Content of the article: "My year in gaming – 2020"
I really enjoy reading everyone's yearly recap posts, so I hope yet another one isn't frowned upon.
Below are my brief reviews of the 26 games I started playing in 2020 as a PS4-only patient gamer. I mostly enjoy single-player story driven games, and tend to dabble much more towards the indie side of the scale than the AAA end.
I rated on a scale of 1 through 10. Anything above a 5/10 I would recommend to someone. Anyway, hope you enjoy my recap!
Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice
The psychosis element here is definitely incredible, in fact too good to the point that I had to stop playing with headphones on as I couldn't go more than 30 minutes playing like that before it was too much for me. But otherwise it felt like a one-trick pony. Combat was pretty limited and uninspiring, and the puzzles were repetitive. 5/10
An awesome metroidvania that improves on everything that was already great in the first one. Great humor and some challenging platforming as a chicken! 8/10
Good 2D puzzler that forced your brain to think things through differently, wrapped up in a fairly engaging story. 6/10
The Unfinished Swan
After experiencing What Remainds of Edith Finch, I wanted to give Giant Sparrow's previous effort a go. It's a fun one, but definitely felt like a "little sibling" from a yester-era that the developer has since grown up and out of. 4/10
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter
I kept telling myself no more walking sims, but Edith Finch drew me back in and Ethan Carter's scenery is absolutely top notch. But while this game excels in its countryside views it absolutely drops the ball on giving the player any guidance whatsoever as to what to do. I appreciate some self-discoery gaming, but this was just too much. 2/10
I'm not much of a FPS gamer but holy crap was this a blast from start to finish! Fast-paced and action-packed, ripping and tearing was tons of all game long. Story was a bit underwhelming but that shooting action was more than enough to make up for it. Going back to play a FPS like Borderlands 3 afterwards felt like I was trying to run in mud. 9/10
Bloostained: Ritual of the Night
I'm a big metroidvania fan, especially Symphony of the Night, so this was one I was eager to try. I think it did the genre and its spiritual predecessor justice for sure, but it didn't lay any new groundwork for fans. Fun to play and some challenging bosses, just didn't quite fill the big shoes it assigned itself. 7/10
Roguelite games are also in my wheelhouse and man oh man this one is top notch. Late game is insanely challenging but fair. Controls are tight, combat is fantastic, and there's even the perfect dash of self-aware humor slipped in. Fantastic game all around. 10/10
For my money this is the most underappreciated game on the list. I absolutely loved every second of it and was left wanting more and more. I just wish it was a bit longer and had more voice acting. Otherwise it's melee and gun combat are brutal and quick, its skill tree that can be reassigned at any given time to fit your current battle is very engaging, and the settings and style are oozing with dystopian cyberpunk goodness. The NG+ is even more fun as you have all your skills from the get-go. 9/10
Enter the Gungeon
A roguelite (or roguelike? I never really know) with plenty of bullet hell? Sign me up! While I really enjoyed this one and will likely go back to it in hopes of making more progress with other playable characters, I think The Binding of Isaac edges this one out. Nonetheless, for any lovers of the genre, this is a must-play. 7/10
Sea of Solitude
I only played this because I had a month of EA Access for $1 and towards the end of that span it was the only game left in the library I had any interest in. It tells a decent enough story of a young woman dealing with loneliness, hopelessness, and anger but the gameplay just wasn't enough. Could have skipped this one. 1/10
The only couch co-op series my fiancee has enjoyed, this one continues to be the relationship tester as you frantically try to complete recipes as a team. A few added gameplay mechanics make this sequel well worthwhile and fresh. Includes some free seasonal content as well. Enjoyed it enough that we ended up buying the season pass DLC. 7/10
Star Wars Battlefront II
I originally bought a PS4 back in 2017 in anticipation of this game's release but then EA introduced the world to its microtransactions and locked characters. A few years later it hit PS+ after many updates so I dove in head first. Again, not much of a FPS gamer, especially online, but this one felt really fun to play and to me captured the Star Wars essence. While my friends didn't take to the fighter ship matches, I really enjoyed them. Never could get halfway decent with Heroes though. 7/10
Mixing roguelite with OG Legend of Zelda and a dash of Stardew Valley made this one quite enjoyable. The gameplay loop did get a little stale by the end, but I otherwise enjoyed it quite a bit and would recommend it to any fans of the aforementioned genre/games. 6/10
A Way Out
Got the 1-month EA Access subscription when it was $1 just for this game. Played with my buddy across the country. Despite me being quite the completionist, we didn't even end up finishing the story. The characters felt very cliche and one-dimensional and the voice acting was pretty sub-par. In theory the style of the game is interesting and unique, but its execution here was pretty lackluster. 3/10
Loved this one. Similar to Limbo and Inside, it's a 2D puzzle platformer with an incredibly dark setting and mysterious story that unravels bit by bit all the way till the end. Includes some very creepy characters and the DLC content adds some great side story tie-ins. 8/10
Wizard of Legend
Another indie roguelite, and this one was rock solid. Faster paced, close encounters combat with tons of variety based on chosen spells and items. I'm a bit surprised this one isn't more appreciated. 7/10
Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition
I hadn't played a TR game since the original serie's sequel on PS1, so this was fun to get back into. There were elements of it that I thought were better than the Uncharted series, but voice acting and character development were not among them. I was surprised by (and enjoyed) the darker nature of the story. 7/10
Had this on my wish list for awhile and finally got it on sale. While I appreciate the developer's effort in working closely with the Inupiaq tribe, the game itself just fell flat. For a 2D puzzle platformer there was little variety and the controls were rage-inducing at times. 2/10
Rise of the Tomb Raider
Back to Lara, this one felt much more adventurous opposed to the darker realm of the first. Some improved gameplay mechanics were a welcomed addition to keep the reboot series going. 7/10
This ones a pure gem. Awesome gameplay with an even cooler twist about a third of the way through, and plenty of well written humor every step of the way. If you like Shovel Knight and the old school NES Capcom games, this one's a no-brainer. 8/10
A bit in the same vein as Salt and Sanctuary in that it's a 2D metroidvania with decent difficulty and some Soulsborne elements considered. A fairly brutal and twisted story rooted in the pain and suffering of a Spanish Inquisition type setting. 7/10
Middle-earth: Shadow of War
Another PS+ game I was excited to get into after Shadow of Mordor being one of the first games I played when I first got a PS4. Microtransactions and end-game grind no longer around, this one kept the good times I experienced with the first one going. The Arkham style combat paired with brutal slaying of orcs was always so satisfying. And of course the nemesis system is great. 7/10
Thomas Was Alone
A very graphically simple game that through its wonderful writing and narration actually manages to have you emotionally invested in and caring for characters that are literally single-color squares and rectangles. A great palate cleanser in between bigger games. 6/10
Hoping to scratch my long-standing Katamari itch, this one makes a valiant effort but doesn't really ever get there. As a SoCal resident, the nods to LA were enjoyable but the game just didn't really ever challenge me; it was just going through the motions of making stuff fall into your hole. 3/10
Slay the Spire
Deep into this one currently. I probably put 25 hours along into Gwent when I played Witcher 3, so it's no surprise that a roguelike card game is right up my alley. Very easy to pick up and play, but tons of room to run when it comes to ironing out various strategies. 8/10
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