Tag Archives: Fortnite

My Favourite Games From 2020

I wanted to do a ‘Games of the Year’ list because I love the idea of talking about games I loved in what was – in most ways – a brutal year out to wear us down at every turn, but I realized early into the planning that it had to be different.

For the most part, this is a one-man operation and, while I’m lucky enough to be able to dedicate more of my free time to gaming than a lot of people, I still need to pay the bills, play ball and hockey (not so much this year), and spend time with the family – so there are only so many games I can play in a year.

Let’s be super clear about it and hopefully fend off all the ‘what about [GAME X]’ questions: this is MY favourite games of 2020, not YOUR favourite games of 2020. You can have a different opinion and that’s ok. Maybe you played games I didn’t – maybe you were luckier than I was and got your hands on a PS5, for example – or maybe I played games that you didn’t.

Basically just don’t be this kid:


My Favourite Action Role Playing Game:

Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla

Valhalla somehow manages to be both enormous and gorgeous, with a sprawling world full of unique experiences that never stopped amazing me through over 80 hours of gameplay. Changing the series over to a much more open-world RPG was a gamble for Ubisoft, but I’ve loved the new focus that started with Origins and I’m on board for whatever the future brings.

Eivor is a great character, and that holds true no matter which version you choose to tackle the story with. There’s not as much stealth here as fans of the ‘classic’ Assassin’s Creed might want, but the sprawling skill tree does allow you to spec your character into a one-shot murder machine if you’d like.

It’s also worth noting that there are a slew of options here for customization and accessibility, including things like independent difficulty levels for stealth and combat.

Runner Up: Mortal Shell

Mortal Shell – reviewed here – is the debut effort by Cold Symmetry and what a debut it is. They’ve supported the game well post-release and I can’t wait to see what’s next from this dev team.


My Favourite Role Playing Game:

Wasteland 3

I love an RPG where the decisions you make have consequences, and Wasteland 3 hammers that home early and often. Couple that with enough character build options to make Elon Musk second-guess himself and I’m in heaven. I’m positive I set a new ‘restart to try something new’ record on this game, finally eclipsing the previous mark set by Divinity: Original Sin 2, and there are still some weird character builds and party comps that I’d love to try one day…

Like Divinity, this isn’t a game that takes itself seriously 24/7 and I’m here for it.

Runner Up: Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

I backed Pillars of Eternity way back in the day and I’m delighted the sequel – which I finally got a chance to play when it hit console this year – kept to that more traditional ‘Baldur’s Gate’ style. An amazing setting, strong dialog, and a plot with a credible threat made the choice between this or Wasteland 3 far more difficult than I thought it’d be.


My Favourite Adventure Game:

Kentucky Route Zero

I’ve been hearing about Kentucky Route Zero for over a decade, starting with the crowd-funding efforts and ratcheting up every time a new act was released, and to be honest, I really wasn’t all that into it. Even when it released in full and a friend who loved it tried to sell me on the game, I just didn’t get it.

But I tried it anyway, and yeah – it’s fantastic.

This isn’t a very traditional game. It seems to start out that way, but holy cow does it go places and I’m not sure I can explain why it’s so special. As you’ve probably figured out from previous ‘Favourite Game’ selections, I love it when my choices matter, and that trend continues here, but Kentucky Route Zero’s choices are almost entirely conversational in nature.

There’s no way to optimize your playthrough because there is no ‘right’ answer. Any choice you make, because you made it, becomes the ‘right’ answer and this is explored in so many weird and inventive ways.

Runner Up: Star Wars: Squadrons

Electronic Arts landed the Star Wars license in 2013 but struggled with the weight of that fan favourite property until Fallen Order released in late 2019. Squadrons shows that wasn’t a one-off fluke, with a campaign that’s a lot of fun and multiplayer battles that bring back memories of X-Wing vs TIE Fighter.

It’s a 1997 game, kids. Look it up.


My Favourite Action Game

Hades

I came around on roguelikes in the 12-18 months, and I’m not sure if that’s because I changed as a person or if the games have changed.

Every playthrough of Hades is different and some runs are harder than others, but they’re all a ton of fun. The dialog is great, something that’s been improving in roguelikes – see I told you they were the ones changing – and I love the relationship building that every failed run brings with it.

That’s huge because it took me about 25 runs to finally succeed. After you finally escape? It’s the staggering number of boons and weapons that bring you back for another run and another run, etc…

There aren’t many games out there that are this close to perfect.

Runner Up: Ghost of Tsushima

I wasn’t sold on Ghost of Tsushima early on, read my review here, but Sucker Punch has put out patches at a frantic clip – adding multiplayer, New Game+ mode, and a wealth of quality of life improvements – and it’s now the kind of game I expected at launch.


My Favourite Platformer

Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Though it originally launched in March, Ori and the Will of the Wisps got a rebirth of sorts as one of the ‘showpiece’ games for the Xbox Series X launch and holy cow does that game look amazing in 4K HDR at 60 fps. The graphics, the sound, the environments, the weapons, the traversal…Moon Studios is perfect across the board.

