My globe-trotting year indoors •

My globe-trotting year indoors •

Editor’s Note: Breathe. We are almost there. 2020 has been quite a year, and it’s almost over. During the festive break, members of the Eurogamer team and our contributors will describe their top five personal games of 2020, before we announce our game of the year – and before, of course, we hand you over for the annual Reader’s Top. 50. Thank you for being with us this year, and see you on the other side.

I’ve never been particularly outdoors, but the passage of the years seems to have blessed me with an irrepressible itch for breathtaking views and a curiosity for distant climates. It’s no surprise, then, that Flight Simulator has been my safety valve in 2020, providing a welcome escape from the waning chills and increasingly claustrophobic over-familiarity of my immediate region.

The joy and genius of Flight Simulator 2020 lies in its wonderful accessibility, which means that it is not only a game for aviation enthusiasts, it is also a game for those who love travel and discovery. And her breathtaking digital Earth not only satiated my urge to travel this year, it piqued my curiosity, encouraging hours of blissful reverie among the clouds, seeking new geographic wonders, and giving me a whole new appreciation for the majesty of our world.

Flight Simulator Launch Trailer.

Looking back, traveling to exotic climates has been a somewhat subconscious theme for my favorite video games in 2020, starting with my totally unexpected obsession with American Truck Simulator in March. It’s not a new game of course, but developer SCS continues to enrich its sprawling take on the United States, with several new expansions arriving this year.

I’m not exactly what you would call a lot of trucker, and I had originally chosen ATS only out of desperation for a slight lockdown, intrigued by the opportunity to relive a memorable road trip a few years ago, and to revel in the majestic American landscape, albeit digitally, along the way. Honestly, I expected the novelty to wear off pretty quickly, but instead I fell hard for the hypnotic and calming charms of American Truck Simulator.

There’s just something overwhelmingly compelling and heartwarming about its pleasantly monotonous pace – the ever-present hum of the engine, the slight blink of an indicator, and the unhurried momentum of it all – as you make your way through. his American masterfully understated. extent. And with the arrival of the Colorado expansion in November, I even managed to recreate this road trip entirely – through the arid sprawl of Arizona to the verdant bends of the Centennial State Mountains – which was a great way to end a year on the virtual route.

American Truck Simulator – Colorado Trailer.

The promise of great adventures in distant places (in this case, the promise of luscious archaeological adventures across a South Pacific island long forgotten in the 1930s) was also what initially drew me to the wonderful start of developer Out of the Blue, Call of the sea.

I would have been perfectly, pleasantly happy just to delve into and soak up the wonderful vibe of it all as the Call of the Sea story of a determined woman looking for her missing husband unfolds, but she also manages to offer a wonderfully and surprisingly constructed one. involved confusing – making the gradual unraveling of its Lovecraft-hued story all the more rewarding, knowing that you really deserved it.

It’s a truly beautiful thing, both in its stunningly lush visual design – from its ruined jungles to precariously windswept mountain tops – and in its totally unexpected narrative reach, which finds true heart and humanity. among all the cosmic nonsense, ultimately delivering an unexpectedly affecting story of self-discovery.

Call of the Sea reveals the trailer.

In fact, Call of the Sea is just the first of two cosmic horror-themed tropical island adventures to steal my heart this year. The other, Paradise Killer from Kaizen Game Works, does an equally formidable job of shedding the tired old tropes of Lovecraft, delivering an utterly modern tale of old gods and ancient horrors, set in a vaporwave world to be cut. the breath and elegant of swaying palm trees and endless, sunny skylines.

It’s certainly the wacky, Phoenix-Wright-esque investigative adventure the trailers promise – and a superb one at that, absolutely nailing the sense of discovery and forensic inference as you roam its resort island. enigmatic in search of clues, examining his wonderfully made characters. – but it’s the incredibly high-end mix of beachside cocktails and truly ominous cosmic menace (oozing from all directions thanks to meticulous world-building) that really makes it shine. This turned out to be a perfect summer getaway, and its shimmering and sunny soundtrack is also an absolute belter.

Paradise Killer launch trailer.

And then came fall, where, as the days grew shorter, my stay at home in the world 2020 took me to Alaska, the setting for developer Dontnod’s storytelling adventure, Tell Me Why. .

As in his previous titles, Dontnod – who skillfully mixes homecoming drama and mysterious thriller here – discovers true beauty and warmth as he explores the developing relationship between twins Tyler and Alyson, both forced to face their traumatic past. And while it fails, I think, to reach the same heights as the studio’s previous work (it certainly never reaches the emotional devastation and tenderness of the gorgeous and wildly underrated, Life is Strange 2) , its lows aren’t that low either – there aren’t any cartoonish religious cults or superfluous serial killer subplots here – making it arguably the most assured adventure and nicer from the developer to date.

And, of course, it’s all enhanced by Dontnod’s talent for creating beautiful and alluring worlds. Granted, Tell Me Why’s picturesque postcard portrayal of small-town Alaska – all crystal clear lakes and majestic icy mountain ranges – may not be entirely authentic, but the studio’s keen environmental work is once again quite transporting, and I was so sorry when that was the case. it’s time to say goodbye to its snow-covered streets and go home.

Tell Me Why announces the trailer.

Not that I’m anchored for long, of course; despite 2020 offering a year of glorious distractions – from the endless comforts of Animal Crossing: New Horizons to the Machiavellian delights of Crusader Kings 3 – this is Flight Simulator that I have returned to time and time again in these weirdest years, reveling in of endless freedom it offers. After all, staying home is a bit easier when everyone’s gorgeous inside with you, begging to be explored.

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