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

Posted on Feb 3rd 2021 at 08:00:00 AM by (zophar53)
Posted under Resolutions, Goals, Gaming, Backlog


It's a new year (perhaps you've noticed) and things are a lot different. Many things are the same, including many of the problems, but we've got a changing of the guard, vaccines coming in hot and ready, and hopefully an end to at least some of the wretchedness that has gripped this country for some time now. With that, I'm finding myself cautiously poking my head out of the miasma of societal hopelessness I've been in since last summer. I've started doing weekly gaming nights with some friends from my local book club and have a renewed interest in gaming, which has helped my mood tremendously lately.

I've never been much for New Year's resolutions, personally, but I do like the idea of setting goals as a tangible intent to get things done. In that vein, and in lieu of a top 10 of 2020 list, I thought it'd be a good idea to set some goals for checking out some of the games I was too distracted to play last year, as well as check some games off my backlog. I won't commit myself to finishing every one of these, but as a means to hold myself accountable, here are the games I want to play this year.





Doki Doki Literature Club


I never thought I'd ever play a dating simulator, and I'll be the first to admit that as a 40-year old man, it feels a bit awkward trying to win the attention of Japanese school girls. That said, I'm told this game really goes places, and it's been so highly recommended to me by a couple trusted friends that I had to give it a go. I'm only a few hours in, but between the heavy trigger warnings on the game's Steam page and when you first boot it up and what I'm starting to see as I get to know the characters, I'm already starting to see how things could get pretty dark. I'm not generally someone who needs trigger warnings, but I am capable of extreme empathy, so as Doki Doki Literature Club delves into subjects like PTSD, depression, anxiety, and who knows what else, I suspect I'm in for quite a moving story. Who knows, it may even turn out to be my gateway into other well-regarded dating simulators like Hatoful Boyfriend and Dream Daddy.

Secret of Mana


I've written here before about how this is a big blind spot in my SNES history. I've listened to and really enjoyed the soundtrack, just never put the time into actually playing it. My copy of Collection of Mana is just sitting there on the shelf waiting for me, like it's trying to come back to me from the past. "I'm making this as easy as possible for you. Just play me, you won't be disappointed. Come on already!" It's been a very long time since I've put significant time into a retro RPG; I think it might be time to dive back in and see what I find.

The Messenger


I played about a third of this game when it first came out, put it down for some reason, picked it up last year and played about another third, then got distracted again by, well, you know. In fact, I liked what I did play of it enough that it made it onto my top 10 of 2018 list. When I picked it up again last year, I was reminded how freaking great it is. Now that things are just a little brighter on the horizon, I want to put a bow on The Messenger once and for all.

Half-Life


This one completely passed me by in 1998 when it first landed on PC. I wasn't much of a PC gamer at the time, and most of my gaming attention was taken up by some new-fangled disc-based console called the PlayStation. Perhaps you've heard of it. Since then, the original Half-Life has had many, many ports, and when I tried to go back to it some years ago it didn't seem to have aged well. It's entirely possible I didn't give it a fair chance, and I have to admit that it'd be really nice to know what everyone's talking about when they talk of Gordon Freeman and Black Mesa. If I turn out to really love it, it could motivate me to dig up my copy of The Orange Box and start chewing through that. So far, the only part of that package I've played is Portal. Hey, remember how freaking amazing Portal is, y'all!!??

Bugsnax


When I first started hearing about this game, it sounded like an absolute delight. Charming visuals, quirky dialogue, a gotta' catch 'em all hook, and animal/food portmanteaus! And while it starts off seeming like a family-friendly game, supposedly it goes to some pretty crazy places as you learn why everyone wants to eat the title characters only to have their limbs turn into food. Talk about coming for the food, staying for the body horror. I was disappointed at first, as I thought Bugsnax was a PS5 exclusive, but I recently discovered you can buy it on PS4 as a dual package with the next-generation version. I've only played about an hour so far, but it's definitely on my list for 2021.

Hades


After finishing Rogue Legacy, there was a roguelike-shaped hole in my gaming life. Then along came Dead Cells, and I was right back in the "just one more run" cycle. I still love the game, and fire it up from time to time when I can't think of anything else to play or want something more mentally engaging than Diablo III, but not as much as a big triple-A title. Hades seems to be the new roguelike hotness, and Supergiant Games has a pretty stellar reputation. Three of my friends are currently loving it, two of which having put close to 100 hours in and are still playing almost daily. It has some big shoes to fill in my book, but I'm curious as to what the fuss is about and I trust Supergiant to deliver. Let's see what ya got, Hades.

Kentucky Route Zero or Spiritfarer


I want to play both of these, but with the heaviness that Doki Doki is going to bring me, it's tough to say at the moment how much mental bandwith I'll have for such stories this year. As it is, someday I want to play The Last of Us II, but I've heard enough about its story that I know it'll be a while before I'm ready for something that grim. In the meantime, Kentucky Route Zero and Spiritfarer seem to be emotionally hard-hitting while also taking a more loving touch with the subject matter. The former just had its final chapter released, seven years after the first chapter, and the latter is a touching management/adventure game where you assist in ferrying lost souls to the great beyond. Both are right up my narrative alley. If I have the capacity for both in 2021, awesome. If not, I'll be happy with just one of them for now.

Ghost of Tsushima


I've heard this game described as essentially Assassin's Creed colon samurai edition, and that sounds pretty rad. The last couple of samurai-style games I played, Sekiro and Nioh, were a lot of fun, but a bit painfully exacting in their gameplay. It'd be nice to play something of that ilk where the gameplay was a bit looser. I dipped back into a few of the most recent generation of AC games last year and found them quite enjoyable, and the visuals I've seen of Ghost of Tsushima look quite striking. This is one of the few games on this list I don't own yet, so I may wait for a sale of some kind of game of the year edition, but I do want to see what it has to offer.

Star Wars: Squadrons


It's been so long since I played TIE Fighter that I barely remember anything about it. Supposedly this doesn't quite reach the heights of that game, but seeing as I don't really have my TIE Fighter memories to compare it to, Squadrons looks like it could be quite a lot of fun indeed. It's always nice to have an excuse to break out my PSVR, and while I absolutely adore Tetris Effect with every fiber of my being, it's kind of a different thing from an immersive action-focused game. Have I wanted to fly an X-wing since I was a child? Yes, yes I have. Flying a TIE fighter as well is a wonderful bonus, but the one question I pose to EA is: how much money do I have to give you to get Millenium Falcon DLC??

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night


This is it, the much-revered cream of the Castlevania crop. It's kind of baffling that as stoked as I was about the PlayStation in the late 90s, I completely missed this game, even as I went on to enjoy titles like the Metroid series and Axiom Verge. The latter game, for me, was a glorious throwback and return to form for the genre, and I've wanted something like that since. It's time I get it through my head that Symphony of the Night has been there this whole time, waving its arms going "umm, helloooooo, I'm right here you fool!" I can't promise I'll get through all the games on this list in 2021, depending on how things go, but what I will promise is that I will not play another metroidvania until I've played through Symphony of the Night.

How about you? Are there some games here you'd like to get to this year? Are there any games that have long been in your backlog that you'd like to make a resolution to play in 2021? Please share in the comments. While my backlog may be hundreds of games long, it should be less intimidating to focus on just a few and go from there. I'll try to post a future article with my progress.



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