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The Official Rllmuk Game of the Year Awards 2019


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3 minutes ago, SeanR said:

Wait wait... where did that figleaf come from?

Yeah, what the fuck? There was no fig leaf in the version I played.

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The Middle Eastern release got fig-leafed.


54 minutes ago, Thor said:

Sorry Benny, had to neg this. There's having a cheeky dig, and there's being downright unfair. What the devs have done with this game since launch is fucking spectacular, so to say it's all because of people whining does the devs an enormous disservice. 


You've veered well into bell-end territory with that comment.


I'm pretty sure Benny's comment is meant at the expense at the godawful dregs of humanity who spent the launch of the game whinging ceaselessly and shouting at the the developers, rather than at the developers themselves. Who, frankly, would have been well within their rights to tell everyone to just go fuck themselves, and the fact they didn't and instead constantly worked on and improved the game was genuinely impressive (albeit it could, unfortunately, be interpreted as proof by the more bellendy side of the gaming community that the direct action of shitting yourself in public is an effective one).

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My tongue was firmly in my cheek with that one. And Wiper is correct, it's aimed entirely at gaming entitlement "culture", not the extremely impressive dev work that has since been done on the game.

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For me, it still does the devs a disservice by the implication. And to me, given the effort the devs have put in with all the new content, for which they have not charged a single penny since launch, it really is an unfair comment.


That said, I'm wiling to accept that wasn't your intention. :)

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Look, I can't help it if not every developer has the funds like Rockstar to send me bri... I mean, let's not do another Gears of fun police bit.

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But you didn't give it bad review for me (or anyone) to rebut. Tongue in cheek or not, you implied the game is only good now because of the whiners. That's not fair on the devs. 

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7 minutes ago, Thor said:

But you didn't give it bad review for me (or anyone) to rebut.


I was obviously joking again.

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You bastards... 


Me: Guess I should see what this Slay the Spire is all about, only £10 on Steam...


3 hours later...


Me: Fucking skank! Stictched me up! ARGH where had all my attacking cards gone...?. RAWR.... play again? You bet your fucking arse!.




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I was looking up the lyrics to the songs in Sayonara the other night and now my eyes have been replaced by hearts. 


But the right words

Never come 

It all comes out


And all the things I need to say

And all the big words seem to stay

On the inside

On the inside 


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and finally...




Gears 5




Was Wiper's the most controversial review to ever be written about a game since Red Dead Redemption 2? For balance, here is Treble's take:




"Video games, more than almost any pop culture medium, get away with being shockingly unreconstructed. Whether it’s the hand-wavy, codified “War is good” message of military shooters, the objectification of young women in cartoony action games or just the general lack of representation when it comes to characters with anything less than lily-white skin, it can get a bit dispiriting.


The Gears games have always been pretty poor on the representation front, but the Achilles heel is completely unreflective streak of fascism. Fun, huh? 


Grabbing a machine gun with a chainsaw attachment and gibbing anything that moves game after game comfortably dispels any possibility of sophistication, and we’re left with a comically backward franchise that fetishises slaughter, and continually one-ups itself with a ‘might makes right’ message.    


Subtle it ain’t, but developers The Collective at least nod towards representation. The lead character is a woman, she isn’t objectified, and her team are predominantly non-white. But forget all that woke bullshit and get to the righteous killing, yeah?! Putting trivial things like representation and intersectionality aside for the nonce, let’s look at the positives.


The game engages you by sticking to oh-Cliffy-B-of-Blessed-Memory’s principle descriptor for the Gears-verse: ‘Beautiful Desolation’. It’s one of those late-generation releases that boggles you with its technical (again, not narrative!) sophistication and astounding loveliness. What The Coalition have done here is create one of the most immersive worlds we’ve seen, taking inspiration from the best facet of walking simulators - discovery - to add tension and atmosphere. 


