It's the end of the year again, which is strange, this year slipped by as if nothing, because we could literally do nothing for the most part of it. And things aren't looking up for the near future either.
That said more time to play videogames, right?
So here is my tally of the year, it's ups and downs and surprises.
Biggest disappointment of the year:
The release that you hyped yourself up for, only to be left contemplating: That's it, really?
Of course the obvious choice would be CP2077, right? But I was not disappointed by that game. It wasn't everything I wanted but far from a let-down.
No, the release that was the most disappointing to me this year was C&C Remastered collection. They call it a remaster, but it is nothing but a cash grab, probably made by interns in their spare time. The value added is laughable.
The remaster consists of nothing but higher resolution sprites, everything under the hood is almost the same, including all the bugs and the laughable AI that was passable in 1995 running on a 486, but is definitely not passable now.
Their remaster of the cutscenes was to run an up-scaler on the over compressed 320x240 videos taken directly from the original games. A worthy remaster would've been returning to the raw green screen footage and doing all the cgi over with modern tech. But of course that would cost actual money, an intern running an up-scaler on a workstation is literally free, sans the electricity bill.
What's worse is that people are gobbling it up like it's the next coming. With overwhelmingly positive reviews on steam. Where is that EA hate when it is actually warranted? You get a whiff of nostalgia and you lay down the red carpet for them to trot all over you? Pathetic. If not for a certain other game, this release would easily get the most overrated game of the year award as well.
The trash to treasure award
Goes to the game that has made the most strides to become better. Most of the time developers will abandon their games if they fail at launch, or put them on the back burner, or worse double down on what made them trash in the first place. Rare is the occasion when they actually heed criticism and move in the right direction with a title.
The game that made this turnaround this year is: Ghost Recon Breakpoint. When it released last fall, it was zero fun to me. It lacked everything that made Wildlands great. Hating Ubisoft is almost as, if not more trendy than hating EA these days, but they did right by the fans this time. It's not a 100% recovery, but from total trash Breakpoint has become one of the better games I've played this year.
Wokest game of the year
And I mean woke by the most pejorative way, the game that is not just progressive, but the most vile, hostile SJW garbage that is imaginable.
I can already hear the fandom menace demanding blood banging on my door, but they are all wrong, you are wrong. The wokest game this year was XCOM: Chimera Squad. It doesn't just exclude white males, the characters in the game are openly and indiscriminately used as extensions of the woke designers' twitter feed. They discuss ideas completely outside the context and lore of the game. And not just contemplate them, but outright tell you the word directly from the ministry of truth.
Worst game of the year
From the games I've actually played this year the choice is an easy one: Star Wars Squadrons. Some enjoy this trash, kudos to them for it, to me this is unacceptable. This is the Battlefield of space sims, totally worthless as a stand alone single player game. From poor design choices, simplistic narrative, weak and annoying characters to the issues with the controls, it was not worth the time I've spent on it, let alone to pay money for it.
Biggest controversy of the year
This has to go to Cyberpunk 2077 for releasing in the state it did, primarily on consoles. For the PC version this is just storm in the toilet bowl, and completely blown out of proportion.
But the real controversy in this to me is how so called gamers suddenly turn against an until then adored company and act like spoiled children demanding blood.
And leading the charge is the weasel Jason Schreier so hung up on crunch, like it is the evil of all evils only committed by game developers, when in actual reality it is common practice in every highly competitive industry. Of course a digital scribbler living the cosy life wouldn't known that, as he has never worked in any industry that creates a product of any value.
Close behind the other sword bearer of anti-crunch activism masquerading as someone concerned about gaming is Jim Sterling. Who cannot or is unwilling to differentiate between political activism and stories involving politics in games. Who also thinks crunch in the gaming industry in first world countries is the biggest issue.
That's enough rambling for one day let's move to the next category.
Most overrated game of the year
Another uncontested category this, the rebound for the fandom menace: Ghost of Tsushima. This is a pure victim of circumstance. I firmly believe that this game was only rated so highly because the influencers on youtube told their followers that they must like it. Cause I sure as hell don't see anything special about it. It might as well be called Assassin's Creed: Ronin or something like that because it is so similar both in gameplay and the open world nature of it that where I come from we called this a rip-off.
Game of the year 2020
This is a game that I highly anticipated, but in no way I decided in advance to like it. I've had some vague ideas in my head about it. But when I finally played it something happened that never happened before. The game didn't just meet my expectations, but blew past them not stopping for miles. It blew me away even in aspects where I had no real expectations. They said there is a first for everything, well this is a first for me, as I've never before enjoyed a console game in terms of pure gameplay, except for racing games. And as for the narrative my mind was unable to move past it for months after finishing the game. It had a deep and lasting effect on me. Not many games can do that. Oh yeah, I almost forgot. What is this game? If you haven't guessed already: The Last of Us: Part II
With that I bid farewell to 2020, and wish you a pleasant holiday season and a better new year.