My Games of 2020

We finally made it! 2020 is completed. Looking back at a tumultuous year filled with ups-and-downs, I can say one thing for certain – it was a damn fine year for video games(if little else). We got to see new DOOM and Animal Crossing games share a release date in March, some great new indie as well as AAA games, along with the dawn of next-gen consoles in the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S. Hell, there was a new Half-Life game…even if it was VR only. As with just about every other person writing for a gaming blog, it’s become almost an expectation to release a list of favorite games of the year once it reaches the end of December, so…let’s give this another go!

I have a full list of my ten favorite games released in 2020. I wanted to also mention some of my favorites I played this year, regardless of release date; it’s absurd how often a game will only get recognition in its year(or month) of release, before being tossed aside for the next new game. Another aspect of this is considering how often games are released in a less-than-completed state and take a while to finally reach close proximity to the developer’s original vision for the game through patches and updates..which could be a topic for another ramble post. Anyways, here are my….

Five favorites NOT released in 2020

  • Doki Doki Literature Club
  • Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers
  • Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey
  • Chrono Trigger
  • Yakuza 0

There’s a little bit of everything here: from the psychological-horror-meets-dating-sim of Doki Doki Literature Club, old school point-and-click adventure in Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Father, an epic open-world voyage through Ancient Greece in Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, traveling through time and saving the world in the classic retro RPG – Chrono Trigger, and the contrasts of serious/silly in Yakuza 0’s main story and side missions.

Let’s take a look at my favorites released in 2020…

Resident Evil 3: Remake

Capcom had somehow managed to create not one, but two remakes of Resident Evil games that managed to retain the horror of the originals but create a modern-day gaming experience starting with the original REmake on the GameCube and then last year’s remake of Resident Evil 2(my #2 game of 2019). I played through the remake of Resident Evil 3 this past Halloween and it feels very similar to the RE2 remake in terms of feel, but Jill and Carlos’ venture through a zombie-filled Racoon City didn’t quite make as much of an impression on me as last year’s RE game. You can still see the more action-oriented direction the series had begun to take with RE3(setting up 4-6), but I still enjoyed the game enough that I made my ten favorites of 2020.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

I wanted to write something about Animal Crossing’s inclusion on my favorite games of the year without using the phrase “the game we needed” that has been used endlessly since the game’s release this past March(though it seems like years ago), but it’s hard to overstate the impact Nintendo’s newest entry to the wholesome series provided…as the world seemed to be collapsing around us.

Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla

Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla was announced this past spring after rumors had been circulating for a while that the next game in Ubisoft’s long-running series would be set during the age of Vikings. After the reveal, I was excited at the prospect of an Assassin’s Creed game in which you play as a viking, only to be a little underwhelmed when gameplay was first shown, and then once again eager to finally play it shortly before release. I admit the game, despite being impressive enough in its first couple hours, didn’t have me hooked quite yet, but I can now say that I’m thoroughly enjoying making my way across medieval England as vikingr Eivor.

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity

I woke up one morning to see Nintendo had announced another Hyrule Warriors game, this time taking place in the Hyrule from Breath of the Wild. The game was advertised as essentially a prequel to Breath of the Wild as we see Link and Princess Zelda working with the Four Champions – Mipha, Daruk, Revali and Urbosa to stop the release of Calamity Ganon. I had never played the previous Hyrule Warriors, or any “Warriors” game(Dynasty, Hyrule, Fire Emblem), but enjoyed the demo enough that I was willing to give it a chance. I had intended to write a post of my first impressions on the game, but started to hear how others’ opinion on the game had started to shift when reaching the final hours of the game, so I plan to hold off on writing much about Age of Calamity until I play my way through the entire game. I’ve been doing pretty much every available mission in the game, so it may take me a little while. From what I have played, I really enjoy the over-the-top action set pieces as you hack your way through endless waves of enemies and aside from differences in combat, it does feel reasonably close to more Breath of the Wild. Having a lot of fun playing this one…

Streets of Rage 4

I grew up playing the Streets of Rage games, so the long-awaited(23 years!) sequel was definitely something I was going to check out. Streets of Rage 4 is everything that made the original games great, but adds a few modern, quality-of-life improvements along with excellent animations and an awesome soundtrack.

