GameReviewPad’s Honorable Mentions for 2020
Louis Hughes’ Honorable Mentions of 2020
Trials of Mana (PS4, NS)
I feel this remake of a classic should get mentioned, since this game had the unfortunate mishap of being released within a few weeks after Final Fantasy VII Remake. What makes this remake more intriguing is that unlike Final Fantasy VII, Trials of Mana was not available in the U.S. This was a game only available in Japan.
Before the remake, there were fansub translations of the game. There is a community of fans wanting to play this SNES classic. This remake has made improvements on visuals with a voiced story mode (I recommend Japanese, unless you want to punish yourself with the English dub), and a changed battle system. Like Final Fantasy VII Remake, the combat changed from turn-based to real-time.
As stated in my Black Friday Recommendations, if you have the chance get the PS4 version over the Switch, unless you’re okay with playing 30fps versus 60fps.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 (PS4)
This was another attempt to revive the franchise again, only this time it worked. Like Final Fantasy VII Remake, this was built from the ground up with improved visuals and gameplay. What makes this remaster better than their last offering are the physics. This game not only incorporates features from the first two games, but from the third and fourth game of the series as well.
While the skating craze isn’t as hot as it was back in the late 90s and early 2000s, this awesome remake brings you back to those times with a mostly intact soundtrack.
Note* I just learned that skateboarding will take place at the delayed 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo. So, skateboarding seems to have made a comeback in popularity.
Another one of Rare’s IP’s has been released with the help of Dlala Studios. While the game has been mixed with people for the design of the heroes, this is still a Battletoads game at heart.
With the game going for meta humor, the combat is still frantic, difficult, and fun. Since this is a Xbox Game Pass title, you can give it try and decide if it’s worth having in your library. The only drawback I have is that if you’re playing solo, the difficulty (even on Normal) is tough and the lack of online co-op on a console that is their bread and butter.
Streets of Rage 4 (XB1)
I was more of a Final Fight fan, but thanks to Sega Genesis Classics on Switch I can see why more people prefer that beat’ em up. I was unaware of a new game being made until a few months before release. I can say that considering Sega gave the rights to Dotemu/Lizardcube, shows they had a lot of faith the sequel will do justice, and they did.
What makes this stand out is the amount of care and extra content in the game, which can lead to high replay value for completionists. While the game is on Xbox Game Pass, it’s available on other platforms for all to enjoy.
Paper Mario: The Origami King (NS)
While I wasn’t too fond of the battle system and the lack of RPG elements, the story is still worth a playthrough. All signs now show that we’ll never get that Mario RPG experience again, so I would recommend this game. For people who want to play an RPG-like game without the full experience, the Paper Mario games after Thousand Year Door are worth looking into. However, the soundtrack alone is amazing to where it comes close to Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars quality.
Doom Eternal (XB1)
Star Wars Squadrons (XB1)
Super Mario 35 (NS)
Andre Calvert’s Honorable Mentions of 2020
Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout (PC)
Fall Guys is one of my honorable mentions because this was a breakout title that nobody expected to be a hit in 2020. My experience was very addicting because of how the game is set up for players to quickly jump into new matches after losing. It is also one of the few games where video game skins of your “guy” is done in an interesting way and can be a carrot on the stick to keep playing.
Final Fantasy VII Remake (PS4)
As someone who has not yet completed Final Fantasy VII, but enough up to the point that Final Fantasy VII Remake covers, I was remarkably impressed by the adaptation of the remake. The combat system is very interesting due to the ability to control any character and freeze time for commands. Like most Final Fantasy games, the soundtrack is also amazing and the voice acting ads a different flavor to everything. It’s difficult not to give this game at least an honorable mention.
Monster Train (PC)
This deck-building strategy game was probably one of the biggest surprises of 2020 for me. The Monster Train experience brought a unique battle system with unique card combinations in a game that touched upon your Slay The Spire nerves, but was something so much different and addicting. The different types of cards in Monster Train allowed many different strategies and plenty of replay value to prove how great you are with leaderboards and a tough endgame with it. If I didn’t have other games to play in 2020 I would have played more Monster Train in 2020.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps (PC)
Ori and the Will of the Wisps is another fun and beautiful game. The sequel brings the same amount of beauty with some changes and additions to the combat to make it feel a bit different. Still, Ori and the Will of the Wisps feels like “more Ori” but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it just doesn’t bring a whole lot new to the table. It’s still beautiful and amazing with a great soundtrack, although a bit easier. If you liked the first game then you’ll like this one.
Out of the Park Baseball 21 (PC)
This may have been the most surprising game of 2021 for me. This is also a game I probably logged the most amount of hours in, playing only the “Perfect Team” online mode. Out of the Park Baseball was a franchise I played a bunch of years ago before it had multiplayer, but discovering this game on Xbox Game Pass meant I had to try it out at least. I had no idea it had multiplayer until I loaded the game and every since July 2020 I have been playing. It’s the kind of game worthy of an honorable mention, but my many hours in the game have also caused me to hit a wall and notice a lot of flaws also, thereby preventing it from making into my Top 3.
Tetris Effect: Connected (PC)
I didn’t think this would be on my list, but it was a surprise release that I tried out via Xbox Game Pass and ended up tickling my Tetris gamer heart. Tetris Effect: Connected is essentially multiplayer Tetris with matchmaking, but what brings it up a few notches to me is the ability to play ‘Classic Tetris’ in multiplayer, despite getting my rear-end handed to me. I’ve played modern versions of Tetris before in multiplayer on PS3, but playing Classic Tetris against other people is very difficult to do and this helps facilitate that.
Wintermoor Tactics Club (PC)
Wintermoor Tactics Club is another surprising game of 2020 for me. This is a nice indie game set in a high school as you take part in a battle of the clubs in a school. You play in the Tactics Club, which is centered around students playing Dungeons & Dragons. and from there a story unfolds, more people get added to your club team as you go. The gameplay is a mixture of point & click and turn-based combat, and the experience is very sweet and unique with great art and a good soundtrack. I was impressed the most by the story because the ending was very well done and unique.