The greatest thing about Ori and the Will of the Wisps is that you can put aside the way they absolutely nailed everything else and still love this game for the story alone. A platformer with a story as nuanced as the much-heralded Spec Ops: The Line?

Runner Up: Spelunky 2

Pixel-perfect controls, fun gameplay, and every bit as difficult as the original. I don’t think I have to say anything else do I?


My Favourite Fighting Game

Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate

Slick combos, great graphics, and a roster of characters that’s close to perfect. NetherRealm Studios has done a great job of working to keep everyone happy, whether they want to fight the CPU or other players. I’m a ‘grind out wins against the CPU’ guy, personally, and I couldn’t be happier about having a nearly endless supply of single-player content available.

Runner Up: Them’s Fightin’ Herds

I gave this weird little fighter a chance based off hearing impressions on a podcast, and I’m glad I did. It’s got next to nothing in terms of roster, but the four-button fighting is fun and that’s what matters.


My Favourite Simulation Game

Microsoft Flight Simulator

Though MS Flight Sim gives you literally the whole world to explore, like most people my first flight was to see where I grew up. After that I broadened my horizons, checking out nearby landmarks before expanding to different provinces, countries, and continents.

On the advice of a friend who’s a commercial pilot, I checked out Trinidad’s airport and the surrounding areas. My kids watched Madagascar, then asked me if we could fly there.

The only thing more incredible than the game is the timing of its release. In a year where we can’t go anywhere, MS Flight Sim gave us the world.

Runner Up: Two Point Hospital

Fun game with solid hospital building and hilarious diseases to cure. Reminds me a lot of Theme Hospital.


My Favourite Ongoing Game

Fortnite

My schedule doesn’t typically allow me to stick with games for more than a month or two unless they’re special, and I’ve been playing Fortnite every single week – albeit in varying amounts – for three years now.

I’m still a terrible builder but I find the game a lot of fun on a casual ‘really only care about getting one win in a season for the umbrella’ level, and the crossovers they’ve done are just incredible. Look back even a year ago and who would have ever expected to see Star Wars, Marvel, Halo, God of War, and Ghostbusters characters in the same game?

Adding to that are the season-ending events, the ‘live’ concerts, and other attempts to push Fortnite from being a game to being a platform. I’m curious to see where this goes next. How close can Epic get this to being Ready Player One’s Oasis?

Runner Up: Call of Duty: Warzone

Warzone doesn’t have the hold on me that PUBG once did, or that Fortnite still does, but I’m still taking up precious SSD space on the Series X to keep it available for those ‘I have to play this’ urges. I love the feel of the guns, but the mode just hasn’t grabbed me the way Fortnite has.


My Favourite Mobile Game

Genshin Impact

This is a gorgeous game that has a lot to offer if you can avoid falling into the gacha loot frenzy. It’s one of the few mobile games I play for more than 15-20 minutes in a stretch, thanks to the beautiful open world and the fun combat.

Runner Up: AFK Arena

A friend got me hooked on this one and I’m still playing. It’s harder to love as a free-to-play gamer, but it’s perfect for me ‘five minutes of play during downtime’ mobile play style. If you play, check Reddit for redemption codes good for free gems and characters.


My Favourite Racing Game

Dirt 5

Codemasters pushes away from the hardcore simulation side a bit more with Dirt 5, which opens the game to a bit wider audience. Great graphics and a silky-smooth 120 fps mode help make this feel more next-gen than I’d expected.

Runner Up: Forza Horizon 4

Playing the enhanced version of this on Series X, it’s hard to believe this game came out two years ago on a last-gen system. Playground Games has set the bar incredibly high, and I can’t wait to see what they do with the new hardware.

Fortnite Falls Into Black Hole, Emerges As Fortnite: Chapter Two

So Fortnite had an event over the weekend…maybe you heard about it? At the end of the event the entire world was sucked into a black hole – those in the game got to see everything get pulled into the void, while those who logged in afterwards got to see the menu screen before *blip* it all disappeared into the black hole.
And it stayed as a black hole for an uncomfortably long time, especially for me. You see on Sunday I had promised two of my kids: Sienna and Tyson, that they could finally – at long last – actually PLAY Fortnite. They’d jump into Creative, I explained, and learn how things worked and then they could each play one match of Battle Royale…just as soon as the event was done.
Well that didn’t really work out like we’d planned… The entire rest of their visit with me – they live with my ex – was ‘when is Fortnite going to be back?’ and ‘what are they doing with Fortnite?’  Tyson did rack up over 500,000 points in the ‘Konami code’ Durrr Burger mini-game clone of Space Invaders, however.
The good news is that the next time I get them they’ll be able to jump into Fortnite: Chapter Two – and it’s a whole lot different game… Swimming, fishing, bandage bazookas, new vehicles, new weapons, and a whole new map to explore. All that, plus massive changes to the leveling system – this really is a massive overhaul for the game on every level.

