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Apr 15, 2008

Yosuke will now die for you.

Iím going to be voting for Kentucky Route Zero despite not finishing it because my attention problems shouldnít get in the way of it earning accolades.


Aug 17, 2014

I'm a lurker who barely ever posts but I've been waiting for this thread all year! In fact I've been keeping a txt file on my desktop for this very occassion;

1. Synthetik: Legion Rising
2. Hell Let Loose
3. Panzer Corps 2
4. Monster Train
5. Indivisible
6. Dungeonmans
7. Spider-man
8. Dragon Quest Builders 2
9. Spelunky 2
10. Dreadnought

1. Synthetik: Legion Rising

My game of the year in every sense of the word. I clocked 200+ hours and still find myself coming back to have another go. The best roguelite/twin-stick shooter I've ever played (yes, I've played Hades too). The setting is novel. The game is hard but not brutally hard, with plenty of modifiers for experienced players.

Is it perfect? my opinion the last boss punishes a few builds/classes a bit too much. It's not as bad as say the final boss in FTL, but I wish they had done more to make other strategies equally viable. As it stands your best bet is to be very mobile and to alpha strike as hard as you can. The longer the battle goes on, the more likely you'll die to bullet hell.

I read that a final update is approaching as well as a Switch port.

2. Hell Let Loose

This game is still in early access but don't let that fool you - what's there is very playable. If Band of Brothers had a game, it would be this. It's what I wish Battlefield 5 would have been like. Game is gorgeous! Hell Let Loose is not for everyone though. You will run for 10 minutes, see no one and get 1 hit killed by someone hiding behind a hedgerow. It's a misery simulator, sometimes you're dishing it out, sometimes you're taking it. The game goes for realism, but it's not as clunky as Arma or Squad. Much of your fun will depend on your unit. If you can get a group of people with mics in your unit it's an unrivaled experience. It's not about kills (or deaths), it's about getting and holding the objectives.

I still remember the time we airdropped behind an objective and successfully stormed the machine gun nests that had been plaguing us for the entire round. Or the time I led a charge through smoke grenades off Omaha beach while bullets rained down on us from the cliffs above. What a rush.

3. Panzer Corps 2

I have had 'a thing' for World War 2 games ever since the original Panzer General. PC2 is a worthy new entry in the turn-based WW2 strategy genre and very much inspired by the old Panzer General series. Compared to other contemporary PG-likes such as Order of Battle or the first Panzer Corps game, it's still a little light on content. I tore through the branching campaign twice and am eager to return in the future when more campaigns are available.

If you've never played the series, I guess you could see it as World War 2 Advance Wars. Part puzzle, part strategy.

4. Monster Train

I'm not generally a fan of collectible card games. Even Slay the Spire barely registered for me; I did complete it with a few characters but wasn't interested in doing it again on the higher difficulties. Monster Train, on the other hand, had me utterly hooked. I think I played this game exclusively for 3 weeks, after which I decided to uninstall it before I burned myself out on it. Got pretty far in terms of difficulty tiers.

Just writing about it now makes me what to get back to it and complete a run with every faction combination.

5. Indivisible

RPG / metroidvania-lite platformer in the same vein as Valkyrie Profile. Has some annoying backtracking (especially so in the optional side missions) and tricky platforming sections, but a lovely art style and wholesome story. Especially appreciated the main character's writing and voice acting.

Also deserves mention - it has a decent length but doesn't go on too long. I believe I got a near 100% completion in less than 20 hours.

6. Dungeonmans

Goonmade game and in my opinion the best gateway drug to roguelikes. Great art, funny humor, just easy enough to play on low energy yet challenging enough to not fall asleep doing so. Lot of classes to play as, with DLC to actually make it harder. Can play with or without meta-progression depending on your tastes and personal interpretation of the Berlin definition of roguelike.

7. Spider-man

I actually feel like Spiderman. Also one of best looking games on the PS4. Not sure what more to say that hasn't already been said in so many GOTY lists last year.

8. Dragon Quest Builders 2

Minecraft meets Dragon Quest. Charming, cute and chill. The main story is a little slow and easy at times, with the training wheels never truly coming off until the very end, but worth a playthrough for the constant dripfeed of new blocks and rooms to build.

9. Spelunky 2

After 459 runs I finally managed to beat the normal boss for the first time. After that I checked some youtube videos on the alternate stages and just noped out of it. I'm glad for the hours of fun I had with it, but eventually the frustration of a single mistake usually costing you the entire run just became too much for me.

I might come back to it next year though.

10. Dreadnought

Probably the most surprising game on this list, being as this is an old and fairly dead f2p title. Space naval combat with excellent balance and a fair bit of grind. I was hooked for a long time...until I hit tier 4 (of 5). Holy poo poo why am I being grouped with Tier 5 ships? Why is my ship made out of paper? Why will it cost me another 100 hours to unlock a better ship? Just...why?

I've never before experienced a game that is so utterly my jam and then shits the bed with a massive grind and higher tier players completely crushing your spirit.

I still think it deserved a spot on my list considering Steam says I spend 200 hours in this game and it cost me nothing. Would recommend playing until the end of Tier III, then promptly uninstalling.

Honorable mentions:

Nice games that almost deserved GOTY or that I simply enjoyed more than I thought I would.


Official winner of the not-as-bad-as-everyone-seems-to-think award. It kind of reminds me of the PS2 Baldur's Gate or Champions of Norrath ARPG's. Fun, especially in coop, but a little samey after a while. The devs did just release a new update. I doubt this will make the game better than Path of Exile, Diablo or Grim Dawn but I for one like that it's not as systems-heavy. There's no fixed classes so you can always switch from pure mage to pure melee and everything in between. Decent story and superb graphics. It may have been very buggy before I picked it up, but seems largely okay now.

Ghost Recon Breakpoint

Runner up of the not-as-bad-as-everyone-seems-to-think award. Ubisoft were often in the news in 2020 for all the worst reasons, but I'm going to judge this game on its own merits. Firstly,'s a dumb game and at release Wildlands + looter shooter elements tacked on. Secondly yes it's an Ubi open world game and basically more of Wildlands. If you didn't like Wildlands, you won't like this one.

After the last big update it's become a guilty pleasure. I like dressing up my GI in ridiculous camo and sneaking through a base. I think the game would be much better received if it didn't wear the Ghost Recon name since it has very little to do with the original milsim games, but for an arcadey PvE coop game you could do worse. Play it with all the auto-marking and UI elements disabled and it's almost somewhat a little bit like coop MGS V.

Flame Over

Roguelite game where you're a firefighter trying to put out fires, rescue trapped people and cats. It's fairly low budget and not as infinitely replayable as I'd like it to be, with certain levels being far too difficult unless you find the right items in the shops. Worth picking up on a discount if you like the idea.

Due Process

Rainbow Six Siege PvP set in the Judge Dredd universe. Awesome art style, nicely simplistic yet deadly combat. I haven't played it for long enough to warrant a spot on my top 10, but hopefully next year when/if it releases out of early access.

Hyrule Warriors (WiiU)

I like mindless hack 'n slash and this game features a LOT of it. Burned myself out shortly after completing the main story battles, but still keeping it around for some chill hacking with Link & Zelda.

Wasteland 3

Decent turn-based RPG in post-apoc America that would have made the top 10 list if it hadn't been for the many bugs, including long load times even on SSD and bugged quest lines. By the end, the combat also became very cumbersome and wasn't very challenging. Still, I got about 30 hours of enjoyment out of this one.

Ace Combat 5 The Unsung War (PS2, emulated)

Ace Combat games age pretty well. Was nice to finally be able to play this on the emulator in HD at full speed. Has a huge amount of missions as well as a lot of planes to unlock.

Castlevania: Curse of Darkness (PS2, emulated)

Fun combat system, great enemy design and nice to see elements lifted from Symphony of the Night. Unlike that gem, this is at best a 7/10 game due to weak level design and cumbersome backtracking. Technically a metroidvania but most of the time you're just railroaded running down empty corridors. The difficult is also a little uneven. Most normal enemies are pushovers, some bosses are huge spikes unless you grind levels a bit.

Agents of Mayhem

A nice, if rather mindless, 5/10 game. I liked it enough to play it to completion. All criticisms of this game are valid, but I enjoyed it in much the same way one can enjoy a game like Dynasty Warriors.

Dishonorable mentions:
Games you may want to skip.

Ring of Red (PS2, emulated)
Turn-based strategy game set in alternate universe post WW2 Japan where you control a squad of robots. On paper this game ticks so many boxes for me. In playing it, I found it frustrating. Even at 4x speed the game spends far too long showing you unskippable animations of infantry or mechs attacking. I stopped at the last mission. Not even save state cheating could make me push on through to the very end.

A game where you collect blocks and craft your own vehicle out of it. Had a really promising start but ultimately felt too samey. I understand you can eventually unlock enough parts for hovercraft and aircraft but the gameplay was too lackluster for me to even reach that far. One of the biggest reasons why is that the enemy AI is too stupid and the missions as a result far too easy. Probably perfect for your kids to toy with though.

Darksiders Genesis
This really seemed up my alley. It certainly looks fantastic. But somehow, much like all the other Darksiders games, it doesn't feel very fun to play. I can't quite put my finger on why that is (considering some of the other games on my list). It just felt like a chore. 4 Darksiders games played, 0 completed.

Cying Suns
An FTL-like with more story, better pixel art but worse combat. Way worse in fact. If you learn the one way to win almost every encounter, the tension is just gone.

Mercenaries 2 (PS2, emulated)
Horrible in every way. Not even emulation can save this.

EDIT: I now know how to make text bold...

LionEyez fucked around with this message at 20:11 on Dec 9, 2020

Sep 10, 2010

Oh no, you use the wrong bold tags

Aug 17, 2014

ShallNoiseUpon posted:

Oh no, you use the wrong bold tags

Thankfully there is search and replace

The 7th Guest
Dec 17, 2003

fridge corn posted:

How much time do you spend playing video games would you say on average? Not trying to be snarky or judgemental but I've maybe finished about 20 games this year and that is only because I had an entire 9 weeks off work due to covid.
biggest thing is i work from home, and i've also been cooped up in this apartment since the beginning of covid. but in general i play a lot of games every year, the trick is primarily fitting in plenty of shorter experiences inbetween the big games. in may i averaged a game beaten a day and it was because I had gotten the Neo Geo Mini and TG16 Mini, so I was playing through a lot of games that are at most 2 hours long, but usually closer to one hour. then the bundle happened and you have stuff like Wide Ocean Big Jacket which is less than an hour long, or gumgem which was a very concentrated 10 minute Celeste-like.

which is not to say i don't play long games (i played through divinity original sin, and a campaign in the old republic), but i prefer a game i can beat in a couple of sittings

but on average i'd say at least 3-4 hours a day to relax and play games during the week, and then more on the weekend. i can't really go out during the pandemic and i only watch movies with friends one night a week

The 7th Guest fucked around with this message at 17:08 on Dec 9, 2020

Tempura Wizard
Sep 15, 2006

spending all
spending all my time

The Five Games I Really Liked This Year or How I Spent Even More Time Inside Somehow
1. Hades
When Hades was announced, I knew I was going to love it. I had played and loved all of SuperGiant's games before, (with two of them my GOTY) and anything even roguelike-adjacent is extremely my jam. I'm really glad I held off on early access (despite almost pulling the trigger, twice), because the resulting product is one of the best months I've had absolutely devouring a game, bar none. Anything I can say about this game others have already said better. It also deserves brownie points for getting new folks into "run-based" games. A triumph, and my personal GOTY for sure.

2, Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk (DX)
2020 is the year I got into the Atelier series, and what a year to do so. Nothing could fit better for a year of [gestures broadly] than a series of cozy games about working away at personal goals to affect change in your little corner of the world (that maybe is decaying away). I finished Ryza early in the year and then went straight into the Dusk trilogy, and while they were all a good time, Ayesha stands out the most for me. Off of Ryza, I went in expecting a rote JRPG experience (more on that below), and instead got one of the better written JRPGs I've played. It's nice for the stakes of a game like this to not be "save the world" for once. It's nice to have a JRPG protagonist be a sensible, genuinely nice person without beating you over the head with it. It's nice to have the mechanics of an RPG match the lead's personal journey besides "number go up". You and Ayesha both start out not having a clue how to do anything beyond throwing items in a pot and seeing what works and by the end you're crafting mystical artefacts and super bombs through nothing but sheer will and know-how gained over the course of play. Like the rest of the Atelier games, it doesn't overstay its welcome at a brisk 20-30 hours, which will always be a point in its favor.

