Today we’re taking a look at my personal top 5 games of 2020.. I released a video earlier this month touching on a few games that may have slipped under your radar that i think, are worth your attention so make sure you check that out as well i’ll link to it in the description down below as well as a pinned Comment, but today we’re talking about the games from this year that resonated with me most and will likely continue to do so for some time to come one way or another. These games hit the nail on the head to keep me enraptured in keeping with the channel’s genre preferences i’ll, be sticking to games that live in the realm of strategy. Tactical rpgs simulation management that sort of stuff and i’ll also be sticking to games that have had some kind of release in 2020, be it early access or a full-fledged release with that said, let’s not waste any more time. Here are my top five games of 2020
Coming in at number, five mount and blade 2 bannerlord is the only early access game to grace the list this year and has definitely earned its spot released back in march into early access. The developers dropped back to back to back updates for weeks on end and continue to release updates on a regular basis with broader changes each time implementing or tweaking features as needed in bannerlord you play as an individual who hails from one of eight kingdoms.
While there is a storyline to follow the game shines most as a sandbox rpg, where you travel freely across the known world and partake in all manner of fitting medieval-esque behavior. Be a merchant shipping goods from place to place be a smith forging blades to sell for considerable wealth chase after bandits serve one of the kingdoms as a mercenary or become a vassal and start taking control of your own territory that you then have to manage and Govern form your own kingdom instead declaring independence from your liege or starting as a powerful, independent lord of mercenaries, and go around obtaining vassals for yourself or just do. None of that live the humble life, get a wife and kids fight the occasional bandit. That would do you harm and die quietly in the warmth of some city. You might call home there’s all sorts of things to do, and it’s all exemplified by all of these skills that are made available, that you’ll be leveling up as you do the things you’re doing, there’s a lot of skills, as you can see over here, and each Of them has their own perk tree and passive benefits, as you focus more on one thing, as opposed to another, and skills and perks are still being tweaked and perfected, and some don’t work properly in early access. But the vision is clearly there or what will eventually come to be. As you can see, you can be a doctor, a smith, an engineer, a merchant, a warrior of various types.
It’S great to see the potential here and i can’t wait to see it all come together now, as you lead your band around whether it’s your own party of soldiers, you’ve, recruited and trained companions, you’ve, recruited and leveled up or an entire army consisting of multiple parties From your own clan, or perhaps, kingdom, you’ll eventually engage in battles against other bands, potentially bandits, nobles or perhaps other kings, and the battlefield turns this rpg into a real-time strategy game where you engage in battle yourself, while also overlooking the movements and engagements of that very Same band you’ve been marching around with find appropriate ground from which to command and set up formations, bait enemies into traps and prepare flanking or hammer and anvil maneuvers or dive into combat yourself on foot or on horseback, leading from the front. Instead, now again, it’s not a traditional real time strategy game you’re, not controlling it from a top down angle, but those elements are all very well represented, you’re, giving commands to your troops from this low down very personal angle, and it makes it all feel a lot More visceral and intimate and blends rpg with you know, real-time strategy and tactics very nicely.
Now. The multiplayer component focuses entirely on battles either with each player fighting as individuals or with each player in charge of their own contingent of soldiers leading part of a greater army. Against the same on the other side, it’s not really my thing. I can see the appeal to it, though, and it’s clear that many people out there are enjoying the multiplayer experience, but personally it’s the single player experience that makes this a top game of the year. For me now the game isn’t flawless. Of course it is in early access and there are some frustrations from time to time, particularly when it comes to some of the politicking. Some of the conversations need a little bit of work. Some of the dice rolls need some adjusting things like that. There are also some issues with ai from time to time. They make some questionable moves and you’ll often find that kings go to war for no apparent reason or nobles in your own court will demand war or peace on a whim. But that’s why this game sits at number five and not higher.
These are all things that will be worked on. Of course, again, the game is in early access. I cannot stress that enough, but the potential is clearly there and, as i said, the developers are working away at it constantly, even in its current state, there’s just so much to do and so much fun to have with mods constantly adding more variety and more spice. It’S very easy to give bannerlord again in its early access form. A top five slot coming in at number. Four is portrayal, four, putting you in charge of a trade empire in the caribbean in the 17th century. The campaign mode will have you playing as each of the four empires represented in the game, taking on specific challenges and objectives to complete the storyline, but the sandbox mode is where port royal 4 really stands out to me. Serve the english, french, spanish or dutch empires.
