If so, what'd you play, what's your hot take?
I'm thinking from the PS2 era or older but I guess last gen works too. I try to fill some of my blind spots every year, which has the added benefit of most likely chipping away at the backlog but also just a fun thing to do for me. A game can be considered "essential" or stay in the collective consciousness for many reasons, good or bad. There are some games or series that just get brought up no matter how far passed we are from them and I hate when I chime in by just repeating what I heard or read about them. It feels much better when you've played it and can speak about it from 1st hand experience. But again, it's also just fun to get to something that flew by you or you just couldn't afford at the time. Every year I tackle about 2-3 of these but this year has been especially productive.
I'm currently making my way through Kingdom Hearts though I'm not sure where I stand on it yet. For now, I think the game is a title with big swings, giant, massive swings. I literally go from hating it to really liking it to hating it again and that seems to happen every session.
I won't list them all but some of the highlights for this year include:
God Hand - I guess it doesn't get brought up that often but when it gets mentioned, it's always in a hushed tone and yup, it's very good. I wish people would stop calling games hard if it's good 'cause it drives more people away than brings in. This game is a fun challenge and all the levels are so short, the amount of progress you lose when you die is minuscule. It's one of those games that sets out to do just a couple things very well and it does it in a very unique fashion. Definitely recommend it!
Alpha Protocol - I doubt it's essential in many circles but I happen to be in one of those circles, Giant Bomb. lol This game is fun as hell. I had such a good time with this game but it is jacked. Whenever someone here mentioned Alpha Protocol, I always thought they were clowning and I still think they kinda are but they're also kinda not. At the end of the day, a fun game is a fun game.
Out of this World - Didn't know about this game until I saw it once on a UPF and it fucking blew my mind. Playing through it this year, it was kinda like Kingdom Hearts, big swings. Overall, it's an amazing game, just real frustrating in spots. But wow, can't believe they made this that long ago.
I've played some other big ones but I wanna hear what you've played and how you felt about them.