Captain Orion’s bestest video games picks of 2020!

BESTEST

VIDEO GAMES

OF 2020!

2020 was a great year, for video games releases!

A lot of great games were released for this year. Many of them, I wish I got around to or had the consoles including Ghosts of Tsushima, Microsoft Flight Simulator, Doom: Eternal, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, and more. We deserved fresh entertainment for this ongoing global pandemic crisis with the quarantines and social distancing shadowing much of 2020. Meanwhile, the interactive industry thrived with consistent sales, new consoles selling out, and plenty of new content for every player of all types.

Many of these fresh screen games set out to be enjoyed alone and/or socially online. We have more advanced gaming technology and means for online downloading, connecting, streaming, social discussing, cheering, and complaining. They all provide great distractions from the current time stresses as we may build upon new and renewed friendships with our shared love of gaming. Or, just pass the time and our best modern remedy for boredom with some single player escapism!

But for me, I’m a little bit of both types. I enjoy gaming alone, and with friends. Such depends on my mood and state of mind. Though, I steered more toward budgeting with big sales in games and freebies. There was plenty out there for those with the thinnest of wallets. I meanwhile, stayed mostly on my PC and Xbox One, no new consoles for me yet. I do want a Nintendo Switch, with time to play the many past games I missed for it.

Anyway, here are the games I personally present as the most important game awards to for 2020!

BEST NEW GAME OF 2020

HADES

Developer and published by Supergiant Games
System: PC, Nintendo Switch

This is the BEST game of 2020, for many reasons that go back decades in what I ask for in a a best-tier video game. Make it challenging, story-deep, visually awesome, sensible controls, gratifying, constant surprises, great music, unique style, and heart. Hades has all of this and more, with aspects reminiscent of other personal favorites – Disgaea, Diablo, Dark Souls, Smash TV. But with Hades, the more you die, the more the game is revealed with more story and gameplay elements. There is so much more I would like to say, but just go play it if you’re into something that feels both old-school but also super modern in its approach and complexity.

BEST COOPERATIVE?! GAME OF 2020

AMONG US

Developed and published by Innersloth
System: PC, Mobile, Nintendo Switch

A surprise that was released in 2018, but earned a huge boost in popularity thanks to its fans, developers, its very affordable price, online streams, and all around fun this game holds; all perfect for this time of mass quarantines and social distancing. Among Us is that connects us, as each game has its own story creating tension on just who Among Us is sus.

BEST KICKASS GAME OF 2020

STREETS OF RAGE 4

Developer: Dotemu, Guard Crush, Lizardcube  Published by Dotemu
System: All the current consoles and PC

HELL YES!!!! I freakin love the old Streets of Rage games for the Sega Genesis (and later mods, fan-made remakes). Streets of Rage 4 is THE damn great, official successor to all of that, including all that made the game great – action, complexity and variance to the button mashing, awesome musical tracks that your fists can dance to. The graphics are perfect with expressive visual style, vibrant colors, detailed backgrounds, and hella fun for co-op action too.

BEST PLAY AND CHILL GAME OF 2020

TOWNSCAPER

Developed and published by Oskar Stålberg
System: PC

It’s not really a game, but it should be someday. It’s hard to explain. Just watch the trailer, and from there, explore the crazy insane possibilities and let your imagination figure out the direction. The more you tinker and discover new aspects of the game, the more more awesome your wierd little world. I love the animation, sound effects, every little detail no matter how small; making Townscaper worth checking out.

BEST VISUAL NOVEL GAME OF 2020

QUANTUM SUICIDE

Developer and published by Cotton Candy Cyanide
System: PC

This particular Japanese anime style visual novel sets itself off apart with a very unique story, and choosy situations that center around mechanics that are very science fictiony, flirty. with deadly sub-games that take a bit more thinking than I would expect. I much enjoyed this all as I watched and chimed in for some very entertaining Twitch streams from a gamer friend that you should follow (twitch.tv/aechonex).