Here’s the press release:


Fortnite Chapter 2 Available Now

Oct. 15, 2019 – Cary, North Carolina —Today, Epic Games launched Fortnite Chapter 2, available as a free download on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Mac, iOS, and Android.
Chapter 2 brings some huge changes to Fortnite. You can check out some highlights below, and we encourage you to drop in and check it out for yourself, because there’s so much more.
  • Drop in to a New World – Choose your landing spot and explore an all-new island featuring 13 locations.
  • New Water Gameplay – Swimming, Fishing, Motorboats, and more!
  • Support Your Squad – Heal your squad with the Bandage Bazooka, carry your fallen teammates to safety, and celebrate with new group emotes like high fives!
  • Hideouts and Explosives – Hide in Haystacks and Dumpsters to get the drop on your opponent or go in blazing by blowing up gas tanks and explosive barrels.
  • Upgraded Combat – Get back to basics and battle enemies with a streamlined weapon arsenal. Upgrade weapons using resources at the Upgrade Bench.
  • More Fun, Less Grind – Level through the all-new Chapter 2 – Season 1 Battle Pass with a brand new XP system and Medals you earn in match.

For more information, head over to www.fortnite.com.

Fortnite Crosses Over With…Borderlands?

A surprise announcement of a crossover today, with elements from Gearbox Software’s Borderlands appearing in Fortnite. I haven’t had a chance to play it yet, but I’m looking forward to seeing ClapTrap in the game.
Here’s the press release:


The FortniteXMayhem Event Starts Now!

You never saw it coming, but the #FortniteXMayhem event is here! Drop into the Pandora Rift Zone, unleash your anarchic artistry with the Pandora Prefab in Creative Mode, and rock a full set of Psycho cosmetic gear thanks to the Psycho Bundle.
The Pandora Rift Zone has opened and turned the galaxy’s deadliest desert planet into a wild PvP playground, while Creative Mode now lets you build your own vision of Pandora’s untamed badlands using the new Pandora Prefab structures. More thematically appropriate rewards await in the “Welcome to Pandora” challenges, which – like the Pandora Rift Zone – is available now until Tuesday, September 10.
Also, be sure to grab the cosmetic items of the Psycho Bundle, which includes a Psycho Bandit Outfit, the Psycho Buzz Axes, and a Claptrap Pet. To learn how, you’ll have to check out this blog

Review – Fortnite

With 98% of the world’s population having vanished and monsters suddenly popping up out of weird purple-hued energy storms, what’s a Hero to do? If you’re one of the 115+ Heroes in Fortnite, you build some sort of shelter, craft up a few guns and some ammo, then start wiping out enemy hordes – preferably in a group with three of your friends.
Fortnite is kind of hard to pin down, though Epic Games’ claim that it’s an “Action Building” game seems a decent start. Alone or in a team of up to four players, gamers will scour the procedurally generated map to gather resources by searching objects or breaking them down into their component parts, rescue survivors, and locate the objective.
Gathering resources makes the game feel a bit like Minecraft, and a whole lot like the recent plethora of survival games to hit the market. Smashing cars, trees, and rocks (among a slew of other objects) gamers gather up material to craft walls, floors, traps, and – most importantly – weapons. Schematics, used to craft new items, can be found in the environment or earned via quests, and can be leveled up using experience chips to produce more powerful weapons.




Fortnite features a massive roster of potential Heroes, though they’ll need to be unlocked via quests or earned from the Llama piñatas that stand in for loot boxes. Heroes come in one of four classes: Constructor, Ninja, Outlander, and Soldier, with each having a unique skill. Constructors build/demolish faster, for example, while Ninjas can double jump. Subclasses like Recon Scout (Ninja) or Warlord (Soldier) providing additional variety to the skills they’ll bring to the battlefield. Heroes can also be leveled up to provide higher stats and unlock new skills.
There are a variety of missions, but they tend to boil down to a few basic steps: explore the map to gather resources, scout out the location, and find survivors, then spend a few minutes to fortify the mission zone, and finally start the waves of enemies you’ll need to mow down in order to succeed. Do well enough and you’ll earn high level loot chests after the smoke clears, providing a satisfying end to missions and keeping you hooked for ‘just one more’ until it’s the early hours of the morning.
Fortnite feels a little easy to start, especially when playing with a group, but it doesn’t take long before you leave the starter zone behind and hit some real opposition. By the time you hit the third zone it’s time to have a solid plan in place before summoning the Husk invasion, including fortifications that have had some thought lent to their construction. Sniper towers are a bonus if the team has a couple people with steady hands, but you’ll have to adapt to the weapons people want to play with. After all, if you get a legendary shotgun it’d be a shame not to use it…
Though it’s been released as an Early Access title, leading up to the game’s full release as a free-to-play title next year, Fortnite feels remarkably polished with only a few instances of lag to detract from the action thus far. The game is undeniably more fun when playing with friends, as the solo experience can start to get repetitive – at least through the initial zone, which is more or less the training and tutorial area, albeit one with hours of content to churn through. The game looks great already, with a simplistic style to it that evokes Plants vs Zombies, and the performance has been solid outside of a few spots of lag. The third-person shooting mechanics are flawless, with my only wish being for a grenade toss indicator of some kind.