3. A Short Hike

While Animal Crossing is likely to make a lot of people's lists solely on the merits of "going outside simulator 2020, also a great game", the game that served as the biggest balm to me this year was A Short Hike. It only clocks in at 2-4 hours depending on how much you do, but drat if those 2-4 hours aren't just stellar escapism in every way. Cozy, cleverly written, and mechanically satisfying. The kind of game that makes you feel like everything's gonna turn out okay. The kind of game that reminds you of what good is left in the world.

4. Spirit Island (PC, but also tabletop)
Look, I'm gonna fudge this one a bit, but it has been a weird year so why not? Spirit Island is a great co-op / solo board game about murdering or otherwise scaring the bejeezus out of colonizers. You play as an embodiment of nature (the ocean, a volcano, disease, the passage of time itself) and fight every turn to push back the invaders and restore the natural order of things. It got a release on PC this year, and as a result I ended up playing much more of it than I had before, and really got into it. This also lead to me playing more of the original tabletop version, now that I was able to fully grok some of the nuances of higher level play. Especially this year, if you work as a computer toucher, it's really nice to be able to spend some time looking at things that aren't screens in order to play a game. It helps that Spirit Island is tough as hell and has a lot of modifiers you can use on top of playing as all the different spirits available.

5. Mr. Driller DrillLand (Re-release)

In a period where we're being inundated with ports and remasters both hotly requested and completely unasked for, this is the kind of stuff we need more of. The game never saw a western release before now, which I'm hearing may be classified as a new type of crime. All the graphics have been scaled up nicely due to the existing vector assets, and it features a wonderful and eclectic soundtrack on the level of the original Katamari Damacy (both early 00s Namco, so no coincidence there). It helps that the game is both good and massively challenging in its higher levels. I had once written off Mr. Driller into the "b-tier" of puzzle games, but the variants on offer here are enough to make the package well worth it. We're reaching a point where it looks like companies are starting to do "ironic" remasters (Glover? Battle for Bikini Bottom? Who's asking for this?) and while I'm sure those games have their fans and deserve their own place in history, looking to hidden and lost gems like this to remaster is surely a better use of time and talent.

Honorable Mentions:
Puyo Puyo Tetris 2
Hey this just came out yesterday and I'm gonna play the poo poo out of it like I did the first one but I'm not fooling anybody it just came out, like c'mon.

Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness and the Secret Hideout
Baby's first Atelier game! While it was certainly good, and good enough to warrant me playing the (better) earlier games in the series, a lot of things about this game felt very generic and by-the-numbers. For absolutely no reason, I could picture myself playing this game while holed up in a motel out in the desert, mostly playing it because it is what I've got on hand. It somehow manages to feel both completely generic and yet really memorable at the same time. It's probably the writing's fault, because the game systems are very good, but the characters, the characters are very bland. You've got perky protag, buff swordboy, timid studyboy, demure assist character, refined learned professor, and fanservice assassin. That's it. That's the cast. I will, however, respect it and the rest of the Atelier series' big Bechdel Test Energy.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons
It's very good and I played a lot of it when it came out at that perfect time. I'm still playing it, but I feel it's missing something that the earlier entires had. If I had to try and pin it down, it's that it gives the player too much agency compared to earlier outings. Make of that what you will

Regrettable Omissions:
Spelunky 2
Although I adore the original game, this kind of fell by the wayside with Hades coming out around the same time. At this point I may hold out hope for a Switch port.

Tempura Wizard fucked around with this message at 14:27 on Dec 14, 2020

Feb 13, 2012

Have you heard the good news?

Look deeply into my eyes.


Mondo cool.

Jul 12, 2017

I like to see Indivisible on peopleís lists

fridge corn
Apr 2, 2003

One issue I am trying to contend with wrt my own list is that i had several games on my list from last year that I hadn't finished at the time and obviously I have now played more of them and finished them this year. Now, if I include these games some of them are still high enough to make my top ten this year, but I'm more inclined to exclude them from the list to make way for games that I spent more time with this year. Hmmmm not sure yet

Jan 9, 2009

I drink, mostly.
And get mad at people on the internet

Hylics 2 wins, lock the thread

Jan 18, 2004

I have a lot of words I wrote about the games I played this year.

Nearly every game I played this year was weighed against the criteria of: does it soothe me, especially during this year? This year, which foisted upon me a pandemic, a layoff, a frantic job search while my severance pay dwindled further and further, and an abusive marriage that I finally escaped? This year, more than any other time in my life, I have become intimately acquainted with the value of escapism and the pleasure of my brain going anywhere other than the apartment I was trapped in with my horrible, horrible wife. Is it any wonder, then, that the Last of Us Part II turned me away, since I had no interest in any further miseries than the ones I was already saddled with? And is it any wonder that Hades, which is ostensibly about attempting to escape Hell, over and over again, until you finally succeed, resonated so sharply with me? In this essay, I wi

1. Blaseball
2. Hades
3. Animal Crossing: New Horizons
4. Spelunky 2
5. Final Fantasy 7 Remake
6. Ghost of Tsushima
7. Streets of Rage 4
8. Super Mario 3D All Stars
9. Doom Eternal
10. Paper Mario: The Origami King

10. Paper Mario: The Origami King
I've always enjoyed the Paper Mario series as being silly, dumb fun games that don't need a lot of effort to get into. This one was no different, but I really enjoyed the new spin on the battle system they created. Not a lot more to say on this one since I wasn't able to finish it, but I hardly ever finish games anyways.

9. Doom Eternal
I don't often go in on power fantasies but this one was just too much fun. I didn't actually beat this game but it was a good one to set on easy mode and just blitz through some demons. I might have gotten a little further, but I spent a lot more time this year watching people play games than actually playing them myself. It can suck the motivation out of finishing a game when you see some of the ridiculous speedruns on youtube. Still, I may revisit this when I have some more time later on.

8. Super Mario 3D All Stars
The razor-sharp nostalgia sheen of the FF7 Remake was a more enjoyable experience for me, but I gotta say, once I loaded up Mario 64 for the first time since I was a kid, it was like being 9 years old all over again. There's not much to be said about the game other than how amazing it was for having come out when it did. While some games offered me escapism into a different world, this one gave me an escape into a different time. Wouldn't it be nice to be a kid again? I mean I guess that's Nintendo's entire operating model.

7. Streets of Rage 4
The fact that this came out 26 dang years after SoR3 and wasn't just an obvious cash grab is shocking to me. The music was rad, the gameplay felt like an improvement on old-school beat em ups, and the style was really slick. I would love to see more hand-drawn art in games.

6. Ghost of Tsushima
I don't usually go for open world games unless they're *really* good. Unfortunately I put this one down due to some analysis paralysis at the end of the first "chapter", but the time I spent with it was great. The pathfinding system of using magical wind to find your way was so loving cool. The photo mode was insane, and the rock paper scissors and then some combat was really satisfying too. I'll be revisiting this one soon to try out the co op mode with my friends, and I'm very much looking forward to booting it up again.

5. Final Fantasy 7 Remake
The most concentrated amount of horribly awkward thumbs-ups youíll ever see in one forty hour chunk. Good LORD I cringed so hard while playing this game at times. The voice acting was often insufferable, Cloud is hella dumb as a character, and the combat was acceptable at best. However! Iím not rating games this year based on my normal criteria, and ďsoothing nostalgiaĒ polished to a mirror sheen is absolutely something I can get down with in 2020. I also really enjoyed the ridiculous Wall Market dancing segment, and it was nice to see them taking a progressive stance toward gender expression (I can probably trace some of my weird feelings about my own gender expression back to the cross dressing section of the original). I didnít really make an attempt to 100% this game, nor will I ever, but Iím very excited for the next entry. Iím happy they decided to take some liberties with the original story, and the plot changes felt like some interesting meta-commentary on Squareís own legacy with this game. Final note: that one dude was really horny for motorcycles.

4. Spelunky 2
Spelunky 2 had the unfortunate circumstance of being released right before I picked up Hades, which I believe is a superior game. Even still, I love this game, and I think itís even better than the first one, which I spent a good 300 hours on back in the day. The game still plays much in the same way it did before, but theyíve added more branching paths, more items, more enemies, and more variety. I feel a little annoyed that the ďtrue endingĒ is as completely absurd as it is, because based on what Iíve seen Iíll never get there without a truly herculean effort. Even still, the best parts of the previous game were when I got a good enough handle on a level where I could start breezing past it as my skills improved, and thatís still the best part of this entry.

3. Animal Crossing: New Horizons
This would probably be higher on my list if my abusive wife hadnít done so much work to ruin the experience for me. That said, I, like nearly everyone else who got the game when it came out, really genuinely *needed* this game in March. It gave me a consistent, friendly, safe world to hang out in while everything else was completely falling apart. I hadnít played a previous Animal Crossing game since New Leaf, and I went back to it out of curiosity after playing New Horizons, and I was shocked at how clunky everything felt on the older version. Animal Crossing has always been a very deliberate game, designed to slow you down and experience it in a way that other games donít really bother with. With previous entries, I was turned away because of the ďuser experienceĒ parts of the game, and for the most part theyíve been updated and improved in ACNH. I still get the nice ďslow down and enjoy lifeĒ experience, but it doesnít feel like pulling teeth trying to organize my goodies or decorate a room anymore. I recently posted in the ACNH thread, asking for the best way to boot my abusive ex off of my island - a few months after I started playing, she basically took everything over and it just wasnít all that fun to play anymore. She decided which villagers stayed or left, how I could decorate the island, and basically took complete control over the experience. After reading the responses from yíall in the thread, I deleted her character and put a gravestone where her house used to be. I then surrounded it with trash bags, toilets, skeletons, and poop fossils. I then dug a moat around it, and then I installed a barbed wire fence around the moat. All of my closest friends joined a ceremonial zoom call where I pointed a camera at the TV while I deleted my exís character. Iím not sure Iíll play this game again for some time, but I think I said goodbye in about the most cathartic way possible.

2. Hades
For some personal context here, I escaped my marriage on October 8th. I packed up roughly five bags of clothing, work-related items, and my Nintendo Switch and PS4. In the interim period, I stayed with a friend, tried to adjust to working from a new place, and started playing Hades. Iím in a new apartment now, and my life is slowly coming together again, but Iím glad Hades was there for me the whole time. Mechanics aside, I felt a huge connection with the story about trying to escape the underworld, over and over again, until you eventually succeed with the help of a distant support network (in this case my friends back home, who I spent a *lot* of time gaming with and talking to). Mechanically, the game is a huge puzzle box of moving parts and interactions between boons and player upgrades, and learning how to create a ďbuildĒ out of a weapon and boon combo is part of what keeps me coming back for more runs. The game also avoids the roguelike issue of, ďwhat do you do when you finish it?Ē by giving truly excellent story reasons to keep going back. Building relationships with characters has also been gratifying, and Iím continually blown away by the absurd amount of voiced dialogue. Apparently they wrote over 300,000 words for this game. One final note: if I ever create something with one iota of the style of any of the character portraits, Iíll consider my lifeís work complete.

1. Blaseball
Itís unfortunate that Blaseball is currently in a Grand Siesta with no clear timeline of return, because more than any other game or media experience, I was utterly sucked in. I donít live in Seattle anymore, but I chose to root for the Garages and found them at the center of much of the gameís lore, starting with the incineration of their star pitcher Jaylen Hotdogfingers, continuing with the disappointment and redemption of Mike Townsend (heís a credit to the team!), and culminating in spitting in the face of the gods and bringing back a fallen hero from the dead. You paid a heavy price, Jaylen, but Iím glad youíre back. While some may split hairs about whether or not Blaseball counts as a game (the actual mechanics of betting and voting are quite slim, to be fair), it is no doubt a cultural experience. The fan art, collaborative fiction, and music (yes, music!) written about the teams and players meant that no matter what you were interested in about the game, there was something you were able to participate in. I recall heated debates in the Discord about what would happen if the plan to resurrect Jaylen failed, or how a new player on the team should be represented. And yet, I also found an online community that was far more pleasant and genuinely happy to be there than anywhere else Iíve ever participated. I formed personal attachments to players on the team, and like many other fans, mourned when they were either incinerated or ďtradedĒ to another team via the Feedback mechanic. I loved the bizarre, incredibly coordinated efforts to gently caress with the mechanics of the game, like the ďSnackrificeĒ, wherein the Unlimited Tacos deliberately had all of their pitchers removed from the lineup to see what would happen if there was nobody on the team to pitch. Iíve never seen a game with so much collaboration between the developers and the fans, and Iím incredibly excited to see where Blaseball goes from here.

