GOTY 2020: This Time, It's GOTY
In a year that needed as much joy, relaxation, and escapism, these games dared to do more. Far more in some cases, and juuuuuuuuuuust barely above more in others.
An unexpectedly excellent follow-up to the unexpectedly excellent Kickstarter rewards prequel game, Bloodstained Curse of the Moon 2 takes the old-school Castlevania feel of the first game, and stretches it just about to its breaking point. But that “just about” is an important qualifier as the game can get a little repetitive, replaying the same levels over and over, but with a completely different loadout of characters and abilities, the game manages to stay fresh combining old-school challenge with deeper, wider content. All that said: it overstays and repeats just a LITTLE too much to make the list, but is an easy #11, if the list extended that far.
This would be higher on my list, and probably #1, but I haven’t played enough of it to truly judge it as it seems like the kind of game I shouldn’t rush through for the sake of a fake deadline, seeing as how I’m not being paid/asked to make this list. The combination of farming and managing people to make them happy, coupled with a mellow “sort of” combat is something I can see myself enjoying very, very much in the coming year. A more directed Stardew Valley is something I’m behind.
I'm only 2 hours in and there's no way I'm finishing it before the 25th, but so far so good! Guess what: more daddy-issues, more absurdity, MORE YAKUZA GAMES!
Wait! Don’t go! This winds up on my mentions with about a hundred asterixes, but here’s the thing: sometimes all you need is a fun, pleasant videogame to keep your hands occupied and use as an excuse to listen to a podcast or watch a Youtube series about terrible English-dubbed Dutch animation. And while this game didn’t quite have the staying power I hoped it would, I have learnt at this stage to disregard “roadmaps” and “future plans” on live service games. So when I heard about a “surprisingly heartfelt and excellent” story campaign in addition to a workable, functional, replayable endgame starring a squadron of characters with actual, diverse powersets, I figured check it out. And honestly? It delivered EXACTLY that. Nothing more, which is disappointing, but as a longtime comics fan, anytime a game or piece of media can show me something truly new and different with old characters, I appreciate it. That said: its flaws are all there. The UI is a mess, it’s unstable, and the ‘roadmap’ has led us down a dead end and I’m pretty sure I can hear a revving chainsaw in the distance getting closer. But it’s still too much fun, as is, to disregard entirely.