The TRG editors take a look back at their favorite games of 2020 in this “Best of” mini-series.
2020 was quite the tumultuous year for many people across the globe so this year I’m especially thankful for the fun and rest that video games provide. Game studios rose above the remote work mandate and cranked out some truly special games in the midst of a pandemic. 2020 may have felt off in many ways, but the quality of the games produced remained high despite the challenges. Below are my top 5 games of 2020 with a couple of honorable mentions at the bottom.
#5 – Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout
There were a trio of games that completely took over 2020 and took advantage of the quarantine. Animal Crossing:New Horizons, Among Us, and Fall Guys. The latter game piqued my interest especially when it was announced as a free PlayStation Plus title for August. Fall Guys promised zany physics and random outcomes with 59 other “beans” it a multi-round hunt for the ultimate prize – a beautiful golden crown. After some net code issues plaguing the launch window were cleaned up the promise was fulfilled and absolute madness ensued. Fall Guys instantly won over my heart and took over my household (with 3 kids) for the better part of a year.
#4 – Spider-Man: Miles Morales
What more can I say that hasn’t already been said in my review of Spider-Man: Miles Morales? It’s a fantastic follow up to my personal favorite game on the PS4. Insomniac Games continues to demonstrate why Spider-Man is in the best possible hands with the care and attention they give their characters. Miles, Ganke, and the rest of the crew are all wonderfully brought to life with believable writing and impactful storytelling. Mechanically, Spider-Man: Miles Morales is a great evolution to the formula introduced in the first Spider-Man game. If you’ve any inkling to play this game then don’t hesitate. The budget price makes it a must-buy even with it’s shorter campaign length.
#3 – Astro’s Playroom
Once Sony showed off Astro’s Playroom as a non-VR PS5 pack-in I was on board. The platforming prowess that Team Asobi established with Astro Bot: Rescue Mission (for PSVR) was enough for me to dive in head first. Toss in the fact that the game ended up being a DualSense showpiece didn’t hurt things either. The end result is a streamlined platforming masterpiece that expertly strolls down PlayStation memory lane while also showing off every bell and whistle that the PS5 has to offer all without being gimmicky or tacked on. Everything from instant load times, to the haptic feedback to the adaptive resistant triggers all was woven into a fun package that anyone can enjoy. I can’t emphasis enough how good the controller feels in Astro’s Playroom. It’s something you just have to experience to fully understand. It’s the best console pack in since Wii Sports and hopefully Sony will continue to explore this franchise and give it another full length romp for all of us to enjoy.
#2 – Final Fantasy VII Remake
Is there a game that has been more highly desired and anticipated than Final Fantasy VII Remake? Perhaps Half-Life 3 takes that cake, but fans have been clamoring for a remake essentially since the PlayStation 2 existed. When Square-Enix teased the FFVII intro with a PS3 tech demo fan’s expectations were at a fever pitch. The wild ride has (somewhat) finally ended with the April release of Final Fantasy VII Remake – part 1 of a multi part effort to remake the 1997 classic. Who knows how many installments will end up comprising the full remake, or when we’ll get them, but if part 1 is anything to go off of FFVII Remake will end up being quite the treat for both old and new fans alike. There is deep story lore embedded into the remake which is incredibly exciting for old fans. It’s not just a re-hash of the original game. Layers have been added to the story which sort of makes it a brand new thing on it’s own, but I’ll leave it at that. Even if you weren’t a fan of the original FFVII, I would encourage you to pick up the remake. It’s the best mainline Final Fantasy entry since the PS1 era. Don’t believe me? Check out Tyler’s review of FFVII Remake. He kinda liked it too.
#1 – Ghost of Tsushima
One of my favorite things about video games is being engulfed by a wonderful world. Art goes a long way for me, personally, when it comes to immersion and placement in a world. Ghost of Tsushima could ostensibly be named “Samurai Art: The Game”. Across Tsushima there are amazingly beautiful scenes to behold and explore. Sucker Punch did a masterful job of open world building. Players are rewarded for their curiosity and the world speaks to you contextually without the need for a HUD. See smoke off in the distance? Maybe that’s worth investigating. Is a fox trying to get your attention? Follow it. The wind is your guide on Tsushima and it’s a joy to explore. Beyond the island itself, combat and story elements are top notch. Mastering the four sword stances is rewarding and learning Jin’s background via the wonderfully told story is a high point for Ghost of Tsushima. Many have often pointed to Sony’s lack of diversity when it comes to 3rd-person, action adventure games, but if they keep cranking out titles like Tsushima, I’ll gladly drink that Kool-Aid any day of the week. For more check out my full review of Ghost of Tsushima.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2
THPS1+2 felt like riding a bike. Developer Vicarious Visions did an outstanding job of capturing the essence of THPS and bringing it to life for a modern audience. After a few initial bumps, I was back on my board and felt like a pro again just like it was 1999. Whether you’re an old THPS fan or interested in the franchise, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 is the entry you need to pick up. Our full review can be found right here.
Bluepoint Game is no stranger to remasters and remakes, but tackling a full remake of Demon’s Souls has been their biggest and best effort to date. Fresh off of the stellar Shadow of the Colossus remake, Bluepoint took Hidetaka Miyazaki’s ground-breaking masterpiece to the next level with stunning visuals that flesh out some of the best level design and art direction in video game history. Truly, new life has been breathed into Demon’s Souls and the game is almost unrecognizable in some spots. All performance issues have been cleaned up for a buttery smooth 60FPS experience – a first for Demon’s Souls which originally was restricted to the PS3 hardware.
Let us know, Deer Reader. What are your favorite games of 2020? Sound off in the comments below and keep the conversation rolling.