Best Games of 2020
Well in spite of the pandemic every single game company having to deal with the Covid situation we got a ton of Amazing Games. While the talk was mainly dominated by the release of Microsoft and Sony launching their new consoles and Nintendo making tons of bumbling marketing calls, all 3 major manufacturers brought out at some great first party titles and the third party companies and indies also had great software that made being stuck in our homes that little bit less awful than it was and it felt like a really great swansong to the last generation and great beginning of the transition to the next generation. Despite the fact that Sony released the PlayStation 5 and Microsoft brought out the Xbox Series X|S they have both confirmed they will be supporting the PS4 and Xbox One for a while longer so they made missing out from their pre order debacles not the worst thing ever and have ensured most of us will be getting the most out of games in the future. For the first time ever on this site I had to choose a top 10 games of the year so I had to set a few ground rules
- Only games that released in the UK in 2020, games that were Japan exclusive but came out this year will count if they were released on current systems and were not older games ported so Fire Emblem for the NES releasing for the first time in the west doesn’t come into this which is why Among Us will not be on the list In spite of its numerous Game Award nominations and Switch release
- No compilations, re releases or remasters, tough call but I felt it was only fair since these games guarantee an audience in a big way and didn’t strictly get their start this year so no Super Mario 3D All-Stars, Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Editons or Persona 5 Royal though from the ground up remakes like Demon Souls and Final Fantasy 7 Remake do count
- It’s not restricted to games I reviewed, while I reviewed quite a few games I also bought a few more which I also didn’t get round to reviewing for one reason or another such as time commitments for typing up or Elliot took reviewing duties from me for certain games
- It might not reflect my scores, I’ve been developing my score system as I’ve been going with how I mark games so some games might’ve received higher or lower scores if they came out later this year though also most of my reviews follow a single playthrough so keep that in mind with my scores
- I haven’t played every game that came out this year so some might be missing from my collection right now, for example I’ve heard they’re relly good but I haven’t played Half Life Alyx or Carrion
So with all that in mind how did my list turn out, there were a few games that were really considered but didn’t make the list like Ghost of Tsushima, Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1 + 2 remake, Spider-Man Miles Morales and Bloodstained Curse of the Moon 2. The main list however consisted of my 10 favourite games this year
(Playstation 5, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One ,PC)
Haven was a late Indie game that I tried out on Xbox game pass and if you’re after a really good 10 hour experience it’s a really good game. The game centres around a couple named Kay and Yu fleeing a planet of arranged marriages in order to be together and the player takes control of them in this half exploration game half RPG in order to gather supplies and purge the planet of rust whilst uncovering a lot of mysteries that trace back to where they were fleeing. It’s a great combination of really great story mostly told through short conversations which feels like a realistic relationship and really beautiful exploration of the planet which had me hooked and I just wanted to keep going with what is essentially a skysurfing RPG. It is a short experience but it really sells that experience and is a great time. I accept it’s not for everyone the RPG mechanics while having a good risk reward experience and is really awesome that it builds up through performing extra tasks is rather simplistic and not incredibly customisable but if this at all sound like your thing give it a go. It will also be out on PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch in 2021 so that’s an extra audience for it and it’s currently on Xbox Game Pass giving more reason to subscribe to it.
