I was wanting to post this during the first week of this month, but I forgot so I’m doing it now. 2021 was an average year for me in terms of gamerscore earned. Definitely not my lowest, but certainly not my highest thanks to the year I participated in GSL.
Games played: 44
Games started: 29
Games completed: 13
I certainly didn’t think my games played were that many, but that might only be the case due to the TA community challenge for December. I ended up having to start a few games I wouldn’t have since I was mainly trying to keep with previously started games to help bring up my completion percentage. Last year, I started playing more things I had been wanting to get around to for awhile and clearing the backlog. I generally try and start with the oldest game I have in the backlog and work my way forward, but there's usually an exception or two depending on the type of game I feel like playing. I've mostly stopped playing games purely for gamerscore and play to enjoy as well as taking as many screenshots I can. If I feel like I can reach a completion I'll go for it, otherwise I'll move along.
With a decent list of games I started this year, some I loved and some I wasn’t so keen on. So, while I didn’t play too many new releases from 2021, which is usually always the case with me I’m going to mix things up and give a “Top Games” list from what I played this year in no particular order.
Forza Horizon 4
Racing games have to be one of my favorite genres for video games. While some can turn monotonous, I can always have a good time with them. Forza Horizon 4 was a spectacular game in another entry to a fantastic series. Horizon gives you a nice break from its simulator sibling that is Motorsport, and gives you so much more freedom to explore and wreak havoc across Great Britain. The graphics are gorgeous and with the changing seasons in the game it gives some nice variety to the scenery. The DLC for this game was a blast too. Fortune Island was a neat environment, while the LEGO expansion was a really cool idea and never got old driving through the LEGO world they created. I’m never disappointed by a FH game and I look forward to getting around to playing Forza Horizon 5 when the time comes.
Ori and the Blind Forest
While I did say the games I’m mentioning are in no particular order, I have to admit that Ori was probably the best game I played last year and my favorite game as well. I enjoy the challenge that can come with platformers and Ori mixing in metroidvania style as well as making this a treat to play. The graphics and art style were beautiful and still hold up well six years later. The movement in this game is so fluid and satisfying. Then you add in the abilities you get along the way by finding secret areas or backtracking is a nice reward. Going back and doing more runs is something I can’t wait to do. I’m not sure if I’ll get the completion, but I sure do want to try. One Life mode and finishing the game without abilities should be a challenge, but I look forward to hopefully accomplishing. The soundtrack is outstanding as well, and it makes me want to get the vinyl for it someday. I regret that I kept this in my backlog for so long and didn’t get around to it sooner.
While I do tire of the zombie genre over the years, Dying Light still had me interested, especially due to the parkour mechanic. Jumping around in different ways across the map was so fun, and later when you upgrade and get different abilities enhance that even further. Weapon durability is something that usually gets annoying for me in games, but being able to craft a bunch of cool weapon types and always keep changing due to them breaking keeps the game combat fresh. Having a day and night cycle in the game, but making the night time tougher and scarier due to more hostile enemies was fun as well. During the day the zombies are much more tame and tolerable, but a switch flips at night and the game really turns into a horror game with the more aggressive zombies. For being a few years old by the time I got around to playing the graphics still held up for the most part. Some textures can show their age up close, but overall during gameplay it’s not as noticeable. Dying Light was a game that I went into with low expectations, but turned out to be one of the more fun experiences I had last year in gaming. It leaves me excited to jump into the sequel this year too.
I’m not always the best at puzzle games, puzzle platformers are fairly enjoyable for me. After loving Limbo, I knew I’d most likely enjoy Inside since it was made from the same team. The puzzles weren’t too hard and made the gameplay engaging. The way that you move through the game in a 2D nature, but the background and environments are 3D just had a whole extra level of depth and visuals. Sound design in this is also fantastic especially when you use headphones. Everything you hear from what your character might be doing to noises in the background just enhance the game. The ending to the game is what threw me off from everything else the game had to offer and what pushed it over the edge to being one of my top games last year.
From the moment of starting this game I had a smile on my face. The way you play this monster that can wreak havoc on everything it comes across was hilarious to me. On top of that add in that it’s a metroidvania type game was an added plus. Slithering your way through the facility you’re in and killing the humans/enemies along the way never gets old. As you eat more people you’ll get bigger and gain abilities to use against enemies and unlock new areas throughout the facility. I loved the older graphic pixel art style it lended well to the game. Carrion was a nice refreshing indie treat I thankfully got around to playing. It was short and sweet without overstaying its welcome.
Assassin’s Creed Rogue
Assassin’s Creed will always have a soft spot for me. While some can get burnt out of it’s repetitive nature there’s just something about these games that always latches onto me. A big part of that is the time periods they always use for backdrops in each of these. With Rogue being more of a side story from the mainline games and shorter as well, it felt like the perfect length, especially when considering the completion too. The story was interesting by being able to see the other side of the ongoing conflict between Assassins and Templars by getting to play on the Templar side. And with the small tie in to Unity by acting as somewhat of a prequel is also a nice touch. I ended up playing this on PC first and then on Xbox for the completion, which should be an indicator on how I felt about it
Red Dead Redemption 2
I might only be on chapter two because I’m getting distracted by all this game has to offer, but I can already tell this is going to be a favorite of mine by the time I finish this masterpiece. There’s so much to do and the setting is so wonderful. The graphics are still beautiful and it’s hard to find something that looks better even some three years later. Getting distracted by side missions, which are actually fun to do as opposed to most open-world games. Hunting and fishing is something that will probably occupy most of my time in this game, not just because of the achievements tied to it, but because it’s just so fun to do. Arthur is already a character I’m attached to with some wonderful acting by him and every character in the game. I can’t wait to see where the rest of the game and story take me, but I’m also not in a rush to finish the experience as well.
With 2022 as always I want to try and make a dent in my backlog, especially on the indie side of games. I do also at some point this year want to finally compile all the screenshots I've got from my games and get them in one singular spot and maybe post them on here as well. We'll see