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Thread: What are you playing in 2021?

  1. #426
    PC Gamering Smartey Man
    I <3 consoles and gamepads

    Registered: Aug 2007
    Location: New Zealand
    Quote Originally Posted by Aja View Post
    You know, most people here just ignore me when I make unsound arguments. I'll have to find some other angle to proselytize Outer Wilds.
    I hadn't really looked into the game before this back and worth. I have a bias against the publisher Annapurna since the bulk of their catalogue seems to be interactive movies and walking sims. I watched some gameplay footage and it's definitely on my radar now.

  2. #427
    Registered: Jun 2004
    I'm playing Fallout 4 and close to 10hrs in. It's finally clicking and getting fun, but..... am I doing something wrong, or is the difficulty curve all over the place???

    On two quests now (the Kellog one and the find the railroad), I would be doing fine, then hit an encounter that I have to reload like 10 times to get thru. Then the next one will be fine, then next one will be uber hard again.

    Like the synths in Kellog's base, I was doing fine until I got to one part where they would all swarm me at once (like 5+ of them) and there was nothing I could do to stop it. As soon as I attacked one, all of them would run straight at me from multiple angles, and they'd rip me up in like 4 seconds, barely even had time to use stimpacks.

    Also, fuck raider grenades. They can apparently throw a molotov across 200 feet and hit me right in the fucking face, which is a always an instant-kill.

    Tl;dr the game feels like it goes very "this is fine, this is fine, this is fine, I'm dead" every other encounter. Wtf am I doing wrong?

  3. #428
    Registered: Aug 2002
    Location: Maupertuis
    Lotsa Metroidvanias last weekend.

    Alwa's Legacy, a sequel to Alwa's Awakening. Its selling point is that its movement upgrades are distinct from your standard dash/doublejump, and it has a system in which you gain further powers via collectables that can be reallocated freely. The difficulty was weird, as the game started hard and ended easy. Also, the game's story seemed to want to throw some kind of gut punch toward the end, only to back off at the last moment.

    Metroid: Dread, in which I'm stuck on a boss that I... dread returning to.

    Escape from Tethys, of middling quality. Its best feature is that half of its optional upgrades provide significant qualitative changes, in contrast to Metroid where the optional stuff is all plus health or plus ammo upgrades. (Heck, its big secret upgrade that requires three well-hidden keys is the Long Beam, a la the original Metroid.) Its boss fights were too easy, but the difficulty of exploration was pitched just right.

    The Messenger, which has superb controls and good (though maybe too easy) level design. I liked it enough to get the optional seals and the resultant upgrade. It reminds me of Timespinners in how little its story does with its central conceit. However, it has a breezy and self-referential tone to its writing that works in its favor. I particularly liked the shopkeeper's stories, which always carried passive-aggressive morals. I've also done most of its bonus content, but I'm stuck on a section that requires speed, in a game that previously emphasized precision.

    Astalon: Tears of the Earth, which I've only started. It's good so far, though. Nothing quite scratches that La Mulana itch I have, though.

    Aside from Metroidvanias, I've started playing the entire Deadly Rooms of Death series, which is tied with Hexcells Infinite for Best Puzzle Game Ever. (Yeah, Portal's great, but the two Portal games have maybe twenty hours of content between them. DROD has roughly infinity hours' worth.) It's a game in which you must clear rooms of monsters using the world's most awkward sword. The various monsters attack (or spawn) in set patterns, their interactions producing novel challenges. Its levels follow a "lynchpin" philosophy, designed to seem hard until you understand their gimmick, and easy afterwards. Also I briefly tried NaissancE, which is me versus evil grayscale architecture?

  4. #429
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    I finished The Artful Escape yesterday. The things it does well - tone, style, aesthetics, music - it does well until the end, but it's definitely one of those games that by and large you play in spite of the gameplay. It's basically a coming-of-age story that's told sweetly and inventively in terms of style, but the story itself doesn't go anywhere particularly new. Halfway through, you can mostly anticipate the storybeats to come, even if they are all wrapped in prog rock visuals and therefore might not be immediately recognisable. The game is also very earnest about the story it's telling while having a lightness of touch when it comes to its characters, which works well.

    The gameplay, though, is little more than a means of getting from A to B. There's some ultra-simple platforming that, at its best, builds up a sense of momentum, but it can hardly be described as gameplay, because there's little to no challenge or creativity involved. Then there are Simon Says-style musical sequences, and they're laughably easy at first, then fiddly, because of the controller setup. You can repeat them ad infinitum, though and you'll always get through them sooner or later. These sequences have their function in structuring the story, but by the halfway point I definitely felt that I'd played enough Simon Says. I don't think The Artful Escape necessarily needed tougher challenges, but in terms of the story that's told, it would've been great at least for the musical mini-game to be less rote and allow for more creativity.

