Due to other things in my life, I didn’t finish every game that came out last year. So I like to publish my honorable mentions for video games that I only played for a few hours and didn’t reach the ending point. Below you’ll find a sampling of these games I enjoyed and plan to finish later.
Super Mario 3D All-Stars
A pretty barebones 35-year celebration collection, and disappointing that Nintendo didn’t do more to celebrate their most famous game character. Seriously, Nintendo make more of an effort than a simple HD resolution upgrade and include more bonus features besides a music selection. Mario’s incredible 3D game legacy deserves better, and why no Super Mario Galaxy 2? However, despite my complaints, owning three fantastic 3D Mario games bundled together on Switch still rocks.
Super Mario 64 plays so much better on a proper analog stick over the DS version making this the definitive version for handheld. Super Mario Sunshine holds up with the innovative water-spraying dynamic reminiscent of Spaltoon, and I dream of a sequel one day. Lastly, Super Mario Galaxy remains a delight, and its creativity with each level ranks up there with the best 3D Mario games. Not the best way to celebrate 35 years of Mario, but for many Nintendo fans, everything here makes this an essential purchase.
Last of Us: Part II
A brutal video game experience. I’ve only played up to the halfway point, but my game time surpasses the original Last of Us’s total playtime. The sequel offers better stealth gameplay and reminds me of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, where you crawl through the grass a lot. The combat’s much better, too, and it feels more like Tomb Raider. I appreciate that I can fall back on explosive arrows when I get caught, or going the silent route isn’t an option either.
Also, similar to Uncharted: Lost Legacy, early on in the story, you explore an open world level. By doing all the sidequests, you gain new weapon upgrades and health packs. I did every optional sidequest to stand a chance against enemies in brutal encounters.
When I say brutal, I mean it. The Last of Us Part II makes you feel each kill, and the violence gets intense. I felt uncomfortable when dogs entered the mix. Since keeping Ellie alive sometimes means killing most of them. Fortunately, the dogs don’t show up too often.
Finally, I’m glad I didn’t rush to push to finish this game because of spoilers. This game’s story unfolds slowly, and your enjoyment improves if you take your time. I am excited to play the second half from Abbie’s perspective later.
I have a Mac, so I don’t play most PC games. However, after hearing all the rave reviews for Disco Elysium, I prioritized playing it. I appreciate how the gameplay reacts to your choices by making your character and gameplay experience unique. It contains a fascinating world, with fantastic writing and voice acting too that kept me playing.
My only sour spot involved a bug where I lost my save file with a Mac update. I only played about three hours in, so not the end of the world. Now that the newer version with more voice acting and better design improvements, I’m excited to return to this fascinating game later.
Persona 5: Royale
I love Persona 3 and Persona 4 but have yet to play Persona 5 despite already buying it. Glad I waited for this enhanced edition, though, and from the 20 hours I’ve played so far, I’m impressed. This game oozes style. You feel like you’re in Tokyo with a slick presentation and strong voice acting. The last point feels especially welcoming after spending 2020 mostly at home.
I’m pleased that the dungeon design feels vastly improved, and the combat offers more depth. Something that always felt dull in P3 and P4. The tutorials help make more sense of everything, and the UI design rocks. The grappling hook helps with dungeon navigation, and the seed upgrades give you more incentive to explore.
Lastly, my favorite part of Persona involves the social links system, which remains as good as ever. Also, I thought I’d prefer playing handheld as I did with P3 and P4, but I’m glad to play this on a big screen instead. That way, I soak in the HD visuals and hear the incredible music better. I am excited to dive into another 100 hours of P5 once I finish some more games.
Thanks for reading!