In 2020, I started keeping track of the games I enjoyed playing the most each year. Here they are, with a few words about each game!
- Brigador: Up-Armored Edition (PC): Delightful mech fights with tank-based controls that take a little while to get used to. Incredibly gratifying to play. Neon tracers and synthwave cyberpunk.
- Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse (NES): This 2D platformer game is Nintendo hard. I really enjoy the precision mechanics and the music is phenomenal.
- Final Fantasy VII Remake (PS4): A walk down memory lane. Square Enix finally figured out how to make real-time combat work in a Final Fantasy game and did such a great job fleshing out the settings of Midgar.
- Panzer Corps Gold (PC): Hex-based, beer-and-pretzel wargaming. Fairly simplistic as far as grognard fare goes, but that's what makes it fun for me. Easy like solitaire. I tried the sequel out, but I think I enjoy the first game more. The 2D graphics feel cozy and the Gold edition is packed with campaigns.
- Yakuza 0 (PC): Just the right mix of serious and goofy, set in Japan in the '80s. Reminds me of playing Shenmue on the Sega Dreamcast many years ago. The game mechanics are okay, but the story is gripping and the setting is an absolute treat to explore.
- Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Switch): I've been a long-time fan of the Animal Crossing series since the Gamecube days. This one came out during the early part of the COVID-19 pandemic and it's hard to convey just how nice it was to be able to play something so cheerful when we were stuck at home.
- Diablo III Eternal Collection (Switch): The penultimate brain-on-autopilot chill game. Hack, slash, get loot. Rinse and repeat. Put together a class set of armor, unlock some crazy synergies, and enjoy the post-game Greater Rift runs. Seasonal characters keep it fresh.
- Persona 5 Royal (PS4): Persona 5 might actually be my favorite RPG. Tough competition, but the gameplay mixes Pokémon-esque collecting with a relationship simulator. The setting and story are fantastic and the game oozes style with its jazzy soundtrack and UI elements out of a comic book.
- Sid Meier's Civilization VI (Switch/PC/Phone): I've put hundreds of hours into the Civilization series since Civilization IV. It's hard to put a thumb on what it is about the series that grabs me, but "one more turn" is definitely a thing.
- Slay the Spire (Switch/PC/Phone): A roguelike deck-building card game? Sign me up! Elicits the same feeling that playing Magic: the Gathering did when I was growing up. No extra purchases required. Every game is a new draft and it's playable in bite-sized chunks.