9: Super Mario 35
A game you sadly won’t be able to play after March but what Super Mario 35 does to the original NES game is great. Turning the game into a battle royal where you’re playing against 34 other players adds new life to the game and is incredibly addictive which meant I was playing the game at least once a day. This was a real highlight of 2020 and I’m making the most of it until it’s gone
8: Final Fantasy 7 Remake
Final Fantasy 7 Remake finally came out in 2020 and it was well worth the wait. FF7 Remake is my favourite entry in the series since FF10 with a great battle system, amazing graphics, tons of extra content to dive into to make it a great long experience, and an excellent modern reinterpretation of the story that was told back in 1997. The ending has certainly not pleased everyone though has created great intrigue for the now confirmed ongoing series that will adapt the rest of the story. my biggest knock against the story is that it won’t have as much impact if you’re not as familiar with the original but it’s so easy to access the original no matter what your format that I think that’s not a major issue. Really give this a go if you are at all on the fence
7: 13 Sentinel Ageis Rim
Developed by Vanilla ware and published by Atlus comes this narrative driven game with an added real time strategy game attracted to it. You absolutely should give this a go it has an amazing art style to help the game stand out and an addictive story that slowly unfolds and demands your attention centreing around a sci fi plot in a battle between giant mechs and robotic Kaiju. Gameplay wise the RTS aspect does start out holding your hand but once you reach a couple hours in it’s really good fun and has a few extra challenges for compeltionists. I fully accept this game isn’t for everyone particularly those who really aren’t interested in Anime but I would urge people to try it out
6: Animal Crossing New Horizons
The game that has allowed us to have a social life in 2020 makes the list. In all seriousness Animal Crossing really came out at the exact right time and playing it throughout the year with it getting new features and events every couple of months has been a joy. I’ve been playing most days throughout 2020 just to hang out with my neighbours or to fix up the island that I named Pizza Bay or just to see who visited the island like if CJ turned up to give me a fishing challenge or buy some art from Redd whenever he decides to show up (provided that he doesn’t scam me AGAIN!!!!!!!). Animal Crossing New Horizons hasn’t been for everyone and a few of my friends have dropped off it though I have enjoyed hanging out with my mates and visiting each other’s islands and it does a great job in enjoying the mundane, and while I wish it would have some more features come back from New Leaf, New Horizons has be a highlight of my year.
(Playstation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC, Google Stadia, Linux)
Speaking of enjoying the mundane here comes a management sim from indie studio Lotus Games. Spiritfarer’s story of guiding lost spirits to the afterlife by fulfilling their final wishes is genuinely compelling and delivers really addictive gameplay to compliment it’s sombre yet uplifting story. I would just sail from one island to another on my ship making food or materials with a beautiful soundtrack in the background, some genuinely enjoyable platforming and trying to make my passengers life much better. while a game that tackles themes about death might not seem like the best game to play right now the developers were determined to make a game that still delivers a positive message about life and the inevitability of death and facing it and in my mind they succeeded. the only reason it’s not higher is I believe the ending is a bit dragged out. if you have Xbox Game Pass this game is included with your package so you have no excuse not to try it out
4: Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity
While it’s not been everyone’s cup of tea for me Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity was amazing and the best Switch exclusive of the year. While there are now many questions about how this is going to affect the ongoing Breath of the Wild storyline and it doesn’t quite have the level of content of the original Hyrule Warriors when it comes to Gameplay it is sublime. I love the use of the Breath of the Wild mechanics mixed with traditional warriors gameplay to turn this into what I believe is the best Muso game to date. What’s more I was really addicted to following the story and not just for the purposes of unlocking all the characters because it really hit home how big the war that brought Hyrule to its knees was and gave some great character moments for Zelda herself. Play this one after Breath of the Wild to get yourself prepped for Breath of the Wild 2 because I think after this we’re in for a great experience
3: Demon Souls (2020)
Who would’ve thought the best game of the PlayStation 5 launch would be a remake of a PlayStation 3 game. Bluepoint have provided another brilliant remake which has once again enhanced an already great game. The developers have looked at the technology they have and made a game that didn’t just update the graphics of the game but looked at the shortcomings of Demon Souls and made slight tweaks such as making projectiles more visible and having better response time with the game running at 60 Frames Per Second to make this one of the best Souls games to date rivalled only by Bloodborne. If you were lucky enough to get a PlayStation 5 and you haven’t got this it’s a top priority and if Sony is smart they will acquire Bluepoint Games to keep them on side after the major effort they put into this and Shadow of the Colossus remake.
(Nintendo Switch, PC)
While Hades doesn’t quite hit the top spot it’s still an amazing game and my new favourite Rougelike game. it’s a great story of Zagreus’s endless attempt to escape the underworld from his father Hades and delivers addictive top down combat with each of the Greek Gods providing different powers, known as boons, to aid in your escape which really invite experimentation. This is genuinely one of the best controlling games I’ve played with the controls feeling completely like an extension of yourself and it’s constantly testing you to try new things to see if that works and to develop your personal preferred combat style between several weapons and boons. The developers also made sure that you have a good time not in combat giving you a great time interacting with all the characters in the halls of the underworld be it the musician Orpheus, the fangirl gorgon head Dussa or just petting Cerberus it really delivers a sense of personality and how Hades goes about delivering its plot is both unique and excellent and really makes me interested in ideas that Supergiant games could have for a potential sequel. Oh and get the soundtrack if you can it’s brilliant and I’m pretty sure it’s still on Spotify.
1: Ori and the Will of the Wisps
( Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC)
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