Dishonorable Mention
The Last of Us Part II
DISCLAIMER: I feel the need to *very explicitly* state why I didnít like this game, because internet white males have reasons that are entirely unrelated to mine. So, hereís why I didnít like it: Iím not interested in misery simulators right now, thank you very much. I think it was about the point where I accidentally killed a pregnant woman that I decided, ďnope, not for me, Iím done.Ē Yes, I get that it's a technical masterpiece and some people worked very hard on it and it's a "serious" story. But I don't think misery in and of itself is inherently interesting. Maybe I'll go back to this some day when my life is back to "normal" but I explicitly do *not* want experiences like this for a long time.

Games I liked that didn't come out this year
Disco Elysium
Hot drat this was amazing. I picked it up after reading last year's GOTY thread and was immediately obsessed. I'm definitely going to revisit this once it comes out on consoles.
Dark Souls Remastered (Switch)
I bought this on SA Mart for like ten bucks and it kicked off a solid 60 hours of playing online co-op with my friends back home. It was nice revisiting Lordran and praising the sun with my buds.
Horizon: Zero Dawn
I'm working through this one now after picking it up on sale. It's pretty good! I don't know if I'm going to finish it because I hardly ever do that with open world games, but it's such a cool setting.
Slay the Spire
For the first couple of months of the year when I still had a job (that required an hour long train commute each way) this game was my constant companion. Truly excellent commuter gaming. Of course, now I have a job that I (will) drive to (eventually) so my commuting entertainment will naturally revert to listening to podcasts, but I miss taking the train into the city every day to go to work. Maybe one day I'll do it again!
Stardew Valley
I literally just picked this up again last week. A friend of mine found out about it, put in 60 hours in the span of a week, and immediately started an online co-op game which four of us are enjoying a great deal. I forgot how soothing it was! Also I'm excited to start planning out farm designs on graph paper.

Necronomicon fucked around with this message at 19:11 on Dec 9, 2020

Jay Rust
Sep 27, 2011

Missing from the OP:
Yearly reminder to UNIONIZE (or UNIONISE)

Apr 15, 2008

Yosuke will now die for you.

SeXReX posted:

Hylics 2 wins, lock the thread

Iím afraid itís only number 3 on my list.

Aug 15, 2005

Toilet Rascal

I played a weirdly small number of games for a year in which we were all officially ordered to stay home for long periods, so there are probably fewer games off this list than on it, but here goes:

7. Doom Eternal

An over-emphasis on matching counters to targets and a weirdly obtrusive story hold it back a little, but don't really blunt this absolutely howling adrenaline dump of a game. When it's firing on all cylinders, and there are a lot of cylinders, it's a rush of violence and agility to the point that the controls can barely keep up with its demands. It's also one of the most technically accomplished games of this generation, portraying all hell breaking loose (because you broke it loose) at a near-flawless 60 frames per second and levels of detail games that attempt half that and fail don't even approach.

6. Blasphemous

It takes a lot to stand out when you're a side-scrolling pixel art indie dungeon crawler. Like a stilted yet precise combat system borrowed from Dark Souls and converted to 2D with much more success than a lot of imitators. Or a truly strange setting centered on a twisted religion of suffering and penance, where the main character accepts his quest by draining the blood from a giant priest monster into his helmet and pouring it onto his own head and an important temple takes the form of a colossal bell buried in the desert. This is a game of bleakness and despair, which may make it a strange choice for 2020 but I can't say I didn't enjoy it.

5. Ghost of Tsushima

Much like Doom Eternal, this is a fantastic fusion of art and technology. It looks so good I spent a significant amount of time messing with the extremely capable photo mode, which is rare for me. Leaning into the tropes of classic samurai and western movies makes for an epic, mythic experience suited to the scope of a AAA open world adventure. The actual gameplay is no slouch either, with the latest evolution of the well-worn whack-a-mole one-vs-many mechanics meshing well with its themes of ascetic honor versus opportunistic trickery.

4. Tetris Effect

What may be the most perfect set of mechanics of all time wrapped in a sensory-overload presentation intentionally designed to draw in every bit of your attention (with hardware assistance, if you use VR) produces a unique experience even from a game so utterly familiar to almost everyone who's been alive since the 1980s. It's like a lucid dream, but you're dreaming about Tetris. We're all connected in this world, don't you forget it.

3. Subnautica

The open ocean is already the alien world next door, so making it a literal alien world is not really much of a stretch. But it's such a beautifully handcrafted, detailed, menacing, striking, alluring one that you can't not explore it even you're pretty sure that hazy blob in the distance is just waiting to spring forward and eat you. And you also can't help digging into the mysteries and puzzles of the depths, or the possibilities of the building system, or the capabilities of the vehicles, or anything else that catches your attention. You can learn to get along with the ocean, and convince it to let you impose your will on it, but you will never defeat it or get it to like you.

2. Kentucky Route Zero

While Night in the Woods was exploring the breakdown of the modern world from the perspective of those whose life still appeared full of possibility, this game had already started exploring it from the perspective of those who had given it their best shot and found where it led them. With so much more age and perspective it took much, much longer to finish telling its story, but what it ended up with was a similarly stark but much less textual (ironic, considering how much text is involved) portrayal of the dead end to which America's decay has been leading. Its alternately indulgent and flagrant avant-garde structure is barely a game at all in the traditional sense, but rather an interactive character study, giving the player the opportunity to silhouette these sad remnants against the encroaching societal twilight in a sort of twee flat-shaded danse macabre.

1. Star Wars Squadrons

The transportative, all-enveloping power of virtual reality found a perfect setting and hit a new high-water mark in another example of what it could really be capable of with the resources of a large studio sunk into it. On a normal screen it's an acceptable arcade space fighter, a worthy heir to the X-Wing games of the 90s, but with a headset you are there, surrounded by immense starships and cyclopean scenery and screaming lasers and the chaos of the battlefield. The detailed cockpits are assembled with care and love and and a realized desire to deliver the ultimate space shooting fantasy, and the only thing missing is the "lock S-foils in attack position" button you got to actually press yourself in its free Battlefront-based predecessor.

Honorable Mention- Destiny 2: Beyond Light

I still can't stop playing this terrible game so I have to give a shoutout to its latest expansion, which upholds its favorite tradition of combining a dose of thrilling and expertly crafted new content with sweeping, perhaps not-as-well-thought-out changes throughout the content that was already there and undeniably ruining more than a few things that were fine as they were in the process. The endless service game tapdance of two steps forward, two steps back, and an indeterminate number of steps sideways continues, but I still want to see where it goes.

Jan 2, 2005

Nap Ghost

My favorite gaming thread returns! Like past years, I keep a more comprehensive list of games on Glitchwave. I also took out games I replayed since I feel it's unfair to put Persona 4 Golden, Persona 5 Royal, or Disco Elysium after making my list last year. Also, Cyberpunk 2077 is a potential #1 but there's no chance I'll be able to play more than the first five hours by the end of this year so, look forward to 2077 as next year's #1.

30. The House in Fata Morgana (3.5/5) The best written of the traditional VNs I tried this year, albeit lasting far too long for it's plot.
29. Quarantine Circular (3.5/5)
28. Valkyria Chronicles 4 (3.5/5)
27. Control (3.5/5)
26. 428: Shibuya Scramble (3.5/5): This is essentially a 40-hour high school student film that stumbled across a great way to approach decision pathing as a game.
25. Wandersong (3.5/5)
24. Devil May Cry 5 (3.5/5)
23. Code Vein (3.5/5)
22. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (3.5/5)
21. The Gardens Between (3.5/5)
20. Doom Eternal (3.5/5): The powers that be are hindering the DOOM 2016 formula and adding exposition.
19. Frog Fractions GotDE - Hop's Iconic Cap (3.5/5): A nice bounceback from Frog Fractions 2, rediscovering the original's magical bizarre journey of gameplay types. The shock is gone but the humor is still there.
18. Xenoblade Chronicles (3.5/5)
17. Assassin's Creed Odyssey (3.5/5): My favorite description of any game Iíve heard in the past few years has to be Odysseyís ďirresponsibleĒ amount of content. I acknowledge that Ubisoft has made attempts to solve the open world collectathon burnout across their series but the gameplay loop remains here and I canít commit to it anymore.
16. Horizon Zero Dawn (3.5/5)
15. Tyranny (3.5/5): The hook is great, ďbe the bad guy!Ē, but the plot quickly routes into chaos vs order decisions that doesnít let me emphasize the real treat of the game. Plus, youíre still dealing with the RTCwP combat system that doesnít grab like it used to. The same game plonked into the Disco Elysium engine would rocket this up my rankings.
14. Animal Crossing: New Horizons (3.5/5): Not the game of the year but the obvious pick as the game of 2020. There's nothing like letting your coworkers know your island's turnip prices hit 500+ and flooding your home in riches.
13. Bug Fables: The Everlasting Sapling (4/5)
12. Heaven Will Be Mine (4/5): A little bit of context here: working at home in 2020 meant adjusting my approach to gaming. Instead of sitting at a PC, my wife also worked from home and I needed to find a way to play while sitting with her, on a couch, with the TV on Netflix and her playing the Switch next to me. Steam Link to the iPhone was the best solution but requires games that arenít hindered by lag or the occasional stutter. Story-based games and Visual Novels fit the bill and I tried a bunch this year, with Heaven Will Be Mine as the best example. A great step up from the promising We Know The Devil, you get a nice interplay of broken characters trying to fit their needs through EVA units through a short playtime.
11. Resident Evil 2 (2020) (4/5)

10. Final Fantasy VII Remake (4/5): One of my longtime hot takes is that the original FF7 is wildly overrated but Iíll concede that the remake is worth a shot. The battle system evolves the old turn-based combat in a great way but oof with the overextended story. Itís a strange combination of holding the original plot as untouchable treasure deserving three times as much time and detail as before yet ending the game with a statement to break away from those expectations. Given the track record, Iím not exactly thrilled to find out what happens in Chapter 2 of this remake.

9. Shantae and the Seven Sirens (4/5): The best Shantae game so far is the one that finally embraces all the Metroidvania concepts instead of cherry-picking a few. An easy choice for anyoneís first Metroidvania given the beginnerís difficulty, short playtime, and intuitive goals.

8. Pathologic 2 (4/5): Someone in another thread said that thereís a group of story gamers who felt annoyed that they received a survival game in Pathologic 2. Unfortunately, Iím definitely in the story gamer group .The game takes place over twelve days and the first three days (four, technically?) are some of the greatest in video gaming storytelling. You explore an alien town you think you remember, crashing down around you, filled with landmarks that beg to be understood and broken acquaintances who beg and lash out in equal amounts. Once the survival mechanics really kick off and the plague takes your time, all those incredible elements only exist to taunt you as you waste away, failing to stay alive under the unforgiving mechanics. I get what the game is trying to do but Iím just not the player the game wants. The atmosphere, time constraints, and characters are enough, I donít need to be additionally punched in the gut to understand.

If you've ever seen the movie Funny Games, there's a similar expectation that you, the involved participant, need to be taught a lesson that other games/movies have incorrectly taught (either a video game's approach to difficulty or film's approach to violence). I think I would love Pathologic 2 if it was the story-driven game I hoped it would be, yet I'm reluctant to turn down the difficulty knowing how other player's with similar tastes as mine acknowledge the importance of those components to the game's fundamental experience. I never reached the end of the game but itís still the one Iíve thought about the most after retiring it.

7. Skater XL (4/5): The flipside to Pathologic 2: This is a game that fills exactly what I want and love so well, I can look past the flaws that Iíd imagine everyone else will not enjoy. Thereís no story, no score, and no stats but itís the best approximation of what itís like to actually skateboard and manages to do so in a satisfying way. Itís not about the biggest grind or 720 double laser flips so much as trying a difficult-to-execute trick over and over to flip with the right style and a clean landing. The lack of ďgameĒ with the game is the tough part. You get an occasionally-glitchy simulator and a few optional tutorials then, off you go, have fun in this map a fraction of the size of the EA Skate and THPS worlds. Skater XL is in a desperate need for a surrounding challenge and high-quality maps past the mod scene but if you have any nostalgia for what makes skateboarding a magical experience in real life, try this out immediately.

