2021 Quick Game Reviews Done Quickly

I typically don’t write video game reviews like I once did, and that’s a shame. I wish I had the time. Instead now I typically just blurt out my thoughts in real-time during my weekly updates, when and where I can. But I do still like to do a year-end review, of sorts.

One reason I do this is to remind myself exactly what I played. At any given time I usually have a few games on the go, and I don’t replay games as a rule, one and done, on to the next. So I burn through a couple dozen games each year. And its nice to look back every now and then.

So the following list is the big games I played in 2021. Doesn’t necessarily mean they were released in 2021, as some games can sit on my shelf for years before I find the time/motivation to start them. In most of the case I have beaten the game or abandoned it, sufficiently happy with my time/money invested.

A large part of 2020 I was invested in Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, and that’s the game I wrapped up 2020 with and started 2021 with, so that’s a good enough game to start the list.

Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey (2018) – G 1395/1850
When AC: Origins (which is set in 49BC Egypt) came out, it introduced a lot of new gameplay elements into the AC series. Cosmetic gear, and gear stats. New weapon types, and experience levels. This was one of the biggest shake-ups in the AC series in a long time. Odyssey (Which is set in 430 BC Greece) expanded on that more, and is basically AC at its very best and deepest ( I say this without having played Valhalla). They, as in the game designers, also gave you the option at the start of the game to play either as a Male or Female, as the game is based around two siblings. In AC Syndicate you had the option to switch back and forth between the male and female protagonist, but this time around you have to pick. It is also a huge game, and there have been some complaints thrown its way that maybe its too big. Unnecessarily big and bloated. That Ubisoft, in an attempt to keep you in its game longer than warranted, adds too much and is not respecting their player’s time. AC Valhalla has also had this said about it, but I haven’t played Valhalla yet to verify. All I can say to this is, if you think its a waste of time, stop playing. You don’t owe the game anything. I didn’t have the patience to playthrough the 2 DLC expansions.

Little Nightmares (2017) – G 1050/2200
I honestly don’t know how this game slipped through the cracks, and I didn’t even know it existed until it’s sequel was announced, and this one was added to GamePass. Because I really like these 2.5D side stroller puzzle games. Like Limbo, or Inside, or others I’m forgetting to mention. I ended up buying it outright, with the DLCs and just adore it. Its dark and twisted. Haven’t gotten around to all of the DLCs yet, or the sequel yet.

Donut County (2018) – G 1000/1000
Honestly I played this game for the achievements, but it was a lot of fun nonetheless. You play as a hole in the ground. Yep.

And kind of like Feeding Frenzy, or inverse Katamari Damacy, you grow bigger as you consume more stuff. Start small and grow bigger. Each level has its own set of puzzles to overcome. The story is pretty funny too. Its about a Trash King raccoon trying to acquire trash by sending holes to swallow everything above-ground, disguising it as a pizza delivery app.

The Touryst (2020) – G 1000/1000
The Touryst is an adventure/puzzle game with a blocky art style. Almost like 3D pixel art. This Minecraft but gorgeous. Fully rendered and with lovely lighting. Its set in a vacation setting with a few different islands to travel to, and you are trying to unravel a strange mystery. There is platforming and some puzzle / action elements.

Fortified (2016) – G 480/1000
Illestrader initially bought this for my birthday and he intended to buy himself a copy, but never did. So I waited and waited, and never played it. Until I bought it for him for his birthday a few years later. Then we finally did. Its an Indie Tower Defence game where you play as one of four character types with their own unique powers, against waves are alien invaders. Its kind of a crap game, but fun enough with friends to play with in co-op.

Generation Zero (2019) – G 135/1390
We spent a few nights playing this game in co-op. Its a large map FPS where you are fighting against machines. Its more of a survival strategy game as you have limited resources, and there’s crafting, etc. Not my style of game and we didn’t stick around. 5 hours or so and that allowed us through the “Intro Missions”. That was enough for me to say I wasn’t interested in the tedious grind. We actually tried it recently again but the multiplayer was broken after a recent update and whenever we tried to create a multiplayer game it would completely freeze. So, yeah… Its a shame too, because it was made by Avalanche Studio, we were hoping for more.

Just Cause 4 (2018) – G 690/2500
The fourth game in the Just Cause series and its about what you’d expect. Lots of guns and explosions. Planes and cars, and parachutes, and wing suits. This time around they added some more weather elements, like a lightning storm, sand storms, and the big seller was the tornado. These weather elements are actually story related and not just a cool thing in the game. You can also do more with the grapple hooks, but more doesn’t always mean better, and arguably, I enjoyed Just Cause 3 more due to its grappling simplicity. I own all the DLC but was burnt out after completing the game and haven’t tried them out yet.

