The EZA Community Top 20 Best of 2020!



  • Kentucky Route Zero: TV Edition

    #19. Kentucky Route Zero: TV Edition - 8 points

    Votes

    #1: 0
    #2: 2 (Phbz, MiserablePerson)
    #3: 0
    #4: 0
    HM: 0

    Information

    Release date: January 28 [US/EU]
    Developer: Cardboard Computer
    Publisher: Annapurna Interactive
    Genre: Point-and-click adventure
    Platform(s): Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC

    Links

    Trailer
    Wikipedia
    Easy Update



  • Over the years, I only sparsely heard about KRZ from time to time. It seemed like I saw one or two people rave about it, then not hear about it again for months if not years. But with it not being as widely known, plus hearing how each portion was different in several ways, it wasn't a game that I ever could remember or recall. With the all in one package put out on consoles, it corrected that, as, like with most episodic games, their biggest structural flaw is all that time in between. I like the fact this game is Weird and does different things, but alas, too weird for my tastes. But the more diverse games there are, the healthier gaming as a whole is. And I'm all for that, because creativity leads to some amazing stuff.



  • I played Kentucky Route Zero TV Edition last year, and I didn't understand what was happening. The story is all over the place, the pacing drags and the world of KRZ is a confusing mess. Maybe I skipped over something, or maybe I'm just too dumb to understand it's intellectual meaning. Either way, it was not a fun experience. I've enjoyed some great narrative driven games over the years, but this isn't one of them IMO.



  • @el-shmiablo yeah, the ezio trilogy seems like the most interesting games for me. I want to try out AC2 at least.

    Kentucky Route Zero is like the textbook definition of a under-the-radar game for me. I heard about the game a long time ago, and kinda forgot about it until the TV edition release recently. I seen my favorite YT creators gush about it so I definitely want to give it a try someday.



  • I didn’t know this game was considered ”weird” until it was brought up here. Is it like David Lynch or Charlie Kaufman weird?



  • @tokyoslim said in The EZA Community Top 20 Best of 2020!:

    Top tier terrapin at #21 though, and I have zero context as to what any of that is about. :)

    During voting process one forum member was very insisting on being able to nominate anything he enjoyed playing in 2020. I said that with such logic I should be able to nominate my turtle, simply because I've enjoyed playing with it a lot last year. Others liked this idea, so my turtle got some "votes" and ended up at #21.



  • I bought KRZ: TV Edition after Ian and Ben's little sitdown discussion on an episode of Easy Update. Not too bad a game for what it is but I haven't gotten back to it-one of those games that can be so easily overlooked and yet it's something of a hidden treasure.



  • KRZ isn't my goty because the pandemic happened and my number one was fundamental for my mental health.

    Comparing it to a David Lynch work makes sense for its surrealism and experimentalism. As a videogame it's magical in how it uses the medium in creative ways, particularly narrative wise, it experiments a lot and successfully imo.

    In the most classic sense the writing is fantastic, many times feels like you are reading a book, then at a certain point you're a spectator watching a play, there's a section where you'll be a singer singing a beautiful (very Lynchian) song in a bar and you'll be choosing the lyrics as you go. The game is masterful that way, as it experiments with narrative delivery and player perspective. My favourite feeling while playing a game is seeing the medium pushed forward in different and creative ways, Kentucky made me feel that several times. Nothing beats that "yeah videogames!" rush. And while it's not a very gamy game, in the traditional sense, it's also truth that what KRZ achieve is only possible through video(games🤮). Sorry, but this is one of the cases where I feel like our hobby having the word "game" attached is an unfortunate thing in how it limits perceptions and expectations.

    Then thematically it touches subjects such as desertification, addiction, redundancy and debt. And it can be so poignant that made me emotional several times. Not in an exploitative sense but just how meaningful and real it feels. You can see that a lot thought was put in each episode.

    Beautiful music and sound design too.


