The EZA Community Top 25 Best of 2019!

  • This game is so wonderfully different. I love that passion projects like this get made by dedicated people. Such a wonderful gem.

  • @ffff0 I'm glad I'm not the only one who didn't love Outer Wilds. I started it multiple times throughout the year. Thinking, "maybe this time I'll enjoy it." Unfortunately I never did. It was the same thing with Disco Elysium. I completely failed Ian last year.

  • The Outer Wilds is a game that didn't appeal to me, but I watched the NoClip documentary and while I enjoyed the video a good deal, there wasn't a better showpiece about selling me against the game. Personally, while listening about it during the deliberations AND the Don't Skip, I was happy to hear the passion and points about it from Ian, but it hit all the points that reaffirmed why it isn't for me.

    All of that said, I believe this and another game we should be seeing a little while are up there for, pun not intended, "out-of-nowhere" hits of 2019. I especially love this was a school project that became something more, proving if you have a good idea and the dedication, you can go far.

  • This game is beautiful. Uncovering everything is an absolute treat, and the quest-tree is a great way of pointing you in the right direction. I'll admit it can be a little tedious at times, but the joy of discovery definitely make a up for that.

  • I'm gonna get this as soon as I clear up a few more of my backlog. Ian's passionate love for this sold it for me, and it sounds like the kind of game that's right up my alley too.

  • @ffff0 It would help to know how you've been dying before recommending where to start... but I'm not sure what a spoiler-free guide would be exactly. Information is so interwoven between the planets, and you'll personally adapt to planets differently than others that an individual guide seems pointless. Maybe your home planet and moon holds some information while being a relatively safe area to explore...

    I've been surprised to hear people have been frustrated by the time it takes to return to any location after death. There are a few situations where I feel this could happen, but most any place you'll think to go early on can be returned to within 5 minutes. There was rarely a time I died where I didn't understand how to avoid that same fate on my next attempt. If I ever felt annoyed, I would typically just take off somewhere else during the next loop.

    At the same time if the game doesn't elicit your own curiosity to explore, I don't see the point in forcing yourself further than an hour or so. The narrative is interesting, but so much of my enjoyment came from uncovering how to get everywhere. The drive to investigate each strange planet, and overcoming what seem to be very large hurdles were my reason to play.

  • @miserableperson I think I traveled to some planet with tunnels and ran out of oxygen.

    A perfect spoiler-free guide for me would be "go here, do this" - essentially quest markers. I played Minit last year with such guide and had a great time, so if I could have similar experience with Outer Wilds, I would probably like it too.

    I understand that this game is about discovery and I like discovery (I love The Witness), but I don't like discovery on time limit. For me 5 minutes to get back is still 5 minutes wasted, and when you have to do it multiple times I just want to stop walking around to avoid unnecessary resets. It feels like game the tells me opposite things simultaneously (explore/don't explore), which isn't good.

  • This game seems awesome. I want to try it because I want to try any game that is allegedly pushing the medium. And from what I understand, this is truly pushing the medium forward in ways that the classics have in the past.

    That said, if the saying goes, you should see the budget on-screen, I almost see the lack of budget on-screen for this game. The art style doesn't do anything for me. It's kinda hard to look at for that matter. I don't hold it against it, but knowing that a game like this is allegedly pushing things forward, yet, doesn't have the gloss of a big-budget game is sort of a missed opportunity.

  • Oh, that's disappointing, but not surprising. Was hoping it would be higher in our top.

    Was lucky enough to play Outer Wilds knowing absolutely nothing about it, and before all the hype around it, and it was one of the most wonderful experiences I had with a game. Incredibly well designed.

    I love exploration and discovery and this game nails it. No arrows pointing the way, just curiosity as the sole motive to keep going. Getting confused the first time the world resets (I didn't even knew this about it), then realising what was happening on a very basic level and have my mind blown away by the beauty of the event, then unveiling layer by layer. What a joy the whole journey was. Never felt (seriously) stuck or lost or not motivated to know more. This is gaming at its best.

