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Video Games- Game of the Year


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Oh yeah Chimera Squad was pretty fun! I enjoyed the aesthetic and focus on bite-sized tactical encounters rather than slowly overwatching your way across a large map, as well as the de-emphasis on the strategy layer (which had never really been the part of xcom that I enjoyed). The change from IGOUGO to an initiative based system was interesting and I think it does bring some advantages, though my playthrough also found the disadvantages to such a system too and I feel like reception to it was more negative than positive so I'm not sure if they'll stick with it.

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I'm surprised we haven't heard more - or anything - about XCOM3 at this juncture, given it's obviously on the way and we've had the same time elapse between the first two games and since the second one came out.

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This has been a down year for my buying new games, but I have purchased a few.

Wasteland 3.  Very fun game RPG with strategic (xcom-ish) combat.  The huge flaw was the bugs.  It was the first game I actually just deleted from hard drive due to it crashing so often.  One of the unlockable party members was bugged and I couldn't get him to join the party (if I tried it would screw up the game and I would have to re load an earlier save).  Did I mention the crashing, lol, every 30-40 minutes it kicked back to my PS4 homescreen.

Call of Duty Cold War.  Haven't played a ton of this, mainly due to the kids being home during the holidays and my internet being slooooowwwww.  But, when I was able to play the multi player it was a blast.  Guns felt good and the maps were enjoyable.  Zombie map was cool, but I don't have anyone that plays to do co op with, so I don't play much zombies.  Campaign seems interesting, even though I am not very far, and I enjoy being able to come up with my characters history.  Overall I really like the game (huge CoD fanboy here so take what I say with a grain of salt).

Cyberpunk 2077.  I have not had the huge glitching that a lot of people had and I am not to bothered by the graphics.  Overall I am enjoying the game, but it does really come across as a decent RPG with pretend choices.  Like it acts like it is giving you choices in conversations, but they all lead to the same conclusion.  I'm having fun with it though, so that's enough for me.

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Game of the Year for me is pretty easy.  It's also my favorite game I've ever played.  Last of Us 2.

I know a lot of people had complaints.  But for me, it was the perfect game.

Style of game I like - third person shooter.  Fun gameplay, with a good variety of weapons.  Mix of stealth and shootouts.  Linear story, though with some variety on how to approach certain encounters.

Atmosphere was amazing.  Thought it was full of extremely tense situations.  Was always on edge, thinking about what would be around the next corner / behind the next door. 

And I loved the story.  This is where a lot of people have objected, but it worked for me.  A few notes (which will contain spoilers, so don't click if you haven't played it) -

Spoiler

The theme of revenge is one that always strikes a chord with me. 

I've heard people say they don't like how Ellie never learns or changes, even after all of the bad things that happened to her and her friends.  That the cost was too high and at some point she should have said enough.  But I think that for some people, there are things that need to be answered and that you can't put aside.  Even if the cost is high and even if you know it won't actually fix anything.

(Also would add that Ellie does change and makes a different decision at the very end.)

I also really enjoy stories that play with the question of perspective.  How in one version of a story, one person might be the hero and another the villain.  But if you flip things around and consider the other point of view, the roles can be reversed.  Or maybe there are no heroes or villains, and its all just a matter of each person doing what they think is right/necessary.  Think the game did an excellent job with this.  At the end of the day, it was impossible for me to hate Abby.  She was no different from what Ellie was doing in the second game (and in some ways, was also similar to what Joel did at the end of the first game).  They all resonated with me pretty strongly.

And yeah, I did feel sad about what happened to Joel.  I think any 40 year old father would connect with his character a ton.  And I was initially disappointed he wasn't a main character in the game.  But - (1) I felt his death was a shocking scene that was very well done, (2) I couldn't really blame Abby for doing what she did, and (3) I thought Ellie's flashbacks that included Joel were awesome.  Some of the best scenes in the game, especially the one in the space shuttle.  So good. 

Think the best praise I can give it is that it's 5 months later, and I'm still thinking about the game.  One of the final scenes in particular has stayed with me.  And I'm looking forward to playing it again, probably some time in the spring.

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7 hours ago, Caligula_K3 said:

6. Among Us: As with Animal Crossing, I really treasure this game for helping me stay connected with friends during the pandemic. I don't play with randoms; some people seem to take this game way too seriously. But with friends with voice and/or video chat, this is a very fun party game.

