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Gaming Year in Review 2020

So I finally got around to finish my reviews of my accomplished games of yesteryear and I know its a bit late for posting but nothings ever too late for this sub so here goes my somehow short reviews of the 29 games I finished in 2020 (2 games not included since automod is harrassing me despite being in line with the rules)

The Darkness II, PC

Fast paced gory goodness. An action packed title that reaches the full potential of its concept through its crazy fast paced gameplay and mechanics. Combat is exhilarating as you are imbued with the power of the darkness which makes you a walking mutilation machine to anything unfortunate enough to come across your path. The game makes the most use of your powers through quad wielding as if two weapons werent enough making you a force to be reckoned with. With the many ways you can annihilate your opponents, my favorites will always be with the classic tendrils that can perform a variety of executions. There is an odd satisfaction for me whenever Im playing gory games and this one definitely scratches the itch. The levels are designed a little bit too compact for such a chaotic game but nonetheless it suffice. Storywise, it's nice I thought the mobster settings was pretty cool and the exploration of the darkness' history was good especially with the flashback stage. The characters are likeable as well. This game also employs a cel-shaded artstyle which, of course, makes it unique, I cant discern much if it was used effectively though but in my experience I didnt had too much issue with it. To sum it up, the darkness 2 is a decent game with its intense gameplay, good story and unique artstyle.

Hitman: Absolution, PC

A good game but perhaps it was great to some. I played this game with a wrong mindset even though stealth games is one of my favorite genres, I approached this game like how I would approach CoD which is mindless shooting. I didnt really have the patience that time to play through the whole game the way it was meant to be played thus not having experienced the whole hitman experience and I believe its a shame but nonetheless I had fun in my unorthodox guns blazing approach. The point shooting mechanic is highly addictive even though it was supposed to be used strategically I spammed the hell out of it even going so far to download a trainer. The gunplay in combination with the slow mo mechanic is really good that it completely erased the word stealth in my vocabulary. But I didnt play the whole game like that of course, I always try to do a stealth approach first but the number of times I need to restart became tedious hence leading me to just shoot everybody I see towards the rest of the level. Doing a perfect no detection run is still the most satisfying imo. There are other great gameplay mechanics in place especially with the environment interaction which is widely varied, you can kill someone via a loose object hanging overhead of your target, you can add poison into your target's coffee, you can sabotage a piano, and a whole lot more. It was fun exploring them but I barely utilized them since I just opted to use my guns as a simple solution. I know it had the potential to be a great game objectively but I was just too braindead at the moment to find it. Still had fun tho.

Binary Domain, PC

The narrative is a strong suit, an age where AI has evolved to a point where they are essentially the same as humans, but better. They look, behave, react and get this, even reproduce the same. Flesh and metal bound to an indistinguishable level. I wanted this concept to be explored more in game, delving deeper to the ethical, moral and psychological aspects at the societal level, yet the story focused more on the grander scale of things, keeping you in a scenario where there is action instead of slow segments where you immerse yourself with the world in which I wouldve appreciated more. This is understandable considering its an action shooter game anyway. The narrative's potential is strong yet has been set aside after telling the campaign's story as there hasnt been any extended universe outside this game. I felt like the plot could make sense in a -recently released cdpr title- type of game scenario. Now discussing gameplay, combat is fun and engaging, the enemy bots feel realistic especially with their armor and limbs chipping away when hit. You are able to choose different persons from your squad prior to engagement, allies feel helpful at least. I love the close mounted camera perspective for third person games the most and I completely adore the one used here, it adds a bit more to the immersion. There's a trust level system mechanic but its very basic, you just need to choose the good sounding options as opposed to the obvious bad which is a no brainer, granted there's a bit of a challenge in raising it whilst in combat scenarios. In conclusion, good game, engaging combat, nice camera pov, realistic feeling AI and a strong narrative. Though I can not remember as well now, I believe there were some cringey parts in game that I would just like to add since I only praised the game in my review. That's all.

