2021. Boy howdy, what a year it’s been. Some might be inclined to write off this whole cursed year as merely a sad continuation of the 2020 glitch in the grand simulation we collectively call life, while others might just see it as simply the final death throes of the great republic of humanity.
Whichever camp you sit in, at least we can all agree that while things weren’t exactly all Gucci this year, at least we had some sick gaming moments, amirite?
Here are some of my personal faves.
The Return of Agent 47
January of this lovely year saw the release of Hitman 3, the final piece of the Hitman trilogy, and just gonna say it, it’s a bit of a masterpiece, it is. The game gives you ultimate freedom, and makes murder feel so damn good. Almost, too good…
Never you fret dear reader, my murdering days are over. But the same can’t be said for the fun in Hitman 3, it has insane replay value — every mission has so many ways you can approach it. The game rewards creativity like never before, and it’s full of hidden gem moments of pure comedy that add a nice change of tone to the whole murdering people thing.
Coming close to full-on mental breakdown in Returnal
For those somewhat fortunate enough to not have been graced by its pure torturous touch, the whole premise of Returnel is you basically crash-land on an alien planet, and literally everything is trying to kill you. You soldier on, but then you inevitably die, and guess what? There are no checkpoints, you just start again, from the start.
Games should be fun, right? But fun isn’t exactly the first word that comes to mind when I think of Returnal. Instead, I think of pain and frustration, and my god this is the worst game ever I hate it.
And then, before you know it, your weekend’s gone, your phone’s full of unanswered texts and missed calls, you missed your girlfriend’s birthday, your footy game, and that dinner at your cousin’s house. But you don’t care about any of that, all of it has fallen to the wayside, if you just play one more time, you can finally beat this damn game and leave it alone forever.
When basically the whole planet got collectively horny for Lady Dimitrescu
Back in May, Resident Evil Village was released, and that was cool and all, great game, love it. But we’re not here to talk about Resident Evil as a whole, no, we’re here to talk about the 10-foot tall vampire lady that took the internet by storm in the lead-up to the game’s release.
Twitter was full of memes, which all basically summed up the collective consciousness of the internet — we all wanted to bang Lady Dimitrescu. Kotaku Australia writer Ruby Innes summed it up best: “A huge win for all the tall queens out there.”
The revival of one of the best sci-fi stories ever told in gaming
May also saw the release of Mass Effect Legendary Edition, a remastered compilation of the three original Mass Effect games. For people like me who missed out on the originals, this was such a lovely gift — the opportunity to play classics from well over a decade ago, touched up to modern standards. Lovely stuff.
Look, I know a lot of people shit on Far Cry, “It’s the same game over and over again”, “it’s stale”, “it’s too long”, “it’s too repetitive”, etc. To those naysayers I say: shut the fuck up losers, Far Cry is sick, and Far Cry 6 is a grand addition to the beautiful family that is Far Cry games.
The best part about the new Far Cry, in my unhumble opinion, is Guapo, a T-shirt wearing crocodile who can tag along with you on your journey to liberate Yara. He attacks your enemies on command, but he’s also always down for a lil pat or a nice treat of raw steak.
Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl
Pokémon games fall victim to the same sledging that Far Cry games often endure, that is, you’re basically paying for a cookie-cutter cut-out of the same game, over and over again. And yeah sure, that may be correct, but I’ve been a Pokémon simp since I was four years old, and that’s not about to change just because Nintendo routinely shakes me down, holds me hostage with nostalgia, and extorts me out of $100 or so every year. Whatever, everyone’s gotta make a living, even Mr Nintendo.
Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl may be remakes of the 2007 absolute bangers that were the original Diamond and Pearl, but they are so worth playing in their own right. ILCA, the team who developed them, stayed true to the originals while also adding a hint of their own charm. The graphics are enhanced, yet they keep the retro top-down style of the earlier Pokémon games.
Look, I could go on and on, but I’ll just leave it with this. There’s a reason Pokémon is so damn popular. If you’re one of those rare aliens who has yet to experience a Pokémon game, then Brilliant Diamond or Shining Pearl are your perfect jumping-in points — a lovely mix of classic charm with a modern feel. Do yourself a favour and catch ‘em all, friend.
What are your favourite moments from this cursed year? Let me know in the comments — I’d love to hear. And while we’re on the subject of favours, do yourself another favour and order yourself something nice from DoorDash — god knows we’ve all earned a treat after this horrid lap around the Sun.
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