2020 has been an incredibly interesting year, to say the least, in a variety of ways. One constant, however, regardless of the year, is the quality experiences being delivered from the gaming industry. Here are my 10 favorite ones of the year.
Whatever you’ve been through this year, I’m sure most have faced some challenges due to the current circumstances. COVID-19, for many, has caused many unfortunate situations for themselves, along with their loved ones. People have lost their jobs, have been forced to quarantine, but most importantly, have had to deal with the fact that someone they’re closed to is at risk due to their health. Because of all of this, many people find different ways to cope with everything that is going on, and throughout this year, other than spending time with those I care most for, playing video games has been a great way to escape from a year most want to forget.
I can’t say I’ve played every single game this year, so maybe you won’t see a game you think should be on my list. These are games I’ve played enough of to ultimately have an accurate opinion on. For example, I know Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a phenomenal experience, but I just haven’t put enough time into it.
There are also games I have played that won’t make the list. Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time was a nostalgic adventure, but it’s obviously flawed. Doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it, though. There’s also Fall Guys, which is extremely fun, but its flare didn’t last as long as I expected it to. Let’s move on to my list.
10. Among Us
Technically, this game released in 2018, but its popularity most definitely sky-rocketed in 2020. I honestly had no idea this game even existed until this year, but I’m glad I discovered it. The gameplay is pretty straight forward and there isn’t really a story to follow, but the fun part is practically creating your own narrative playing with friends. Ultimately, this is what makes it worthwhile; trying to lie your way out of being ejected from the ship when someone caught you in the act of killing someone else. Other than that though, there isn’t much else that really makes a case for this game to be higher up on my list. However, I definitely recommend playing it.
9. Immortals: Fenyx Rising
Immortals: Fenyx Rising is a surprise hit for me in 2020. Being someone who has slowly been drifting away from Ubisoft games, seeing the trailer and gameplay for this, I just had to check it out. I absolutely love The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Immortals is heavily inspired by it in almost every aspect. In some ways, I also think it does things a bit better, especially with the story. I love how you can see a destination or landmark from a distance and simply go there. The journey along the way adds another entirely different element as well, fighting challenging enemies along the way and encountering new NPC’s to guide you and give you options for other adventures to take. The dialogue is a bit cheesy and definitely childish, but it’s easily overlooked when you’re having fun with the combat and the exploration.
8. Cyberpunk 2077
If I’m being honest, this should be much higher on my list. I haven’t really had any bad experiences playing Cyberpunk 2077 on my PC, but I know many people who have, along with the horror stories I’ve read online. Based on principle alone, I think its spot on my list is pretty spot on. The game is fantastic and has all the potential in the world, but I still feel it missed its mark not only because of all the bugs and glitches on the last-gen consoles, but even in some other aspects. I feel the world could use a bit more life since many of the NPC’s, if they aren’t involved in story missions or side quests, are pretty lifeless and simply there to fill a void. Regardless, I’ve still thoroughly enjoyed exploring Night City, but I can see myself taking a break from it for now and coming back a few months down the line when the developer has ironed out the details and fixed the mistakes. I’m sure everyone will be able to enjoy it soon enough and experience what it was always meant to be, including me.
7. Call of Duty: Warzone
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare was a massive disappointment, at least for me. The maps were abysmal, the lack of a radar on the mini map was a notoriously bad decision, and dead silence wasn’t even a perk. Good thing the gunplay was great, but it feels like it’s placed in the wrong game. Luckily, a few months after release, Warzone released and it made everything worthwhile. Till this day, I think it’s the definitive Battle Royale experience, introducing new ways to play while also reinventing other tropes from past games and making it its own. I haven’t played it as much as I did early on in the year, but I still come back to it from time to time and will probably put more time into it once the map is changed.
