(idk what and unsung swan is but I wasn’t gonna be generic and name this the “unappreciated” award)
These are the games that I don’t think got enough credit this year. Some of them you’ve heard of, some of them you may have even played. But all of them are deserving of their swan song
(that analogy 100% doesn’t apply to this situation but FUCK IT I WON’T BE VANILLA. MUST. BE. DIFFERENT…..)
Here are this year’s nominees for the “Unsung Swan” award:
Dauntless is a shared-world multiplayer title done right.
Remember how fun Monster Hunter World was at the beginning of 2018? That’s what Dauntless is, except is free and way simpler.
I never felt overwhelmed by all the different weapon types, buffs, crafting options, etc. Everything has been streamlined to make it easier for players to load up, squad up, and kill some fucking behemoths.
Also, unlike most free-to-play games, you really can play the game without spending money on microtransactions. I never felt that far behind one of my friends who bought the battle pass, and honestly I like the content they put in it. Unlike Apex and CoD, Dauntless actually knows what the fuck they’re doing.
And in terms of quality, it’s right up there with Monster Hunter! If you hadn’t told me I was playing a free game I never would have known.
If you haven’t tried it out and you’re looking for something to grind over the holidays, give Dauntless a try. It’s on all platforms and what’s even cooler is you can start your account on a console, and move it to PC seamlessly.
Remnant: From the Ashes
I’ll admit, this game is marred a ton of issues: there are a bunch of bugs, the graphics aren’t all that great, and the story is fucking horrible.
But if you can look past some of that, there’s an awesome twist on the Soulsborne genre here. First, it’s the first Soulsborne game I’ve seen that you can play with your friends.
So that way, you won’t be the only one who wants to kill themself after your 10th attempt at the first boss.
Also, this one’s got guns! No more trying to time your attacks based on your weapon type, just shoot at the fucker! For real tho, it really does make the game much easier.
And the world is still kinda cool even though the story sucks. The boss designs aren’t as unique as anything in Dark Souls, but they do the job.
I have two IRL friends who fucking hate difficult games, but they loved playing through Remnant with me and one of them is on like his 4th playthrough since it got put on the Game Pass last month.
Seriously, give it a try. I think it’s slightly better than its Metacritic score.
Risk of Rain 2
Is it cheating to put an Early Access game on this list? Fuck it I don’t care, it’s my award show anyway.
I never played Risk of Rain, but when I heard they made a “co-op Dark Souls roguelike shooter in space”, I had to try it out. And boy, it didn’t disappoint.
This game is fucking bonkers. The powerups you earn every run are so fucking cool. You can get a powerup that gives you 100% critical hit chance, you can get one that makes you jump 20 times in a row, you can get one that makes every hit with a big explosion.
It’s almost like they took inspiration from the Borderlands franchise and paired it with the other genres listed above. Except while other games just throw ideas together hoping they all stick, RoR 2 does it the right way.
There are synergies you learn about your builds as you play through the game. Some buffs work better with certain classes, adding a depth of choice to each run.
I’m not sure I’ve ever played a game in Early Access that’s this fun right off the bat. I truly cannot wait for the full version to be released in 2020, but until then, this is a game everyone should be trying out.
Slay the Spire
I have talked before about how I really hate turn-based combat games, but Slay the Spire is an exception.
The roguelike gameplay loop is highly addicting as each run you basically “re-roll” the enemies, cards, and relics. Maybe on one playthrough, you get a bunch of aggro cards that cost very little to play. Then, on the next run, you get a bunch of defensive buffs and high damage cards.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve played for 1 hour or 50, every run feels fresh and new. Also, nothing is overly complex. I remember trying to learn Magic The Gathering when it was free on Xbox and feeling incredibly overwhelmed.
What effect does this card have, or this buff, or what is my opponent going to do next? All the information is given to you in an incredible HUD that makes turn-based combat fun and engaging.
And I’ll admit, Slay the Spire isn’t really floating by everyone’s radar. But as someone who’s put way too much time into this title, I can honestly say that everyone, regardless of your taste in video games, should give it a try.
This game is the bane of my existence but it’s also the best battle royale in the world.
Yes, that includes Fortnite and no I’m not a Tetris homer. In fact, I think I’d probably played a total of 1 hour of Tetris in my entire life before this game.
You know how many hours I’ve played Tetris 99? Over 70 and I still don’t have a fucking win.
And that’s what keeps bringing me back to the game: the challenge. Tetris in and of itself is a simple game, but when you’re squaring off against 98 other people who are constantly sending “trash” your way, it gets addicting.
Each match only lasts 5-10 minutes, but you are engaged the entire time. There’s no farming for materials, no searching for loot, no rotating or camping for the best position in the next circle. It’s just you playing Tetris trying to be the last one alive.
Its a genius concept, but since it’s exclusive to the Switch and it’s Tetris, people have overlooked this game. But it has had my attention all year and I will not stop playing it until I get that first win.
I fucking love this game and I cannot believe how overlooked it is. Void Bastards is a roguelike first-person shooter made by indie studio Blue Manchu, which is headed by one of the BioShock creators, Johnathan Chey.
My favorite aspect of the game is the aesthetics. The voice work is hilarious and the comic book art style is fucking awesome. Every ship I boarded felt well designed and fresh.
But even more than that, Void Bastards keeps you on your toes with its roguelike feature. I died a ton in my playthrough, but unlike some of the other games on this list, I never felt like I was starting all over again.
Instead, I get a new character, new abilities, and a new path to the objective I failed to reach last time. It’s almost like every run is a brand new game and it’s highly addicting.
Void Bastards is one of the best games released this year, and no one has been talking about it at all. If you’re a Game Pass owner, download this right now and see what you’ve been missing.
And the winner for this year’s “Unsung Swan” Award is…
I have put 70 hours into this game guys. It really might be my most played game this year by that measure. And I haven’t won. I haven’t won any of the 1500 matches I’ve played. But it doesn’t matter, because I’m sick. I cannot put it down. I cannot stop until I attain that coveted victory. And I will, even if it kills me.