    The ending, while sweet enough in the game's own terms, did feel like something of an anticlimax to me. The story hints at more ambivalent elements, but these are never developed, so what we have is your basic story about a young man who feels the burden of living up to expectations that he doesn't want to live up to, and who goes on a fantastic journey to find the courage to be himself instead. Spell it out like that and it feels very trite. The Artful Escape has good enough storytelling chops to make its story feel like more than this synopsis while the game is going on, but in the end it didn't feel like there was all that much more to it after all.

  5. #430
    Registered: Jul 2002
    Location: Edmonton
    Now that I'm part of the PS5 cool-kid crowd, please add me as a friend. Username is dimedancing

    First impressions of the console were really positive. I suspected it'd have a mountain of updates, and it did, but I let them all through and was up and running within 10 minutes or so. I'd forgotten how much I missed gaming where I don't have to use Windows at all, my typical PC-gaming-from-couch routine going something like: turn on the computer, wait, Xbox app opens, game can't update for some reason (oh well), hit "Play" anyway, game isn't full screen for some reason, close game, open Firefox, use terrible wireless keyboard/touchpad to try to research the issue -- et cetera et cetera. Twenty minutes later the game is finally up and running and now I'm in a bad mood, so it's time to fiddle with graphics settings until I get optimal performance, restarting the game each time I change a setting. Oh, and now Windows needs to install an update. Oh, and my controller is no longer recognized. Open Bluetooth settings...

    PS5 is more like, "Welcome" and that's it. Even with my disc-based games, I could start playing while they were installing. Some other general impressions:
    • It looks like you should be able to make paninis in it.
    • The menus are pleasingly swooshy and ambient-feeling like Playstation is supposed to be.
    • It integrated with my PSN account without a hitch, and some digital games I had bought before the console arrived were immediately available.
    • Download speeds off Sony's servers are very fast.
    • The controller is surprisingly great. It's comfortable, the buttons feel good, the vibration is the most nuanced I've seen, and the adaptive triggers are addictvely good. I can't wait to see how Gran Turismo uses them. The speaker is a little gimmicky, but it does add a bit of depth to some sounds, and in games like Deathloop, where Julianna's radio messages come out of it, it's cute.
    • Battery life on the controller is real bad, especially compared to Xbox and Switch.

    For games I got Demon's Souls, mainly for the graphics, but then I realized that -- whoa -- it's incredible, owing mainly to the sound design, beautiful graphics, and the controller feedback. I didn't think I'd want to play this again after having played so many more refined From games since, but it's so crunchy and weighty and engaging in a way that I don't remember the original being. But apparently they fixed the fog glitch where you can cheese the Maneater, so I'm not sure how I'm going to get past that.

    Next is Deathloop, which is trying so hard to be cool it's almost endearing. But again, those adaptive triggers feel amazing and genuinely add to the sense of satisfaction in using the guns, and, typical for Arkane games, the movement is perfect. I think I'll probably have fun with this. It doesn't seem to want to judge me for shooting everything in sight and that is a welcome change.

    As penance for actually getting a PS5 order in, I was forced to buy the bundle that included Ratchet and Clank and a second controller. I haven't opened either yet. I also downloaded Bloodborne, Horizon Zero Dawn, and The Last of Us. So, yeah, way too many games. Good thing I've got some holiday time coming up.

  6. #431
    Registered: Apr 2003
    Location: flapping in the wind
    All's well that ends well! Make sure you give Astro's Playroom a go as well, it's great.

    Maneater goes down in a couple casts of firestorm. Alternatively you can cheese it by wearing the thief ring, running to the side of the stairs going up to the center area and waiting to lose aggro, then walking out and casting poison cloud when the thing loses aggro and turns its back to you and twiddling your thumbs for 15 minutes. But firestorm is definitely less hassle.

  7. #432
    Thing What Kicks
    Registered: Apr 2004
    Location: London
    If they really did keep the gameplay the same as the original game as they claimed, you could cheese Maneater by sniping them through the fog before starting the encounter, meaning you'd only have to face one.

  8. #433
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    Quote Originally Posted by Aja View Post
    Next is Deathloop, which is trying so hard to be cool it's almost endearing.
    I have to say, for me Deathloop isn't trying hard, it just *is* cool. There's a lightness of touch that works perfectly for me.

    I've recently started playing the first Halo. It's okay, I guess, but I'm not sure I'll finish it. In 2021, it does feel quite dated in terms of gameplay and game feel.

  9. #434
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    Glad your console-woes got resolved, Aja!

    Speaking of Halo, how come no one is talking about the new one? I played the opening bit. Am I supposed to know who these Banished guys are? I barely touched Halo 4 and I forgot until like yesterday that a Halo 5 even existed. Anyway, the grappling hook is kinda cool and the shooty bangs are decent enough. Master Chief is basically just the Doomslayer now. They're the SAME GUY! I'm not feeling super-compelled to get back to it and play more but I probably should.

