The EZA Community Top 20 Best of 2020!

  • Assassin's Creed Valhalla is my #5.

    I have mixed feelings about Valhalla. Odyssey took me by surprise and became one of the most enjoyable games I’ve ever played, so my expectations for the next Assassin's Creed were extremely high. And, unfortunately, in many areas Valhalla didn’t deliver. Combat abilities were extremely fun to use in Odyssey, but in Valhalla they felt useless and unnecessary. Kassandra had so much charisma and depth, while Eivor was your typical player’s avatar. Main story of Odyssey was memorable and personal, while you quest in Valhalla was… I have problems remembering what it was all about. And of course, Ancient Greece is much richer setting than British islands.

    However, in other areas, Valhalla undoubtfully beats Odyssey. Firstly, the scale of the world is perfect. Most of the open-world games (including Odyssey) either make settlements extremely small, or place them too close to each other, which makes all plots about traveling somewhere or missing someone who ventures outside completely unrealistic. Valhalla doesn’t have this problem: settlements are big enough for people to live there, but the distance between them is much much bigger, so each time you go from one place to another, it truly feels like a journey.

    Secondly, nature looks gorgeous. This isn’t the prettiest open-world game (even 2018’s Red Dead Redemption 2 looked better), especially when you look at characters, but it has great lighting and cloud systems that bring forests, fields and mountains to life. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about:
    alt text

    Thanks to great visuals and scale, exploration in this game was a joy. Even though I was “clearing the map” and moving towards next marker, I often found myself distracted with scenic view or local landmark. It’s the best of both worlds – you have clear and rewarding destination, but the journey is equally thrilling.

    Finally, side quests have so many variations that you never know what to expect. I do miss storylines of chained side quests, but I appreciate trying something different almost each time I find one.

    And being different is probably a good summary of Assassin's Creed Valhalla – it’s worse than previous entries in some ways, it’s better in some others, but it definitely feels like a new entry in a long running franchise.

  • There's plenty I can say about Valhalla-but thankfully my review of it on The Xbox Tavern will say it all:

  • @ffff0 That's a good looking turtle. Good on ya for making the list!

  • @bam541 Just imagine Brandon reading this entry on July's Community Showcase with no context provided.

  • Banned

    I haven't played with ffff0's turtle but I've heard a lot of great things.
    Judging by the screenshots he's posted, the graphics on the turtle are clearly state of the art. His red head stripes look incredible. Does he support DLSS?
    I heard performance is a bit slow though. Hopefully that gets improved in a patch.

  • Kinda disappointed that an Assassin's Creed game outscored such a charming turtle.

  • Banned

    @phbz I was honestly a bit surprised when his turtle didn't break the NPD top 20 for the year.

  • There's still hope for a cameo in TMNT: Shredder's Revenge this year!

  • I'm really looking forward to checking out Valhalla. I went to the University of York and know the City really well, so looking forward to seeing what Jorvik looks like.

    But, I have Odyssey to play first.

  • Banned

    @hazz3r Straight up my dude, unless you are very interested in Greek history and mythology, I recommend a hard pass.
    I've got about 40 hours on the clock, about another 40 ahead of me if I want to finish the game, and honestly can't force myself to keep going, and my dad used to tell me old Greek fables for bedtime stories.

  • @el-shmiablo I hear you, but I've played every single mainline AC. Despite my backlog it's one of my all time favourite series, and Origins didn't change that. I'm well aware of the length, but I'm planning on playing it with my Partner so even if it's a long one, it's not time wasted.

  • @hazz3r I've 100% Odyssey and all its DLCs twice. 158 hours first time and 121 hours second time. And I've enjoyed all of it. So if you don't feel like skipping it, I think you should not.

  • I really do want to try AC Valhalla and get back on the AC train. Everything people have said about the revamped series around these forums has me super intrigued. But I’ve just been playing other games lately and don’t want to buy a game I’m not ready to make time for.

    It looks like the series is in good hands again though.

  • Banned

    @hazz3r I feel the same way my dude. I played Origins and absolutely loved every second of it, but something about Odyssey just lacks the soul that I experienced in previous games.

  • I do love my ACs, so Valhalla ended up getting an HM. Not the best AC in any regard, but the whole package is still very enjoyable to play and witness.

  • Before getting started on Assassin's Creed, I just wanted to say it bums me out we couldn't get enough for a top 25. I guess I shouldn't be surprised due to the pandemic, or perhaps list fatigue, or something else entirely, but still, it's a downer.

    But onto Valhalla. Assassin's Creed is a franchise that just hasn't clicked for me. I've beat three of them and it just hasn't been something that I'm fond of. And ever since it exploded in size with Origins, it's appeal has diminished. These games are just too massive for me, and despite what I've heard in there being less emphasis on it, the present day stuff is still a major turn off. Still, all the more power to it for how successful it is. I do like the settings of Ancient Egypt, Greece, and England (the latter two especially), but from what I've been told, the stories also aren't for me either.

  • @brannox I think it was a pretty weak year in terms of quantity of notable games (probably because of corona).

    Add to that the still ongoing massive shortage of next gen console.

  • @neocweeny I agree regarding your second point as I STILL can't purchase a PS5 to save my life. I have had a UNIQUE way of being denied for each retailer I've tried. That said, Demons Souls and Spider-Man: Miles Morales are standouts from around that time.

    But to your first point, I actually disagree. There's actually a really solid slate of games that came out, both high-profile and under-the-radar, and in terms of "traditional" AAA and indie. Valhalla only being 20th is exciting to me, because while it may not be my thing, it's still a good game, meaning there is at least 19 others that stood out as much, if not more. That said, each year for each person is so variable. For example, I actually don't think much of 2018, despite it having one of my absolute favorite games ever.

  • I want to play Valhalla but Origins kinda traumatized me. At first loved it but by the end I was drained and joyless.

  • If I had made it further in AC Valhalla it would probably be in my top 4. The world is so rich, and often reminds me of RDR2 in its density and vastness. I also prefer the combat over Odyssey, which felt waaaaay too splashy for me (though I still love Odyssey regardless).

    In many ways the game feels like the perfect symbiosis of old and new Assassin's Creed. The story reminds me much more of the old games, finally returning to the classic Assassins v. Templars conflict, and there are little things in gameplay that return as well, like trying to blend into crowds, and just the general stealth mechanics as a whole. However, it is still similar to the new games. The RPG-esque leveling and gear system, the combat, and the massive, beautiful open-world that is a joy to explore. It's the best of both worlds.

    Like I said I'm not very far into it, but if it continues being as fun and intriguing as it is, I think it may end up being a perfect AC game