Return of the Origin of My GOTY List 2: The Final Revengeancing
Games! They're back! Maybe they never left!
Before we get into the list proper, here are some honorable mentions of games that would have, should have made my list but for whatever reason: just didn't...mostly because they didn't come out this year, but some did!
Overwatch- I just...can't fully stop playing this game. Every now again I'll come back, strap on the neon rollerblades and run audio medic support for a group. Whether randos or friends, it's always good times.
Dead By Daylight- A battlepass addition, and several more updates keep this game fresh, and slotting in a place for lore to FINALLY be developed beyond character bios actually did more to bring me back into the Entity's Game than anything before.
Disco Elysium- I haven't gotten a chance to play this yet, but everything I've seen and read about it means I'm probably going to be kicking myself early next year and wondering if I could somehow slot it in. C'est la vie.
Stardew Valley- the little game that could just won't quit. A massive patch adding still MORE content to the already-endlessly replayable core game is so...so...well, I started my 4th farm, and let's leave it at that.
Star Wars: The Fallen Order: Cal Lightsaber- The biggest thing that stopped this from getting onto my top 10 was that this was a STRONG year for games, and when it came out I was already in deep with about 3 others. I think this game does a lot right, not just as a Star Wars game but as a more approachable Souls-like, to open up the genre to a less intensive style. But something about it just didn't compel me to immediately return and complete it, and I can't quite place what.
The Outer Worlds- Some people said this game's writing was too over-the-top and ham-fisted, but I'm not sure those people have worked big box retail/service in the last decade, because it seemed INCREDIBLY accurate and real to me. Something about it, like Star Wars above, just didn't grab and compel me. I love the writing and characters, the gameplay is completely fine, and the story is great, but there's just something that stops me ravenously coming back. That having been said, I love that Obsidian finally got a chance to get it right on their terms.
Bloodborne- Just watch this video. I cannot put this game down, despite having beaten it years ago.
Ring Fit- This game probably should be in my top 10, by all rights, but it just feels weird. It's more of a game than any fitness app, but without the fitness/real-world aspect, it's staggeringly mediocre in every way. However, the fitness aspect can't be divorced from it because it is VERY effective and elevates everything else. What would normally be an also-ran game setting and characters become delightfully charming and even a little witty, so long as they don't keep you from running, jumping, and stretching for too long. As someone who has a decent level of fitness, it still pushes me just as hard as I need it to, it's charming, it's compact, it's honestly wonderful if you're looking for fun, customizable fitness.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3- X-Men Legends and Ultimate Alliances came out at a time when I was never short on couch-co-op friends, in college and either in an apartment or house with 3+ avid gamers, so there's a ton of nostalgic, happy feelings packed into the franchise. Fast-forward to now, and my co-op in games has ceded to a co-op in life, an upgrade to be sure, that has left me in a less forgiving mood for some of the gaping flaws this game has. And they are there. And they are gaping. The currency is completely busted, the inventory management is a joke, the powers don't really change as they get stronger, they don't REALLY get stronger, just get alterations, and the ranged enemies are so ludicrously overpowered you sometimes feel like you're playing a stealth game with insta-kill guards...and I just. Can't. Stop. Playing it. The DLC has been fun, though light on narrative, and the characters ACTUALLY do feel very varied from character-to-character, if not across levels. Cap's shield feels different from Cable's shield, who feels different from Iceman's, which is to say: a lot of the moves are the same on the surface (projectile, AOE melee, AOE energy burst, one-hit melee, combo-melee, etc. etc.) but in its own strange way, the game gives you the freedom to mix-and-match to your comic fan's heart's content. Whether you find a solid 4 to stick with or switch out on a whim, there's something so delightfully straightforward about this game...but the flaws keep it from achieving anything close to real greatness.