And here I rank the games I played in the first quarter of 2021

I decided to document the games I’ve played at the start of this year, and decided to give games that I’m unsure of a chance. Out of the 37 games I’ve played, I’ve enjoyed a good chunck of them.

So, starting with the worst, these are my thoughts on the 37 games I’ve played in the first three months of 2021.

38. Remnant: From The Ashes (PS4, via PS Plus)

This should have been a sign to stop playing.

From the start, the tone of this game seems very off. The opening cutscene is straight out of a generic fantasy, you are on a boat with a sword heading to destroy monsters. Then suddenly you’re in a modern post-apocalyptic setting. After some basic whacking, you’re forced to be “killed” as you get rescued. From this point on, it’s all the typical Zombie tropes with demons replacing zombies. You get given a gun and get to experience really clunky shooting controls.

After this introduction, you are sent on missions in dull procedurally-generated levels. You fight minions as well as “special infected”. This is heavily balanced towards co-op, where respawns take place, as special infected can pop out of nowhere (including behind you after you’ve cleared a room) and just take you out. There’s also no option to pause while playing “offline”, which is a bizarre oversight. With a more interesting idea, this could potentially be a “rubbish game that’s fun with mates because it’s a bit different” but other than enemies looking slightly different, it feels like every other zombie game.

36. The Crew 2 (PS4, via PS Now)

Sorry for the poor screenshot, it’s my only one.

I’ll be honest: I didn’t give this a fair chance. It could potentially be a good racing game…if it had offline options. The tutorials I played were pretty decent, and there was an interesting mix of different races due to the boats and aircraft.

However, you get forced into an online lobby and can’t turn it off (while Forza Horizon uses online lobbies by default, you can at least go offline). On top of that, I paused the game to sort out a grocery delivery and by the time I came back it had booted me to the main menu. Instead of faffing around with the loading times again, I just uninstalled the game right then.

35. The Medium (PC, via Xbox Game Pass)

The pixellated look is the dynamic resolution at work

The Medium has an interesting spin on an old concept: a light world/dark world (Link to the Past, Metroid Prime 2, loads of other games) except that under certain circumstances (the game decides when) you can view and move in both at the same time, sometimes being able to do actions in the dark world. There is potentially lots of stuff, and I was hoping for some interesting puzzles.

Instead, I didn’t encounter any interesting uses of this mechanics for its puzzles, most are just walking down a path and turning on a puzzle. The story itself is fairly uninteresting, and the game uses stationary cameras, which would be fine if the controls didn’t feel so clunky and cause you to walk in the wrong direction. A lot of the obstacles are also caused purely because the main character decided to visit an abandoned building with no equipment.

On top of that, The Medium is terribly optimised on PC, chugging along at a very varied framerate and resolution even with everything turned on low.

I’d love to see a purely puzzle game take on this mechanic.

34. Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 (PS4, via PS Now)

Nothing to see here. Move along.

This is my first Call of Duty since the first Black Ops, and I feel no need to play any more. The gameplay features elements of “superpowered” feats with wallrunning and stuff. It feels as though they saw Ttianfall mid development, were forced to add elements to the game, but outside of the tutorial, there’s actually no use for it at all. You are also given special powers, such as hacking or controlling robots. These have the potential to be great, but there are a lot of situations where the powers won’t work.

On top of this, the special abilities are triggered by pressing L1 + R1 together. Another ability is done with R1. The big problem is that L1 and R1 are different kinds of grenades. A lot of the time, if you don’t meet the “requirement” of the power or are off slightly in your aim when you activate it, you’ll throw a grenade. I threw more grenades by mistake than I did intentionally.

Levels are pretty much shooting people or robots as you move from A to B with very little variation in gameplay. While the earlier Call of Duty had stealth, sniping and other unique levels, Black Ops 3 is designed for Co-op (even though the story isn’t) so all of this is gone. There’s one inception-like dream level, but it throws loads and loads of enemies at you for the game combat throughout it. There’s also a really bad mission where you half-control a jet and then do escort missions with someone who constantly moans if you move more than a metre away from you (if you do stay close, grenades thrown by enemies at you will kill her).

The story itself is nonsensical. They’re trying to do something “clever” but don’t deserve to be like that at all. The “real” story supposedly flashes inside massive reams of text for a split second on the loading screen, which is just absurd. And even then, people don’t quite fully know what the story even was. Really dull characters also don’t help. The most interest you’ll get is “Ooh, that’s Starbuck”, “ooh, that’s the guy who replaces Jack O’Neill in the last few seasons of Stargate..oh and Bra’tac”, “The Doctor from Voyager is the villain?”.

33. Star Wars: Racer Revenge (PS4, via PS Now)

Nothing’s gonna ever keep you down

The sequel to Star Wars Episode 1: Racer that I never got to play because it wasn’t on a Nintendo platform. It’s….fine. It doesn’t feel as smooth or fast as E1 Racer, and the level design is kind of a bit confusing and all over the place, and having multiple routes becomes rather trivial when one of them is massively quicker than the others, it even seems like the more dangerous routes aren’t faster in some instances.

32. Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse (Switch, Review Copy)

Follow me, my brainless minions.

You can read my full review here, but a short version: Stubbs the Zombie has some interesting ideas, but very clunky gameplay. The Switch port has a fair few issues. I do recommend listening to the soundtrack on your streaming service of choice.

31. Darksiders (PS4, via PS Now)

You press one button to auto kill these enemies, they’re just pointless padding.

Everything in this game is just needlessly large. Darksiders could have potentially been a great game if it was better condensed, but every section (up to the point I played) just went on for too long.

One of the best elements was the Zelda-inspired dungeons, but they ended up making me really appreciate the level design in Zelda games, as navigation such large rooms and long corridors takes a lot of the fun out of it. When a puzzle takes far more time to walk between each puzzle element than it does to do an action on each part, it becomes more of a chore.

Another annoying thing is that there’s no way to pause cutscenes. I missed out on some parts because I attempted to go to the PlayStation menu and it just completely skipped the cutscene instead.

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