The Reticule Presents – Our Games of the Year 2021 – Chris

The Reticule Presents – Our Games of the Year 2021 – Chris

I’ve done a review of my gaming year, something which has been helpful in focusing my mind on what my Games of the Year are. As I’ve explained in my review of my past year, I’ve probably spent more time working through games from my backlog, or dipping in and out of titles to have played enough of this year’s top tier releases to do this list justice. Saying that, I wouldn’t be much of a games critic if I didn’t give it a go.

I’ve split this year’s edition into three parts. The unplayed looks at three titles which would have been fighting for top honours…if only I had played them! The contenders sees three wonderful games get highlighted, but small, self-imposed “rules” of what my Games of the Year should be prevent these making my Top 3. These are three games which I have been hugely impressed by and are worth anyone spending some time with, regardless of the order in which I’ve written about them.

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Our 2021 in Games – Chris

Our 2021 in Games – Chris

As I started my draft for this article, I immediately looked through our archives to see how many Our Week in Games features we’d published in 2021. My sums showed that as a collective we shared thoughts on what we’d been playing that past week 34 times, which is decent going for our rag-tag bunch of part-timers.

Those weekly recaps of ours are really helpful in charting our adventures through the video gaming landscape over the course of the year. What is also apparent is that I regularly make promises of writing about one game or another in more depth, or stating my intention of completing something else.

In the ethos of those weekly features, in this piece I won’t be listing my favourite games that were released in 2021, rather I’ll take a flying review of what this past year has been like for me.

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Our Week in Games – Week 157

Our Week in Games – Week 157

The Steam Autumn Sale lumbers into life like a predictably re-animated zombie corpse that is clumsily foreshadowed at the start of an 80’s B-movie. Or something.

Gone are the days when my wallet would be denuded by the wares on display- 33% off here, 50% off there, even- some say in hushed whispers… 75% off in some cases. Yet, I find myself resisting and not forking out- despite a number of games from my wishlist being on (rather good) sale. This coupled with Black Friday and the cornucopia of tech-deals available (Elgato have some particularly good deals if you’re that way inclined good reader) means the pre-Xmass assault on our finances has a worryingly co-ordinated feel to it.  But we here at Reticule Towers believe in you, you’ve got this.

Perhaps the sale is part of the reason Steam recorded 27 million concurrent users recently; a record that is slightly mind boggling to think about.

In more gaming-gaming news; Battlefield 2042 has had a…. wobbly start. The predictable (though still painful) server issues aside, players are reporting stability issues with a LOT of rubber-banding, very suspect hit-box registration, and bugs a plenty. My current favourite being the ability to affix a grappling-hook to a cloud of smoke… or even tornadoes.

You spin me right round, baby right round.

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An unforgettable adventure in The Forgotten City

An unforgettable adventure in The Forgotten City

I do enjoy it when a mod reaches the big time and launches as a standalone game. Think of Counter-Strike and DOTA2 and you have two genre defining games that were born from mods. I’m not going to make an outlandish claim that The Forgotten City is going to be a genre defining release, but for something which originated as a Skyrim mod, it is an extremely impressive adventure.

Hit the break for some thoughts, but watch out: spoilers lie below.

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Our Week in Games – Week 156

Our Week in Games – Week 156

Lo, we are still here! After a few weeks of real life (and games, of course) taking priority, we’re back with another Our Week in Games. These past few weeks have been dominated by the fall from grace of Activision, but more specifically their CEO Bobby Kotick. It’s a fiasco which is eerily reminiscent of Succession, the prestige drama from HBO that parodies the likes of FOX and other media conglomerates, where the board and other senior leaders are massively out of touch with the real world, and either ignorant or culpable for the culture within their organisations.

If you want some serious analysis of this situation, check out this piece over on GI.biz. Once you’ve perused that, hit the break for the lowdown on Our Week in Games.

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The Serenity of Moonglow Bay

The Serenity of Moonglow Bay

I like fish, but I don’t like eating them, nor do I have any interest in trying to catch them. Yet when it comes to Moonglow Bay, I’m not only enjoying catching them, but I’m learning more about them, as well as making tasty meals from my catch.

This is a charming, voxel-art lightweight RPG from developer Bunnyhug and published by Coatsink, which sees you take a rookie angler to east coast Canada to restore the fortunes of the rundown town of Moonglow Bay. You open the game by creating your character from a small number of pre-set looks, complete with choice of pronouns. Should a game featuring the ability to choose your own pronouns be something worth having to highlight? No, it should be common place in games where you create your own character, but I’ll applaud Bunnyhug and Coatsink for producing an open and inclusive game.

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Deathloop – The Verdict

Deathloop – The Verdict

“I’m gonna live happily ever after, right here. Forever.”

As I finish absorbing the Residuum from a temporally-dislocated shovel, I’m told Julianna is on the hunt. What’s she on the hunt for?

Me. Why? Because I want to break the loop – the interminable hell of living the same day over, and over, and over again, on a demented island called Blackreef.

And likely for something more. Something that’s woven into every tick of every clock.

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Our Week in Games – Week 155

Our Week in Games – Week 155

There’s been a lot of talk in recent weeks about Dbrand, the third-party peripheral supplier, and their mini-feud with Sony over their design of custom faceplates for the PlayStation 5. I think this has been a canny bit of marketing from Dbrand, with their rallying shout of “Sue us, Sony” when they first revealed their product. That was bound to get the attention of some mainstream sites, while the recent reveal of an entirely new design for their faceplates as a response to a cease and desist from Sony has sparked a new round of coverage.

As ever, GamesIndustry.biz has a great lowdown of the legalities around the IP rights at play which is well worth a read. Personally, I think the general coverage that this situation has seen shows that there is a growing demand for Sony to release some official custom faceplates. I’m happy enough with my PlayStation 5 tucked behind my TV, but for those who have a more prominent console, I can well imagine that they are crying out for something even slightly more subtle than the default design.

With that said, hit the break for a breakdown of Our Week in Games.

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Our Week in Games – Week 154

Our Week in Games – Week 154

FIFA the governing body of world football, and FIFA the football series from EA have long gone hand-in-hand, with many probably only knowing of it as the game. But it appears the governing body and EA are heading for divorce. FIFA are looking to diversify their licensing agreements, while EA are actively discussing renaming the franchise. The game series itself is coming under increasingly heavy criticism for the continued use of loot boxes in the Ultimate Team mode.

Wesley Yin-Poole on Eurogamer has a fantastic interview with EA Chief Experience Officer Chris Bruzzo. It’s an insightful interview and shows that EA will continue to use loot boxes in Ultimate Team as part of the FIFA franchise, but if the franchise was to change name, I wonder whether EA would change their approach and introduce monetisation more akin to a season pass.

While we ponder the future of one football franchise, its worth thinking about the disastrous launch that eFootball has had. The successor to Pro Evo Soccer, this one has gone down like a lead balloon, even if the live service football theory might be one EA follow themselves. Time will tell!

In the meantime, hit the jump for Our Week in Games.

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