My video game backlog at the start of 2021 – Reader’s Feature

My video game backlog at the start of 2021 – Reader’s Feature

A reader reveals how he did with his goal of completing a game a month from his backlog in 2020 and what he’s got left for 2021.

Last year I explained how it was a new year’s resolution for me to complete more games, having finished only one game the previous year and giving up on games too quickly. The first part of the year was a success, as you can see in the first part of this Reader’s Feature.

This feature is the follow up for the rest of the year, starting in July.

July

The first game I completed in July was the remake of Ratchet & Clank. It’s a bit weird, but in a good way. For example, one of the weapons is the Groovitron. A gun that fires a disco ball causing all nearby enemies to start dancing uncontrollably. Primarily I’d describe it as a third person shooter with elements of platforming, puzzling, and for some reason hoverboard races. It often seems to be overlooked when people discuss PlayStation 4 exclusives. Apart from a few tedious and frustrating boss fights I enjoyed it and am looking forward to the upcoming PlayStation 5 game.

By this point in the year I’d sold my Xbox One S to go some way towards funding my upcoming PlayStation 5 purchase, so was at a bit of a loss what to play since I no longer had access to Game Pass. Therefore, I thought I’d give Astro Bot: Robot Rescue another playthrough, having neglected my PlayStation VR for a while. This time round I wiped my previous save file and played from fresh. I also managed to find all the hidden chameleons and rescue all the robots. It’s an amazing game and for me in terms of VR games nothing on PlayStation VR, at least, comes anywhere close to it.

August

It was my birthday this month and one of my presents was The Last Of Us Part 2. I’d actually already spent a couple of hours with the game shortly after release but decided to start afresh. Being a big fan of the first game I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was initially sceptical when the game was first announced, since I was worried the ending of the first game might be diluted somewhat. The leaks made me even more concerned as I wasn’t sure [redacted – GC] was the right direction to take.

However, after playing the game I’m absolutely in the mind they made the best narrative decisions. I don’t think I’ve experienced such levels of accomplished voice-acting and storytelling in video games. On some level I think it may be better than the first game. The end of the game when [redacted]. I wonder also if its themes of loss and grief resonated with myself so strongly with the death of my brother only occurring weeks before I played the game in full.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=Ibn9uxH5PdM

September

In the month of September I played and completed The Last Of Us Part 2 for a second time. My aim was to try and get the platinum Trophy. I manged to make a decent inroad but still have to upgrade some of the weapons and have missed some of the workbenches and artifacts. On this playthrough I used some of the gameplay modifiers such as infinite ammo and crafting. This meant I was more carefree and generally just went round shooting everything on sight.

The second playthrough however did highlight some flaws in the game. I know the gameplay sometimes comes in for criticism, but I honestly enjoy it for the most part. I particularly enjoyed using the bow and arrow and crossbow. However, after a while it can get a bit tedious and I do feel a few hours could have been shaved off the runtime, especially towards the later stages.

October

In late September, having managed to secure a PlayStation 5 pre-order, I sold my PlayStation 4. Thankfully though Super Mario 3D All-Stars would release around the same time. It’s very much a mixed bag for me. Having no prior experience with any of the games on the collection I was experiencing each for the first time. Super Mario 64 was a disappointment in my eyes.

I can totally see why people hold it in such high regard. It’s obvious how it influenced 3D gaming for decades to come. However, the graphics are massively dated. Also, the camera wasn’t great and at times restricted gameplay. Also, I felt the controls were frustrating and I lost count of the number of times this caused me to fall from a platform in order to have to start again. In the end I gave up, which is a shame. I wish Nintendo had given this game the respect I can see it deserves and give it some updated controls and visuals.

Super Mario Sunshine I think I enjoyed even less. It just didn’t feel like a Mario game. I wouldn’t even call it a platforming game. I didn’t enjoy it at all and again gave up on it pretty quickly.

Thank the stars then (pun intended) for Super Mario Galaxy. This was by far the best game in the collection. Every level is different to the last and it seems like there’s something new quirk or gameplay mechanic. I didn’t collect every star but finished the main quest and defeated the final boss. I think I was on around 100 stars last time I played. It was a brilliant game and really hope they release the sequel on Switch at some point in the future.

