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 Kevin talk about how his 2020 in games has shaped up.
There’s no escaping it, Covid changed many things this year. The way we work, socialise, shop, eat and more was all thrown to the wind. But also for me one thing that drastically changed was the way I played games!
Having experienced both a full scale lockdown, a two week isolation and many changes at work since March, my social life took a bit of a hammering. A group of my friends became very regular Discord users and we took this as an opportunity to game together and socialise over the internet instead of in person. A few nights a week we would all jump into a voice channel pick a game and play for a few hours. This became the norm over the past few months and since March we have put hundreds of hours into multiplayer and co-op gaming. Here are some of the highlights of the year:
Escape From Tarkov
Never before have I been so completely absorbed in any game… ever! That’s an incredible statement for me to make considering I proclaim my favourite gaming genres to be CRPG, non-FPS Tactical and Fantasy. There was just something about EFT‘s hardcore nature that filled a void that had been missing in my gaming life since the days of World of Warcraft. If you brought the wrong gear into a raid, the wrong ammo in your magazine, didn’t reload your gun enough, didn’t heal at the right time, didn’t have map knowledge or didn’t take advantage of tactical movement when fighting you were severly disadvantaged and if you died, well there’s no respawning in EFT, you lose your gear and that’s it!
Bring this enviroment into squad play and my Discord group could not get enough of this game. Many nights we spent hunting down other players, scav bosses and rare items of loot. At first we struggled, there was at least one team-kill every night, but once we settled into constant communication and our knowledge of the game and how each other played grew, we usually did quite well. We have since stopped playing EFT as we moved onto other things but I’m more than certain given enough updates and game stability that we will return to it at some point.
Divinity: Original Sin 2
This is my Discord groups current game and as far as my game tastes go, we couldnt’ have picked anything better. Isometric RPG’s (CRPG’s) are my comfort zone, it’s my favourite genre and when the idea was floated that maybe we wanted to do a co-op campaign of Divinity: Original Sin 2 I didn’t have to think twice.
The great thing about Divinity: Original Sin 2 is that it’s the full package when it comes to game content. As a role playing game your character is yours to shape and whether you want to be a tank, healer, damage dealer or hybrid build, a nice guy, tough guy, joker or even just a mass murderer the conversation options and class choices are all there for you to do so.
At first I wasn’t sure what playing this in a 4 player co-op would be like as I’d played the whole of the first Divinity: Original Sin game solo. I ended up enjoying it so much that I played my own single player campaign along side the co-op one just to see more of the variance in gameplay choices and characters. In single player combat is a lot easier as you have full control over the synergy of spells, abilities and party placement. Co-op definitely has it’s advantages too though. Exploration is much faster, only levelling and gearing one character instead of four is much easier and having the Discord chat between a group while playing definitely helps with remembering plot points and general game knowledge.
We are still playing this game and enjoying it whole lot and in the end what we get from Divinity: Original Sin 2 is a good laugh at each others conversation choices, great gameplay and a chilled but tactical environment to play out our chosen characters. It’s as close to the perfect Discord co-op game as you could want.
Board games are something that I will never tire of. I’ve loved and enjoyed them since a very young age but due to restrictions with travel and visiting other people for most of the year, playing pyhsical board games in person just became impossible. Thankfully my board game crazy friends were all able to join up in Tabletop Simulator so that we could continue our antics.
The picture above is from a recent session of Twilight Imperium. It was our first time playing the game and while rule explination may have added a couple of hours onto our overall game time, none of us were prepared for what happened next. We started at 2pm hoping to get a good few hours of play and ended up enjoying the game so much that we didn’t finish up until 2am! Although we’ve never quite managed a stretch of play that long before, this is indicative of the type of board games we enjoy. Generally the more complicated and interesting, the better and Twilight Imperium is the pinnacle of this.
Other board games that have entertained us over the past months include Catan (now one of my favourites), Dark Souls and Game of Thrones and I highly recommend each of these if you’re looking for something with a little more substance and tactical thought than your average board game. Be prepared to sink many hours into these however, they are not for the casual gamer.
There’s nothing quite like playing a board game with physical pieces and once the restrictions ease up again I’m more than certain we will return to our roots, but there’s no denying that playing board games in Tabletop Simulator is so much more convenient and this will probably become a more permanent thing in the future.
While the above are highlights of the year, we have been playing other games as a group over the past twelve months. Forza Horizon 4, various Jackbox Party Packs, Halo: The Masterchief Collection, Warhammer: Vermintide 2, Rocket League and For The King are all worth a mention.