I can’t believe the year is almost over. 2020 felt endless. Between work, taking care of my child, releasing a new book, various writing assignments, and everything that life did to me, my free time was really limited. I usually don’t get the chance to play games until after my child falls asleep, so I’ve been looking for different gaming experiences than usual (I think in the past few years, long epic journeys with tragically poignant stories, i.e. JRPGs, have been my favorite Met w ith approval). This year? I wanted a mental break from the uninterrupted flood of everyday life. These were the five games that I liked the most.
Resident Evil 3
The original Resident Evil 3 was my least loved game on the show. The remake quickly became one of my favorites. For the ultimate adrenaline rush, this is a zombie infested roller coaster that never loses track of its purpose of killing Jill whenever possible. From the moment Nemesis slams through the wall of Jill’s apartment while she is on the phone, to the relentless pursuit the monster takes on through Raccoon City, this is the zombie apocalypse distilled from her most basic instruction. survive by any means necessary. Other entries in the series usually feature some grim comments about human nature and their insatiable inexplicable urge to self-destruct; Don’t humans already have enough opportunities to kill each other without developing bioweapons? The original Resident Evil 3
Streets of Rage 4
A brilliant addition to one of the best console brawling series, Streets of Rage 4 Will justice be delivered fist for fist as the party fights corruption in the form of a new enemy, the Y-twins? Their shameful act involves using music to brainwash the masses (they could have just used social media!). The controls are nifty, the battles flow freely, and there’s a sublime rhythm that feels like a natural evolution from past games. Small details caught my attention, like the arcades with the Ankle only Logos on them (the Japanese name for Streets of anger) and the way one of the bosses asks for police assistance that arrives with a driver and a bazooka to nod the first one Streets of anger. Has it really been thirty since the first game came out? I still remember loading the cartridge into my Sega Genesis and fighting my way through a barrage of enemy thugs. The best sequels pull on the nostalgic strings while they break through with new moves. Streets of Rage 4 makes both almost perfect.
Ys: Memories of Celceta
Thanks to Fahey, I really enjoyed that Ys Series. Ys VIII
Murder by Numbers
Last year, I interviewed the composer from Ghost trick, Masakazu Sugimori in Kotakuwhich was a real treat when i listened Ghost tricks EAST all the time. We have communicated online several times since then and I was very excited to hear that he was working on a brand new game called Murder by Numbers. I had no idea what to expect but recorded it when it released earlier this year and I was pleasantly surprised to get a mystery game that featured a lot of Picross. I’ve never played Picross before, so it was a new experience for me to work out pictures by deciphering clues tied to numbers. But there’s an elegance in this fusion that somehow creates one of the most interesting games of 2020. Ehre Mizrahi and her robot partner SCOUT form an unlikely duo. As the puzzle worsened, I was forced by both the characters and the tricky nonagrams. Who would have thought numbers and murder could be so addicting?
Yakuza: Like a dragon
I was supposed to be going to Japan this year to publish the foreign version of my latest novel. I only went once and we looked forward to another visit. Obviously everything changed as travel was no longer possible. But because I was looking forward to it, the latest Yakuza struck a chord for me. It was as if I were there on behalf of me. True, I’m not a gangster and I don’t do turn-based battles with strangers to gain experience points and road credit. But the latest entry in the series wowed me with its eccentric characters and complex storyline where a man raps over a crime he did not commit, a major rivalry between yakuza families and a conspiracy in which it is not clear who you can trust. I have big problems arguing with cinephiles about how I like certain yakuza films even more than the Godfather trilogy (incredible as it is), and I would go as far as to include the games as well. There’s nothing quite like one Yakuza Game, and in this case nothing Like a dragon either.