So the end of the year is upon us and I have already reflected on the music that has left an impression on me in 2019, so I would like to now reflect on the games that have left an impression on me this year.
The first game that comes to mind is Cat Quest 2. Having played and loved Cat Quest, I was really looking forward to Cat Quest 2 and, for me at least, it did not disappoint. All the cuteness and hack and slash action RPG goodness is still present, as are the many cat puns. This time, however, you have a doggy sidekick to keep you company along your journey and you can equip each character differently to give you additional options in combat. I, for example, equipped my cat as a ranged fire mage; and equipped my dog sidekick as a tank melee knight. Being able to switch between these two “classes” essentially saved me in many a battle. Cat Quest 2 is a Windows game that works flawlessly via Valve’s Proton.
The next game I loved was Octopath Traveller. I have only recently started getting into JRPGs as in the past I never really gave them a chance. Octopath Traveller is quite a traditional JRPG by all accounts; the pixel art graphics are beautiful, the party turn based combat is engaging and the story and soundtrack really kept me engaged. It is a massive game as there are basically 8 stories belonging to each main character in the game and each story is split into several chapters. Make no mistake, this is a 50+ hour game. It is also a game that works as though it were native via Proton.
Littlewood is a linux native early access game that is set in a world that has just gone through a huge battle where your character saved everyone in it and now must rebuild. At the start of the game you name your town and then you set about building it up, adding houses for people to live in, shops, a market and more. There is no combat in the game and that makes it a beautifully relaxing and wholesome experience.
Now the 84 hour elephant in the room; Last Epoch is an ARPG along the lines of Diablo 2 or Titan Quest that I have played a lot and doubtless will continue to play a lot. This has to be named my top game of the year even though it is still in early access and not due to leave early access until the end of 2020. As I said, it is an ARPG with quite a unique skill/progression system. You start of choosing your base character class (at present the choices are Acolytle, Primalist, Mage and Sentinel with a Rogue class coming later). Each base class has its own passive skill tree that can be specced into, and then during the game you will choose a specialisation class which also has a passive skill tree you can put points into according to the direction you wish to build your character. In addition to that, each skill has its own tree so you can customise your four skills to make them act with your desired playstyle. It sounds complex but it isn’t as complex as it sounds, and it is really quite fun to look at the different directions in which you can take your character and theory build around it. The game does have a native linux version which does have some graphical/texture as well as optimisation issues, but it also works pretty flawlessly through Proton. This is a game that I will continue to keep an eye on in 2020 because I feel it has huge potential to be a great game.