The EZA Community Top 20 Best of 2020!

  • 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


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


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


    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.

  • Banned

    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!

  • I feel like if my dad never bought me consoles and I had to grew up with only PC games, I would definitely end up being a fan of grand strategy games like this. At this point I lack the mental patience and time to learn these kinds of games (except for Civ), so I'll probably won't get to play any of em' soon. Glad to see that people love this entry though.

  • I did try but the tutorial killed my joy. Which is a shame and 100% on me since everything about this game sounds interesting.

  • I love Crusader Kings 3. First, it's a really good step up from 2 in terms of QoL and User Experience.

    There's so much that can happen and so much you can do. Going in with a goal in mind and working towards that goal slowly but surely. The new additions to religion, the addition of concubines to certain cultures.

    One of my favourite changes was that they made Primogeniture (the succession law that means your direct heir gets all your titles) is way more difficult to attain, and you have to deal with Gavelkind (the titles are split between heirs) for far longer. It adds some great dynamics to your play, and means you end up warring against brothers quite a bit more than you did in 2.

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

    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.

    I got into Crusader Kings by watching Many a True Nerd. He tries his best to explain his play, and also takes corrections from the comments on subsequent episodes.

    Youtube Video

    Crusader Kings is ultimately learned through osmosis, and you have to dedicate a lot of time to the game to learn how to play.

    The best bit of advice I can give is just to play fairly simple territories, and not be too precious about your gameplay at first. Just try and things and see what happens. Don't be afraid to just set the time at x4 and see how things play out, see what sort of things happen. Starting as a Count anywhere in Ireland or Britain is a great for this. Have kids, marry them off, create title claims on neighbouring Counties, start a few Wars.

    Oh yeah, stay away from Italy and the Middle East. You have to know what you're doing there.

  • @hazz3r

    Thanks for sharing that channel cause I've also been looking for a good gateway into CKIII on a level where I kinda understand the systems better.

    I voted for CK III as a HM but I'm no ambassador for the series. Basically, it was free on Game Pass. I hear Paradox make classic grand strategy games, and my buddy who is into these things told me it's a good time.

    @HappyGaming - I am your example of having no experience with grand strategy but having a good time. I have 0% experience with this stuff. Not even Civilization (other than watching my buddy).

    So I download the game and play the tutorial. It's about 60 mins and is pretty friggin straightforward. It definitely took some intimidation edge off. Likewise the game is full of pop up tips so I felt at least equipped to play.

    What is really cool about CK III is that you can play co-op with a few friends and there isn't any goal so they can assist you, try to kill you, try to have sex with your wife. Whatever it may be, the possibilities are quite honestly endless.

    So I hop on Discord with my friend who has experience with the game.

    • I choose a King in Italy and he choses to play as a King across the sea in Croatia.
    • We team up and have our kids marry each other (and make a bunch of incest babies).
    • I take over Sicily but that would be my downfall because a Muslim kingdom used to live there and I sent my Bishop to convert them and it did NOT pay dividends in the future.
    • My king lives until he's like 56 years old and dies in self imposed isolation in the mountains because he started to grow a little bid mad. My buddy says he's never even seen a king live to be that long so that was pretty fun.
    • I pick up playing as my son in which my brother immediately starts war with me and the Muslims in Sicily revolt with him and I'm murdered with no heir to the throne.

    That was 2-3ish hours of gameplay and my first go at Crusader Kings III and that storyline we made among ourselves was just etched into my mind despite my first failure. I think that is the magic of CK III—there is no point to the game whatsoever. Sure, "survive" is the surface level purpose but the actual point is to just have fun and make stories along the way.

    I recommend people to give it a go, maybe with a friend, and just laugh your ass off at the possibilities this game presents you. I wish I played more but it's definitely a daunting task to get back into it after a failure. There are many systems at play so there is a lot to learn, but trust me, I'm a complete noob and had a blast for a bit.

  • Yakuza: Like a Dragon

    #17. Yakuza: Like a Dragon - 12 points


    #1: 0
    #2: 1 (TokyoSlim)
    #3: 2 (Sentinel Beach, Tearju Engi)
    #4: 0
    HM: 2 (Exist 2 Inspire, DIPSET)


    Release date: November 10 [US/EU]
    Developer: Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio
    Publisher: Sega
    Genre: Role-playing
    Platform(s): PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, Xbox One, PC


    EZA Review

  • Looking at 2020, if it wasn't for another game we should see later in this countdown, I truly believe Like A Dragon would've garnered more RPG of the year awards than it did. And in conjunction with that, I feel Like A Dragon dropped at the perfect time: Right in that holiday window with a heavy Series X partnership. Plus by changing up the genre, protagonist, being a lengthy, meaty game, and positioning itself as more approachable of the series, I think it did fantastically. Personally, I haven't felt the appeal for the franchise, even with the aforementioned changeups, but it does make me curious how Yakuza as a whole takes this reinvention moving forward.

  • #18 - 9 points, #17 - 12 points. That's a huge jump. Looks like we'll won't see any more 1-2 person's darlings.