2020

It's been a long time since I've been active on this site. I still enjoy reading and watching content, but it's been nearly a decade since I've contributed something. So why not, after such an unprecedented year, make the somewhat precedented contribution to the void on what I thought were my ten favorite games of 2020 (in no particular order)?

Honorable Mentions

  • Ori and the Will of the Wisps (Xbox One) - The first Ori is beautiful as hell, and this game keeps up the trend. The only downer was the framerate playing on Xbox One S.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition - I played the original game on a Wii emulator back in 2014 and loved it to bits. This port freshens up the game, and is still an amazing ~50 hour journey.
  • Spider-Man: Miles Morales (PS5) - The Spider-Man PlayStation games are the closest I think it's possible for games to get to being actual Marvel blockbuster movies. The feeling of "being" Miles Morales is just as good as it was back in 2018.
  • Demon's Souls - I played through the original game on PlayStation 3 for the first time prior to this game's release, so I already knew what to expect, but this remake handily met those expectations. I wish there had been more done as far as quality-of-life improvements, but this classic absolutely holds up and this is the best way to experience the game.
  • Resident Evil 3 (PC) - Last year's remake of Resident Evil 2 was one of my favorite games of the year, so I was thrilled to get my hands on this one. I was a bit let down by how short the experience was, but I think that says more about the quality of the game than a lack thereof.
  • The Room VR: A Dark Matter - I actually didn't end up playing too many 2020 VR games, but this one is a continuation of my favorite mobile series. It's essentially a puzzle box, so bringing in the VR aspect made the experience more engaging. A bit on the shorter side, but well worth it for any fans of escape rooms or puzzle boxes.
  • XCOM: Chimera Squad - My first foray into XCOM, I was surprised to find how much I was enjoying this one. I played this and Gears Tactics essentially back-to-back, and this game was the definite favorite in my mind. Loved managing my squad and blasting my way through each mission.
  • Astro's Playroom - I played through this game entirely in one sitting. It was the first thing I'd played on my brand new PlayStation 5, and it has me excited for what's to come from Sony in this generation. What a delightful little game!
  • Ghost of Tsushima - I wasn't as big on this one as it seems like most others are (some definite open world fatigue), but I thought it was a competently executed "one of those."
  • Amnesia: Rebirth - I've played literally everything that Frictional Games has put out. This year also saw me playing through SOMA, which turned out to be one of my favorite game stories ever, so I was ecstatic to see what Frictional did next. While this didn't reach the heights of SOMA, it is still an excellent horror game, and fit neatly into my "Spooktober."
  • Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories (PC) - I'm not putting this on here because it's any good. In fact, this is a terrible game. It plays like a clunky PlayStation 2 game. That said, the game is hilarious, and was frequently catching me off guard with its ridiculous antics. Worth experiencing, though not for the asking price of $50.

Worst Games

  • Fairy Tail (Switch) - This game was absolutely terrible, perhaps the worst JRPG I have ever played. The gameplay is barebones and braindead easy for 95% of the game, but has outrageous difficulty spikes near the end. The story is so boring that I started skipping every cutscene. The framerate constantly dips into the teens. Avoid like the plague.
  • Bloodroots (Switch) - I really wanted to like this game, but playing it turned out to be a chore. The framerate often chugs along on the Switch, the level design makes playing the game into an exercise in memorization, the game is frustratingly hard for all of the wrong reasons (I often died for reasons that didn't feel like they were faults of my own). Great concept, but drags far too much.
  • Godfall (PS5) - This game wasn't offensively bad to me like the above two games, it was just the most boring and mediocre game that I finished this year. On the normal difficulty, it was also ridiculously easy.

List items

  • An absolutely transcendental experience, Persona 5 Royal blew me away from start to finish. 130 hours has never gone by so quickly. This game usurps Persona 4 as my favorite JRPG of all time. It's an absolute masterpiece of storytelling, with a gorgeous soundtrack, impeccable sense of style, and limitless depth. It helps that I never actually got around to playing the original game, but I'm glad I didn't because the changes made in Royal make this as close to a perfect game as possible.

  • I've spent a good amount of this year digging into Final Fantasy games in preparation for this remake's release. I dug back through the history of the series & knocked out every numbered release less than 7 that I hadn't played. To say that VII Remake exceeded my expectations would be an understatement. This game is up there with Final Fantasy VI as one of my favorite in the series. The remake has absolutely perfected a blend between turn-based and action battle systems, Midgar is meticulously recreated, and the controversial story changes are fascinating to me in a way that has me bubbling with anticipation for a follow-up.

  • I'm a huge fan of Supergiant Games, but I am not at all a fan of roguelikes, so I put off diving into this game until the end of the year. Once I finally played this one, I literally could not put it down. I played literally 12 hours of this game in the first ~2 days of playing it, and quickly hit 10 clears after that. This is the magnum opus of this team, but I've been saying that with pretty much every single one of their releases. Can't wait to see what this team pulls off next.

  • I purchased a $1000 VR headset for this game and felt like that purchase was totally justified. Half-Life: Alyx managed to ruin VR for me, to the point that other VR games don't feel nearly as engaging. If there's a single reason for VR, it is this game. It lives up to the Half-Life name and then some.

  • It's impossible to talk about this game without addressing how its been mired in controversy. However, my experience with the game was one which I felt could not be properly conveyed in any other medium. This game's story could not be articulated without being a game. The way that it uses gameplay as a storytelling device is something which I've never seen before, and I felt that it was executed to perfection. In addition to the story, this game has the best animations I've seen this year. In comparison, every other game looks lifeless.

  • I was a massive fan of 2016's Doom reboot, so I was hoping for more of what that game offered for this year's sequel. What I got was not more of Doom 2016, but an entirely new game which surpasses its predecessor. The way that this game flows is like nothing else. Once you've mastered using all of the different tools the game offers you, executing feels like pulling off the performance of a lifetime.

  • This game hit at just the right time. Here in San Francisco, we were sheltering in place, and Animal Crossing was my respite. I spent a ton of time tending to my island, playing the stalk market, fishing, and just generally living my best digital life. Animal Crossing is the best comfort food I could've asked for this year.

  • I really didn't know what to expect out of Paradise Killer. I went into this without reading too much about it, so only seeing its aesthetic in screenshots didn't truly do it justice. This game is all about the little pieces of flavor, culminating in a stylish "whodunnit" mystery with a satisfying start, middle, and end.

  • Americana at its best. Another game where I wasn't really sure what to expect, I've had this on my radar for years, but have kept from playing it until its final act released earlier this year. Each act was so delicately crafted, and while there wasn't much in terms of gameplay or even an overarching narrative structure, the way that this game dealt with its themes was masterfully executed. One of my favorite gaming moments of the year was floating down the river in act 4 reading about each traveler, and it's not a moment I'll soon forget. It's the most theatre-like or even novel-like experience I've had with a game, and each moment is memorable.

  • Playing this game on a beefy PC, I got what I wanted. I've been excited for this game since it was announced while I was still in high school, and it still managed to meet my expectations. The story, characters, and world of Cyberpunk 2077 make me so joyful--I am biased for anything with a cyberpunk aesthetic. The Witcher 3 is among my favorite games of all time, and while this wasn't quite up to that par, it's still an amazing game in its own right.