BEST PUZZLING PUZZLE GAME OF 2020

HELLTAKER

Developer and published by vanripper
System: PC

A fun puzzle-adventure with dating and cooking themes game? Helltaker is that and so much more. It’s very unique, with catchy beats, and a whole lot of fun. It’s also free!

BEST FINALLY GOT AROUND TO IT GAME OF 2020

FINAL FANTASY XV

Developed and published by Square Enix
System: All the current consoles and PC

Final Fantasy XV came out a little over 4 years ago and has been in constant development all the way until 2019 with tis final DLC. This open-world game is freakin massive, giving its players much homework into other media for a wider complete experience. I found the 19.99 price for the Royal Edition (main game plus mostly all the DLC) the best I can get for my single-player RPG Final Fantasy loving needs. I enjoyed this far more than expected, delve deep into worldbuilding, and will forever treasure what it brought in this tough pandemic time.

BEST DEMO GAME OF 2020

THE LIFE AND SUFFERING OF SIR BRANTE

Developer by Sever published by 101XP
System: PC for the demo

A surprise treat among I discovered among the PAX Online demos. It’s a visual novel that reads like a lifetime biography, but with choices that do indeed tell a story of about the life and suffering of (you can choose his name). It’s a series of very unfortunate events, where you do your best to make the best out of it, and find deeper meanings though it all. It’s different and worth checking out for visual novel fans, and something to watch out for when it’s fully released.

BEST GAME OF 2021, MAYBE..

CYBERPUNK 2077

Developer: Playstation, Xbox, and PC

The game I was most excited for its delayed release. And, I still am. But after seeing (and laughing) the glitches, problems, frustrations that seem to be a trend for these big, crazy games where play-testing continues with the player after its release…not playing or judging this until the final product is done with enough updates, patches, DLC, whatever it takes to experience as intended. Maybe it will be awesome as its hype. I will remain excited, and wait till the finished product.

That’s all the game awards for 2020 I got. If there was something else I should have played, please share in the comments below!

My post-E3 2019 gaming impressions…

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So video game fans, another annual Electronics Entertainment Expo show, (aka E3), just passed through again.

As a fan of video games since the days of the original NES generations, news and previews of such have kept me engaged in the workings and developments of what’s to come, I have been following E3 for nearly 20 years now, attending often in the early 2000s. Eventually, much changed for the better with less of public emphasis on booth models and dumb PR stunts now. Though there are flashy lights and outrageous booth displays on the exhibit floor, it’s still a private-access expo that focuses on the promotion and elevation of digital games across all possible platforms.

I remain interested but not the most excited as I am for PAX and gaming events focused more on the players. This year at E3 however, is one for subtle changes and lessons learned in the industry, at least based on my observations of its coverage on various channels. Less tolerance for play-to-win mechanics, buggy releases, hardware gimmicks, have all effected forthcoming projects pushed by big companies.

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Again with the stage shows…

The most awaited of E3, are still the big announcements on large stages by the biggest companies. Sony (Playstation) and Microsoft (Xbox) still feel about the same, being of similar abilities, target audiences, and weird promises. Hey Microsoft, what the hell is Project Scarlett? I get that there’s a more powerful processor with higher SSD tech and can do more stuff, but it’s referred to as a “console experience.” It’s very vague, but I am far less impressed by graphics and colorful hyper-realism these days. Meanwhile the eventual PS5 will likely have similar impressions, but with news on its details just as vague this year.

Meanwhile, Nintendo wins the stage war with no need for a new console push. It’s got plenty for their dedicated fans with new revelations. You want video games with immersive gameplay, challenge, and deep internal world soon ready for exploration and adventure?!! Well, Nintendo has you covered with new announcements/previews for  a Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel and remake of Link’s Awakening (!), new Pokemon games, Luigi Mansion 3 (!!), new DLC for Smash Bros Ultimate with Dragon Quest characters and Banjo Kazooie (!!!!)..pretty much all that you love about Nintendo with more of that added, feeling like a reward to its faithful fans.

