Continuing Our Best Of Series, Wesley Shares His Top 5
2020 was not quite the year I expected, but it has now come and gone. The dramatic changes we have experienced throughout the year has been tumultuous, to say the least; yet, one thing that many of us can agree on is that we had a solid year of video game releases to help us work through a trying time. The list below is comprised of five video games that I especially appreciated from this year. Did you play any of them?
#5 – 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim
Vanillaware’s latest game has taken years to come out, but 2020 finally say the release of 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim. With the mish-mash of genres ranging from an RTS featuring giant robots to a visual novel starring Japanese high school students in the 1980s, one can be forgiven for not understanding exactly what’s going on in this story. While I haven’t finished it yet, I can say for certain that this is a REALLY enjoyable game, especially if you enjoy oddball JRPGs and don’t mind getting out of your comfort zone a bit. With a complicated plotline involving time travel, kaiju, and a love for nerdy culture, 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim is one of the those unique and rare games that only comes along once in a generation. Snag it while it’s on sale because this feels like it’s going to become highly sought after very soon.
#4 – Yakuza: Like a Dragon
While I have not been able to dive into the wackiness of the Yakuza franchise as much as I would have liked to, Yakuza: Like a Dragon redefines what a game in this series is like. Eschewing the traditional beat-em-up style in favor of a turn-based JRPG combat mode that feels more like Dragon Quest and Persona, this new entry has been a jumping-on point for many players new to the franchise. While I am finding that the game chugs pretty slowly on my early PS4 model, I am still having a blast learning about this new main character and going through the story as this yakuza member with a heart of gold. Definitely not one for the kids, though, so keep that in mind before playing!
#3 – Animal Crossing: New Horizons
This is a game that is certainly going to be at the top of the list for many Game of the Year articles this year, and deservedly so! Launching within weeks of the global lockdowns, there seemed to be a zeitgeist surrounding this new entry in the Animal Crossing that got so many people excited. The Nintendo Switch was flying off shelves for months because of this game, and the number of Twitch streamers showcasing their beautifully crafted islands was astounding. This was a very special game to me especially because my wife and children were able to get involved with it, leading to us spending many long nights just hanging out on the island and having a blast. These types of memories don’t come along very often, so that will certainly be one I treasure from 2020.
#2 – Super Mario Bros. 35
I find myself having a love/hate relationship with Super Mario Bros. 35. I absolutely love the game and think it is one of the best ways to experience the original Super Mario Bros. in an updated, competitive setting. But I hate it as well because I know that it will very soon come to an end. Nintendo has already announced that the game will be ending at the end of March, and without a reasonable explanation as to why that is, it does leave me feeling a bit frustrated. This has been one of my favorite Mario products in years – even more than Super Mario 3D All-Stars – and to know that it will eventually be a fleeting experience feels like we are losing a lot. Play it now while you still can!
#1 – Persona 5 Royal
Funny enough, I hadn’t beaten the original Persona 5 until June of this past year. Even though it came out in 2017, I was somewhat unnerved by the sheer amount of content in the game. Once I finished that game, however, and realized that Persona 5 Royal had even MORE content? I started playing it the very next day… and immediately got hooked all over again. Persona 5 Royal is an improvement in every way, shape, and form to the original Persona 5 – so much so that I really believe that the original version of the game is entirely unnecessary at this point. Playing these two versions back-to-back really helped give me a full picture of the story they were trying to tell: one of rebellion, chaos, and fighting for change in the world. The Royal version, however, adds new characters and events that not only call into question everything the main cast is doing, but actually tries to offer differing points of view to contrast what you think is going on. While some may call it a shameless cash-in to release an updated version of a game only a few years later, the unbelievable amount of changes and improvements and additions to the game is well worth it.
What do you think? Did you try any of these gems during 2020? Are you waiting to snag them during a sale? Let us know in the comments!