GregHorrorShow’s Year In Gaming – 2021

2021 was a great year for gaming, with some top quality releases. Here’s my (slightly delayed) look at the previous 12 months! As always this isn’t a piece about the games that came out in 2021 but the titles I played throughout the year.

First up a game I wasn’t expecting a huge deal from, River City Girls. I played this initially as a sense check to see if it was suitable for my kids to play in co-op but ended up having an absolute blast with it! An updated version of Double Dragon/Streets Of Rage style gameplay with an old school sprite look and killer soundtrack. I’d strongly recommend checking this one out. Destruction All Stars landed on PS5 and while I really enjoyed the gameplay and style of the game it felt like after a few months no-one was really playing anymore, which was disappointing.

Genshin Impact is a free to play, open world adventure game that I have loved playing. It is pretty laid back for the most part and is a great game to just relax and explore the world. The combat is fun and the characters are interesting, with different movesets and abilities. The soundtrack is also brilliant. I really liked Spiderman Miles Morales, which I thought showcased the power of the PS5 in terms of graphics and load times. A phenomenal looking game and a title which builds on the previous game nicely.

There were a few games from previous years that I got around to playing – Gris was a beautiful art-driven platformer and Vampyr was a gloomy story about Vampires in which your choices had a big impact. One thing I really liked about Vampyr was the knock on effect of choices and how each area of London was affected differently. I loved the final season of The Walking Dead, sad though it was to say goodbye and I even returned to Horizon: Zero Dawn to play the (quite sizable) Frozen Wilds expansion. That was great and well worth a play ahead of the sequel hitting in early 2022.

I also started Days Gone on my PS5 which, so far, has been pretty enjoyable and seems like a great game. It’s your usual zombie apocalypse set up but the game gives you lots of options to approach situations and the sheer number of enemies at times is impressive. It does feel like the kind of game I’ll be playing for years potentially, as the progress seems very slow compared to a more linear title. I just hope I don’t run into the issue I had with Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, where I checked out after 35 hours – burned out but nowhere near the end of the story.

The Dark Pictures: Little Hope wasn’t quite as good as Man Of Medan (the previous entry in the series) but I did enjoy this gothic tale of witchcraft and the fact that one early choice/event shapes what the enemies look like for the rest of the game is pretty awesome. Splitgate was one of those titles I tried, not expecting much. Certainly the graphics were nothing to write home about but as soon as I got into a match it sucked me in. An online competitive FPS with the ability for players to create portals to travel and shoot through, this game is an absolute delight – and free to play! Aliens: Fireteam has been fun with a friend and while it does a good job of recreating the feel of the film I can’t help but feel some of the design decisions (especially no checkpointing during missions of around 30-40 mins) hold it back from being a great game.

Of course in amongst all the new stuff there has been the ongoing online trinity of Overwatch, Rainbow 6 Siege and Rocket League, which continue to be a blast either solo or with friends. All of them with added content/events to keep things fresh here and there. These three definitely had a big amount of playtime in 2021, years after their releases. PES moved to a free to play model for this year’s game and the launch was nothing short of disastrous. Buggy to play and with hardly any features, you couldn’t have dreamt up a much worse start. But despite all that there is definitely a good football game in here. I’ve been playing it a fair amount and think by the time we get to the updated edition in the summer this might be worth giving a try, especially as it’s free.

I’ve really enjoyed my time with Hades so far, a title about escaping from the underworld via a series of dungeons that you fight your way through. Brilliant art style and music, I’m looking forward to playing more of this one. I also like what I’ve played of 13 Sentinels – this is a visual novel style adventure with some added robot mech turn based combat. The game looks gorgeous and the story so far is as outlandish as you’d expect from a sci-fi time travel title.

My two favourite games of 2021 were Ghost Of Tsushima, in terms of a single player story title, and Battlefield 2042, for online.

Ghost Of Tsushima, a tale about a samurai left for dead who recovers and casts aside the samurai code to rescue his Uncle and save his Island, plays amazingly and has great depth to the combat and stealth involved. It looks phenomenal (I was playing the original PS4 version on PS5) with environments and weather appearing in stunning detail. I thought the story here was excellent and the side missions were fantastic. There’s a lot of content here, I finished the main storyline and quite a bit of side content, clocking in at around 35 hours. If you haven’t picked this up yet I’d definitely recommend.

In terms of online multiplayer Battlefield 2042 delivered almost exactly what I wanted from a new Battlefield game. As a big fan of the series and someone that was still dipping into Battlefield 4 and Battlefield 5 last year, the release of 2042 really grabbed me. It hasn’t been without a few issues – some bugs and design choices (now fixed or in the process of being fixed) caused uproar on social media but for me personally it was more of a small annoyance than a major issue. The game itself is brilliant, feeling epic with 128 players in two teams battling over objectives on the map while environmental events (sometimes) occur. On one map a sandstorm may drift in, reducing visibility. On another a space rocket may launch from the map, or literally blow up at takeoff while you play. There are also tornados that tear across the map, an impressive spectacle. All of these happen randomly so you might go 2 or 3 rounds without an event, which makes them more impactful when they do happen. My one gripe is I’d love a few more maps in the main game but those will come in time. Another aspect is the Portal mode where you can play some maps from previous games, this is brilliant and a trip down memory lane for long time players! Overall I’ve loved my time with the game so far.

So there you have it, a look back at what I was playing last year. There’s plenty to look forward to in 2022, so let’s hope we get lots more amazing titles released through the next 12 months!

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