It's that time of year again. That time where I round up my year of gaming, highlighting the best and worse of what I've played in the last 12 months, presented to you, the potentially interested reader, here. 2019 year has been a really good mix of games, with one or two really standing out. Maestro, from the top, if you will!
Some of you will know that, at the beginning of the year, my wife and I still had a tiny baby to care for, so gaming time was still rather limited. By the beginning of February though I was working my way back to the shed a couple of nights a week. Ancestors: Legacy, a rather straightforward but entertaining RTS by the same developers as Hatred, was still keeping my entertained, as was Surviving Mars.
During the all nighters with the baby, I was watching a horrendous amount of Star Trek, which regenerated my interest in the ST world. A number of my online friendos, namely Battmark, Toutai and Mad Dragon, had suggested checking out Star Trek Online. I'm not a big MMO fan at all, and normally I'm stopping a few hours in, but as it was free to play, STO interested me. And it was good fun, especially with friends on headsets. The space combat is far more interesting than the third person ground based combat. Nothing like firing unlimited torpedoes and phasers at incoming Romulan ships. But one thing stands out - for a game that is ten years old, it still has a great community around it and the developers are still keeping it up to date with new content. A special thanks to those of you who introduced me and guided me through the game, you know who you are 🙂
March had arrived, and it had occurred to me that we haven't played a horror for a while. So I plunged myself into the last horror game I played some months prior, NightCry. Clock Tower fans rejoiced as the developers came back to bring us another poorly acted, ugly, jangly horror that just about hangs together. As poor as the presentation is, it was actually entertaining enough for me to complete to one of the endings. OK, it was one of the not so great endings, and in fact, I really don't how it ended, but hey, I completed it. And it was fun, to a point.
We also started Remothered: Tormented Fathers, which was surprisingly good, but only for a night, so we must return to that one and complete that. Only, that game genuinely has me on the edge of the seat, I need to grow my balls back before sitting down and attempting it again.
A brief intermission in proceedings occurred in the form of The Mean Greens Plastic Warfare, a cheap, third person team based shoot em up with a variety of maps, each with their own goals. What an absolute blast that game is for an evening.
After attempting an MMO, I also tried to get into a Battle Royale. I know right! I'm down with the cool kids, me. I found a new one called NotMyCar, a 'Car Combat' Battle Royale and you know, it was some damn fun! It had a really rough release - the server lag was excruciating, but the developers quickly fixed that and performance was fine. I played for a few nights, but then one night, it took the best part of ten minutes to find a game, and even then they weren't full. Oh dear. Numbers dwindled, games took forever to find, and that was the end of that. Which was a real shame, because it truly was a lot of fun and, in my view, deserved more attention. But how many other BR games have we got to play? Exactly. Well done though to the developers for giving it a go.
Summer had arrived, and we all know what that means - The Steam Summer Sale. This year I was a good boy. I set myself what normal people call 'a budget', and I also promised myself to do what normal people normally when they buy a game - play them. So I bought two games, and two games I played for a good 30+ hours. One of them was called Battlestar Galactica: Deadlock, which, being a complete Battlestar Galactica newbie, I wasn't sure if I'd enjoy or not. Well, I should doubt myself less - I absolutely loved it, and the solo campaign was immensely fun. Great story, great gameplay, stunning soundtrack. And if it wasn't the other game I bought in the sale, it may have been a hot contender for Game of the Year.
That other game is a game called Dark Future: Blood Red States. I knew when I saw the trailers that this game would be well up my alley. Post apocalyptic car combat? Check. Real Time Strategy? Check. Explosions? Check. Great gameplay with great graphics? Check. 80s soundtrack? Check! The action in this game keeps me coming back for more, despite the fact you always fear the game is going to crash after a long run (which it unfortunately does from time to time). Screenshot Mode is a joy to use, and one day, I hope we'll see a video replay mode too.
Workers & Resources: Soviet Republic was a surprise hit for me also - still in Early Access, it's a city builder, but in Soviet Russia. An intriguing look into the workings of a Communist State, Workers and Resources is actually some fun, IF you're into two things - city builders, and resource production and management. But I've only put a few hours into this, and thats fine - if there is anything I've learnt about Early Access, and it is that you should not play too much of it. Otherwise, after full release, you probably won't go back to it as you would have played it all before, and that kind of loses the magic of release, does it not?
Badwolf finally convinced me to buy Ori and The Blind Forest. A gorgeous looking platformer with some fairly challenging sections, it is an absolute joy to play, and the story is very well written as well. Artistically, Ori wins in almost every department, and the developers should be proud of what they've made here.
And so, we find ourselves in December, and despite the really rocky response that Snapshot Games got from it's Epic deal, and it's numerous delays, Phoenix Point finally came out. I always wanted to look by the similarities to X-COM, and in a lot of ways, it is different. But my goodness, in a lot of ways it's almost the same. But never the less, we have a game that is well presented, it has a lot of really neat features.I like free aiming mode, and I certainly like how the Geoscape works - in my opinion, it is far more interesting and enjoyable than the new X-COMs, which I always found pretty linear. Here, we have a lot more flexibility, being able to fly from haven to haven, exploring new areas, building bases, researching tech, all the usual things you'd find with a game like this. I'm sure I won't be putting PP down any time soon, but I may feel inclined to until the Steam release hits.
Other worthy mentions of the year - Ascension: The Deck Building game, Cluedo, Dresden Files: The Co-Operative Card Game, and Blair Witch.
The other news from this year is PlanetRasks move to Priority One Gaming. I've been wanting to work with Allyn for a while to push Priority One Gaming, but trying to push PlanetRask as a community as well was far too much for me to attempt. We want Priority One to be all about a group of gamers meeting, playing, streaming, being nice to each other and basically having fun. Allyn and I will also be working on Priority One Productions, having already landed our first contract to compose some backing tracks for a game that needs a few more tracks. News on that coming soon.
GAME OF THE YEAR: Dark Future: Blood Red States
OK, first of all - it's a bit buggy. The number of times it has crashed on me is a little more than I'd like a game to, and cars, albeit rarely, tend to enjoy flying off the road in unnatural, inexplicable ways. But, through its faults, Dark Future: Blood Red States, to me, is captivating, enjoyable, a pleasure to watch as cars explode in super fantastic fashion, a pleasure to play with it's simple to use UI and easy to learn gameplay. If only there was some other modes to play, such as an endless mode, or even some kind of video replay feature. That would have really put some icing on that GOTY cake. But hey, I'm good with the super yummy cream in the middle. Great job Auroch Digital!
I will take this opportunity to wish you all a super fun Merry Christmas and a smashing New Year. A special note to you subscribers to the channel - your support has and always will be amazing.
Until the next time we meet everyone, stay safe, have fun, be good <3 x