  • Global Moderator

    I decided to put Ac Valhalla as my number 4. I've had some fun times with it and I am a sucker for Vikings, so raiding and looting has been great. It also got some memorable characters which kept me entertained. I haven't finished it yet, mainly because it's so darn huge. But feels like this will be my new skyrim, which what I mean with that is to dive back into when I dont feel for much else and just derp around in for an hour or two for the next couple years.



  • No fun facts in OP about the Goty?



  • I ended up finally playing KRZ last year pretty much simply to culture myself about the whole phenomenon, as I had read a good deal of praises about the game throughout the past years. Well, it was an experience, I'll tell you that. Often weird as shit, but at the same time somehow beautiful and captivating as well. I sort of understand the appeal even if it didn't hit me the same way. I'm still happy to have played all of that.



  • @phbz

    If it is like Mulholland Drive levels of surrealism then I might have to assume this game just isn't for me, but I appreciate the write up. I've said before that video games almost always get in their own way and fail to really ever say something in a way that other media can and does. Not sure where KRZ fits in there but it sounds like it's at least going for a deeper point about something.



  • @dipset
    The comparison with Lynch is more in terms of mood and how it challenges the medium, imo is more accessible and "humane" than most recent Lynch works, but it is very experimental and surreal, just not in a way that the subject issue gets lost in a way that's inaccessible to the "spectator", it's not abstract. I saw it labeled as magical realism and I think it fits well.



  • @phbz

    Hmmm that warms me up a bit then. I played The Missing: JJ Macfield and the Island of Memories back in 2018 and I really appreciated the surrealism of that game, but it ultimately had a structured narrative, twist, and conclusion. What sometimes loses me about surrealism or existentialism is that it throws a bunch of balls up in the air and lets them all hit the floor and that leaves me with little to latch onto.

    So if there is a sort of human element to the storytelling then maybe I can get on board.



  • @ffff0 Ah. lol Well, nice tutle.



  • @dipset The overarching story very much has a human element...for me the challenge was mostly the gameplay. Its so relaxed and there's so little actually guiding you it often felt like I was missing something. What I loved about it was the setting, mood, and tone - and it takes place in a location that is often reduced to a punchline in most any other game which I appreciate.

    As far as feeling like a bunch of balls hitting the floor at the end, I don't really know how to describe how I felt as a I finished. It doesn't have a pulse pounding climax, its just relaxed throughout. I found it powerful, but never preachy or heavy handed. Also without going into spoilers, the way you move around in Act V was one of my favorite things in a video game. A lot of love and care went into it, and even comparing it to something like Outer Wilds doesn't do its atmosphere justice, just really, really cool and unique.

    And at the same time, I totally understand anyone who bounces off it, or can't handle the process of playing it, certainly not something for everybody.



  • Crusader Kings III

    #18. Crusader Kings III - 9 points

    Votes

    #1: 0
    #2: 0
    #3: 1 (Capnbobamous)
    #4: 2 (Brandon_Reister, Hazz3r)
    HM: 2 (DIPSET, Nimbat1003)

    Information

    Release date: September 1 [US/EU]
    Developer: Paradox Development Studio
    Publisher: Paradox Interactive
    Genre: Grand strategy, Role-playing
    Platform(s): PC

    Links

    Trailer
    Wikipedia
    Easy Update



  • I didn't know of Crusader Kings III until the reviews dropped. Primarily because I'm in a couple of different Fantasy Critic Leagues (plus following a couple of others, including the Easy Allies' Smartest Person Contest), and seeing how many points it had, I was surprised. But kudos to it for being so high quality. As far as the game itself, I don't like the genre, so it's a pass for me.



  • There is a dude in my chat and it's literally all he talks about.
    I have absolutely zero interest. Grand strategy is not my thing.



  • So legit question, but these sorts of games are so intimidating for me to get into. Best I could ever do was Civ 5 which I love, but the learning process makes them hard to approach. Same with something like Stellaris where the idea is cool but the practice gives me anxiety.

    Is there a good way to learn how to play these sorts of games or is it just a type of person/brain that picks it up better than others? I’d love to hear how to get into them better, not to derail.

    There was also a GMTK video on how their tutorials could improve recently I wholeheartedly agree with if you’re into his videos!