The EZA Community Top 20 Best of 2020!
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:
1.) Final Fantasy VII: Remake
2.) The Last of Us: Part II
3.) Ori and the Will of the Wisps
4.) DOOM: Eternal
5.) (HM) Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory
6.) (HM) Ghostrunner
7.) (HM) Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time
8.) (HM) Gears Tactics
9.) (The only game I've watched in full but didn't play) Resident Evil 3 Remake
Melody of Memory is nothing more that playing a LOT of the entire series' soundtracks (plus a few one offs) and it's an utter delight. While it may advance the main plot just a tiny bit at the very end, this is a perfect, "Unplug your mind and just waste several hours of listening to incredible music," game. $60 for practically every song from every Kingdom Hearts game? Sold.
Ghostrunner is super cool, really fun to play, and can be done in a couple of sittings, but the second of three boss fights and the very last platforming challenge are utter garbage with their difficulty spikes. That said, it's instant reload from death is greatly appreciated with the combat encounters being puzzles and I'm excited for the sequel.
Crash 4 is the best Crash game ever made is so many ways from art design (ESEPCIALLY N'Verted mode), gameplay improvements like Modern Mode and the Mask powers, but the biggest plus is the characters and remarkably, the story. I'm actually shocked just how good of a story this game has. That said, I will always carry a smoldering anger towards it because the difficulty in the last couple of time periods, with the All Gem Path and the last stage before the final boss in particular, is outright ridiculous.
Gears Tactics may be at the bottom of my list, but it's still a really good game. The first game I've ever played of the Tactics genre, as it's pretty intuitive once you get through the first couple of chapters. Gears is suited to it quite well for being a franchise that involved being a third person cover shooter. As a die hard Gears fan, I really enjoyed the story, but the post game is repetitive and becomes old FAST, plus the absolute best parts, the three (AND ONLY THREE) boss fights can only be experienced once on one save file.
WHEW. If anyone read ANY of my posts, thank you. Again, I am VERY sorry for so much. I had to get all of this out. Not tagging everyone (obviously) but I DO want to thank @Axel for always being the driving force behind these lists over the years. And again everyone, I'm sorry this was so much.
Phbz last edited by
TLoU2, just like Ori it manages to completely surpass the first game and become the industry leader in pretty much every aspect.
I also think that story is a huge step up from 99% of the competition, being an incredible strong take of what is the root of humanity's endless violence and I honestly loved seeing how so many simply refuse to face it and felt offended by it. We need more games that make us feel uncomfortable.
On the bad side, structurally the narrative follows the idea of the "circle of violence" a bit too linearly and becomes a tad obvious and repetitive. Also I feel like it could be a bit shorter.
Another negative, and this one is bigger, it's borderline unacceptable that Naughty Dog, while being one of the industry leaders in storytelling and game design, makes of the player a complete spectator. We are talking about games here and we are talking of a company that is supposed to be pushing the industry forward yet doesn't even tries to achieve anything in player agency. I would advise Druckmann to sit down and play Kentucky Route Zero and take some notes on how to deal with narrative delivery and player agency without actually needing to shape a story according to the players choices. You don't need to adapt events and create ramifications, just bring the player in.
Sentinel Beach last edited by
Excellent top two, and in the right order as well. I'm currently playing the Remake again now on PS5, soon dropping by a certain church. That's where I cried for the first time a year ago when her theme started playing in all that beauty and nostalgia...
Naughty Dog, on the other hand, is my favourite studio in this industry, and with TLoU Part II they raised the bar once again to unfathomable heights. The combination of story, characters and gameplay with all those incredible details! Unbeatable. My God what a game.
El Shmiablo Banned last edited by El Shmiablo
I won't say much about TLOU2 since I've already said pages worth on the forum.
Absolutely incredible game. My only problem is the buttfuck abysmal pacing near the middle where it grinds to an absolute halt for like a solid hour. I also think that the story should have been told linearly, as that would have helped the gamerdudes sympathize with certain characters and their actions better (which are totally and completely justified if you have basic human empathy), but hey who the fuck cares about them right?
