A few weeks back, one of the announcements I was hoping for finally revealed itself. Not the speedy hedgehog or blocky space adventure, but the sedately paced business management game. After skipping out on a release last year, the new game is coming this year, numbered as usual with the year after its release.
For a series I’ve only been playing since 2019, it’s massively captured my attention, keeping me invested like no other game I can think of (except GTA Online, of course). 17 on the Switch has seen the most attention, obviously, but with both 17 and 19 on the Xbox, I’m close to the hours I’ve put into the Switch version. Still a massive distance away from GTA Online, but I have been playing that longer.
Enough talk of playtime, though. The new game has been announced, and I want to talk of it. For the first time within the base game, we’re getting seasons. There’s a mod that allows such in both 17 and 19 which the team at Giants were inspired by. I’ve got no experience with that mod, but seeing the world change across time is something I’m ready to experience, and will do so with the new game.
2020 wasn’t exactly the greatest of years, but still managed to produce some absolute cracking games. Animal Crossing: New Horizons has been an excellent way to pass the time, with Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity finally getting me to put a strong amount of hours into a Warriors game. Watch Dogs Legion offered a dystopian London to explore. DiRT 5 provided a great arcade racing game to enjoy, with F1 2020 providing the more technical racer.
There’s been plenty of game announcements across 2020 for games that are set to release in this year, with one game in particular having been delayed into this year. And there’s set to be plenty of new game announcements for this year as well. It’ll be a big year for two of my cores, I’m hoping, what with the Pokémon 25th anniversary and also Sonic the Hedgehog’s 30th.
With all these games, then, there’s sure to be plenty that will attract people to them. For me, there’s already a decent amount of games I’ve got my eye on. I’ll be talking of those along with a few wishlist options, including for those aforementioned anniversaries. And to start with, I need to talk of this one. The one that I’ve been waiting almost two years for, and the one that holds the most promise to me.
As a fan of racers (it is Racing Month currently, after all), the lure of two racing games brought me to watch the Nacon Connect of 7/July. The larger lure was to find out something about the next in the Test Drive Unlimited series.
There was no gameplay; it was never advertised as having such. But I found the information good, and have some confidence that not only Test Drive Unlimited: Solar Crown, but new motorbike racing game RiMS Racing, will prove to be fun games.
Let’s start with that new game first. RiMS Racing is a motorbike simulation racer that will feature licenced bikes and real road and circuit races. There’ll be a team management section within the career, and while developer RaceWard Studio are looking to make it a true simulation, they’re also hoping to make it easier for newcomers to get invested.
With E3 revealing a lot about this game, I thought it was time to take a look at the Super Smash Bros. series and my experiences with it. I might have been burnt out slightly by how much focus Ultimate got throughout Nintendo’s showing, but it didn’t slice any part of that excitement away.
My experiences begin with Melee on the Gamecube, where I was introduced to a whole host of Nintendo characters. I was familiar with Pokémon, and the cast from Mario Kart: Double Dash, but everything else was completely new to me.
From what I remember, the family didn’t get a Gamecube until around the end of 2003, which replaced the PS1 as main console until the PS2 slimline came around a year later. I didn’t have many games, but Smash Bros. Melee and Mario Kart: Double Dash – along with Sonic Adventure 2 and Pokémon Colosseum – were my main games for it around that time.
Now, I’ve covered Kingdom Hearts 3 briefly in the latest What I’m Waiting For, but with the latest trailer comes – as the title so rightly says – a lot of hype. Within the WIWF post, I stated that my highlights with the games come from their gameplay and the Disney crossovers. The latest trailer showed exactly what I like in full force.
We’d already seen Toy Story as a world from the trailer back in July, which showcased Olympus from Hercules as well. This time, it was Monsters, Inc. to have that spotlight. Seeing these worlds and the interactions with characters are great, and is exactly what I’m expecting when I get into it for myself.
Star Wars is the franchise I have known for the least amount of time - soon to be nine years at the end of this year - but it has had the most impact on me. Introduced through Star Wars Battlefront II when a friend and I played it, I have found great joy in the series ever since. The books, films, and TV Series, as well as various LEGO sets have all given me great joy.
The future of Star Wars does seem good. From 2013 with the soft reboot, everything since - while good - has felt a bit safe. The Force Awakens mirrored A New Hope with its main plot points, inserting a lot of new things in with that. The comics had recently started up a series telling the events after A New Hope before the reboot. After the reboot, a new series was started to overwrite those events.
However, there have been things that have been different and trying new things. The novels, in an attempt to fill in the now empty gap between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, have given us a series of books looking at how the events of The Force Awakens were built up.
The earliest memories I have with the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise are with Sonic Adventure 2 way back in 2002. I can also remember owning both Sonic 3D Blast and Sonic R on PC, though of course not having a computer until around 2004/5 those two would have come around that time.
I also had Sonic Heroes and Sonic Advance 1 and 2, but I couldn't exactly be called the biggest fan like I was with Pokémon. In that period of 2005-2010, when my gaming passion grew, I had owned hardly any new Sonic the Hedgehog games. The only game I did own was the first Mario and Sonic at the Olympics, on both DS and Wii.
The 10th anniversary of Sonic was what first got me into the series. The 20th anniversary helped cement my love for it. I started to take more notice. I followed Generations almost all the way through - from reveal to launch. Fact of the matter is, Sonic Generations got me to love the series, and I have since played most of the games I missed out on.
Despite being third on my core franchise list, Pokémon has been with me since the beginning. Across six generations of games, the main series has grown ever stronger. Each generation also gave us a variety of spin-offs, some of which continue to this day.
The TV series also grew stronger as the years progressed, and while a soft reboot did occur at the start of Black and White (thus getting a lot of criticism from long-time fans), the series did well to pick itself back up during the XY series.
The movies are less fortunate, seemingly being stuck between mediocre and alright. In some cases it can feel the plots drag on a bit too much, and in other cases the balance is just right [I feel Genesect and the Legend Awakened is one with the right balance].
Since video gaming is one of my most favourite hobbies, I decided to split this from the main 2014 review. That will follow up after, since this is probably going to be longer. I was going to do one of these last year, but messed it up.
Over the course of the year, I've been buying a number of games away from their releases in the hopes of getting them cheaper. Of course, the Steam sales do help, as well as those on Origin, but sometimes you can find games without the help of sales.