My GOTY 2018

There was simultaneously too much to play this year, and not really enough.
Whilst I didn’t play a lot of the new games this year, for the most part I just didn’t want to, outside of a few (RDR2, Donut County, Tetris Effect)
Thanks to my brother I did at least manage to play a lot of the large PS4 releases, however on PC i spent most of the year just playing older games and wrestling with my backlog, whilst trying to play all of the humble monthly games.

 

So, here are my personal top 5 picks of the year – You can see a list of games I would have liked to try, but didn’t get to below, as well as games which I did play but didn’t make the list.

 

 

5. God of War 2018 (PS4)

God of War was just an all around good game, I don’t really think it did anything too special but what was there was all well refined and good.
I think it won a soundtrack award, but i’ll be honest I don’t remember anything about that, however I do remember smashing a lot of undead face, and the incredible first boss fight. GoW was also much more of a story driven game than previous titles (from what I remember anyway), which some people will find offputting but I kind of enjoyed the downtime between fights.

 

 

4. Yakuza 6 (PS4)

The Yakuza series in general will unfortunately go unrecognized again this year, but Yakuza 6 was a surprisingly good game. The story is one of the better ones in my opinion, and the new characters introduced are all interesting and quirky in their own ways. The switch to the new engine breathes new life into the series, helping to reduce downtime and allow you to explore with more freedom without worrying about being bogged down with load screens, as well as speed up fighting random thugs on the street as you can transition from exploring to face smashing seemlessly, with only a brief pause to transition out. The minigames are good fun this time round also, with an RTS squad battle one, a fishing minigame which plays like a sega lightgun game, a baseball simulator, and others which i haven’t the space to talk about (the camgirl chatroom minigame is fantastic though).

 

3. Return of the Obra Dinn (PC)

Obra Dinn is unlike anything you’ve ever played or seen before – The art style is obviously the most common thing you’ll see or read about this game, but the gameplay is the real treat here. For those unaware (I wasn’t), Obra dinn is a puzzle detective game, where you basically travel through time and see 3d pictures of each person’s final moments, over the course of the game you then have to piece together what happened to them, and who everyone in the scene is – this may be by something obvious, a crewmate saying “Jack, watch out!” for example may easily slap a name on them, but for the most part, the game really makes you work for it.
Obra dinn runs at about 8-10 hours and is truly a unique ride, you need to check this out.

 

 

2. Celeste (Multi)

I bought Celeste on a whim after being bored one day and seeing the game on sale, and i’m so glad that I did.
The main story is a decent length for this sort of game, and is a brilliant blend of challenge and new mechanics, without messing with the core mechanics of your character – the game will pass you through chapters, introduce a mechanic and then pull and replace it with a different one to keep things fresh. I enjoyed the story and thought there was a surprising amount of character development considering the amount of text in the game could probably fit on a single A4 paper.
The soundtrack is also really memorable, and does that thing where the music subtly changes over time based on your progress, I love that shit.
If you go into the game blind, you will be shocked at the additional content, the game and challenge just keeps going for hours after you’ve completed the main campaign, after the 175 strawberries to the B-Side Challenge levels you’re looking at maybe 20-30 hours of solid platforming satisfaction.
Be warned that the game is brutally hard (i’m at 6000 deaths and counting), but the achievement of clearing a hard room is on par with reaching a bonfire in Dark Souls or winning a fight with magic pixel health.

 

1. Monster Hunter World (PC)

It would be hard to not give first place to Monster Hunter World, which I personally spent around 200 hours with during the month of it’s PC release.
I’ve never really understood or gotten into the previous monster hunter games, but the latest entry with it’s lush graphics and quality of life improvements really sucked me in. I spent a good amount of time playing the game on my own but by far the standout experience was playing as a full group of 4 and experiencing the content fresh for the first time without using guides, without worrying about builds or tier lists, just pure “how do we kill it, and how do we not get killed by it”. MHW was genuinely the most multiplayer fun I’ve had in a long time – the horror of seeing Diablos explode out of the desert, making fun of the commander’s voice, and trying not to get carpet bombed by blazblue, are all moments i’ll remember for a long time.

 

 

Didn’t play list:

AC Odyssey, Gris, Obra Dinn,into the breach, Hitman 2, A way out, Red Dead 2, The messenger, Forza horizon 4, Tetris Effect, Guacamelee 2, Octopath Traveler, Frost punk, CrossCode, Wandersong, Iconoclasts, COD blops4, Overcooked 2, Far Cry 5, La-Mulana 2, Pokemon Lets go, Battletech, Shadow of the tomb raider, Detroit Become Human, Battlefield 5, Fallout 76, Donut County,

 

Didn’t make list:

Smash Ultimate, Deltarune, DJmax Respect, Florence, Spiderman, Dead Cells, Subnautica, Lethal League Blaze

 

Life – December 2018

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And so 2018 comes to a close.
This year was fairly uneventful as they go, aside from the 3 holidays

 

Christmas!