JDINCINERATOR last edited by
@ffff0 What did you enjoy about Watch Dogs: Legion? I really wanted to like it because I found WD2 to be fantastic but felt like Legion despite its ambitiousness, got far too boring and tedious with a dearth of charisma, unappealing and rote missions and it just didn't do anything to wow me. I remember when you go into the pub to play darts and your associate over earpiece remarks that it would be awesome if your opponent was drunk or something like that-and yet nothing happens-no hilarity, no excitement, no real entertainment-Legion just stuffs itself with busywork in predictable Ubisoft fashion. I'm glad you enjoyed it way more than I did, I'm just curious and interested in why you liked it.
JDINCINERATOR last edited by JDINCINERATOR
I think we all assumed that Final Fantasy VII Remake and The Last of of Us Part II were going to be the final two. The former is terrific and is a true love letter to the original in every way without compromising what made the original great-I do prefer THSP 1+2 Remake over FFVII Remake but that's probably down to it being more accessible and immediately fun and pick-up and play whereas FFVII is more intricate and deeper, and more in-tune with fan-service. The Last of Us Part II then is phenomenal for the most part, with its only dingers coming from the questionable pacing and a back-end that relied way too heavily on outpost clearing. However, TLOU Part II had some of the most powerful and sensational moments I think I've ever had in videogames regardless of how serious it is a lot of the time. Some of the greatest films, music, books and videogames can be enormously divisive and TLOU Part II is certainly one of those, but the quality inherent within is unquestionable. Also here's my Top 8:
Top 8 Games of 2020:
2.The Last of Us Part II
3.Tony Hawks Pro Skater 1+2
4.Ghost of Tsushima (Probably will retract this one now but still stands)
HM: Final Fantasy VII Remake
HM: Mafia: Definitive Edition
HM: Animal Crossing: New Horizons
ffff0 last edited by
@jdincinerator I had a very good time playing this game. There are serious open-world games, like Red Dead Redemption, which you play mostly for the story. There are “wreck chaos” open-world games, like Just Cause, which you play just to goof off. I feel like Watch Dogs: Legion strikes perfect balance between those two: it allows player to “break the game” (like using cargo drones to get to your goal), but you also feel like you’ve achieved something worthwhile in the process. In other words, it’s a game where both journey and destination are enjoyable.
Also, I love the idea of having completely random crew. Yes, sometimes appearance doesn’t match the voice, but the sense of ownership you get is completely worth it. I like all those people not because they have amazing story ark, but because I’ve chose them, and Watch Dogs: Legion is the first game that allowed me to experience that.
1)Crash Bandicoot 4 It's About Time
2)Ori and the Will of the Wisps
HM)Resident Evil 3
HM)Panzer Dragoon: Remake
HM)Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales
Crash 4 is such a great platformer. Shame that there is no love for it on this forum :(
@neocweeny At least I gave it an Honorable Mention. As I said in my last overall post, I feel it's the best Crash game ever made. Couldn't put it higher because of the exponential difficulty spike down the stretch.
bam541 last edited by bam541
@neocweeny Honestly I got a bit scared to try it after seeing all the reviews, it just seems like too hard for me. I finished the OG remastered trilogy like around the time Crash 4 came out and it was a quite stressful ordeal, lol.
El Shmiablo Banned last edited by
My list btw.
The Last of Us Part 2
Streets of Rage 4
Final Fantasy VII Remake
Sentinel Beach last edited by
I had these eight beauties as my top games
#1: The Last of Us Part II
#2: Final Fantasy VII Remake
#3: Yakuza: Like a Dragon
#4: Spider-Man: Miles Morales
HM: Assassin's Creed Valhalla
HM: Astro's Playroom
HM: Cyberpunk 2077
HM: Ghost of Tsushima
@brannox That means it was 1 point short of making the list :(
For me it's probably my second favorite, after Crash 2.
@bam541 If you just want to play through the game normal and not aiming to get all the gems and stuff, it's not so hard. I'd say Crash 1 on the N. Sane Trilogy is a much more difficult game for a normal playthrough than Crash 4 is. People can be very hyperbolic when speaking about the difficulty of a Crash game.
I do think they shouldn't have made as difficult as it is. I really don't understand why Crash game should be difficult nowadays. The original PS1 had a pretty good difficulty level, not too hard, not too easy. The N.Sane Trilogy was difficult mostly by mistake because they altered the physics for Crash but didn't alter the level design to make up for the shorter jump distance.
