Top Eight of Twenty Twenty
1. Cyberpunk 2077
2. Assassin's Creed Valhalla
A very relaxing delivery/taxi game in a beautifully realized cyberpunk world with 5th element flying cars, intriguing and well-written characters, and a decent core storyline that engages throughout. Light on gameplay and no combat to speak of but this is nonetheless one of the more notable experiences for me this year and was definitely the title that most exceeded my expectations.
|4. Wasteland 3|
A huge upgrade on Wasteland 2 in all regards. So many choices and branching narrative moments that really give a personalized weight to the path you take. Excellent and varied combat. Nice environments. Nice graphics. Very much a Fallout 1 & 2 meets XCOM vibe to things. Highly recommended.
|5. Resident Evil 3|
As the original RE3 was the inferior follow up to the original RE2, so it was the case for their remakes. CAPCOM would be very wise to stop with the remake treatment and to focus on new directions for the franchise. Overall a highly enjoyable product and well worth playing through several times.
|6. Watch Dogs: Legion|
Watch Dogs 1 bored me. Watch Dogs 2 made an impression but ultimately failed to engage me. Watch Dogs Legion kept me on board and mostly entertained through to the end. Being a former Londoner, the experience of exploring this game world was often nostalgic but also occasionally underwhelming (the amount of London that gets geographically represented is minimal). The ‘recruit anyone’ mechanic was pretty neat though and led to a range of diverse gameplay experiences. The lack of a primary character does detract from the player’s engagement with the narrative to some extent, and the character of Bagley (the AI sidekick) becomes the vehicle for the story. Solid game overall.
|7. Vampire: The Masquerade - Shadows of New York|
For those that played this game’s predecessor, “Coteries of New York”, “Shadows” feels like a substantial DLC add - on more than a totally independent title. I was slightly less absorbed with it, but on balance it is a delightful second dose.
|8. Twin Mirror|
A detective adventure game set in the Pacific Northwest with some interesting characters and decent dialogue. Unfortunately, this game is conceptually unoriginal, and the plot ultimately disappoints. Those with both the patience for a dialogue-heavy experience and the enthusiasm for a stylistic homage to Twin Peaks and Deadly Premonition (including a lead character that talks to themselves) may get some degree of enjoyment from the ambiance of the game. Twin Mirror makes this list at number 8 because I only played 8 games that were released this year. Overall ... not recommended.