Game of the Year 2020

What a year, huh? We have almost made it through it, and 2021 might not start much better, there's still a chance that it'll be a better year. As the year ends a bit bleak here in Denmark, with the country back in lockdown mode, at least the summer and early fall was nice around these parts. I know many other countries around the globe sufferede much more than we did. This New Year's eve my thoughts are definitely with those people who lost so much more than I did this year. One thing we all still had to find some safety and comfort in is video games. Sure, Corona also delayed a bunch of games but we still saw a decent amount of new releases. Even new consoles came out.....well sort of. Of course neither Microsoft or Sony were able to meet demand, and painful flashbacks from the horrible PS2 launch in 2000 came to mind. It's fair to say Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5 didn't really launch for real in 2020, and 2021 is where we'll truly start to see what these shiny new boxes has to offer.

My list this year is not necessarily the 10 best games that came out. There were a lot of games that came and went. Some I enjoyed but I just wasn't in the mood for or somehow just fell off from. DOOM Eternal is one of those games, although I can definitely say I don't like it as much as the 2016 DOOM. I understand why they wanted to try and expand on the gameplay, but I prefer the superfocused and simple old school style they nailed in DOOM. Crash Bandicoot 4, Maneater, Ghost of Tsushima, Gears Tactics and many more are games I hope to return to in 2021. Luckily 2021 will start off slowly (besides Hitman III) so there should be plenty of time to dive into the backlog.

This year I seemed to get drawn back to what I knew and loved already. A lot of sequels and remakes makes up my playtime during the year. Games like Need for Speed Hot Pursuit Remastered and eFootball PES 2021 Season Update falls into this category. Also more coop-gaming with friends this year. There were some benefits with everyone having to stay home and it almost felt like being home from school again. Those good old days where work, kids and adult life didn't make things more complicated. Golf with your Friends and Totally Reliable Delivery Service were some of the games that I played with friends.

Of course I should mention the games that disappointed me as well. Honestly I don't feel like I played a lot of bad games in 2020. I can only think of one, but that was indeed a bad game. Fast & Furious Crossroads wasn't excatly the game I had envisioned. Developed by Slightly Mad Studios, there was hope. Finally a developer with some proven skills from the Project Cars franchise, would take on Fast and Furious franchise. I would love to know what happened. It should have been so much better.

Then of course there's Cyberpunk 2077, but I think everyone else has said what needs to be said about that game. Hopefully it will good once it's actually out of the beta stage it seems to be in at the moment. Instead let's leave the negativity behind, and look at the 10 games I enjoyed the most in 2020.

List items

  • I know some people would argue it's part of Modern Warfare, but you don't need that game to play this and it was released this year. Also it's my list and it's my rules. The better of the two CoD releases in 2020, Warzone is the bright light I'll remember from 2020. I've had fun playing battle royale games before but I've never been truly captured by them. Sure, I played a bunch of Blackout mode in BLOPS IIII with a friend but it couldn't compare to this. It was almost every night in the first half of the year, that some friends and I decided to jump into Warzone. We didn't look back ever since.

    Running on the same engine and playing just like Modern Warfare is what helps this game being so fun. MW just feels great to play. There's some magic in that game that even Cold War misses. Being cross platform also helped a lot. My friends don't play on the same formats so this is also why it was such a pure joy for me.

    The map is greatly designed, stategies evolved during the year, new small details was added and there was always something great to look forward to unlock during the six seasons it got as a MW companion. Now that focus has changed to the progression system being linked to Cold War, we'll have to see what happens in 2021. Hopefully more music to listen to while in a vehicle. Being able to drive through Downtown on an ATV, with bullets flying around your ears and Skrillex blasting through your speakers is one of the greatest thing I'll ever experience in a video game.

    Warzone is just pure fun and the fact that it's free to play is insane. Sure, I ended up paying for battle passes but compared to the amount of hours of entertainment this game gave me makes it more than worth it. In a year where we all at some points just wanted to escape from reality, CoD Warzone was the greatest game to help me get through the tough times.

  • Speaking of escaping from reality, this game sure helped me with that as well. In between the multiplayer fun of CoD, I would most likely turn on my Switch to play some Animal Crossing. My beautiful deserted island, that isn't that deserted anymore, was a great place to come to when the world was too bleak..