Rocking up to a decrepit installation in the snow, reviving malignant AI in rusted underground bunkers, frangible icescapes blocking your path, choking your way through gaseous, Imulsion-infused lairs… it’s all so present and exciting. Great visuals and environmental storytelling can’t rescue a poor game, mind, so it’s good to know that this sixth entrant in the main franchise hasn’t jettisoned the series’ successful gameplay elements


The success of 5 over its predecessor is down to the introduction of complementary mechanics, without nixing the core stuff. So instead of being yanked from one section to another with a brief heading of, say, “Chapter 2: It’s a Mine Cart Level Now” you frequently get to explore the interstitial environment in a skiff. Far from being an intrusive break in the slaughter, this is traversal that brings you deeper - figuratively and literally - into the world. Like the Halo franchise’s brief vehicle interludes, they give you an appreciation for effortless, frictionless space tourism after hours of weighty perambulation in power armour. This shift in the dynamic is gaming R’n’R.


The second side-loaded innovation is your robot buddy’s range of abilities, aka “I am Jack’s substantially increased power set”. Taking what was an essential but automated part of the game then signal-boosting it with the addition of direct control and a tight upgrade path is really gratifying. It showcases a wider set of combat options: grabbing guns from across the map, cattle-prodding goons before they club you into donut filler, providing a temporary shield, and other tricks I won’t spoil here. 


None of this is particularly innovative or head-turning, but it definitely entertains. We may still be a ways from ‘emergent’ systems appearing as a gameplay mechanic within Gears’s simplistic thuggery, but a wide toolset and a beefy gun selection make for a decent, dice-rolled bunch of chaotic scenarios. 


Deep down, the series doesn’t want to change. It’s making an effort, though: it goes to the pub with your ethnically diverse mates, it promises to at least think about voting for someone other than Tory, acknowledges Brexit might not have been a sop to the NHS, and will be part of a conversation about women and not just go on about how hot they are. 


Gears 5 may not have been shooting for the stars, but neither did it settle for firing a potato gun at Ipswich: it reaffirmed its commitment to arcade game immediacy, constructed around an addictive core loop. It’s a B-movie directed by a talented artist; it’s basically Nic Cage’s Mandy. And, for all that - and The Coalition’s adherence to building the slickest, dumbest murder simulator around - you have to salute them."











GamesGamesGames (with that triple threat you'd imagine he knows a bit about them) has this to say about what may be one of the year's overlooked gems:




"A lot of people talk a lot of stuff about gaming habits, and how they shift as the many grim realities of adulthood take hold. For me this has been clearest in the importance of the lunchtime run - the game perfectly designed to fit into some of that hour inbetween slogging away at the coalface.


They are always great games, and doubtless occupy time outside of lunch, but they have that certain something that makes them special. You think about them in the morning, you have your run, and you idly ponder about what went down in the background to the afternoon's graft.


And boy, are they great games. Thinking of my last few. Spelunky, FtL, Into the Breach, Slay the Spire. These are all absolute bangers.


But lunchtimes have levelled up. Now there's Noita.


Noita, more than maybe anything I've ever played, is the game my kid self wanted games to be. It's per-pixel reactive sandbox madness and ludicrous modular wand-building is the stuff dreams are made of. Like the very best games it can be damned hard, but every death is on you. It's never unfair: even when you're cursing to Gods as yet unknown, it's just you - you damned fool - who failed to remember that here lies something deeper at a systems level than any so-called 'immersive' sim, with potential for chaos that makes other pretenders seem, well, kids' stuff now.


And those systems.... As obscure as From Software's most-elegant touches. I have five notes at present of things I have discovered but not sussed out. A couple of these I'm not even sure how I discovered, but that's Noita. There's a reason and weight behind everything. If you wonder 'Could I...?' the answer is not only 'Yes', but that action defracts the game's light at a whole new angle as a consequence.


At time of writing, the rllmuk Noita thread runs at a paltry five-or-six pages, and a chunk of that is me wondering where the noise is, because anyone with a love of videogames should be on this like a dyslexic beaver at a Ron Simmons autograph signing. Its death gif-cam alone should be flooding pages with facepalming joy. Its gameplay, the stories you tell from it, its perfect blend of inch-forward-shitting-yourself vs holy-fuck-it's-all-kicking-off-now is just...it's that feeling every one of us here has at one point or another defined as why they love this medium.


