Instead of posting this at the end of the year, or as of now, the start of a new one, I should just make a post when I am really enjoying, or have enjoyed a game. My new year’s resolution will be to do just that I guess this ;). Or at least try to.
Anyway, I’ll mention a few games that kept me busy in 2020. And what stood out for me.
Animal Crossings New Horizon
This was probably the game I put the most hours in, in 2020. Especially the start was a lot of fun. Getting a bigger house, more animals living on the island. Decorating the place … etc. Then it got a little stale and the events so far were not much to write home about. I still check in every now and then though, but it lost the initial sense of wonder. Maybe a future expansion or DLC can breathe some new life into it.
I was watching a few streamers on Twitch play this and wondered what the fun was in this game and it seemed like an annoying version of Euro truck sim, but once I tried it myself, I really got into this. It’s a lof of fun, especially unlocking new trucks and new equipment for your trucks. Although I enjoyed the initial maps more than the later (Russian and Alaska) ones.
I haven’t checked out too much of the new ones released later in the year, but what I saw so far, they tried to add some new gameplay elements, which is nice.
The year started off a bit slow for me gaming wise. I think I was a bit burned out by it and mainly watched Netflix series, I rewatched Friends if I remember well. Then in Febuary the Civ VI expansion Gathering Storm came out. After watching a few marbozir videos, I decided to get it and it made me finally ejoy Civ VI. I had tried a few runs before, but never really grabbed me, it didn’t seem like a complete game. In my opinion Gathering Storm made it complete.
In may Total War: Three Kingdoms came out, it was nice, but I found the campaigns / games dragging on a little too long. Also sometimes you got into a stallmate of some kind and the game didn’t really go anywhere. It was cool to see a strategy game in the top 10 most played games for a few days or weeks though. And it is a very good game regardless of my gripes.
Around the same time, by the end of April, one of my favourites for this year came out, the citybuilder / logistics game Anno 1800 by Ubisoft. I had a lot of fun with this game. The campaign was relatively short, though the story was decent. The sandbox mode is where it’s at. I usually disable the pirates too, since I don’t think the combat aspect is very good. It was more annoying than anything else to find your ships in ruins, because you overlooked a pirate attack.
The DLCs that came after the release, were nice as well, especially the first one Sunken Treasures. It gives you a very large new island in a new region to build on, and a vessel with a diving bell you can use to search for treasure. The second dlc, Botanica was a little underwhelming, bit short of content. The third one, the passage, was pretty big with a new region and a new story. Though I have to admit I haven’t played it much since I have the feeling I have pretty much seen and done most that the game has to offer. I have about 70hrs into it now. The first part of the game is the most fun part to me. Once you have eletricity and people that need it, you need to redesign your cities in order to be able to use the trains and move the oil to your power plant, which is pretty much a pain. All in all a great game and one of the best of the year for me.
In 2010 his Cataclysm videos, talking while playing the game, made him more and more popular. I am assuming he wasn’t the 1st let’s player, but he certainly made the genre big. And with this newfound audience he started the excellent WTF IS series.
In the early 2000sÂ he started to do shoutcasts for his beloved Starcraf 2 as well, he was easily the best SC2 announcer with Apollo and Day9. Easily being the best voice in Esports for a long time to come !
Apollo || Shaun Clarke on twitter posted some nice pics from the past :
Sadly in 2015 TB tweeted the news that he was diagnosed with cancer. Strangely enough my dad was diagnosed with lymphoma not long thereafter, it was all a bit much. TB battled the disease well up till the point where the chemicals didn’t work any more. Last month, in april he tweeted it was pretty much over and he didn’t have long to go. On may 24th he passed away.
His passing leaves me with a big feeling of sadness. It’s not like a celeb you read about in the paper, this seems more personal and a more profound feeling of loss. Especially since he was still in his early 30s. TB you will definately be missed by many, he singlehandedly changed the game of youtube commenators / game critiquing, reviewing and shoutcasting to boot.
One of my fav series, TB and Jesse Cox play Terraria
Railway Empire is a new railroad tycoon game, in the spirit of the old railroad tycoon by Sid Meier. Made by Gaming Minds, in Germany. I have put in quite a few hours in this game, because I streamed it the past few weeks on twitch. So if you check the videos on my channel, you can see (almost) the entire campaign.
The game is quite enjoyable, the graphics, especially the locomotives, are nice, and the presentation is polished. The track editing itself is pretty good, one of the best I have seen in a train game to be honest. One thing though, you can’t cross tracks ! Which is very frustrating, especially at the start. Somewhere along the line you get used to it, and build around it (or above as the case may be), but it’s still very annoying.
