The EZA Community Top 20 Best of 2020!



  • 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



  • Final Fantasy VII Remake

    #2. Final Fantasy VII Remake - 73 points

    Votes

    #1: 9 (Axel, Brannox, Exist 2 Inspire, DIPSET, VicRattler, HappyGaming, Nimbat1003, TokyoSlim, Lotias)
    #2: 4 (Sentinel Beach, R.F. Switch, Jamicov, Danjin44)
    #3: 1 (paulmci27)
    #4: 2 (Sheria, Scotty)
    HM: 5 (Crepe, JDINCINERATOR, El Shmiablo, robert7lee, bam541)

    Information

    Release date: April 10 [US/EU]
    Developer: Square Enix
    Publisher: Square Enix
    Genre: Action role-playing
    Platform(s): PS5, PS4

    Links

    Trailer
    Wikipedia
    EZA Review



  • The Last of Us Part II

    #1. The Last of Us Part II - 75 points

    Votes

    #1: 6 (Sentinel Beach, El Shmiablo, bam541, Jamicov, Scotty, Capnbobamous)
    #2: 6 (Axel, paulmci27, Brannox, JDINCINERATOR, Lotias, iboshow)
    #3: 3 (Phbz, Shoulderguy, Hazz3r)
    #4: 4 (ffff0, DemonPirate, robert7lee, HappyGaming)
    HM: 4 (Crepe, DIPSET, Sheria, Tearju Engi)

    Information

    Release date: June 19 [US/EU]
    Developer: Naughty Dog
    Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
    Genre: Action-adventure
    Platform(s): PS4

    Links

    Trailer
    Wikipedia
    EZA Review



  • This was my first experience with anything FF7 related. And even though I was a little confused at times, the side quests are boring and some of the writing is bad by 2020 standards. I still enjoyed Final Fantasy XVII Remake for the spectacular rollercoaster ride that it was.
    This game is full of so many awesome moments that are all highlighted be equally awesome music, especially during the boss fights. And I'm also very curious to see where this story goes from here. So job well done Square Enix.
    Final Fantasy XVII Remake is #9 on my list.

    0_1624070415773_FF71.jpg


    The Last of Us Part II is impressive in so many different ways. Such as all of the gameplay improvements over TLOU 1. Best in the industry technical and sound design. And a completely enthralling story that continues from where the first game left off.

    I only have a few small nitpicks with the TLOU 2's structure and with it running at 30fps on PS4. Though none of those issues were serious enough to ruin one of the best games of the year for me. The Last of Us Part II has a story I'll never forget, and I look forward to playing it again on PS5.


    My Votes:

    1. Ori and the Will of the Wisps
    2. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2
    3. The Last of Us Part II
    4. Demon's Souls
    5. (HM) DOOM Eternal
    6. (HM) Wasteland 3
    7. (HM) Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales
    8. (HM) Desperados III

    My Full Ranked List

    Once again, thanks @Axel for doing all this work.



  • Thanks @Axel for doing this once again. The top 3 games are well deserved. FF7 Remake was an impossible dream fulfilled. Im glad the story went unexpected places. I reconnected with friends I hadn't spoke to for years discussing this game all of us excited to see where it goes. As for Last of Us 2 all I can say that I enhaled this game for 32 hours & not a second was wasted. This years top 3 were some of my favourite gaming experiences ever. What a time to be alive.



  • Wow, a difference of only 2 points? Damnnnn.

    FF7 Remake is not my first rodeo with the FF7 universe. I have finished Crisis Core before, and that experience made me at least a bit more aware to the deep complexities of this remake, if taken to the context of the whole FF7 universe. Perhaps this is the best concept for a game remake yet: not only infusing modern game design and advancements to every aspect of the game, but also offering players something that feels similar to the magic of the original game when it was released back in the day. It almost brings a new definition to the word "remake" itself. Also, the soundtrack is magnificent overall. Still, I think the game has a few flaws that is just hard to ignore. A decent amount of the chapters of the game feels almost like fillers, either because they don't have enough interesting things going on, because they go on for a bit too long, or because the things you do in the chapter is just not very fun. At least things got much tighter in the last few chapters. Also, exploring the more open parts of the levels can be a bit disappointing because the graphical quality can be a bit inconsistent. None of these flaws hurt the game too much though. At the end of the day, I still love it. I'm so excited to see more of Cloud and the gang in the sequel.

    For me, there is no word that describes TLOU Part II better than "culmination". Everything that Naughty Dog has learned, everything that they have worked on, it all leads to this masterpiece. It's their magnum opus, and it's not even because of the technical aspects of the game. Granted, I still can't believe that my PS4 can run something that looks and feels this good, but the real reason why this game is so good is how unrelenting it is at presenting its story. The structure of the game is built to amplify every emotion that I'm feeling, and that's why I love this game so much. I understand why people would dislike this game, but I still beg to differ personally. This game reminds me why I love Naughty Dog's games so much, there's just no one that can do it like them, and in the current gaming landscape, their games just feel so different compared to other AAAs. Honestly the only thing that I'm feeling negative about is not even in the game itself. It's the whole crunch thing that ND got going on. Naughty Dog is my favorite dev, and it really saddens me to know that they're still doing it to great lengths. Hopefully they can get with the times soon, crunch is lame af.