As one of a few variety of classes, each with their own benefits and shortcomings and work to build up your own credibility across the region, taking direct control over the management of more and more towns, starting from one until you’re left with no competition, there are objectives You can choose to accomplish and working in accordance with the needs of your home country back in europe will help you achieve certain goals, but overall you’re fairly free to do as you wish, engaging with a great variety of systems. The intertwining of these systems is my favorite aspect of port royal 4, and the game certainly seems to reward creativity in play at its most basic you’re given command of a ship, and you can either buy build or capture more ships to use in your fleet. You’Ll set up trade routes to take goods from where they are made to where they are needed to buy at low prices and sell at high prices turning a profit. Every time you do you’ll be able to customize these trade routes to take advantage of the wins, or you can even manually travel from port to port to trade on a whim. As i mentioned previously, you start as the administrator of a single town you’re in charge of the well-being and development of that town and as the town grows, larger it’ll ask for higher tier goods.
While every town can produce manufactured goods, not every town is able to access raw materials. You can’t grow coffee where you can’t grow coffee, for example, and so you need to ship these goods or rely on others to ship those goods to your town, to maintain its prosperity. You’Ll also be responsible for construction projects, worker management and sanitation of that town, though you are welcome to leave it as a pit of despair. If that’s the kind of colonial administrator, you wish to be now as you trade with other towns, bringing them what they need. You’Ll gain building permits in those towns, and that will allow you to establish local businesses and, as you become a more prominent investor in a town, you’ll eventually be able to ask for administration rights over said town, giving you full control and responsibility like with the town. You started with businesses.
You open in a town will compete with other businesses within the same town and within the same region of the larger map as well, whether you’re producing raw materials for a nearby manufacturing city or you’re, producing the final manufactured product for selling to major population centers. You are going to be competing with other cities belonging to your own nation, as well as other nations to try and turn the best profit you’re gon na be playing with scarcity. You’Re gon na be playing with abundance. You’Re gon na be playing with a lot of systems to make sure you’re making the money from time to time. War will break out making certain waters unsafe for travel, but they can also open up new ports. After said, war is done, territorial changes will happen and you can help them happen yourself by being involved in battles even in times of peace, you’ll need to watch out for pirate ships and, as a matter of fact, if it’s the pirate’s life for you well, you Can just play as a pirate yourself, loot and plunder and sell said plunder where you’ll fetch the finest prices, rinse and repeat, buy more ships and build an entire pirate armada if you feel so inclined or you can integrate piracy into a greater trade strategy, let’s call It you can use piracy strategically to force scarcity of a certain product in certain regions, allowing you to sell that same product if you manufacture it at an exorbitant price, while other sellers are left cowering too afraid to sell at the markets.
You now dominate. But beware: pirates whether it’s the ai or yourself will draw the attention of navies of all the empires in the area and you’ll need to be prepared to fight the turn-based tactical battles. If you find yourself in such a situation, these tactical battles are definitely the weakest point of the game and they drag it down to 4th place from a higher position. But everything outside of battles is very compelling, especially if you try and aim for non-conventional objectives, establish your own monopolies harass an empire for the sake of it. Try and wipe a faction off the map, fight in wars or, like i said, live the pirate’s life. There’S quite a variety of things to do and there’s a variety of ways to do them all again. Like i mentioned earlier, there’s a bunch of systems and the intertwining of those systems and the option for lateral play with those systems is what makes port royal 4. Such a fascinating game to me, i’ve had a lot of fun with portrayal 4 and the developers continue to make updates to it changing how a lot of core functionality works and adjusting how certain features play to appease fans of the series. This being my first exposure to the series it kind of sets the bar for me, though, i understand that some fans were hoping for the retention or evolution of certain aspects of the series.
Now i could talk about this game and its various possibilities forever, but i feel as though i’ve talked about it for long enough here, it’s definitely worth checking out. It does some very interesting things and i would have loved to see even more depth to the economic systems and battles, perhaps as real-time battles, but as it stands now, it sits at number. Four gears tactics is a bit of a surprise. I’M not gon na lie, but it sits comfortably at number three. I don’t think i’ve seen a franchise make a genre spin-off title as successfully as this i played the first three gears of war games. Religiously and i’d always wanted a strategy game to come out of the universe. So when gears tactics was first announced, even though it had been nearly a decade since i last cared for the franchise, i was entirely on board and boy. Am i glad i was as the name suggests, this is a turn-based tactics game and it has almost all of the expected elements from such a game. Each mission will have you lead a small squad composed of characters of varying classes, each with their own abilities, skills and gear, and you work with the environment as you try to flank the enemy set up.
