The EZA Community Top 20 Best of 2020!
Shoulderguy last edited by Shoulderguy
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.
Phbz last edited by
@ffff0 That looks interesting!
Crepe last edited by
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.
JDINCINERATOR last edited by
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.
paulmci27 last edited by
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.
NeoCweeny last edited by
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.
El Shmiablo Banned last edited by
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.
DIPSET last edited by
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.
NeoCweeny last edited by
Here's a great video on the level design of Ori for those who are interested:
Axel last edited by
#2. Final Fantasy VII Remake - 73 points
#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)
Release date: April 10 [US/EU]
Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
Genre: Action role-playing
Platform(s): PS5, PS4
Axel last edited by
#1. The Last of Us Part II - 75 points
#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)
Release date: June 19 [US/EU]
Developer: Naughty Dog
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Shoulderguy last edited by
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.
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.
- Ori and the Will of the Wisps
- Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2
- The Last of Us Part II
- Demon's Souls
- (HM) DOOM Eternal
- (HM) Wasteland 3
- (HM) Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales
- (HM) Desperados III
Once again, thanks @Axel for doing all this work.
paulmci27 last edited by
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.
bam541 last edited by bam541
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:
- TLOU Part II
- Ghost of Tsushima
- The Pathless
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.
ffff0 last edited by ffff0
Here’re my votes:
- Cyberpunk 2077.
- Half-Life: Alyx.
- The Last of Us Part II.
- Assassin's Creed Valhalla.
- Watch Dogs: Legion.
- The Pedestrian.
Watch Dogs: Legion was fun and playful, but it was too short. Haven is a very relaxing and endearing game with great characters and music. But some constraints are obvious, so only #7 from me. The Pedestrian is a bit short and easy, but it’s a wonderful puzzle game. Not as great as Filament, but still very, very good. Oh yeah, please look at my yesterday’s post about Filament and give this game a chance if you like puzzle games.
Here’s the rest of my list:
- Ori and the Will of the Wisps.
- 3 out of 10.
- Marvel's Avengers.
- DOOM Eternal.
- Mortal Shell.
- Journey to the Savage Planet.
- Desperados III.
- The Last Campfire.
- Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales.
- 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim.
- Final Fantasy VII Remake.
- Tell Me Why.
- Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition.
- Command & Conquer Remastered Collection.
- XCOM: Chimera Squad.
- Immortals Fenyx Rising.
- Gears Tactics.
- Destroy All Humans!.
- Astro's Playroom.
- Paradise Killer.
- Iron Man VR.
- Ghost of Tsushima.
- Streets of Rage 4.
Brannox last edited by
While I don't like to do this because the filter may think I'm spam, I MUST break up my posts, because I had too much I wanted to say. I am EXTREMELY sorry for the amount AND length of these posts. I have two personal stories to tell, one for each game before providing my list. Writing this was quite cathartic and therapeutic and I literally couldn't stop for over an hour and a half.
While not the same order as my list (more on that WAY later below), it feels good to know my three favorites were cumulatively the forums' as well. Practically 90% of my online presence is something in one way or another to FF VII because it's my favorite game of all time, so needless to say, I was waiting on Remake like so many others for almost a decade and a half. When I saw the PS3 tech demo, my early (and very ignorant) teen mind thought, "Well why can't they do the whole game like that?!" not knowing games as the technological complexities that they are. And the hype for a better version of FF VII faded as I grew older.
Then E3 2015 happened. Yes I feel it's the greatest singular announcement in all of E3's history, but the magnitude is amplified when coupled with The Last Guardian and Shenmue III. But even still, I TRULY don't think many really remember how stacked from beginning to end Sony's entire show was. And on top of THAT, that was first ever Bethesda conference with the reveals of DOOM, Dishonored 2, and Fallout 4. EA had Battlefront shown for the first time. Xbox announced backwards compatibility and showed off Halo 5 and Gears 4 (before we knew what was going to happen). And yet VII: Remake towered over them all for me. I mean it's how I discovered the Allies (I knew of GT only really through Spike up to that point).
