It’s hard to recall a more trying year for all of us. 2020 was relentless and unbearably cruel and there was little solace to be found. In all honesty, the year just flat out sucked. Plain and simple. Despite all of that, we were still treated to one of the best gaming years ever which further solidifies how impactful gaming can be in times of need and distraction. Why not pretend you’re a Japanese student with a shady reputation, making interesting friends, and fighting strange creatures manifested by the corrupted hearts of others? Yeah, we needed this and we’re so here for it. These are the 5 best games I had the pleasure of playing this year.
5. Ghost of Tsushima
Ghost of Tsushima is truly the gift that keeps on giving. Whether you’re chasing down bushy-tailed foxes or liberating Mongol camps, the game supplies you with seemingly endless things to do long after you’ve braved the meaty campaign. With the new Legends co-op mode, players can now extend their adventure even further through a reimagined hellscape of Tsushima, teeming with terrifying demons and fearsome obstacles.
Ghost of Tsushima’s gorgeously lush setting truly provided the escapism I needed during this very turbulent year. Galloping through a majestic field of flowers was a sight to behold and I won’t be stopping anytime soon.
4. Persona 5 Royal
Although Persona 5 originally released back in 2017, Atlus blessed us once more with Persona 5 Royal with a staggering amount of new content and much needed quality of life changes. The biggest change for me was having Morgana not be such a pain in the ass, am I right? If I want to go out all night, let me be.
Persona 5 Royal is the definitive Persona 5 experience and is perfectly suited for those new to the series or veterans who have already completed the original. For those that have already plucked down well over 100 hours into Persona 5, get ready to do it again with Persona 5 Royal.
3. Demon’s Souls
Originally released in 2009 for the PlayStation 3, From Software’s cult classic Demon’s Souls gave birth to an entirely new subgenre. Although Dark Souls blew up and became a worldwide phenomenon, Demon’s Souls was left behind on the PlayStation 3 as it never received a remaster or re-release until now. What Bluepoint Games has done is something remarkable.
Not only is Demon’s Souls one of the most graphically impressive games out now, but Bluepoint’s attention to detail and faithful recreation of the 2009 classic sets a new standard for the entire Dark Souls franchise. With a buttery smooth 60fps and a dynamic 4K resolution in performance mode, this is how From Software games should perform moving forward.
Bastion. Transistor. Pyre. Do these people even know how to make a bad game? Supergiant Games are among the best and most trusted developers in the industry and they can’t seem to miss. Hades is their next masterpiece and it doesn’t surprise me one bit. Supergiant Games have a knack for subverting expectations, they’ll take a well-known genre and iterate on it in a way that feels fresh and new.
What makes Hades so impressive is how the narrative is interwoven seamlessly into the roguelike mechanics of the game. The world feels lived-in as characters remember your triumphs but also your failures. They remark on your progress and that level of feedback really takes Hades to new heights. We strongly await Supergiant Games’ next epic.
Ori and Will of the Wisps, Disco Elysium, Final Fantasy 7 Remake, 13 Sentinels, Nioh 2, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 & 2
1. The Last of Us Part II
Naughty Dog has delivered it’s magnum opus. The Last of Us Part II is a tour-de-force in how it blends storytelling and gameplay culminating into one of the most impactful experiences I’ve ever had in any medium. The narrative risks Naughty Dog undertook may not land with everyone but the choices felt true and hard hitting to me. Throughout the lengthy campaign, I felt sorrow, betrayal, glimmers of hope, and ultimately reconsidered my allegiances. A game that can challenge me emotionally on that level is quite extraordinary. This is why I love video games. This is why I play video games. The Last of Us Part II shook me to the core, I just hope I can handle whatever comes next.