Outlast, PC

I dont play horror games since I'm a wuss and I dislike jumpscares but I appreciate a horror setting and its elements. This led me to play the game with god mode enabled and infinite batteries since I just wanted it to cross it off my backlog and it was just a breeze as expected. This was a major detach from the horror experience and wasnt how the game was supposed to be played but I digress, its a game that I own anyway. Even though I failed to see how glorious of a horror title it was, I appreciate the ideas that went behind this that made it such a compelling experience. My only critique is that the story at the end is kind of wack, they ruined an already immersive experience with some supernatural bs, I only wished they stayed more grounded to reality which was what made it effective in the first place. I don't look forward to playing the sequels.

Shadow Warrior (2013), PC

Ahh yes asian doom. I believe this was my first ever steam game having gotten it from a giveaway which was a nice welcome in my first days of steam. Fast paced, gory and chaotic, the combat is very satisfying especially with the variety of abilities you have in your arsenal. The story is actually pretty good, I liked the backstory behind your demon friend. Its a game that doesn't take itself seriously and I love it, its wacky and humorous. Overall, a really good game. I love this game, such a shame with the path they took with its sequel, instead of embracing doom they became borderlands. But at least the third sequel is going back to its roots.

The Stanley Parable, PC

Short and charming. Definitely a memorable indie title. I adore this game very much. It doesn't take itself seriously, its wacky, unique, and funny especially narrator man is hilarious. I vibe with the guy. It was fun trying to get all the different endings. This game's quirkiness really shows how sometimes videogames are also a platform to create art. I wish I can say more about this game but I currently cant recall much having played this game in the 1st quarter of yesteryear. Needless to say, indie games truly are a space for less formulaic more creative concepts and Stanley Parable is an exemplar of that.

A Short Hike, PC

A short and sweet adventure. Such a charming little game. The game's goal is fairly simplistic, you play as this bird whose main objective is to reach the summit of a mountain to get better phone signal. While it might seem straightforward, the world will captivate you enough to stray away from your goal for quite a while. The world is pretty interesting and cute, you have a small map to explore with various npcs that have their own little activities to them where at first you cant do much but as you progress you are now able to fulfill their demands it just gets more satisfying after finishing each task. There are various activities to do like racing, gliding, and some platforming segments that require you to backtrack and as you do, you explore and unlock more of the world. There's even an addictive beach volleyball(?) minigame that I really took the time to beat. The traversal is really fun complemented by the fun movement mechanics as you are able to spread your wings and glide around then there are these collectible feathers that allow you to increase your max altitude and duration. I like the way they implemented your character's movement mechanics so that you can't just fly your way up, it requires a bit of a challenge to maneuver and traverse the environment, some requiring you to backtrack and or hunt for more of those collectible golden feathers. The story is pretty sweet, thats all I can say to it. I finished the game, finished all the optional objectives and collected all the collectibles. Its a worthwhile experience, short but it's cute, chill, charming, and fun.

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Abzu, PC

There is little much that I can say about Abzu granted that I didn't really fully realize my experience back then as I was on a spree to finish as much games as possible which definitely impacts the overall potential of a game's experience hence the case with Abzu. I know the good qualities that make Abzu great, of course I played it so I should be aware but that is the problem, I only know but failed to understand. Playing this game, I didnt just speedrun it, my approach was slow paced and to explore every bit of the levels, I believe I took the time to savor the calm moments it had while observing the spectacular aquatic scenery, yet it wasnt still as memorable as some reviews would have pointed out to be. I understand that some games are just not for some people but if a game this great just flew over my head after experiencing it, I cant help to ponder if I just did the game such a disservice with the way I played. Recalling this game of memories past might also have impacted this review of mine since I'm reviewing games a year later but then I really struggle to remember memorable moments with the game which further grounds my review. Anyway, in summary, I sing the same praises the game has already received from its calm inducing atmosphere, gorgeous scenery, relaxing vibe and chill soundtrack, objectively a great game but subjectively not much of a memorable title for me.

