Best Discovery: Necrobarista
Having stepped into an editing position amongst my duties as Video Manager here, I’ve been privileged to play or see many otherwise unfamiliar titles. When Zach reviewed Necrobarista, I wasn’t sure what to expect from my playthrough for capture, but I in turn was captured by the game’s charm, genuineness, and aesthetic. Okay, corny sentence aside, this game was a delight to experience. Wandering about the game’s café is delightful, a beautifully crafted location. The storytelling is excellent, drawing you right into each character and their struggles. The gameplay elements feel a bit tacked on, but overall, it’s neat trying to figure out which conversation option will help you unlock more story content. Finally, if you’re a coffee lover, no game has ever made me want to sit down with a cup and play it more. Like a good book, Necrobarista begs to be curled up with and lost in.
Best Newcomer: Star Renegades
This game was on my radar from the moment Raw Fury teased it. The aesthetic was right up my alley, and the gameplay looked neat. In practice, it was better than I could have expected, bringing various elements together to create a challenging, intriguing, and satisfying gameplay experience from start to finish. I hope the Massive Damage team continues with this IP because there’s a neat universe to explore with, hopefully, a more fleshed-out story to back it. If you haven’t taken a look at Star Renegades but like a bit of strategy tossed into your turn-based RPGs, this one is definitely worth your while.
Most Fun: Trials of Mana
Gosh, I think we all heard Sollosi’s triumphant shrieks from E3 2019 when the Collection of Mana released in North America and a remake of the long-awaited Seiken Densetsu 3 was coming overseas. I was right there with him. The classic SNES version of Trials of Mana holds up well, but a bigger take on this world is welcome. Fans, myself included, were likely hesitant given the botched efforts with the Secret of Mana remake, but Square Enix made good on this one. Reviewing the game was an absolute joy. It’s good, clean, colourful, and cheesy fun. The new gameplay mechanics made combat much more engaging, the story and characters are more embellished, and this remake captures the world wonderfully in the transition from 2D to 3D. I was grinning ear-to-ear nearly the whole way through, so I cannot recommend this game enough to those that want a fun RPG to hop into.
Most Pined For: CrossCode
This is another video review discovery. I didn’t get to do the capture on this one and instead took in Jono Logan’s review gameplay as I edited. Heck, do I wanna play it now. The pixelated aesthetic is wonderfully crafted, and that gameplay looks like a fresh, fun marriage of some of my favourite games. I mean, this game has been on my radar since its release, but I’d not seen much of how it handles until that editing gig. But, yeah: I wannit. Gimme.
I Finally Finished: Horizon Zero Dawn/Frozen Wilds
Who’s got two thumbs and is foolish for not jumping into this world sooner? This guy! Luckily, those thumbs found the joysticks, and I became immersed in Aloy’s journey. The only thing stopping me from completing it in 2019 was other projects for the site. But I’m done! I did it! Goodness, from the opening moments with Roth and his baby, I was hooked by the characters, the story, and the whole world. I have never doubted Caitlin Argyros’ love for the game, but I now know firsthand why she holds it in such high esteem, and I share in it with her. A few hours in, I quickly purchased the Frozen Wilds as well, knowing full well I’d want more of this game. Now that it’s finally on PC if you’re not a console owner, you have every opportunity to play this masterwork. I cannot wait for Horizon Forbidden West, the continued work of Ashly Burch as Aloy, and to see more of this intriguing world.
I Finally Started: Chrono Cross
Who’s got two thum— yeah, you get it. I have loved Chrono Trigger for years and finished it multiple times over. I’ve had a PSOne since the PS2 launched. Chrono Cross was still around at a reasonable price in stores, I just… never got to it, always having other things to play. Well, I finally nabbed it from a retro convention several years ago and still didn’t play it. Well, in 2020, I’ve finally started the adventure, and it’s neat. This world is completely vibrant and it’s kinda cool seeing the little bits of lore from Chrono Trigger sprinkled into it. I’ve barely scratched the surface of the game, but it feels good to finally be adventuring with Serge, Kid, and the rest of their expansive gang. Look forward to my thoughts after beating it in, oh, I dunno, 2300 AD?