Wow. 2020. What a year it’s been. For most, the year has been draining full of lockdown amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. However, this year has introduced many to the world of video games or brought long lapsed gamers back into the fold. All in all, video games have had a pretty amazing year full of absolutely stellar releases. With that, we at mxdwn Games want to bring you our Top 10 games of 2020! Please enjoy:
10. 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim
To kick off our list is one of the best new IPs of the year with 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim. It really feels like you are playing a full anime series as you progress. Developer Vanillaware takes the idea of having 13 different protagonists and completely knocks it out of the park. You immediately become connected to each of the 13 characters and I was so attached to each of them by the time it was done. The game has a marvelously told sci-fi story that is full of twists, turns, and reveals yet flows together so well even though it’s divided among the 13 characters. 13 Sentinels is absolutely stunning to look at as well with its engrossing visual style during the visual novel portions of the game. This is one of the year’s sleeper hits, and I would highly recommend it to everyone.
9. DOOM Eternal
DOOM Eternal does everything its predecessor does, but cranks it up to the max in what feels like a true evolution that a sequel should bring. id Software ratchets the intensity up for DOOM Eternal, and it is easily the most hellish shooter there is. The flow of the combat is insane as combat areas are bigger than you expect with plenty of room to maneuver around and take on the hordes of demons before they overwhelm you. The mix of having to regain health, ammo, and shields from your enemies makes combat itself feel extremely rewarding and you’re flying around using all your weapons and abilities to your advantage. DOOM Eternal was easily the best First Person Shooter of the year and deservingly lands on Top 10 games of the year.
8. Spider-Man Miles Morales
Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales released as a sequel to the PlayStation 4 hit Marvel’s Spider-Man. The game displays the PlayStation 5’s next-gen console ability; with smooth game mechanics and lighting improvements that effectively show off New York City in all its glory. The driving force behind the game is the extreme attention to detail. The theme of the main campaign seems entirely authentic — a bi-racial teen fighting against the evil powers of corporate greed while balancing his identity as the newest web slinger in the city. Miles as a character shines bright as he speaks Spanish to his mother and dances salsa while waiting in the street. The progression system easily encourages players to complete side missions and upgrade abilities. Using a mix of stealth and combat, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales allows players to pick their own playstyle. This is a sequel that lives up to its predecessor in all the right ways.
Truly a testament to the growth in popularity of indie games without the massive scale some shoot and miss for. Hades is Supergiant Games’ love letter to roguelikes, taking everything they’ve learned from their past titles and beautifully wrapping it up into a unique package. Every bit of progression in Hades feels meaningful, with a loveable cast of familiar names due to the setting. A music score indicative of Supergiant Games helps every area feel unique, even apart from their gorgeous environments. Replayable for hours and with a progressive story that makes you feel like you’re constantly piecing together a more important picture, Hades has earned every accolade it has gotten this year, and then some.
6. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
Ubisoft’s twelfth installment of the Assassin’s Creed series continues to mirror Origins and Odyssey‘s beautiful open-world RPGs. Players are able choose their own path to success in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla with choices and their consequences. What separates Valhalla from the other Assassin RPG games is the truly engaging stories that make players feel connected to the game. Players can explore all around snowy Norway and Dark Age England to be as stealthy or loud as possible in their style of fight. Ubisoft brought back the Hidden Ones, the Assassins, and the hidden blade to truly feel like an Assassin style game. The side missions are hilarious, devastating, and unique that doesn’t cause repetition or a terrible grind for players. From hunting down the Order of the Ancients to adopting a cat, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is an exciting addition to this expansive and beloved series.
5. Cyberpunk 2077
A lofty title just in time for Christmas, Cyberpunk 2077 has had a lot of time to prepare for the grand entrance it made. At its peak, the game is beautiful when it is working, and has an incredibly dense and varied world to explore and plenty of different quests for players to track. The loads of unique tracks from recognizable artists, great acting, and a memorable cast of characters make Cyberpunk 2077 and Night City feel like a living world. Unfortunately, it does fall short in many aspects, with a large number of people unable to enjoy the game the way it is meant to be played at the moment. All this is set to improve though with promised updates going forward. Then, Cyberpunk 2077 will hopefully be able to shine to its full potential for every one.
