Welcome to the end of the decade; the end of the 2010s; Al at Decade’s End. This is a miniseries where I celebrate the past ten years in video games, starting by talking about my favourite games from each year, and ending with the end-of-year extravaganza for 2019! The games I talk about here might not necessarily be the best of the decade, but they sure left the best impressions on me for one reason or another. Now we’re moving onto lists! And so, without any more delay, we begin our final entry of this series: a look at my top 5 anticipated games of 2020!
5. 12 Minutes
I’m starting this list off with one of the more unique game concepts I’ve seen. Developed by a small indie team headed by former AAA developer Luis Antonio, 12 Minutes is an adventure game extremely small in scope with a unique concept that lends itself extremely well to the game’s small scope. You control the husband of an expecting couple in their small apartment building as you constantly relive the same sequence of 12 minutes over and over again while trying to find a way to keep your pregnant wife from being killed by an armed invader. It’s like a sick Groundhog Day spin-off where you try not to die as fast. The E3 2019 trailer of the game sold me, as it shows that the entire game is locked in top-down perspective of the apartment building while showing the number of different options and paths you can take in a 12 minute loop. 12 Minutes is looking like an intense mystery story and I’m excited to dig up all of the secrets the game has to offer.
4. Granblue Fantasy: Versus
Oh hey, another fighting game. If you aren’t aware of Granblue Fantasy, it’s an extremely popular mobile game available exclusively in Japan (people also play it here in North America) that’s received a lot of praise for the well-built world, entertaining story, and very likable characters. Granblue Fantasy: Versus is just one of the spin-off titles that publisher Cygames are using to expand the world of Granblue to a much wider audience. Developed by Arc System Works, known for the Guilty Gear and Blazblue fighting game franchises, Granblue Fantasy: Versus makes use of the beautiful 2.5D art style pioneered by ArcSys starting with Guilty Gear Xrd, while also providing a fighting game experience that’s more accessible up front than most. While almost every fighting game in existence makes use of special move inputs that might seem complicated and obtuse to those uninitiated to the fighting game genre (fireballs take practice yo), Granblue gives you the option of using a simple button combination for special moves at the cost of the move being locked on cooldown for a short time. It gives the player the option to ignore the traditional special move inputs if they’d like, while at the same time giving them an incentive to learn the true inputs. That alone gives me high hopes for an active competitive scene for this game. If you don’t want to play against other people, Granblue looks like it’s going to feature a fairly robust single player mode that will play out like a beat-em-up JRPG, complete with character levels and equipment customization. At first glance it looks similar to what was offered by SoulCalibur VI’s Libra of Souls mode, which I loved. If I had to pick any one fighting game to play in 2020, it would be Granblue Fantasy: Versus.
3. Final Fantasy VII Remake
I doubt I need to do much to justify this game being on this list, but I’m doing it anyways. I’ll start with a confession: I’ve never played Final Fantasy VII. I grew up with Nintendo as a kid, and I never got to even look at FFVII let alone play the legendary RPG. I was never able to understand the hype. It wasn’t until about 2007 until I saw the game in motion for the first time, and boy I could tell even as a dumb 15-year-old that the game did not age well. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t interested in the idea of a remake of FFVII though, and I was just as surprised as anyone else when the announcement dropped in 2015. I forgot about it for a while because it was definitely announced too early, but then I saw the game in action. Now I was paying attention. I’m still not really sure how Square Enix has been able to do it, but every new thing I see about the remake has me more excited than before, and it just keeps looking better and better. I just hope the developers don’t drop the ball on this one.
2. Trials of Mana
Secret of Mana was one of the first Super Nintendo games I’ve ever played, and it’s a bloody good one. What I didn’t know until later was that Secret of Mana was the second part of a trilogy, which would be capped off by a Japan exclusive game known as Seiken Densetsu 3. I was able to play an English translation of the game, and if you’ve only played Secret of Mana out of the trilogy, you haven’t seen anything yet. Seiken Densetsu 3 allows you to pick a party of 3 out of 6 characters, with 3 completely different main story-lines. The game is more or less Secret of Mana multiplied by 3, with probably the best music in the series. Trials of Mana is the upcoming remake of Seiken Densetsu 3. The remake’s visuals look amazing, and it’s looking like it’ll stay faithful to the original game. Can’t ask for much more than that. Oh, it also comes out on my birthday! Yay!
1. One Step from Eden
Take the deck building, random elements, and permadeath systems from Slay the Spire, jam the battle system from MegaMan Battle Network, and you get One Step From Eden. This game is everything I never knew I needed in a game. I love the roguelite genre, I love deck building, and I adore the MegaMan Battle Network games. One Step From Eden is played via a random series of battles which take place on a 3×6 grid divided in half for yourself and your enemies. You fight enemies using a combination of basic attacks and cards which have a variety of different effects and targeting areas and trajectories. This is pretty close to the MegaMan Battle Network system, with the cards serving the same role as Battle Network’s battle chips, and Battle Network’s battle system was amazing, so I really can’t say anything bad about it. I played the demo in the past and wrote about it on the site (read it here), and I just fell in love with it. I’ve always wanted more Battle Network in my life, and One Step From Eden serves to give that to me wrapped up in an addicting roguelite package. This is without a doubt my most anticipated game of 2020.