Video games have come a long way in recent years and 2020 has perhaps been the most divisive of all. From The Last Of Us II dividing public opinion to CD Project Red’s dramatic downfall following a disastrous Cyberpunk 2077 launch, 2020 has certainly not bee without controversy. However, these controversies are not at the fault of developers who work incredibly hard to bring these expansive visions to life.
From animators and artists through to level designers and QA testers, it’s the ground workers on these projects that deserve the plaudits and praise – not those running the show at the top.
As a quick disclaimer, Hades and Half Life: Alyx are both missing from this list simply because we didn’t get around to playing them this year. With that in mind, here are our picks for the Top 10 Video Games Of 2020.
10 – Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout
Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout takes the best elements of game shows like Wipeout and Takeshi’s Castle and blends them together to create a bombastic, colourful battle royale. There’s an undeniable charm with this game and part of that comes from the simple but effective gameplay loops to keep you hooked for a long time.
With an array of cosmetic items to dress your character in and developer Mediatonic actively adding more stages and items in each coming update, Fall Guys proved to be one of the must-play battle royales of the year.
It’s incredibly accessible, the bright visuals and simple aesthetic are pleasing and all of this combines with a quirky (and ever-so-slightly repetitive) soundtrack that feeds into the lighthearted game-show feel.
Fall Guys is a wonderful summer scorcher and one of the more unique and inventive offerings to release this year.
9 – The Last Of Us Part II
The Last Of Us Part II is one of the most beautiful games released on the PS4. It’s also one of the messiest and divisive too. It’s a game that does a lot right but big flaws with its narrative structure ultimately hold this back from reaching higher up our list. The layered tale of revenge and violence loses its fluidity and urgency late on but the gameplay remains enjoyable, building on the first’s combat to deliver something wholly satisfying to play through.
Story-issues aside, the fact The Last Of Us Part II released with very few bugs, no microtransactions and one of the prettiest game worlds on Playstation 4 are reason enough to celebrate. This also remains one of the more fiercely debated and divided titles in the video game world – and will undoubtedly remain that way for quite some time.
8 – Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time
Serving as a direct continuation from Crash 3, It’s About Time essentially rewrites time and chooses to ignore Playstation 2’s Wrath Of Cortex. Aside from a cheeky few references to that title, this is very much a game celebrating the original trilogy while looking forward to a new generation of platforming to come.
There’s obvious influences to games like Super Meat Boy and Celeste here, with a steep learning curve that only grows steeper over time. The result is something that’s very much geared toward those who know this franchise well while offering up a very challenging platformer that’ll test even the most seasoned of gamer.
Crash 4: It’s About Time is a wonderful sequel that’s sure to appease fans with its challenging platforming and nods to past Crash titles. While the difficult learning curve is a little too steep and newcomers may feel alienated by the inside jokes, there’s enough here to make Crash 4 one of the best platformers to crash-land on Playstation this year.
7 – Spider-Man: Miles Morales
Miles Morales never tries to reinvent the wheel, instead deciding to keep that momentum going by producing more of what we’ve seen already in Marvel’s Spider-Man. This is essentially a 7-12 hour side-chapter to that game, introducing a couple of new gameplay additions, a host of new characters and an emotionally charged story.
Here though you’re controlling Spider-Man’s enthusiastic protégé, Miles Morales. The story takes place around a year after the events of the first game (which this one handily covers thanks to a recap). Miles has moved back to Harlem with his Mother and is just now starting to understanding the gravitas of donning the web-slinging mask – with great power, comes great responsibility.
When it comes to utilizing the power of the Playstation 5, Miles Morales is a taste of what we can come to expect from this new generation. This is a well polished, beautifully rendered and emotionally engaging game that takes everything that made the first so good and amplifies it with some crackling, juiced-up venom.
6 – Final Fantasy VII: Remake (Part 1)
Although officially titled Final Fantasy VII Remake, it’s important to distinguish that this is only part 1 of the story. Taking place exclusively in the industrialized city of Midgar, Final Fantasy VII’s opening chapter has been stretched, fleshed out and given plenty of attention to produce a solid 30/35 hour experience.
The story beats are the same – at least for the first 17 chapters at least – and see you take on the role of Cloud, an ex-SOLDIER and mercenary hired by the terrorist group Avalanche.
The Final Fantasy 7 Remake does both the best and worst things to enhance the original. The battle system is a great step forward despite a cumbersome camera and the world building is second to none. Characters are faithful to their original counterparts, boasting some wonderful voice acting from all involved and some of the locations are a joy to revisit all these years later.