Just downloaded this on a whim last night on my Switch, had a blast playing with random people. My understanding is it came out years ago and only recently became popular. I'm surprised it took so long to make Mafia into a video game. 

 

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Decided to take a look at my GOG and Steam accounts and the games I played this year. In no particular order...

Assassin's Creed III. Purchased the *moment* I found out it was set in Boston (not originally from there, as my name might suggest, but I grew up there). Bland protagonist and story aside, I absolutely adore this game for letting me wander around the first city with which I ever fell in love. That alone made the 28 hours I spent playing it worth it for me. 

Star Wars: Jedi - Fallen Order. I'm still not sure about the grammar rules surrounding the title. Jedi Fallen Order? Jedi: Fallen Order? I don't even know. Anyway - the game. What a weird beast. It's been a while since anything has made my system lock up mid-game. But this game did it several times during the Kashyyyk sequence. Apparently the optimisation in this game is not consistent. Aside from technical problems, the art design, sound and music design, and acting are top notch. The game plays with narrative in a way that I felt really suited the primary story, and kept the tired fan service to a minimum.

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. This came out when I was in university, so I'd never gotten around to it. The UI is very much of its time, and I warmed to it slowly - as integrated panel designs are not to my liking, as I like to keep my settings modular and separate - but it's fine. It's an art choice. I get it. It was soothing to have a familiar high fantasy world to wander through this year - it's the sort of thing my anxieties really needed to relax a bit. Completed the main quest, tried out a few mods, and questioned the logic of some of the design features of the game, but - hey, it was a mid-00s game and it tried to do a lot of interesting things for that time. 

Blood: Fresh Supply. Get this instead of One Unit Whole Blood. It works properly on modern systems and requires no tinkering to get it up and running. This remains one of the zaniest and most unabashedly fun Build games from the mid-90s.

Neverwinter Nights. Also released while I was in university, this has been an...odd experience. I simply do not understand many of the gameplay choices made here. A henchman system? No party? Tedious fetch quests, repetitive dungeons, and an art design that really doesn't quite capture the flavour and colour of the Forgotten Realms as well as its isometic siblings did. Gorgeous music though by Jeremy Soule. I'm in fact still playing through this game. I can only do an hour at a time before my attention wanes. I get the feeling that the story was tacked on late in the development phase, as the only character whose name I even remember is Arabeth, as I've already put at least 20 hours into this game. 

Daikatana. The 1.3 patch is transformative and makes the game play the way I wanted it to play back when it came out. The save crystals are no longer an issue, companions can be disabled, assorted bugs are resolved and the game becomes as a result, an enjoyable fps romp with delightfully cheeseball dialogue and cut scenes. (Also, the soundtrack is wonderful. I'll die on that hill. Will Loconto and co. did a wonderful job with the sound and music production.)

Bioshock Remastered. Released originally in 2007, I missed out on this (due to being in university). Only 2 hours in so far. Just took out a mad surgeon. It's...fine, so far? Too early to have formed any real thoughts beyond "hey cool art design and soundtrack!"

Deus Ex: Human Revolution - Director's Cut. Finished this earlier this year. Terrific beginning, decent enough middle, but by the end of the game, the narrative started to sag a bit, and the Choose Your Own Ending feature, while appreciated, felt a bit underwhelming as the story didn't feel quite as compelling and gripping as the original Deus Ex. Terrific graphics and exceptional sound and audio design by Michael McCann. Not sure that a prequel was the direction the series needed to go into, but c'est la vie.

The Pillars of Eternity Duology. Completed a third play-through of both games (Pillars of Eternity, Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire). Got both games the day they released. I do a play-through once a year now of both Pillars and Deadfire. There's so much in both games that hits my happy buttons. Great design, art, music, lore, crafting features, customisation, etc. Not everyone's cup of tea, but damn if I don't enjoy the hell out of these two games. 

The Outer Worlds. Fun enough game. An early game-stopping bug near the end was maddeningly frustrating but quickly patched. A fun, ice cream cone on a summer's day of a game. It knows what it is and thus succeeds by the parameters it set for itself. A late in the game plot twist surprised some players and features a boss fight with a relatively new character that resulted in the stakes and emotional involvement levels feeling less than ideal. But it's a fun game, with a good sense of humour, terrific music by Justin Bell, and features the work of Fallout creators Leonard Boyarsky and Tim Cain. 

