it like a sane person, I shake my head and chuckle. I can’t tell yet if this is the point, that he’s being set up as a posturing stompy grouch because it’s emotional armor and he’ll slowly be softened in his parental role, or if it’s just “kewl dood!” indulgence to make juvenile-minded players feel powerful like in the earlier games. So far, though, this stuff just feels kinda dopey.

Speaking of that parental element: The game was specifically recommended to me because I’m a dad myself, and there’s supposed to be some stuff about the relationship between Kratos and Atreus that will resonate. Up to this point, though, there hasn’t been a lot to it. The dynamic is (a) intense protectiveness, then (b) occasional grudging approval, rinse and repeat. Hoping it develops beyond that.

The one thing I do appreciate, the quality that’s pulling me through the game more than any other, is the beautiful crafting of the difficulty curve. The slow escalation in the strength of the opponents, and the slow diversification of their tactics, is perfectly matched to the development of player skills and the introduction of new abilities. In the first semi-difficult fight, you can get by if you just mash dodge and throw; you don’t need anything else. Then you meet an enemy that requires you to polish your shield timing. Then one who needs you to break their guard. Then bigger groups who demand precise timing of your runic attacks. Then a combo battle that requires you to apply everything you’ve learned up to this point. And so on, and so on. It’s always a challenge, but it’s a polished challenge, in which you’re mastering skills in a slow evolution, one at a time, in order to advance.

So I guess the bottom line is, the stuff I normally look for in a game isn’t quite working for me, but the immediacy and refinement of the mechanics are pretty good, and the development of the power set is very satisfying. It’s also, very occasionally, surprisingly hilarious. Overall, my impression is “fun enough.” And unlike RDR2, I’m willing to hang with it to see if the story gets any more compelling.

I’ve also had Witcher 3 in the game drawer for a couple of years, and have occasionally considered giving it a shot. Then I remember how much I disliked the second one, and I put it back in favor of something else.

Mine too. I’ve been itching for a replay, but I’m holding off, waiting for the remaster to be released in the spring. I know I’m going to dive into it the minute it’s available, so I don’t want to shoot my wad right now. Besides, I’ve got lots of other stuff in the drawer, waiting for me. Oh, and regarding Andromeda, I agree that it has its moments, but overall it doesn’t really work. I wrote a very long autopsy of the game a while back, trying to come to terms with the fundamental reasons for its failure, if you’re curious.

This was the free game the other day on Epic and I grabbed it. Is it like Stardew Valley?

My main complaints about Andromeda are (1) the action is too repetitive and (2) the Remnant/Kett/mysterious Scourge-causers feel too derivative of the Geth/Collectors/Reapers.

I don’t particularly have a problem with all of the threads left dangling at the end of Andromeda. I certainly have more criticisms about the plot of Mass Effect 2, for instance.

I got a couple Steam gift cards for Christmas, and loaded up. I seriously wanted Red Dead Redemption 2, but it would have to drop to around $30 for me to buy it, and it didn’t. Nevertheless, I made out like a bandit, and got 20 awesome games. Here’s the games I’m having the most fun with:

Hollow Knight - If you like Metroidvanias, this is a really good one. The graphics seem to be mostly darker palets, it’s not bright and colorful, but the controls, graphics, level design, bosses, and powerups are juuust right. This is the one I’ve spent the most time on so far.
American Truck Simulator, Colorado and Idaho expansions - I love ATS, and have all the other states and most of the truck decorations/upgrades. Very nice scenery, and more to explore!
Kill to collect - Top down shooter. Not a ton of enemies, but you really have to learn how to avoid enemy shots rather than going in full guns blazing. One reason I picked this up was up to 4 people at the same computer. Can’t wait to see the kids and play it with them.
Aqua Kitty: Milk Mine Defender - If you remember the old arcade game Defender, this is a modern version with cats. Underwater cats :grin:. I was never too good at defender back in the day, but after an hour or so of Aqua Kitty, I really zoned in and got good at dodging enemies/shots, and zoom around to rescue the kitties. Love this game (and our kitties).
Fire Pro Wrestling World - back in the arcade days, there was a really cool arcade wrestling game, i think it was called Mat Mania. This appears to be an extension of that, nice retro graphics and tons of cool moves. I need to get a grip ( :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:) on the controls - lost my first 6 matches and had the crap beat out of me. i can’t wait to see what the multiplayer is like.
Absolute Drift - This almost looks like one of the tabletop racing games with mostly white, surrealistic graphics. Takes a while to get the hang of drifting at will, but once you to this is awesome!
The Witcher 2 - I got the third witcher game and started playing it, then decided I want to play them in order. I have close to 140 hours in Witcher 1, and loved the bit of 3 that I played, so this should be cool.
Chicken Invaders 5 - Very funny arcade style shoot em up. I have CI4, and this looks almost the same with a few new things tossed in. Great 2 player arcade action too.
Headlander - This is a retro platformer with a 1970’s vibe to it. The big thing is you’re a disembodied head, and you have to pop the heads off bodies and take control of them. The head floats and can get in small openings. The body (with your head on it), can shoot, open doors, and interact with more things. Very fun platformer.
Niffleheim - side scrolling crafting, exploring, building, and fighting game with really snazzy graphics. You have a Fortress that you upgrade, and inside are crafting booths (armory, kitchen, forge, etc), all of which need crafting materials and upgrade materials. None of the areas are that complex, and I don’t think any layouts are random. You have some dungeons, a mine, and an outside area to explore for monsters and materials. Mine and dungeons are basically sideways tunnels, you clear them out, get materials doing so, and look for the door to the next level down. Rinse and repeat. I do really like this one, my only issue is the lack of randomness. You are constantly looking for stuff to upgrade your facilities and gear, then going mining for new ore.