Overwatch angles: toss grenades around corners, pray to the dice gods and run from cover to cover between missions. You’Ll return to your metaphorical headquarters from where you’ll be able to spend skill points to unlock new skills or improve existing skills. You’Ll also be able to swap out gear and customize gear to better fit the needs of your individual soldiers. Everything is rendered absolutely beautifully and because of how beautiful this game is, i actually hooked my computer up to the 4k tv in the living room and my god. This must be the most beautiful game in this genre since its inception from the cut scenes that drive the story to the action itself. Everything is punchy and crisp and powerful, if not a little beige and gray, but it wouldn’t be a gears game if there was any color. Let’S be honest, the game itself is fairly linear, going from mission to mission with only the occasional side mission, but i was okay with that. Not every turn-based tactics, game needs a bunch of filler randomly generated maps and encounters just for the sake of adding playtime. This game keeps it concise, keeps it to the point and stays on a targeted path.
This really helped keep the pacing of the game solid throughout the experience and help prevent the feeling of a painful grind, and that seems to be a running theme in the sub genre. These days there was at least to me a sense of forward momentum. At all times, facilitated by the game’s systems, enemy units would often go down, but not out, and this would allow you to move in and curb stop them, giving all of your other units an extra action point to play with per curb stomp. These action points, combined with the high damage output of even your starting weapons and the low health of the average enemy unit, often meant multiple kills and even more curb stomps in a turn, meaning even more instances of multiple kills and curb stomps and extra action points To execute them with, but you’re not left feeling like a god as a result of this. No you are constantly outnumbered and the ai is smart enough to flank move cautiously and use overwatch when needed. They seem to move in formation and they often seem acutely aware of the grenades in your inventory.
Now, i’m not going to say the ai is genius uh, it does have its flaws and from time to time it makes decisions that don’t make any sense, even on the you know, high medium difficulties, but overall it is a decent job in providing a challenge without Becoming overwhelming until you get to like the extreme difficulties, which i think is a fair place to live, i wouldn’t mind seeing it be a little bit smarter, but i think that’s a constant complaint across the genre really moving on from the ai. I must mention that tactical movement in this game is very fluid, as it sets aside the traditional grid and instead uses a sort of smooth system where you can put your characters anywhere on the map using a waypoint system. Now this waypoint system will allow you to zig and zag and dance around attacks of opportunities, setting yourself up for better angles of fire or just safety from certain doom. Beyond that, there’s no feeling quite like bouncing a grenade beautifully off a wall or seeing your overwatch get triggered to turn your enemies into mulch.
Gears tactics captures that gears feeling very well the ping and flash when overwatch goes off the bloody explosions when you cave in skulls, the gory bayonet charges, the beautiful chainsaw attacks and that iconic audio cue when an engagement is over, on which note, from an audio perspective, The game is also fantastic. I don’t think i should leave that behind the music is great, the sound effects are great and when you’re playing with a surround sound set of headphones or a surround sound system going uh, they do a wonderful job of making the environment feel alive and special again. It brings that gears quality that you would expect from one of their main titles uh to this offshoot. It’S kind of strange, even calling it an offshoot or a spin-off game, because so much love and care and attention seems to have been paid over it. It feels like a main title honestly: the gears of war fan of me was absolutely pleased and the strategy and tactics gaming fan in me was blown away. I never in a million years would have expected gears tactics to be this good. I thought it’d be fine at best more likely to be a failed attempt. I thought it would be a subpar cash grab where they were going to cut corners to capitalize on the genre. I think many may have rolled their eyes and looked the other way fearing exactly that. Instead, here, i am hoping desperately for a sequel. So if you ignored gear’s tactics because of some preconceived notions or some concern of how poor it might be, give it a shot. It was a ton of fun after a very long wait.
Desperado’S three launched earlier this year and sits at number two, as it basically outlines how the stealth action tactics genre can and should be brought back to life. Now the developers mimi me games already showed their prowess with shadow tactics blades of the shogun back in 2016, but this was an excellent refinement applied to an existing classic series with great results, a prequel to the original trilogy. This game is technically the fourth desperados game, and has you leading the series protagonist john cooper through the formative years of his life meeting, other major characters from the series with some notable additions. Each of these characters, john included, has their own unique abilities, skills and tools and they’re all available in different combinations throughout the many missions. Forcing you to get clever with bringing together said, abilities, the environment and their limitations.
Every aspect of this game is exquisite. The story is a great revenge story, with additional revenge, subplots intertwined, bringing in all the character archetypes you’d expect from the wild west. The visual fidelity is great throughout stylized, colorful, vibrant and full of life, taking full advantage of the isometric view to create some great scenes with depth and verticality. Whether you can reach it or not. The level design on that note is fantastic, where you can and can’t go where and how you can hide, where the enemies of different classes and abilities are placed or the various paths they take and the various paths you can take. The environmental opportunities both clearly highlighted and cheekily hidden and the objective design brings it all together wonderfully not only the main objectives to get from mission to mission, but the optional ones as well, and the extra challenges for each level they’re all wonderfully crafted to include easy. Medium and seemingly impossible challenges to overcome lateral thinking is well rewarded in desperados 3, and that makes these challenges extremely fun opportunities to experiment, as opposed to tedious grinds where you’re just checking boxes to be able to say you accomplish the challenge to add to this.
