Welcome to a new feature on MHG as Brad and Stu pick their favourite games each month that we feel deserve special mention. These will range from smaller indies to major AAA blockbusters, brand new titles, to older games from months and years past. Full games, free games, DLC, mods. Anything goes!
So let’s get to the first official picks of 2024!
Cyberpunk 2077 (+ Phantom Liberty)
I rightly gave this a wide berth upon release. It was a buggy mess and CDPR were deservedly dragged through the coals for what the felt acceptable to release. Fast forward 3 years and change, Cyberpunk 2077 didn’t just impress me with how far it has come, but has become one of my all-timer games. Straight into that Top 10 or so I will wax lyrical about any time someone is willing to listen.
The game has a deliberately slow start and in truth it took me more than one attempt to get past the opening hour. However, I like to start each year with a meaty game that I can get into. Last year it was the excellent Persona 5 Royal, this year it was Cyberpunk.
As soon as the game opens Night City up for you to live in, you are transported to a world that just feels so alive and makes a mockery of most other open-world games, with the exception of the Yakuza/Like a Dragon series. There is so much to see and do, that I would lose entire nights to the game.
The main story is so well written and so brilliantly voiced it holds up as a piece of entertainment on its own. But then the side missions, the little gigs, stories, things happening around you, it just all adds to a wonderful experience that I don’t think I will ever be tired of being part of.
That’s before you even think about the Phantom Liberty expansion, that is beat for beat one of the most exhilarating gaming experiences I have ever had in something story based like this. It blends seamlessly into the main game and adds in new characters that you care about (maybenot like them, but certainly invested in them) from the get go.
I actually saw the credits roll the day of writing this and my choice of ending hit me right in the gut, Not whilst that ending played out, but during the credits when I was faced with some of the consequences of my decisions. That alone makes me want to go back, start again and make other choices and see where it goes.
These are meant to be quick little write-ups about our choices, not a full blown deep dive. That can wait for another time. Just know for me to pick a ‘AAA’ game as my first Game of the Month, it must be something special and it really, really is.
Portal: Revolution (Mod)
You know what the people want? Not affordable housing, not an end to Trump’s hopes of the presidency, not even the basic human right of freedom. No, they want more Portal. More zapping holes in stuff to allow for more physics-straining puzzles. More archly sarcastic dialogue about how crap we humans are.
So praise your moonrocks because more Portal has arrived! In mod form, at least. Portal: Revolution is completely free (via Steam) requiring Portal 2 as its base game and boasts a 40 level, 8 hour campaign. The regular goings-on and trappings will feel comfortingly familiar to all, perhaps a little over-familiar to some, but that’s what we’re here for, right?
Going in eyes-open, it may not have the pizzazz of a new Valve release, nor its sly inventiveness, but Revolution really takes you back to the days of community mods that showboated the creator’s skills and delivered a fun extension to something already brilliant. A welcome return to a unique universe.