2020 was a weird year but it still continued to deliver some amazing games. Here are my personal and completely biased Top 5 Games of 2020.
5. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered
In July of 2010, my buddy Matt Lane and I finally beat the Juggernaut horde while playing Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2’s Spec Ops mode, on VETERAN! We defeated them using nothing but camaraderie and explosives and for our toil we earned my first ever platinum trophy. While COD:MW2 Campaign Remastered did not come with a multiplayer or a Spec Ops mode, it was so great to revisit my first and favorite Call of Duty title’s campaign and experience the highs and lows of its story and challenging gunplay. Ten years later I was able to get the platinum for the PS4 remaster of one of my all time favorite PS3 games. It was also a PS Plus game so you can’t beat a free trip down memory lane.
4. Genshin Impact
I can be a bit obsessive when a game catches me so I have a general rule of only having two to three games on my phone at a time. One of those is always Pokemon Go. And since its release in September of 2020, Genshin Impact has been in my game folder and is played daily. Since we reviewed it, Genshin has added more story, events, characters, weapons, areas to explore and a ton of quality of life improvements. Genshin Impact’s impact story is great in between moments that feel like fluffed up anime filler. I have a ton of fun sitting with buddies and creating new builds for characters and trying to make new teams. Squadding up with my buddies to take down some super tough bosses is always fun and trying to find new resources or that slightly better piece of equipment keeps me engaged and playing daily. The vibrant and fun world will continue to expand with five more countries still promised for the future.
Hades continues to be one of the biggest challenges I have ever encountered in gaming. As my introduction to rogue-likes, I am constantly trying out new combinations of boones and upgrades in hopes this run will be the one. I feel reward for my death with exposition, character development, and lore each time I die. So it’s worth it, right? The indie developer, Supergiant, received some significant recognition this year at The Game Awards with nominations in categories like Best Game Direction, Best Narrative, Best Art Direction, Best Score, Game of the Year, and Best Indie (of which is won). For more, check out my review of Hades here.
2. Ghost of Tsushima
It was a new IP but I trusted Sucker Punch Games as they gave me my beloved Sly Cooper as well as the Infamous franchise. Ghost of Tsushima is the most breathtaking world I have ever seen in a video game. On my base model PS4, I sat watching Japanese red maple leaves fall, while playing music and crafting haikus, and I wondered “how can next gen get better than this?” The island of Tsushima was stunning, immersive, and fun to explore. The story of Jin Sakai’s journey from honorable samurai to “the Ghost” was both compelling and real. His struggle between his sense of “right” and his sense of “honor” caused the narrative direction to feel natural regardless of your end game decisions. The cast of characters made side missions feel like main story content with well written dialogue and lore. The combat was some of the most engaging swordplay I’ve ever experienced, constantly challenging me to use different stances and techniques. I can’t praise this game enough and Micah Hendrick gave Ghost of Tsushima a thought provoking review that is well worth the read.
1. Final Fantasy VII: Remake
Final Fantasy VII: Remake had so much pressure on it but it delivered in spectacular fashion with one of the best JRPGs of this generation. I admit I’m allowing bias and nostalgia to influence my number one spot but I have a miniature, steel Buster Sword replica! I’ve bought the original FFVII at least five times now! I really love FFVIIR but acknowledge that it wasn’t flawless. There were definitely sections that felt padded and unnecessary but I don’t care. This game provided me pure elation and excitement during the early months of quarantine. I earned the platinum trophy by doing two things I rarely ever do, I played the game twice back to back and played it on its hardest difficulty, it was just that good. The visuals, the score, the weapons and materia systems, combat, and the fleshing out of Midgar was everything I wanted in a remake. By focusing on characters, their relationships, and their development, FFVIIR connected me more deeply to the story I thought I couldn’t love more. Though this game told a complete story, I was stoked to see how the story is set up to continue. I am excited for future installments and to see this universe continue to expand. I do think the best way to play this game is to play the original FFVII first but if any part of you is interested in playing this phenomenal JRPG check out our spoiler free review here.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps (In Progress)
Call me old fashioned but I really like cover art for a game. Though Ori and the Will of the Wisps came out in March for Xbox and digitally for Switch in September I held on for the physical release in December on Switch giving me little time to get into it before writing this. I adored the original, Ori and the Blind Forest, and in the opening hours of Will of the Wisps I know I will enjoy the platforming and enhanced combat. My first impressions of the game leave me thinking that it has improved on the already winning formula of its predecessor. The artstyle and music was worth the wait and I cannot wait to spend more time on this world.
Spider-Man: Miles Morales (In Progress)
Micah Hendrick has already done a fantastic job reviewing Spider-Man: Miles Morales but based on what I have played of Insomniac’s new Spider-Man it will be remembered as one of the greats. Miles is every bit as likeable as Peter Parker and possibly more connected to his neighborhood than his mentor. He’s funny, smart, stylish, and incredibly personable. Being biracial and bilingual, Miles does a great job bringing representation to both the hero and video game genres in a positive way. One of my favorite scenes we see him admiring a street artist’s work. He sees that she is deaf and actually communicates to her in sign language. The scene is so quick you could miss it but speaks to Miles’s character as someone who genuinely just wants to be a driving force for good. In between the fluid combat and exhilarating web slinging, you will see him helping people carry boxes or moving couches because being a hero is more than just punching bad guys. Being a hero is about serving your neighbor in love.