Dark Souls (Remaster, 2018; Original, 2011)
What can I honestly say about this game that hasn't already been said? I enjoyed it a lot, and enjoyed playing it with friends. The first game I played this year, and it's what kicked off my Twitch streams.
Hollow Knight (2017)
This game didn't quite catch my interest the first time around when I tried playing it in 2019, but when I gave it a second chance in 2020, I found myself hooked, barely able to let it go. You'll find yourself immersed in the environments and atmosphere that work together for an unforgettable experience.
This game has some pretty wonky gameplay at times. However, the true value of this game is the masterfully presented story, and the absolutely astounding soundtrack. Though less known than its sequel, Nier: Automata, there are some aspects to this game that outshine its successor. Soon to be rereleased, this is certainly a game worth looking out for in the near future.
Silent Hill (1999)
I'm not really a fan of horror games. But this game? It's exceptional in almost every regard. Though not as cherished as Silent Hill 2 (which is considered one of the holy grails of horror games), I personally love this game's main protagonist. Harry, an ordinary man caught up in a world filled with surreal and unfathomable horrors, fights his way through in his quest to find his daughter Cheryl. Along the way, he discovers clues relating to why the town ended up the way it is, on top of some sinister plots and conspiracies. Despite everything, he keeps going, and I really like that about him.
Nier: Automata (2017)
The sequel to the aforementioned Nier, this game often overshadows its predecessor, with many people completely unaware of the first game's existence. However, this game is amazing in its own right, improving upon the primitive gameplay of the first, while also carrying on the fantastic music, story, and atmosphere. A must play.
Warning! Spoilers follow.
Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon (2018)
Produced by Koji Igarashi, longtime important name in the Castlevania franchise, this title was developed as a tie-in to the main game Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night as part of a Kickstarter campaign. The game is a throwback to the retro days of Castlevania, playing most similarly to Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse, while also providing its own fair share of tricks. It's a good time!
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night (2019)
The main game promised by the original Kickstarter campaign, this game more closely resembles the variety of Castlevania known as "Metroidvanias" that were pioneered by Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. With a completely original story, full voice acting, and constant work being done to improve the game even after its original release, this game is a worthy successor to the now dormant Castlevania franchise.
While technically a remake of a game from 2006, this game more closely resembles games such as System Shock 2 or Bioshock. Stranded inside a space station with no memories of who you are, you the player are forced to determine your own morality through your choices. However, not everything is what it seems as this game... preys on your paranoia, forcing you to think ahead when it comes to managing your resources in order to survive. It's addicting, scary, and intense.
Silent Hill 2 (2001)
Possibly the most well known title in the horror game genre, Silent Hill 2 set the bar for what type of storytelling could be done through video games while maintaining a terrifying and surreal atmosphere. More character driven than the first game, this game centers more on a personal kind of hell, and what it means to explore it as we are forced to come to terms with the worst aspects of ourselves. An essential title for getting into the genre.
Deus Ex (2000)
Quite possibly the most important video game ever made, I consider Deus Ex to be nothing less than a masterpiece. Constantly bringing up questions and concerns related to individual freedom, government surveilance, terrorism, how society reacts in the face of a seemingly uncurable pandemic, how all of the above affects our global economy, questions of faith, relgion, and philosophy... Did I mention this was a first person interactive simultive role-playing game where you work for the Department of Homeland Security fighting terrorists who believe the government is manufacturing a disease with a treatment conveniently only available to the wealthy? Seriously, go play this.