Thoughts on Streets of Rage 4

Final Fantasy 7 Remake

A beloved PlayStation epic finally gets the long-awaited remake, well…the first installment anyway. Square Enix released part one of their Final Fantasy 7 remake in April after years in development, going all the way back to the PS3 days and was it worth it? Yes, in most ways. I really began enjoying the changes made to the combat system, which allowed for more action-packed, free-flowing battle sequences. It also allowed a lot more time to develop the characters and their relationships over the course of the game. The flip side to this being the fact that part one of the remake takes between 30-40 hours to complete, but only takes place in Midgar, roughly the first couple hours of the original game. Despite a few pacing issues and a convoluted, Kingdom Hearts-y story taking some generous liberties with the original, it was still one of my favorite games of 2020.

7 thoughts on the Final Fantasy 7 Remake

The Last of Us Part 2

In a year of many uber-hyped releases, two games – Cyberpunk 2077 and The Last of Us Part 2 – could be considered to have the most attention around them, not always for the most positive of reasons either. Developer Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us Part 2 was, for better or worse, this year’s The Last Jedi and proved just as divisive. After playing it this summer, I found myself on the side of the chasm that really, really enjoyed The Last of Us Part 2. I don’t feel the game is the flawless, greatest of all-time release that others have professed, and I do have a few critiques of the game, but there was something, some brief glimmer of introspection and beauty that I found amidst the game’s moments of oppressive bleakness. It’s a feeling I’d not had after completing a game in some time…

Some of my thoughts after playing The Last of Us Part 2

Ori and the Will of the Wisps

I had only just played Ori and the Blind Forest a few months before the sequel – Ori and the Will of the Wisps was set to release. Will of the Wisps doesn’t necessarily blaze any new trails from its predecessor, though I felt some of the mechanics were improved a bit, but its spirited story, emotive soundtrack and colorful areas to explore made it one of my favorite gaming experiences in 2020.

First impressions of Ori and the Will of the Wisps

DOOM Eternal

DOOM Eternal was one of the games I was most looking forward to this past fall, only to have to wait until March 20 after the game was delayed, it was definitely worth the wait. The game takes everything that made 2016’s DOOM great and adds even more – demons, levels, glory kills. I recently played through the game again a month or so ago, and it’s still just as good as playing it for the first time. It would have been my Game of the Year if not for the next game…

Thoughts on DOOM Eternal

Hades

What can I say about Hades that hasn’t already been said an endless amount of times since becoming one of gaming’s biggest word-of-mouth games in just a few months since its release? It has some of the most satisfying and addictive gameplay of anything I’ve played this year(years?), an epic soundtrack and well-written, interesting characters who you wanted to check in with after every time you met your demise attempting to escape the Greek underworld. As much as I loved DOOM Eternal, I have to give my Game of the Year to Hades – a game I struggle to come up with really anything I dislike about it….

Well, there you have it…my list(s) of favorite games that I played in 2020. What were some of your favorites that you played over the year? Here’s hoping for another year anywhere near as good as this one in 2021…

Thanks for reading!

Author: Gaming Omnivore

Just a guy who loves video games, drinks way too much coffee and can recite way too many Simpsons episodes...

32 thoughts on “My Games of 2020”

  1. Excuse me… why is General Horse not on this list?!

    Loved what you said about games only getting recognition for the month or year that they’re released. I can’t even remember the last time my favourite GOTY was a recent release. Well, except for 2020 and General Horse. Obviously.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I hardly got to play any games released this year, but the few I did were good. 13 Sentinels is at the top of that list.

    Admittedly didn’t play The Last of Us Part II, and I don’t think I ever will — it just doesn’t look like it would appeal to me considering everything I’ve seen and heard of it. You’re absolutely right that it’s divisive, though; I can tell that much even without playing it.

    I do want to get around to FF7 Remake at some point, though. I need to see if I’ll have to eat my words when I said it would probably be lousy years ago. Thankfully, no one read my blog back then, so no one is going to call me out for being wrong anyway, but I did like the original, and I know the Square guys are talented. The Kingdom Hearts-style convolution you bring up does make me a little nervous, but it’s good to know that Square tried to do something different instead of making a game that copied the original as closely as possible.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. There were still a few games from 2020 that I’d liked to have tried out but didn’t quite find the time, 13 Sentinels and Yakuza: Like A Dragon were a couple of them. Looking forward to giving it a try shortly.

