RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.

Posted on Dec 18th 2021 at 08:00:00 AM by (slackur)
Posted under 2021, Video Games

Pictured: Another mainstream media/futurist/political/conspiratorial lie.  It is the end of 2021, and not only do we not have flying cars, no one I know has a Hydrosub either.  I blame the supply chain breakdown.  Giant birds, ornithopters, and 1970s TVs not included.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, fellow RFGeners!  As we close out the last 365 24 hours together, let us focus on the positive, and not the errors I keep accidentally adding to the database.





We all know how tough 2020 was for most of us, and 2021 has had some ups and downs too.  We here at RFG have had some bumps in the road, but our community is still the best on the 'net, and I personally believe we have a great future ahead.  The more things change, the greater I recognize the need to stay connected to each-other and to build into the communities, locally and digitally, that I  have a heart to support.  My hope (and New Year's resolution, besides my other resolution to not make artificial landmarks to spark progress) is to spend at least a little more time investing in the people and places I care about.

But enough mush!  Unless you are a sled dog, then by all means.  This is a site about vidya games, and we've had a year full of 'em.  So here is, in no relevant order, the stuff I played the most since January;



Xeno Crisis

This one has been out for a couple years at this point, and I first picked up the fantastic Genesis version.  Over the last year, I've gotten to spend more time on the Evercade, Switch, and specifically the PS4 versions, and each feel just a little different.  I think the Switch is my favorite to play single player, and the PS4 for co-op.  It is such a great game if you are in the mood for a challenging Smash TV meets Aliens experience, and I see this rotating through our playlist for many more years.



R-Type Final 2
 
At first I tried the Switch version and wasn't that impressed.  But then I tried the PS4 one and was hooked!  It still has some unimpressive polygonal models (and annoying load times on the Switch), but once I got into the 'groove' of progressive unlocks, level memorization, and found a few ships that fit my playstyle, this one really grew on me.  Not game-of-the-year material, but definitely worth a shot for fans of the series.



Soldner-X 2: Final Prototype Definitive Edition

Final 2 took a bit to hook me, but this one was fantastic right from the get-go.  Technically it has had a few releases before 2021 in digital form and physical imports, so I had already sunk hours into the PS3 and Vita versions.  This was the first time I actually played all the way through, and with co-op!  Such a fantastic and original shmup, and highly recommended.



Blazing Chrome

Continuing the trend of games that have been out for awhile but I only recently acquired physically, Blazing Chrome is the spiritual sequel to Contra III that I always wanted.  A perfect realization of the ol' 2D 'run 'n' gun, I can't recommend it enough if you miss this style of game.




Aliens: Fireteam Elite

This one was pretty much exactly what I wanted it to be and has been a whole lot of fun.  The co-op bots may be worthless on tougher difficulties, but if you have a friend or two, this one is a blast.  New content is still being released as of this writing, and I'm very happy with the continued support from a relatively small studio.




F.I.S.T.: Forged In Shadow Torch

I don't doubt Metroid Dread is worth a go-through, and I intend to do so, but F.I.S.T. scratched that 'metroidvania' itch perfectly with excellent graphics, an interesting world design, and fun gameplay.  It isn't well known and comes from a very small indie team, but the passion really shines through.  It is truly a hidden gem that deserves more attention in my book.


 

The Commodore VIC-20 I bought at a convention to replace our broken one

Growing up on the Commodore 64, I'm very familiar with the library.  The older VIC-20 however was completely unfamiliar to me, and despite picking one up a few years ago, I only powered it up to test the carts I found at retro game conventions.  Then earlier this year when testing out our repair table systems, mine just gave a black screen no matter how many times I wiggled cords and punched the keyboard.  I was disappointed at the unlikely ability to replace it (even between two annual gaming conventions, I hardly ever see VIC-20 stuff).  Thus it was a neat blessing to see one for sale at the next convention we attended (the Cleveland Gaming Classic), and at a good price to boot!  And boot it did, unlike my previous one.  Having a new opportunity to acquaint myself to this little known relic, I decided to spend some time getting to know the crankier, less attractive but still handsome older brother to my fond C64.  For the first time, I really gave the cart library a chance and was pleasantly surprised: In The Chips is a nifty Silicon Valley Startup simulator, Buck Rogers doesn't play as tightly as some other conversions but is very impressive considering the hardware, Gridrunner is a great conversion, and Garden Wars is definitely my favorite exclusive.  I'm also a fan of old text adventures, and there are a few here that I intend on pitching for a family game night in the near future.  I'm glad I finally gave it a chance, and now I want to track down and try more carts!




