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Mattallica's Top 10 Games of 2020

What a weird year for games. With the world completely falling apart in almost every area; games have actually been fairly consistent. I would still say this has been my least favorite year for gaming for quite a while but I’m still pleasantly surprised when I end up looking at my list, all things considered.

However there were still my fair share of disappointments this year.

So many games I were looking forward to disappointed me and yet some still make this list. A majority of the games that defined the year for most like Animal Crossing and Fall Guys just aren't my type of games at all. I had zero hype for the new consoles this year with the launch lineups though I’m sure I’ll really enjoy my PS5 when I eventually get one. And then there’s Nintendo who usually feature super high on my lists, had their quietest year for a long time. But let’s get into the games I did actually enjoy for the most part in this atrocious year.

Note: I am currently playing Cyberpunk 2077 but it’s way too early to place it on any list for me. If I end up really enjoying it then it’ll go on next year’s list. I’m enjoying my brief time with the game so far but I do wish the shooting was better. But we’ll save that chat for another time.

(Also I’m gonna include a few older games I played for the first time this year and enjoyed because why not.)

10. Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War

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A strange one to kick off the list. This is purely for the campaign as I’m not a Zombies guy at all and the multiplayer just isn’t what I’m looking for right now (more on that later). After the phenomenal campaign of last year’s title this one always had a tough act to follow and even though I didn’t expect it to reach such heights it was still a reminder that even a decent COD campaign is a very fun one.

I enjoyed the mission variety and different scenarios this campaign threw at me. Some parts felt very rushed and incomplete (2020 gaming in a nutshell) but just the overall gameplay was enough to satisfy my needs for this title. Again, nowhere near the level of previous COD titles for me but still a real good time.

9. The Last of Us Part 2

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It’s hard to go in depth of my thoughts on this game due to the ridiculous discourse that has followed this title since even before it’s release. It’s a real shame because I do think there’s some genuine criticism to talk about but both the hardcore defenders and haters of this game have ruined that conversation. I liked this game a lot. The performances and overall visuals are stunning and probably the industry benchmark for everyone else. I enjoyed some story stuff and disliked other stuff but overall just wish it had been presented in a better way. This game had way too much filler for me which ultimately killed the big payoffs in the end. And perhaps my favourite thing about this game is the environmental design. Just an incredible world to be in and look at all the crazy architecture and what has happened in this world.

My biggest pet peeve with this game and now Naughty Dog as a whole is the gameplay. But no means bad but I am super disappointed in their inability to evolve over time. This game plays almost exactly like it’s predecessor did 7 years ago. I get that it’s a sequel so you can’t change much but the whole troupe of two characters slowly walking through a world as they have idle chit chat just feels so outdated to me in 2020. I really hope whatever comes next from them sees a big shift in a different direction just like the original TLOU did as I still think this studio is tremendously talented even if this game didn’t land for me the way I had hoped it would.

8. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Remastered

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Just wanna to throw this game on my list as recognition for how incredible this game still holds up in 2020. Last year’s Modern Warfare campaign I thought was their best ever but replaying this earlier this year really made me rethink that statement. At this point I really can't choose between the two but all I know is that the game is fantastic. The adventure you go on during this campaign is just perfect and really shows why COD has been the king of shooter campaigns for so long. Insane fast paced missions. Over the top setpieces. Fun plot twists and character reveals. This game is the blueprint still to this day and a shooter masterpiece.

7. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2

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What a hit of nostalgia this was. Tony Hawk (along with GTA) was the defining non-nintendo game of my childhood so I will always have a soft spot for the franchise even when it’s not very good. But when it’s great like this game is and it brings back all those memories playing the original game? It’s a match made in heaven. The game plays exactly how you want and really is just a fantastic love letter to two truly special games.

The reason this game isn't higher is that I think the online modes were super barebones and then there’s the XP system which was completely broken when I played this game. To not be able to reach level 100 and therefore get the platinum trophy without playing something like 250+ hours of multiplayer is atrocious. Therefore I ended up not playing this game after it’s initial month of release whereas I would’ve loved to keep grinding at an attainable goal for much longer. Hopefully if that add some cool DLC I’ll go back and see if this issue is fixed but for now this was an awesome, albeit brief trip down memory lane.

6. Shovel Knight: King of Cards

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Though this came out late last year I only got around to playing it in 2020 and really need to give props to Yacht Club Games for everything they’ve done with his franchise over the last few years. The complete package of these games in the form of Treasure Trove is such a wonderful collection and King of Cards was definitely a highlight for me.

The same wonderful art style and character designs from the previous games with a surprisingly good card game element made for such an enjoyable time. Yacht Club really have gone above and beyond with all the support for this franchise and now that seemingly this era for Shovel Knight is over I really can’t wait to see what comes next.

