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Your Best Gaming Moments of 2020


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Was going to say Paradise Killer, but you beat me to it, so I'm going to say:

 

Paper Mario: The Origami King 

 

Bobby the Bob-omb helping rescue Olivia.

 

 

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Streets of Rage 4, the Y tower scrap through the bathhouse, the lobby then the elevator. Each part building on the layers of music that came before to the standout elevator section. Smacking punks and throwing them through windows never felt so good. The Dojo fight in Chinatown a close second for similar escalation and awesome music.

 

Last of Us 2, the approach to the aquarium during the thunderstorm. Absolutely jaw dropping visual and artistic design, the partially flooded arcade a real highlight. Terrific art and technical achievement from Naughty Dog.

 

Cyperpunk 2077, driving from the badlands in the Nomad intro, seeing Night City closing in on the horizon as the sun sets, really good sense of place and scale. Shame its so busted but looking forward to the eventual PS5 version. 

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Persona 5 Royal

 - The moral conflict underpinning the new semester, and the main antagonist's motives. It's such a great extension of the themes of cognition, of people's will. I mean, I loved the Hollow Forest in the new P4G content, but Marie wasn't nearly as interesting as either of the key characters in this game's new content

 - The recordings in the new semester. The plot reveals. The "holy shit what's actually going on" moments after you watch each recording. It was genuinely compelling, and there were times when I didn't want to stop playing; I needed to get to the next bit

 - All of the new boss phases were great, but the extra bit at the end of the cruise ship boss was particularly awesome and unexpected

 - The music in the new semester's dungeon on the day of the calling card

 - The vocals kicking in during the final boss of the new semester's dungeon

 

FFVII Remake

 - Wall Market

 - Pausing the action for a command and just spinning the camera around this perfect shot of Tifa booting one enemy whilst another is exploding in front of Barrett and Cloud is mid-Braver. Screenshot heaven. :wub: 

 - Hearing the dynamic music swell as you transition from exploration to combat

 - Going back for all of the jukebox CDs to give myself an excuse to tour the game's world again

 - That really great final battle and ending reveal that totally didn't upset anyone! Right guys? Right?

 

Yakuza: Like A Dragon

 - Realising that I really don't miss the old Yakuza bunch at all

 - Having turn-based fights spill into the road and finding that, no, the traffic doesn't give a shit if an enemy is in its way

 - "With finesse!"

 - Searching every store for CDs of old Sega game music that I can put on the bar's jukebox (hmm, noticing a pattern here...)

 - Shooting selfies of a happy Ichiban outside of a dodgy gentlemen's club

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I haven’t played much this year, sadly. However, more than anything else Hillcrest stands out as my best gaming moment. 
 

what follows might be considered a mild spoiler for a fairly early level in The Last Of Us 2. 

I’d played the first game so I was fairly comfortable right up until this level. 

Spoiler


With Hillcrest Naughty Dog expertly brought everything up a notch and the end result was a sprawling, idyllic level which felt overwhelmingly like I was fast running out of options: enemy characters just kept arriving, dogs were added into the mix. Throughout the level you couldn’t simply camp at your leisure - you had to stay mobile, stay undetected. It was brilliant.
 

there was another moment where I was surrounded by people, but still undetected, an enemy came into the house and I had half a second to spin around and take him out silently if I was to avoid detection. I managed it but Christ it felt tense. 
 

then it all works brilliantly towards the end of level finale. 
 

a tremendous level, implemented at the perfect time and pacing. 

 

 

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Finally getting a Switch along with Zelda and Mario Odyssey. Then adding Mario All Stars and just feeling just pure joy while I am playing games again. 

 

Nier Automata when I found the sewer entrance, went through the tunnel and popped out into the most bonkers area possible which changed my perception of the game.

 

Playing Persona 5 Royal and enjoying it even more than the original game, especially as it came out just after lockdown started.

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1 hour ago, Vorgot said:

Nier Automata when I found the sewer entrance, went through the tunnel and popped out into the most bonkers area possible which changed my perception of the game.

 

One of the games of the decade for me. Sheer utter brilliance: soundtrack, setting, gameplay variation (e.g. bullet hell shooter, platinum action RPG, the constant camera perspective switches from topdown, sideways, full 3D etc... everything comes together so well... nothing compares to it). 

 

Replaying it on Game Pass as we speak. 

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This thread seem familiar ;)

 

When I think of 2020 specifically though rather than the generation as a whole there is some absolutely exhilarating wins in Apex  that just make it feel pumped.

I think when I’m the guy that kills the last guy and I’ve saved the team from death it feels even more special.

Specifically winning with a P2020 pistol I fully upgraded and just absolutely unloaded into some guy who could do nothing  but try and run away.

 

Of course though The Last of Us Part II is one of the most memorable games I’ve ever played. When Joel went through what he went through it was probably the most powerful moment in ‘gaming cinema’ ever.

 

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The Return of the Obra Dinn.

 

When you solve the Captain's story, then move onto the deck in the next act to see what you're up against.

 

And then when 

Spoiler

you move below decks to see the crabmen for the first time.


A truly spine-chilling tale.

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Hmm, I'd say that my favourite moments this year were the following:

Superhot VR: I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but basically the moment when you've shot someone and their gun flies toward you - only to have that instinctive moment to reach out with your other hand, grab the second gun, and then fire both wherever you want because you're no longer constrained to how the game is forced to comply with KBM or a controller.

A Short Hike: The part where you finally get phone reception.

Spoiler

Mainly because Claire's phone call with her mother regarding her surgery was fairly close to home - earlier on in the year, my own mum ended up in the hospital due to a diabetic issue (namely that we didn't know she was diabetic until she fell ill), and there were fairly similar episodes of ringing up my brother to speak with her as we were taking shifts to be around her while she was in A&E. Seeing it on screen was... tough to watch, but genuinely heartfelt and assuring to see.