I got a few more, but these are the ones I’ve played and like the most so far.

Broadly. It’s obviously not a pixel style game, but it is essentially the same idea.

My DIL loved Witcher 3, and bought Witcher 2, but didn’t like it. So you might want to at least crack it open.

Just wait. I thought it was really very well done. It was one of the games I played this year as well.

Animal Crossing was one of the best time sucks I’ve ever played. A grinding game that feels far less annoying than others of the type. A great experience until you basically finish building your house and then there is very little afterwards except special events. But definitely worth the price of admission.

God of War - So I got a PS5 and I have never had any PlayStation consoles before, so I fired up the PS+ collection and immediate started God of War, which I’ve been told I have to play. I really enjoyed it. The combat was fun, the puzzles were interesting, and the story was very good. In addition to the father-son play, the whole Norse gods are assholes is always a fun storyline (esp after Marvel made them mostly seem ok).

Red Dead Redemption 2 - I really enjoy open world games (Breath of the Wild is one of my favorite games of all time and the first 2 Fallout games are sublime IMO) and this one did it very well. While having very interesting and varied missions (a bit more focused than GTA series I found). It did get a bit long, no doubt. By Chapter 6 I was really just wanting it to end, but the journey was very good. I liked the different towns/states and their personalities. A lot of games just don’t do that well - different areas seem too similar. RDR 2 gets it right.

FIFA 21 - Haven’t gotten a FIFA game in a few years and mostly wanted to get this one for the next gen patch. Sure the gameplay is more arcade-y than other games, but I’d prefer something like that than a soccer sim (I can play Football Manager if I want that). I also keep forgetting just how many teams and players this game has. It’s pretty mindblowing if you think about it.

No Man’s Sky - Just got it for Christmas. It’s ok so far. There seems to be a lot of grind and build, but it isn’t as fun as, say, Animal Crossing. It’s also a lot more we’ll just throw you into the universe and let you figure it out, which creates a bit of steep learning curve. Maybe it will ‘click soon’. Exploring new planets is decent, but it seems to be mostly a, ok, what elements does this planet have so should I bother. The next gen graphics update is pretty nice though.

Doom Eternal - I mean it was $20 on the PSN sale, so I impulse bought it. The graphics are fantastic and it’s a really quick, strategic shooter - I’m almost always up against it on ammo or health and have to plan my battles with that in mind. That being said, it seems FAR more difficult than the Doom before it… and I’m not sure I like the difficulty ramping up this way.

Motorsport Manager - My biggest surprise of the year. I liked the mobile version but the desktop version hit a new level of joy for me. Instead of the driver you’re the team manager which sounds boring but there’s a surprising amount of strategy involved. I probably broke 300 hours on this one.

Surviving Mars - I like base building games so not too surprising I enjoyed it. The scenarios gave bonus replay value. Well worth the money.

Frostpunk - Essentially Simcity in Hell. Delightfully brutal and punishing. I really enjoyed it. However, not a lot of replay value in the primary campaign and in my opinion the difficulty levels of the ‘endless’ scenario is a bit off. It’s either a little too difficult to be fun or way too easy and I missed having the super-long, super-deadly storm to really put your settlement to the test.

Kerbal Space Program - Keep coming back to this one.

Oxygen Not Included - Kind of like a combination of KSP and Surviving Mars. Tough and unforgiving in the good way that makes you want to try again over and over.

Horizon New Dawn - Post-apocalyptic, open world game with a surprisingly good story. Played all the way through with my teenage daughter. At her request we maxed out the ‘mount’ skill first and never regretted it. Just galloping around at high speed was very fun and probably her favorite part of the game. Be prepared for some ‘The Last of Us’ type heart-tugging moments.

Early in the year I was super into Wreckfest. It’s incredibly fun, and even though it’s a couple of years old they have continued to add new content regularly.

Steep - a winter mountain sports sandbox. Also a few years old but I discovered it only early this year. There are challenges and competitions and stuff, but you don’t really have to do any of that stuff, you can just go snowboard/ski around, which is plenty fun just by itself. There are other sports you can do like wingsuiting or paragliding, you can even just grab a runner sled and take that down the mountain, but it’s clearly mostly a skiing and snowboarding game.

There’s always American Truck Simulator. They have also continued to support this game with DLC of new states to drive around in, and they’re always reasonably priced. It’s a great time waster. In fact I used all of my collected Xmas amazon gift cards to order a steering wheel and pedal set to play it with (it’s coming tomorrow).

I got into some other simulation games like Car Mechanic Simulator 2018 and Ultimate Fishing Simulator.

I spent a hell of a lot of time with a game called Fishing: North Atlantic that just came out in October. I loved the first game (Fishing: Barents Sea) and was looking forward to this one all year. They are both essentially American/Euro Truck Simulator, but on a fishing boat. The new game has been super glitchy and was clearly not fully ready for release, but they’ve been very responsive to all of the mature, constructive criticism whiny bitching on the Steam forums and have been addressing bugs pretty quickly. It’s still kinda buggy but it’s playable and I get everything that I want from it.

I did pick up Star Wars: Squadrons not that long after it was released, but aside from starting it up once to look around and play a little bit of the tutorial mission, I haven’t really played it yet.

Aside from those, there’s been a hell of a lot of Jackbox Party Pack games over Zoom. I’ve had a running appointment with different groups every week since about early June.

I am presuming this is Horizon Zero Dawn. Was it the PC version you played and if so, did they finally patch its bugginess?

I started playing GTAV Online in April. Such a fun game.

Red Dead 2 Online was $5 this weekend. It may still be. A bunch of my discord peeps picked it up and we have been playing it a lot this weekend. It’s not as good a game as GTAV but hey, horses!

Edited to clarify: This is the PC version on both.