Why We Game - 2018 in Review

a year in review. sort of.

Previous Weapon doing a year review is a bit redundant. We’re all about games of yesteryear and in sales. Technically our game of the year was Dusk, the awesome Quake-era throwback, because it was the only game we reviewed that was actually released in 2018. And it wasn’t even finished when we reviewed it, so no 2018 GOTY awards from PW. We’ll need to do a GITS award; Game in the Sales …

Previous Weapon is all about rediscovery and replay, and we did a lot of both in 2018, hitting our 100th review in December. We also continued our spoiler-ridden playthroughs with 2018’s first review, Fallout 4, FBT’s emotional Mass Effect trip, and TheMorty took us through an epic season in Championship Manager 01/02. And then there was the Call of Duty playthrough in search of a story. PW had a busy year gaming when we should have been doing something more constructive. Let’s let TheMorty and FBT look back on a year of playing the previous year’s games ...

FBT - Let me get my failures out the way first. I have 47 games I’ve half-started or half-finished. Damn Steam Sales. In my defence I haven’t finished those because I had others to play, I wasn’t distracted by real life or anything.

It’s interesting that my fave games of this year have been from small developers making games for gamers - SOMA, Ion Maiden, Dusk; they ran rings around the Triple-A games. And the most fun I had was replaying old games; not for the memory but for the simple fact that they were better – maybe not as realistic, or as complex, but just … better. I fell in love with gaming when devs like id and 3DR were doing it for themselves, for fun and it seems as if that’s happening again. Long live the indies.

TheMorty - Well, I lost nearly a year of my life re-playing a childhood classic. Championship Manager 2001/2002 gained cult status with football aficionados - and it had aged like a fine wine. My play-through took months, I truly lived it. At times, the game had me in fits of rage, tears of joy and regularly biting my fingernails. Guiding, quite literally, the team of my childhood to a pair of cups was a refreshing break from the disappointment of being a Newcastle Fan IRL and it offered a simplistic gaming experience in contrast to the prolonged, overcomplicated sports management games of today – it had me nostalgically longing for more. The epic 8-part review also marked a rare foray into non-Xbox gaming. It was a welcome retro break to swap to 4.3 from my usual 50-inch cinematic experience.

FBT – Other than CM, the one game that TheMorty wouldn’t shut up about was Witcher III. Another I own and still haven’t played. And why? To annoy TheMorty? Yes, but also Keys. Different key sets for the horse? What, am I riding and walking at the same time? Multiple one-use keys instead of a multiple-use key, what is this, 2005? I don’t care how good W-III is, I rage quit at the key menu. Key assignments piss me off. It’s what stopped me playing Watchdogs, made Assassin’s Creed Odyssey harder than it needed to be; Witcher II had its key assignments outside the game – I have to quit to reassign?! Deadpool and Sleeping Dogs won’t even allow key reassignment; Lazy ports piss me off. I am not a console.

TheMorty - FBT can use keys to excuse his Witcher failings all he likes. You’ve got opposable thumbs, use them. Get a controller. For me, looking back on 2018 I’m reminded that my Mafia III Rage Quit review is still the highest read article on the site, hanging around the top spot 18 months since I ejected the disk in disgust. But the review’s success made me think – was I too harsh…? Maybe I Whacked the game before it had chance to become Made. I Rage Quit in 2017, but I’m both a year older and wiser. Surely I’m a more patient man. Instead of reminiscing like FBT, maybe I’ll give it another go…

FBT - While TheMorty tortures himself yet again, I’m reminded that the one that surprised me the most this year was Aliens Colonial Marines. How is a game this badly-reviewed actually this good? To be honest, it’s not that good. But it is great fun. It’s a b-movie game, filled with scrappy fun; we’ve got Aliens leaping about, pulse rifles, Queens, a Bishop, Weyland-Yutani, LV-426, the Sulaco; what’s not to like? It’s good but is it a GITS?

TheMorty – while FBT is arguing for a bad game to be awarded a GITS, I’m just playing a git of a game. After I got through that rage-quitting mission, I ran through a few tedious side missions – nothing too exciting, but enough to get back into the swing of being Clay, who now works for not-at-all cliched drunken Irish mobster Burke, who wants me to steal cars.

Not just any cars, but three limited-edition orange coloured Samson Richmond-Luxes. Rare, but fortunately three are marked on the map for me – albeit, quite some distance away …

FBT - Since MIII doesn’t allow fast-travel in main missions, let’s leave TheMorty to negotiate the mean streets of Mafia III and instead take a moment to appreciate the mad streets of Just Cause 3; I think I did JC3 a disservice when I reviewed it early in 2018. I talked at length about Rico’s double-denim outfit, but I didn’t really get into it. Yet I kept going back to JC3, just for the laughs. I did rave about the madness of it, but not the sheer unbridled joy of being the one to cause all the madness. JC3 is a looney tunes cartoon, it’s pre-schoolers at lunch break after too much lemonade, it’s my state of mind when a Steam sale comes up. The JC series seems to be leaning towards Saints Row with its ‘just go muck about’ mentality. It’s because of JC and SR that I can’t get on with GTAV and for that I thank them.