Unreal + Unreal: Return to Na Pali. Finally finished Unreal years after its release. Still a beautiful game with excellent production values, design, art, and music. The opening levels of the game still make me stop and stare in delight and wonder. The wonderfully weird scifi/fantasy aesthetic mix is a joy to see realised on screen and I dig it in all its weirdness. The game flags a bit at the end with an ever-increasing amount of needless enemy waves/mobs, but such was the way with late 90s shooters. Currently making my way through the expansion pack Return to Na Pali. Very much more of the game, but with perhaps some slightly more confusing level design (found myself having to backtrack one village several times before figuring out how to reach the end of the level). 

Thief Gold. The original Thief. Get it on GoG, not Steam - the latter doesn't include the soundtrack and cut scenes for reasons I don't understand. A wildly uneven game. The first half is brilliant, an atmospheric tour de force full of terrific sneaking and strategy and amusing and wry commentary from Garrett. The second half of the game, with its zombies and undead Hammerites and trickster god insect maze of a palace, feel out of place, like they belong in some other game - but not one with the word 'Thief' in its title. 

Tomb Raider (aka Tomb Raider: Survivor, as I've seen some call it), Rise of the Tomb Raider, Shadow of the Tomb Raider. It takes a little under 50 hours to get through all three games in this reimagining/prequel trilogy. Undeniably gorgeously designed, with gameplay reminiscent, from what I can tell, of the Uncharted games (unplayed by me). Enjoyable enough games. Of all of them, the third stood out the most on account of some wonderfully-realised locations, delightful swimming mechanics, terrific music courtesy of Brian D'Oliveira that makes sonic references/tips of the hat to Bear McCreary's work on Battlestar Galactica and Outlander. Some of the story ideas, particularly ones that criticise the very idea of being a tomb raider, were nice touches, I felt. I still don't think the game explained particularly well what the hell Trinity was all about, but then again, I don't think this trilogy was planned to any great extent. As a result, it feels like an uneven story with no clear plan around what it wanted to say. But I enjoyed it all nonetheless for its fun gameplay and occasionally heart-stopping challenges, including swinging across gorgeously-rendered ravines and gorges. 

Quake. Never finished this when it came out. Used the Dark Places mod to make it run on a modern system. Still a creepy, spooky, nightmarish experience from beginning to end. It's a mish-mash of genres and it all works. It's made all the more successful with NIN's iconic score.

Quake II. It's The Guns of Navarone in space. Play this with the Mech Warrior 2 soundtrack for maximum effectiveness. I think it's a better match than the original soundtrack. I loved the multiplayer component of this game when it came out. The rail gun was a revelation, and it's still a blast all these years later. The single player campaign is nothing monumental. Go complete missions. Get to the big gun and disable it. Fight a boss. Go home. Quake 2 was never about its single-player storyline, but it's at least stronger here than in Quake. 

 

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I'll have to see if Hades goes on sale tomorrow--I've seen it pop up a lot, but I hadn't thought much about buying it until now.

In terms of rogue-likes--any of you ever play Rogue Legacy? Probably my favorite game for this time of year. I really want to buy the early access sequel, but I'm going to wait.

 

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So besides Cyberpunk and a smattering of the other games I was playing before Cyberpunk released, I've been playing a shit ton of online mahjong. I only just learned the rules, I still don't know all the yaku, but I'm having a ton of fun. It's so addictive. And now I'm ready to crush any future JRPGs that have an optional mahjong minigame (looking at you, Yakuza games, among many others).

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6 minutes ago, Simon Steele said:

I'll have to see if Hades goes on sale tomorrow--I've seen it pop up a lot, but I hadn't thought much about buying it until now.

In terms of rogue-likes--any of you ever play Rogue Legacy? Probably my favorite game for this time of year. I really want to buy the early access sequel, but I'm going to wait.