It's easy, and not necessarily unhealthy, to be wary of the new, and I wondered hard about placing Noita in my Games of the Decade list. It was easy for it to be Game of the Year - I can't recall a year in which one game blitzed the field so handily - but the decade? There's a lot of great stuff.


I placed it at number nine. I got in quite early with my list, and I've played a lot of Noita since then.


Nine my arse. It's in the top three. In fact, I'd put it neck-and-neck with Bloodborne, which was my number two.


Now my number one game was, and remains, the incredible Sleep is Death. But that's a different animal. That's about a future for narrative and shared story experience. It's something you play with, more than play, so it's 'sort of' a game. Which means Noita is, all said-and-done, my joint greatest videogame of the decade, and I feel good saying that without thoughts of its freshness shrouding a balanced view. I've played a lot of it, it more than stands up. It is an all-time great game.


Incredibly, it's also still an early access title, so barring something truly miraculous will be my Game of the Year twice over. It will be a future GotY for many others. My once-nightly pangs for Spelunky 2 no longer exist. There's Noita. Its pixel-perfect simulation and grime and gloom and a soundtrack that does for moody 70s psychedelic guitar what Untitled Goose Game did for Debussy.


Noita. Man. Noita.


Just fucking play it."

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Final Bonus


Lets compare the Rllmuk awards completely arbitrarily to everyone's favourite gaming publication that we all used to read, plus The Guardian (because they got their decade list so wrong obviously) and see how their rankings fared:




  1. Slay the Spire
  2. Tetris 99
  3. Untitled Goose Game
  4. Sekiro
  5. Resident Evil 2
  6. Control
  7. Super Mario Maker 2
  8. Luigi's Mansion 3
  9. The Outer Worlds
  10. Outer Wilds
  11. Fire Emblem: Three Houses
  12. Dragon Quest XI: S
  13. Gears 5
  14. Baba Is You
  15. Zelda: Links Awakening
  16. Cuphead (Switch)
  17. Death Stranding
  18. Astral Chain
  19. Sayonara Wild Hearts
  20. Disco Elysium



  1. Outer Wilds - HIT
  2. Telling Lies - MISS
  3. Sayonara Wildhearts - HIT
  4. Apex Legends - MISS
  5. Baba is You - HIT
  6. Grindstone - MISS
  7. Sekiro - HIT
  8. Disco Elysium - HIT
  9. Devotion - MISS
  10. Astral Chain - HIT



  1. Outer Wilds - HIT
  2. Disco Elysium - HIT
  3. Resident Evil 2 - HIT
  4. Sekiro - DIRECT HIT!
  5. Apex Legends -MISS
  6. Telling Lies - MISS
  7. Control - HIT
  8. Legend of Zelda: Cadence of Hyrule - MISS
  9. Untitled Goose Game - HIT
  10. Devil May Cry 5 - MISS
  11. Tetris 99 - HIT
  12. Hypnospace Outlaw - MISS
  13. Observation - MISS
  14. Sunless Skies - MISS
  15. Fire Emblem: Three Houses - HIT
  16. Horace - MISS
  17. Sayonara Wild Hearts - HIT
  18. The Outer Worlds - HIT
  19. Baba is You - HIT
  20. Death Stranding - HIT

On balance, The Groan is terrifyingly closer to Rllmuk's tastes than Edge magazine. But neither put Slay the Spire in their games of the year lists, so it's an epic fail all round. (Though admittedly The Graun puts the same games in their top 2 as I would, so clearly I should be doing awards for them instead)


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Excellent work @Benny and co. Thanks for doing all that.


Think I've played 12 of the top 20. Haven't got round to Death Stranding yet and Disco Elysium might be a candidate for next year after the console release. The rest I'll likely never try.

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Top work everyone! Loved it all. :hat:


I'd already tried (and noped the fuck out of) Resi 2 on the back of these awards. :)

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