A Story About My Uncle, PC

An alright platforming game where its strongest asset is in its movements. The only bliss I got from a game's movement mechanics is from Titanfall, this is the second time I got to experience the same feeling. Concept is good especially considering they were first conceptualized by students before being developed into a full game. The world is kinda weird but cute in a way that fits its narrative. I didnt knew at the time that this was an indie game so it kind of impacted my view on the game a bit as I was expecting a bit more but now I unable to readjust my views since since I fail to recall the game's context anymore, I wish I took notes back then. This leads me to not understanding why it has very high ratings on steam as I believed it wasnt that much phenomenal to deserve such ratings but I wish I understood more of the context as to what made it great.

Inside, PC

A great platformer with an interesting story and unique concept. Playdead really hits the spot with how they craft platformers in a grim setting. Having played Limbo, it doesn't stray much away from the formula with the controls controlling the way its been and the endings always leave you perplexed. It's just such a charming game with the way it just controls and feels, with the narrative executed the way it is without dialogue and context yet steadily painting a picture of the whole scenario while you try to piece out what's happening as you progress. Overall, a solid title that's more than just a puzzling platformer.

An Old Man's Journey, PC

Unique short puzzler platformer. Its a point and click adventure with an emphasis on moving layers of the level to traverse, it is a unique concept that is primarily what you spend most of your time solving, besides that there's really not much that you can do but it didn't need to anyway considering its just a very short campaign. The scenery is calm and beautiful to look at, the artstyle is good that just incites calmness while the animation makes it look cute. But despite its calm and endearing feel, the end of your journey is quite saddening, you really feel for the old man : ( . All in all, a nice and sweet experience.

Portal, PC

Fun unique short charming puzzler. Portal is a household name in gaming but I just finished it last year. What I thought was simply going to be a straightforward puzzle game had plenty of surprises which is easy to see why it garnered such praise and became such a classic mainstay in gaming history. Though at the time I was playing I wasn't much in awe but viewing this from a decade old standpoint I can see how this is such a groundbreaking title at the time, especially in the context back then that I read once in this sub. Now in gameplay, this game literally got you thinking in portals. The unique concept is complemented by good puzzle designs and it just conveys itself very well regardless of age. I'm proud that I was clever enough to finish the game without using any walkthrough. The humor is also on point too especially with the narrator GladOS which reminds me a lot of the Stanley Parable. Graphics still manage to hold up well in the current decade granted you run it on max which is a simple task for modern machines. Overall, Portal is a lovable game full of flair and oozing with personality that offers plenty of surprises with an excellent execution of its concepts and mechanics. I'm looking forward to what Portal 2 has to offer.

Batman: Arkham Origins, PC

The series that just keeps on getting better. An upgrade from the previous game, if I thought Arkham City couldnt get any better I thought wrong. At first I was kind of wary since not a lot of people were too keen on this game but after quite some time I couldnt see any reason to hate it, in fact it didnt do anything wrong, every aspect was an upgrade. Satisfying combat as always with new mechanics, combos and weapons. Story is pretty nice, Im not much of a critic as long as I get to play as the Bat I'm sold. Boss fights a plenty, perhaps the most number of bosses in the series yet iirc. Side content is pretty great, nice amount of variety that it was actual not much of a bore to do. To sum it up, a great game, I dont have much negative to say that I can remember only praises. Can't wait to play Arkham Knight!

Doom (2016), PC

Ahh Doom, what can be further said from all the praise this game has garnered. I haven't been born in the early age of gaming hence this was my first doom title and I'm just in time for the modern remake. The extremely satisfying, tense, gory, fast paced and chaotic combat is easily doom 2016's best aspect, the level design, weapon progression, collectibles, secrets, and tiny bits of lore are all just icing on top that complements the already magnificent gameplay. I find it funny how I used to be scared of the zombies at the beginning when they were just one-hittable fodder later on. One minor gripe I only had was there were far too few bosses for a game that's this satisfying. Solid title, I'm looking forward to rip and tear Eternally.

