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2020 Gaming Retrospective


melkathi

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I do not see me doing all that much gaming over the next week, so may as well start looking back at the year now.

 

Obviously the big disappointment was Necromunda.

It looks pretty, but not only did they make design choices that went against what the game should be, it was and is a buggy mess with possibly the worst AI in computer gaming history. It is amazing how they managed this. If they had simply reskinned Mordheim, a lot of people would have been happy. The fact that Rogue Factor is now a subsidiary of Cyanide and Cyanide got sold, so Focus didn't care anymore for this title, didn't help.

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Immortal Realms: Vampire War was another disappointment. One of the "strange" things is that from beta to release, nothing seems to have changed. They called it a beta, but in reality it was a "Play bits of the game as we finish them".

 

Troy - A Total War Saga on the other hand was a very pleasant surprise. It is the first Total War game I ever finished. It treated the mythical setting well and follows the "historical" events while giving players freedom to do as they please. I would call it one of my top purchases of the last couple of years, but it was free.

 

Age of Wonders: Planetfall - Star Kings DLC was also better than I feared. The Empire mode makes skirmish games more involved and may have come a bit as a result of the very negative feedback the single player campaign got. It has its issues - the AI has real trouble handling some of the random planet traits and can become non functional city states. But it is a step in the right direction.

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Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark 's DLC was also great. The game becomes a little grindy towards the end, but I am glad I got it from the Giveaway thread and people who passed it by were silly 😛

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Phoenix Point's Year One edition was on the other hand rather meh. It improved a lot over what had been released before, but all of that they could have done a year earlier if they had simply listened to Backer Build feedback. And the DLC so far is pretty bad. Especially the Legacy of the Ancients one is so grindy, it makes asian MMOs feel casual (yeah, a bit of hyperbole, but imagine you'd play XCOM, and to gather resources you'd have to keep the Avenger hovering over the resource site to pick up alien DNA one unit per hour and you needed 150 units for one weapon). It also means I feel that the rest of the DLCs will simply bloat the game and not make it more interesting or fun.

 

Chimera Squad on the other hand I absolutely loved. Well, not some of the characters and their banter, which I found annoying. But the gameplay and direction the game took were very enjoyable and I did finish it three times to explore everything the story had to offer and try different squat compositions. I am looking forward to FiraXCOM3.

 

The best writing this year was easily Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Heart of the Forest. It would have been great if it was longer and the end felt a bit rushed. On the other hand, the whole story makes sense and is the best introduction to the world of darkness I have seen in a game.

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Unobtrusively informing you about my new ebook (which you should feel free to read and shower with praise).

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I don't believe I actually bought any brand new games this year until Cyberpunk. I did pick up a lot of early access titles. I spent a good chunk of the year trying to find the perfect space game too. Off the top of my head, these are the games I sunk a good amount of time into:

Conan Exiles - Played this throughout the year, every couple months or so. It's probably my favorite game in the last decade. 

No Man's Sky - This sat in my library for years, but around February/March I suddenly found myself playing it and enjoying it. The game has come a long way and deserves another look if you played it at release.

Empyrion - This is a fun, super indie, space and planetary building game. Pretty janky in a lot of ways, but also had enough charm to keep my interest. If this game had the graphics of NMS, it would be huge.

X3 - This is my last space game, promise! This is a complicated game, but it is pretty amazing flying through space and walking around in your spaceship. It just needs planets.

Lord of the Rings Online - I played this with my son over the summer for a couple months, and we had a blast watching the movies and working our way towards the Mines of Moria. It has aged, for sure, but it still has a lot of Tolkien charm.

Phoenix Point - I enjoyed it. Is it as good as Xcom? No, but it has a lot to like. I am curious to go back after more of the DLC is done. 

Chimera Squad - Xcom goodness in a buddy cop setting. This was a fantastic adventure and the only game on the list I actually reached an ending for.

Cyberpunk 2077 - Well worth the full price for me. I've really enjoyed exploring the story and the setting. I grew up with Shadowrun instead of Cyberpunk, so I wasn't sure I would dig it, but this has definitely been the top RPG for me in awhile.

