2020 is a year which will forever be ingrained in history books. With the talk of the worldwide pandemic taking most of the news for the year, it is important to note how important video games were during this troubling time. In a year when people were asked to stay inside for months, gaming was the escape many needed to get away. While many delays, cancellations and rocky releases occurred, 2020 still offered one of the best years in gaming. There were a lot of fantastic games in 2020 (and I have yet to play most of them), as well as next-gen games I have yet to play due to the shortage of the new consoles. For those reasons, my Top Ten list only consists of games I have played in 2020… so now on to the list!
10. Cyberpunk 2077 (PC, Stadia, PS4, Xbox One)
Despite the rocky launch and the mass refund requests, Cyberpunk 2077 is still an enjoyable game at its heart. Hacking enemies mid combat, enhancing your body with mods and meeting a wide cast of characters, Cyberpunk 2077 still offers dozens of hours of missions and activities to partake in as you fight through Night City at your heart’s content. CD Projekt Red will no doubt spend time to make sure it runs perfectly eventually, but the still constant notice of bugs and crashes is reason why Cyberpunk 2077 is not further up on my list.
9. Golf With Your Friends (Multiplatform)
Just a simple premise of playing mini golf with your friends online is actually packed with lots of features. Easy to use controls and cleverly designed courses make this a fun get-together with a party of people. You can even mix it up a bit by adding powerups such as the ability to turn opposing balls into various geometrical shapes to ruin their shots or games of basketball or hockey using only golf balls. The game is also free currently on Xbox Game Pass, which is another reason for more people to pick this up right now.
8. Pokemon Sword & Shield: Isle of Armor (Switch)
The biggest and most expansive DLC yet for the latest Pokemon game lets you catch almost every legendary Pokémon ever released. While the game is still missing many of the older generational Pokémon, Isle of Armor’s new max raids allow you to team up with three other people to tackle a den of Pokémon which concludes with a legendary Pokémon at the end. A massive open world, Galarian versions of previous generations and new legendaries with multiple forms, Isle of Armor is the penultimate addition to the massive Pokémon emon series.
7. Call of Duty: Warzone (Xbox One, PS4, PC)
Activision’s foray into the battle royale scene was met with a lot of skepticism, but it managed to deliver one of the best battle royale games to date. Warzone’s more realistic visuals lend to a more serious tone than the other BR counterparts, but the addition of a gulag which lets killed players return back into the game, as well as a shop where you can buy helpful items to aid you in battle were both executed perfectly to make Warzone both a valiant competitor to the Battle Royale throne.
6. Ori and the Will Of The Wisps (Xbox, PC, Switch)
This is the sequel to one of my favorite Xbox One games of all time. Ori’s story continues from the first game and its still as accessible as as ever thanks to the melancholic music and vivid colors that mix together to create a vibrant, beautiful world. With new abilities, skill trees that use points to unlock new abilities and charming characters, Ori and the Will of the Wisps is one of the best platforming and story games of the year.
5. Final Fantasy VII Remake (PS4)
One of the most anticipated games in years, FFVII Remake reintroduced the story many claim is the best Final Fantasy game of all time. The story detour from the original PS1 plot was an unique approach, but the wide cast of memorable characters helps make this adventure both nostalgic and fresh at the same time. An improved combat system, item management and modern-day visuals helped make this one of the better remakes, and overall games, of the year.
4. Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity (Switch)
Having just getting a Switch and completing Breath of the Wild earlier this year ( yes I know), Age of Calamity was a nice addition to the lore of the BOTW universe. The combat is fast and frantic and fits in perfectly with the Zelda style of hack and slash. Learning about the events of the calamity and what led to the heroes downfall before Breath of the Wild was a fun journey.
3. Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla (Xbox One, PS4, PC)
The series keeps getting bigger and broader, and Valhalla is the most ambitious entry into the long-running series yet. Simplified combat with a bigger emphasis on exploration are the perfect tools to success for Valhalla as the characters and combat are some of the best Ubisoft has created yet.
2. Ghost of Tsushima (PS4)
One of the biggest surprises of the year for me, as I was torn on the Samurai setting at first glance. But this turned out to be one of the most addictive games I played all year. Brutal sword combat, fun duels and lots of interesting tools help make you feel like the ultimate killer. Ghost of Tsushima also rivaled The Last of Us: Part II in terms of visuals, as I was constantly in awe of the landscapes of each part of the massive world, and using the wind to find your way to the next marker was a simple, yet masterful touch.
1. The Last Of Us, Part II (PS4)
While many saw the change in direction of the story as an unusual choice, it allowed the dialogue and story to open up in a more broader view of the world in The Last of Us: Part II and how not just Joel and Ellie are ultimately affected by it. The combat is as exhilarating as ever and the visuals are still miles ahead of most of the competition in the same genre. Naughty Dog has proven time and time again they not only know how to create a detailed world with memorable characters, but make it exciting and fun to play as well. The Last of Us: Part II was a groundbreaking achievement in storytelling, world building and combat, and it deserves my top spot as 2020’s Game of the Year.
So while the world is still struggling to handle the pandemic and many are worried about what the future holds, gaming offered a nice escape for many who wanted to take their minds off of what 2020 held. The Last of Us: Part II, Ghost of Tsushima and Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla remain at the top of my list for providing me with hours of exciting gameplay and stories. 2021 is right around the corner and hopefully comes with it a chance for everyone to get back to normal. Here’s to gaming into the next year!