6. Paradise Killer (4/5): Itís not as good as Danganronpa as much as it wants to, you will be utterly annoyed at the collectables, and the promising worldbuilding couldíve been exponentially better. Having said that, itís a drat good attempt to translate that experience into an open world context. It's rare for me to be hooked by a game but I beat this in two eight-hour marathon sessions, diving headfirst into the strange machinations of the setting and characters. It feels like a passion project where the second attempt at the same genre is going to solve the obvious issues so Iíll be first in line for Paradise Killer 2. Also happens to have the best soundtrack of any game I played this year and yes, that includes Doom Eternal and Mario Galaxy. (PS: The morning after I post, Kotaku's Morning Music series highlights Paradise Killer. I hope more people give the game a chance given how much of it is listening to bright 80's-ish soundtrack while walking around). Hard question: What kind of monster would start the trial without finishing off the remaining side quests?

5. A Short Hike (4/5): Not my #1 choice but my #1 easiest recommendation to a random person. It says a lot that the land and characters in A Short Hike are more memorable that the high-budget open worlds of so many other AAA titles.

4. Paper Mario: The Origami King (4/5): We all love the original Paper Mario and TTYD but every Paper Mario game seems to receive an extra level of criticism because of that legacy. Origami King receives heat for it's unusual battle system but I would argue that this is funnier and more involving than any of the older Paper Mario games, the real measure of success for Mario RPGs, somehow.

3. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (4/5): I really have to stop trusting review sites. When this came out, the general sentiment was so negative that I didnít purchase this during launch even though I loved Human Revolution. A few years later, I pick this up on sale since DX:HR was begging for anyone to buy at 85% off and itís actually pretty great! The moment I stepped out of my apartment in Prague, I ignored the waypoints and started breaking into every apartment I could, hopping between every windowsill, and leveling up to get that next power-up that lets me pass a poison cloud or jump super high. I could explore like this forever, looking for every nook and cranny of a fairly large city and find all the secret stories and pathways. The momentary trips outside Prague are not as great but short enough and still maintain that Deus Ex-y experience working your way into a secret base. I also didnít feel the ending was abrupt at all and felt like a good place to wrap up the story and leave a minor sequel hook...that will never come because people like me didn't buy it at launch, ughhhhhh.

2. Hades (4/5): As some who doesnít like roguelikes in most cases, Hades is right behind FTL as the best roguelike ever made and one of the very few examples that I enjoy playing past the initial novelty. Funny enough, I didnít enjoy Bastion or Transistor and was prepared to have the same letdown here. Hades blew me away with the right difficulty curve, satisfying progression system, and an impressive story in a roguelike situation.

1. Super Mario Galaxy (4.5/5): I could see someone not having Galaxy as their favorite game but who could possible hate Galaxy? Itís Mario excising the variability of larger open worlds into bite-size levels of joy polished to a mirror shine. A tiny amount of levels are duds, the majority have a cute whimsy perfection that makes you imagine this as Nintendoís last desperate chance to prove just how good 3D platforming can be when the genre was effectively dead. I imagine a team of Nintendo mustacho'd scientists behind a two-way mirror watching me play a level, then building the next stage based on observing me and somehow keeping me in constant bliss. Sunshine to Galaxy must be the largest leap in quality between video game sequels, I'm struggling to think of anything that comes close. Zelda 2 to LttP, maybe?

DMCrimson fucked around with this message at 02:59 on Dec 13, 2020

Sep 15, 2008

Take over the World!

1. Cyberpunk 2077
Hype is real. Game of the centuryÖ hopefully.
This is the hype-based placement, that will be adjusted if necessary.

Edit: after 15 hours of gameplay, I can confirm that Cyberpunk is my #1 game of the year.
Now I just have to finish the prologue...

2. Rock Band 4
Iíve been playing band games since the original Guitar hero on ps2 and theyíre still fun to play.
The new generation Xbox Series X has eliminated the load times from the series.
Rocking out your favourite tunes.

3. Skater XL
First new entrant to the Skating game genre since (checks notes) Skate 3 in 2010. Itís been a while.
This one is a pure indie simulator with lot of indie charm.
Pros: Realistic tricks. It has good filming tools, big mod support and lot of user created content. (on pc)
Cons: Hard as hell and not always in a good way and next to none game part.
Thereís no story, nor quests. Just you, your board and camera to film.

Honorable mentions: Skate 1 and 3 are backward compatible on new Xbox and still awesome, with minimal load times.

4. Crusader Kings 3
Paradox strategy games are an acquired taste, but this one is probably the most accessible of them.
It has a nice little tutorial Island (aka Ireland) and lot to do.
Had good fun learning this game during the first 200 hours. Then it got bit too easy.
Itís also on Game Pass PC, so you can try it there for $1.

5. Ghost of Tsushima
The new king of the Assassinís Creed games. Everyone mentions how pretty the game isÖ because it just is so dam pretty.
Mechanically itís purely historical AC set in feudal Japan during the first mongol invasion. No scifi/fantasy crap on the main game.

6. Yakuza: Like a Dragon
Latest entry to the series with turn based combat. Sweet new protagonist. Looks like a doofus, but heart is pure gold.
Just like the previous lead.

Honorable mentions: Yakuza 0 is still the best entry to the series and the best Yakuza game.

7: Wasteland 3
Great fallout clone. The humour is just my kinda of weirdness and the story is fun to follow.

8: Tony Hawkís Pro Skater 1 + 2
Another old classic game modernized. THPS games are always good old arcade gaming fun and these remakes are not exception.

9. Ori and the Blind Forest
Pretty platformer with a nice low key story. There's really not much more to say. Fun.

10. Stardew Valley
Harvest Moon clone thatís actually improves the formula?
Good ensemble of villagers and lot of activities to do.
Spent way too much time just tweaking the look of my farm.

Honorable mentions:

World of Warcraft: Shadowlands
Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers

The big time wasters of the MMORPG-land. Both good in different ways.
FFXIV expansion had the best story line and more friendly user base.
WoW expansion is still new, but the new gamemodes look promising.
They finally simplified the leveling process from the ĎDabble every expansioní to play one previous expansion and then join the new expansion.

Broforce, Descenders, Spiritfarer and other small games on Gamepass.

I wouldnít have ever tried you, if you werenít freely available. Itís really easy to just try them out and have some fun.
The game pass has more good games than I have time to play.
The Netflix of gaming.

Xbox backwards compatibility.

Not a game, but it is so fun to play all the good games you played as a young adult.
And usually with minimal load times on Xbox series X/S.

adhuin fucked around with this message at 13:49 on Dec 13, 2020

Jul 27, 2010

I would vote for Streets of Rage 4 but everyone seemed to stop playing it after a month and I could never find an online game.

So I'll vote for Hades I guess.

Relax Or DIE
May 8, 2006

Gonna razz you slightly for putting cp2077 on your list despite it not being out at the time of posting and all evidence pointing to it being a mediocrity but you can quote this post and laugh when you end up loving it.

Oct 2, 2013

Relax Or DIE posted:

Gonna razz you slightly for putting cp2077 on your list despite it not being out at the time of posting and all evidence pointing to it being a mediocrity but you can quote this post and laugh when you end up loving it.

you aren't my dad i'm gonng quote the post right now to say ranking a game you haven't played #1 is real silly and a marketer's wet dream so congrats other person who i'm not quoting

exquisite tea
Apr 21, 2007

Carly shook her glass, willing the ice to melt. "You still haven't told me what the mission is."

She leaned forward. "We are going to assassinate the bad men of Hollywood."


4. Don't be a dick about other people's choices. This is a positive thread to celebrate the best of video games, not a place for people to get lost in an argument over which AAA release poo poo the bed worst. If you want to be critical then take it elsewhere. Please note that this rule will be waived if anyone picks in event of hentai games or Destiny.

Sep 15, 2008

Take over the World!

Nah, that was well deserved.
I could have waited 2 more hours to post my list.

Still, best game of the MILLENNIA.

Feb 7, 2015

A lady after my own Soul-Heart.

I barely played ten games this year but I'll rate em anyway! Below is a list of all the significant games I played this year in order of goodness imo!

10) Fire Emblem: Thracia 776

(pictured: a false timeline where my thief killed an infamously tough boss)

So, this year I thought to myself, there's a fairly large gap in my knowledge of fired emblems. I had anxiety thinking about getting through them on my own though, I wanted some friends to help me out. So I decided to stream this game on Discord among a Fire Emblem community made up of fellow goons. This journey started with Genealogy of the Holy War, but I'm talking about this game first because I like it less! For every neat feature that Thracia 776 has, like the whole Capturing mechanic or Thieves' ability to steal anything, not just items, there's something super dumb like inability to dodge status magic that reaches the entire screen or completely imbalanced weapon level correspondence to differing tiers of weapon. Not to mention, it was just legit hard. I used so many save states I don't even know if I can consider this game truly "beaten", but in an ideal situation I suppose my level of skill would have been enough to get through it eventually. Anyway, I don't hate this game but it's, like, a solid D.

9) Mega Man Star Force 2: Zerker x Saurian (i played Saurian)

I don't like deck builder games, which this one is unabashedly. But I played this anyway, for a few reasons. Many folks around me were fans of this series and of Battle Network preceding it, and being an observer from the outside made me feel like I didn't truly understand what was the appeal fully. So I decided to play the next game in the series, so to speak, completely skipping 1 and leaving 3 for another time. Overall, I liked the game, mostly because of its nonsensical story, taking it in stride. The neat character moments are few and far between and I appreciated them when they came up. The gameplay was also better than what I saw of 1, having an easier way to stay powered up and even easier ways to break the game over your knee if you wanted to. I tried not to abuse this too much but I did do a little bit for endgame stuff. 100% completing any game in this series and its predecessor is an exercise in frustration, and I highly recommend anyone playing along to, uh, not do that, and just enjoy the main story and leave the rest behind.

8) Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War

(pictured: without fast-forward this game sure takes a while!)

The other half of my stream journey this year, and the one I played before Thracia. I enjoyed it a lot more. There are still things I dislike about it, namely the whole Pursuit skill as a whole and the inability to easily transfer items between characters unless you're rich, which does get easier as the game goes. But inheritance and children are fun and feel like more of a puzzle than the 3DS games. The big maps are offputting at first but not completely awful once you get used to them. Getting strong feels satisfying, and throwing around holy weapons lategame like candy is icing. I wish the plot wasn't so uncomfortable but overall I feel this game did more right than Thracia 776 did.

7) Timespinner

While filling in my time near the end of the year I picked up this title on a recommendation for a metroidvania. It's a blissfully short experience, but what is there is very tight. There's a fully imagined world with meaningful characters, the gameplay uses an interesting blend of classic metroidvania mechanics with the orb system. The time travel mechanic also leads to a few interesting touches here and there, like when I first noticed the change of the main statue in the library to the Eternal Mother, but as others have said it's not as robust as it could have been. Really, though, I think it's good that a game uses a time travel story as more of a setpiece for the story overall rather than defining the game's mechanics behind it. Overall it's a solid game with a bittersweet tale behind it, but not on the legendary level at all like GOAT Hollow Knight, just a nice little timespinnerwaster.

6) Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age
(pictured: rapidly screening zones to see if I could get the infamous Zodiac Spear)

Another title I kind of wanted to play because opinions on it are quite divisive and I wanted to forge my own path. Immediately I liked the way the game handled its combat. Gambits make fighting against normal mobs brainless, but when you get to big boss fights you have to somewhat forego the gambits and start making your own strategies on the fly, especially when you wander into high-level areas early and start fighting Espers before you ought to - it was quite fun! Completing the game eluded me unfortunately, as I wasn't willing to put in the time to grind myself up and adequately prepare for Yiazmat. Kinda dumb that during the last 10% of its HP it just decides to be twice as strong and if you're not ready for that you die, but oh well. As for the plot, eh, it's there. Not incredible but it services enough of an excuse to go from area to area. I didn't find Vaan as useless as most people do. Penelo is a much worse tagalong that didn't really need to be there, imo. Genuinely enjoyable at its core though.

5) Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition

Xenoblade is a masterpiece, but I can't rate it too highly since it is a re-release. The new features and QoL they added to this version are fantastic though. Especially in terms of sidequest tracking stuff. I especially appreciated the marking of the endless blue balls of collectables based on their importance, though I wish they had put that tracking in for Reconstruction as well, and also maybe indicated if an NPC had it available to trade. Expert Mode was also very nice as a way to make sure everyone's levels stayed the same because I'm anal like that. I don't really care if the game is too easy because I pushed my levels too high or whatever, but I'm glad the hardcore people can get more enjoyment out of that at least. As for the new scenario, Future Connected, it was good! I had some very strong emotional reactions to the scenes involving Melia and Tyrea, Kino is a cute little baby, and the new map was fun to explore. I missed some of the features from the original not making it in like Chain Attacks, and I did struggle a bit with the final boss and superboss, but overall it's a much more attainable completion than the main game. The time trials suck though, won't gussy those up at all.

4) Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth

(pictured: a cool enemy)

I feel bad that I missed out on this game for so long just because I was apprehensive about picking my 3DS back up after the Switch, well... existed. This series is known very well for its high difficulty and robust customizability with its character class systems. However, despite all that, Etrian Odyssey as a whole feels to me like comfort food. I got some friends to play as classes of their choice in order for me to avoid analysis paralysis, and while it seemed like it would be a pretty drat weak party (Pugilist, Masarao, Warlock, Shaman, Botanist) I ended up getting more attached to it as I went, finding weird synergies and ways to deal good damage - and having a dedicated binder was very nice all things considered. I didn't beat the final superboss at the end of the sixth stratum, but I got close enough that I can feel satisfied with what I was able to do with my time here. I can't wait to play Etrian Odyssey Nexus sometime next year.

3) Monster Hunter World: Iceborne

(pictured: my Fatalis killshot, lame as it is)

Can't believe this game came out in January! That's wild to me! I had been waiting on playing this game for quite some time. First, it came out exclusively on consoles for a period of time, but I knew it was coming to PC so I waited. Then, when it did come out on PC, they also announced whoops we're also putting out Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate on Switch! So I figured why play the latest and greatest game in the series if it would only cheapen how I feel about a game that essentially came out before it? So I played that for hundreds of hours and then I had to take my year-ish break from Monster Hunter as a whole in order to recuperate my desire to play it. With the pandemic rearing its ugly head, I finally decided I needed a game I could play for hundreds of hours, again, so I bought World and Iceborne jointly when they were on sale around late March or so and it's been an incredible experience. The QoL is extreme, too many things to list here but it makes the older games really feel old (glad I did what I did!). My primary weapon, the Lance, got some really wicked tools to make it more mobile and more fun to use. Its clutch counter is INCREDIBLE, gives me goosebumps still every time I pull it off! The new monster designs could have been better, I wished there was a greater variety than simply Wyverns and Dragons but I understand they were using an entirely new system. I didn't play much with other people starting out, but once I got a friend group together things got even more fun. This game isn't perfect by any means, but it was a drat good first attempt at their 5th generation, and I legitimately cannot wait for Monster Hunter Rise.

2) Bug Fables: The Everlasting Sapling
(pictured: the Gamer achievement for playing arcade minigames)

Though this game came out last year, I thought to myself, I can wait. I want to play it on Switch, the superior console, so I won't bother buying it on Steam for now. Fast forward a grueling half-year of wait and it finally releases. Ironically, near Xenoblade Chronicles' release date, which caused me great peril. But I did eventually sit down and play it a bit. Now, this game has mechanics that serve as a spiritual successor to the battle system of Paper Marios of yore. It's a very enjoyable system, which is why many people have yearned to see it return. Not only does this game bring back what makes that general system good, it expands upon it to create legitimate challenges that a company like Nintendo would probably be too afraid to stick into their official game. The game isn't too hard, but there are options included to make it harder, and even when not playing on the Hard Mode I found myself struggling with some optional bosses like the dreaded Devourer. Learning how to synergize my team properly, bring the right items to the right battles, sussing out the best moves for each situation, and actively switching leader position based on who could either do the most damage or take the most punishment... there were a lot of layers that made fighting fun. Exploration was also fun, with many legitimate secrets leading to genuine surprises and treasures hiding for those that cared to look. This isn't even mentioning the character writing in the game which oozes passion, humor and genuine emotion and feelings. You watch the three main characters slowly become stronger friends with each other and influencing those around them as they become more notable and capable. The world is connected by your actions, growing and slowly becoming a better place. It's a true escapist fantasy to the highest degree. The only main flaw I have with the game is that the graphical style is kind of ugly, like it wanted to be a fake N64 game but didn't fully commit to a nostalgic look while also not looking as good as it maybe could have. Play this game, people.

1) Trials of Mana (2020)

The original Seiken Densetsu 3 is my favorite game of all time. I've played it at least 20 times, maybe more, and I used to play it once per year. That's slowed down a bit. I played the original when it came out on the Seiken Densetsu Collection on Switch back near its launch. It was Japanese only but I had played the game so much I didn't really need to be able to read it to get through it. Plus the idea of finally legitimately owning the game I loved so much tickled me. Then the localized version of it got announced, which blew me away. Then the REMAKE was announced, which sent my spirit straight to heaven.
After experiencing the new translation on the Collection, I picked up the remake the day it came out back in April on Switch. In terms of budget it might be no Final Fantasy VII remake, but the amount of love the developers had for the game was clearly visible, especially after the slapdash job that was the Secret of Mana remake a few years back. A completely overhauled battle system that had attacks, combos, dodging, and active magic really spruced up the gameplay quite a bit. Making areas larger and more explorable and putting actual real treasure chests on the field also helped make the world feel alive. All the enemies and characters look so smooth and cute and beautiful, and the aesthetics of the various updated areas filled me with joy, especially final dungeons like Mirage Palace. The new postgame scenario is not super extraordinary, but it did lead to a pretty cool new boss design and a little smattering of series-wide lore that I'm still not sure I understand. I loved this game. Then I got mad at No Future Mode, but that's not the game's fault, it's mine. I'll prepare adequately and do it better soon.

Hope you liked my list even though it included games people would probably say are irredeemable! I look forward to reading everyone else's opinions.

Alxprit fucked around with this message at 23:32 on Dec 28, 2020

Mar 28, 2010


As with last year I basically spent 2020 getting old poo poo out of my backlog while waiting for a couple of new bangers.

Honorable Mentions
Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition (2020/2012)
In reality this would be an easy #1 if I hadn't already played the original, and if I actually got more than 15 or so hours into DE. I wanted to include it just because I love Xenoblade so much but can't justify actually putting it on my list when I just sort of dicked around for a few hours with it. Still, game's great. Big recommend to everybody.

Yakuza 3 (2019/2010)
I'm going to be completely honest. I finished Yakuza 3 (via the remaster collection, since I'm one of the new fans who jumped on with 0) with about a 5% completion rating. The combat in this game is a miserable slog and I had pretty much no desire to engage with the side content. So this is entirely just based on the main story stuff, which is pretty solid! Not quite as absurd of a finale as 2, they kept it kind of simple with the main antagonists, but it was a good time in the end. Also a big fan of any game that just says "listen this politician is going to tell you The Plot Of The Game for the next hour so buckle up."

Ocarina of Time Randomizer (20??/1998)
I got on board the Randomizer train this year with what appears to be perhaps the most popular? There's not really a lot to say about this since it's just Ocarina of Time but with the items jumbled around. I maybe made things a bit longer for myself than they needed to be with certain settings but I'll most likely be going back to do another at some point. Fun stuff.

10 - Mega Man X4 (1997)
Someone in the Fire Emblem goon discord server recently bought the MMX Legacy Collection (the good one) and has been playing through them, and talking about MMX got me itching to play some, so I loaded up X4, which I'd actually never made it very far in. I had kind of just bashed my head against one or two bosses with Zero and gave up when I played it about 10-15 years ago, but sat down and actually tried to learn how to play it this time. It's pretty killer! Definitely earned its reputation as "the last good X game" for a lot of people. I would easily put this on par with the first 2. (This is an addition made after originally posting my list)

9 - Final Fantasy VII (1997)
Yeah so I had never beaten FF7 before this year. I'd gotten to disc 2 a number of years ago but I didn't have a PS1 growing up and by the time I got interested in revisiting the older Final Fantasies (FFX being my first one) I was kind of put off by 7's graphics. I still kind of am, at least on the PS1, but my peanut brain is appeased when the jaggies are smoothed by the more modern ports on HD systems. I played it on Switch this year and finally beat it a few weeks before FF7R came out, mostly just cause I wanted to finally have that monkey off my back. I don't know that I can add a lot of value to the FF7 discourse at this point because my opinion pretty much boils down to "It was great! Liked it a lot!"

8 - Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth: Hacker's Memory (2018)
So I started this awhile back, maybe the tail end of 2018/start of 2019, but did the back half of it and finished it this year, so I'm counting it for 2020. If you enjoy Digimon RPGs then the Cyber Sleuth games are pretty much exactly what you want. Lot of great characters and some cool/ridiculous plot beats in both of them, with Hacker's Memory being a more personal story than the first game. Both games definitely feel like Vita games that got HD ports to PS4 (and later Switch, in a 2-pack) and you can pretty much feel the budget limitations creeping in from the sides at all times, especially in the Very Similar Looking sequel/gaiden, Hacker's Memory. Still, there's a lot to like about the game even if it adds very little to the table in terms of new assets (though there is some pretty spectacular stuff near the end).

7 - Hitman 2 (2018)
I have no attachment or real interest in the old Hitman games, only really getting onboard with the 2016 soft-reboot. For whatever dumb reason I put off playing the sequel for about 2 years and finally went through all the maps a few months ago and man, this game is great. If you're someone who advocates throwing everything out and doing all new stuff in a sequel, this won't be for you, but for someone like me who's totally on board for an iteration on a formula that was a resounding success last time, then Hitman 2 delivers. Also, the music is pretty low key in these games so I just decided to link a montage of variants of the song most likely to stick in people's memories, just by sheer virtue of it always playing louder than any other. (This is an addition made after originally posting my list, but rather than actually playing it afterward like MMX4, I just flat out forgot I played it. WHOOPS.)

6 - Final Fantasy VII Remake (2020)
I love this game. It's so stupid. I'm so happy it's real and I'm so happy they're going full Nomura with it. Bring on the dumb bullshit, I want nothing more.

5 - DOOM (2016)
It took me 4 years but I finally got around to DOOM in March or so. Loved it. I'm one of those people who could never adjust to KB&M controls, mostly due to the KB half, and has always just plugged a controller into my PC but buying a cool spiky gamer mouse with a few extra buttons and dumb glowy bits was enough to get me to try it out for DOOM. loving excellent game.

4 - Spelunky 2 (2020)
Spelunky 2! It's more Spelunky! It rules! I have nothing to say about Spelunky 2 other than I love it!

3 - Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2 (2020)
I'm no Castlevania expert but in general I have a strong preference for the classic, pre-SotN style. Rondo of Blood is my favorite, for example. When they announced Curse of the Moon a few years ago I was pretty thrilled that Iga threw me a bone, even if most people just viewed it as a fun little bonus thing for the "real" game. CotM2 was kind of a shock, since I figured that first one was a one-off, but gently caress yeah, more Classicvania is never a bad thing. This one was also a surprising spike in difficulty compared to the first, like they really took off the limiters on how brutal some of those levels could be. It's just a blessing that the lives system is so forgiving, I managed to never hit a Game Over even though it felt inevitable at a few points. Absolutely love this one. It has a dog piloting a steampunk mech suit.

2 - Yakuza Kiwami 2 (2018)
God drat is this game gorgeous. The plot is ridiculous, particularly at the end with a frankly absurd series of double and triple crosses and while there was maybe a bit too much focus on one antagonistic party over the other one that I was also interested in seeing more of, it was a really good Yakuza story that didn't quite hit the highs of 0 but was still pretty great. I didn't 100% the game or anything, and the Clan Creator was a loving miserable slog that hard crashed on me after I'd been playing it for an hour so I didn't finish that storyline despite wanting to see wrestlers doing real estate crimes, but I did a fair bit of side stuff and there were definitely a few shining gems. If you're going through Yakuza via the "new route" like me (0 -> Kiwamis -> Remastered Collection -> 6 -> etc) then K2 is a hell of a step up from K1 in a lot of ways.