Zombie Army 4: Dead War (2020) – G 395/1210
Another fourth game in the series, but Zombie Army is more of an expansion or mod of the Sniper Elite series as they are the same design/gameplay/developer/engine. Just with a Zombie overlay. The Zombie Army games are a lot of fun though, especially in co-op. This game we are still playing through, but a lot of co-op games keep coming out and we have a short attention span on our weekly co-op game night.

Rain on Your Parade (2021) – G 1250/1500
This game is a silly little rain and weather puzzle game. You play as a rain cloud. And as you progress through the levels, you unlock lightning, snow, and wind. Levels have their objectives to be met, but they’re all pretty easy to accomplish. I got this an an easy achievement game, but ended up 100% it and looking forward to the DLC. My son enjoys the game too as it turns out to be pretty fun to play a cloud raining on people.

Marvel’s Avengers (2020) – G 500/1000
One of the bigger releases of 2020 was Crystal Dynamics/Square Enix’s Marvels Avengers. From a strict gameplay/story perspective, this game I enjoyed quite a bit, but from a fully realized game, this one was a bit of a dumpster fire. Poor, buggy launch and not fully realized end-game. Its good looking, and its a fun action/combat game where you play as all the Marvel’s Avengers, with the story perspective focusing on Kamala Khan’s Ms Marvel with her stretchy body parts. The Wakanda expansion is supposed to be really good too. The game is very messy and convoluted from a menu design perspective though and it can be hard to actually start the game, or figure out what you’re supposed to be doing. They basically throw too much information at you and its hard to filter out what you want. I’m excited to try the Guardians of the Galaxy game though, as that it supposedly just linear story focus and a blast.

NieR: Automata (2018) – G 255/1000
This game is very unlike anything I would typically play. Its part hack and slash, with some RPG elements, and Gundam-like spaceship battles. This game also requires multiple playthrough’s to get the complete story, but I was content enough with just once-through perspective. I also played this game on easy mode, with the auto-combat enabled so I didn’t rally have to do much heavy lifting during the fights. Overall I enjoyed it for what it was. Interesting story about a proxy-war between alien-created machines, and human-crafted androids. Main story focus’ on the character 2B, which is a very popular cosplay character ;).

Super Lucky’s Tale (2017) – G 615/2000
I originally tried this game when it came out as a free Xbox Games with Gold title, but after 1 level I had had enough. “Too childish. Too easy. I have better things to play.” It wasn’t until my 3 year old son got more interested in games that I picked this up again as it was a game suitable for him to watch and play on his own. Its a simple yet challenging-at-times 3D platformer, and you play as a brave fox. I was steadily playing through all the chapters unlocking achievements when my son started a new game, erasing all saved data. I have since uninstalled that version and installed New Super Lucky’s Tale, which is a re-release of the same game, just updated and modernized a bit. He’s been playing through that on his own this time.

Outriders (2021) – G 730/1045
Whoa, a AAA game that came out in 2021 made the list. Impressive. This is because it was a surprise Day 1 launch on Game Pass. Sold. It also wasn’t that bad. Just bland. Post apocalyptic 3rd-person shooter made by People Can Fly, who previously made other 3rd-person shooters like a Gears of War title, and Bulletstorm. The change this time is you have special powers as well. Overall a decent title, just a little unpolished and with pretty bad writing. And the in-game map was awful.

Boomerang-Fu (2020) – G 900/1000
Oh Boomerang-Fu, my son’s favourite game. I got this game back in August and 90%’d all the achievements within the first day. It is still on my console and played daily. Its a fun party game where you play as food with boomerangs killing other food with boomerangs.

Twelve Minutes (2021) – G 1000/1000
Twelve Minutes is a time-loop game where you play a boyfriend returning home to his condo and girlfriend. And then a cop shows up and starts interrogating you, and he either kills you, or the girlfriend or both, and you need to play through the story and dialogue on a 12 minute loop to find out the true story behind this abrupt interruption to your evening. The whole game takes place from a top down perspective in a 3 room condo in 12 minute loops, or quicker if you try and leave through the door. The ending kind of ruins the whole game, but it was an interesting game nonetheless.

Surgeon Simulator 2 (2020) – G 440/1000
I don’t think I played a game that simultaneously caused me to laugh at the ridiculousness and also scream at the technical glitches that ruined the fun. Surgeon Simulator is a physics operation room game. You play as a surgeon and you have control of one arm trying to perform increasingly complicated surgeries. From arm transplants, to lungs and heart, to brain. You can pull the appendages out by hand but this causes excessive bleeding, so you have to use hammers or saws to do the work, but as I mentioned, only one hand, and all the buttons on the controller control individual parts of the arm and hand. Like Octo-Dad. Its fun, but when you play in co-op, the network technical glitches caused more problems as suddenly the character and tool physics will go haywire and suddenly you’re left with a decapitated body bleeding everywhere, then you’ve failed the level.