Kingdom Rush, Mobile

A classic tower defense title. I tried to complete every stars for each level and I think I only missed 2 levels since I was too lazy to complete it. A fun and challenging game, I loved the variety of troops that you are able to use especially the way you can upgrade them. Even the hardest challenges aren't too difficult to finish but the completionist within me always restarts a level when even 1 enemy slips through since I wanted to have a perfect run to nab those stars, tedious and annoying at times but I'm glad I tried the harder difficulties since it made me strategize better which in turn should make me a better gamer. I always force myself to play on hard difficulty to change my behavior to play better otherwise I would just resort to lazy and mindless approaches. Continuing, the game is neat and I'm interested in playing other future titles in the series.

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Battleborn, PS4

I love the hero shooter genre and this was a no brainer to try especially that it has a campaign. I love each of the popular hero shooter games line up during the peak of the genre, namely Paladins, Overwatch and Battleborn. I'm a simple guy that can appreciate anything in everything so I really do not understand the hate towards the non-overwatch games even when they are absolutely decent titles, more so with battleborn being a complete experience and having more content than overwatch. It's been said many times before I'll just reiterate, it's a shame that battleborn was released the same time as overwatch, it was one, if not the leading reason that led it to be dismissed and ignored which eventually led to its downfall, and after 4 years of living off its life support it is finally being laid to rest this month of January 2021. A true shame for it had a lot of personality, a lot of soul and love that went into making its universe, the naysayers are the ones to be shamed for they fail to see how much of a great game this is compared to the competition. With Gearbox being the developers, the game is as wacky and humorous as their other well known title Borderlands and that's what I love about their games. There are a lot of unique characters and mechanics in game, an in-depth system is in place which adds a ton of variety with your playstyle, the same way why I adore Paladins as well. The only thing I hate about it is how they made this an online only title, live service is the bane of my existence.

Plants vs Zombies: Battle for Neighborville, PS4

A game I was disappointed at first but grew on me the more I go. Coming from the previous title Garden Warfare 2, I came with plenty of the same expectations in tow; local coop gameplay modes, hero variants, a big home battlefield map with the same amounts of hidden secrets and whatnot, and then some. I instinctively searched for these features upon booting up the game but what I got was a small home battleground with no layers of exploration and secrets, no hero variants, and at the very least not even local coop gameplay modes. I thought 'wow I was scammed' for purchasing a game with very lackluster features. But as it turns out this was an entire new game thus entailing new features and approaches. It wasn't that the game was lacking in content, I just didn't knew where to look and every gripe I had was quickly resolved as I came to discover more of the game. Brimming with content as much as its predecessor with quests, side activities, game modes as well as a brand new class progression, they stand toe to toe with each other that its difficult to see which one is superior. I loved the hell out of Garden Warfare 2 but I also appreciate this new one, a worthy successor to GW2. Its just sad the last update hit for the game that was just 2 yrs of age, sucks to be an online only game.

Suicide Squad Special Ops, Mobile

I counted this as finished despite there not really being a story since I figured I unlocked all of that there is to the map anyway and that was the main objective I set to accomplish. Its an alright endless wave shooter mobile game yet of course severely lacking but I can not really judge this the same way as a full game. Anyhow for what its worth, the gameplay is basically fun which is what matters, the core gameplay is very meager you just run in circles killing bad guys while your weapon auto shoots and then every 5 wave or so an upgrade box drops and you can incrementally upgrade your stats, very basic but its decent enough for a mobile game. You are able to swap to any squad member and each have their own thing to them, I kinda wish they programmed more characters and more gameplay but you can't really hope much for these types of movie tie-in games. Graphics are nice, just goes to show how much potential there is to create a console like experience on mobile but sadly there isn't much interest. The whole experience was just alright, nothing was great and considering the type of game it was and the platform, theres really nothing too bad to say, it sufficed to say the very least,

