I’d been going through a few months this year where I’ve been generally disinterested in video games. It’s a phase I seem to have every few years where I glance over the video games on my shelf or digitally installed on my consoles and can’t bring myself to play any of them. This isn’t helped by the fact I don’t have the financial flexibility to splash out on a new game whenever it takes my fancy; instead having to save up and take a gamble on a new release in the hopes I don’t find it to be a bad buy and a waste of time.

I’ve hardly played any games this year despite wanting to pick up a lot of those released. For example, I don’t ever play horror games as I’m a well documented massive coward, but the remake of Resident Evil 2 looks so interesting and well-designed that I would break my rule to play it, if I hadn’t spent the money on paying my water bill instead!

One game I did take a gamble on and picked up on release day was Rage 2, thinking myself safe as it was made by Avalanche Studios, the team behind the Just Cause franchise and the greatly under-appreciated Mad Max. Just like Just Cause 4 unfortunately, it comprised of one or two good mechanics bogged down in an ocean of mediocrity that I lost interest in within a couple hours of installation. This of course meant that a game I’d expected to take me tens of hours to get through didn’t come anywhere close to this, sending me further down a path that removed video gaming from my life. As that got a bit depressing I’ll lighten things up from here on out.

Fortunately for me, two things came along that snapped me right out of this feeling with such force that if gaming whiplash was a thing then I’d definitely have that now! First was Pokemon Shield that I purchased on release day as I’d loved all of the leaks I had seen of it, and when I reviewed the game I gave it a well-deserved very high score. You can find out why here!

Second was the Friday Feature from Rob of Playstation Access on 29th November ‘Reasons We Play Videogames (And Probably Always Will)’. I won’t list the reasons stated here so definitely check out the video for yourself, but they spoke to me on so many levels that had me suddenly desperate to pick up the pad and throw myself back into gaming.

So, the obvious question remaining is what have I done with this new found drive? First (thanks to a combination of Black Friday sales and trading in a chunk of old games off my shelf) I purchased Red Dead Redemption 2 for Xbox One X, and then Fallen Order for PlayStation 4. There’s isn’t much I like more, that also appeals to my laziness when it comes to changing game discs, than being totally engrossed in two video games on two different consoles. I could even stretch that to three games on three consoles as I’m still playing Pokemon Shield occasionally, despite having finished everything in the game apart from the Pokedex.

I’ve been very critical of Rockstar Games in the not too distant past for their refusal to develop single player downloadable content they’d previously announced for Grand Theft Auto V, and their insistence on spending their time and money on a sequel to Red Dead Redemption. I found the original ‘GTA but with horses’ rather boring in the time I spent on it, but after finding RDR 2 for a nice and low price I thought I’d give it a chance.

While I thought the first chapter was pretty good despite failing horribly in every shoot-out as everybody is dressed the same so could barely tell friend from foe, I’m now totally absorbed by the game and really have to wrestle with the decision to play it or Fallen Order first in a gaming session.

Speaking of Fallen Order, I’ve managed to fit in a few bursts on it when I’m not playing RDR 2, and can confirm it’s gradually growing on me. I tried playing it on normal but had to bump down to easy as I was having a tough time and don’t play video games for a challenge! I confess I wasn’t overly impressed with the title in my first few hours, but as Cal unlocks new Force abilities I’m starting to get into the swing of things with it.

Once I am done with both games I have every intention of starting a subscription with Xbox Gamepass Ultimate as there are so many titles available on there that I haven’t had a chance to play yet. To name but a few that I’m excited for, my first game will definitely be The Outer Worlds, followed by Metro Exodus and then The Outer Wilds.

To summarise, I am totally back in the fray with video games, and 2020’s release line-up is looking like it will be the biggest year ever for gaming. I know I can’t wait for most of the games shown off so far, mostly DOOM Eternal, so be sure to let me know which you’re most excited for in the comments and on Twitter @RespawningUK. Thanks for reading, Happy Holidays, and I will speak to you soon.

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