Ron Funches is a comedian, actor, and periodic Giant Beastcast guest. You can follow him on Twitter.
What a year. I got married, I had my own TV show for Quibi, we all got to experience a terrifying life experience together. I want to thank the entire medium of video games for helping me stay sane and stay connected to friends at a time where it has been easy to feel isolated. These are my favorite games of the year at the time I needed them the most.
10. Gears 5
I found a lot of solace in returning to the familiar this year. I loved the Gears of War franchise on the 360 before eventually falling off due to the overly dude bro aesthetic and gray background fatigue. Thanks to Game Pass I was able to give this a shot and see how much Gears has changed for the better while maintaining its classic run for cover gameplay. It’s the most beautiful game I’ve played on Series X, with an amazing amount of color and the story was a simple and fun blast. The best thing I can say about this game is that I am now interested in the entire Gears series again for the first time in years. Try it!
Another game I loved as a child getting me through a terrifying year as an adult. The Final Fantasy Remake is beautiful and a wonderful love letter to fans of the original--or at least fans of part of the first disc of the original. I will always have issues with the portrayal of Barret, and wish his voice acting didn’t sound like he was an extra in Dolemite, but I can get over that when a game can make me fall in love with Aerith all over again while locked in my house.
A pack-in game! In 2020! Astro’s Playroom might be easy to skip over when you open your new PS5, but you would be doing yourself a tremendous disservice. Astro’s Playroom is the best possible introduction to what the PS5 is capable of--playing off the capabilities of the DualSense controller with fantastic 4K graphics and the SSD making it so load times are almost nonexistent--and when it all works together it brings a kind of magic that can only be matched by the best Nintendo games. This was the game that put my son and I on the couch together the most this year. Astro is a star!
I love Naughty Dog. They have been one of my favorite developers since Crash Bandicoot. This game is a beautiful piece of art with a truly adult story, when most games these days think being adult means throwing a bunch of dildos around. This game tells a story of loss and the power and effects of anger. It also came out at the absolute worst possible time, meaning I just couldn’t finish it. If I had, it would probably be higher on my list. However, the fact that a game could affect my mental state that much means it deserved a spot.
This is what I'm talking about. This game made me feel like I was back at a high school house party ignoring women in favor of taking bong hits and waiting for a turn on the Dreamcast with Kareem Campbell. Now I can do that in a house that I own and ignore my son! It’s a perfect remake in that it updates everything to modern standards while making me feel like a child again. I also got to play THPS with Tony Hawk on TV this year, and that makes my brain explode.
This is an extremely frustrating game that never lets you buy anything in bulk and uses an archaic online system to make having any more than one extra person on your island a chore. There are so many reasons to dislike this game, but it is the game I owe the most to this year. It gave me a sense of purpose and something to check in on every day. It made me feel in control of something when my life seemed to be completely out of my hands. Thank you for coming out when you did Animal Crossing. I think you saved a lot of lives.
I did not expect to love this game. I’m a fan of Sucker Punch and think InFamous is very underrated as a series, but for the first hour or so Tsushima didn’t really hook me. But I remained cautiously optimist, and at a point you eventually fall into its rhythm. It's a beautiful world with both precise combat and stealth tools that are actually valuable. The studio has continued to support the game with an amazing and free multiplayer mode, and I think Ghost of Tsushima is well on its way to being the next great PlayStation franchise.
Ichiban Kasuga is the most enjoyable main character in a game I’ve encountered in a long time, and that says a lot when he’s filling the shoes of Kazuma Kiryu. This is Steve Young following Joe Montana level impressive, and that is on top of completely flipping the series upside down from a brawler to a turn-based RPG. It does so much different while maintaining the same level of craziness and heart the Yakuza series is known for. I’ve saved a sick girl’s life and fought a giant Roomba. That is certainly top three material.
Do you remember when the PS2 came out and they said playing games would be like an interactive animated movie, but that never happened? Well we've finally entered that bold future and my mind is blown. Everything just works--the movement, combat, the fact that for the first time in video game history New York actually looks and feels like New York and is filled with people and atmosphere. It is a tight story that constantly pushes you forward and in about half the time manages to outdo the original Spider-Man game by leaps and bounds. The fact that this isn’t even the proper sequel makes me giddy with excitement for what's to come.
This game lets you murder your dad over and over again while listening to beautiful music and talking to Gods that look like professional grade porn stars.
This is one of the best games of all time.