When it was announced, I thought, "That's fine. Take your time. Don't rush." So imagine my surprise getting the gameplay trailer six months later at PSX. While I too was hesitant when I first heard of the episodic nature, I couldn't comprehend it, so I ignored the fact. Then: Silence. While so many people cried out for updates or getting impatient, I felt completely ok with waiting. I was so convinced the project had WAY too much notoriety to be canceled, so I had faith it was being worked on and it would be at the very least be really good.
Cut to the May State of Play. After the euphoria, the "IS THIS REAL?!", the year of dreams, I couldn't believe it was back. I can't begin to tell you dear reader, or even myself, just how many times I have watched the initial reveal trailer, the Trailer Score for it, that State of Play reactions from the Allies, that return trailer on its own. I looped it over and over. It's all I could think about until June.
Then E3 happened. The major deep dive Square gave it to open their show. I couldn't get enough. As the months agonizingly went by, then I was starting to feel it: That need you have when you want to play something so bad (Coincidentally, I'm going through right now, with Intergrade AND Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart. Because, ya know, PS5s are impossible to get.). Tokyo Game Show, The Game Awards. With each passing event, with each new trailer, the desire grew.
When the game got delayed during what at the time I called "Delaypocalyspe" when Remake, Avengers, and CyberPunk all got pushed to their respective dates, I couldn't help but laugh. I, like everyone else, had to wait even more. But when the initial release date came around, March 3, I couldn't stop myself: I had to download the demo.
I became emotional as soon as I heard the prologue. When I moved the camera and Cloud just a little, I got caught up in the moment. Then the pandemic happened. With the uncertainty of such massive, instant change to daily on a global scale, I was legitimately surprised I was able to get it the day after launch.
And what I experienced, just north of 81 hours with two back-to-back replays, one standard and one Hard, I was so taken with almost everything. I will never forget how this game moved me. Hearing the soft rendition of the main theme as I looked up at the steel sky. The absolutely bonkers ending (Of which I am completely fine with. As much as I love Crisis Core and its ending ALWAYS gets me, every time, I'm VERY fascinated with how the next installment(s) will play out). But my favorite moment is Chapter 7. And when the choir hits with the epic guitar as you're wailing on the Airbuster: Perfection.
When you love something so much and waiting for so long for it, when you finally get the thing you covet most, it's indescribable.
As much as I love it, I DO have nitpicks. Air combat when you don't have access to Barret or Aerith is annoying. Chapter 9's first half going through the tunnel is SO. LONG. when replaying it over and over with probably the soundtrack's only miss. Side quests (and more particularly the first batch of them in Chapter 3) are utterly worthless and I wish they didn't factor into which dress Aerith gets in Wall Market. The Hard mode versions of both the Bahamut fight in the simulator and Sephiroth are just absolutely BRUTAL. The mini-games on hard (I. HATE. PULL-UPS.).
But everything else? Literally EVERYTHING else? Loved it. I actually enjoyed the background textures (Except the door. That one is blatant. But the tweet Square just put out a couple of days ago was funny). I didn't mind the level design that much. I loved exploring the underside of the plate, going to Jesse's parents' house, exploring the underground lab. The characters, the writing, the story, the acting, all wonderfully faithful and modernized. Gameplay was tight, especially once I found the best Materia combinations that worked for me (Side note: Yes, I wish a one button transfer existed, and yes I wish a new Materia spawned when you reached Max level on the original). Summons are spectacles and always a treat to use. The motorcycle sections were more fleshed out and fun (though I AM surprised Roche never appears again).
I could go on and on. Hell, I HAVE gone on and on. And I haven't touched TLoU yet. So to conclude about VII: Remake: I am so happy. I can't wait for all future installments. I am so pleased to see it get the most individual GOTY votes (IF ONLY ONE MORE 1st or 2nd PLACE VOTE!! AARRGGHH!).
