Game(s) of the Year 2020

Every year around this time, everyone starts asking the same question, “What is the Game of the Year?” And this year is no different. Actually, even more people may be asking this year because we have been gaming way more than ever in 2020.

Tonight is the first of many times that we will receive an answer to the GOTY question. The Game Awards are the first big game awards show to take place each year, and the main category is always “Game of the Year.” The awards part of the Game Awards is fine and all. It’s nice to see the game makers and developers get some acknowledgement for their hard work. The coolest part about the show though is the world premieres and exclusives. Game makers hold off until this night to show their latest upcoming titles, many of them being a surprise.

There shouldn’t be one single GAME OF THE YEAR. We all play multiple games each year. Sure, there’s always that one game that you may have played the most, and sometimes you don’t even like that game. You just need to finish it. Each year could be better represented by not just one single a game, but instead a small collection of games. Our Game(s) of the Year.

I’ve compiled a short list of my personal Game(s) of the Year. Below are eight of my favorite games from 2020, in no particular order. And, if you behave you may even gain access to a bonus game at the bottom of the list.

STAR WARS: Jedi Fallen Order

Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order (played on Playstation 4 Pro)

Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order technically came out last year (2019). However, in the fiscal year of the Game Awards, it was released late enough to be considered for 2020 awards. I love anything Star Wars, so I immediately knew I would totally love this game. I had to get it and start playing on Day One. We’ve had lightsaber combat in multiple Star Wars games, but this game has done it the best, so far. I loved customizing my saber as well throughout the game. (Spoiler Alert! The point where I first activated my double-sided lightsaber I truly said, “What the s***!” out loud).

Jedi Fallen Order takes place during the best time for a Jedi game in the Star Wars timeline, right after Order 66 (when the remaining Jedi are being hunted down). It has a diverse selection of planets to visit, and being on Dathomir with the Nightsisters was straight out of Clone Wars. I also enjoyed battling against Inquisitors (from Star Wars Rebels). The story was great too. It actually made me sad for Star Wars fans who don’t play games and may never experience this story.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Animal Crossing: New Horizons (played on Nintendo Switch)

I think Animal Crossing: New Horizons can define the year 2020 in a special kind of way. We were all locked up in our homes (Thanks COVID-19), not seeing our friends and family. Then, this game comes along and becomes the new way to interact and “hang out” with friends. You could go fishing, search for fossils or bugs, and you could even safely visit a museum (one that you curated yourself).

I enjoy seeing my island grow and evolve, and seeing what kind of cool stuff others have done online (I built a server room in my basement, an amphitheater on my island and I now have full dino fossils randomly placed throughout my island). Animal Crossing: New Horizons is also just the perfect game to chill out and spend a few hours in. I love waking up in the morning and jumping into my island, before getting out of bed. I love going back at night, right before going to sleep. It was just the perfect game for us to build a separate, safe life in and forget about the pandemic for a little while.

The Last of Us Part II

The Last of Us Part II (played on Playstation 4 Pro)

The Last of Us (Part 1) was one of my favorite games of all time, and I didn’t even get to play it until it was remastered for PS4. The Last of Us (Part 1) was one of the first story games that truly felt real to me. Sure, I’ve loved many characters in games before, but this may be the first game that I was so heavily invested in. I really care about these characters, especially Joel and Ellie. Both games in this series give you tough choices that you’ll continue to think about long after it’s all over.

When The Last of Us Part II was announced I knew that I needed to preorder a special edition (and I did). I preordered the Collector’s edition but not the Super Insane Collector’s Edition. This game made me cry many times. I know a lot of people had problems with the length, the story and other issues, but to me it was perfectly made. This game made me feel so much, from the very beginning. It also did some things that I have never seen in a game before (Spoiler Alert! The way it made you hate a character in the beginning and like them by the end). It also looked amazing on my PS4 Pro (on a 1080p TV, but I may have to replay it on my new 4K TV soon).

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 (played on Playstation 4 Pro)

I grew up on the Tony Hawk games. I played so many hours with friends trying to beat each other’s high scores in our two minute runs. It’s so amazing to me how the team at Vicarious Visions was able to remake this game entirely, while making it feel familiar but also brand new. I own a Tony Hawk Remaster on my PC, and it’s just the original game with a paint job. The problem was they didn’t update it to feel more like a game of today.

With Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 they totally remade the game. And, if you were a “Pro Skater” (as in someone who played the original THPS games) back in the day, it’s familiar but feels smooth enough to hit those high score combos. It’s also fun when you realize you remember where the secret tape was in a level after all of these years.