Scribblenauts Remix, Mobile

A game where the limit is your imagination (or your vocabulary). The first game in the series, the concept is unique and the art style is both charming and cute. It is a puzzle game first and a sandbox game second. Puzzles are quite easy, only getting challenging when you attempt to do multiple playthroughs to get a red crown from a level which is an optional task. It was fun solving them since there's a myriad of ways you can approach each problem, especially when you let your creative juices flow like riding a pterodactyl or using a jetpack in lieu of using a car to cross a bridge normally. Sometimes I hit a roadblock despite a rather simple objective since sometimes there are specific items that I do not know of. Overall, a neat and fun cute puzzle game. I'm interested in playing the sequels.

Dead Cells, Mobile

Surprise hit of the year. I cant really recall what led me to play this game in the first place since I wasnt too keen on playing indie games but I'm really glad I did. This game changed my perspective on indie games, it doesn't need to be 3D or have good graphics to be a great experience. I wasnt a fan of pixel graphics and merely dismissed every pixel looking game that I have come across, but now I'm actively looking for pixel games haha. This was also my first roguelite, a genre Im also not entirely keen on since the concept of restarting all over again was something absurd but after experiencing it in this game, it wasnt all too bad. Gameplay is challenging, especially on harder difficulties in which I'm still trying to break away from the first boss cell. This game got me really addicted, even if it was somehow repetitive the gameplay always had me coming back for more. Experimenting with builds, hunting for blueprints, grinding, speed running, and or just general fucking around, theres a lot of ways to have fun in this game. My only regret was not playing in the superior PC version since I played this on mobile which is behind in updates which leads me now in a quite a dilemma, to wait for an update that may never come on mobile or to finally begin anew in PC.

My Friend Pedro, PC

Short, wacky and satisfying unique side scrolling platformer shooter with an interesting narrative. Gunplay is satisfying and awesome, its one of key selling points in this game as seen on the trailer and I remember the hype surrounding it back then. Game mechanics has several unique innovations such as the ricochet mechanic and skating which is really fun. There are two ways to approach this game, you can either go guns blazing as I believe the game is supposed to be fast paced anyway but the existence of the slow mo mechanic also allows for calculated plays but I find going pew pew is the most entertaining and satisfying. There's a degree of skill needed to master the gunplay but I didnt spend enough time to master it unfortunately. There are some platforming segments which I find is the weakest part of the game since it takes you out of the action and what is my friend pedro if you're not max payne bullet time 360 spinning dual wielding your pistols shooting 2 bad guys at the same time as you swap to your sniper then roll and kick a knife into a bad guy as you take his weapon then ricochet the bullet onto another bad guy all done in the span of 10 secs? Story wise, the revelation in the end was pretty nice. The banana character is pretty lmao with deadpool-like wackiness. Some of the soundtrack is pretty cool making you feel like John Wick at times. To wrap it up, My Friend Pedro is an extremely fun game and an even enjoyable combat with an interesting story, it innovated on many areas which makes the game more entertaining and unique making it a memorable indie title. A worthwhile purchase.

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Left 4 Dead 2, PC

Best zombie shooter game of all time. The OG. We have all played this game one way or another. Extremely satisfying, tense and chaotic zombie shooting. I love the variable paths and rng looting valve has implemented with the AI director, it makes the next couple of playthroughs feel less static. The AI director also controls zombie behavior and it does a very good job at it. This game's zombie AI is top tier, they flank you, surround you, special infected hide when spotted and wait for a better opportunity to attack, and they even strafe while running towards you to make them harder to shoot. After finishing the campaign, I wanted more challenge and played on realism and I'm glad I did. It went from mindless zombie shooter to tactical zombie shooter. There is a big emphasis on teamwork, resource management and strategy in this mode or harder difficulties, its a mode for the big boys. It beats your ass a lot of times but once you reach that safe house, its a better feeling than sex, and you cant change my mind.

