2020 was a great year for games with some quality games in many genres. I am copying this list from era where I voted for my GOTY selection, so here are my top 10 with descriptions.

1. The Last of Us 2 - TLOU2 had huge shoes to fill and I feel it not only filled them but surpassed them. There can be a debate on which story is better, the tighter more focused first game or the sweaping epic more analytical sequel. I have never seen a revenge story told as well as this and the way it plays with grief, anger, obsession, depression, its masterful for a video game, once again a new standard. What can't be argued though is which has better gameplay, TLOU2 improves all aspects of combat and stealth to create one of the best feeling third person games this side of MGSV. This is another masterpiece by Naughty Dog and easily the GOTY.


2. Final Fantasy VII Remake - The did it, they actually did it! This is a remake of dreams, it captures so much of what made the orginal timeless and doesn't just copy it but make it better in many ways. Obviously this is just one part of the full game but this format allowed to explore side characters in much greater depth than the original allowed. Even our main cast has far better character development, not to mention the writing, voice acting and graphics which all enhance the storytelling. The new real time combat system is what Square has been trying to figure out for years now, finally perfected in FF7. Its a beautiful mix of ATB strategy and real time skill, teamates are easy to manage, it feels like FF7 while being so much more interesting to play. They hit a home run with this first entry, lets hope it continues.


3. Doom Eternal - This is FPS action perfected, Doom 4 set a great template for fast paced but strategic combat and yet it still was lacking in a few areas. Eternal ups the ante with a great three pronged combat system that makes sure the player is analyzing and exploiting the battlefield at breakneck speed while blasting away. It feels like hack and slash DMC deep combat but in a first person shooter. The level design is improved as well with more gameplay mechanics and a longer game. I do miss the aracde mode and the old school Doom levels but hey overall this is the best doom outside the originals.


4. Demon's Souls - Not much to say here except that its a stunning graphical upgrade to an all time great game. I had not played this game in years so I was hooked all over again.


5. Ori and the Will of the Wisps - Another improved sequel which builds on the firsts kinetic mix of platforming and metroid style design, finally the combat gets raised to be an equal third pillar. It's about twice as long as the first game which is benefical to any metroidvania as I feel they don't get going until about a good 5-6 hours in, it felt very satifying to explore and collect all secrets. WIth its beautiful animation and heartfelt story this series continues to impress.


6. Half-Life Alyx - The VR game we have all been waiting for, a game that has all the production values of the biggest games and the polished controls expected from Valve. VR jankiness is a real thing, lots of games have weird quirks to them, Valve clearly focused on making all actions feel natural and work as intented. This limited the action a bit as there are only three guns but its the best feeling combat in any VR game. There is nothing like being in a fire fight, you physically ducking behind cover and popping out to shoot, having to manually reload, it adds a whole different dimension to combat. Sadly the game is rather confined to mostly a linear road forward, this doesnt have close to the wild variaty of HL2 so that holds it back. It does have the best hour section of gaming I played all year in the Jeff section, a gameplay section that can only be done in VR where your breathing, your hands being steady and every sense you have is put to the test. I wish the entire game was as creative as that moment.


7. Ghost of Tsushima - The feels like an amalgamation of many other games elements. Combat from Batman, stealth from Assassin's Creed, the usual open world template but Ghost does all this with such devotion to the source material that I cannot help but be fully engrossed in this world. That world is one of the most beautiful lush colorful game worlds I have ever seen, it was a joy to ride around and explore, so much so I went all the way to platinum. The combat is better than most in this genre, stealth rather average and there aren't really any gameplay surprises, it simply does what it sets out to do very well, be a love letter to the samurai movies of old.


8. Hades - I am not a fan of rogue likes, I enjoy them but usually get bored rather quick. Hades fixes the core issue I have with those games were it felt like there was no real progression outside just getting further and unlocking items. Hades embeds the story with the rogue elemet so well that it feels like a standard game to me. Every time I died I knew I was going to expand the story in some way, gain some new mechanic that would help me get further along. It is so brilliantly done, I could not stop till I reached the end. Hades does the top down action RPG style combat very well, each weapon and the perks you earn can drastically change the feel of that particular run. Only having 3 full worlds is a shame, they all feel the same too. A little more variety in levels could have gone a long way, still Hades is one not to be missed.


9. Streets of Rage 4 - Some of these old school revivals are hit and miss but wow did they nail evertything that made SoR the best beat em up of its era and improved it in most every way. The new combo and health regen system adds much needed depth to a genre long passed in moderen times. The music is incredible, art style nails the asthetic, and its got a lot of content for a game of this type. This is one of the greatest beat em ups ever made.


10. Dreams - Endless potential, rocky start. LBP is one of my favorite franchises ever, thats a game that knew what it was and even though user levels created incredible out of the box ideas, it was still a platforming level creator. Well dreams is an anything creater, what you can experience is mind boggling, hell I only scratched the surface. That lack of focus left me struggling to find experienced I would actually finish to the end. The create mode was so daunting I never attempted to make a game, again the tools are so deep it allows for endless creativity. I also miss the full campaign you would find in LBP, that said Dreams "story" mode was one of the highlights of the year and shows that Media Molecule is as good as level design as anyone, they just so happen to rather create game engines as well. Dreams is something that will continue to evolve and get better while being very impressive at the start.


Honorable Mentions:


Spider Man Miles Morales - Mostly an expansion with better combat and another fantastic story but clearly shorter and not as deep as the main game.


Cyberpunk 2077 - Launched in a disasterous state which is a shame because in that mess is a great game with a world teaming with interesting fun storylines and memorable characters. I enjoyed the plethora of options to the combat as well. If you are a hardliner on glitches pass until its fixed.


Astrobot's Playroom - A perfect intro into the Playstation 5 and a love letter to the history of playstation, shame its so short.


Resident Evil 3 - I guess I'm obligated to mention this game. Seeing where it is on this list is everything you need to know. I still enjoyed it a ton but clearly a massive step back from RE2.

Posted by Dvader Sun, 28 Feb 2021 23:15:28 (comments: 5)
 
Thu, 04 Mar 2021 15:25:43
Very nice list. I'm afraid of only played one of these, but others are on my list of games to play.

Wish I could get onboard with The Last of Us 2, but honestly the first half of that game just killed me. So damn slow, and I get it made perfect sense for the story but Ellie became so unlikable that I just didn't want to play it. I did enjoy Abby's story though.

Oh, and while I said it before I'm going to say it again. Fuck them for not giving us a new version of Factions. If they save that for the inevitable PS5 remaster I'm going to go cut someone.
 
Thu, 04 Mar 2021 15:33:45

I fear I couldn't cope with something like HL: Alyx.  I couldn't even stomach Super Hot in VR.  There level of immersion makes shooting and killing humanoid forms sit very uncomfortable with me.

 
Fri, 05 Mar 2021 14:37:40
Well then VR won’t be for you, cause ive killed many humans in VR.
 
Fri, 05 Mar 2021 14:44:22
Dvader said:
Well then VR won’t be for you, cause ive killed many humans in VR.

YOU MONSTER!

Of course I could just always play games that don't involve killing anything.

Like Beat Saber.

Where you're violently slashing cubes in half.

Cubes that may or may not be sentient.

 
Sun, 07 Mar 2021 02:46:58
SupremeAC said:
Dvader said:
Well then VR won’t be for you, cause ive killed many humans in VR.

YOU MONSTER!

Of course I could just always play games that don't involve killing anything.

Like Beat Saber.

Where you're violently slashing cubes in half.

Cubes that may or may not be sentient.

Those cubes are filled with baby kittens! Oh, the horror!

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