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

Replying months later …

The Witness
Nobody ever seems to mention this but there is a whole other game buried in The Witness. It has to do with wandering around finding patterns in the landscape, allowing you to activate the black hexagonal pillars scattered around, and getting through doors that you seemingly can’t open into new areas. Spent weeks chasing it all down, but can’t finish the game though. Defeated by Grieg.

Also good for spending weeks on,

The Longing
You are the last servant of the king of the underground. He is asleep and you have to wait 1000 days for him to wake. Game proceeds in real time. Sort of. Includes a complete copy of Moby Dick,

Eastshade
You are a painter exploring an island and painting pictures. The game has a huge range of scenery to paint and areas to explore.

Spiritfarer
Give rides to departed souls who aren’t ready to pass on.

Dragon Quest Builders 2
You can spend months on this once you finish the tutorial, which seems to go on for the entire game and take about a month all by itself.

When the game was released to reviewers, Jonathan Blow let them email him and ask for hints/guides to make it through puzzles they were stuck on.

He said he could tell how far they were and how dedicated they were when some of them asked about the “landscape patterns” and others never did.

Yeah there was no difficulty setting. I only play games once so I’m not affected by replayability. I did find the final “boss fight” surprisingly tame, it seemed to basically be a cut scene.

I’ve started the second one again (I don’t finish then replay a game but I sometimes have a couple of starts before I get into it). I think the issue I may have had before is tackling a captain as a level 1 Talion, getting killed, trying to get revenge, getting killed again, and repeating the cycle, unwilling to admit defeat. The captain just gets stronger and I get demoralised. I’ve broken myself put of that cycle this time around. I’ve got a captain just waiting for me to extract my vengeance, when the time is right.

I also stumbled into a bunch of orcs early on and had multiple captain introduction cut scenes in a row. I should’ve elf-ran my way outa there but stupidly stuck around to fight.

If the game is right, I can play over and over and over (state of Decay 2, I’m looking at you…2700+ hrs and counting.) Both of the shadows games I’ve played through twice. But I’m think I might go for 3 here soon.

Yeah the only games I replay are games that don’t really have a story as such, think sports games, racing games etc. For other games I’ve generally had enough of the gameplay some time before the end of the main story so by the time I finish it I’m ready to leave it behind.

There are exceptions. I never finished the sequels to Halo and recently replayed Halo as a lead in to playing the rest of the series.

I first heard about the game in a list of “Games that change how you see the real world” i.e. that after playing The Witness for a while you start noticing patterns in real world structures.
So I was looking for these from the very start.

Many of these environmental puzzles are hard to miss (whereas others require a bit of triangulation to get in the right place) but I guess it’s conceivable someone could play the game, notice that, say, the stepping stones form a puzzle, but just think it’s the aesthetics and not something you can actually click on.

Yes, you can definitely end up with a super-tough enemy, but generally there’s no penalty for running away (as you noted above).

When I tried playing it on Gravewalker difficulty (the hardest level), I ended up with one enemy who was basically unbeatable; I think the best that I managed was to whittle him down to ~30% health after 20 minutes of combat. He kept following me from place to place, and I kept running away. It was very satisfying to see him finally get pulverized by my army in the final mission!

Yup, that’s state of decay 2. And people on the reddit keep whining about it needing more story despite the fact that a strict story mode kills replayability. For example, the actual story mode for sod2 that was originally a DLC, but now is included for everyone. Nobody plays it for anywhere near the amount they play the normal campaign mode. And for further evidence,
Sod1. The story is quick and meh. But the storyless “breakdown” mode is what everyone spend their time on. Nevertheless “whaah, sod3 better have a story!”

To each their own. If I really like a book or a movie or a TV series - or a story-based video game - I can enjoy it over and over again. I’ve played through Witcher 3 five times, and I’m about to start my sixth; don’t even ask me about Mass Effect.

I just bought “Mass Effect: Legendary Edition”. I have played the Mass Effect games five times each (except for ME:1…lost my copy). Maybe crazy but I love those games.

I’ve also played System Shock 2 a few times. Deus Ex. BioShock. Witcher games (not Witcher 1 because I lost that copy too). Actually played Zork several times.

While I kinda don’t like repeating story driven games the really good ones pull me back.

YMMV of course.

I’m on my third replay of Horizon Zero Dawn. That game is just magic. Yeah, there are a few quibbles in certain areas of design and gameplay, but its storytelling is among the very best in the whole field.

And add me to the list of Mass Effect Legendary buyers who are counting down the days over the next week and a half.

I’ve been considering picking this up. After reading your comments on it, I think I probably will.

Yeah, I think it’s super cheap now. I got it as a gift, but it was like $30 at the time. The ROI for thousands of hours of entertainment is through the roof. Check out the subreddits for stateofdecay and stateofdecay2 for a mostly chill community with lots of good tips n tricks.