November

I’d spent a number of weeks without anything to play other than dipping into Zelda: Breath Of The Wild again for the occasional shrine. Then on November 19th my PlayStation 5 arrived and I was fortunate enough to actually receive it.
The first game I completed was Astro’s Playroom. It was such a great inventive game and really showcased the new hardware and controller. It only took maybe three or four hours to complete over the space of a few days. I would have happily paid money for it so as a free game it was really a bonus. I really hope they do a full-length sequel, whether VR or not, in the near future.

The next game I finished was Spider-Man: Miles Morales. I was a big fan of its predecessor and I think this game is even better. The shorter length meant it was all killer, no filler. The new venom powers are good fun. The boss battles are also improved. As someone who usually hates boss battles I actually really enjoyed the one against [redacted] which really tested how you timed your dodges.
The storyline was also more engaging. It looked incredible too, especially some of the sections fighting inside buildings with shiny floors, that really showed off the raytracing abilities of the PlayStation 5.

December

Alas this is the month I failed in my quest to complete a video game each month. I managed to find all the extra collectables in Astro’s Playroom and attain only my second ever platinum Trophy in doing do. I also managed to get all the speedrun trophies too. Stormy Run was by far the trickiest in my view.

I also spent some time playing a bit of FIFA. I do enjoy FIFA but can’t say I’ve noticed much of a difference between the current gen version and the next gen, other than the camera view.

I also played a bit more Miles Morales by playing some if the side content. I’m pretty impressed with myself that I managed to get the Trophy for the 100x combo. Especially since it came naturally, without having to actively try.

Mostly though in December I spent most time playing Cyberpunk 2077. Having played it on the PlayStation 5, thankfully I haven’t experienced many bugs. There was one where a character was suspended in mid-air and another in which my motorbike kind of sank into the ground. I wasn’t a massive fan of The Witcher 3 and haven’t finished it but managed to get sucked in by all the pre-release hype.

I think part of the problem I have is not the bugs but other fundamental things. For instance, it’s irritating that the police will automatically spawn to your position if you commit a crime and then are really easy to lose. Also, the lack of traffic on the roads and also at times the lack of characters can make the city feel lifeless. I hope the PlayStation 5/Xbox Series X version addresses some of these issues. I don’t dislike the game. I think it would sneak into the top 5 of the year for me but I hasn’t delivered on its early promise.

2021

There’s a number of games to look forward to in the coming year, however there are a few games I’ve still to complete. Dirt 5 was a game I bought alongside the PlayStation 5. I really enjoyed it at first. It looks great and is good arcade type fun. However, after a while I did start to tire of some of the repetition. I think that’s why I enjoy Forza Horizon so much. It’s not just about racing but stunt moves, speed camera traps, etc. Dirt 5 is similar in terms of the racing element, but Forza has much more to do than just race from point A to point B. However, I do aim to finish the single player in Dirt 5.

Doom Eternal was a game I got for Xmas. I’ve only played it for half an hour so can’t say too much. It seems good fun but whether shooting demons in the face for a 15+ hour campaign remains to be seen. I’m not sure when the PlayStation 5 upgrade will be available.

I know I’ve said I’m not a fan of The Witcher 3. However, I know how much this game is loved and playing Cyberpunk has encouraged me to give it another go. I’ve picked it up for £7.50 during the current PSN sale. If I only play it in short bursts perhaps I won’t lose interest. I’ve also dropped the difficulty level to easy, since I found the inventory management and potion brewing utterly baffling and this left me at the mercy of higher level enemies.

I’ve also got Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition to finish. I find it a good game to dip in and out of. So far, I think I like playing with V the best.

I’ve also got a number of games I’ve downloaded as PSN games, which I might try and get round to playing. Bugsnax is probably the one I’ve most interest in and should be a fairly quick one to complete. I’ve also heard good things about Hollow Knight.

Finally, I also have Horace and Immortals Fenyx Rising for the Switch. Horace is a very enjoyable game which I bought for the bargain price of £1.09. It can be frustrating at times but mainly just challenging. It’s also quite funny at times.

I’m less sure about Immortals Fenyx Rising. I’ve only played a small amount and am enjoying it to some degree but can’t say I care enough to spend over 40 hours with the game. If it hasn’t clicked with me before February then I’ll likely trade it in towards the upcoming Super Mario 3D World. I didn’t realise how many games I had in my backlog until I wrote it down. Better get cracking on.

By reader Matc7884

The reader’s feature does not necessary represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.

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