    Also recently played/finished:


    I came for the postal worker sim, I stayed for the story. This game is kinda what I wanted from The Good Life. Good slice of life sim where you're working and hanging out in a small town.

    Heavenly Bodies

    2D astronaut physics game, I've been ridiculously hyped for this and yeah it was great! Too short tho, at ~5h. Currently replaying and trying to do all the bonus-objectives.


    A 2D game where you unpack boxes and decorate your new home(s). A story plays out, wordlessly, communicated entirely by the mise-en-scène, where YOU are doing the mise-en-scène-ing. The premise maybe overstays its welcome a bit with the really big houses you decorate towards the end, but it's worth sticking with it for the amazing end credits song. Wonderful pixelart graphics and amazing sound design.

  10. #435
    Registered: Jun 2002
    Location: melon labneh
    Recently played/playing:

    Days Gone

    Functionally, the game is pretty much Open World: The Game and everything I hate about AAA open world games. An endless repetition of quest markers, areas to clear, bases to conquer, stealth kills, crafting, upgrades, skill points, loot and non-stop radio calls to jump on always the same tasks within a limited range of gameplay loops.

    Yet I keep enjoying it. The combat works fine, the story and world are engaging, traversal on a bike is fun (past the first hours) and it feels genuine. Like GTA, the game world is a good reflection of today's America but is more of a synthetic assessment of the human condition rather than a sarcastic one.
    And I like that the central narrative thread is a touching love story.

    If you're looking to lose yourself in a decently engaging albeit repetitive and traditional open world game, check that one out.

    Exo One

    Kind of the opposite end of the spectrum: very short, original, surreal. A Journey-like atmospheric flight art game with gorgeous visuals.
    Like a sleek and walking sim version of Earth Analog, which I absolutely love despite its flaws. I'm waiting for the next major update to start it all over.

    Teardown Part 2

    I'm having a hard time adapting to the more dynamic planning phase without resorting to unpleasant approaches when dealing with enemy robots. Still a very engaging and exciting game that I intend to finish.


    I cannot get into this because I am a savescummer by trade who has never enjoyed Thief without the safety net of knowing I won't need to restart the mission if I get caught. This one is 100% on me, the game feels really great.

    Afterthoughts after a few months:

    Sable: Possibly my GOTY 2021. I loved every minute of it and I hope to revisit it again soon.

    Metroid Dread and Psychonauts 2: I remember enjoying them but have mostly forgotten what happened. Worse, I can't easily remember any of the levels/environments. Not much long-term appeal in my opinion.

  11. #436
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Somewhere
    Yeh I agree about Metroid Dread, it really felt like almost a proof of concept rather than a full blown game. Still decent though.

  12. #437
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: Louisville, KY area
    So many games, so little time. 7 Days, The Forest, Valheim, Ark, all single play, and Im only playing these for the crafting and building aspect. Subnautica, Satisfactory and Volcanoids also. Sorry no better reviews, but my neighbor has said the story for The Forest is very good. Forza 5 is pretty great, but gets really boring really fast. Thank goodness for Gamepass. Tried Halo Infinity through Gamepass also. Very early into it, but it seems really good. Ive never played any Halo games before so this has been pretty fun so far. It Takes Two is fantastic. Ive been playing with my granddaughter, she loves it. Its difficult for me to play it with keyboard and mouse. She uses the controller and just has a blast.

  13. #438
    Registered: Jul 2002
    Location: Edmonton
    I get what Pig is saying about Metroid feeling like a proof of concept; it's got a solid foundation that hopefully can be used in another game with a richer story and world. That said, I enjoyed it a lot, more than I was expecting.

    Psychonauts 2 had a slow start for me, but by the end I was engrossed in the story. I didn't feel much desire to complete it after finishing the main game, though.

    And I agree about Forza getting boring. It's a great concept, but maybe because I don't have a giant Xbox friendbase (or a single friend, actually), it felt pretty empty, just a big list of tasks to complete with no real reason to.

    And speaking of having no friends, if you've got a PS5, please add old dimedancing to your friend list. We can have jolly cooperation in Demon's Souls and whatever people do to each other in Deathloop.

