Weekend Hot Topic, part 2: Happiest 2021 gaming memories

Readers celebrate the end of the year with their fondest video game memories, from discovering favourite new games to finally getting a PS5.

Since this is the last Hot Topic of the year, we wanted to hear about your most positive experiences in gaming from the last 12 months. Considering how many great games there’s been, and the fact that the new generation of consoles is still only slowly taking hold, there’s been plenty to discuss.

We’ll be back in the new year with more news, reviews, and Inboxes so until then merry Christmas and a happy new year from everyone at GameCentral!

The feels
After the disappointment of Disgaea 6, I have been having a great time with Disgaea RPG. It’s strange that the numbered sequel felt like the cheap knock-off from a lesser developer and the greedy gacha game feels like a lavish, big budget blockbuster. It’s not, of course. There are more typos in the translation than the average YouTube comment and yet… it’s still quite funny.

Because you didn’t let me say it last time, I won’t say what put the biggest smile on my face and caused me to actually laugh out loud as it’s a late story spoiler – suffice to say that it’s only a Prinny moon sailing over a sea of stars…

Then, in Psychonauts 2, where the old gang rallied to cheer up Jack Black during his level. To sidestep spoilers here, but Cassie saying something like: ‘And if only for just a moment, she was more like our old friend again,’ is Undertale level of feels.

In addition; I have to wonder: how did Cassie stay tall over the years while Lucy got shorter? Most peculiar…
DMR

A difficult year
Game Pass has been a particular high point for me this year. Not only have I tried and been pleasantly surprised by games that wouldn’t normally appear on my radar I also discovered the full potential of the reward system and how easy it is to accumulate the points with very little effort sometimes. When I started redeeming them I thought, ‘Well this probably won’t add up to much’. So I gave what little I did make at the time to the various charities Microsoft work with.

So here I am about £130 deep in total rewards and I can’t bring myself not to give it to those charities.

Oh well, I guess it’s a win/win for everyone.

On another note, my beautiful wife passed away in the autumn, 38 years young. She left me with two gorgeous daughters and between the whole monotonous contacting various companies and sorting out funeral arrangements and indeed trying to be a half decent father.

I had already started playing the Mad Max game which I had never played before. That game kind of kept me sane through the whole ordeal of it all. So that game will probably stick with me forever and I will always have a special place for it in my heart.

Mad Max, eh? I haven’t even watched the movie yet.
freeway 77

GC: We’re very sorry for your loss.

Xbox moments
I probably have three favourite moments. Weirdly – one was unboxing an Xbox Series S. I have to say that Microsoft did a real job of making it feel like a premium experience, despite it only being a £250 console. And what a wonderfully designed piece of kit. Simple, sleek, and small.

The second one was having that first go on Microsoft Flight Simulator and buzzing Christ the Redeemer before flying over my hometown and other places I’ve been to.

The third is that mad buzz of starting off Forza Horizon 5. Doing the intro before it starts showering you with all kinds of races and challenges around Mexico. I’ve loved playing it whilst listening to the XS radio channel blaring out rock tunes.

For somebody who suffers with their mental health gaming has been a real godsend this year.

Best wishes to you and all the readers for Xmas and 2022
LancsLad

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

Roguish charm
When I think back to 2021 I will remember playing Returnal for the first time. From the first reveal to watching the reviews come in my anticipation for this game just built. I’d not really experienced much of Housemarque’s back catalogue, apart from a brief spell with Resogun, but there was something about the look of the game and the mystery of the story.

I’ve never been that good at games. I’ve beaten some on the hardest level but not anything that would be considered a hard game, e.g. Dark Souls. I’ve also never been good at sticking with games where when you die you have to play the same bits over and over again. Would the fact that it was a roguelike break me? That was the real question.

So, as I embarked on this game with some trepidation, I was relieved to find that it was unbelievably playable and was possibly the most fun I’ve had with a game for years. It did prove a challenge though and there were times when I wondered if I would actually make it through the experience. The most challenging part turned out to be biome 3, where making it past the drones only to be crushed by the hordes you meet on the way up to the boss was completely soul destroying.

But then it happened, somehow I beat it. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so elated to beat anything in a game before. This felt like a major triumph, like passing an exam or getting that first job. After that everything else felt suddenly, well… not easy but doable. I reached the end of the game with far less effort and deaths and even though the entire game was awesome biome 3 was my nemesis (no pun intended). It’s absolutely my highlight of the past few years and I can’t wait to see what 2022 brings.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all.
Darren

Special moments
I feel lucky to be able to tell you about several of my favourite gaming related moments from 2021.

My good friend, who works in the industry, gave me a PlayStation 5 and Spider-Man: Miles Morales several months ago.

It was such a beautiful refinement to the original game on PlayStation 4. I loved it, and the ray-tracing performance mode really is a thing to behold.

I played Return Of The Obra Dinn for the first time. The Switch was such a perfect console to play it on, as the moment I felt I had made a breakthrough I could try it out within minutes. I wish I could experience it again for the first time. It’s visually and aurally striking but playing actual detective just doesn’t get better. It is a truly marvellous game.

I managed to get an Xbox Series S, and wow. I love this little console. I migrated to PlayStation 4 last gen, but what a time to jump back into bed with Microsoft.

Halo Infinite has caused me to laugh out loud at some of the beautiful emergent gameplay and physics mishaps. More than that, I have loved hearing the variety in comments from the enemies when they’ve bested me. ‘Spartan dead. Feel good. Feel proud’, is my favourite Jackal snippet.

Oh, and I’ve been able to experience Forza Horizon 5. My first Horizon game, though I am a huge fan of Forza Motorsport. My word. What a game. I’m so glad to have an Xbox Series S. I have really missed out on some gems, and I’m loving every moment.

Thank you for another amazing year of journalism. Your integrity is one of many reasons I love reading GC.

Best wishes to you all.
Matt

Through Hell
My favourite gaming moment of 2021 was playing through Hades. I realise I am late to the party!

It has an amazing sense of progression for a roguelike, and that one more go appeal that I haven’t felt in a long time. I don’t think I will get good enough to fully finish it and get all the weapon variants, but I have loved all the characters and the voice acting.
Cj Danby

Game of the year
Returnal has had the biggest effect on me this year, in regards to new gaming, and I am still finding it keeping me busy, as I find as many collectibles and the much needed info/lore! Extremely addictive for the need to get all the different secret endings and other such intriguing matters.

I loved that throughout the very frantic gameplay, replaying the different biomes with such subtle differences is excellently crafted and designed to never feel exactly the same, with minor story and game advancements.

The first time you visit the farmhouse you feel so immersed. This random farmhouse appears quite tranquil despite being rather creepy at the same time! As you explore it in first person you find out more about yourself and question why this part of your life is all the way out on another planet in a very different section of space.

I don’t want to really say anymore regarding what other discoveries I’ve found. I have not really played a game like it and will eventually replay it enough to get all the secrets to find out what the heck is really happening.

Which just leaves me to say to GameCentral and the viewers of GC, to have an awesome Christmas and a Happy New Year to y’all. Stay safe and well and I’ll see you in 2022. Where quite frankly it’s looking very decent indeed for exciting game releases, but 2021 was also very decent! Only time will tell to see which year was better. GG everyone.
Alucard

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

The small print
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