 

 

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Pretty much just went through unplayed things in my library

Surviving Mars - this was great fun, although I have a game breaking bug they've supposedly fixed. Even playing as lazy I was was rewarding, there's more micro to do to squeeze efficiency out.

Arma 3 - enjoyed the SP campaign, although got lazy and cheated my way to resolve the story.  Probably a much better experience than people who played on release given the amount of years and patches.

Offworld Trading Company - Another one I enjoyed but didn't hold my time too well, but might just be me.  Economic warfare is a nice idea and change though.

Deponia series - This was so so, hateful protagonist but the story was not too stupid, didn't laugh once in all the three games I played but the puzzles were acceptable.

Disco Elysium - Maybe game I had the most fun in all year, didn't think it would catch me but was a happy surprise.

Planet Coaster  - Not much to say on this, I guess I just find it okay.  I have no eye for designing pretty parks so I end up making stuff that meets mission requirements :lol:

Cyberpunk 2077 - Only new game I've played I believe, found this enjoyable, at least enough to hit an acceptable dollars spent to hours played ratio.  Do feel the draw to play it after I've done the story, so the game can't be too bad.  Either that or WoW has trained me to like Skinner boxes...

Shadowlands - This has been enjoyable, Cyberpunk's sort of jarred my progress through the story so I am a bit behind the curve which is a bit annoying.  Torghast was not a good idea on their part, most chore like experience in the whole expansion or the entire game recently.

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Why has elegance found so little following? Elegance has the disadvantage that hard work is needed to achieve it and a good education to appreciate it. - Edsger Wybe Dijkstra

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Played the hell out of Enter the Gungeon and Dead Cells, a combined 600 hours of entertainment for less than 2 bucks.

Not sure I did much else. Nothing worth mentioning at least. I did get off my arse and finished the last Sekiro achievement during the first lockdown or so. Completed the game last year but getting all skills remained open. Had no real desire to grind out the last three points I needed.

Humm. Anything else? Oh, yes, Wasteland 3. Which was pretty good, except it was an inXile release and would have been better if I played a month or two later, but sometimes I can't help meself.

Bunch of games I began but didn't complete yet: Star Renegades, Cyberpunk 2077, Outer Worlds, The Witcher 3.

Played a bit of the Everspace 2 backer build. Performance was crappy at the time so I stopped.

's about it, I guess. I'm not sure what I played this year because my memory is really fuzzy. Between the major release at work, the heavy crunch before and afterwards, customers going mad, amount of work exploding, the lockdowns and home office everything is a single blurry timeframe with no clear beginning or end. Could be I played Dead Cells last year. Wouldn't know about it. *shrug* :p

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Ah yeah forgot I played Wasteland 2. That was also pretty good.  Hm, I need to play more awful games, feed the rage.

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Why has elegance found so little following? Elegance has the disadvantage that hard work is needed to achieve it and a good education to appreciate it. - Edsger Wybe Dijkstra

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14 hours ago, Malcador said:

 

Arma 3 - enjoyed the SP campaign, although got lazy and cheated my way to resolve the story.  Probably a much better experience than people who played on release given the amount of years and patches.

 

Malc !!!! I cannot believe you are so brazen with admitting you cheated in Arma....you a brave man to say something so iniquitous so openly on a forum of  such hardcore gamers ;)

"Abashed the devil stood and felt how awful goodness is and saw Virtue in her shape how lovely: and pined his loss”

John Milton 

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -  George Bernard Shaw

"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead" - Nelson Mandela

 

 

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9 hours ago, BruceVC said:

Malc !!!! I cannot believe you are so brazen with admitting you cheated in Arma....you a brave man to say something so iniquitous so openly on a forum of  such hardcore gamers ;)

Never could manage the squad command interface in the ArmA series, so with Zeus it was much easier.  Zeus' pretty neat, too, can just pop in what you need where you need it. 