@neocweeny While Crash 4 is better, I also agree with you that I prefer Crash 2. While it may not be as polished as It's About Time, it doesn't overstay its welcome and simplicity works in its favor. Less is more as the saying goes. And yeah, being shy by a point is brutal. That kind of heartbreak has happened to me across several of these countdowns.
Jamicov last edited by
Here's what I voted for:
- The Last of Us Part II
- Final Fantasy 7 Remake
- Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales
- Ghost of Tsushima
HM: Demon’s Souls
HM: Animal Crossing: New Horizons
HM: Marvel’s Avengers
FF7 Remake was probably the most fun I had playing a game last year. The combat system just resonated with me so well, a great mix of action but also a kind of turn-based strategy thing. I also really liked the way they were able to make Midgar interesting to explore and do everything there was despite it being more linear in nature. Plus, the music shift in the third phase of that dreamweaver fight? God-tier.
TLOU Part II on the other hand, just affected so deeply. Obviously there's all the technical stuff it excels at, it's an insanely good looking game, it's fun to attack every scenario differently and experiment (shoutout to the Rat King), but couldn't stop thinking about the story whenever I stopped playing. There were so many moments that I loved so much. Well, 'loved. is the wrong word, but appreciated how much they made me think and feel about everything.
I was hoping Avengers would crack the list, but I'm not surprised. Of course it has issues, especially at launch, but I honestly think people just continue to assume the game has been in the same rough shape since September, when they've really been on a roll since Kate Bishop. I think there's a ton of variety in the ways you can play each character, so much so that I've enjoyed putting together different builds for characters. They've also been really good about sticking to their roadmap and since they put it out around February or so. I think it's definitely worth people's time, especially with a bigger Black Panther expansion coming in August.
Axel last edited by Axel
So that was the closest fight for 1st place I can remember! And it was a crazy rollercoaster at all levels.
Let's break it down:
- The Last of Us Part II squeezed out a win with the very last vote that came in, giving it an extra 3 points for a total of 75. With an average of 2.14 points/voter, it ranks 5th among all the previous winners, but with only 6 GOTY votes (against 9 for FFVII Remake!), it doesn't feel as unanimous as most other years, but still very deserving!
- After Uncharted 2: Among Thieves in 2009, The Last of Us in 2013 and Uncharted 4: A Thief's End in 2016, this is the 4th GOTY win for Naughty Dog, making them the uncontested kings of the EZA forums. See you in 2024 for Uncharted 5: Revenge of the Thief!
- A cruel, cruel second place for the wonderful Final Fantasy VII Remake with 73 points. Before the last four votes, it was 11 points ahead. And it scored nothing from those four votes, while Last of Us scored 13. It is the highest-scoring second place ever, a record previously held by Horizon Zero Dawn in 2017 with 72 points. You're still the winner in my heart, FF VII!
- The fairytale story of the year, Ori and the Will of the Wisps finished 3rd! After the first 17 votes, it was first with 35 points. But it only received 8 points from the next 18 votes. If you ask me, all of this indicates that the earlier the vote, the better your taste!
- In 4th, Ghost of Tsushima instead feels like this year's The Outer Worlds: liked by many but adored by few! Only 1 GOTY vote, and mostly #4 or HMs for this one. We'll see how fondly it is remembered 5-10 years from now.
- Only one person had the overall top 4 as their top 4: @paulmci27, although not in the same order.
- A notable 7th place for 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim, the first time a Vanillaware title makes it to our rankings!
- Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales had a crazy comeback, 14 of its 18 points were scored with the last 10 votes.
- Xbox Game Studios got a 3rd place with Ori and the Will of the Wisps! Not exclusive because it's also on Switch, but we'll give it to them.
- Only one Switch exclusive: Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Not a great year for Nintendo, but we know the GOTY Metroid Dread is coming soon!
- A whopping 7 PlayStation exclusives: The Last of Us Part II, Final Fantasy VII Remake (for now), Ghost of Tsushima, 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim, Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Astro’s Playroom, Demon's Souls. Including the winner, and 3 of the top 4. Business as usual for Sony.
- Two PC exclusives, Half-Life: Alyx (only VR exclusive) and Crusader Kings III.
