We’re coming up to the end of the year–a really weird year, by the way. Doom Eternal was released this year? The Last of Us 2? Animal Crossing New Horizons? ACNH came out near the beginning of the lockdown which is probably the biggest reason it was such a hit, and to me, that feels like ten years ago. But also like yesterday. Time is meaningless at the moment. Anyway, normally, I do a few posts about my games of the year and give cute categories to each winning game. I’m still going to do that, but first, I thought I’d take you behind the scenes as to how I make these decisions.
First of all, I don’t play that many games a year. I wrote a few years ago that I would rather have three games a year I really liked than play a couple dozen ok games. Ideally, it would be more like four or five, but three is basic. I hit that floor this year, but just. In the meantime, I played a bunch of games that were meh or worse for a variety of reasons.
I would like to point out that I did both the Dark Souls not-plats this year. That took up a lot of my time and effectively killed my love for Dark Souls III for some time. I’m back in it again at a casual rate and it’s good to be home. It’s funny how it takes less and less time to snap back to my Dark Souls controls, which is the first game I ever played on a controller. The first time I went from Hades to Dark Souls III, I nearly decked NPCs more than once because RB is light attack in DS and interact with someone/something in Hades. The next time, it took less than a minute. The next time, it didn’t take any time at all.
Anyway, doing the Dark Souls not-plats took quite a bit of time. I also ended up 100%ing Spiritfarer and Hades because I was so close by the end of the game that it seemed a shame not to finish them off. I will say for Spiritfarer there was an achievement that you could only get by doing both the options for one certain quest. I was able to go back to an earlier save to choose the other dialogue option to proc the achievement (and it made no difference), but had I not been able to do that, I might not have bothered playing the game again just for that achievement. Oh, hell. You know I would have. I also cheesed a few of the Hades achievements by doing them on Heat Zero because I was not about making it any harder than it needed to be.
So. When I do these silly awards, I think about all the games I’ve played. I reread my posts on games that I’ve written throughout the year to refresh myself as to the games I’ve played. I think about what games have had the biggest impact on me. Then, I pick the FromSoft game that came out that year and declare the day done. However. This year, there is no FromSoft game, alas. That does not mean they won’t be mentioned in the awards, but it means I can’t give them the ultimate GOTY award. Another reason to be mad at them for not getting Elden Ring out! By the way, I’m not mad about it; I am concerned, though. Why? Because there has been no word about it in over a year except for a few comments by Phil Spencer from Xbox about having played it. A lot of fans were pinning their hopes on seeing something at the Games Award show, but I was skeptical. I hoped there would be something, but I didn’t think there would be. Why? Dunno. I just didn’t. And there wasn’t. Except Geoff cruelly joking about it being voted the most anticipated game of the year.
For me, I want them to take as much time as possible to make it a great game, but at least let us know that it *is* a game. My theory is that FromSoft hasn’t done an open world game before and they’re having a hard time making one that fits within the Dark Souls ethos (increasingly difficult bosses, for example). I really don’t care when the game out as long as I know it *is* coming out at some point.
Anyway, one thing I have learned this year is that Point-and-Clicks will never ever be what I need them to be. I tried a few this year and they just left me cold. It’s frustrating because it seems like a genre that would be made for me, but the ridiculous mentality of ‘see a thing in a room but you can’t pick it up for an hour even though you know you will need it’ just will not die. Also, the idea of combining four disparate items like a bad Chopped basket to make something useful is garbage. I am done with p’n’cs. Done, I say! Yeah, I know I’ll try another one at some point because hope springs eternal, much to my detriment, but for now, I’m done.
This year has been thin on the ground for me because I didn’t have access to/didn’t care about the big releases. I don’t have a Switch and by the time I decided I wanted to play ACNH, it was impossible to get one. I could find Switch Lites, but not at a reasonable price, and I was starting to wonder if I wanted to pay so much for one game, anyway. I don’t like handhelds for several reasons and $200* to play one game? No, thank you. The time I spent not-platting Dark Souls and Dark Souls III was time not spent playing any other game. I tend to focus on one game at a time, which is both a positive and a negative.
I recently started Greedfall by Spiders because it was free on Game Pass and I was looking for a meaty RPG I could sink my teeth into. To my surprise, I really liked it–except it produced low-key but persistent nausea in me. It’s a well-known issue, but the mods won’t work on the Game Pass version. I’m going to wait until it’s on steep sale on Steam again and then buy it to try out the mods. It’s hilarious to me that I’m told right off that I need to be on a boat to go somewhere right away. I’ve played a few hours of the game and I still haven’t gotten on the boat yet. Doing all the side missions instead. Also, tried to bonk my weapons trainer, Kurt, but he wasn’t having any of it and is suspicious of me. I probably shouldn’t have tried it the first time I talked to him, but if the option to bang someone is in the game, I’m going to choose that option (almost) every time.
I’m now floundering for another game, but I’m in no hurry to find one.
*Don’t bring up Bloodborne because that’s totally different.