Games of the Year 2020 - 1st Runner Up

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Nick: Romance of the Three Kingdoms XV 

Over the last several years, the
Romance of the Three Kingdoms series has gotten away from its more turn-based roots and created a bit of a divide in their fanbase as a result. While I absolutely pine for more turn-based strategy gameplay as well, something about this latest release really clicked with me in a way that the last few did not. For being such a dense strategy game, it was surprisingly easy to pick up, even with the new changes in this release. I found myself restarting multiple times, convinced I could get it perfect the next time around. Of course, that never happens, and that’s the beauty of this series – but boy was it addictive. 

Pierre-Yves: Final Fantasy VII - Remake

I haven't "felt" anything like Final Fantasy VII's remake made me feel in a long time. It was simply brilliant. Having releases on our four day Easter weekend, while in lockdown, I loaded it up on the Friday and finished it by Monday a mere 36 some odd hours later. Now here's the thing with FFVII, it's not even one of my favorite Final Fantasies, it's not even in my top 5, BUT, the remake? it sure as hell has made it up and into that top 5 alongside FFIV, FFVI, Tactics and I'll figure out what actually got booted later. The scripting of the characters, the personality that Cloud finally has making him likable, and that they weren't afraid to start messing with the timeline to make something new while still keeping some familiarity. I've been trying to not go back and replay it again and again as the next time I do will be for a platinum run while on the harder difficulty.

Susan N: Tell Me Why

Dontnod has previously published a number of titles that I’ve enjoyed immensely and Tell Me Why is no different. It is my first runner up because I love the concept of having two siblings who live through a traumatic childhood that reunite years later. One sibling discovers that the other has transitioned. Not only are they dealing with physical and emotional adjustments, but they have to deal with their past in order to move forward. For me, I was drawn to this game because of the publisher, the concept, the characters, and the fact that GLAAD was directly involved in its accuracy.  Tell Me Why is a spectacular and visually stunning game that I absolutely adore. It is gut wrenching and I love it.  

Richard: CrossCode

I don't know how I missed
CrossCode when it first came out. The characters are funny, gameplay is solid, and it feels like you're playing an MMO without those annoying other "real" people. If it weren't for the occasional crash or the fact that the plant biology section would freeze the game when looking at it (which I haven't checked to see if they fixed), it would definitely contend for first place.