I enjoyed the original Rogue Legacy when it came out and have played the sequel as far as you can within the current Early Access content and I think if you really liked the original then you'll really like the sequel because it's very much exactly what it says on the tin: the original Rogue Legacy but updated with a whole bunch of new stuff - as far as I can remember it feels pretty much the same to play as the original but has better graphics, more/new enemies, more/new room layouts, more/new abilities and increased class diversity, new progression systems, new bosses etc. I think it's a pretty fun game and from what I've seen so far I like that Cellar Door Games are using Early Access properly to iterate, solicit feedback and develop their game, which has already seen several updates and improvements.

I mentioned how much like the original it is in feel and gameplay and that has upsides (you liked the original you'll definitely like this one, and I imagine they're building on the same engine and a lot of the same systems they already built for the original) but it also has downsides, like the fact that the original was released in 2013 and we're rapidly approaching 2021 now and in the intervening years a number of other rogue-like/lites have come along and moved the genre forwards. I doubt that the gameplay of the original felt that way at the time but now RL2 feels rather clunky when compared to say, Dead Cells (released in 2018), which is also a 2d sidescrolling, platforming roguelite and which just feels so much more fluid and responsive (and fast paced). I've heaped some pretty heady praise on Dead Cells for how its combat feels in the past so saying that Rogue Legacy 2 doesn't stand up to it isn't necessarily damning but there is a sense that RL2 feels, well as I said a bit clunky.

Also yeah Hades is great! Hope you enjoy it, and I think you will if you enjoy roguelites. I've raved about it on and off over the past few threads so I won't repeat myself :laugh:

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2 hours ago, Simon Steele said:

I'll have to see if Hades goes on sale tomorrow--I've seen it pop up a lot, but I hadn't thought much about buying it until now.

In terms of rogue-likes--any of you ever play Rogue Legacy? Probably my favorite game for this time of year. I really want to buy the early access sequel, but I'm going to wait.

 

Hades is amazing, probably my game of the year.

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Even i played outer worlds this year, brilliant game, another great Obsidian title. My only complaint is the lack of romance options. My list for this year, in order of awesomeness :D)

1)Hades(GOTY material) 

2)Dishonoured 2(finally got around to it!) 

3)The Outer worlds ( a much better fallout game basically) 

4)Deus ex Mankind Divided (another one I was late too but god its good) 

I also started SW fallen order but the first 45 minutes so far have honestly been bland and disappointing. The games also giving me nausea and headaches for some reason(might be FOV) ... Lets see maybe it'll improve with time. 

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10 hours ago, IlyaP said:

Decided to take a look at my GOG and Steam accounts and the games I played this year. In no particular order...

Neverwinter Nights. Also released while I was in university, this has been an...odd experience. I simply do not understand many of the gameplay choices made here. A henchman system? No party? Tedious fetch quests, repetitive dungeons, and an art design that really doesn't quite capture the flavour and colour of the Forgotten Realms as well as its isometic siblings did. Gorgeous music though by Jeremy Soule. I'm in fact still playing through this game. I can only do an hour at a time before my attention wanes. I get the feeling that the story was tacked on late in the development phase, as the only character whose name I even remember is Arabeth, as I've already put at least 20 hours into this game. 

The original Neverwinter Nights campaign was a proof-of-concept for the DM toolkit, more of a demo than a full game in its own right. The expansions, Shadows of Undrentide and Hordes of the Underdark, are much better (also, although the UI has problems I found it far, far superior to Dragon Age: Origins, which was somehow less customisable and accessible despite coming out 7 years later). Neverwinter Nights 2 is the better game, since it allows you to form a party, with even better expansions (Mask of the Betrayer frequently being cited as the best D&D game of all time, bar maybe Planescape: Torment).

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I guess Half-Life: Alyx was my favorite game from 2020. 

I did not game much this year though.

It always feels that I played I lot when I put my index down but it is usually less than 2 hours. Might be a good thing I guess. 

I had the game pass for a while but the only game I really played was Outer Worlds. It is a good offer and we had the PC/Xbox combo. I tried a few games but none of them convinced me. I also disliked that it had no proper install and language options. But I did not feel like gaming once the pandemic got going and I think I might get some of the games I tried some day. Mutant Year Zero Road To Eden and Metro come to mind. 

I bought only 5 games this year and played one game I got for free(Alyx because of the Index) and one game I pre ordered(Cyperpunk 2077). I have added a lot of free games to me epic account but I have yet to play one. 