4. Animal Crossing New Horizons
On its own, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is another worthy entry in a long-running series. Its wealth of customization features make it a wonderful outlet for creativity and expression, and the simplicity of its systems and interfaces make it easy for players to jump in and create the perfect island paradise. Having said that, what makes the game special largely has to do with the circumstances surrounding its release rather than the content itself. The game released right around the time the Covid-19 pandemic started, and while the timing may have been purely accidental, it couldn’t have been more perfect. During a time when many began staying home as the world seemingly descended into chaos, New Horizons provided millions of people with a much-needed escape from it all. Players could connect with their friends and family without any risk of viral spread, and communities were allowed to flourish like never before. Dedicated fashion communities, in-game businesses, and even political protests managed to develop in a virtual world free from the cynicism and strife of the real world. All of this makes New Horizons not only one of the best games of 2020, but also one of the most important.
3. Ghost of Tsushima
With an unbelievably impactful story, stunningly beautiful environments, and slick combat mechanics, Ghost of Tsushima is arguably the greatest game that Sucker Punch has ever created. The setting completely immerses you into the feudal Japan era, showing all of the signature traits of not just the Samurai, but also all of the other people that are affected by the Mongolian Invasion. Jin Sakai’s morale is tested throughout the entire game, which you the player have to bear witness throughout the entire game. Tushima‘s open world aspect is one the most approachable we’ve seen in a sandbox title, and with so many side objectives to go through, you’ll be exploring the massive island for a very long time. Then there’s the multiplayer that was added later for absolutely free, giving us even more content to play with. Ghost of Tsushima was an experience that few titles can match, and was truly a swansong for the PlayStation 4.
2. The Last of Us Part II
Fans had to wait some time before The Last of Us had a sequel, but I believe it is safe to say that the wait was worth it. The Last of Us Part II was a beautiful sequel to the original, focusing on Ellie this time rather than from the viewpoint of Joel. The Last of Us Part II was filled with a since of loss, love, fear, regret, and danger that was portrayed well by Ellie but could be felt by the entire audience witnessing her story. Ellie’s traumatic experiences during this game were instances where fans could relate, especially with tragic and unexpected scene near the beginning. Fans had built a strong love for both Joel and Ellie from the first game that it carried over into the first one and seeing both suffer in game made fans have a deeper connection to the characters. With Ellie being older, fans were also able to see Ellie’s love life where she was happy and even comforted in times of distress by Dina. Small moments in game where Ellie could be viewed as just human pushed the realistic quality making fans adore the game that much more. Yet, what some don’t care for in emotion, The Last of Us Part II also had fearful survival gameplay with the endless horde of the undead. With open areas to explore and a magnificently told story to accompany it, The Last of Us Part II became one of the best games of the year and will be looked back on as such.
1. Final Fantasy VII Remake
The past couple of years for PlayStation saw them continue to stick with what they and in turn, their first-party do best, deliver new experiences that can only be played on PlayStation. From Horizon Zero Dawn, God of War, The Last of Us Part II, and Ghost of Tsushima. Each game was truly unique and special in its own way. PlayStation also brought back and reimagined classic titles that have been adored for generations since they were released. Titles such as Shadow of the Colossus, Resident Evil 2, Resident Evil 3, and more were brought back in a way that felt modern and new but also had the sensibilities that made it nostalgic for those who had experienced them before. This year finally saw the return of one of those classic titles; something that was promised almost five years ago, Final Fantasy VII Remake. The developers behind Remake said that one of their main goals of the game was to make the game feel both new and nostalgic for players and by all accounts, they succeeded. From the graphics to the story to the music to the gameplay, everything felt like something that was new, but familiar to those who played the original over 20 years ago. Everything works together in concert to create a gaming experience that feels truly special… and this is just the beginning of the Final Fantasy VII Remake story.