    I'm just not a fan of the art style. At times it works for me but overall not my cup of tea. And although superbly designed, the opening/tutorial section doesn't work quite as well as the other 90% of the game. To the point that although it will most probably remain on my "GOAT" list, it almost lost me during its early minutes.

    It's really about the journey, not the destination... but oh boy, such a rewarding ending for those willing to explore.

    Edit: And by the way, a shout out to Annapurna Interactive, one of the most interesting publishers around.

  • Disco Elysium

    #13. Disco Elysium - 15 points


    #1: 1 (TokyoSlim)
    #2: 0
    #3: 2 (Crepe, Hidz)
    #4: 0
    HM: 4 (Nimbat1003, Hazz3r, bard91, GageBlackW23)


    Release date: October 15 [US/EU]
    Developer: ZA/UM
    Publisher: ZA/UM
    Genre: Role-playing
    Platform(s): Windows



  • So as l intimated when discussing Outer Wilds, this is the other game that felt like it came out of nowhere. Everything I've heard about Disco Elysium is how it's absurd in nothing but good ways. While it would take less to convince me to try it than Outer Wilds, this is still a PC exclusive, so much like Return of the Obra Dinn, unless it gets ported, I don't foresee myself trying.

    But like I said earlier: The enthusiasm this game had during deliberations, especially considering it won the most awards from TGAs, shows games will continue to have unique ideas across a variety of genres and platforms.

  • Disco Elysium is my #23 of 36.

    When some unknown game won the best narrative during The Game Awards I decided to try it. So I looked at the trailer on Steam page, saw some exploration with some dialog and bought it.

    This wasn’t the game I expected. I even wanted to return it, but I already passed 2 hour mark when I realized that this game isn’t for me. But I have “If buying then finishing” rule (which saves me a lot of money), so I found a walkthrough and kept playing it.

    The middle part of the game was probably the most interesting – you already know what to do and can both follow the path and explore. Although most of the time you just find some other dialog, and I can’t say that I love the writing in this game. It gets its job done, but most of the time there’s too much of it.

    The ending was disappointing for two reasons: it was too long and, most importantly, it came out of nowhere. And this is the biggest problem of this game – it lacks player guiding and has no progression feedback. I’m not saying that it should have quest markers and missions labeled as priority/secondary, but it need to have something to tell you where to go and what to do (your companion can easily do that and it will not be out of his character). And most certainly the game has to tell you that you are passing the point of no return. I didn’t know that I’m locking myself out of many quests and wasn’t happy with it.

    At least it (and Baba Is You) helped me to understand that I should be very cautious when buying an indie game. Small teams are more prone to having tunnel vision for their game. If you think the same then you’ll probably have a good time, if you not, then you’ll be frustrated because the game will not speak your language and will not help you to breach the gap.

  • Waiting for Disco to come to consoles to play it, I almost completely abandoned PC gaming unless it's something not expected to be ported. But it's a game I'm very interested in.

  • It's easily my game of the year. MLB The Show 19 is what's gotten me through most of the year. But I wouldn't really vote for it as a GOTY.

    Disco Elysium's writing provided the atmosphere and the catalyst for the character arcs in the game, it's like reading a very twisted choose your own adventure novel, where your options include but are not limited to paths of self destructive behavior, outright insanity, unearned bravado, manipulation, apathy, self delusion, perversion, altruism, camaraderie, and loyalty. I suppose that would turn some people off. The map is pretty much the perfect size, as you run back and forth from one end to the other somewhat frequently - and while it takes a few minutes, it's generally not tedious. It's systems are relatively simple to learn, but can affect considerable changes in dialogue and ability throughout the game. Clothes give you skill perks and debuffs, so you're constantly changing your outfits, skill points can be put into improving your statistics or "internalizing" various thoughts that come up throughout the story which also can give you perks and bonuses, like unlocking levels, or giving you access to specific tiers of dialogue options. I found the psychology of the game pretty interesting, and in my - and apparently the Allies opinion, your sidekick Kim Kitsurugi is one of the most interestingly realized characters in a game I've played this year. I think the comparison to Bloodworth during the deliberations is pretty close, and that's not a character that's easy to write - or is commonly written. And yet, I know it's possible to make choices during the game to where he doesn't end the game with you or on your side of things if you so choose. I also think the ending of the game (for me) was a huge series of payoff moments, calling back and resolving earlier sidequests, and really enforcing the bond that had grown between Kitsurugi and my detective.