There are four play modes, you should probably start off with the campaign, then there are a bunch of scenarios, that are quite like the campaign chapters, but they’re standalone and don’t have any cut scenes.Â Then there’s freemode, which leaves you with the most flexibility as you can pick the era to play in and one of the five maps, that you get to know in the campaign. Last (and least ;)) there is a sandbox mode without money and competition. Might be interesting to test something out, but it doesn’t sound very challenging to me.
The campaign is nice with a story to it, basically how the first Transcontinental RailroadÂ was build. Some funny moments are to be had, with the competition being cartoon like characters that talk banter every now and then. The objectives in the campaign aren’t always easy. I had to restart a few a few times to get a good understanding what needed to be done to complete a chapter. All in all the campaign is fun, but rather limited. Only 5 chapters in the US (5 maps in all that return in the other game modes) in the timespan of 1940 – 1910. No europe, asia and or japan or whatever. I assume some DLC or expansion packs will remedy this, but for a $50,- it’s a little limited to say the least.
Another annoying aspect is that the AI cheats. It’s literally on EASY mode. You can use this mode yourself as well, though I don’t know why anyone would as it takes all the fun out of a train game imho. This means that it only needs one track and the trains never collide, they just run straight through each other. So no need to track changes, double tracks, signals, multi track stations. It’s quite immersion breaking as well to look at. So you better don’t ;).
All in all I have been having a good time with the game, and spend quite a few hours in it, and I’ll definately will play it some more. I’ll probably also would buy some more campaign like content, if it’s somewhat reasonably priced. As of now it lacks content and a somewhat more sophisticated AI to warrent it’s big $50,- price tag. Put it on your wishlist and buy it when it’s on sale, that would be my recommendation.
The game is available on both GOG and steam. GOG is DRM free and comes with a kickback of almost 8 Euro in Europe, depending on your location. You can of course also buy a steam key at Greenman Gaming ;).
Here we go, the final article about 2017, after this I’ll be looking forward into the bright future :). Let’s kick off by a list of games I actually played the most last year.
Wow – LEGION
Maybe you can spot a trend here, these are all older games that have received updates or content last year.
Factorio is now one my most played games (after wow). It was excellent before 0.15, but the end game changed so much with the 0.15 update. You no longer need alien science any more, that was dropped by the alien creature in the game, but was replaced by something you could make yourself. The game overall just got a lot better and better longevity with updates 0.15 and 0.16 (on going now, I assume we’ll see a release this year).
Rimworld is just about the same story, it had two updates last year (A17 and B18, though A16 was released just before the start of 2017) and improved quite a bit. Also mods and addons can make it even better, countless hours of fun, mayhem and frustration to be had here ;). It will probably see a release this year.
I kind of missed Hitman release in 2016, and got it on a special deal in 2017 and wow, especially the first few scenarios are so good. I got immersed in it around april and may and played so much. Then it started to fade a little. The new episodes arent as good as the first few ones. Hitman is now independent of Square Enix and new content might appear this year.
World of Warcraft – Legion. Even after 13 years WoW is still going strong. Somehow Blizzard got it right with this expansion, I kept playing throughout without getting bored of the repetitive world quests, and of course raising alts. This year we’ll get a new expansion, very much looking forward to that.
To be honest I donâ€™t buy a whole lot of Xbox One titles, but there were a few this past year.
Here is the list :
Halo Wars 2
The main reason I boot up the Xbone One is to play a few rounds of Fifa 18 FUT. I play if on a somewhat low level but for some reason itâ€™s great fun to play a few games a few times a week and get the weekly reward, a few gold packs and a stack of coins. I think I only spent real money at the start, and bought some packs to get started. I made a premier league based team and a spanish one. Itâ€™s quite fun to see it improve over time.
Halo Wars 2 was released earlier in the year, now almost a year ago already. Havenâ€™t seen it mentioned much, and it wasnâ€™t played much on Twitch either. Itâ€™s a very decent strategy title though, great controls for the controller as well. The story is enjoyable as well, and itâ€™s gotten some DLC over the course of the year. You can also play it on Windows 10, but I found it more convenient to play it on the XBOX.
I didnâ€™t really plan to get Forza 7, but it was pretty cheap around Xmas I think, so I picked it up then. Itâ€™s got a lot of tracks and different types of contests, but it feels a bit too arcady. Maybe I should play around with the settings a bit, and make it slightly more realistic.
Asassinâ€™s Creed Origins was the last purchase of the year, already reduced in price for 39,99. The game looks wonderful, has plenty to do and a decent story. If youâ€™re looking for a vast, somewhat open world game, this one is pretty good.