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Why has elegance found so little following? Elegance has the disadvantage that hard work is needed to achieve it and a good education to appreciate it. - Edsger Wybe Dijkstra

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So the takeaway is... Wasteland 3 is utterly forgettable, seeing how y'all are forgetting about it? I was hoping to pick it up to play through in co-op. But apparently it isn't working too well yet, even after all the patches.

I'm not doing nearly as much gaming as I used to, but managed to get a few more NiM achievements in SWTOR.

- When he is best, he is a little worse than a man, and when he is worst, he is little better than a beast.

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On 12/23/2020 at 12:10 AM, Hurlshot said:

X3 - This is my last space game, promise! This is a complicated game, but it is pretty amazing flying through space and walking around in your spaceship. It just needs planets.

A shame. I would have loved some opinions on X4 :(

(I played X2, but just couldn't get into X3, now gathering dust on my Steam account)

 

My most negative surprise this year? Borderlands 3. Four attempts to start up a game. Never made it past level 2 on any toon. It just feel dead and soulless

My most positive surprise this year? Xenonauts. Succeeding on a budget where Firaxis for me failed badly, catching the atmosphere of the original X-Com: UFO enemy unknown

The game I played the most and probably overall enjoyed the most (i.e. no surprises) was Nier: Automata

Honourable mention: Overcooked 2 (in coop mode)

 

Played other games, but they are either multi year spanning mmo or so old that some of them runs on Commodore 64 emulators

 

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“He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice.” - Albert Einstein

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2 hours ago, 213374U said:

So the takeaway is... Wasteland 3 is utterly forgettable, seeing how y'all are forgetting about it? I was hoping to pick it up to play through in co-op. But apparently it isn't working too well yet, even after all the patches.

I'm not doing nearly as much gaming as I used to, but managed to get a few more NiM achievements in SWTOR.

WL3's setting is great, the quests are rather entertaining, the overall storyline is somewhat, uhm, yeah, forgettable, and the only "unexpected" thing that happens in the end feels contrived and afterwards the game doesn't even pretend to acknowledge it.

 

Unless you go with the "secret" ending, at the end you're forced to side with Angela or the Patriarch, either choice starts a civil war where you need to kill half your crew at the base, potentially including the Ranger General Woodson's son, whom you had to rescure before. He was really, really, really distressed about him going missing in Colorado and really, really, REALLY happy that you rescued him. And he really doesn't care if you go against orders and side with Angie and gun his son down for it. Really, game?

Did Bioware release any new operations or is it just the same they had for years now?

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Well the best game for me this year was Wasteland 3. Looking forward to replay this after the next patch or two.

Cyberpunk is ok but a little all over the place. I deleted all my saves and will restart after game is more patched up.

Resident Evil 3, not as good as 2 but still great.

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7 hours ago, Gorth said:

A shame. I would have loved some opinions on X4 :(

(I played X2, but just couldn't get into X3, now gathering dust on my Steam account)

 

Oops, X4 is the one I played. I can't keep track of all these algebraic equations. 

I have no way to compare it to X2 or X3 unfortunately. :(

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7 minutes ago, Hurlshot said:

Oops, X4 is the one I played. I can't keep track of all these algebraic equations. 

I have no way to compare it to X2 or X3 unfortunately. :(

You could say the differences are... exponential!

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6 hours ago, majestic said:

Did Bioware release any new operations or is it just the same they had for years now?

If you quit at the time, or shortly after, Temple of Sacrifice and Ravagers were released, they have made two new raids since: Valley of the Machine Gods and Nature of Progress. The former took them over a year and a half to fully release (because they thought it would be a good idea to drop it in an 'episodic' manner) and the latter re-uses a lot of assets that were already in the game. Don't get me wrong, both are really good gameplay wise and only a tiny fraction of the raiding community have cleared them in NiM. But the game still suffers from chronic underinvestment which results in a laughable content release rate compared to other MMOs.

- When he is best, he is a little worse than a man, and when he is worst, he is little better than a beast.

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I didn't really play too many video games this year.

I finished Pathfinder Kingmaker after dropping it a few times over the last couple of years. It's good for a D&D "totally not D&D with a kitchen sink thrown in" romp, but you can ignore much of the story and not really miss anything. 