Of the games I bought Terminator: Resistance surprised me the most. A fun shooter with a decent perk system and an ok story. An update that allowes you to play as an infiltrator terminator was released a short while ok and I think I'm going to try that once I tire of Cyberpunk. 

I think at this point I actually enjoyed Cyberpunk the most apart from Alyx. But I also enjoyed the exploration and combat in Fallout 76 as long as I encountered no other players. ;) Clearly I have no taste. 

I got CIV 6 but I have only played a little bit. None of the CIV games come close to Alpha Centauri imho but I still try every new release. 

I got RDR2 during a sale but I lost interest quickly. 

Batman™: Arkham VR looked great but lacked content. 

I think the game I played the most was XCOM 2 as I like ironman games. A good and fun game but no game scratches the tactics ike Jagged Alliance 2 and I reinstalled that and abandoned the XCOM campaign.

Maybe I should replay the Baldur's Gate games. I did replay Planescape:Torment but I do that ever year. 

 

Edit: I also got among us but I feel like you need friends not randoms to really enjoy that kind of game. I have no online friends that I game with as I tend to play single player games.

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I doubt I've played any game that was released this year.  Since I moved to Scotland last autumn I've only been able to play games on a fairly old laptop or on the Switch that I brought back in January (back when I assumed I'd be spending a large part of 2020 travelling around the country by train).  Which means I've largely been limited to  replaying older games, including a few I'd not played in a very long time.   (I completed Baldur's Gate for the first time back in May, for example, just under nineteen years after I originally started it.)

Of all the games I played for the first time this year the one I enjoyed the most was Celeste.  It somehow managed to be both charming and slightly addictive, despite the fact I was manifestly terrible at it (which the game didn't shy away from telling me), even before I got started on the B sides.  Would have been a good game to play during lockdown, I think, although I actually played it back in February.

I liked Hollow Knight a lot, too (which is at least superficially similar) but towards the end the boss fights started to become difficult enough that I wasn't really having much fun.  Didn't ever decide to stop playing, as such, but the gap between my attempts just got longer and longer.

As of yesterday, I've finally started to play Breath of the Wild; I was given a copy months ago but I've been holding off until Christmas to actually try it.  I suspect there's a decent chance that ends up being my game of the year, just going on general critical reception (although I've only played about an hour so far).

(Among Us is a lot of fun -- though not especially so when playing with random people -- but it doesn't quite feel like it belongs on a list of 'best games'; without voice/video chat it would be a very different experience and the 'game' feels like almost just an excuse for that element.)

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9 hours ago, Caligula_K3 said:

 

3. Disco Elysium: This was the most fun I had playing a new RPG in a very long time, and definitely the best top down RPG I've ever played (no combat, yes!). The main mystery fizzles out a little but the real fun of this game was the excellent worldbuilding, humour, and even better character-building. I'm excited for another playthrough, not because I think I'll get a "different ending," but because I want to explore this world from the perspective of a different, but no doubt just as dysfunctional, version of Harry.

 

 

I enjoyed Disco Elysium a lot, and I hope we get another game in this world. But it was strictly one and done for me. Even though there were some apparently consequential choices that I would quite like to see how they play out with a different choice and successful dice rolls, it's not enough to keep me engaged in an entire second play through.

I played Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden this year. I think that might be my #1 for the year. If you like X-com and Wasteland you should consider this game. 

I've played way too much Rocket League and Total War Warhammer 2 this year to actually have a list of 10 games that I played for the first time this year to rank in some kind of order. I don't even have a top 5. I think the only other games I've started and finished this year are What Became of Edith Finch? and Firewatch, both games I would recommend, despite Firewatch being first person. I've played Among Us and Fall Guys once but I don't think that counts as a proper experience of these games to really say I've played them this year.

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16 hours ago, Poobah said:

I enjoyed the original Rogue Legacy when it came out and have played the sequel as far as you can within the current Early Access content and I think if you really liked the original then you'll really like the sequel because it's very much exactly what it says on the tin: the original Rogue Legacy but updated with a whole bunch of new stuff - as far as I can remember it feels pretty much the same to play as the original but has better graphics, more/new enemies, more/new room layouts, more/new abilities and increased class diversity, new progression systems, new bosses etc. I think it's a pretty fun game and from what I've seen so far I like that Cellar Door Games are using Early Access properly to iterate, solicit feedback and develop their game, which has already seen several updates and improvements.