The Walking Dead S1, PC

Classic. Finished this for the third time but this time on PC since my previous playthroughs were done on android. Played this again since I had the walking dead collection installed and I been meaning to play S2 for so long now. Still the compelling narrative I know and love, as intense and heartbreaking as my first playthrough. It hit harder when youre older though. I loved the dialogue the most in this game, it let me learn a bunch of new phrases and I appreciate every opportunity that I get to improve my english skills. While you don't really play this for the gameplay but it suffice for the type of interactive narrative they were going for which, love it or hate it, is the telltale formula. Now onto the next installment.

The Walking Dead S2, PC

Finally the moment to answer all my unresolved thoughts has come. It was kinda pathetic how they just threw the OG group away in favor of the new cast, which I don't really vibe with, there were only a few selects I liked. OG group still the best group, perhaps I haven't spent more time with these new ones but I'm open to change my mind in future replays if I'm in the mood. I'm glad atleast one of the original members and my main man in the previous game Kenny came back. I was extremely hyped af the first time seeing him, but seeing him gradually change for the worst to his inevitable downfall as I didn't choose to side with him in the end was really heartbreaking. And that Lee flashback had me feeling like clem, i just want my father figure to come back and protect me from this cruel world. The narrative in this one wasn't as strong to the S1 but this was interesting and a rather nice experience despite some flaws. There was less interactivity here which results in even lesser dialogue in comparison to the first and that bummed me out as I liked exploring every clickable object and exhausting every dialogue opportunity before moving on to the next. Good game but not as great. I'm not as excited to play the next one since I'm not sure if my little bb clem is going to be the star since she's the only one I only care for now.

Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, PC

Played on a whim since I wanted to play all the decent spidey games available on PC being a spider-man fan and I'm glad I really played this one. One word that I can say about the entirety of this game is that its AMBITIOUS and they nailed it absolutely right. They nailed every ambitious concept they have, from the playable spider-men, unique level design, amount of bosses to the gameplay mechanics. Really an amazing experience despite the clunkiness of old gen.

World War Z, PC

GOTY. Can't believe they just give away this AAA for free. I used to be a skeptic since I heard it has a lot in common with Left 4 Dead and I never really bothered to check more into it but after the Epic giveaway I figured why not and I'm glad I did. Phenomenal level design, gorgeous graphics, quality production and most importantly, solid gameplay. The addition of classes and weapon progression brings a lot of replayability after finishing the main game. The swarm engine that they use is very fascinating, it's baffling how they managed to cram 1k zekes in a single instance without my system not even breaking a sweat! Mad props to Saber Interactive on this one.

Halo Reach, PC

My last game of the year. Decided to download the Master Chief Collection and finally start my journey in the world of Halo. Only reason I played reach first is because it is the first in chronological events and the first title in the MCC menu so I thought why not this will serve as a primer for the main games, but that was not the case. As far as I'm concerned, gameplay and storyline is solid. Though, gunplay felt weak for me, feedback on the enemy getting shot is poor i cant tell if they were even getting hit or not while on the other hand ammo runs out rather quickly for these bullet sponges. Graphics are great looking in its high definition glory. This is my first foray into the world of Halo and I should've played the earlier games first before this so at least I was initiated as to what the hell is going on, nonetheless I still enjoyed it albeit not the full experience I couldve gotten. It doesnt help that there isnt any subtitles in game so I was pretty clueless as to what the hell is going on currently. Playing on Heroic was a mistake since I was in it for the story with the gameplay coming second, despite being extremely frustrated with the annoying AI and one hit explosives I managed to finish it anyway. Due for replay soon once I managed to finish the main games. Also, this is basically star wars rogue one.

Source: reddit.com

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