I played a **** load of Smash Brothers Ultimate. Probably one of the better fighting games out there.

I played a coop DOS2 with my fiance and she ended up killing me to become a god.

Finally got around to Vampyr. Was pretty good but controls are funky.

"TL;DR: Schlongs make you catch the gay and are too woke." - majestic

"I'm gonna hunt you down so that I can slap you square in the mouth." - Bartimaeus

"if you behave we will let you visit the adoption event" - InsaneCommander

"You cracked the case, it wasn't meant to be nice." - Malcador

"Obi-Wan Kenobi - Whelp, that was a waste of time." -Hurlshort

"I was just waiting to see what bad thing was going to happen when they went through Serbia, but thankfully it seems like the creators like Hungary less this time around." - Sarex

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8 hours ago, 213374U said:

If you quit at the time, or shortly after, Temple of Sacrifice and Ravagers were released, they have made two new raids since: Valley of the Machine Gods and Nature of Progress. The former took them over a year and a half to fully release (because they thought it would be a good idea to drop it in an 'episodic' manner) and the latter re-uses a lot of assets that were already in the game. Don't get me wrong, both are really good gameplay wise and only a tiny fraction of the raiding community have cleared them in NiM. But the game still suffers from chronic underinvestment which results in a laughable content release rate compared to other MMOs.

That's making me sad. I mean I have no real intention of ever coming back - not to SWToR nor to any other MMO - but I really enjoyed my time playing it. The operations and even some of the flash points were among the best MMO content I've had the pleasure of being able to experience.

If only a tiny fraction have cleared them in Nightmare Mode then nothing much has changed from the past. Not entire unexpected though, the player base probably hasn't grown too much, if at all, and the raiding scene was somewhat anemic even before SoR. Probably no way to pick up NiM operations now even if I wanted to. I remember we had a total of eight Conquerers of the Dread Fortress on the server (cross faction, even), and no Deposers (aaaand that's the reason the guild went kaboom).

Had a good team going for a bit, lacked some DPS though. Had a good healing companion too. Really good. He had some family issues and couldn't play shortly before the reaslease of Dread Palace. Also a reason why we failed. Replacement was good, but... yeah. When he left after the guild drama I stuck around testing other healers for a bit, then left too. Massively increased project load at work helped with that decision too.

I remember greenlighting a sorc heal for the main raid. Almost flunked him out after the first test run, but he did all right on the second (said I don't think he's a keeper but we should do a second run just in case).

After I left, they raided together for a while, then the sorc left for Drop It Like It's Hoth. Not sure if DILIH is still a thing, but they were back then. Being the only guild to kill pre-nerf Dread Guards, as far as I know. Keeps popping up as a funny topic when talking with some of the guys I'm still in contact with from time to time, but it should showcase just how good of a healing partner the other guy was.

The thing I miss most though was shooting people out of space in GSF. :)

Feel like I've posted that before. Probably did. Twice. Or maybe more.

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31 minutes ago, Katphood said:

Wow! I didn't play a single 2020 release. 

*pats himself on the back*

You're only hardcore if you only play games made before 1999

Why has elegance found so little following? Elegance has the disadvantage that hard work is needed to achieve it and a good education to appreciate it. - Edsger Wybe Dijkstra

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2 hours ago, Malcador said:

You're only hardcore if you only play games made before 1999

Not quite hardcore, but I did play a *lot* of SSI's "Battlecruiser" (C64 version) in 2020 😛

 

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“He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice.” - Albert Einstein

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13 hours ago, Malcador said:

You're only hardcore if you only play games made before 1999

Yeah, who am I kidding. It's just inflation toying with my gaming habits. Games have become so expensive over here that I haven't bought a game in more than a year or so. Otherwise I'd be playing Cyberpunk 2077 right now...

 

...just kidding. I'm too hardcore for Cyberpunk 2077, I'd be probably playing Disco Elysium. :p

Katphood on PSN, Steam & Xbox Live

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