The EZA Community Top 20 Best of 2020!

  • For Hades, like others were saying, I'm not usually big on rogue-likes, but this was the first one that really got through to me. I really enjoyed testing out each weapon, trying to complete all of the missions where you have to try out every gods' boon at least once, and I appreciated being able to reveal more about the characters and story after every run, even if I didn't do too particularly well. It felt like I was being rewarded for at least trying new things regardless of if it worked out or not.

    As for Ghost of Tsushima, I had a great time going through this world. The combat was satisfying to get down, I think it looks pretty stunning visually, and the story (both main and side quests) all landed pretty well for me. I'm excited to head back and a do a NG+ playthrough on PS5 to get back to 100% trophies and revisit everything. Sure, it doesn't revolutionize the "box-ticking" aspect of open-world games, but I felt like all the boxes I was ticking mattered and were worth my time. Plus, I liked the context of following foxes or birds or whatever to find each collectible so theoretically, you could never open your map and still find a lot. Also worth noting that Legends was a super cool addition post launch, I still need to go back and finish everything out there. I'm super curious to see what Sucker Punch does with a sequel, I think they laid a great foundation to build on.

    Most importantly, any game that lets me cosplay as Sly Cooper is a win in my book.

  • You guys on the forums have definitely sold me on Ghost of Tsushima, especially @bam541 you just always sound so happy about this game.

    Even the people who have issues with it are the same issues I'll probably have with it too but I watched Daminani play it on stream and I can tell the combat is fun enough to carry the game over it's flaws. Also saw so many awesome GIFs of GoT and TLOU2 this year and the combat in both games just feel like a canvas for your tools, skills, and creativity.

  • Banned

    @dipset Speaking of TLOU2's combat, you should check out the Caitlin YT channel. Basically dedicated to doing hilarious/weird/awesome shit using TLOU2's combat and the built in accessibility options/cheats.

    Youtube Video

  • @el-shmiablo temporary hijack to shoutout CJ's Hitman elaborate kill videos.

  • Ori and the Will of the Wisps

    #3. Ori and the Will of the Wisps - 43 points


    #1: 5 (paulmci27, Shoulderguy, MiserablePerson, DemonPirate, kindiman)
    #2: 2 (DIPSET, NeoCweeny)
    #3: 2 (Brannox, Scotty)
    #4: 2 (Axel, Phbz)
    HM: 0


    Release date: March 11 [US/EU]
    Developer: Moon Studios
    Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
    Genre: Metroidvania
    Platform(s): Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Switch, PC


    EZA Review

  • I feel like the Ori games has a reputation for being "underrated", not getting enough love or popularity. I don't know why that is, but at least that's not the case in this forum.

    Anyway, I can't wait to see the next two placements, mostly curious about the points they get and how it is distributed. I feel like both of those things says a lot about the game itself. Like how Ghost of Tsushima gets mostly HMs and 4th places, or Ori being top heavy despite not a ton of people voting for it.

  • Ori and the Will of the Wisps is my #9 of 41.

    I loved this game. I had some problems with navigation & difficulty, and I didn’t like that music didn’t restart when you die during escapes, because as a result it no longer matches your actions. But the music is good, art-style & animations are great, and visuals are excellent. Ori once again reminds us that being independent doesn’t necessary mean lower production values for your games and it’s a wonderful news for everyone who wants both innovation and quality.

  • Woah, did not expect this! I didn't play many games during 2020 but even if that weren't the case, I think Ori would still top the list.

    Nice going, forum :)

  • It's actually hard to know where to start when discussing Ori, because there's so much I can touch on. I was captivated with the original, so much so Ori and the Blind Forest was GOTY for 2015 (and I'm still stoked it was able to place in our countdown back then). Speaking purely in an artistic sense (so I don't mean realistic graphics), Ori is by far the most beautiful game series I've played. There's something about how the watercolor painting in constant motion is so captivating as both environments and characters alike are striking and easy to just be hypnotized by if you take a moment to stop in a relatively safe spot and take in all the detail.

    But that's not the only thing that speaks to me, as the music is so incredible. Gareth Coker has a score and soundtrack that intertwines with the forests, grottos, and caves, to the point it's impossible to separate one's identity from the other. The pulse pounding tracks of escape sequences or boss battles further elevate the tension, but the ambient music that plays when you're not in combat is some of the most therapeutic and calming I've heard.

    Speaking of combat, Will of the Wisps is a complete improvement over Blind Forest in several ways. While I like the original's, it can be repetitive and one note, whereas in this game, giving you three slots to equip a selection of quite different abilities gives you more freedom in how you want to fight. Personally, the Sword and the fireball you can generate to create more jumping opportunities are mainstays, and I switch between the hammer and the javelin dependent upon the boss or situation.

    Platforming is solid and as you get more abilities like the triple jump or dash, it fires off all kinds of endorphins as you go from running around and figuring out where you can and can't go at the beginning of the game to zipping through the areas at top speed, which is a credit to how well both the progression and the interconnected map is designed.

    While the Mouldwood Depths is a personal nightmare, I love everything about Will of the Wisps. The story is as heartbreaking as the first (though the first does get undercut a little by reversing on a key plot point), I was always moved by what was going on and whatever the objective I would be working towards at any given time. Most of the said objectives would be improving the hub area from a pretty empty place to a populated and beautiful spot that unlocks more huts and little nooks and corners you can explore the more you help out the NPCs and other peaceful creatures of the forest.

    As I intimated when discussing DOOM: Eternal, this was the other game that switched spots on my overall list. This is because, initially at launch on six year old Xbox One, there were tech problems with the map taking a while to open and sometimes the game would stutter or freeze for a half-second mostly during times when I was jumping. And in a game where most of your traversal is jumping over obstacles or dangers, that's not a good thing. So for a while, Eternal was third and this was fourth.