    Here's my list:

    1. TLOU Part II
    2. Ghost of Tsushima
    3. The Pathless
    4. Dreams
      Honorable Mentions:
      FF7 Remake, Mafia Definitive Edition, Cloudpunk, THPS 1+2

    I know The Pathless isn't for everyone, but man, it's so fucking good. I said before that it's a really good Fumito Ueda game, and that was only half joking. It not only reminds me of Ueda's sensibilities, but is also very unique in how it plays and feels. Mastering the exploration is more satisfying than many combat systems in action games. The story itself leaves lots of rooms to improve on, but it still had it moments. Also, Austin Wintory's soundtrack is really good! Lastly, considering that it's made by an indie dev, the open world itself is pretty impressive technically, there's pretty much no load times in between big zones transitions. All in all, I love this game very much.

    Mafia Definitive Edition was a pretty good story experience hampered by it's clunky and dated gameplay feel. The graphics did a great job of immersing me further into it's world, and the pseudo open world structure of the main game supports that feeling, while keeping the focus on it's story.

    Cloudpunk is a weird mish-mash of short stories that end up becoming greater than the sum of its parts. Exploring the city with your hover car is honestly one of the best vehicle gameplay experience I've had in a while.

    Once again, thanks @Axel for setting this thing up, and thanks to everyone else who participated. Y'all have great taste!


    P.S. I forgot to show my actual full list on GGApp, so here it is.
    Keep in mind that my actual list is different than the one in here, because, y'know, I want to give more points to some games. Also, my actual list is purely on personal feelings.



  • Final Fantasy VII Remake is my #20 of 41.

    Technically, I’ve played a lot of Final Fantasy games (Game Pass), but I’ve played them only for about 5 minutes each, because they are too old to be enjoyed. Also, I’ve spent an hour in XIV (outdated visuals and lack of full VO was a showstopper) and 3-4 hours in XV (just got bored). So, I had very little interest in Final Fantasy VII Remake and completely lost it after playing the demo. Then it was released on PS Plus and I play all games I get for free. So, I’ve decided to see how soon I will drop this one.

    Surprisingly, this is the first Final Fantasy I’ve finished. I say surprisingly, because I didn’t like any aspect of this game and all problems I saw in the demo were still there, plus some more from later areas. Firstly, sound mixing and music implementation are terrible. Loud epic soundtrack plays even when you do absolutely mundane activities. And it drowns all dialogs. The same problem ruined Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order for me, so I’ve immediately nearly muted music. But it wasn’t ideal solution: several music-driven scenes completely lost their impact, and I couldn’t do anything, because even though the game allows you to pause during cut-scenes, it doesn’t allow you to change the settings.

    Then there’s poorly designed combat. On normal difficulty enemies take absurd amount of time to kill and since there are so many of them, the combat quickly becomes boring. But on easy there’s no threat at all and combat becomes boring for another reason. Also, your companions are completely useless and don’t even try to fight.

    The game constantly breaks its rules. Characters can jump 10 meters up during combat but can’t bypass small fence during exploration. There are cutscenes in which such obstacles prompt a detour, but in other cutscenes characters jump and throw each other. Somehow sword is effective against guns. Yes, this is a common trope, but when you have a character with a gun in your party, this absurd is hard to ignore.

    Speaking of characters, the girl in red coat has a skin-colored bow that looks like giant ears from multiple angles. This design looks so stupid that each time she appeared I’ve started to chuckle. Also, all adversaries are so one-dimensional that all their scenes felt like a joke. So even though story tackles some serious issues, it felt like a circus performance.

    What else? Ah yes, characters look good, but environments looks like they were made for some distant background. Even during simple indoor cutscenes objects and textures look extremely rough, almost like the game was shipped without LOD 0. Also, some sections are an absolute filler – they don’t make sense from story perspective, and they aren’t fun to play.

    So yeah, my problems with Final Fantasy VII Remake are numerous. Yet, as I said before, it’s the first Final Fantasy game I’ve decided to finish. And I even had a decent time doing so. This fact is probably the biggest mystery of this game.



  • The Last of Us Part II is my #4 of 41.

    This game has very impressive tech, particularly fabric simulation and sound implementation. Also, it’s probably unmatched in terms of performance capture. However, it’s my #4 because of its storytelling, so some spoilers ahead. Initially I was on Ellie’s side and fully supported all of her kills. When it came to theater’s confrontation I thought “Alright, let’s kill that bitch Abby”. Then Abby section began and for a while I didn’t spend anything on her upgrades, because I wanted Elly to kill her and take all those materials for herself. But soon I began to warm up to Abby and then I began to root for her. When it came to theater’s confrontation I thought “Alright, let’s kill that bitch Ellie”. Then, in the final act, my sympathy for Ellie came back, but this time I was above confrontation and wanted the best for both sides.

    Only masterful storytelling can change my mind so many times and paint such multidimensional picture. This game is only my #4 for two reasons: I was very impressed thoughtfully, but not emotionally, and there were 2 groundbreaking games and 1 out-of-nowhere excellent title that I just had to put above. But The Last of Us Part II is definitely a GotY material.