1 - Breath of Fire III (1997)
I'll be honest this game is probably not actually as good as a few of the ones I placed below it, but this is one of those games from my childhood that I played the opening hours of but never got much further in past that. It was my friend's game, and for whatever reason as I got older I never bought my own copy or downloaded an ISO and sat down and committed to playing it fully. I finally picked up a copy on ebay last year and started a file.... that I eventually deleted and restarted because of a stupid mistake. So I played the bulk of this game in 2020 for the first time. It's pretty much a classic mid-90s JRPG with all the warts you'd expect from one of those, but there's also just a ton of charm and likability to it. My favorite little touch is Ryu starting the game as a scaredy-cat kid whose attack animation is to frantically swing his sword around with his eyes closed, only becoming a single, confident slash when he has to protect Princess Nina later on (in my mind it's because he wants to look cool in front of a girl). The mid-game timeskip is cool but it felt a bit undercooked, like there's only a few towns where anything meaningful changes afterward. The Gene Splicing system is really interesting and offers a lot of creativity for how you want to handle combat, though it eats up MP so fast you'll tend to want to save it for bosses. The Master/Skill system is also a clever method for customizing how you want the other characters to grow, even if it's pretty clunky by modern standards. Overall I love this game, but it's not entirely just because of nostalgia. I'm glad I revisited it because it holds up in most of the ways I hoped it would.

Bring back Breath of Fire, Capcowards.

TriffTshngo fucked around with this message at 04:32 on Dec 22, 2020

Sep 15, 2008

Take over the World!

Breath of fire 3 was last good game on the series.

t a s t e
Sep 6, 2010

Something Awful

5. Streets of SimCity
4. Goosebumps: Attack of the Mutant
3. Bloodborne
2. Tex Murphy: Under a Killing Moon
1. Bugs Bunny & Taz: Time Busters

Theres something very compelling about returning to old favorites that while hardly unique tend a bit more toward the personal than anything youíd find digitally remastered or talked about incessantly online.

In particular, Streets of SimCity still maintains its lustre in that it doesnít precisely do anything particularly well but nevertheless provides an experience that greatly exceeds the sum of its parts. Thereís a degree of restive freedom in car combat here that isnít really matched in vigilante 8, twisted metal, or even the more comprehensive kart racer options. The music is earwormy and the visuals arenít beyond appreciation. Itís certainly a product of its time but that product maintains its integrity decades later.

Conversely, Goosebumps: Attack of the Mutant has to lean heavily into the fact that it was rooted in a simple, ludicrous premise and still try to deliver a funny, frightening experience that appeals to all ages. It manages to do so again on the strength of its music and eye popping colors, and the gameplay while simple nevertheless affords just enough power to foster sincere moments of dread and tension in the player exploring the mutantís base and uncovering his sinister plot.

Bloodborne is pretty well polished and doesnít force the player into its ludicrous storyline if all they want to do is sneak up from behind people and stab them with a sheathed sword until they burst snakes out of their head.

Tex Murphy: Under a Killing Moon is for my money the best Tex Murphy game and one whose appeal is immediately evident to anyone remotely familiar with the IP and genre. I canít say too much without spoiling, but cyberpunk in video games owes a lot to this game.

Bugs Bunny and Taz: Time Busters is probably the best couch co-op game ever made. Simple and accessible with significant depth, itís enough to attract any child or even adult fan of Merrie Melodies, 3D platformers, or world travel. The levels and sub levels are wonderfully unique and even when at their most challenging are constructed such that they never lose that ďsillyĒ quality. Itís not the first Bugs Bunny game in this series to use the formula but the full interpolation of Taz and his skillset, along with the gameplay depth and co-op potential it brings, really raises this one to the peak. Music and visuals again memorable and pleasant.

t a s t e fucked around with this message at 03:49 on Dec 10, 2020

Oct 20, 2010

College Slice

List has been edited to account for finished 13 Sentinels. Sorry FF7R, you're getting bumped off my top ten.

#11: Final Fantasy VII Remake

It turns out the best 4 hours of FF7 can support ten times that length. The opening section of the original was honestly so jam-packed full of stuff that making it bigger and giving it room to breath makes something even better. Barrett in particular goes from kind of forgettable to being the best character without even needing to be rewritten--he just needed more lines. I'm not a fan of all of the story changes but they definitely didn't ruin it. Square is coming off a long period of being pretty mediocre but they seem to have finally righted the ship.

#10: Satisfactory

Pictured: a factory beneath the world

Do you like playing games with a calculator in one hand and a sheet of paper in the other? Do you like spending 3 hours building only to realize you did your calculations slightly wrong and it all needs to be fixed? Do you enjoy knowing you'll spend ten hours building something only to hate it the very next play session? Boy do I have the game for you!!! This is unironic. Satisfactory is a very good game for turning calculations into reality. Still in early access so it might end up on my list again next year.

#9: Final Fantasy XIV (5.x patch series)

While it hasn't yet reached the heights of the main Shadowbringers story, the follow-ons have been very good, and the raiding has been fun. As of writing this post, I haven't yet even experienced everything in 5.4 yet, which came out yesterday.

#8: AI: The Somnium Files

The best narrative-driven story about an amnesiac detective I've ever played. Yes, this is a callout of your favorite game, which is not on this list despite me playing it this year. If only we could all have a sassy robot inside our eye sockets.

#7: 13 Sentinels

I like this game a little bit less than the rest of the thread, where it's topping lots of people's lists. It's still really good though. I liken it to untangling a bunch of christmas lights. At first you might not even really be aware of what you have--everything's so knotted up it's impossible to tell which strings connect to each other and which are merely the same type of light, but two different strings. You have trouble even finding a place to begin, as the ends of the wires could be in the middle of the tangle. But you do what you can, undoing loops and pulling ends through knots, and slowly but surely make progress. At some point, you start to get an idea of what the overall picture is, but still have a bit of work to do to fully get there. And at the end you light up your christmas tree. The story of 13S is the same way, except with giant robots and also untangling the knot is more fun than looking at the tree.

#6: Atelier Totori (replay)

This is known in the business as "foreshadowing"

I posted this in my 2018 goty:

cheetah7071 posted:

This one manages to have a story which is simultaneously about not very much (like all Ateliers its very low stakes) while simultaneously packing a punch in the delivery. The relationship between Totori and her sister is the realest depiction of family I've seen in a video game in a long time. I liked almost every character. This was still early enough in the Atelier franchise that there's a bunch of gameplay improvements they hadn't hit upon yet but the overall design of the gameflow worked well and the writing carried it beautifully.

That's all still true. It fell a few places just by virtue of being a replay but it's still real good.

#5: Final Fantasy VII (replay)

I played this right after FF7R, like I'm sure many people did. It still mostly holds up--there's some jank but the gameplay is pretty inoffensive and the story is the same one you fell in love with as a kid. I have no nostalgic attachment to this game--this is my second play, but my first was only a few years ago. There are some legitimately powerful, moving moments in this game. In my memory, the opening section, which FF7R covers, was the best part, but I now think it's only second best, after the segment from roughly temple of the ancients through northern crater. This story has a ton of cool stuff and great moments completely outside of the pieces that have pierced the public zeitgeist. If you like old RPGs and you somehow still haven't played it, give it a shot.

#4: Atelier Meruru (replay)

From the 2019 goty thread:

cheetah7071 posted:

This game is almost the perfect Atelier. An engaging cast, a time limit that makes you think but is ultimately not that bad, a crafting system that's fun to master (and with postgame superbosses to reward you mastering it), along with the return of nearly every popular character from the previous two games to let you see how they've grown. This game is the pinnacle of bright, happy JRPGs.

All of that is still true, but again, it being a replay of a game I played relatively recently bumps it down a bit. In particular, I really enjoyed gearing up for the superbosses the first time but I was too good at it this time and just crushed them effortlessly.

#3: Final Fantasy VIII (replay)

After replaying FF7, I replayed FF8. Like FF7, I don't have nostalgia for this one, as my first play was when it came out on Steam. I am the exact target audience for this game. I love all the dumb teenage idiots it's about. I love disentangling the mess of a story and its themes. I love snapping the game over my knee and feeling like I'm pulling wool over the dev's eyes (even though in reality everything I'm doing is within the bounds of expected stuff). All of your criticisms of the game are right, but all of them are things I love about it.

#2: Atelier Ayesha (replay)

From 2018 goty thread:

cheetah7071 posted:

And here we are, Atelier of the year. This game feels like a "fixed" Totori, which was already my number 3 game. The game flows better, fixes a few clunky bits of design, has better quality of life, and otherwise continues the extremely strong writing set by Totori. The relationship between Ayesha and her sort of teacher Keithgriff is one of my favorite bits of writing. The game is serious when it needs to be, comedic when it needs to be, and manages to cram more emotional weight into itself than almost any other game I've ever played, all while just being the story of a young woman wandering around learning alchemy. A true masterpiece that all JRPG fans should give a try.

Still true, and still my favorite video game of all time, but sometimes the magic isn't as strong the second time, and it misses out the top spot on a replay. I did get to experience some content I missed the first time though, and it was pretty good content.

#1: Ocarina of Time Randomizer

cheetah7071 posted:

Were you an N64 child? Do you remember where all the secrets are in OoT because you played it obsessively? Boy do I have the romhack for you! A fun remix on a classic game that allows you to enjoy it again almost as if it were new to you.

cheetah7071 posted:

This was on my list last year and it's here again this year. A fresh way to enjoy an old classic, especially if you are the right age to have obsessively played OoT as a child, like I am. Over the past few months I've been participating in goon weekly seeds and feel like I'm halfway decent at it (I'm not). Come join us! Even if your first seed takes 8 hours or more, it's more fun doing the same seeds as other people so you can talk about it.

On my top ten for the third year running, and finally claiming the top spot. Recently the community has shifted a bit to start doing new settings which have really shaken things up and made them fresh again. I don't know if it'll be the top spot again, but I can almost guarantee this will be on my 2021 top ten. Compared to other item randomizers I've tried, I really like that OoT has what I think of as "anchors"--locations that have high value almost no matter what, meaning they give shape to your route through a seed more than just "which place that I can go to has the most stuff". Routing this game is a joy, and while I'll never be great at it, movement tech is pretty cool too.

cheetah7071 fucked around with this message at 21:11 on Dec 21, 2020

Sep 2, 2018

t a s t e posted:

5. Streets of SimCity
4. Goosebumps: Attack of the Mutant
3. Bloodborne
2. Tex Murphy: Under a Killing Moon
1. Bugs Bunny & Taz: Time Busters

They hold up

Could you give a bit more detail about each one? I don't want Bloodborne to miss out on points.

Sep 15, 2008

Take over the World!

Relax Or DIE posted:

Gonna razz you slightly for putting cp2077 on your list despite it not being out at the time of posting and all evidence pointing to it being a mediocrity but you can quote this post and laugh when you end up loving it.

After 2 hours of playing all the intro's, I'm currently very happy with the game.

What I am not happy with is that I have evening shift starting in 7+ hours and then morning shift on day after that,
so I don't have time to play more. Gotta go to sleep.

t a s t e
Sep 6, 2010

Something Awful

Mamkute posted:

Could you give a bit more detail about each one? I don't want Bloodborne to miss out on points.


Jul 27, 2012

For every
an opportunity.

10. Hades (2020)
In terms of gameplay, art, music, writing, production and every other isolated aspect, Hades a demonstration of the level of mastery Supergiant has honed. However, Supergiant's previous titles were all greater than the sum of their parts; Hades is somehow less. The two halves are working against each other here, with the story doled out in tiny increments between runs and the gameplay marred by flaws like metaprogression, samey abilities, a strangely shaped difficulty curve, and repetitive levels/enemies (likely caused by how incredibly lavish the design is). Make no mistake--while in my personal opinion Hades could be better, is a great game and a great Supergiant game, and it's likely victory will be well-earned.

9. Into the Breach (2018)
With low, board-game like numbers and clear communication to the player, Subset Games can still hold their own in the genre they pioneered with FTL.

8. Xenoblade DE (2020)
It's Xenoblade, with almost all of the minor flaws of the original fixed. That said, it's a game I've already beaten and the new epilogue story is bad (boring bad, not the wild fun kind of bad Xeno* games usually are when they're bad)

7. AI: The Somnium Files (2019)
Honestly I have trouble articulating why I like this game. Every point in a conversation is said at least four times, some of the supposedly "weird" elements just seem like the developer explaining something they read on Wikipedia at 2 AM, and the game crashed multiple times in each somnium segment. But the fact that I finished it despite that means it must be doing something right. If I had to guess, it's the game's mastery of tone. It can switch between macabre, heartfelt, and ridiculous so naturally that the player can't even notice it, and that it ultimately is a competently constructed (albeit not as fantastic as it may think) mystery.