The game has been getting constant updates, as well as new challenges that allow you to dive back in and replay old levels with new twists, which is way more than i would have expected, and it’s a great way to keep a linear story game alive. Well, beyond its base length, whether you’re throwing knives and gunslinging catching people in bear traps. Distracting guards with your seductive capabilities, using knockout gas or using straight up voodoo magic, desperados 3, finds a way to make it all engaging, especially if you’re the type that enjoys open-ended problem solving. There is not a boring moment to be had with desperados 3 and it was very nearly my number one pick for the year. I sincerely hope we get a sequel and all other developers looking to make stealth action tactics. Games should study desperados, 3 and take notes. Taking the crown for 2020, we have crusader kings 3.
I’Ve said it many times over the years when i first played crusader kings 2. My view on what a strategy game could be completely shifted and crusader. Kings 3 brings more of that same paradigm, shifting gameplay and even as a sequel built on similar mechanics. It feels completely fresh compared to anything else that exists in the genre, and yet it does not rest on its laurels. Pushing new ideas to establish a strong foundation for what will undoubtedly be years of updates and upgrades both paid and free as a fan of role play history, politics, medieval warfare and lateral problem solving in games, crusader kings, 3 checks, so many boxes. A massive map where you can opt to start as a count duke king or emperor each playthrough of crusader kings 3 is a sandbox set your own objectives, with little guidance from the game itself in the form of e decisions relevant to the character you chose and Take on challenges that come with said self-set objectives deal with cultural and religious friction, manage your court council and vassals and appease your liege.
If you have one be the beloved diplomat, the feared warrior or the silent assassin type arrange, kidnappings and mass religious conversions become a cannibal and feast upon your enemies. Partake in the titular crusades, be a part of the jihad. Go raiding until valhalla comes calling lead. A massive horde reform, the persian empire, create your own religion, unite fractured nations, past time by collecting and torturing prisoners, sleep with all your vassals, wives and husbands, incest, child murder, breeding programs. If i were to list everything you can do in crusader kings 3, this video would be a couple hours. Long point is: there’s options and they’re all fun to explore. The game has received some updates that implement key features that we’re missing at launch, as well as a free character. Creator that lets you start with a completely custom ruler and the biggest uphill struggle for crusader kings 3 are the inevitable comparisons to crusader kings 2. A game that has been iterated upon over 8 years through post-launch support. Yes, there are some things in crusader: kings 2 that would have been nice to see at launch with crusader kings. 3.
There’S no denying that, but crusader kings 3 still manages to have a much better and larger launch than crusader. Kings. 2 did a larger map more cultural and religious variety by several magnitudes, significantly deeper war and role-playing, mechanics and a much better focus on the dynastic and familial aspect of politics at the time. These are just a few examples without a shadow of a doubt. Paradox will continue to improve on this solid foundation to bring what will likely be one of the greatest games of this decade, just like they did for the last decade. But that’s me getting ahead of myself at present. Crusader kings 3 is getting a lot of post launch support and it’s also seeing a lot of mod support. There are already some excellent mods out there that will either enhance your playthrough or completely overhaul the game. To give you a completely custom world and universe to play in historically, we’ve seen some great fantasy worlds, especially be made into crusader king’s mods, and i expect to see the same happening with crusader kings 3, which again and as always, adds longevity and value to the Game there is so much fun to be had with crusader kings 3 and it did have some stiff competition from desperados 3
At the end of the day, the extra layers of complexity and the way in which the various systems come together to represent some of my favorite periods, places and things in history just gives it an undeniable lead crafting my own stories with suitable and fitting challenges and Struggles in said, crafting strikes a chord that only crusader kings 2 has before there. You have it folks, a great kick off to the decade, at least as far as gaming is concerned, any of these games match your own favorites anything you change. Let me know down below, as i always say, i read all the comments and it’s fun to see what folks have been playing and enjoying over the year if you’re, a fan of strategy simulation or management gaming feel free to subscribe to this channel for more previews Reviews, let’s plays and more we’ll be looking at exciting 2021 prospects in an upcoming video, but this is where i bid you farewell as always. A massive thanks goes out to all of my channel members and patrons for supporting the channel on a monthly basis. Y’All keep us alive and running smoothly and, of course, a big old thanks goes out to each and every one of you for watching until next time cheers.