Bigger, better, badder?!

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Are we impressed as we used to be with this E3 as we used to be? I suppose yes because that’s usually where we look to the video game industry’s best and brightest to lead us into the next generation of interactive entertainment with new announcements, new consoles, new peripherals, and whatever else is trending. But something feels wrong.

I see the big trend this year, for continued fanfare through nostalgia on times when new games felt fresher and original. We have new Borderlands, a Final Fantasy VII remake, new Monster Hunter game, new Pokemon, 2 new Zelda, new Star Wars (with a very Star Wars: Unleashed vibe), a new Avengers game, etc, etc.

Pretty much all taking center stages with some great reactions, but powered by fans familiar with the franchises and brand recognition. Less originality new material on top announcements, and that’s a bit sad for what takes the big headlines.

But there are some hopes for what’s coming, with a little more on Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding…a game a longtime in the making and probably worth it. But, still vague and puzzling towards the overall premise of what a “stranding” game is (according to Kojima). I look forward to whatever may come from this.

Cyberpunk 2077 is perhaps the biggest attention-getter, for its visual appeal and throwback to the old school vibes of gritty cyberpunk and future urban decay in a capitalist dystopian fever dream, now presenting Keanu Reeves in game and in person at e#. Smart move, given the man’s charisma and dedication to making any product he gets involved in a most worthwhile look. But again, appeals are made to our nostalgia for both Reeves and it’s style; not a bad thing but I will be sad if this game disappoints upon full release.

Meanwhile, there are some indie games by tiny companies, which I am excited about; especially platformers including Unexplored 2: The Wayfarer’s Legacy, Valfaris, Unto The End. I am pleased on advancements in development are being applied to the this never forgotten format, and look forward to artistic and creative thought being put forth.

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That being said…

The E3 for now remains a mixed bag of repackaged nostalgia, corporate trends, an appeal to privileged folk to buy next-gen games. Whether this pays off will not be up to those investors and PR agencies involved in setting the show up, but the fans and creative minds who connect through the next round of gaming; which is previewed through E3. What happens next remains continuous.

Trailer: Space Hulk: Deathwing: Rise of the Terminators

Trailer: Space Hulk: Deathwing: Rise of the Terminators

  • Release Date: February 2013
  • Publishers: Focus-Home Interactive
  • Gaming Platform: PC, Playstation 4, Xbox One

What it’s about:

An upcoming space shooter set within the Warhammer 40K universe; developed on the Unreal Engine 4 by Streum On Studio, the team behind E.Y.E: Divine Cybermancy.

Here is info from Focus Home Intereractive:

“Space Hulk: Deathwing offers players the chance to experience a desperate battle against Genestealers in the
claustrophobic tunnels of a Space Hulk, as they will gain skills, new abilities and new equipment thanks to experience earned during perilous missions. Space Hulks drift along the currents of the Warp, the
immaterial dimension of Chaos. Made up of gigantic mangled asteroids, derelict ship wrecks and other spatial
debris, they sometimes grow to the size of a moon and often contain treasured and ancient lost technologies. However, they are ripe with danger including infestations of the lethal
Genestealers.” 

Personal Thoughts:

I am not very familiar with the franchise, but really digging on the cinematic. The look and feel of Games Workshop flag franchise game series shines through with its signature Space Marine soldiers and tech (that I  often see painted and really tiny). The whole concept looks straight forward; geared up as humans fighting beasts. Both sides seem advanced, built upon for this modern age of horror shooter storyteller. The music adds to the excitement, starting off with some blues vocal with a somber tone to something a bit more up-tempo and adrenaline pumping. While I am not too curious to where this leads me as a possible player, I do have the sudden urge to play some video games of this genre.

– Orion T

Below, is snap of concept art from the studio, and some screenshots…

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