Our Year in Games 2020 – Jon
Most years here at Reticule Towers we do some sort of review of the last year in games, or celebrate the games of the The Reticule years. While we took a break last year, this year we’re back with a mixture of Our Year in Games where we review our gaming stories of the last year, and we’ll also take a look at what we consider to be our Games of the Year. Here we have Jon talk about how his 2020 in games has shaped up.
I’ve spent a lot of this year with my time split between five games, only two of which were released this year (and one of them was available in early access last year at that).
Those who’ve followed my words on here will know I’m very keen about FPS and strategy games. That’s kind of my niche. As such, this year I started with Escape From Tarkov; a title that’s theoretically still in beta but has seen levels of success that has been a blessing and a curse. I won’t delve too much into what Tarkov is as I’ve written about it extensively (check out my guide here), but suffice to say it’s a hardcore round-based survival/multiplayer fps/rpg game. What’s not to understand, amirite?
It wedged itself quite firmly in my brain and for many months it was the only thing I played. The brutality of the game, the slower pace and the huge level of risk and reward worked brilliantly and I was hopelessly hooked. The game was just hitting it’s stride when it’s popularity exploded with streamers who were looking for something slightly different. That swelled the player-base significantly which led to what many consider to be an accumulation of issues that have eroded the appeal of the game ever since.
A combination of huge levels of cheating (be it RMT’s, direct or indirect scripts), repeated server issues, basic game problems and other technical issues have eroded the original hardcore player-base and is so widespread that it has become a bit of a meme. The success drove the developers to introduce more content and features while inevitably missing longer-term issues that the core player-base have been worried about for years. This increased frustration and currently is leading Tarkov to shedding a lot of players.
Developers Battlestate can turn this around and the recent update is helping, but a lot of the damage may already be done. As such I’ve drifted away from the game and I only tend to go back to play in offline mode (which was designed as a ‘practice’ mode) and I am by far the only person doing this. In fact, now Cyberpunk 2077 has landed it’ll be getting uninstalled and I genuinely don’t know when I’ll play it again. But who knows.
Happily though that gave some other titles a chance this year! So in no particular order:
Star Wars: Squadrons, my review for which can be found here is an astounding game. I played it to death when reviewing it and only a few weeks of server/internet issues stopped me playing it. Happily EA have announced more content for the game, in the shape of a map and two new ships (the B-Wing and the incredible Tie-Defender) which for fans of the game is a huge boon. One can only assume that EA saw this as an experiment and didn’t expect the success they had. Here’s to more content and hopefully a full new campaign soon!
Our very own Kevin gave his initial impressions of Noita here, and since then I have sunk over 40 hrs into it. It’s a title that has rounds that often last no more than 10 minutes. So for 40 hrs of action that works out at around 240 attempts at the game. Wow.
Noita is an indie rogue-a-like game involving wizards, wands and explosions all combined with the modelling of every single pixel. Wood burns. Water (or acid) flows. Things go BOOM, taking half the level with it. It’s utterly, utterly brilliant and it’s my go to ‘quick blast game’. Double so as from clicking the icon I can be in the game within 20 seconds. I urge you to play it.
Those aside, I’ve also played a lot of Valve’s seminal Left 4 Dead 2 as part of my regular streaming pattern and the ever present (for me) XCOM 2.
Chimera Squad was a competent entry to this game-universe this year, but the pared-down version of the classic formula just didn’t quite click for me. It did lots right, but felt too restricted. Here’s hoping that Firaxis learn from the successes and failures of both so I can lose myself in the next title. Until then, and to the surprise of precisely no one, I’ll just keep playing XCOM 2.