I mentioned how much like the original it is in feel and gameplay and that has upsides (you liked the original you'll definitely like this one, and I imagine they're building on the same engine and a lot of the same systems they already built for the original) but it also has downsides, like the fact that the original was released in 2013 and we're rapidly approaching 2021 now and in the intervening years a number of other rogue-like/lites have come along and moved the genre forwards. I doubt that the gameplay of the original felt that way at the time but now RL2 feels rather clunky when compared to say, Dead Cells (released in 2018), which is also a 2d sidescrolling, platforming roguelite and which just feels so much more fluid and responsive (and fast paced). I've heaped some pretty heady praise on Dead Cells for how its combat feels in the past so saying that Rogue Legacy 2 doesn't stand up to it isn't necessarily damning but there is a sense that RL2 feels, well as I said a bit clunky.

Also yeah Hades is great! Hope you enjoy it, and I think you will if you enjoy roguelites. I've raved about it on and off over the past few threads so I won't repeat myself :laugh:

I'm so tempted to get Rogue Legacy 2, but I want to wait until it's more complete. I think of so many sidescrollers, Rogue Legacy still feels better in control and movement than so many of them. 

15 hours ago, Slurktan said:

Hades is amazing, probably my game of the year.

I'm so broke right now (Christmas gifts for son) that I'm going to have to wait until after the holidays. I didn't know it was made by the makers of Transistor (and another game...I can't remember the name, Bastion?)--and I remembered I owned a couple of their games I haven't played, so I'm going to play those in the mean time.

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Metro 2033 is today's free game on Epic. Well worth it, although for maximum effect you need to play it in Russian with appropriate subtitles and have a bearded Russian man bring you vodka whilst playing. Also, this game has one of the most insanely brutal difficulty curves I've seen in anything. "Normal" is "Nightmare" in any other game. Have no hesitation in putting it on Easy, which is still anything but (the two sequels are much more normal in that regard).

GoG have also gotten in on the act, giving away mech game Brigador for free for the next day as well.

The Steam sale is underway and to be frank it's pretty meh, but WH40K: Mechanicus (basically Warhammer 40,000 Tactics) and Druidstone (basically Epic Fantasy XCOM) are pretty solid games for the very reasonable amounts they're giving them away for.

59 minutes ago, Simon Steele said:

I'm so broke right now (Christmas gifts for son) that I'm going to have to wait until after the holidays. I didn't know it was made by the makers of Transistor (and another game...I can't remember the name, Bastion?)--and I remembered I owned a couple of their games I haven't played, so I'm going to play those in the mean time.

Supergiant games, who made BastionTransistorPyre and Hades.

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1 hour ago, Werthead said:

 

The Steam sale is underway and to be frank it's pretty meh, but WH40K: Mechanicus (basically Warhammer 40,000 Tactics) and Druidstone (basically Epic Fantasy XCOM) are pretty solid games for the very reasonable amounts they're giving them away for.

 

How have I not heard of this before? That is a game description that will probably keep me inside this summer so much that I will start to suffer from vitamin D deficiency.

Apparently Cyberpunk has sold 13 million copies, and that's taking into account the refunds. I would like to think that the company would take some of those hundreds of millions in profit and give a $100,000 compensatory payment to every worker who was subject to crunch conditions during the making of this game. Somehow I doubt they will do that. I understand the workers will be getting their contracted bonuses, but I wonder how much that is, $1000? $5000? Not enough IMO, and I call the $100,000 a compensatory payment not a bonus, because it would be to compensate for the pain and suffering of being crunched for an extended period.

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I made some purchases in the Steam sale. Based on recommendations here, I picked up both Subnautica and Hades. Prices in this part of the world lend themselves to taking more chances on games I might not have tried out at US prices, though this is just speculation on my part. I like diving, so hopefully Subnautica doesn't freak me out too much. I grabbed Hades simply because of the people in this thread singing its praises. :) 

I also grabbed some digital board games I had been missing from my collection (Smash Up, Pandemic, Mystic Vale). They're never as fun or as good as the tabletop versions with corporeal friends but these be the times.

Last one was Surviving Mars - just looks fun.

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