Wednesday, January 4

Game of the Year Awards 2022

Game of the Year; Pokémon Legends Arceus

This was a difficult choice between Pokémon Legends Arceus and Vampire Survivors, but in the end, I think that Legends Arceus deserves this award. Vampire Survivors is a fantastic game that offers more value than any other product I think I’ve ever paid for, but Pokémon Legends Arceus rejuvenated the almost dead Pokémon series. Until Legends Arceus, the Pokémon games had changed very little since the original GameBoy games. They suffered from the same stilted, stiff animations, linear environments that amounted to little more than outdoor corridors and tedious battles that could rarely be avoided. Pokémon Legends Arceus completely refreshed the entire formula. The areas you explore are open environments with wild Pokémon freely going about their lives. For the first time in series history, the wild pokémon act like real animals. Your primary job is to study the local Pokémon to fill out the first-ever Pokédex. This is, without a doubt, my favourite Pokémon game ever made. I also loved Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, which also came out this year, but the focus in those games returned to combat, and my preference is for the Pokédex focus of Arceus. I’ve put around 100 hours into Pokémon Legends Arceus and approximately 60 hours into Pokémon Violet. I’ve not enjoyed a Pokémon game this much since Pokémon Pearl on the DS. 2022 has seen GameFreak move the Pokémon games into the modern era, which feels incredible. For the first time since 2010, I’m excited about the future of this fantastic franchise! 

This is all thanks to Pokémon Legends Arceus, and I think it deserves Game of the Year!

Best non-2022 Game of the Year; Animal Crossing New Horizons

While this game was two years old, by the time I picked it up in January 2022, it was the game I’d spent the most time with over the year. I’d played New Leaf on the 3DS back in the day, but I never fell in love with the series until now. I’m not sure why this is the case. Maybe it’s because I’m older and can now appreciate the series' slower, more relaxed pace. Whatever the reason, the fact is that I’ve fallen in love with this game. My Island, Queersland, is a paradise I can escape to when I’m overwhelmed, stressed and burdened with too much “real life”. 

For anyone unaware of what Animal Crossing New Horizons is, it’s a life simulator that runs in real time. You begin by moving with a bunch of friendly animals onto a deserted Island. As time passes, you can terraform the land, moving cliffs, rivers and buildings where you feel they look best. More and more animals will then move to your Island, a tailor shop will open up, a museum and Coffee shop will spring up, and after a few weeks, you will have a functioning slice-of-life set-up. You can then collect bugs, fish, fossils and famous works of art for the friendly Owl that runs the museum. Besides that, you can visit the local island store for furniture to decorate your island or home. Check out the tailor shop for the hottest fashions, or play with any of the ten friendly animals that also call your Island home. Now and again, other animals will drop by, and you can help them out by modelling new clothing, doing fishing challenges and so on. Most real-life holidays are celebrated in the game in real-time, so you can also celebrate these with your animal friends. It’s great fun, and I love it.

After 300+ hours in the game, I’ve finished my bug, fish and fossil collections in the museum, made Queersland into a beautiful paradise and fully upgraded and decorated my home to near perfection. I need to collect the last two golden tools and finish my art collection now!

Worst Game of the Year; Diablo Immortal

I only played Diablo Immortal for around about an hour, and even that short amount of time spent with it broke my heart. I love the lore and story of Diablo, the way it takes the fundamentals of Christian mythology and mixes them with a touch of western fantasy. Both angels and demons are so much more powerful than humanity. Both sides use people as pawns and tools at best and, at worst, think nothing of decimating entire communities just because they’re in the way. It’s the Bible meets Game of Thrones, and I love it! 

Diablo 1, 2, and 3 have all added to and expanded this amazing world, history and lore.

Then we have Diablo Immortal…

Set in one of the most exciting times of the series, between Diablo 2 and 3. The world stone, the artefact that the Burning Hells and High Heavens have been fighting over for endless aeons, has just been destroyed. The foundation of existence has been rocked, and the ripples of this will be felt for the rest of time. What does Immortal do with this rich fertile soil? It creates a decent gameplay foundation and builds one of the most greedy, shameless, predatory, and harmful pay-to-win free-to-play games of all time on top of it. It’s been worked out that getting a single character to max stats would cost over half a million US dollars. It would be impossible to do this without spending any money. 

The predatory nature of Diablo Immortal is fucking disgusting and absolutely abhorrent. It uses every trick in the psychological playbook to try and get you to part with your cash. Activision Blizzard is actively preying on the desperate, vulnerable and neurodiverse and those with impulse control issues. They are disgusting, and this pay-to-win bullshit excuse of a game is just as vile. Fuck Activision Blizzard, fuck Diablo Immortal and fuck the executives that took an amazing story, world and video game and destroyed it for profit.

Final Notes

2022 has been an interesting year. I got married to the love of my life, and I couldn’t possibly be happier about that. I look forward to spending the rest of my life with this incredible woman, and I only hope I make her as happy as she makes me. Our wedding was amazing; our honeymoon was just as great, and married life is more blissful than I ever dared dream, all because of my beautiful wife.

I’ve also started to study, kind of. Due to my PTSD, I cannot manage at a physical university, so I’ve started the Open University, which is a distance learning Uni. In 2022 I started an Access Module designed to get those unfamiliar with the university, distanced education or both to familiarise themselves with how everything works. I’m enjoying the work, but it feels strange being back in school. I’ve also started to write a novel, so we’ll see how that’s doing during the 2023 GotY awards.

Within gaming, I’ve played a lot of interesting games this year. Most content creators I follow, such as Steph Sterling, Nerd3 and Many A True Nerd, have given their GoTY awards to Elden Ring, which I have played. Believe it or not, I picked it up on release day. I’ve spent 40 hours with it and still find myself unable to get into the genre. I love the world, lore, visuals, and combat, but ultimately, I find the game far too obnoxious and tedious.
When I say obnoxious, I’m referring to two main points. Firstly, why can’t I pause? Sometimes I need to. Someone’s at the door, the phone rings, or I need to pee. Not letting me pause isn’t “hard”; it’s just annoying, and I hate it. If you want menus not to pause, that’s cool, but there should be a pause button somewhere, and there isn’t. Monster Hunter doesn’t pause for the menus, but you can pause the game from the menu, and this would be a perfect compromise that Elden Ring doesn’t use. Then we have the way the game doesn’t tell you shit. So, I’ve recently started a new character after I googled how to use magic and found that I just picked the wrong class.  I discovered that my old character couldn’t use magic until I obtained a staff halfway through the game. Thanks, Elden Ring; I wasted 30 hours thinking I did not understand the magic system, but it turns out you didn’t tell me a vital piece of information. That is obnoxious.
Then we have the tedium, which is 100% personal preference, but I can only give my opinion, so here it is. I hate redoing the same thing over and over and over and over. Elden Ring and all the Souls Bourne’s have you do this; I’m not too fond of it. You find a dungeon, and it might take you 15 minutes which is fine, but if you die, then you need to do it all again, and if you die again, then guess what? It’s a third time around the same dungeon for you. This is the same for the bosses. You fail, well try again, what’s that, it’s your two hundred and twenty-second failure? Well, onto attempt two hundred and twenty-three, then!
Ultimately I’m giving it a second shot now as a magic user, but my thoughts as of this point are that it’s a great game that is just not for me.

I’m looking forward to 2023. My first full year as a married person and the year I will begin my first actual year of university after finishing my access module in May. I also hope to have made decent progress in my novel throughout the year. While I don’t know what 2023 will bring, it looks like it’ll be a busy year. Let’s hope it all goes well!

1 comment:

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