Game of the Month - September 2020

Tony Hawk 1+2 for me, definitely. I miss the days of the fun crazy sports games.

Ahem. Yeah, same. Again.

Though I’d also rank Hades and 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim.

The Wolf Among Us, which is my only game of the month.

Warriors All-Stars, which was not that good but the only thing I really played this month.

Oh, and Gran Turismo Sport in VR.

It started off with Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning, but there was a strong contender at the end of the month:

From this day forth NMS shall be known as Norman’s Sky.

Zombie Army 4
Factorio
Troubleshooter Abandoned Children
Freespace 2

For the first part of the month, Control, having finally come out on Steam. Brilliant atmosphere and writing. I wasn’t as enamored of the combat, but it was still fun enough with a couple of assists turned on. Didn’t quite get every single thing in the game, but I hit the vast majority of the achievements and collectibles and most of what remains involves just doing a bunch of combat, which I do not want to do badly enough to bother.

Then moved on to Horizon: Zero Dawn, which is gorgeous and a great deal of fun so far, though I can’t imagine I would have gotten very far if I’d had to use a controller. Precise aim seems really critical to the combat. Have run into a few crashes to desktop, but nothing too awful yet. Fingers crossed the patches have fixed the worst of what I’d heard about the port.

There is a limited set of challengers for September, which is an improvement for me since most months have only 0-1!

Battlestar Galactica Deadlock and Railway Empires were the two games I played in September. Well that and Railroad Tycoon 3. You may wonder about that last one, and think ‘does this have to do with Railway Empires’?

And you would be right, it does. And that is because RRT3 is better. Oh Railway Empires is prettier, and has a slightly different focus. It really cares about track layout and management, and track switching is an important aspect of running a successful line.

But ultimately the scenario design and diminished focus on industry and supply chains, plus demand being consumed only at the town, and there is no establishing multi city delivery networks (where intermediary towns do not directly produce or consume a good, but act as a transfer point to a final destination that does because the economic engine meant that downstream demand would raise prices over time at towns that feed into it, making them accept supply). No, if I want to deliver livestock from Louisville to Chicago I need to either have a train go directly from the farm, or set up a separate warehouse rail network in between and send it there first, then to Chicago. No using Indianapolis as a clearing house hub. So I played Railway Empires until I beat the short 5 mission campaign, and then went and played scenarios in RRT3. Oh, yeah, without DLC there is only 5 maps, for 5 US regions. All other countries/ continents are separate DLC. Which considering I got it free from EGS is fine, but is a much more limited offering than that of the RRT3 scenarios, and much less creative!

It was a fine time, I did enjoy my time, but it ultimately is only middling. It was decidedly not my game of the month.

Battlestar Galactica Deadlock? Frak yes it was! I can not say enough good about it. Sound and visual design, scenario design, strategy and tactics, units, and plain old enjoyment factor? This is a 10/10 game for me. I absolutely will be coming back to DLC campaigns in the future. I loved every minute of the game, and really enjoyed the tactical battles. It is a bit too soon to declare for sure yet, but I have to say that this game almost certainly will end up in my top 25 games of all time. Hell, if the extra campaigns are anything above decent, it has an outside shot at top 10 all time game for me. It is 100% a game hard targeted at my interests. Deep strategic game with tactical battles, a beloved sci fi property and with solid sound design? You could not get more me if you tried.

If you like BSG at all, and you like strategic games GET BSG DEADLOCK NOW

I subscribed to Gamepass and dipped into Wastleland 3 and CK3 and returned whole hog to the RPG known as OOTP Baseball. But the game that strangely grabbed me most was Outer Worlds.

Pathfinder: Kingmaker for sure, I got into it in a way I never did with the Baldur’s Gate series, it feels familiar enough but the turn-based combat is so good, and it gets my award for scariest storm in a game.

Honorable mention to Dusk which is an excellent homage and implementation of Quake-era FPS games, must get back to it.

Recently started Vaporum: Lockdown and Spelunky 2 which I need more time with, both of which will be contenders for next month.

I thought he was referring to the actual Norman’s Sky! ;)

Ha! I have called it that in my head for ages but didn’t realise someone had actually used it for a game name :)

Hades for sure, with Animal Crossing: New Horizons as the only other contender, hah. ACNH has been my GotM since March :)

A game about French astronomers conquering England set in 1066? I’m in. Sounds like something Neal Stephenson might write.

Diego

I’ll second that!

Atomicrops - thread and ongoing thoughts here, but I love it.
In Other Waters - think Waking Mars and Subnautica by way of Capsule. Visuals powered by your imagination engine thanks to some solid writing, lovely sound design and a gorgeously graphic designed GUI.
TANKNAROK - this is fast becoming one of my favourite arena combat games with friends (up to 4). Everything about it looks and feels great and it’s so immediately gratifying. Super cheap and features online multiplayer.

I’m glad someone else is playing this. I kickstarted it, and played it to the end when it came out. I wanted a little more from the interface-wrangling (something like what Observation does), but I liked the exploration and thought the writer did a surprisingly good job explaining geological and biological information and making it interesting.

Yeah, I agree. I was saying to my girlfriend recently that XCOM 2’s science and research dialogue just made me roll my eyes all the time. It felt like it was trying so hard to sound Serious and science-y without the substance, yet still it blabbered on and on. Meanwhile a book I read during lockdown about (predominantly UK) wildlife, written by a professor of biology specialising in ecology and conservation of insects, just read so naturally and without ever sounding stuffy or showy. In Other Waters is still a lot harder and dryer but it still feels believable and grounded which I really appreciate, and I’m kind of amazed by. I love that the organisms are described in great detail and only when you’ve fully researched something do you unlock a little sketch. I bought the Xenobiologist Edition for the (so far excellent) soundtrack and the ‘Study of Gliese 667Cc’ document too, which I’m looking forward to checking out after I’ve completed the game.

Disgaea 5 on Switch … sort of ate me alive there for a while.

Exactly my feeling with that game: I was expecting awkward world building but intricate mechanics, and got the reverse. Sadly, I’m more twitch focused this year than the last one, and thought I had seen what I wanted to see from it.

My game of the month is MHGU, as usual. Played a lot of other stuff, but MHGU is all I can think about.

WoW Classic: it ate damn near the whole month. So much more satisfying than retail WoW.

Also finished Donut County. Clever of them to figure out a way to integrate some alternate mechanics other than having things fall into a hole. Cute, but I don’t recommend overspending. I suspect this will be in many many bundles or game subscriptions over the coming years.