    This isn't a perfect game, it's messy and sometimes depressing, and triumphant, and mysterious, and weird and gross. It's not the kind of game, like Sekiro or The Outer Wilds, that requires you to die and repeat and learn and improve. There is a case for that kind of thing to be more "gamelike" than Disco Elysium is.
    While there are clearly many game elements in Disco, this is the kind of game that gives you choices you may not fully comprehend the significance of, asks you to choose one and then just to live with your choices for better or worse. Sometimes the consequences are insignificant, and sometimes they are game-changing, and sometimes it's not predictable. I generally found them all to be interesting, though. And that's why it was my game of the year.

  • @ffff0 said in The EZA Community Top 25 Best of 2019!:

    it need to have something to tell you where to go and what to do (your companion can easily do that and it will not be out of his character). And most certainly the game has to tell you that you are passing the point of no return.

    The game actually does have a guide that tells you what you need to do in the quests you're currently in, and it does warn you when you're passing the point of no return and are about to be locked out of sidequests.

  • @tokyoslim Well, then the game did poor job of communicating to the player that it has some guiding, because I didn't know that. As for the warning the player it only warns you about the second locking out. It doesn't warn you about the first (when you meet a certain character in the basement), and it took me about 2 hours to realize that I no longer can do multiple quests.

  • @ffff0 That's not true. there's a warning specifically stating before that meeting when you first FIND the basement that progressing further will lock you out of sidequests.

    and you went through the whole game without once looking at your journal? It's one of like four things on your hud and when something changes in it, it glows orange. Not sure how much more needs to be done. lol

    also contains the map. Kind of hard to miss. :)

  • @tokyoslim Video games have certain language that we all know. When your HP reach 0, you die; you should go toward the light; fast attacks deals less damage than strong attacks - stuff like that. And it's a common practice to explicitly inform the player about going to the endgame either through a dialog or with a message pop-up. If this info was in the journal - great, but this is not where I'll be looking for it. And I wan't looking into the journal alot because I have good memory.

    I'm not saying that all games should follow the same template. But they should not break something if it makes sense. Voices could easily tell me about locking content when I was going through the basement of this abandoned building, but the only warned me about upcoming confrontation.

    P.S. I'm so frustrated about Disco Elysium only because I could easily love it if the game was only slightly different.

  • @ffff0 said in The EZA Community Top 25 Best of 2019!:

    And it's a common practice to explicitly inform the player about going to the endgame either through a dialog

    Which it did. In a conversation with Kim. Specifically and explicitly. I didn't have a save point right around there, so I had to go find an online playthrough - so the dialogue and voices present aren't EXACTLY what I had - but here is the warning:


    @ffff0 said in The EZA Community Top 25 Best of 2019!:

    If this info was in the journal

    No, the Journal was in response to your assertion that there is no in-game guidance of "what to do next". Quest logs and journals and etc. are part of that well-known "gaming language" that you talked about earlier.

    I think maybe you just missed a lot of what was there.

  • Definitely curious to check this out on consoles this year. Or at some point. Haven't played a game like this in ages, or in this case maybe never.

    And @Brannox the console version of Return of the Obra Dinn came out in October (a year after the PC version). I bought it immediately on PS4 and found it astonishing. Check it out!