Waypoint's Favorite Games of 2022

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://shows.acast.com/vicegamingsnewpodcast/episodes/waypoints-games-of-the-year-2022
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Renata’s list is so cool, it makes me worry my gaming taste is too Basic ■■■■■…

I really loved the format of this GOTY episode. It definitely made the conversation feel progressive instead of repetitive, and still gave everyone a chance to discuss the games. And with such varied lists, there was still enough overlap and exposition to engage the rest of the group and the listener.

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Having now played Pentiment to completion, I do have a nuanced response to Rob’s comment that Pentiment sometimes lets people die between time-jumps and just have bad things have happened - it does, but just as often, it has positive changes (if Lucky doesn’t die, for example) with newer generations coming along and picking up things that might otherwise have died out. It’s about time changing things in all directions, not just cutting off branches before their time.

(also everything Ren says about Dwarf Fortress is true.)

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I also really enjoyed the format for the podcast, really enjoyable all around.

Man, I wish I enjoyed Signalis more than I did. I feel like in a lot of ways I’m the target audience, I loved old RE games and old Silent Hill games but this just managed to rub me the wrong way at every turn. I love the vibes, love the aesthetic, love the story, but the act of playing the game was just a pure slog past the first couple of hours.

I’m not adverse to using frustration as a mechanic, to me however there’s a razor thin line games have to walk to make it work. The underlying action has to be solid or predictable enough to carry you through. RE makes it work by making each room a singular little puzzle, if you know the dance for each room you can walk through largely unscathed and only take out the zombies necessary to clear your path. Silent Hill makes combat cumbersome but your enemies are mostly predictable and easy to fight or avoid. James doesn’t feel like a soldier cutting his way through hordes of monsters, but I also wasn’t constantly restarting from scratch.

Signalis unfortunately makes two key mistakes. Enemies are not predictable enough to be easily avoidable and there’s not enough ammunition to make clearing them out a viable option, and on top of that every death takes FOREVER to get back into the game. You have to watch Elster slooooowly collapse to the floor, stare at the blue screen of death for a while, wait for the main menu to come back up, select the continue option, select your save, confirm, then wait for it to load. You must do this constantly. I reloaded dozens of times in this fashion and it became obnoxiously tedious that every death was a 90 second plus affair which added nothing to the experience. In a lot of ways this reminded me of my experience with Alien Isolation. Dealing with the alien was unpredictable and you had so few options that after the first few deaths the magic spell of horror is totally broken and you’re no longer nervous or scared, you’re just angry at having to run through this same hallway again.

There are other design choices that feel like they were made in an era other than this one. Many puzzles hinge on you seeing information you need to use elsewhere, and you get an in game item that allows you to take pictures and store that information; but it takes up a slot in your inventory. That’s an added tension with only six slots, but literally any system you’re playing this on has a built in screenshot feature so… why? A big part of puzzle solving is tuning into radio frequencies, but the tuning takes forever and you frequently have to do it in the middle of combat so instead of the creeping dread of the enemies it’s just “oh no, monsters!” followed by silently twisting a dial for a minute to get the right channel only to have to immediately do it again.

Also, fair warning, Signalis has a fake ending that is incredibly convincing. So convincing in fact that after I got it I deleted the game off my switch and looked up discussion of the game to figure out what the hell was going on in the story only to find out I had missed half of it.

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I minor lil plug that we are doing our own community polls for games of the year right now!

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Quick reference of the top 10s if you can’t listen right now or have forgotten a name:

Rob

10-Marvel Snap
9-WRC Generations
8-The Quarry
7-Midnight Suns
6-South of the Circle
5-Natalie Watson’s Immortality
4-Pentiment
3-Warhammer 40K Daemonhunters
2-Elden Ring
1-Gran Turismo 7

Ren

10-Dread Delusion
9-Last Call BBS
8-Hyper Demon
7-Hardspace Shipbreaker
6-Iron Lung
5-Caves of Qud
4-Dwarf Fortress
3-NORCO
2-Citizen Sleeper
1-Signalis

Cado

10-Pokemon Legends: Arceus AND Pokemon Scarlet/Violet
9-Card Shark
8-Neon White
7-Last Call BBS
6-Betrayal at Club Low
5-Signalis
4-Citizen Sleeper
3-Natalie Watson’s Immortality
2-Elden Ring
1-NORCO

Patrick

10- Crankin’s Time Travel Adventure
9-The Quarry
8-Tunic
7-Return to Monkey Island
6-NORCO
5-Iron Lung
4-Elden Ring
3-Metal Hellsinger
2-Minecraft
1-Neon White

Patrick’s Honourable Mentions: God of War Ragnarok, Steam Deck, Scorn, Immortality, Citizen Sleeper, King’s Field IV, Below the Ocean, Ghostwire Tokyo, Powerwash Simulator, Rollerdrome, Stray, Tinykin, Signalis
Cado’s Honourable Mentions: Gundam Evolution, Stacklands, Card Cowboy Unexplored 2, Lunistice, Pentiment, Midnight Suns
Ren’s List of Cool Games: Pillars of Eternity, Rain World, Hunt: Showdown, Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen, Cruelty Squad, Battletech 3062, We Know the Devil, Heaven Will Be Mine, Silent Hill, Silent Hill 2, Roadwarden, Final Fantasy Tactics
Rob’s Honourable Mentions: Citizen Sleeper, GRID Legends, Grand Tactician: The Civil War, Guardians of the Galaxy, Highfleet

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I especially salute Ren in including “games not released in 2022” in her list of Cool Games. Because, you know, fight back against the relentless march towards the recent.

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