I was originally only going to to images for the top 5, but I found this in my screenshot folder. Faces seem to be modeled separately from bodies, and they sometimes get out of sync in the visual novel segments.

6. Kentucky Route Zero (2020)
I've often said that video games are more like plays or novels than movies, and here is a game that leans entirely into that concept. It is a game about creating internal narratives for the characters, both as a reader and as an actor. Night in the Woods and Disco Elysium have been compared to it, but KR0 is first and foremost capital-A Art, and how you respond will depend on your thought about capital-A Art. At times it can be a chore to play through (and runs up against the limits of point-and-click engines), but any ponderousness is because there is so much to ponder.

5. Opus Magnum (2017)
From a pure gameplay design perspective, I think Opus Magnum is weaker than Spacechem. There was an extreme elegance to mechanisms and code taking up the same space, and this made it very easy to design the game as a puzzle. However, in every other respect Opus Magnum is a magnum opus. It's color and sleek design blows Spacechem's $4000 budget out of the water, and while visualizing rotations on a hex grid isn't as easy, it means the game is full of hypnotically beautiful circular motion
which can be easily shared via a built in gif making utility

4. Monster Train (2020)
Repeating myself, from a pure gameplay design perspective, I think Monster Train is weaker than Slay the Spire. It's loud and flashy, but the game is mostly won at the strategy layer, where it's a game of matching units and spells to the upgrades they need to be effective. Individual battles generally don't involve a lot of skill. The switch from drawing being abundant and energy being very rare to drawing being very rare and energy being abundant means it's common for the player to dump their entire hand every turn. But I think that despite the things they have in common (incredibly clear, focused, and communicated design), the feeling they're going for is different. Slay the Spire is about assembling a toolbox, where you will never be more than a few suboptimal choices away from defeat. That's incredible game design, but it can also be stressful. Monster Train is a game about figuring out how to make yourself invincible using the components the game has given you.

the beauty is that the optimal style of play is often these bizarre shitpost runs like the Sentient's large sons here

3. Oxygen not Included (2019)
Last May, I decided to get back into Dwarf Fortress. I set up a fortress, played for a few hours, then bought Oxygen Not Included and dumped 250 hours into it without thinking. ONI is like a halfway point between Dwarf Fortress and Factorio, with all the accessibility of the latter. Stripping out the detailed social simulations of Dwarf Fortress and dialing back the scale of Factorio, ONI can focus on the sustainability of production chains. The challenge isn't the placement of large numbers of machines but of managing the physics of the solids, fluids, and heat that make up your inputs, outputs, and byproducts.

A chamber used to isolate heat-producing reactions and reduce the temperature of coolant, and use the waste heat to generate energy, showing the plumbing and thermal overlays

2. Factorio (2020)
This really should have been #1, and was mainly screwed out of it by being in early access in the years when I played it the most. But I really can't call it Game of the Year All Years if I don't rank it at least #2 in the year of its actual release.

A screenshot from my screenshots folder. IIRC this is an early oil setup for bootstrapping robotics

1. Paradise Killer (2020)

Paradise Killer could be thought of as an evolution of the Ace Attorney/Danganronpa formula, but I think that undersells how innovative it by inverting the investigation/trial dynamic and focusing on a single, massively interconnected mystery. This changes the genre from a thriller, where the gameplay is to guess what the next twist will be using knowledge of genre conventions, to a mystery, where the gameplay is building a mental re-creation of the crime from evidence to determine who did it. And unlike AI it respects the player's intelligence and understands that a detective should be able to put things together from context clues instead of having things explained multiple times.

While this year didn't have an Outer Wilds or a Disco Elysium, Paradise Killer is perhaps the closest with its open-world mental puzzlebox and worldbuilding rooted in the fantastic and the bizarre but in implication uncomfortably similar to our own.

As DMCrimson said, it's far from perfect. Monocoin scavenging can be tedious, the hacking minigame is trivially easy (note: this is infinitely preferable to having a bad hacking minigame), unlike Outer Wilds the pacing isn't always perfect, and there are one or two details that might be considered asspulls, but none of these affect the core appeal of the game. It's telling that what I want most from it is more games like it.

Honorable mention to Tabletop Simulator, which is a janky piece of poo poo but ensures Dungeons and Dragons (or at least tabletop minigolf) can continue, and to Slay the Spire, Breath of the Wild, and Terraria which are still great games

edit: moved Kentucky Route Zero from 8 to 6

Microcline fucked around with this message at 01:38 on Dec 30, 2020

May 4, 2004


Pork Pro

I'll do short blurbs about 20-11 and longer blurbs about 10-1


20. WipEout 2048

Never played this one back in the day. Fast as gently caress and twice as difficult. Much more of a spiritual successor to WipEout XL than HD/Fury turned out to be.

19. Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number

A fun and weird sequel. Full of interesting spatial puzzles and gory, hypnotic, visuals. A bit on the hard side, I think, but worth it alone for the amazing music.

18. What Remains of Edith Finch

Artsy, emotionally compelling, walking sim that can be completed in 2 hours. Worth the ride for some genuinely innovative and sad moments.

17. Dragonís Crown Pro

The original horny beat-em-up in all its HD glory. Fantastic AD&D atmosphere and quest design, great fun for couch co-op. Another beautiful Vanillaware game.

16. Vanquish (remastered)

Platinum's best all around action game imo, just a jaw-dropping awesome gem from the gen 7 era.

15. Astroís Playroom

Great little pack-in, more than a demo and less than a game. Some real Nintendo-tier platforming quality here. Too bad nobody could see this in store kiosks due to COVID.

14. DOOM (2016)

Great presentation on this stellar reboot which gets most things right. A bit repetitive and not much of an ending, but who cares. Well worth a play.

13. Catherine: Full Body

One of the best puzzle games I've ever played combined with a rather thoughtful interactive story about a giant loving slob idiot. Great remaster with a ton of new content, versus multi, etc.

12. DOOM Eternal

Two steps forward and one step back, I think. Eternal is bigger, brighter, more technical, and kind of silly overall. I had fun with it, but I can't deny that there's something missing...something I can't put my finger on.

11. Spelunky 2

I spent good amount of time with this one during the last 4 months despite the fact that it's way way too loving hard for me. Has great co-op and I enjoy watching stream of people with god-tier skills.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

10. Prey (2017)

Now this is a bit of an interesting case, because Prey had me from moment one. Those environments!, the music and sound design and atmosphere! This truly is the thinkerís FPS, a game that is absolutely dedicated to making you think about your environment and how to manipulate it to your purposes, a corporate hellscape thatís more than it seems. The set-up is so astoundingly good, and the atmosphere so rich, that I can almost forgive it for not sticking the landing. Almost. Technical issues, bugs, confusing quest markers, rampant end game loading times, stiff controls, and a rather unfulfilling narrative conclusion manage to hold it back from a top spot on my list, but what is there is already so engaging that itís worth the stretch of the rough parts.

9. Amnesia: Rebirth

Frictional Games is my jam. Ever since finishing SOMA (one of the best sci-fi stories in gaming) thereís been a Frictional-sized hole in my gaming life, and I truly will play anything they put out. In this case itís a dreadfully spooky and disgusting return to the themes and game mechanics of their early success story, Amnesia. While Rebirth never quite nails the highpoints of its more sophisticated cousin SOMA, it does manage to deliver a compelling personal story, fantastic puzzles, and a straight up out-there hosed up melange of frightening environments that completely hosed with my brain. I canít wait to see what the studio puts out next.

8. Command & Conquer: Red Alert Remastered

The series that invented the genre, and the game that opened up the series. I chose Red Alert in this exquisitely restored package (despite the gif above) because it was the one that I actually played with friends, which would eventually lead to a longstanding association with multiplayer RTS, Red Alert 2, Starcraft, and beyond. That said, the focus here is on historical accuracy and preservation for the most part, and color me surprised that EA didnít gently caress something up for once! What the devs accomplished with this restoration project is truly magnificent, and the bonuses and quality of life features that were added really serve the whole package well. I cannot wait to see if theyíre allowed to remaster the holy grail of traditional RTS Red Alert 2, and if this effort is anything to go by it will be magnificent.

7. Cuphead

Cuphead makes me want to scream, but usually in a good way, and usually with a buddy in the room to feel the co-op pain with me. All of the plaudits this game got upon release were so deserved. The music, charm, color, and creativity of its art style and world are like nothing else out there and are a true testament to the developerís commitment to a specific vision. Itís not that the game doesnít have flaws, itís just that the flaws are so easy to overlook when the end product is this gorgeous and wild. My only reservation is that this game may end up breaking me.

6. 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim

Never played a visual-novel type game before so this was a new experience. The RPG combat that makes up the other half of the game, however, felt nice and familiar, and quite exhilarating. 13S is a weird amalgamation of game concepts that ends up feeling like more than the sum of its parts. The artwork is gobsmacking, the music is by turns quaint, beautiful, and pulse-pounding, and the story has more twists and turns than an ant colony. Never has the set-dressing of ĎJapanese High Schoolí had a more interesting pay-off in one of these peak-anime games. This one was a joy to platinum, a nice breath of fresh air between cinematic prestige titles, and a complex and surprising turn for Vanillaware.

5. Monster Hunter World: Iceborne

Considering how near and dear MHW was to me for an entire year I felt a bit bad that it took me so long to get around to Iceborne, but goddamn this has to be one of the biggest expansions Iíve ever encountered to a game. So many new monsters, so many new clothes! A vest from real gorilla chest, and loafers from gophers! Itís hard to really describe to others how addictive and involving the gameloop of MonHun can be when youíre caught up in its Ďflow-stateí of resource gathering, menu tinkering, crafting, and down-and-out dino-smashing!

I adore all the effort Capcom put into the finer details of Selianaís flora and fauna, and I canít wait to assemble a crew of people to tackle a bunch of the harder fights (holy moly are some of these fights involved), because working through all the systems, mechanical tiers, and discoveries with friends is such a good time. Also, I am a bit glad I waited to play Iceborne on PS5 because the loadtimes for the expansion were getting a little long on my pspoor, and this thing runs like a dream on the new console which doesnít even seem to break a sweat over it. Really hope we get MH Rise on PS5 someday, but Iím sure a new AAA installment in the series is only a matter of time.

4. Disco Elysium

Iíll freely admit that this isnít normally my type of game, as I tend to fall for games where I can run fast or fall from great heights or whathaveyou, and dialogue trees are kind of my worst nightmare. With that out of the way: my my my what dialogue trees they are! God, I love how much this game respects the playerís intelligence and time. The writing is so wonderfully witty, relevant, and lovingly crafted, and not just interactions either, but flavortext and incidental skilltree type stuff, too. It all really just speaks to the issues of our present day in a manner that few games have the guts or confidence to try.

DE approaches a degree of thematic consistency that I just donít see in much of anything these days, and its atmosphere, pathos, and political/philosophical nuance are a dream come true in this medium. I feel like the mere existence of this game will serve as a reminder to other devs that their stories can in fact grow the gently caress up and start saying poo poo about the world rather than trying simply to escape it.

3. Demonís Souls (2020)

Wowzer, it feels good to be playing a souls title again in 2020, especially one with such a unique, singular identity. In a normal year this would probably be in my top spot, but 2020 was an epic year for prestige releases. Bluepoint absolutely killed it here with their striking visual update to one of the most iconic games of the last decade, and all without trampling on a single pebble of the gameplay idiosyncrasy that defined The. Original. Souls.

As far as traditional remakes go (not the FF7R variety, which is more of a full on reimagining), nuDeS 2020 is the finest Iíve ever seen, far surpassing even Bluepointís own excellent work on the Shadow of the Colossus remake a few years back. The fantastic new visual flourishes theyíve provided demonstrate almost uniformly excellent judgement and understanding of the original gameís themes and art direction, and Bluepoint lets the refined and revolutionary simplicity of FROMís (now almost universally standardized within gaming) control mechanics speak for itself.

