Kieran’s Top 10 Games of 2020
Let’s call it like it is: 2020 has been awful. However, there have been some bright spots in the darkness, especially with the arts. The band Chromeo released a topical and fun album with their “Quarantine Cassanova”. The world saw the insanity that is Joe Exotic, Doc Antle, and Carole Baskins with the wild Netflix show Tiger King. And currently, director Steve McQueen is blowing audiences away with his Small Axe anthology of new movies.
Things have not been easy for the gaming world, and many delays and cancellations have occurred. Yet we persevered and were still treated to a solid slate of games this year. Keep in mind, this list only consists of titles I’ve played. There are several other high profile games that I didn’t include on the list due to this. So without further ado, here are my favorite game releases in 2020.
While no one does monster catching like Pokémon, Nexomon: Extinction proved to be a worthwhile alternative. With more rounded visuals, varied musical score, and funnier writing, this is much more than just a clone. Another obvious benefit is that Nexomon is playable on PS4, Xbox One, and PC, unlike Pokémon. But the most important factor is that the game was fun throughout and even kept me coming back for more after the final credits.
It was going to be really hard to top 2018’s iteration of Spider-Man. But by golly, Insomniac Games came close with Spider-Man: Miles Morales! Feeling like more than DLC, but less than a full fledged game, it ends up landing in the sweet spot of just the right amount of content. Full of swagger and fun new additions, this ended up being one of the top launch titles for the PS5.
Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout was a surprise, smash hit at launch. With its non-violent take on the battle royale genre, Fall Guys appealed to younger and older audiences simultaneously. And like many, I found enjoyment and was lured in by the game’s simplicity as well as its zaniness. But the thrill of being the last one standing and winning “The Crown” is what kept me coming back for more and more.
I’m not a huge Resident Evil fan, yet I have still played the majority of the games in the series. Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed the Resident Evil 3 remake. The stress of managing one’s inventory, having scarce ammo and healing supplies, and the relatively slower player movement all felt dialed down in this entry. This led to a much more enjoyable experience for me than (dare I say it!) last year’s Resident Evil 2.
6. Mortal Shell
Mortal Shell was an awesome surprise all the way around. With its announcement (after essentially nothing being shown previously) in April, an open beta in July, and a final release in August, all during a pandemic is nothing short of astounding. Combine that with a unique art style and gameplay mechanics from other Souls games, and Mortal Shell really impresses as a debut title.
Somehow Ori and the Will of the Wisps outdoes everything from its predecessor. Even more stunning environments, a better upgrade system, and a village building mechanic really stand out amongst the improvements. Once I started this game, there were no other ones in mind until I finished it. The end result was an incredibly satisfying experience that has me yearning for another entry in the series.
I never thought I’d see a better package-in game than Wii Sports, yet here we are. Astro’s Playroom is not only a loving homage to PlayStation and its titles, but it’s a blast to play! It’s also the best current representative of what the DualSense controller is capable of. Hours felt like minutes when playing this incredibly charming title that is a great start for what should be an incredibly strong console generation.
Anyone who knows anything about my gaming habits knows that I love the Souls genre. And it all started with Demon’s Souls on the PS3. So the prospect of getting an overhauled remake of the original on the brand new PS5 was essentially brain melting. And while the new version of Demon’s Souls is not perfect, it’s pretty darn close. I also loved the nostalgia along with the, “I forgot about this part!” moments during my playthrough. The only thing holding Demon’s Souls from being higher on the list is that it wasn’t an entirely brand new experience.
I wanted to wait until Hades fully exited Early Access, but I couldn’t do it. And honestly, I don’t know why I waited as long as I did. Hades is an incredibly polished rogue that finds the perfect balance with its difficulty. The depth of characters, varied color palettes, and combinations for upgrading your loadout are all supremely executed. Once I finally “beat” the game, I had to take a break, but found myself jumping right back in shortly thereafter. For fans of developer Supergiant Games or rogues, this is a must play.
My hype level for Ghost of Tsushima was pretty high, but I did my best to temper my expectations. Fortunately, once I started playing, all of those expectations were met and even exceeded. The smooth yet satisfying combat only took a little bit of adjustment. All aspects of the audio were impeccable throughout. But what really stood was how drop dead gorgeous the game was. I would find myself at the top of a mountain, in a field of flowers by a stream of water, or in a village in the woods, literally stunned by how beautiful it all was. The combination of the outstanding visuals, engrossing characters, rewarding exploration, and fittingly suited combat led to a perfect package.
Honorable mention: The Last of Us Part II
While I greatly respect other opinions (including GotGame’s Senior Editor David Poole), I find myself on the other side of the fence when it comes to The Last of Us Part II. Before it was originally delayed, it was one of my most anticipated games. The delay definitely lessened my hype, and the pre-release controversy seemed alarming, but I still went into the game with hope and excitement. Those feelings were quickly crushed and replaced with sadness and despair. I couldn’t get behind the story, and I have several disagreements with the final product. There’s a lot to appreciate in the game, but overall, it was a disappointing experience for me.
And that’s my list! I have to say that it was a lot tougher than I thought it would be. Do you agree or disagree with my opinions? Please let us know in the comments. Have interest in seeing what our GotGame writers thought overall? Feel free to check out our Epic Win Award winners!