Death Stranding Director's Cut

Over the last few years, I’ve been finding myself finishing fewer and fewer games. I think some of this has do with the long list of open-world titles I’d been playing. I invest a fair amount of time, sometimes dozens of hours between multiple games, but most of that gets spent running around doing everything but the main quest line. So although I would invariably almost never see the credits roll, I did walk away from each experience satisfied with the time invested, feeling that I had done all I wanted to do.

This trend reached it’s apex when I realized at the end of last year that I had only finished one game for all of 2020. Now, to be fair, 2020 was a mess. Between the pandemic and all of the uncertainty and ridiculous conflict (anti-mask BS) that went along with it, and having to care for my mother full-time for a majority of the year, while also still sort of working my dedicated full-time job (writing for Half-Glass Gaming is a passion and not even close to my full-time source of income), and just feeling an overall sense of malaise, I guess I just didn’t have the time or feel the sense of urgency to cross more than one finish line in the gaming sphere. In fact, the singular game I did manage to finish, in the waning months of 2020 was Mafia Definitive Edition, and only because my vow to finish more games literally sprang up while I was playing that game specifically.

So with 2021, I decided to make a concerted effort to see more games to completion, reliving my formative years when I would finish a couple dozen per year. And although I came nowhere near close to that number, I did a whole heck of a lot better in 2021 than in 2020.

So in the spirit of end-of-the-year game lists, I thought I would do a personal list for the games that I finished in 2021, in no particular order. So here’s the good, the bad, and everything in between.

Death Stranding Director’s Cut (PS5)

Death Stranding Director's Cut

It was sort of silly how close I got to finishing Death Stranding when it originally came out, though I didn’t realize it at the time. I greatly enjoyed my time with it back then, but I got pretty burned out trying to mop up every mission in each chapter before moving on the the next (a feat HGG’s owner Josh accomplished handily, much to my utmost admiration). In my initial attempt, I never saw it through to the end.

But with the release of the Director’s Cut, I vowed to not only complete it, but to do so by starting over from the very beginning and doing it all over again. This time, I would spend far less time outside of progressing the story, other than to build up the network of roads, which just makes the whole affair far more manageable. And even though I wasn’t bowled over by the story, and it felt like the final two chapters were mostly just padding for the run time, I’m glad I finally ticked this one off the list.

Alan Wake Remastered (PS5)

Alan Wake

Considering how well the original Alan Wake still holds up (case in point, this remaster was merely a graphical overhaul with no tweaks to core gameplay), I was pretty excited to replay this incredible adventure with a shiny new coat of paint. And boy howdy, did I have a great time playing Alan Wake Remastered. There was no doubt in my mind that I would see this one through to completion, at the least the main story (I haven’t gone back to the two DLC chapters yet, although I plan to).

I will say, though, the game felt a bit more challenging this time around, which might have been due to the increased frame rate throwing off my dodging skills, or just old age creeping in. Regardless, Alan Wake Remastered was that rare treat of seeing an old friend and marveling at how great they have aged while still getting on as if no time had passed at all.

Backbone (Xbox Series S)


The reception to Backbone was a bit divisive, and I certainly get why. The final act takes a bizarre, sharp turn that feels a bit at odds with everything that came before it, adding an almost insurmountable wrinkle to an otherwise expertly crafted narrative. And even though I was a bit confused, waiting for the other shoe (which never dropped), I enjoyed watching Howard Lotor walk the remains of a decimated world outside the safe confines of the walled-off city. In fact, I felt a real sense of defeat coupled with a sliver of optimism. And considering this game got me through some heavy emotional stuff in my own life, it will always be fondly remembered as a result.

I got Backbone on Xbox Game Pass.

Control Ultimate Edition (PS5)

Control Ultimate Edition

Control is one of those games that I started to play back when it originally came out but I just wasn’t in the right head space for it. So, much like with Death Stranding Director’s Cut, when the prospect came around to play a better-looking version of it on my new PS5, I leapt at the chance.

And boy was I glad that I did, because Control is without a doubt Remedy’s best game. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s of the best action titles I’ve played in a very long time. From the core game play and tight controls to the whackadoo story and masterful visual presentation (and that’s saying nothing of the overall world building), Control is top-notch. And although I still have to go back to finish the subsequent DLC (much the same with the other Remedy game on this list — cough, Alan Wake Remastered), I do look forward to that day, whenever it might come.

