Not since the end of November have we done one of these Our Week in Games features, with December giving us a run of articles looking back at our 2020s.
If you want some non-Reticule Sunday afternoon reading, this Bloomberg article provides a deep dive into the shenanigans behind the development of CyberPunk 2077.
The first few weeks of the year have seen me taking a look at a pleasant variety of games. I’ve put aside Assassin’s Creed Valhalla for the time being after completing the London story arc. It’s a massive game which I’ll be looking forward to coming back to, but after well over 30 hours I felt a break was needed.
My PlayStation 5 gaming since putting Valhallah to one side has been spent with Star Wars Fallen Order, an extremely impressive title. It’s obviously a last-gen title which has just received a light touch new-gen update, but was looking gorgeous even before the update. If I put my mind to it I’ll have some further words on this one soon.
Thinking about the Switch and I was shamed by the summary of my 2020 of Switch gaming. It showed that I had spent more time playing Xbox 360 era titles than anything Nintendo focused, and I’ve been putting my mind to working through the Link’s Awakening, which really is a wonderful game. I’ll often dip in and out of playing on the Switch, a great shame as there are so many brilliant titles available for it. Completing my first Zelda game is certainly on the agenda for the early stages of the year.
While I’m still in the holding stages of moving house with solicitors doing their thing, I’ve taken the opportunity to move my venerable PlayStation 4 into the bedroom. I’d long resisted such temptation, but now I’ve done it I am wondering why it took me so long to do so. I have a vast range PlayStation 4 titles that deserve to be played, with The Last of Us 2 sticking out in my mind as a massive game of last year which I hadn’t played. I’ve been working through in 30-40 minute chunks which so far works perfectly for the open world adventures in Seattle. Again, hopefully more on this soon.
A couple of months back, the Epic Game Store insisted on giving me a copy of Steep, Ubisoft’s open world snow-sports simulator. I had previously written off the game due to its always online requirements and the fact that all of the game footage I’d seen mainly consisted of Dudey McDudeface screaming obscenities as he hurtles down a hill to ridiculous music, with point values and ridiculously named stunts popping up every five seconds to spoil the view.
Having booted up the game on a whim, I soon discovered something magical.
You can turn all that shit off.
After spending a moment turning off the music, reducing the UI to all but the essentials and placing a sturdy gag over the protagonist’s mouth, I was left with something rather special. Stripped back to the bone, Steep becomes a relaxing open-world recreation of the snowboarding hobby, where you’re free to go anywhere, tackle any terrain and pick your own route through its massive snowy landscapes. Once the game’s efforts to be radical, righteous and other words the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles would use have been taken away, you’re left with a beautiful environment and a fun way to explore it. Quite frankly, that’s enough for me.
In addition to sliding down a snowy hill on my arse, I’ve also returned to the world of Curious Expedition and more specifically the Doctor Who mod I’ve been making for it. Curious Expedition is a wonderful game to build mods for, with a comprehensive modding wiki and accessible source code, as well as an active Discord community where the developers are always happy to provide help. As the game has low resolution pixel graphics and next to no animations, I’ve been able to make new characters and items in minutes rather than the hours that modding a 3D game frequently demands.