    However, when I got my Series X at the end of the year, this was one of the first games I replayed and it went flawlessly. No issues of any kind across the entire two sittings (which, side note, it always surprises me how the two Ori games are not really that long, and if you're willing to put in just a little bit of effort, are easy to 100% the map). And with a game where I can hardly find a fault whereas I have a couple more nitpicks about DOOM: Eternal, in the end, I had to switch them.

    Overall Ori is phenomenal, and if there is anyone out there reading who hasn't given them a shot and is curious to try, I recommend giving them an hour or two to see if its for you. While Will of the Wisps may further muddy the definition on if Moon Studios would be considered "indie," I WILL say Ori is my favorite indie franchise. And much like DOOM: Eternal (and I suspect tomorrow's final reveal of the top two), I'm not going to tag every single voter but I just want to express that, after being only one of two people to vote for Blind Forest in our 2015 countdown, I am so overjoyed to see it get so many votes to have it be our BRONZE MEDALIST.

    If Will of the Wisps had released in 2017, 18, OR 19, it would have gotten my GOTY. However, 2020 was so excellent for my interests, that I suspect the top two games I voted for will be our top two overall (which, like 2011, is crazy especially when this thread has a chance to hold my top 3 votes being the top 3 picks, potentially in the same order).

  • The first Ori was one of my favourites in the genre and I just couldn't believe how much better the sequel was. Maybe it could be a place higher if it wasn't for the technical issues when it released.

    The only negative I can find is that exploration doesn't feel as rewarding as Hollow Knight, every zone is kind of predictable, but everything else is just incredible. One of the best soundtrack composition and implementations in gaming, and pretty much genre defining in almost every single way. Although I still give Hollow Knight the top spot.

    Great that the game found its place in our community. Sometimes 2D games are treated with condescendence, like no matter how good they are they are never good enough, so it feels great to see as our number 3.

  • I had high hopes for Ori and the Will of the Wisps after how much I enjoyed Ori and the Blind Forest. But, Damn! Moon Studios blew those expectations away! It's such an awesome game from beginning to end.

    The only thing I would knock it for, are some audio bugs that happened on my first playthrough. Which was especially jarring when it happened during a boss fight. Otherwise, it's a 10 out of 10 experience that I absolutely recommend to everyone.

  • While we wait for the inevitable Battletoads vs Bugsnax showdown, I would like to bring to your attention my #3 – Filament. I strongly believe that this is the best puzzle game since The Witness and it doesn’t receive proper attention only because it’s a debut game from unknown indie developer. If you have 3 minutes, please watch my review, and if anything sounds interesting, please give this game a chance. It’s on PC & Switch and it’s currently on sale on Switch.
    Youtube Video

  • @ffff0 That looks interesting!

  • The Ori series gets slept on a lot. I bought the first one on sale a month ago, and it’s such a perfect little metroidvania to play portable on the Switch. EspecialIy in between 40+ hour games. Wish I played it sooner because I overlooked the second one and still have yet to play it.

  • I am quite taken aback by how much Ori And The Will of the Wisps is loved. Although I love the art style of the first game, some elements of the platforming are troublesome to me. I would jump in and play Will of the Wisps but I haven't finished the first game yet and I don't know if I should just jump into the second game immediately or wait until I've completed Ori And The Blind Forest.

  • I can't really find any faults in Ori & the Will of the Wisps the game achieves exactly what is sets out to do perfectly. Not to get hyperbolic but it's probably the best controlling game I've ever played. The Graphics are jaw dropping the music is God tier. Difficultly is balanced just right. Exploration is rewarding the combat has greatly improved & the bosses are great awsell. I could go on but you get the point. In a year that has 3 of my favourite games ever (2 are yet to appear) Ori stands at the most complete experience of them all. Masterpiece.

  • Ori and the Will of the Wisps is my favorite metroidvania from the modern era, though I have not played Hollow Knight yet.

    All around excellent game.

  • Banned

    Haven't played Will of the Wisps yet but I loooove Blind Forest and this is def on my list of games to get in the future. The marriage of precise platforming and absolutely stunning art direction just make this series sum transcendental shit, yo.

  • I can’t really say it better than those who posted above me but Ori and the Will of the Wisps is an all time great Metroid game.

    I didn’t play the original game because I thought the combat looked quite poor but this game looked at the market competition (Hollow Knight) and massively improved the combat and made it a core of the fundamental game.

    Like @Phbz showed off in his tweet, the platforming and overall flow of the game is both puzzling, technical, and just insanely satisfying.

    My biggest praise for the game is it’s attention to ‘shot’ composition where all elements of the foreground, middle ground, and background are all so well composed to give the world a lot of depth. You might be walking on a creature that is burrowed into the ground and they are somewhat animated to give it life. They aren’t actual characters you interact with but they are creatures in the world and all of these little subtle details just make the whole world feel rich and lived in.

    Kinda like Astro’s Playroom, Ori also lets you interact with a ton of stuff. The FX detail and animation is fantastic where you might whip a energy bolt at an enemy and it explodes with particles splashing all over the screen and a loud thud in the SFX. You might hit some health plants or power crystals and the whole thing just feels so interactive, lived in, and immersive.

    It’s probably overstated at this point but the music is just great. It gives me AC2 vibes actually. I wouldn’t say it necessarily some of the action scenes have an out of the ordinary score but the overall vibe the score gives off just helps bring you into this world.

  • Here's a great video on the level design of Ori for those who are interested:

    Youtube Video