White Shadows (PC/Steam)

White Shadows

White Shadows was a bit of a surprise, in that I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did — especially since I was having a difficult time with it early on in my playthrough. At first glance, it very much looks like a Limbo clone, and for the most part plays like one too. Although the more time you spend with it, the less it resembles Limbo and the more it feels like an Oddworld game. But regardless of what other games it reminded me of, White Shadows had merits of its own. I felt quite rewarded and engaged for the last half of White Shadows, so much so that I found myself thinking about this little indie game long after credits rolled.

White Shadows might not blow anyone’s mind, but it’s no slouch — in fact, far from it; this game casts a shadow of its own that very much looms large.

I received a complimentary review code for White Shadows.

Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition (PS5)

Metro Exodus Enhanced

Metro Exodus was another game that I slept on when it was new, even though I was a huge fan of the previous two Metro entries. When I finally got around to playing it, 4A Games announced a free next-gen upgrade, which would include ray tracing as well as some upgraded visuals. So I put in on hold for a few months and waited. It would turn out that I would end up having to restart the campaign completely before ultimately finishing the main questline, but the enjoyment was so strong I sucked it up and ventured onward. And although I ended up with the “bad” ending, it felt like a felt fitting end to this dystopian world and Artyom’s journey.

I plan on going back to check out the DLC, but that obviously won’t happen in 2021.

Foreclosed (PS5)


2020/2021 saw something of a rebirth of the cyberpunk genre in video game, with titles like Cyberpunk 2077 and Glitchpunk, so when Foreclosed popped up on my radar, I jumped at the opportunity to see what it was all about.

Unfortunately, there were some serious fundamental design and control issues here. But even so, frequent moments of maddening rage and frustration aside, I mostly enjoyed what Foreclosed had to offer, even if it, ironically, barely sprang to mind while compiling this list. I would definitely be interested to see a more fleshed out sequel or continuation in this universe, albeit hopefully with more polish and slightly higher production values.

I received a complementary review code for Foreclosed.

In Rays of the Light (PS5)

In Rays of the Light

I originally picked up In Rays of the Light on a deep sale, thinking that since my partner enjoys games with no combat and has previously played at least one walking simulator, she might find joy with this one. In fact, I only fired it up in the first place because I thought it might be an organic way to catch her interest — if she saw me playing it and decided she might want to check it out, instead of me just telling her I got a game I’d previously never heard of, maybe she’d actually play it.

Well, she barely batted an eye, and before I knew it, four hours had passed. Bu this point, my partner had long since gone to bed, and there I was, scouring the internet obsequiously for help on an especially opaque environmental puzzle for a game that maybe a dozen other people had ever mentioned playing, and only one out of that dozen bothered to post the solution for that particular puzzle on the good old reddit.

To this day, In Rays of the Light is the only game I can recall beating in one sitting. It started as a lukewarm curiosity and exercise in coercion, but it ended up leaving me enthralled and sort of spellbound as I watched the credits roll.

Hitman and Hitman 2 via Hitman 3 (PS4 Pro)

Hitman - Paris

I did originally play the first four levels of Hitman when it came out episodically back in 2016, but fell off before the original game wrapped up. I later played the intro mission for Hitman 2 when that launched back in 2018, but I again fell off before diving any further.

So when Hitman 3 came out, I initially planned on passing on it — until Half-Glass Gaming’s owner Josh won me over with his unbridled enthusiasm. And I am rather glad I gave into the hype, because I ended up finishing and very much enjoying Hitman and Hitman 2, which I bundled into one neat package via Hitman 3.

As a matter of fact, Hitman 3 almost made this list, but I got burned out before finishing the level set in Chongqing. I do have every intent to go back and finally see this trilogy through to completion, but that will probably have to wait until next year. Perhaps I’ll get around to it when the Year 2 content starts rolling out this spring.

Lake (Xbox Series S)


I fell pretty hard for Lake and its laid-back design back when the demo released as part of Steam’s Summer Fest. So when it was announced that it was going to release on Game Pass over Memorial Day weekend, I knew I had my weekend cut out for me. And indeed, Lake is a truly special little game; its lackadaisical approach to both design and its overall core mission structure is like few other — if any — games on the market. It’s got some performance quirks and control jank, but it more than makes up for it with its charm (even if Robert goes off the deep end toward the end of the game).

I got Lake on Game Pass for Xbox.


So there you have it. That’s every video game I managed to complete in 2021. Looking back at all of the games I played this year, which are almost too numerous to count, I have to say that 2021 was a really great year for gaming overall. And 2022 is looking like it’s probably going to have some must-plays as well.

And with that, I wish you a happy new year. Stay safe out there, friends!

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