    Here the news weren't about lockdowns or the spread of a virus. No, it would be news about K.K. Slider coming by to play some songs, one of the other resident's birthday or some fishing tournament coming up. Just like New Leaf before it, New Horizons tried to come up with a new twist. Sure, the core gameplay is the same as always. You earn bells to pay off Tom Nook's loans, you collect fruit, decorate your house, talk to the other animals and so on. This time you're not the mayor though. You do have an important role in shaping the future of your new home island. This time around it's possible to change the terrain of the game, you can purchase bridges and inclines and as the game progresses you'll basically be able to shape the island just like you want it.

    You can also swim, you can craft both tools and items for your home or decorate the island with, and you can also invite up to 7 friends to come visit you online. For long time fans of these games, these new additions really freshens up the game and makes it worth starting all over once again. If you have never played an Animal Crossing game before, this is an amazing game to start off with. Book your ticket with Nook Inc. and join the island life!

  • This game really came at just the right time. It was so nice to come back to something familier and something I've missed for so many years. It took me back to 1999-2000. A very simple part of my life. Not much to worry about and life was so much easier. I just came home from school and could do whatever I wanted and in September 99, there was just one thing i wanted to do. Play Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, or Tony Hawk's Skateboarding as it was called here in Europe for some reason.

    I had played skateboarding games before. Skate or Die, the skating competition in California Games, ESPN Extreme Games and Street Skater. Nothing felt like THPS though. The flow in this game was second to none. Also, many skateboarding games before this were more like racing games. This wasn't a racing game. This embraced skating culture and all parts of it. Riding around, doing tricks and just look cool doing it.

    The trick system felt almost endless. You could do both grabs, flips and even grind on slopes. All the maps felt very open and you could chose how you wanted to get the high score. Go for a line with a lot of grinding or did you prefer going for high air and do spectacular tricks?

    I don't need to tell you the entire story of the THPS franchise, as we all know that THPS 2 took the first game and just made it better. Much better and eventually THPS 3 would complete the trick set with the revert so you could link all your tricks together to create amazing combos. This game celebrates the original games and shows a new generation why this was once the top of the video game sales charts. This is how a remake should be done. Just like Resident Evil 2, this game feels just like how you remember the old games but at the same time feels like a new experience.

    I love how the all the original skaters are back but look like they do now. All of them 20 years older but plays just as great. Also great they add some current skaters to the mix, connecting the old players with newcomers. All the iconic maps from both 1 and 2 are back. Even the secret ones. All of them recreated with precision but given a major visual overhaul.

    Sure, if you know the games you can run through all the goals pretty quickly but THPS has never been about playing it just once. Activision has added the option to now complete the goals with each character and then you should of course find a friend to play with. The online multiplayer is also fine but feels a bit limited for some reason. I hope Activision will add more options as how you want to play online . I also hope they'll make a Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3+4 down the road. It might take a bit more work, especially with 4, but if Vicarious Visions can maintain this quality it could be my favorite game for the rest of my life.

  • Sooooo.....yeah, this is a tough one. I really enjoyed my time playing through The Last of Us Part II. At least for the first half of it. Then the game throws a major twist at you, just when you think you're getting close to redemption. This game is a long journey. Very long. Too long unfortunately.

    Especially the last part felt unnecessary to make you fight through but I understand what the game was trying to tell me. It also tells the tragic story of a young woman being traumatized and lose the ability to just live a normal life again. Even when everything seems perfect.

    The story is the game's strong point. Sure, some parts might try to hit you over the head a little too many times but it's hard not to feel for the characters. Naughty Dog has done it again in that regard, and the gameplay is still great. Although not much changed from the original, but why fix something that isn't broke.

    It really is the lenght of the game that holds this game back for me. I really feel it drags on in parts. Just like the original and especially Uncharted 4 did. It's not really the cut scenes that is the issue. Sometimes you just feel like you climbed enough walls and pushed enough objects around to advance to another area.

    That said, if you know going in this isn't going to be done in 5-6 hours and you're ready for a story with very few happy moments, then you should obviously play it. I understand why some people weren't ready to play a game in post apocalyptic world after a virus almost took out humanity in 2020. Hopefully 2021 will eventually be better and then you should consider going back to it. It's also supposed to play great on PS5.

  • Another remake! Yes and what a remake. Again, comparing to Resident Evil 2, Square Enix has gone all out rebuilding the game from the ground. Sure it's just the first part of the original and it's going to be interesting to see how they'll continue the story. That being said, they're off to a great start.

    This plays nothing like the original game from 1997, but it still takes you back to the wonderful universe and characters. The gameplay resembles Final Fantasy XV, but you can see the world of Final Fantasy VII in front of you. It's actually a bit jarring at first but you'll come to appreciate it.