And that's been my journey of what is now my second favorite game of all time.
Brannox last edited by
But about the EZA Forums' GOTY winner.
Before I proceed, I feel with the incendiary nature and charged divisiveness that always seems to happen when it's discussed, the only way I can talk about it is by referencing the heaviest spoilers, so I feel a tag is prudent here.
I have absolutely no problem with Joel being killed off in the first two hours. It makes complete sense as to why with his past deeds, and it makes the narrative that much more poignant in the closing moments. When taking control of Abby the very first time you meet her, I knew she was going to be important. But when she actually does the deed, with the final swing, I felt a jolt because I was surprised Naughty Dog actually went through with it. No miraculous save. No plot armor. It is inevitable. So as Ellie sets out to Seattle, I, as designed, wanted vengeance. And playing through the first half, it was incredibly intense, particularly in Day 2 when you have to avoid the dogs, sneak through the dark building with the Stalkers, get past the first couple of encounters with the Seraphites. But when I finally got to the end of Day 3 and perspective switched, when it popped up, "Seattle, Day 1." The thought of "Oh. Shit. I'm only halfway." was a jaw-dropper. I went from curious as to how (and why) I was going to spend so much time as Abby, to really becoming invested in her relationship with Lev and Yara. And while playing as Abby, I would always be thinking, "Ok, if this is Day One, what was I doing as Ellie at this time," or "If this is Day 2, has Ellie met the Seraphites yet as I baby-crawl between these skyscrapers?" When the showdown happens, I was NOT enthused to having to fight Ellie as Abby. My nerves were SHOT. After watching (and forcibly directly engaging in) some of the most gruesome realistic gory deaths, a couple of those being completely sudden, as Abby and Lev left the theater, I couldn't imagine going any further. I thought I had reached the end. And then the most devastating part of the game soon came after. While sitting on the tractor in the field, looking at the GORGEOUS sunset, recalling both looking out at the wilderness at the beginning and watching the giraffes in the first game, the most purest form of dread seeped into my stomach, "I'm not done. There's going to be more." And sure enough as Ellie packed up to go after Abby, forsaking the ONE person who was with her the ENTIRE time, I was screaming at the tv, "NO! THIS IS IDIOTIC, ELLIE! YOU HAVE IT! YOU HAVE A GREAT LIFE! FAMILY! PEACE!" Don't get me wrong; Santa Barbara, like Seattle and Jackson, is stunning, but I do NOT like that segment purely for story reasons. And in the climax, as the monster threatened Lev in her one-track obsession of revenge, I was having some complex feelings having to forcibly proceed. And after it was all over, as Ellie walks into an empty house, no longer able to play the guitar and ultimately leaves literally everything she has behind, I couldn't go on, which shows the absolute perfect placement of the credits. If you couldn't tell, this game fucking destroyed me. All the softer moments are amplified in their impact with how devastating they are. Playing Take on Me in the music store (which, being COMPLETELY skippable, is bold). The flashbacks, in particular the one at the museum and the very last conversation Joel and Ellie would ever have, broke me in a way I can't describe. It took me 11 months to process my feelings and work up enough desire to try out New Game+ last month. And knowing what was to come, it still hit me.
Now. All spoilers aside, I can't praise the game in every other aspect enough. Animation. Environmental design. Gameplay. Crafting. It just feels so good to explore and find resources, safes, and documents. The New Game+ modifiers are very fun to mess with and break the game. Truly exceptional from top to bottom. It's my runner up because, despite how it made me feel, the fact that it DID and did so to such an immense degree, is why I admire this as a work of art.
When I make and rank a GOTY list, I've noticed every single ranking for any year follows the same format: How did this game make me feel, how consistent were these feelings kept, and how much did I get out of it, be it fun, memorable moments, or something else entirely. That's why the almost 15 years of love being payed off and why the intense rollercoaster of TLoU Pt. II's narrative won the day on my list. Speaking of which: