Well what can we say about 2020 that hasn't been said already? It was a good year to spend time to play games, but that was about it. However, that's not the worst silver lining you could have I suppose. I played and completed more games in 2020 than I had in any year in over a decade (back when I was duel wielding the DS and the Wii I probably topped it). And at least in the world of gaming there were some nice things I can write about.

The Highlights

Square-Enix - I missed their big 2020 releases, FFVII Remake and the Avengers. I will definitely get to FFVI:Re one day though (fat chance I'll ever do anything but make jokes about the abymsal failure that was The Avengers).  However, I still ended up playing more of their games than any other publisher this years.

I did a little housekeeping and I finally beat Dragon Quest VI and Romancing SaGa 3. DQ6 was pretty standard, but Romancing SaGa 3 was excellent once I really figured it out, and now I'm seriously excited for the upcoming SaGa Frontier. I also did one more trip back in time...sorta... with the Trials of Mana remake. It's a great example of how to do a 16-bit remake. They updated the gameplay to play in 3-D and padded the story just a little bit, but ultimately very little was changed from the original SFC version. It wasn't the most ambitious remake, but it's exactly what needed to be done. Oh and the soundtrack is still great bubbly fun.

The big and most notable game of the year for me was Final Fantasy XV. I had written the entire series off long ago, but since I was able to get the game for $2.50 I decided to try it out(I'll take my 2020 hobo gaming champion of the year trophy thank you very much). I loved everything about this game. The characters, the combat, the roadtripping, the landscapes. This was everything I think I may have ever wanted in a game. Well... everything minus a completed story. But hey we can't have everything. And the 75% that was there, was maybe better than anything else I played this year. Maybe.

Days Gone - This is the one contender that FFXV has for GOTY. It is in fact a better game if I'm being honest, but the story just doesn't hit quite where FFXV did. That said, this was a tough game to stop playing. Great open world that felt just right. Not too much going on, but it never got dull either. THey really nailed the balance. The combat was really strong too. And there's nothing like killing a horde of freakers. There's really nothing else in gaming like it. Imagine a Muso game like Hyrule Warriors and in you're in the middle of a hundred monsters...except these are tough and don't just roll over. It gets messy and you die a lot, but damn its fun.

Control - I can't applaud Rememdy enough for the way Control starts. You're dropped off in the middle of a fucking bizarre situation that can't be explained in any way whatsoever, and you have to go with it. Its the best story I've come across in a video game.... maybe ever. That's probably giving it too much credit, but it's just layers of weirdness on more layers and yet it worked. It was ambitious for a video game, and never stopped being compelling even when the combat got a bit boring.

Uncharted - Got to give Sony some credit here. They offered up the Nathan Drake Collection free to get people to stay at home. I bit and really enjoyed it. Pure action fluff, and at times too much, but its a solid video game take on Indiana Jones with lots of murder and happy endings. I ended up buying Uncharted 4 after being suitably impressed for more murder and happy endings. Oh and is there even a question that Uncharted 2 was far and away the best in the series? Like, nothing else even close??

Playstation Now - I'm still not quite sold on this as a long-term investment, but I did find a lot of value in PS Now while I used it. I'm sure Sony will figure out exactly what to do with it on the PS5 and make it better, but it was good enough in 2020. I got a chance to play God of War (didn't like it), Control (really liked it), and Days Gone (completely loved it). And I padded that with a few older and smaller games like Strider, Raiden V, A Boy and His Blob and a few others. My only real gripe was the inability to download the PS3 games. Streaming just isn't fast enough over wifi, and as a result their amazing library of PS3 games was inaccessible to me.

Super Mario 35 and Tetris 99 - I only dipped my toe in the water regarding the Switch this year, but these games already gave me some solid playtime. Who would have though, online battling with these games??? Pretty impressive. I'll definitely keep going back to these, so long as Nintendo keeps offering them.

The disappointments

Kingdom Hearts 3 - I'm still flumuxed (there's a word we need to bring back), that after 15 years this was the big follow-up to one of the PS2's biggest franchises. The gameplay is all flash no substance. The story is a goddamned mess and yet still finds a way to be boring as fuck. 3/4 of the way in I finally quit, and I really wish I had stopped sooner. There were a few sparks of greatness, but they never amounted to anything.

Worst of all, it really feels like this just wasn't meant for me. The original Kingdom Hearts had a nice balance of classic and more modern Disney, and while KH2 may have jumped the shark a little with Pirates of the Carribean, it still maintained that balance. KH3 is all Pixar and current Disney films. It was really tough for me to get excited about Frozen and Tangled (though to it's credit the Frozen level might have actually been the best in the game). Kind of felt like they were making KH for my kids, which would have been all well and good, had they decided to give the game a fresher start. Instead it's completely tied to the previous games, so at the end of the day I can't really tell you who was supposed to enjoy this game. No one I suppose.

Last of Us 2 - I can't say that The Last of Us 2 was a bad game. It wasn't. But it wasn't a great follow-up to the original either. It was too long, poorly paced, and at times flat out boring. Ellie's story is just a run-of-the-mill revenge story and the whole thing pretty much ends how you'd expect it to. Abby's story on the other hand was pretty good, though it still suffered a lot of pacing issues during the first half of it.  I kind of wonder what the hell I missed given that it got so much praise. Did it win all the GOTY awards because the rest of 2020 kind of sucked? Or was it because it was so damned woke people were scared to say otherwise? Like I said, it's a good game, just not one I ever want to play again.

Me - 2020 shined a painful light of something. I ain't so good at gaming anymore. Not old school, tough as old bubble gum games anyway.  I picked up the Mega Man X collection as well as Mega Man 11. Back in the day these games would have been a little tough, but I would have made it through. I had my ass so thoroughly kicked by all the games in the collection and MM11, that I put it down and will likely not touch them again. Not sure I can git gud enough to play these.

Posted by robio Wed, 13 Jan 2021 01:14:28 (comments: 1)
Wed, 03 Feb 2021 05:38:34

I have Mega Man 11, I tried it a few times, I don't know what level to start with so I picked a few and got my ass handed to me and I never went back to it. I will, I will be commuted to destroying it but it was humbling. My tolerance for dying and needing to start a level over again is pretty much gone.

Well I think TLOU2 is a masterpiece and I will do a write up on all my faves later.

Great blog, I kind of agree on KH3, gif half way and never played it again. Might start over now that there is a hard mode.

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