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Carnage1290

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GOTY 2020

List items

  • Hades is the best game of 2020.

    Finding a way to make the story a substantial draw for a rogue-light is an impressive achievement, but it wouldn't matter if the gameplay didn't hold up. Luckily, the gameplay rules. Every good run ends up feeling like the power curve of a full Diablo campaign, in the span of about 15-30 minutes. By the end Zagreus can become just a whirling death machine that is super fun to control. Each build feels unique, and when my Fist build clicked into place and I beat Hades for the first time it was one of the best moments in games this year easily. I've spent 65 hours playing this game that you can beat in under an hour. It just doesn't get old.

    Also, I adore the relationship between Zagreus and Thanatos. I had to see that all the way through. The characters in Hades are incredible. Actually, everything in Hades is incredible.

    Hades is the best game of 2020.

  • Persona 5 Royal is a fantastic upgrade to one of my favorite games of all time. The additional semester you get to play at the end is great, but the biggest thing about this re-release is the upgrades to the gameplay. From the increased importance placed on Technical damage, to the new social areas like Kichijoji, and the interesting new characters, everything they added in Royal makes Persona 5 even better than it already was. I never would've guessed I'd be willing to spend another 130 hours hanging out with the Phantom Thieves, but I enjoyed it the second time around just as much as the first.

  • Half-Life: Alyx has one of the most excited, riveting, incredible endings to a game I've ever played. The last couple hours of Half-Life: Alyx were probably the best thing I experienced in a video game this year. Unfortunately, the rest of the game...is not as good. There are some amazing moments, like running from Jeff, fighting the Combine, scrambling to reload while headcrabs prowl around you ready to pounce. But as great as those times were, there is a lot of this game that felt kinda slow. I think they expected Alyx to be a lot of people's first big VR game, which is fair, but because of that it ramps up suuuuuuuuuper slowly. Every encounter with the Combine is really fun, but there just aren't enough of them.

    Pacing issues aside though, this is still one of the best VR games made to date. It was very fun to play through, and it looks phenomenal. Everyone should play Alyx, like every other Half-Life game it will remain important forever (though probably not as much as the other games, purely because enough people can't play VR games).

  • The sequel to my favorite game of 2013, and one of my favorite games ever, the Last of Us Part II had a lot to live up to for me. Naughty Dog often said they wouldn't revisit Ellie and Joel unless they had a story they felt was worth telling with them, and honestly, I'm not sure this story was worth breaking that seal for. I get it, hate begets hate, an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind, I'm not sure I needed to play a super long video game to learn that lesson. However, the technical skill on display in this game is unmatched. This game looks incredible, it has phenomenal voice acting and performance capture. And while I might prefer the story of LoU 1, the gameplay of 2 is improved in every way. This game is actually a rather hardcore stealth game, some of the stealth encounters in this game left me super tense. They found interesting ways to make the various enemy groups feel very different from each other. I'll never forget that scene where you first encounter the whistling enemies. It was such an interesting and unexpected way for the stealth encounter to evolve.

    My problems with the story aside I do have to give a huge shoutout to Abby and Lev. They became this game's Joel and Ellie. I love Lev so much, I enjoyed the long Abby section with Lev more than any other part of the game.

    I still enjoyed Last of Us Part II a lot, just didn't quite live up to the heights of the first game.

  • This might be the biggest surprise on this list for me. I really loved my time spent with Demon's Souls. I've enjoyed Souls games in the past, but never played the original game that started it all back on the PS3. I think playing the later Souls games (including Bloodborne and Sekiro) prepared me for this game in a major way though. This game wasn't as hard as I've found other Souls games to be. I played through it while watching Brad and Vinny play through the original Demon's Souls just so I could compare. This remake stays pretty truthful to the original, but takes full advantage of being a PS5 launch game to look amazing and load lightning fast. The boss fights were interesting and challenging without getting frustrating.

    I enjoyed playing Demon's Souls a lot, my only real complaint is that it ended with a whimper. No big last boss, no climatic final battle, it was just kinda over. This was a bummer, I really wanted to keep playing when it ended, but I don't do New Game+ stuff, so it was over. It was still a lot of fun though.

  • Gears Tactics is pretty close to a dream project for me. Mashing together Gears of War and Xcom is such a perfect mashup that I still can't believe they actually made it. It's just a shame that it feels like it's under the Assassin's Creed 1 or Mass Effect 1 effect. What I mean by that is that it's the first game in the franchise, and it doesn't feel fleshed out enough. I still haven't actually beat this game, even though I really enjoy it, because it becomes too marred in repetitive mission design and progression. There are literally like 6 mission types in the game that you repeat again and again in between the main story missions. These missions unlock gear that is far too minute in it's improvements to feel great...but it is actually important so you can't ignore the gear system either. They built a truly great base gameplay system with Gears Tactics, it just feels like they didn't have enough time to build a full game around that system.

    If Gears Tactics gets a sequel I bet it'll be a much better game, just like Assassin's Creed 2 and Mass Effect 2. Gears Tactics 2 could become a true standout in the tactics genre. I really really really hope they make another one.

  • This is the game I wish I spent so much more time playing this year. I love Valorant. Getting in on the ground floor of a game like this was great, learning in the beta with everyone else was so much better than jumping into CS:GO and getting destroyed because I haven't spent my whole life playing that game already. I really enjoy Valorant's brand of tactical shooter, I love the characters and abilities, I love the weapons, I love the economy system, and the UI design of the shop. I love just about everything in Valorant except for one thing, the community.

    I can't play games like this with random people, I just straight up can't handle the toxicity that flows if you are the last alive and you don't play like a god. I needed friends to play Valorant with, and for a while I had that, but like everything else my friend group has tried (apart from League of Legends) eventually we stopped playing Valorant because one person on our team really didn't like it. And that was the end of my time with Valorant.

    I had a ton of fun with Valorant this year still, it provided the most hype moments in gaming this year for me. I just didn't get to play it enough for it to be any higher on this list.

  • A surprise final entry on to my list, I played this game in January, but it came out in 2020 and blew me away. I was hesitant to buy this for a while, but every time I watched footage of it I thought "this looks like something I would really love," and I was right.

    This game is suuuuuuuuuper difficult, but in a great way. The mechanics of dashing around and cutting fools with your sword are near perfect, and the difficulty forces you to actually get better at the game. I felt myself improving massively over my time spent with the game. I finished it in two days and immediately jumped into the unlocked Hardcore new game + mode. The technical achievement that ties everything in this package together is the absolutely instant restart. Every time you die you press one button and are back playing without a loading screen or a moment's hesitation. That is the only way I could stomach dying over 300 times on one level without wanting to shatter my controller on a wall.

    Ghostrunner came out of nowhere and blew me away, it has some of the most satisfying gameplay of the year. I loved my time with it.

  • Ori is an amazing sequel to an amazing game. It still looks stunning, the music can still make me cry on demand through sheer beauty alone, and the gameplay is as fast paced and fun as ever. We waited a long time for this sequel but it was worth it. I'll always love these games.

  • Much like the Life is Strange series before it, Tell Me Why tells a grounded, human story through fantastical situations. I love Tyler and Allison, their sibling dynamic was heartwarming and interesting for the entire 3 episode run. Plus Tyler is one of the first trans characters in a somewhat major release (along with Lev from Last of Us Part II) and they do a fantastic job of depicting his experience. Tell Me Why didn't quite live up to Life is Strange for me overall, but I'm still glad it was made.