Aliens: Fireteam Elite (2021) – G 185/1000
Aliens: Fireteam Elite had a lot of good things going for it, but I think underwhelming or anti-climactic would describe the overall experience. The levels and mission structure was fun, but short. And the slow grinding upgrade system encouraged, no, required repeated playthroughs, but honestly who has the time? My co-op nights are once a week for a few hours. I’m moving on as soon as I see the credits. Hoping for an expansion down the road.

Middle-Earth: Shadow of War (2017) – G 715/1500
I found myself in between large open-world type games after Assassins Creed and Outriders, and didn’t want to jump into another Ubisoft game like AC Valhalla or Watch Dogs. So I went back to the game that’d been sitting on my HDD for what felt like a lifetime. It filled the void I was looking for, but it wasn’t satisfying at the end. Wasn’t as memorable as its predecessor so I haven’t even looked back or thought about the DLC.

Morkredd (2020) – G 175/1000
Played this in co-op as a Marital Madness Twitch night with the Wife. A decent puzzle game that I wanted to go through before it expired off Game Pass. Enjoyable, but a weird ending. A shame its off GamePass as I’d like to go through it again to clean up some outstanding achievements.

Dirt 5 (2020) – G 1800/1800
Gotta have at least one annual racing title. Its either Need For Speed, Dirt, or Forza on rotation. Dirt 5 had the honour in 2021 and while it was gorgeous as a launch title for the Xbox Series X it lacked a little something. Its courses were interesting enough, but it lacked diversity. Codemasters tried to sell that the courses had variety because of weather or night time/ day time variations but it just didn’t have enough variety, and it started to feel very repetitive as you progress through the career path. I have 100%’d the game and its 4 DLC expansions so it obviously did some right. But really I wanted it cleared off my HDD so I can move onto Forza Horizons 5.

My honourable mentions below are games I currently have on the go, either solo or in co-op but don’t have enough to say for a quick review. These I will save for 2022’s Quick Reviews Done Quickly:

Watch Dog’s: Legion
Forza Horizons 5
It Takes Two
Borderlands III

Thank you 2021, another year with games having been played.
iRogan


Happy Wrestling Day

Holidays, full swing. Hopefully yours have been pleasant. Happy Holidays to all. This year, like last year, we are in the middle of COVID restrictions. So we didn’t spend time with family save for a presents and gifts swap from the front door. Maybe things will settle down again in the New Year.

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What I’m Playing

Halo Infinite has been the game of choice, Multiplayer, not Campaign, which is very un-like me. But for some reason this multiplayer experience has been fun, and I’m going to ride that wave while it lasts. I bought the Battle Pass, and the Cat Ears and everything:

I also bought my son Hot Wheels Unleased for Christmas, so we’ve been playing a bit of that. I tried The Gunk briefly tonight. Which is a enjoyable platformer/puzzle game where you start by investigating a dying planet and find a gunk-like substance that is consuming the planet’s energy. You have a grapple/gun-type arm that sucks it up and slowly start healing the planet. Its free on Game Pass. Dirt 5, ripped through another DLC, only one more to go.

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True to my word, I’ve put down the digital pen, and taken a break from drawing. I have a few ideas queued for the New Year. My will may break this week as I have a few days off work, but I might use those to just catch up on sleep, and comics.

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What I’m Reading

  • Batman/Catwoman #9
  • Catwoman Lonely City #2
  • Gunslinger Spawn #3
  • Radiant Black #11
  • A Righteous Thirst for Vengeance #3
  • Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow #6
  • Batgirls #1
  • Nightwing #87
  • Nightwing Leaping into the Light HC Vol.1
  • SPAWN Compendium 2

I hate to say it but I’ve been really disappointed with Batman/Cawoman ever since Liam Sharp took over. I don’t know why he took over from Clay Mann, whether it was some behind-the-scene thing, or deadlines or if he had other obligations but I’m just not a fan of the art since the switch which has really turned me off the book sadly. And I am a huge Tom King fan. I’ll push through to the end, but begrudgingly.

Nightwing is not my typical book, but I’ve head a lot of good things from this run with Tom Taylor, and #87 in particular is one long no-frames un-cut sequence which is pretty cool to pull off within a comic book.