TheMorty – still driving.

FBT - Perhaps the most emotional playthrough of 2018 was my Mass Effect DGAF. Playing Shepard as only out for themselves, avoiding all friendship and relationships, dealing only with what needed to be done was tough, and also amazing; it was like playing a new game. I still hate myself for what happened to Tali. I am so sorry. The ME series is one of the best of all time - and I’m including ME3 in that assessment.

TheMorty – if I wasn’t busy I’d remind FBT of the time I owned him for claiming Mass Effect 1 is better than Mass Effect 2 in an Agree to Disagree. And now he forgives ME3 as well? Idiot. Anyway, I’ve aced the first car and after a little cop-trouble, nabbed the second. This isn’t so bad. As I leave the scrap yard, imagine my delight when I see one of these rare orange coloured Samson Richmond-Luxes drive right past me; I don’t have to do the annoying drive halfway across the map – the car is right here. Perfect. Perhaps this is the game’s way of trying to make it up to me, serving up the perfect apology.

FBT – While TheMorty’s busy thinking MIII will even let him get away with that, I’ll refute his ME comment by pointing out I put him in his place with our Borderlands agree to disagree review. Who admits to being scared of a Skag? He should stick to footie. Let’s see how he’s getting on with the Mafia III car heist. As well as he does in Borderlands I’m betting.

TheMorty – Whatever. After a bit of trouble I steal the car and there’s flashing lights everywhere but I’m so close to the mission marker, if I can just get inside the scrap yard the mission will end. I drive up, expecting the car to be crushed but nothing. What’s going on? I’m reversing back, driving forward trying to find that sweet spot but nothing’s happening. No cut-scene, no mission complete. You’re joking?! Please don’t let FBT be right.

FBT – Let’s give TheMorty a moment. For me, of everything I discovered and replayed in 2018, the one that stuck with me was SOMA. That game ruined me. It’s in my top five now, and I’m not even sure I’ll ever play it again. Just play it with the lights off and no one home. You’ll never look at an electrical appliance the same way again. My GITS for 2018, SOMA.

TheMorty – Hang on, pausing MIII for a minute here. SOMA for GITS of the year? Previous Weapon’s inaugural award goes to SOMA? I struggled to get past the tutorial level – yes, the Xbox version is a clunky, glitch-filled port but what I did play was … well it’s not a rage quit, but as soon as I finish MIII I am agreeing to disagree on that one. So anyway, there I am …

I’m surrounded by cops and I’m getting shot to bits. I leave the coveted motor to take them all out. I’m losing health rapidly and haemorrhaging bullets. The firefight eventually gets too much as wave after wave of cops descend on my personal Alamo and it’s fast becoming a futile last stand. As the car takes too much damage and bursts into flames, I die, respawning at the safe house.

So after all that, I must start the whole mission from scratch, losing a chunk of money and all my ammo? I knew there was a reason I hated this game! It turns out that Burke’s crusher is picky and will only accept the exact cars pinpointed on the map. Doesn’t matter if you can find closer cars in better nick, the mission marker won’t recognise them. What a stupid, stupid game. That’s it, this time it’s over. Mafia III is staying in 2018 never to be installed again (or will it…?).

FBT - this is a Previous Weapon first; a double rage quit. Didn’t see that coming ... I posted a lot of rage quits, but begrudgingly, thanks to my CoD replay I have to remove ‘Call of Duty Modern Era’ from my most hated games list because the MW trilogy was awesome when played as one epic run-n-gun; and Advanced Warfare was bloody brilliant. Question now is, what replaces Modern CoD as a new most hated? CoD WWII? Infinite Warfare? Mass Effect Andromeda? They've all earned a place. Yeech.

TheMorty – I took a lot of inspiration this year from reading FBTs reviews and got an itch to replay some of his much-loved games for the fun of it. His Far Cry review inspired me to re-view Trails of the Blood Dragon, which was an uncharacteristic delve into the Trail-bike gaming. His Fallout 3 write-up made me keen to get back into the wasteland, so I replayed its sequel ‘Fallout: New Vegas’. His disappointment at Volition’s SR spin-off, Agents of Mayhem, made me long for some vintage Johnny Gat - so I pulled out my original copy of ‘Saints Row’ – both reviews are coming 2019.

FBT – for me, it’s great to hear some of my rambles inspired TheMorty to ignore real life in favour of the digital one. That’s the point of Previous Weapon, honest chats about games and why they’re great – or not. Next year I’ll be posting a mix of reviews; I even found an excuse to replay Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim again. If they do those in VR I’ll never go outdoors again.

So, that was our not-2018 review. GITS is off to a flying start … Only Previous Weapon could create an award then its contributors refuse to award it. Here’s to 2019 and all the 2018 games we’ll play. So long as they keep making games, there’ll always be games we missed the first time around, and that’s what PW is for.

We’d also like to thank you for reading. We’ve had thousands of reads, likes and shares from almost every country in the world, so thank you. If there’s a game out there you’d like us to blast, let us know. Any excuse to game. See you in the sales.