Thatâ€™s it for the Xbox for 2017, itâ€™s a nice console, but I have to say that overall PS4 has more and better exclusives. Most of the Xbox One titles you can also get for PC, where they play usually better. The Xbox is in an odd spot in that regard. For convenience some titles are easier to play on the xbox. Just pop in the disc and off you go ;).
Picked up the Switch halfway around the year, when Splatoon 2 was released. That game is a lot of fun, sort of a casual shooter you can always pick up and play for an hour. It has a nice feel of progression with new weapons and gear. And itâ€™s getting regular big updates.
The game of the year on the Switch for me though was Mario Rabbids. I streamed quite a bit of it on Twitch and posted some highlights on my youtube channel. Itâ€™s a very interesting take on turn based combat Xcom style, with Mario characters and environment. I just found the final fight a little frustrating. One mistake and you have to do the whole thing over again. Also replayability isn’t very high, once youâ€™ve seen the whole thing youâ€™ve seen enough, at least for me. In any case, itâ€™s well worth picking up this title if you care for Â this type of tactical gameplay.
I guess we all know Mario Kart. The Switch version isn’t that much different, but it works wonderfully and itâ€™s still great fun to play. Enough has been said about the much acclaimed Mario Galaxy. Overall a great fun game, even if youâ€™re like me and usually donâ€™t play these type of games. You can go as far as 100% it or just try to complete the game and the story.
Golf Story is a fun little game you can get off the Nintendo Game Store. Itâ€™s a little hard to explain but itâ€™s an RPGish type story inside a golf game.
Last but certainly not least is of course Breath of the Wild. Picked by many as GOTY of 2017. And rightly so, its vast, lots to do and explore. Only drawback is the idiotic weapon degradation. I usually try to mod these things out, I donâ€™t think they add anything to gameplay. Of course you canâ€™t do that here unfortunately. Â I played this on the WiiU and only got this last month for the Switch. The switch version is a little crisper and smoother. The WiiU struggled a bit with some scenes. Gameplay is the same though.
And thatâ€™s it, the list for 2017. All in all an excellent for the Switch, itâ€™s a pretty awesome console, a great combo with the PC since there is so little overlap in games.
This blogpost has been long in the making and seen a few revisions ever since I was planning to do this. Even though most of the revisions were just in my head. I now decided to split the articles by consoles / PC. Itâ€™s more a games I played in 2017 type of list, than a GOTY 2017 one. And yes I know itâ€™s almost febuary 2018 when I post this :p.
Anyway, 2017 was an amazing year for gaming. If you just look at the list of titles on Metacritic itâ€™s quite impressive. Letâ€™s kick off with the consoles, hereâ€™s my ps4 list of 2017 games I played Â :
Nier : Automation
Horizon Zero Dawn
Sports games, NHL 18, MLB the show 17
Grand Turismo Sports
Didnâ€™t quite finish Nier, wasnâ€™t really my thing in the end. Still need to play Horizon Zero Dawn, itâ€™s high up on my TO DO list ! I only did the starting area and quite loved it. I have seen a few play throughs on Twitch though, so I know a bit about the rest of the game. Very impressive graphics. There is also DLC out now, that I might get if I ever get close to finishing the game ;).Â I still play a round of golf every now and then in Everybodyâ€™s golf. Itâ€™s surprisingly fun.
MLB the show remains one the of the best sports franchises in gaming. Wonderful graphics, presentation and great options to play one guy going through the leagues in his career, or manage a team, play online or whatever you fancy. Whether itâ€™s worth it to keep buying the new installment every year is up to you. I dont think it hurts to skip a version every other year or so.Â NHL 18 wasnâ€™t that much different from last yearâ€™s. I played the show more this year, whereas in 2016, it was the other way around.
Grand Turismo Sports was an odd release. Online racing only at first. Apparently that didnâ€™t appeal to a whole lot of people because less than 2 months after release, the price was drastically reduced. I did pick up then, at 29,99 I believe. The driving is fine, and there is a single player mode (of sorts) now added. I prefer this one over Forza 7, which is a little too arcady for my taste.
The big game from 2017 missing from the list is of course persona 5. I played it for a few evenings, then when I heard how long it was, got very discouraged and havenâ€™t touched it since :). I really dont have the time or patience to complete a 100hrs (or longer) game.Â
Thatâ€™s it the list for PS4 for 2017. Next will be the Nintendo Smash. Not sure what I am going to do with PC games, probably split them up in genres or something, or make a long article ? Weâ€™ll see !