5. Spider-Man: Miles Morales

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If this list was for gameplay alone then Miles Morales would be in either the number 1 or 2 spot. I adore everything about this way these games play. Every second you spend as Spider-Man is a joy and I will never get tired of swinging around and comboing bad guys all around the city.

The story I thought was fine but did slightly disappoint me. I love Miles as a character but I was never really sold on his relationship with Phin so a lot of the late emotional beats just didn’t land for me. I also found all of the villains to be super boring and not compelling at all. That being said I really didn’t expect to be wowed by a stop gap game and ultimately this did it’s job. I had a really fun time with it and now I’m even more excited for Spider-Man 2. If that game features dual protagonists and we switch back and forth between Miles and Peter; it could truly be one of my favourite games I’ve ever played.

4. Resident Evil 3

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That was definitely the front runner for my GOTY prior to release so again it is slightly disappointing where it ended up. RE3 is my favorite of the old school RE titles so this was a dream come true for me. The RE2 remake made a great game even better in every single way and I couldn't wait for that to happen again. Sadly it didn't.

There isn't anything majorly wrong about this game but more the potential wasted had they spent more time on it and really digged into the story of RE3. Already the shortest RE game yet somehow this remake had sections of the original game completely missing. Nemesis completely disappears for huge stretches and never left the same impression Mr.X did which is not worthy of such a great character. The potential to fill in the gaps the original game had like giving more information on Carlos and the rest of the mercenaries who once again aren’t really given a spotlight to shine.

This is still the best looking RE game ever made as well as the best RE has ever played (along with RE2 Remake) but sadly I don’t like it more than the original game. I still beat this game dozens of times and had a blast with what we did get but I’ll still always be sad that they could’ve made something really special with a longer development cycle.

3. Watch Dogs: Legion

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From the second this game was first announced I was dying to play it. For years I have wanted more open world games set in London and with every passing year and more games opting for the likes of San Francisco and New York over and over again I was thrilled to see a franchise I enjoyed turn to the UK’s capital. The numerous delays really did kill my hype for a while but after finally playing this game it was pretty much exactly what I wanted.

The story is fine. It does the job of getting the cool hacking stuff at the forefront and moves at a quick enough pace to not get bogged down. The whole multiple protagonist thing was decent but really not the gamechanger that I think they hoped it would be. I ultimately played the game using the same 3 or 4 operatives and rarely felt the need to recruit more. The core gameplay was really fun though. All the different tools at your disposal really made the gameplay stay fresh and fun throughout my whole time with this game. Yes, this could have been better. The missions could have more variety and maybe the story could've had more to say but I came into this game wanting a cool futuristic London to explore with an arsenal of different hacking tools and that’s exactly what I got.

2. Hitman/Hitman 2

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Yeah these games aren’t remotely new but now felt like the best time for me to truly give them the credit they deserve. I’ve been a fan of Hitman since it first arrived on consoles and have loved almost every iteration. But when Hitman (2016) first dropped with it’s episodic release, it massively put me off. That just isn't how I wanna play Hitman. But after they were all released I started playing through all the different levels and again I was in the stealth heaven. However it wasn’t until earlier this year when I really dug into Hitman 2 that I fell in love with Agent 47 once again.

I’m just really happy that this team got to make these games on their terms and after so many years of never really getting the credit they deserve it’s finally happened. No other game comes even close for me when it comes to stealth and ultimately it kinda ruins stealth in every game for me cos I just want it to be exactly how it is here. I’m excited to see what Hitman 3 has in store for us but also ready for them to take a break as 3 Hitman games in 5 years is quite a lot. And James Bond is the perfect license for them to make next so I am already dying to see what that turns out like. But for now; Hitman has always been amazing and these games are the best it’s ever been.

1. Call of Duty Warzone

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What a strange year. I never expected a free to play Battle Royale game to ever be my game of the year but here we are. I’ve always loved COD as this list shows but also never expected one to grab me the way Warzone did. It really was a perfect storm; coming out for free when everyone had to stay at home and do nothing for months on end. I jumped in immediately after having a fun time in Blackout for a few months before dropping off completely but so far Warzone has been my go to game for all of 2020.

It’s also super rare that my most played game of 2020 (500+ hours) ends up being my favourite which is a nice change. The core gameplay of COD is always the best there is for shooters and this game is no exception, piggybacking off the incredible Modern Warfare. This is also the hardest BR I’ve ever played which is probably why the thrill of winning still hasn't gone away.

Even though this is my GOTY I still have my problems with the game. The game desperately needs new content more frequently. The fact that the original map has stayed 95% the same since launch is outrageous and super disappointing. The wait between seasons is way too long and then even the content we do get each season really isn't that impressive or interesting. The groundwork for this game is amazing. It is my favourite COD to date. And yet I still think there's a lot to build upon. The recent Cold War integration does get me super nervous for the future of the game but for now that doesn’t take away the amazing time I had with this game over the last 9 months and why it is my game of the year 2020.

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