Although I kinda, sorta thought that I might take a light break from writing here at the start of the new year, inspiration has struck otherwise in the form of this recent article from the wonderful Ace Asunder: The End of the Year Gaming Tag (2020). (Original credit looks to be due to Blogging with Dragons for this great idea!) What can I say? I’m a sucker for bright, shiny, listicles, and I could help but see this one as a nice way to reflect upon my 2020 in gaming, as well as look ahead at what might be. Let’s run though the questionnaire, and if you feel so inspired, have at the list yourself! And do check out the original post on Blogging with Dragons if you want to follow the actual rules.
What are you currently playing?
The Witcher 3 and Fallout 76. In my most recent session with Geralt, I hit the game’s point of no return and decided to take a break from it to tackle some new Fallout 76 content. As of writing, things in Fallout 76 are winding down, so I’ll pick up The Witcher 3 again soon. And the big question then will be: do I finish up the multitude of side quests I collected or just head into the end game? Decisions, decisions…
Are there any games you started this year that you need to finish?
The original tag post was written with then end of 2020 in mind here, so my answer as of December 31, 2020, would have been “not really.” But with 2021 in mind, I already answered this with The Witcher 3 (and now my brain is totally battling over side quests or end game…I should probably stop thinking before I give myself a headache). Don’t know if this counts, but a new (solo friendly!) heist was added to GTA Online in December that I would like to dive into at some point. Can’t really call this a need, but it’s in the back of my mind as a possible something-to-do when the mood strikes.
Is there a new release or update you’re still waiting for?
Nothing comes to mind, except maybe a few Fallout 76 items — perk loadouts, expeditions — that were promised last year but were moved to this year. Will they actually materialize? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ is about the best answer possible with this game.
Any other games you want to play before the end of the year?
I started playing Marvel’s Spider-Man during the summer and dropped it after the first dozen or so hours. (I had little interest in doing anything but swinging around NYC taking pictures.) I thought I might pick up again before the end of 2020, but The Witcher 3 happened instead. I don’t regret the choice, but part of me feels a little bad for leaving Peter Parker…ahem…hanging.
What game that was announced last year has you most excited?
Well, if we’re just talking about general announcements/updates, then two “fours” are in the running: Fable IV and Dragon Age 4. If we’re talking about announcements that will actually become games to play this year, then it’s the Mass Effect Legendary Edition all the way.
What is your favorite trophy/achievement that you’ve obtained this year?
Have I mentioned that I’m not a trophy hunter? Like not even a little bit? Um…so…I don’t – oh wait…Dragon Age! While I didn’t record any of my efforts, in 2020 I played through the DLC for both Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age II for the first time ever. As such, I picked up some new trophies I had never seen before. It was nice to see a few extra spots fill up in the games’ achievement trackers on the ol’ Xbox 360, before the poor thing kicked the bucket, that is (*sniffle*).
Did you purchase any new consoles or upgrades that made a difference in your gaming this year?
Nope, unless I can count a really excellent set of headphones I was gifted that have a made a world of difference with some games. I’ve long preferred to game with sound going directly into my ears, and I had for some time been using a decent set of earbuds. These new headphones – over-the-ear with some fancy innards – put them to shame. I was surprised at just how much sound I had been missing, from background music to footsteps to environmental effects. More immersion and less distractions make for a very happy me.
Have you changed any of your gaming habits this year?
If anything, I played far more multiplayer in 2020 than I ever had, well…in my entire life, really. And after being so staunchly solo in all my gaming years, it’s at least a little funny to me that I was able to make the switch so easily. Granted, it helped that I could (and did) play solo runs in the multiplayer games I took up, but with each I found that I had a better time with a group. The experiences haven’t been widespread enough for me to give up my single-player preference any time soon, but I can definitely see the merit in integrating the two from here on out.
What is your favorite character of the year? What is your personal game of the year and why?
I’m stacking these two questions into one, because my favorite character of the year is Aloy from my personal game of the year, Horizon Zero Dawn. 2020 had lots of themes, and a couple were well reflected in this game: unknown heroism and the search for solace. Traveling with Aloy on her journey to both become a hero and learn about herself proved eye-opening. There no shortage of well-written game characters, but something about Aloy was different, better, more…real. Sometimes, she read as a strong, invincible champion; other times, she was vulnerable, wanting, and desperate. She didn’t need to rely on sarcasm (à la Nathan Drake) or dry humor (à la Geralt) to get her point across, though she used both well. Her sincerity and willingness to care and be open won the day. She quite unlike any other game character I’ve ever had the pleasure of inhabiting in a game that’s quite unlike most I’ve played. There just so much good in Horizon Zero Dawn; it is a game that must be played.
Have you already started making gaming plans for 2021?
I have! Of course, you know what they say about the best laid plans…but anyway. In my head, the year goes something like (in no particular order): finish The Witcher 3; replay Mass Effect: Andromeda; play through Mass Effect Legendary Edition (due out in the summer, hopefully), shuffle through the PS4 backlog – Shadow of Mordor and God of War might be first and foremost, maybe put Marvel’s Spider-Man or Batman: Arkham Knight in queue if I’m feeling superhero-ish; maybe replay Dragon Age: Inquisition because it’s been a while and I miss Dorian. Or maybe do none of this and get totally distracted by a PS Plus offering or three, that new GTA Online heist, or a big fantabulous change to Fallout 76 (😂😭 /sadtrombone). We shall see.