Shin Megami Tensei IV: Basically, the hour once you beat Medusa at the bottom of Naraku onwards.

Spoiler

Basically finding out that Mikado was sat on top of modern day Tokyo, constantly in night time due to a rock dome and overrun with demons. The game opens up massively, providing multiple leads to your next objectives and dropping hints in conversation like it's a 1980s NES game that couldn't afford more content in the budget. The god-damn music as you're running through derelict streets and towns that have taken refuge in train stations in anticipation that you're going to get jumped by another encounter and die in a single turn.

I haven't played Cyberpunk, but I felt that CD Projekt could have delayed that game for a decade and I wouldn't have given a shit because of how futuristic, intricate, oppressive this game felt in those moments. and, well, it certainly continued for another 20-30 hours. 


Satisfactory: Technically, this shouldn't count as it happened at about half past midnight at the turn of the new year, but me and a friend were playing hours before that in the same session so fuck it.

Basically, messing around with the Hypertube systems that can offer fast travel around the map to effectively create a railgun that fires people into the air. Upon finally getting it set up (and the power used taking up half of our newly established coal-powered generator setup), I tried the maiden voyage with only five Hypertube entrances in the chain.

I ended up launching myself across half of our manufacturing facility, roughly a few football pitches, only to slam into one of our constructors and being killed instantly. I laughed so hard I gave myself a headache which lasted through most of New Year's Day.

Phantasy Star Online 2: The first few times playing the Mining Defense missions with a full party of 12 players, all with level appropriate gear.

Basically, when I got on properly with the translated JP version, Mining Defense missions were a thing of the past and basically world-ending gods could be demolished in seconds by a single person using 15* Weapons.

Because of the new start, everyone in those public group parties were all in the same boat of actually having to manage where they were, figuring out where enemies were going to spawn to attack one of the four spots you had to defend. Then you had the point system that flashes up at the end of every wave, showing the top 3 players and figuring out how to be explicitly tryhard as fuck in a co-op tower defense situation.

Meanwhile, you have twenty-five fucking minutes of the music slowly ramping up, getting to what was effectively the 'Big Bad' of the Episode, Dark Vibrace, and having 12 people beat the shit out of it in addition to managing the shower of mobs that were running at the towers. It's perfectly doable, everyone's using the big stompy mechs to mow down dozens at a time - but it feels like a fitting end.

...it doesn't end. Instead, you get introduced to the following: WAVE 7: DANGER

Multiple bosses are spawing in at each side of the map. You might lose a tower, maybe two. Alright, but something's got to give in order to batter two massive bastard spider monstrosities. You use the last of the defense mechanisms (healing the towers, the big stompy mechs that haven't been cashed in yet. But you get through it.

FINAL WAVE: EXTREME DANGER

It's Dark Vibrace. Again. And this time he's brought three copies of Falz Hunar, the 'Big Bad' of the previous episode, and a small army of Falspawn. Falz Hunar's own boss theme starts bleeding into the Mining Defense music. Everybody at this point is either cashing in their big stompy mech in order to fire the single-use laser cannon at Vibrace, running at tens of enemies at once in order to get the last few points they need to get their own mech, or they're just slamming headfirst into one of the Hunar clones to just make it fucking stop before it punches the last couple of towers and destroys it in a couple of hits.

It's absolute, unbridled chaos orchestrated over half an hour of smacking the stuffing out of anything that moves. A fleeting moment, which quite likely will never be experienced in PSO2 again simply because of the power creep that the game amassed over eight years (which the US server has experienced in about eight months). But god, it was wonderful.

 

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The voice acting, presentation and writing in TLOU2 was the only thing that wowed me really. Such a step up compared to other games and proved that the vast majority of writing and acting in games is just shite. 

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I started playing Death Stranding before lockdown, and became absolutely absorbed in it. I love the atmosphere, the desolation, the Reedus, the Madds and the Babbeh! 
The slow pace was enjoyable, the production and design is amazing, and it’s simply bonkers from start to finish. There’s nothing quite like it. Rather apt that it became a prediction for the state of the world only three months later!

The stand out part for me was the fist time the Low Roar music kicked in and just over the hill you saw your first “city”. It just goes mental from then on, but that was a great introduction. As was incinerating the first body!

Oh, Oh, Oh I’ve thought of another great bit, Peter Englert and his trolling pizzas!

 

Following on from that, and during lockdown, I played Metro Redux and Last Light. Again a vision of the future perhaps, I loved them both. A bit of Doom, a bit of Half Life, and a lot of Russian! Excellent stuff. I was late to the party as usual, but a fitting game for the year I think. 
 

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Watching my kid arrive on the island in Animal Crossing and start to explore. First time he’s seen anything like that, and it was a joy to watch. Later in the year watching him get hooked on Pikmin 3 Deluxe has been charming, we’ve now dug out the old GameCube so he can see the original. 
 

Finally rigging up the combination of good gaming PC, VR helmet and a steering wheel to play Assetto Corsa Competizione, a bit of a ballache to get everything working but worth it when I was thundering around the track with a bunch of rllmukers - completely absorbed throughout, I sweated buckets in the race. 
 

Similarly, Star Wars Squadrons in VR with a decent HOTAS setup. Doing the first mission felt like something I’d been waiting for since I was a small boy myself. 
 

And then MS Flight Sim, just the incredible splendour of flying around the world like that. If I have to pick a ‘moment’ it’s hard since it’s not exactly a fast-paced moment to moment game, but finding my smallish hometown by navigating by sight from miles away felt impressive, as does succeeding in the Nepal landing challenge where you have to get down safely to a tiny little airstrip in the mountains. 

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