Christmas was a little weird this year, as my parents sold the family house and are a bit all over the place right now, I woke up on christmas day alone in my room – unsure whether or not I should open the few presents I had, or bring them to my mum’s place or leave them or what.
I ended up opening up – I got a really nice superdry rucksack, a superdry tshirt, Codenames pictures (boardgame), a steam gift card, a mug, a Yakuza series tshirt, a comic book by hiimdaisy, a bunch of cash (because buying presents is hard), some chocs/biscuits, a glass chopping board which looks like a chipset, and some socks.

We went to my mums sister’s place this year, and had a lovely dinner, followed by some gambling (went from £2 to £7, yay) and jackbox, Hailey was being a bit of a diva this year and got into a strop because nobody was paying enough attention to her, and someone thought it would be a good idea to buy them instruments (harmonica, keyboard and a recorder) so my ears were ringing by the end of the night just because of all of the noise.
Boxing day morning me and brother just hung out, we were trying to find something to play, try doing a bit of Resi6 and promptly ended up buying Lethal League Blaze instead, which we blasted for a few hours. The eve was spent at an Aunt on my dads side, and was mostly uneventful, my cousin recently bought Jackbox 5 so we went through and played all of the games in that, some of them were really good but we didn’t really have enough people for it to be a party.

 

Ham house Christmas walk

Cordelia booked us on a ghost tour of Ham House – it was mostly uneventful unfortunately, though the interior was nice. I wasn’t really expecting much, but it was purely a ghost story kind of walk, rather than a haunted house kind of experience. I remmeber going to a ghost walk a long time ago as a kid and they had actors burst out of coffins and all sorts, but the Ham House ghost tour was just “sometimes you can hear this….” followed by everyone going silent, and nothing happening. Bit disappointing, especially given the high price of admission (£25 pp)

 

 

Book Club Christmas Dinner

‘Book club’ threw a Christmas dinner on the weekend before Xmas, it was all surprisingly organised, with teams for mains, dessert, drinks and decor – I was on the mains team, but the host ended up preparing basically everything so my only real role was to deal with the turkey – which was almost a disaster, the turkey I bought and had been defrosting for 2-3 days was still part frozen, so we ended up having to source a replacement. I was taught how to rub butter underneath the skin of the turkey, which was a very odd sensation, literally crawling in it’s skin – all turned out to be good in the end though, however it was much harder and more tiring to carve than I expected.

 

 

Brussels 2018 – Day 2 + 3 – Atomium, Little Europe, Christmas Markets, Comics!

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Day 2

 

Day 2 would have us head away from the city in search of the gigantic Atomium – the Atomium is probably the only actual attraction which I had seen before and was aware of that was in Brussels, however after taking the tram over, I was still unprepared for the sheer size of this thing. Pictures make it look big but honestly when you are travelling towards it, you can really see it tower in the distance, especially as that portion of Belgium lacks many tall buildings, making it look even more surreal.
We opted not to go inside, even though you can, there are some exhibits and such inside but the entry fee seemed a little steep for what we believed to be inside, similarly I’m not convinced that Belgium has a city skyline to die for and so the observation tower at the top probably wouldn’t have been worth it either (I suppose everywhere is small beans now anyway since visiting the Burj in Dubai).

We did however take a trip next door to Little Europe, basically a small representation of all of the major landmarks in Europe – however after journeying through the choice of what was and wasn’t present seemed a bit odd, for example, for the UK they had a P&O Ferry labelled ‘Pride of Dover’, yet didn’t fancy putting in Stonehenge, London Eye, Tower of London, or even Buckingham palace? I feel like I’ve seen a lot of Europe and yet still didn’t recognise half of the buildings on show. Still, it was an easy way to kill an hour or two and gave us some food for thought on future holidays.

We’d catch the metro back into the city and end up walking around for a bit looking for lunch, eventually ending up in a coffee shop for a bagel and drink.
Our next stop was the Comic Book Museum – Belgium is (apparently) famous for it’s comics, and has a large culture around them, with muiltiple museums and street murals dedicated to comics. The comic book museum was interesting but also a little alien to us as majority of the strips were in french – we did discover a love for Boerke however – a belgian comic which doesn’t have text and so perfect for foreigners like us. Here’s an example of the kind of tone majority of the strips are – https://meng.s-ul.eu/PiIjMOWN

We’d spend the remainder of the day walking around and just taking in the sights, by chance following a string of small christmas markets and signposts, we came across the main christmas market – we were actually kind of disappoiinted in how small the christmas market seemed to be – having only seen the one at Beurs around the museum, but it turns out that was just a small one, this second Christmas market went on for ages.