    I really don't have much to say to this other than it was much better than I feared. I had my doubts. The long delays and then you learned it wasn't the entire game. All my fears were unfounded and even people who never played FFVII should give it a go. If you like action-rpgs it's definitely a must play.

  • Ah yes, another sequel to a game I really loved. Well, sequel is perhaps a bit strong. Spin-off or story expansion? Not that it really matters. The first game was so good I'd happily take more of it. Yes, this is a shorter game but also a more tight package. Which isn't a bad thing.

    The orginal had a lot of boring side mission and extra activities to do while not just mainlining the story missions. These are gone and you don't feel like you're wasting as much time. Also the story is once again great and this version of Miles Morales is great to follow.

    Other than that the gameplay is pretty much the same. The swinging still feels great and the game looks fantastic. Both on PS4, PS4 Pro and PS5. Sure the PS5 version has ray tracing, which does look amazing. Don't feel sad if you couldn't get a PS5 this holiday though. The game plays just fine on PS4, just like the original game. Also you get the PS5 version with it for free, so if you really want to play this game now you shouldn't wait until you get a PS5.

  • Hades stormed to the top of the eShop charts and with good reason. Supergiant Games has become a pretty reliable indie developer with games like Bastion, Transistor and Pyre on their resume. Now they have added this little gem and it might be their best effort yet.

    I didn't get into Transistor, but Bastion was a game I truly enjoyed. It was a great little adventure game and the story telling was genius. Hades is once again an isometric action game and this time it's more a rouge-like game. You play as Zagreus and you want to escape your father, Hades. You start off killing your way through room after room. Levelling up, finding new items and so on. Then you die. You wake up at Hades who takes away all the stuff you collected and then you go again. Off on another run, trying to get out of the Underworld.

    An addicting experience that you should consider at least checking out some gameplay of. I certainly don't regret downloading this on my Switch.

  • Yeeeah this game earns very cheap points by using one of the things we as Danes and Scandinavians are proud of. Our viking heritage. If you love vikings there's been plenty of tv shows to enjoy but I don't feel like vikings have had a great game dedicated to them.

    Sure, there might be some PC strategy games or something but as a big video game blockbuster, this is the game viking lovers have waited for. Is it historically correct? Probably not and I don't really care. It somehow works as still being Assassin's Creed but also capture the viking atmosphere.

    When I say Assassin's Creed, I mean yes it's another modern AC game. As in the newer ones with a lot of RPG elements and this game is no different. There's a lot of stuff to unlock and level up but somehow it's not as intrusive to me this time around. It works fine. If you don't like Assassin's Creed at all though this won't change your mind. At it's core it is still that game and if you've played one of them you pretty much know how it feels to play. Not a revolutionary game, but again that was not a problem for me this year.

  • Astro better get his first fully fledged game on PS5. After Astro Bot Rescue Mission making PlayStation VR a worthwhile investment, this game shows why you should hang on to your PS5. Maybe not so much because of the graphics, although it looks great. It's more a tech demo to show you what the new DualSense controller can do. Even as a free tech demo though, the team behind Astro has once again made a charming platformer just like they did with it's VR predecessor.

    It's not a revolutionary game, but it's just a good platformer. At the same time you get to feel the new features of your controller, the fast load times and it's also a fun homage to the history of PlayStation.

    Each level focuses on one of the PlayStation consoles and you unlock all kinds of consoles and accessories you can look at in your collection room. There's also a lot of small easter eggs and many references to other PlayStation games. There is a Vib-Ribbon reference for God's sake! This game is pretty much made for me. So if you grew up with PlayStation there's also a lot of extra fun to be found here.

    Is it worth hunting down a PS5 for this? Of course not but it's a great bonus to get with your machine, and I really urge you to actually play this first once you get it. I really hope Sony makes another game with Astro Bot for PS5 later down the line. They have proven they can make creative platformers, and I would love to see the team get a AAA game budget. Maybe it would fail if it gets too big, but I would love to at least see them try.

  • This game was just another case of the right game at the right time. Not much to say than it's a great package with a bunch of classic games. Everything looks good, you see what you need to see, nothing too complicated and everything just has that Nintendo charm to it.

    Some great single player games for some quick action on the go and theres also great fun to be had with friends. If you're looking for a new party game to mix things up a bit or if you need a cool down game in the middle of the evening this is perfect.

    For me it was just great to have on the Switch when I was travelling this Summer and also at home if I just needed to kill 15 minutes or so. Yes it might not be a game you'll play for hours and hours (although with friends you could) but it's a game that just knows what it is. It doesn't try to be anything else than just these classic old games presented in a fun way and easy to play.