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2021 Reviews Done Quickly

I’m just going to add the list here for now, and then by the end of the week, write up the full post. These are the games I completed or consider done with, in 2021. Some of which may not have been released in 2021, likely earlier. And when I say complete, I mean either I 100%’d it, finished the main campaign story if it is open-ended or has end-game content, or I consider it done enough that I won’t be revisiting it. Also the order below is roughly Jan through Dec, for when I completed the game, and not necessarily when I started the game. You’ll get the idea as you read the list.

I usually start with the main game from the previous year that I wrapped up the year with, and that was Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, and the finish with my in-progress, not-ready-for-review games.

  • Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
  • Little Nightmares
  • Donut County
  • The Touryst
  • Fortified
  • Generation Zero
  • Just Cause 4
  • Zombie Army 4: Dead War
  • Rain on Your Parade
  • Marvel’s Avengers
  • NieR:Automata
  • Super Lucky’s Tale
  • OUTRIDERS
  • Boomerang-Fu
  • Twelve Minutes
  • Surgeon Simulator 2
  • Aliens: Fireteam Elite
  • Middle-Earth: Shadow of War
  • Morkredd
  • Dirt 5

    in Progress
  • Watch Dog’s Legion
  • Grand Theft Auto III
  • Borderlands III

Good riddance 2021! On to Twenty-Twenty Too!

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iRogan

Time to Spare

Have you ever said you were going to do something, and then didn’t actually follow through with it? That’s me, but only when it comes to my own projects, aspirations, … and bed time.

Last week I posted the line art for my Tracer piece with the promise of colour. Which I did (see: below). At the same time I also told myself that this would be the last drawing of the year, to give my hands a break, catch up on some sleep, and charge the creative batteries.That lasted all of one day.

What I’m Drawing

After finishing Tracer I jumped right back into it with another drawing: Jinx from the game League of Legends, or more recently, Netflix’s Arcane.

I’m really please with how these two have turned out. Definitely ending the year on a high note. With Tracer I started working with line colours and adding more texture effects, such as the diamond patter on her tights. Fun experimentation. With Jinx, I was confident in my pencil layer that I didn’t even do an ink layer, just jumped right into colours. Also tried a different technique with colouring. Typically will put down base, flat colours, and then start adding the shading and lighting and rendering. This time I just painted over the whole drawing and started rendering. Different PS brushes, more painting style. Looser. And I’m really happy with the results. Also played with some sprays on the skin and clothes and grain/noise to add a more textured feel to it. Surely knocked off a few hours of processing time off the final product, eliminating Ink pass and Flats pass.

I think next I will draw Zoe Kravitz Catwoman from the upcoming Batman movie.

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What I’m Playing

Quiet week in games as we’re getting closer to Holi-daze. If I’m not drawing then I’m doing some family activity. The wife and I played our first It Takes Two session last Tuesday and the game is a lot of fun. Unfortunately we are playing through her PC, and the game plays through the EA Origin Game Pass and not Xbox, so no achievements are unlocked for this play through, so I might have to play through it again with Illestrader. The game is fun, each level introduces a new co-op mechanic that tests our capabilities of playing the game as a couple. I’ve been downloading the twitch streams after the VOD goes live with the hope of turning them into a highlights or funny moments type of video for YouTube to help her promote her stream (when I find time). Also I’ll be making her some emotes for her channel.

Speaking of Illestrader, we played some more Borderlands 3 in our co-op game night. Maybe I’ll add the two Borderlands Sirens to my drawing queue. Maya and Lilith would be fun to draw.

Played a bit more Watch Dogs 3, and Rain on Your Parade came out with a DLC and unlocked some achievements there.

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What I’m Reading

Last weeks indies finally arrived so I was able to grab those, which I’m thankful for, and then this week’s pull:

Adventureman #7
Batman the Imposter #3
BRZRKR #6
Robin & Batman #2
The Walking Dead #29
Wonder Girl #6
King Spawn #5

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I think that catches us up on the week that was. Another busy week ahead before Christmas, and some not-so-relaxing 4 days off work.

I’ll try to get my “Game Review Done Quickly” post in before the New Year, where I quickly write about every game I played in 2021. I didn’t finish mine from last year…still sitting in the Drafts folder :(.

Happy Holidays,

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iRogan

One For The Road

How ’bout them Game Awards? Guardians of the Galaxy taking home the surprise “Best Narrative” award. And It Takes Two taking home Game of the Year. Most impressive.

The wife and I plan to play this game on her Twitch channel during our couple’s gaming nights. (Typically Tuesdays). twitch.tv/cro0kedj. We played through Morkredd last time, and I have the VOD downloaded and plan on editing that into a fun “highlights” video for Youtube.