Eventual dinner at Mozart, which specialises in bottomless ribs, highly recommended, for 18eur you get eat as much as you like ribs coated in a sweet bbq sauce and accompanied by veg and jacket potato

 

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Day 3

 

We didn’t really know what to do on our final day in Brussels, we had already done all of the A-list attractions, and majority of the B-List attractions we were interested in.
We had to check out by 11am which was a bit of a pain as our train was at 7pm – for anyone else who runs into a similar situation, you can store luggage at Brussels Gare du Nord for 5eur all day.

Cordelia decided to take us to the MOOF Museum, or Museum of Original Figures – basically models and figures from comic books and some stuff from graphical novels and manga, it was short but interesting, I didn’t think it was worth the money personally however.

Belgian meatballs are apparently a thing? Or one restaurant wants to make it a thing at least, we had one for lunch – literally just one huge one in a small pan of sauce and accompanied by chips, it was pretty good to be fair, the sauce made from a cherry beer (though there were other options).

I’ll be honest not much else really happened for the rest of the day, we went to Poechenkelder on recommendation of a friend, which was a small quirky bar near the Mannekin Pis – who had a wardrobe change over night it seems. Cordelia got to try Kwak Beer which was recommended to her, and it came in a really weird glass which was almost like a round bottom flask – it needed its own wooden apparatus to prevent it from falling over. We had waffles, we saw the pissing dog, and walked around the Christmas market some more before eventually heading back to the station to go home.

Brussels 2018 – Day 0 + 1 – 3 laps round the city centre

Day 0

We arrived later than expected on the monday, by the time we actually arrived in Brussels and caught the tram to our Airbnb, it was going into 7:30-8:00 in the evening, initially we were planning to drop our bags and then head back into the city for food and exploration but we were way too tired for that. Instead we ended up just chilling in the airbnb, and grabbing food from a local grill shop – to Cordelia’s surprise, she ordered a kebab sandwich thing and then shovelled a portion of chips into the roll as well, I grabbed a kebab meat platter thing with salad and chips, pretty unhealthy but tasted damn good.
The airbnb itself was well sized, though we think the host is leeching wifi from somewhere else, as the signal was atrocious, I was hardly able to connect and Cordelia couldn’t get wifi at all.

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Day 1

An early start for us, considering we went to bed at like 9pm with not much to do, we popped out to the local supermarket to stock up on drinks and get breakfast for the next few days, before heading out to the central Brussels.

The city was fully christmas’d up, with plenty of decorations and lights around the street and shopfronts, as expected all around central brussels were waffle shops, loaded waffles lining the window frame and topped with fruit, chocolate and cream. Chocolate shops were in equal abundance, we went into a few just to grab some samples – can confirm, pretty damn good chocolate.

We spent the majority of the first day doing all of the A-list Brussels attractions, hitting up Grand Place and taking in the views of the buildings lined with gold, the town hall, Notre Dame du Sablon and St Michael’s cathedral were all also equally grand and impressive though obviously only so much I can say about them.
We accidentally stumbled upon the mannekin Pis, which is (rather worryingly) Brussels main attraction? A statue of a small boy taking a piss, he was naked during our visit – for those unaware, Brussels has an unhealthy obsession with statues that piss – along with the Mannekin Pis, they have Jeanekke pis (a girl doing a squat piss) and one of a dog taking a piss on a pole as well.

We also spent a good hour or so in the Delirium Cafe, previously held a guiness record for most beer on offer in a bar, it has since lost it but still serves some 200 different drinks, including 3 types of ‘Delirium’ beer, all of which sit around the 8.5% to 9.5% range.  The Bar we went to was only one of many, they are all kind of down an alley together, and I think all the bars have the same owner so it’s literally just a dead end alley filled with bars on both sides. The decor was pretty interesting, with ceiling filled by beer trays, even all of the lighting was provided by beer lamps.

Dinner at a small place called Baogo, which served burgers but on chinese bao buns, I had a pulled pork one with coleslaw and it was pretty damn good.
On the way back towards the station and christmas market we stumbled into a light show happening in Grand Place – music playing and the entire square lit up in a variety of colours, the size of the crowd was insanity. We’d wander around one of the Christmas markets (Beurs) for a bit before heading home, exhausted from a full day of walking around the city.