6. The Last of Us Part II
Although it isn’t as great as its predecessor, I still thoroughly enjoyed The Last of Us Part II for what it was. It feels more like an interactive film rather than a game you simply play, and developer Naughty Dog has been doing this for many years now. If I could change some things about the game, I definitely would, especially from a narrative perspective. I wouldn’t say it’s because the story is bad or poorly done, but considering how much of a fan I am of the first entry, I was expecting something different. I believe I’m not alone in that sentiment as well. However, considering the events of the first game, what does follow that makes a ton of sense and if people actually gave it a chance before judging it, I think most would feel the way I do. The world is still as interesting as ever and there are many factors that improve the overall gameplay experience compared to the first one.
Hades is such an extremely well-crafted game. I wish I was better at the game though, considering how challenging it really is. The time I have played though, I’ve enjoyed every second. The different levels offer a different nuance and challenge, while also giving you a variety of options to choose from in order to advance on your journey. What makes it excel the most is discovering different stories throughout the play through. In some cases, you’re forced to return to a specific area either because of death or to obtain new abilities. Because of this, you learn new things, including new story details, new characters, and gain new upgrades. Doing all of this only improves the gameplay experience, offering one of the most rewarding gameplay experiences of 2020.
4. Final Fantasy VII Remake
For me, Final Fantasy VII Remake was a very pleasant surprise. Being someone who didn’t even come close to completing the original in its entirety, I was extremely excited to experience this critically acclaimed game for the first time. I was definitely not disappointed. I truly think the game capitalized on everything the first one did and kicked it up a notch. The visuals are far superior, the story is conveyed much better since the emotions from the characters are much more apparent and visually improved, and the combat is very enjoyable. What attracted me the most, however, is the characters. In more ways than one, each and every character feels vital to the plot and seeing them progress and develop throughout my play through was fantastic. The only let-down is how this is only the first part and the next installment probably won’t release for some time. But, I’ll be patiently waiting for it.
3. Rogue Company
This may be higher on my list than other top 10’s out there, but I very much enjoy playing Rogue Company. Since it went free-to-play, it’s probably the game I’ve played the most of this year. It doesn’t have a single-player, but I don’t think it’s necessary when the multiplayer is so fun and rewarding. Being a fan of the Gears of War series, this is definitely up my wheelhouse in terms of the third-person perspective, along with the gunplay and abilities, which add an extra flair to the genre. I’m still playing this game while trying to level up all of my rogues, and I can see myself playing it for years to come with more updates on the way.
2. Ghost of Tsushima
Although it isn’t my personal favorite game of the year, I will say it’s the best game of 2020, at least on the PS4. I believe this game came out at the right time for many people, considering many were left with a bad taste in their mouths because of The Last of Us Part II. Then again, you already know how I feel about that situation. Regardless, Ghost of Tsushima is a beautiful achievement in gaming. From the very start, it captivates you with the breathtaking scenery, but you stay with it because of the narrative I feel most players can relate with. The combat is very creative as well, putting you into the shoes of a samurai and it’s evident Guerrilla Games did its homework since it feels very authentic and detailed. It’s a memorable journey, to say the least, and one of the best games to come to the PS4’s life cycle.
1. Spider-Man: Miles Morales
Insomniac Games capitalized on 2018’s Spider-Man in more ways than one with the new standalone story, Miles Morales. That game was a personal favorite of mine, especially in the superhero genre. I consider it to be the greatest superhero game ever made. Not only do you feel like Spider-Man swinging through the streets of New York and how you takedown the adversaries, but it’s always been the story and his daily struggles which makes the player, viewer, or reader connect with the character in a much deeper and personal level. Although I don’t think it’s fair to compare Miles Morales with its predecessor because of its length, I do think it does some new things which made it feel like an entirely new experience. I already got to know Miles in the first game, so it was great seeing his story be expanded on with his own game. It’s deeply emotional due to the relationships with his family, friends, and even enemies. It takes you for a ride from the very beginning and tugs at your heartstrings in many different situations and scenarios. Like I said, it may not be the best game of 2020, but it’s my personal favorite and it only increases the hype I have for the next installment.