      Yeah, divisive is almost an understatement with some of the abhorrent behavior I’ve witnessed online…

      It’s fortunate that FF7R turned out as well as it did, considering how long it had been in development – much longer than the original took to make. My biggest complaints of the game were that it feels like it was padded out by many hours to make a “full” game out of what was the first few hours of the original. The second reactor mission isn’t until ten or so hours into the remake and after that, there’s still 20+ hours left…

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I’ve been having a lot of fun playing Age of Calamity. I’m currently around 30 hours into the game and I think I’m not quite halfway through the main story? AC: Valhalla took me a little longer to get hooked, but I’ve really enjoyed it too. I may be playing it for quite a while, it’s about the same size as AC: Odyssey…

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, there was some awesome stuff released in 2020. There’s a few 2021 releases I’m looking forward to like the new Ratchet & Clank, Halo: Infinite. I’m also curious to see what Nintendo has planned this year, it will be the 35th anniversary of the Zelda series…🤔

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  3. What!? Where’s [insert random game amongst many other random games that I’ve decided to get angry about because you either didn’t play it or didn’t like it as much]. This is an outrage!!

    Actually, excellent on Will of the Wisps. I love that game. I have to give Hades a go next.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, there’s still plenty of games I didn’t get around to. I was fortunate in having a Game Pass subscription so I was able to play quite a few games right away like Ori 2 and Streets of Rage 4, both of which I loved and found a place on my list. 🎮❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  4. If it’s one thing I will say about The Last of Us Part II, it’s that from a gameplay perspective, it is a significant improvement over the original. A lot of people were claiming it was too similar to the first game’s gameplay, but I don’t agree with that at all – there is quite a bit more polish to it and the level design was far more cohesive. In the original game, there were a lot of cheap deaths (usually brought on by the Clickers) whereas in the sequel, the cheapness was limited to the story interfering with the gameplay. It’s not a good way of storytelling in this medium, but it was less annoying to get through. I also would even go as far as saying that the moment where Joel is killed is the single most self-aware moment in any Naughty Dog game and I actually found Abby to be more sympathetic than him.

    Ultimately, though, the game fell short because it blew its potential with countless missteps between its bad narrative structure and misbegotten writing. While it’s considered by the press to be a triumph in video game storytelling, I see the film-game style as very outdated in light of games such as Undertale and OneShot, which managed to bend the medium in far more innovative and interesting ways without sacrificing its inherent appeal.

    I ended up playing through Ori and the Blind Forest last year, so I’m definitely looking forward to checking out the sequel, which I heard manages to be a significant improvement.

    Hades seems to be considered the true masterpiece of 2020, which, if this list was any indication, was actually a fairly solid year for games all things considered. I really need to check it out at some point.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes. The gameplay is an improvement over the first and feels the most polished of any Naughty Dog game.

      That’s been where I don’t feel Naughty Dog has always been very successful in trying to create a cinematic experience, but still having to include some sort of gameplay mechanic “be a video game”. I understand the concern some have shared about Sony first-party games turning into the video game equivalent of the MCU and becoming stale, despite the typically excellent production quality.

      I really liked the first Ori game, but I often got a little frustrated with the very light “floaty” controls that were magnified during tricky platforming sections. The jumping and platforming in the sequel feels better and allows a little more precision. Things like skill trees and weapons feel a little more streamlined too…

      I didn’t come across any other game as addictive as Hades this year, it’s a perfect example of a game you can sit down and play a couple runs, or sit and play for a few hours…I’ve done both. I hadn’t played any of Supergiant Games’ other titles prior to Hades, but I knew of others really enjoying them.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh man you played a ton of great games in 2020, well done!
    I need to play Ori and the Will of the Wisps, Final Fantasy 7 and Hyrule Warriors. Currently playing the Witcher 3, 5 years after buying it and with no end in sight haha

    Liked by 1 person

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  7. Some strong games in there. Especially The Last of Us Part 2 (Which I named my Game of the Year) & Hades (Which I named my Indie Game of the Year).

    However I would disagree with Resident Evil 3. After the success of Resident Evil 2 I thought number 3 was very much a let down and felt lacking.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Some great options on here! The two AC games on there are well worth their spots on the list but the standout is definitely Hades! Such a great looking game, plays incredibly well and is incredibly repeatable. At this rate, it could be on my 2021 list as well given what we have had so far…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes. I wasn’t aware of Hades until right before it was released, so it was a very pleasant surprise when it turned out being as great as it was.

      I recall being pretty excited about some of the early 2020 releases at this time last year, but I’m having trouble coming up with quite as many games set to be released in the next few months of the current year. Two of the games I’m most excited about are re-releases in Super Mario 3D World and the Mass Effect Legendary Edition.

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      1. Yeah Hades was a sort of stealth/surprise release that probably got more coverage post release due to all the hype.

        Yeah I agree – the last game I bought was Hitman and even that I wasn’t super pumped for. I’m the same as you in that Mass Effect is the next one which holds my attention at the moment. I guess it’s partly because of it being in that post launch window of next gen where we wait for the likes of God of War and Horizon to get release dates…

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