I’ll be honest with you: I didn’t play many games this year.
I blame our wedding. It consumed most of my free time, what with trying to get the photographer, DJ, florist, videographer, and cake bakery sorted. People were also taking their sweet time RSVPing, so I had to get with everyone individually to get a headcount for the venue caterer. A word of advice: if you ever decide to get married, ELOPE. Take the money you would have spent on a wedding and use it to get married and have a vacation at the same time. Because when all is said and done, you could go someplace super nice for what you would spend on a wedding and still have money and plenty of room left on your credit cards in the end.
Now that I have provided you with a bit of wisdom, let’s get to the games.
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
In my opinion, LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga deserves some Game of the Year love. It is a rather fun game, and for what it lacks in character customization tools. it males up for it by providing more than enough character options (380!) – especially in free-pay mode once you have unlocked them all. It’s rather humorous at times, and honestly didn’t feel that much different from previous LEGO games in this series – all of which I equally enjoyed. However, there were some changes that made it feel a bit more fresh – some of which were welcome, others not so much.
But, when you enjoy a game, you take the good with the bad and weigh them against each other. In that sense, I really enjoyed it being non-linear, because it provides you with a choice on where to begin. You can start from any of the three Skywalker trilogies and complete them in any order. There are more levels in each episode’s story missions than in prior entries, as well as shorter levels between those that help move the story forward, so there’s plenty of gameplay.
Combat was refreshed for this outing, and now allows you to peek around corners, aim down sights, pull off a large variety of combos, or toss your lightsaber at an enemy. One of the biggest changes with Skywalker Saga is the new over-the-shoulder perspective instead of the fixed camera angle in in the older games. It also provides the option to switch between mumble mode and full-on voice acting.
There are also plenty of planets and moons to visit in the game, some of the ships can be explored, random encounters can take place, you can participate in pod-racing (which I am horrible at), get into dogfights with TIE fighters, capture space stations, enjoy plenty of puzzles, and take on many different sidequests handed out by NPCs.
All in all, I had quite a bit of fun playing it, so hats off to Traveller’s Tales for a job well done. I do have a few complaints though: I wish the character upgrade trees were a bit more in-depth, and the game could have done with less repetition, especially when it comes to the steps needed to acquire unlockables.
That said, the game is well–done, rather gorgeous, the gags are pretty funny, the story-focused levels are really fun, and hardly any character has been left out. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the game, and still have yet to finish it completely, which means I only have more to look forward to.
Dying Light 2 – Stay Human
Let me start by saying this game is rather brutal. Brutal in the way you kill enemies, get killed by enemies, and in difficulty. At least I found it difficult at times, which is good. You don’t want an easy go with a game like Dying Light 2. It wouldn’t be realistic considering the setting, nor would it be much fun. But if you plan on playing it, expect to find yourself getting killed repeatedly, especially when running around rooftops. Let’s just say I fell quite a bit and leave it at that.
Another thing that makes the game fun, but can make you rather anxious at times, is that your weapons will degrade over time. So always be on the lookout for something else, and trust me, there are plenty of things in the game to use against zombies and bandits. And pay attention to your stamina when fighting. Be sure to invest quite a bit of your upgrade points towards the stamina skill so you won’t tire as easily when parkouring or fighting.
Something else I found interesting, but which also made me anxious, was that the more noise you make, the more of a target you become. I also enjoy how it is a very different game depending on the time of day. When the sun is out, you are somewhat safe from zombies outside, so it’s good to do as much as possible while they are in dreamland. But come nightfall, like in the last game, things get turned up to 11. They are everywhere and more dangerous than ever. But this isn’t a deterrent because, on the contrary, you want to explore at night while the buildings are semi-empty to find some sweet loot and needed crafting materials. In other words, don’t be afraid. Get off the rooftops and go exploring. It can be a bit scary at night, but once you have risked it a few times, you will be old hat at it in no time
Outside the main storyline, the game has plenty of side content to keep you occupied. I am a completionist, so I have yet to finish the game, even the main storyline. I have already put around 40 hours into it, and you can spend 100 or more in the game if you want to see all and do all. The open world is pretty huge so get out in it.
I don’t want to give away too much about the game, so I won’t say anything about the story or talk too much about how your actions can change things. Just take my word for it when I say it is a good game and one you should play. It’s fun taking out baddies and zombies, the environment is immersive, the storyline is interesting, and it never gets boring. At least I didn’t get bored with my time spent so far. But I recommend you give it a go, especially if you enjoyed the first Dying Light, which I did.
Honorable mentions: Elden Ring and Stray (even though I didn’t play the game because I don’t own a PlayStation; but I like cats, so yeah).