What the new artwork and sound (holy poo poo did I mention the sound design?! ) manage to beautifully highlight is just how original, weird, and awe-inspiring Miyazakiís vision actually was at the time, a bold step into unknown gaming territory by a team taking full advantage of their own creative authority, and unafraid to take risks and be differentÖeven if it failed. One may recall that this type of innovation was exactly how other well-regarded masterpieces of the medium came about, too, like say Final Fantasy, or even Pac Man. Demonís Souls feels just as surprising and bizarre as it did to me on PS3, even though I didnít play it in 2010. What a way to start a new console generation!

2. The Last of Us part II

You know, I think the controversies surrounding this game (both the fake and the real) actually added to the experience on the whole, or at least the mood. It was a hard year, a dark year, one that pushed my personal limits, and no game felt more in tune with the experience of living through 2020 than 2LOU. Like the year itself 2LOU tested my boundaries, made me assess my surroundings in new ways, made me revisit and rethink my feelings about the past, about people, society, struggle, and even the legitimacy of the original gameís monumental legacy. I was uncertain at the outset that anything more needed to be said about TLOUís world or its characters, but after the experience had wrapped I felt hosed up in the brain in a way that only a profound piece of storytelling can do, and it stuck with me and informed my thoughts for the rest of the year.

2LOU itself is a massive piece of rather intimate storytelling that kicks your rear end every step of the way, makes you work for that catharsis, makes you confront your own assumptions about the original game. In that sense its Ďdramaticí reception somewhat reminds me of the way people responded to MGS2 upon release, and I think itís the first game in 2 decades that has managed to fill those particularly large shoes. Never mind that itís a masterpiece of tense, manipulative, embedded thriller storytelling, or that it achieves astounding visual feats on a 7-year-old piece of console hardware (played on my pspoor), or that it manages to make full use of state of the art mocap technology for the express purpose of actually provoking emotions in its player, but itís also just one hell of a ride. 2LOU, in all of its provocation (both in game and in general culture), managed to innovate bigtime with its themes and structure while still feeling directly connected, both mechanically and emotionally, to the original gameís storyline and gameplay. Thatís no mean feat, I think, considering the original gameís impact was as much due to what was left out, pared down, or only alluded to.

So the result was worth the seven year wait, worth the vitriol and anxiety, and 2LOU is an all-timer. The only thing that really kept it off of my #1 spot was that the Factions multiplayer was even more near and dear to me than the original gameís singleplayer, and it was sorely missed here. Factions, to my mind, is the best multiplayer game ever released and, as Iíd sunk more than 2000 hours into it (across both PS3 and PS4), by the time 2LOU shipped itís become more and more of a sore spot with me the longer Naughty Dog has stayed silent about it. Granted, if 2LOU gets a re-release next year with updated graphics/features and Factions pt 2 then itís probably going to be pretty high up on next yearís GOTY list, too.

1. Final Fantasy VII ~ Remake

It was kind of a tough choice this year, mainly because the margin between my top three was so thin, but in the end it comes down which game felt the most miraculous. While 2LOU delivered one of the most insanely detailed and cinematic prestige experiences ever, the absence of Factions was never far from my mind. FF7R, on the other hand, was releasing as a sort of Frankensteinís monster of development paradigms pillaged from the last decade, and delivering only 1/3rd of the eventual story. And yet, it had no right to be this good...or to be this polished (literally unpatched for 6 months), releasing balls-deep amid a plague after almost a quarter-century of hype and buildup. God, the sheer bravery of that decision on Squareís part, it almost felt like a love letter straight to my heart at the perfect possible time.

And I mean this game gets EVERYTHING right about FF7, even down to feeling like a PSX game in spirit, like they wanted to throw all the flash and glitz of contemporary graphics tech in there while still simultaneously acknowledging that FF7 was always a weird collection of tropes, mechanics, whimsy, humor, and seriously earnest environmental critique. In other words, it stayed true to the original, to a fault. A few years ago I never wouldíve thought Square could recapture the intangible videogame magic of an experience that existed inside my memories from childhood half my life ago: the emotional connection to bizarre, hosed-up, larger than life characters; the frustration of dungeons and strict rpg menu mechanics; the exhilaration of a perfectly fought almost cinematic battle; the awkward humor and humanity inherent in all these disparate elements jutting up against each other.

The music is sweeping and nuanced with little background flourishes put in only to be heard incidentally; character designs feel exactly right even down to their full-bodied reinterpretations of classic blocky super-chibi animations; the english voice work is spot-on and wonderfully captures the arc of the charactersí interactions both in battle and out; combat is probably the tightest a jrpg has ever managed to accomplish; the storyís themes are more relevant in 2020 than ever before, and most of all, more than any game this year, FF7R made me want to look toward the future, not only of its own story elements to come in later chapters, but the new horizons of game design that are upon usÖand how Square might take advantage of them.

And that feeling is worth GOTY.

Congrats, FF7R!

Every minute spent with you was sheer joy.

BeanpolePeckerwood fucked around with this message at 00:58 on Dec 28, 2020

Dr. Fishopolis
Aug 31, 2004


VideoGames that is, excuse me, a *drat* fine OP.

Nov 16, 2009

SeXReX posted:

Hylics 2 wins, lock the thread

Thanks for reminding me to play this before the month ends. But Outer Wilds will be the first goty not to come out the same year as the year it won this year.

fridge corn
Apr 2, 2003

My list is pretty much finalised but Outer Wilds is the last game I need to try and finish cuz I still don't know whether I like it or not

May 4, 2004


Pork Pro

TriffTshngo posted:

1 - Breath of Fire III (1997)
I'll be honest this game is probably not actually as good as a few of the ones I placed below it, but this is one of those games from my childhood that I played the opening hours of but never got much further in past that. It was my friend's game, and for whatever reason as I got older I never bought my own copy or downloaded an ISO and sat down and committed to playing it fully. I finally picked up a copy on ebay last year and started a file.... that I eventually deleted and restarted because of a stupid mistake. So I played the bulk of this game in 2020 for the first time. It's pretty much a classic mid-90s JRPG with all the warts you'd expect from one of those, but there's also just a ton of charm and likability to it. My favorite little touch is Ryu starting the game as a scaredy-cat kid whose attack animation is to frantically swing his sword around with his eyes closed, only becoming a single, confident slash when he has to protect Princess Nina later on (in my mind it's because he wants to look cool in front of a girl). The mid-game timeskip is cool but it felt a bit undercooked, like there's only a few towns where anything meaningful changes afterward. The Gene Splicing system is really interesting and offers a lot of creativity for how you want to handle combat, though it eats up MP so fast you'll tend to want to save it for bosses. The Master/Skill system is also a clever method for customizing how you want the other characters to grow, even if it's pretty clunky by modern standards. Overall I love this game, but it's not entirely just because of nostalgia. I'm glad I revisited it because it holds up in most of the ways I hoped it would.

Bring back Breath of Fire, Capcowards.

BoF III is definitely the best of the series, and a drat fine jrpg. The combat is just so loving tight and flashy, and the character line-up is uniformly excellent, Momo especially. BoF IV was also loving excellent, and better in certain ways but a bit more linear, tho I wasn't a big fan of what they did to dragon transformations overall.

LionEyez posted:

5. Indivisible

RPG / metroidvania-lite platformer in the same vein as Valkyrie Profile. Has some annoying backtracking (especially so in the optional side missions) and tricky platforming sections, but a lovely art style and wholesome story. Especially appreciated the main character's writing and voice acting.

Also deserves mention - it has a decent length but doesn't go on too long. I believe I got a near 100% completion in less than 20 hours.

Ever since I played it in '99 Valkyrie Profile has been on my top games of all time. Indivisible looks extremely dope, I had no idea it even existed.

New Super Metis
Aug 1, 2014

Wow, thank you for the shout out in the OP! I will do my best to live up to it with a wonderful top ten list that I am currently working on.

May 4, 2004


Pork Pro

congrats veegy, enjoy your day, thanks for the rad op and thread

Oct 11, 2012

Honorable mention: Stellaris

This was the first time I played a paradox game in multiplayer, and while the game is very flawed, the 30-40 hours spent with friends making fully automated gay space communism surrounded by megacorps was very cathartic in covid world.

Honorable mention: Tabletop Simulator

This enabled me to play Blades in the Dark with my friends despite COVID. Thank you, Tabletop Simulator.

Honorable mention: Suzerain

Still in the middle of this one, but the political RPG game it pulls so far is amazing. A hidden gem for sure.

10. CrossCode

Fun little action rpg that harkens back to the SNES era a lot. I enjoyed it a lot, though the combat could have been better. Still lots of fun, good puzzles good bosses surprisingly cool story.

9. Disco Elysium

Hardcore mode came out this year, I played it again on it. The game absolutely slaps even on the third playthrough, the crowning achievement in RPG design. My 2019 GOTY. Should be higher but feels a bit weird to rehash a game I already had as GOTY soooo...

8. Jedi: Fallen Order

A very good Sekiro-like. Probably the best Star Wars product I've consumed since KOTOR2. It's not perfect, especially some fanservice is poor, but I had a lot of fun.

7. Crusader Kings III

Another one in the long succession of map simulators from Paradox. This one is an updated version of my favorite, CK2. It's missing some content but it was really good on release and gave me a lot of fun in the middle of the pandemic.

6. Teardown

In the times of pandemic, this has been a welcome distraction. I like to call it reverse minecraft, destroying stuff is amazing.

5. Hades

The best roguelite I've ever played. Combination of style, quirky and solid writing, and an extremely tight and challenging gameplay loop is a winner. Using the trappings of the genre to tell a better story was also amazing.

4. Yakuza 0

My first foray into the adventures of Kazuma Kiryu, it's an incredible achievement in goofy, small, contained open-world. It's so good I picked up Mahjong because of it!

3. Shadowrun: Dragonfall

I'm a sucker for Shadowrun lore, for X-Com combat, and I'm an anarchist. Setting this game with you as an important member of a little anarchist commune was a masterstroke that was always gonna be extremely my poo poo. Great soundtrack, great writing, great combat.

2. Desperados III

I love this genre, the real time tactics genre. It's so underrated. From the makers of Blades of the Shogun, it's basically that game but in a western setting. Extremely polished gameplay, good level design, great style, great sound, and the characters are likable and interesting. Has a little Dishonored/Hitman tinge to it, too. These games have never had it this good.

1. Pathologic 2

This came out last year, but make no mistake - it is, quite literally, the Game Of The Year. You're a doctor attempting to fight a deadly plague and bring hope in a bleak, dog-eats-dog world. What else could be more 2020 than that? The survival mechanics are very good, making it the first Ice Pick Lodge game to actually be a real game - and those mechanics are used to perfection to hound you every day. Every single time you think you've got the game figured out, it pulls another maddening trick on you. The result is a mad dash that lasts 30 hours, a funhouse mirror that while warped still reflects you, your innermost character.

The art style is amazing and haunting, the writing pitch perfect, the characters real and fantastic in equal measure. The world is consistent in ways I've never seen in video games. The soundtrack owns. Above all else, it puts forward a coherent vision and pulls no punches.

I can't say I had 'fun' in the classical sense playing this game. But the constant beating it inflicts on you and the despair it plunges you in means every time I won even a slight victory, I felt feelings of hope and joy unmatched by any other piece of culture and art. It tells you, right from the start, that you are a fool to try to fix the world - and it dares you to do it anyway. One of the sequences in the game, when it pulls a particularly cruel prank on you, had me go into literal fight-or-flight response as I planned out a multi-hour play sequence to try and salvage the situation. The elation I felt when I succeeded with seconds to spare was like nothing else I've ever felt. Another day, I went to sleep IRL in the middle of a route to get to save one character - and woke up in a cold sweat from a nightmare where I didn't make it in time.

It is genuinely unmatched, and had I played it in 2019, it would have edged out Disco Elysium for number 1. It's that loving good, maybe even the best videogame I've ever played. Understand that you are getting yourself into a stressful and harrowing experience, but know this: it is a must play if you believe games can be art. So buy it, for your own benefit as well as the benefit of those of us waiting for the other two storylines. And if you do, I only have two things to say: godspeed, and (very minor spoiler, but you probably want to know this) don't take the deal with the traveller.

dex_sda fucked around with this message at 15:07 on Dec 10, 2020

Eugene V. Dubstep
Oct 4, 2013
Can't post for 26 hours!

Glad to see Pathologic 2 getting some much-deserved love itt. I should post a list to remind you people of the existence of a few games, though. Final Fantasy VII, my foot!


Apr 15, 2008

Yosuke will now die for you.

Hasnít everyone who neglected to put Hylics 2 on their list been shamed enough?

The answer is no.

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