  14. #439
    Registered: Apr 2003
    Location: flapping in the wind
    Quote Originally Posted by Aja View Post
    And speaking of having no friends, if you've got a PS5, please add old dimedancing to your friend list. We can have jolly cooperation in Demon's Souls and whatever people do to each other in Deathloop.
    I'd love to, but I'm one of those stubborn weirdos who refuse to pay for multiplayer out of principle. I don't really mind that it's a paid subscription for literal multiplayer games since I have little interest in those (although I do find it weird that people go along with it), but DS is a singleplayer game with limited online features and AFAIK the multiplayer wasn't gated in the original version so they made a conscious decision to try to twist your arm to pay their little fee. You can't even see the messages without PS plus, which just seems petty, so screw them

  15. #440
    Registered: Jul 2002
    Location: Edmonton
    Yeah, it sucks, but I at least got the subscription on sale for half price, and it does come with a pile of free games (a couple of which I already had bought, but oh well). After playing the first few hours of Demon's Souls without the online components, I'd forgotten how important they are to the atmosphere. So I'll either always renew when it's heavily discounted or else let it expire once I'm done with these games.

  16. #441
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    Going for the speedrun record!

    Ok I'm no real speedrunner. If I was I'd be going for the fire-extinguisher-boost-strat like Sandra Bullock.

  17. #442
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    Having grown tired with Halo (though it feels quite a bit more atmospheric if you switch to the old-school graphics, rather than using the more gaudy enhanced graphics), I decided to install Death's Door, a lovely present from our very own henke. Since I never played on consoles as a kid, and what console gaming I've done has primarily been on Playstations, I've not played much Zelda (though I did play The Wind Waker and about half of A Link to the Past). Death's Door feels a fair bit like what I know of Zelda, and it's got a gorgeous graphical style. It's also not too difficult, which frankly is more what I'm look for at the moment. A very mellow, sweet game, and just the right thing for these dreary days.

  18. #443
    I just finished Vampyr (recent EGS freebie) and while it was engaging enough to complete, I doubt I will ever return to play it again. The story was servicable, but rather forgettable. The combat felt bland and uninspired, while still trying to pull in too many directions at once. The one thing it does well is how NPCs interact with the player, in that they don't change their personalities just because the player completes a quest for them. The miserly old guy remains that way even after you aid him, exhausting the dialogue for the gay couple won't change their approach to the rest of the world and so on. The main differences is specific dialogue that basically ends up killing the NPC (or just removing them from the game) one way or another, like shattering the mind of a nurse.

    Overall, while the time spent didn't feel wasted, I'm also happy that I didn't pay money for it.

  19. #444
    Registered: Jun 2004
    So with Loop Hero being free on Epic Store recently, I decided to give it another proper try. I will give that I enjoy it a lot more than the first time around and appreciate it's design more. It definitely evoked the "just one more loop" feeling and I got to Chapter 2.

    That being said, I still stand by my previous criticism of it being too grindy and progressing too slowly. I'm now bottlenecked by every new structure requiring the Orbs of Expansion, and I can get maaaybe 1 or 2 per a full run when I milk the spiders/vampires. Some new structures require 15 of those orbs, some upgrades upwards of 5. So I see myself putting in literal hours of making identical loops placing the same tiles in the same spots just to farm this one resources (otherwise, I can't really progress). And I can't just set up one good loop and let it run, because need to constantly micro-manage my inventory (otherwise I go from winning every battle with full health to a single special enemy wiping me out). I'm honestly losing steam for it...

    Other than that, I've been playing Orcs Must Die 2 and 3 with my GF and we've been sinking multiple hour-long sessions into it. Some weird balancing issues aside, it's a fantastic co-op experience!
    Last edited by Yakoob; 28th Dec 2021 at 04:06.

  20. #445
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    Hey is it time to retire this thread? Someone has to make a new one! Don't look at me, I did the last one. By which I mean this one.

    Anyway, on the topic of 2021 gaming, the last game I played was RE Village aaaaaand it was great! It was very Resident Evil. It was very familiar and at the same time very surprising in some of the crazy shit it throws at you. I was left with my mouth agape on several occasions. Maybe it started to drag a bit at the end when it got very actiony, but I still liked it a lot.

    I have also been playing G String, but since I started playing that this year I am legally barred from telling you what I think of it in this thread.

  21. #446
    Registered: Jan 2001
    Location: the Sheeple Pen
    I can see no volunteers, so let's take turns then, I guess!

    Sadly your prediction in the first post about us all getting vaccinated and having no time for games didn't turn out quite right, but 2021 was still a pretty good year. I quickly skimmed through all the 18 pages of this thread, and it was actually rather interesting. Special thanks to everyone who used a bold font to highlight the games that they've been playing - it makes reading the thread so much easier. I had already forgotten about some of the games that I played in the first half of the year. Having said that, I didn't play much at all during the latter half of the year, because the two little kids in the family didn't leave me with much free time, and what little free time I had, I spent on making this silly little game that I've been working on lately. (damn this gamedev stuff is addictive! But more about that in another thread some other time...)

    But yeah, it's time to say bye-bye to 2021 now and move on!

  22. #447
    Registered: Oct 2000
    Location: Athens of the North
    Thanks, Tomi. Closing this thread off now that the one for 2022 exists here:

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