2020 was an extremely bad year in many ways, but there were still many glimmers of light on the gaming front. senses nominates the Best Game of the Year from the first year of the new decade.
Like 2016, 2020 was the year of the big hardware, when Playstation 4 and Xbox One officially had to hand over the console generation to the successors Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X / S (although the supply continues to be scarce at the time of writing on the machine front).
There were 94 game reviews during the past year, of which a single full scorer and the majority who were in the upper tier and sniffed at absolute greatness. So undeniably a good game year.
The editors are counting down their ten favorites, the best games of 2020.
And it was more challenging than we first thought to just choose 10….
Best game 2020
10. Star Wars – Squadrons (EA): The Star Wars felt a bit worn out with the whole uninspiring, new trilogy. But 2020 was a true turnaround, partly because of the brilliant TV series The Mandalorian at Disney + but also thanks to EA’s fine-fine space combat simulator with an emphasis on action.
9. Tell me why (Xbox Game Studios) – Dontnod’s touching and beautiful adventures took the best from Life is Strange and made it even better. The environments, the presentation and the fact that everyone can play it on Game Pass now makes this one of this year’s 10 “must” games.
8. Huntdown (Coffee Stain Studios) – not one of the year’s biggest, but absolutely best action platform games comes from Sweden. Huntdown mixes retro style with pixel perfection and wonderful co-op action at best Midnight Resistance– /Super Probotector-piece. A small masterpiece.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps (Moon Studios) – the sequel to the fantastic metroidvania adventure Ori and the Blind Forest offered us even more magic, eye and ear candy and a real lot of fun platform adventures. Eye-wateringly beautiful on the Xbox Series X, where the power of the console gives us both 6K graphics (supersampled) and 120 frames per second.
6. Gears Tactics (Xbox Game Studios) – to take third-person action and transform it into a captivating, turn-based strategy game at best X-COM-the spirit may have sounded like a dubious idea. But leave it to Xbox Game Studios and Coalition to get it done. Gears Tactics manages to be both simple and deep, slow and exciting at the same time. And so it’s pretty damn cool to the Xbox Series X.
5. Dreams (Sony Interactive) – Media Molecules Dreams on PS4 was unlike any other game builder game. An experience, a game and a large sandbox for creative outlet where you can put together quite cool game concepts with minimal prior knowledge. All it takes is imagination and a little patience. A unique gaming experience.
4. Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla (Ubisoft) – The game series got a little second breath, with generation steps on the next-gen (XBSX and PS5) while going back to the roots with brotherhood and stealth, which was lost in the more action-emphasized two last parts (Origins and Odyssey). Powerful, grandiose and very engaging, we are now looking forward to more of the Vikings’ journey with the upcoming DLC package, which is underway.
Ghost of Tsushima (Sony Interactive) – Sucker Punch’s widely anticipated samurai epic was perhaps not quite as challenging, or really as varied, as the first hours gave the impression of – but what a journey it was, and what a fantastic place Tsushima’s archipelago turned out to be. Beautiful, poetic and absolutely brilliantly good on Playstation 5 at a steady 60 fps now, so this is a game series we are guaranteed to see much more of in the future.
2. Darq (Unfold Games) – Perhaps the biggest bang of the year turned out to be a beautiful indie game, which with great ingenuity, imagination, challenge and extremely high “only-once-to-factor” sniffs the epoch-making Inside in the heels (2016’s best game). We can hardly afford to experience it on the next-gen in the beginning of 2021.
Final Fantasy VII Remake (Square Enix) – The best game of the year (and even fuller points), is not just a remake of one of the world’s most beloved role-playing games of all time – it is a masterpiece in its own right. So different and so unique (even though the basic story and characters are the same), it managed to live up to – and sometimes even exceed – the extremely high expectations that have been built up over five years, since it was first shown. Sturdy, engaging, extremely well executed and yet only a fraction of the story. The big question is, when can we continue to play on the adventure?
Bubbler / Honorable Mention:
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War (Activison) – Activision always manages to make war and misery fun and captivating. A little too shaky technically this year to make the top ten but still, easily one of the best FPSs (especially on next-gen) together with Doom Eternal.
Cloudpunk (Ion Lands) – another indie that surprised by fairly simple means, thanks to surprising depth and empathy in the gaming world. Fantastic story and good characters made it possible to be forgiving but a little too simple presentation. Do not miss.
The Last of Us: Part II (Sony Interactive) – hyped and long awaited, TLOU2 is – as usual in the case of the Sony studio Naughty Dog – a technical knock-out and fantastic swan song for Playstation 4. Unfortunately, the second did not quite reach the brilliance of the first, mostly due to something too overworked and unnecessary violent story and that it dragged on the story a few hours too long towards the end.