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What I’m Drawing
Speaking of the wife… she said I’m not allowed to draw anymore Gwen Stacy. And I see her point. 15 variations is a bit much. I’ll be sure to draw more next year though 😉 .

In the meantime, I drew Tracer, from the game Overwatch, to add to my collection of those characters. So far I’ve drawn Widowmaker, Moira, Brigitte, Mercy, Sombra, D.Va and now Tracer.

Colour version coming soon.

As I continually add and reference my art, I should probably just create a dedicated section for it. With proper folders. Project for the new year.

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What I’m Playing
Played Unpacking for the achievements. 1000G in about an hour. A little bit of Dirt 5. Rain on your Parade has DLC launching next week which I’ll be playing through. Played a little bit Halo Infinite Multiplayer, but have not tried the campaign yet, now that it has released. It’s on the short list but after recently starting up GTA 3 and Watch Dogs Legion, those two are my immediate priority before starting anything new.

Watch Dog has been pretty fun. It is definitely a nice looking game, and I’m getting the hang of the team setup, where you have multiple agents to pick from. Its kind neat actually because they all just roam around the city, and act almost like fast travel points if you don’t mind swapping.

In the co-op zone we’ve started up Borderlands 3. I’ve always loved the Borderlands games. Played 1 and 2 thoroughly, including the DLC. The Pre-Sequel I didn’t quite finish. But 3 has been been pretty fun so far in co-op.

And a huge bonus: it comes with a Photo Mode. And not just any photo mode. One that plays in-real time with your online co-op buddies.

Also tried out the Matrix Awaking Unreal Engine 5 tech demo that was announced at the game awards. It’s kind neat. An impressive showcase of what the new UE5 can do. Obviously limited in scope. Its an open world city where you can walk around and drive showing off the lighting and damage body engine, but not much beyond just looking pretty. The initially opening sequent is mostly just quick-time events to show off the particle effects and visuals, but it is all on rails to hide the limitations of the demo.

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What I’m Reading

Crossover #10
Dark Knights of Steel #2
Soul Plumber #3
The Walking Dead Deluxe #28


Quieter week this week on the comics front as I actually only got 2/4 of my expected pull due to Diamond delays getting the indie books in. Hopefully they’ll arrive for next week.

Achievement of the Week
Borderlands 3: Tips Appreciated (15G)
Tipped Moxxi

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More holiday shopping on the horizon, and a few more weeks of work. A couple more snowfalls and Spider-Man: No Way Home to look forward to as well. Festive times.

Happy Holidays.

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iRogan

Dusk til Dawn

Oh, how the hours turn into days, and days turn into weeks. Busy just livin’, but where does the time go?

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What I’m Drawing

I always like to start with this category first because it makes me feel accomplished. Everything else I do is just a time-wasting hobby, or cost a lot of money (see: What I’m Reading 😉 )

More GwenVerse additions this week. And this will be the final two of the year. I swear. We have Silk Gwen, which is just a SILK variation; not as original but I was challenged to do another drawing with her on pointe. I struggled with a few different poses for a few days but inevitably settled on this one to make it work. I may go back and try another pass at the colour to see if I can switch it up. Maybe the blue will work? And also Grifter – GwenC.A.Ts. I couldn’t come up with a witty Gwen name for Grifter that didn’t sound dumb. So instead I decided to change the team name. GwenC.A.Ts. Now I have an excuse to make more Gwen variations from that team 😉 .

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What I’m Playing

Not much in the way of gameplay over the last week. Although I did quickly try out the new Game Pass addition: Townscaper. Not really a game, more like a toy / tool box to play around in. You basically just plop down blocks that turn into houses. You can make some pretty cool, colourful cities. Either way it was a quick 1000G.

Also I’ve been playing Dirt 5. Playing through the DLC races. Really just to check it off my list/queue so that I can focus on Forza Horizons 5 instead. I don’t like have too many same-genre games on the go.

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What I’m Reading

The Department of Truth #14
Human Target #2
The Me You Love in the Dark #5
SPAWN #324
Wonder Girl #5
The Scumbag #11
Fine/Print Vol 1 (not pictured)
DIE Vol 4 (not pictured)

So I was partially right about Decorum last week. The main titled comic is ending but a sequel series is replacing it. No word on the creative team, if Hickman will continue writing? I’ll have to look it up.

Also sadly, The Me You Love in the Dark ending after #5. Just a short brief series, probably better served as a trade / graphic novel. Its been a fun series with gorgeous art.

It’s getting close to that holiday time, house lights and trees are going up. Time to sit by the fire eating cookies with milk.

Happy Holidays.

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iRogan