While the nostalgic slices of the original game are easily the highlight of the entire 30/35 hour experience, Remake is let down by inconsistent pacing and some narrative woes that could prove problematic for the upcoming parts. Still, it’s hard not to admire the visionary direction of this highly anticipated title.
5 – Dreams
As an early adopter of the software, Dreams has grown and evolved over the months into an impressive showcase of talent. From fully fledged remakes of beloved classics like Mario and Lego Star Wars through to clever original titles across a wide-span of genres, Dreams is unlike anything else out there.
Of course, this also makes reviewing the title incredibly tricky too – do you review this as a game? Or as a game creation software? The answer is, I guess, a bit of both. Mileage will vary from person to person but it’s a very specific game that itches a very specific scratch, one that you’ll either pick up and love or pick up, play for 2 or 3 hours and never come back to again.
For those invested in the software however, Dreams is a wonderfully powerful tool that really does let your imagination run wild. With recent adoption of VR and an ambitious fan-base releasing a steady stream of games all the time, Dreams is the gift that keeps on giving.
4 – Persona 5 Royal
Persona 5 released back in 2016 and easily became one of the biggest and best RPGs on Playstation 4. With an incredible narrative, a diverse range of characters and a great balance between life-sim and dungeon crawling RPG, how could Persona 5 Royal top that?
With an additional palace to tackle, more story options and a few neat inclusions to rework the battle system, Persona 5 Royal is a wonderful ode to the original while delivering something Persona fans will undoubtedly love. Boasting a play time of around 120 hours, Royal is a royally massive time investment but a game that stands out as one of the best of the year.
3 – Doom Eternal
Doom Eternal is a bloody good game. It’s a violent, gory, adrenaline-soaked descent into the hellish depths of your nightmare. However, it does so with such finesse and style that it’s easy to forget how well-designed and complex this game actually is.
Between the 12 hour campaign, the plethora of collectables and the evolving combat that organically adds layers of challenge over time, Doom Eternal is hands down one of the best first person shooters of 2020.
Doom Eternal is a polished, crisp, visually pleasing trip into Hell but that journey is made all the more satisfying by just how well designed everything is. There’s no reason for you not to indulge and try out those cheat codes, or try and collect all those bits of lore – this is a game that rewards your patience and adds value to replaying levels.
It’s a refined, polished, fast-paced shooter that rightfully places Doom Eternal at the top of the FPS pedestal for 2020.
2 – Ghost Of Tsushima
Led by the war tyrant Khotun Khan, mongol invaders arrive on the shores of Japanese island Tsushima. Their forces are great, too numerous to fight for you and your honorable samurai brethren and you’re forced to flee on horseback. As you race through the trees, wind blowing in your hair, the dense woods dissolve away to reveal a white field of flowers.
The thin sliver of peace felt during this moment peels away as the orchestral score picks up and the opening credits hit. You take a moment to run your hand through the flowers, admiring the beauty; the proverbial calm before the terrible storm. This describes the opening sequence from Ghost Of Tsushima which is one of the best from any video game this year.
Echoing ideas presented within its story, Ghost Of Tsushima feels like a triumphant last stand for this console generation. It’s a game that’s not only visually stunning, it’s one that manages to nail almost every part of its gameplay loop too.
Ghost Of Tsushima is a visually stunning game that matches its beauty with an incredibly fun and tactically sound combat loop. The open world is diverse, full of interesting locations to visit and helped by a simple but effective tale about a Mongol Invasion.
1 – Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Ori and the Will of the Wisps is a wonderful game and a great follow-up to the critically acclaimed Ori and the Blind Forest. Combining challenging platforming, ingenious puzzles and one of the best gaming soundtracks of the year, Will of the Wisps is a must-play and our pick for the best game of 2020.
If you’re unfamiliar with the first game, Ori and the Will of the Wisps plays out as a metroidvania with a large, open world and lots of challenging and interesting locales to explore. The different biomes make great use of the gorgeous visuals and the aesthetic is certainly one of the big strengths with this game.
From the bright, vivid colours in the Luma Pools to the quiet, colour-starved tranquility of the Silent Woods, every single location is unique and serves up a picturesque portrait of beauty.
It can be a little frustrating at times, especially given the lack of instruction on how to progress through certain areas (I’m looking at you, Luma Pools) but on the whole these dampened moments of frustration aren’t enough to extinguish this bright flame of beauty. Ori and the Will of the Wisps is a must-play game and one of the finest platformers to come out in quite some time.
So there we have it, our Top 10 Video Games Of 2020! It’s been a tumultuous year of highs and lows, with 2021 shaping up to be one of the most interesting in recent memory – especially given the heavy hitters on the horizon.
What did you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know what your favourites were from this year in the comments below!