Biomutant

I've already written about this one in my gaming apologist series, but I wanted to mention it again as a game I really enjoyed this year.  I don't play many open world games, and '100%' even fewer, but this one was just so fun that I spent a good month doing everything it had to offer.  You may have been put off by negative reviews, but I recommend giving it a shot.



Do I have a Game Of The Year?  Why yes, and that would be...



Mechwarrior 5: Mercenaries

I grew up playing the original tabletop Battletech.  The followup Mechwarrior was my first pen-and-paper role playing game.  I played every video game attached to the franchise from the early PC titles to the different takes on SNES, Genesis, Saturn, PlayStation, Xbox, and even the DS, only exempting the multiplayer-only versions.  I still have Battletech toys, comics, sourcebooks, boxed games, and a bunch of the official novels littering my home.  It could be said, then, I am a bit of a fan.

Mechwarrior 5: Mercenaries first released on PC two years ago and then later on Xbox One, although it was digital only, and I read it did not run very well.  I decided to wait a bit and was rewarded when the PS5 version was announced complete with all the improvements and DLC.  And boy, was it worth the wait!  The big stompy action, the various elements of strategy right out of the original tabletop, the deep mech customization, the layers of detail, the attention to established lore, the four player co-op, the size and scope of the Inner Sphere map, the various complexities of financially running a merc outfit, everything is what I want in a Mechwarrior game.  Is it perfect?  Of course not.  But for franchise fans who grew up on the FASA books and games, who yearned to play in one of the BattleTech Center VR cockpits, and even followed into the Microsoft buyout and the decent but arcade-y MechAssault games, this is like a homecoming.  I could just play this all day.

Biggest letdown that I still finished?


Outriders

It wasn't awful, and a co-op buddy and I agree that the 'bones' of a great game are inside, but it just wasn't nearly as fun as it could have been.  It felt very unbalanced between abilities, buffs and debuffs, and damage output, and featured lots of bullet-sponge enemies regardless.  Significantly, the loot just didn't feel as defined or distinct as a 'looter shooter' should.  As a budget game with friends, it can be a good time, but it just didn't pull together to be the AAA it was sold to be IMHO.  Feel free to give it a chance, preferably with a couple friends and expectations in-check.



Honorable mentions of consistently played games throughout the year include Halo Wars 2, Risk of Rain 2, Killing Floor 2, and the Jack Box series.  All of these still see pretty consistent play at our abode.


Well friends, there you have it; our gaming diet of two-aught-two-one.  Hope you and yours have enjoyed gaming as much as our crew has this last year, and I look forward to what is to come.  Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, God Bless, and Game On!

Smiley



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Comments
 
Oh man, the text adventures on the Vic 20 are great and that is where I got my start with text adventures.  Adventure Land, The Count, and Voodoo Castle, all great!
 
@shaggy:That is so cool! We have those, Pirate Cove, and Mission Impossible Adventure so I think we have the compete Scott Adams series.

I grew up on text adventures on the C64, and even made a few in my experimental game-creation days. Stoneville Manor and Medieval Adventure were the first games I ever completed, with help from my mom. Those were the only games she ever got into until Farmville. Cheesy
 
I haven't played most of these games, but I'm glad to see Blazing Chrome getting some more love. Such an awesome game!
 
I love the variety in your list. Some of these are games I likely wouldn't play, but it's cool to get a perspective from someone on them, in case I ever find myself in possession of any later on, through Goodwill or the local pawn shop, so I have a little context. Also, very cool to see a couple shmups in your list! Always happy to see the genre still has legs.

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