- Now for the heartbreaks! Huntdown and Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time each scored 6 points and just missed the top 20. Huntdown was one of my HMs (and Don's GOTY probably) and I can't recommend it enough, it's an amazing title that deserved to be placed at least as highly as Streets of Rage 4, don't sleep on it!
- 5 points: Wasteland 3, Risk of Rain 2, Gears Tactics, Robotics;Notes Elite&Dash, The Pathless, Nioh 2.
- 4 points: Spiritfarer.
- 3 points: Legends of Runeterra, XCOM: Chimera Squad, Filament, Genshin Impact, Carrion, Black Mesa, Ikenfell, Deadly Premonition 2, Microsoft Flight Simulator, Sackboy: A Big Adventure, Marvel's Avengers, Mafia: Definitive Edition, Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout.
- 2 points: Kandagawa Jet Girls, Call of the Sea, Dreams, Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin.
- 1 point: Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity (yikes, I'm the only one who voted for it), Unto The End, Hyperdot, Tell Me Why, Desperados III, Neon Abyss, UnderMine, Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory, Ghostrunner, Watch Dogs: Legion, Haven, The Pedestrian, Panzer Dragoon: Remake, Taiko no Tatsujin: Rhythmic Adventure Pack, Golf with Your Friends, Super Mario Bros. 35, Star Renegades, Cloudpunk, Disaster Report 4 Plus: Summer Memories, Sakura Wars, Coffee Talk, Paper Mario: The Origami King, Spellbreak, I Am Dead, If Found…, Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, BPM: Bullets Per Minute, Super Meat Boy Forever.
- 0 point: Journey to the Savage Planet, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX, Shantae and the Seven Sirens, Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2, Fast & Furious Crossroads, Spelunky 2, Star Wars: Squadrons, Amnesia: Rebirth, The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV, The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope, Bakugan: Champions of Vestroia, Bugsnax, Godfall, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, Immortals Fenyx Rising...
I've played 8 out of these 20 games. The ones I still might play: Ghost of Tsushima, 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim, Half-Life: Alyx (if I ever get VR), Yakuza: Like a Dragon, Cyberpunk 2077 (if there's ever a remake/director's cut).
Thank you to all 35 voters, we ended up with a very solid list as usual!
As a final note, I'd like to announce that I'll be stepping down from organizing those votes from now on, I'm feeling less motivated than before and the year ahead is shaping up to be very busy for me at work. @JDINCINERATOR has already offered to pick up the torch, and anyone is free to come up with their own version (kudos to @Exist-2-Inspire who was the original creator of this format!).
I'll still very eagerly participate in any future events!
Capnbobamous last edited by
Thanks as always @Axel!
I forgot to make a post for the GOTY so here's a quick little thing:
The Last Of Us Part II has one of the most challenging, complex, and daring narratives I have ever seen in a game. It challenges the player in ways I've never seen before, so it's easy to see why it ended up being so controversial. It's a game based around ripping your heart out, feeling unfair, hopeless, and unflinchingly human. It made me feel things that no game has ever made me feel before. It's not perfect, I may even call it messy, but ultimately it does what it sets out to do, and the result is something that is thus far unparalleled.
Few games have led to me having deep conversations about narrative and, to a broader extent, humanity, and none to the length and depth that I've had about The Last of Us II. I think that is part of the reason it should be considered so highly, even by those who dislike it. It is a controversial game, and it is through that controversy that I think it's greatest strength can be found. It is challenging, and it is because of this that the game is able to muster such controversy. A game that plays it safe would not be able to draw the ire or love that Last of Us has drawn. Not to throw Ghost of Tsushima under the bus, but it hasn't seen the level of responses on either side of the spectrum that Last of Us has because it has little complexity. It's a fun samurai game, I don't mean to take that away, I just mean that the very fact that Last of Us has seen such polarizing response means that it is unique and defies conventional norms, and I think that is something that should be at least respected.
Here is my list:
- Last of Us Part II
- Crusader Kings III
Ghost of Tsushima
@axel Thanks for the great work! I highly enjoy these lists.
iboshow last edited by
- Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales
- The Last of Us Part 2
- Ghost of Tsushima
- Nioh 2
HM. Resident Evil 3 Remake
HM. Dragon Ball Z Kakarot
HM. Astro's Playroom