Hades

Hades (played on Nintendo Switch)

I recently wrote all about Hades, but here are some things that make it really special. It reminds me of games like Binding of Isaac and Dead Cells, but with a whole new look and feel. I named those two games because they are both procedurally-generated games that you try to beat over and over again, getting better as you go. They are also two games that I spent many, many hours in. I have spent a few hours trying to escape from Hell in Hades, and I see myself continuing to spend even more time doing so.

Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout

Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout (played on Playstation 4 Pro)

Every once in a while a FREE game is given away at it’s initial release (or soon after) as a PS Plus game of the month. Many of these games go undiscovered or quietly disappear. Fall Guys came in with a bang, and although some may say it’s not as big as it once was, it’s still going strong (especially with streamers).

Fall Guys is the most stupid, fun, cute game to come along in a while. Whether you’re trying your hardest to win a crown, trying to get “Yeeted” to the next round, dancing around like a little fool or even just trying to ruin the experience for strangers this is such a silly, fun time. Anytime I’ve played online with friends we find ourselves laughing at all the silliness. That’s what makes this game awesome.

STAR WARS: Squadrons

STAR WARS: Squadrons (played on Playstation 4 Pro)

Star Wars: Battlefront II was released with many problems (especially the whole loot box ordeal). This game took the one thing I totally loved from SW: BF II, starship battles, and made them so much better. I haven’t been able to try it on the PS VR, but even without VR it looks so damn good.

Sure, the human characters may look a bit strange, but that’s just filler. The view from the cockpit is stunning. I tried playing in cockpit view in SW: BF II, but never really got the hang of it. In this game you are forced to use that view, and it works. Sure, they have enhanced the controls of the ships from SW: BF II to Squadrons, and even though it’s much harder it’s so much better. It makes it feel more realistic (to flying ships in space) when you have to be constantly monitoring and switching between shield generation, boost and blasters. I haven’t done much online matches (I’m still trying to finish the missions), but my few online missions have been a blast.

Ghost of Tsushima

Ghost of Tsushima (played on Playstation 4 Pro)

Originally I was going to wait to play this game until possibly 2021. With the final delay of Cyberpunk 2077, I decided it was time to get Ghost of Tsushima and hopefully play through the whole thing before Cyberpunk was released. I am so hooked on this game and with Cyberpunk releasing today I am not ready to leave this world quite yet.

Japan is beautiful. The sword fighting is amazing and I keep unlocking new, exciting ways to take out my enemies. Most enemies don’t have a visual life meter which is great, because it’s all about the flow of battle. It’s not about taking their life down to zero. Instead, you must defeat them by striking them with that perfect killing blow.

Every story and side quest in this game starts off with a beautiful graphic over an equally beautiful cinematic. It’s great that you can go into battles and territories your own way (although some do require stealth). There are times where I want to be a stealth assassin and other times where I just want to go in there swords blazing. A “Stand off” is also a beautiful way to start off a battle, and quickly get rid of some opponents.
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BONUS DLC: I added one game to my list. A special game that I experienced for the first time this year, although it is a few years old.

Rachet & Clank (2016)

Ratchet & Clank (played on Playstation 4 Pro)

Yes, this game is from 2016. However, Rachet & Clank (2016) was my first ever Rachet & Clank game, and because I played it just a few months ago (right before the release of The Last of Us Part II) I will say that Rachet & Clank didn’t really exist (to me) until the year 2020. So, I have added it as a bonus game to my list.

I only jumped into Rachet & Clank after seeing the reveal for the next-gen Rachet & Clank: Rift Apart. I luckily had this game in my library from a recent PS Plus monthly free games list. First off, this game has great voice acting with James Arnold Taylor (Obi-Wan Kenobi from the Clone Wars) leading as Rachet along with a stunning cast (including Travis Willingham, Sam Riegel, Rosario Dawson, and even Paul Giamatti). The story and writing are hilarious. And the best part of the whole game is the weapons, especially my favorite weapon from any game, ever…

The Groovitron!!!

The Groovitron makes them dance. – Rachet & Clank (2016)

I hope you enjoyed this list of my personal Game(s) of the year and whoever wins Game of the Year (at the Game Awards and any other show) good for them. But also, it doesn’t really mean anything. Even to the games that weren’t nominated, I’m sure most of them were someone’s game of the year. I say most of you because there are many garbage games out there being released every single day.

I’m still very excited to see what we get at the Game Awards tonight!

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