It’s that time of year again when we start talking Respawning’s official Game Of The Year! Here’s a quick rundown of how it works this year..
Each content creator here at Respawning will list their Top 10 games of the year across all platforms. Each place gets awarded an amount of points depending on where they come. So for example the 10th place game gets 1 point, 9th place gets 2 points all the way up to 1st place which gets awarded 10 points, you get the idea!
Then come the end of the week we’ll add up all the scores to confirm Respawning’s official overall Top 10 and our Game Of The Year in a special video over on our YouTube channel! Next up, it’s Mikey!
Before we dive into my top 10 list I just want to take a second to appreciate how great games have been this year despite the big global bastard that is Covid-19. Sure we’ve had delays as well as some massive disappointments (yes I’m looking at you Avengers and Cyberpunk) but overall we’ve had a great collection of new releases to get us through the year.
Note that I’ve reviewed most of the games on this list so feel free to check out the accompanying videos for a more detailed review on each of these entries.
2020 continues the trend of ground up remakes and Mafia: Definitive Edition was another great remake to add to that list. Sure gameplay still felt like it was stuck back in 2002 with the original but new visuals and stellar voice acting made this one stand out from the pack.
I’ll be honest, FIFA 21 only sneaks into this list due to the PS5 upgrade just about doing enough to make it feel new in comparison to FIFA 20. It’s no secret I love FIFA and lose hundreds of hours of my life to it every year but I’m well aware how similar each instalment can be. The next-gen version though brought a new coat of paint, amazing new atmospheres and fantastic use of the Dualsense’s haptic feedback, that when added to the other new updates on the base version makes this game well worth it’s place.
I think it’s fair to say it’s been a weird year for the Switch. Having not taken the plunge with Hades and definitely not being the target audience for games like Animal Crossing or Paper Mario, I put all my eggs in the Hyrule Warriors basket and thankfully it paid off. To be fair there wasn’t a lot that could have gone wrong with this game for me. I love musou games and I adored Breath of the Wild so mix the two together and despite the game not reinventing the wheel, I can’t deny how much fun I’ve had with it in the last couple of months.
This may be surprisingly low for some but that doesn’t mean I didn’t have a hell of a time with GOT. Hell I wouldn’t have spent over 60 hours going after the platinum if I wasn’t enjoying Sucker Punch’s gorgeous open world and brilliant combat. The art design alone should be enough to get a place on this list! The only reason it isn’t slightly higher is due to a lot of repetitive cookie cutter video game stereotypes that often come with open world games which just began to grind on me after a while (I’m still getting flashbacks to those damn foxes!) Also I think Jin is a lame protagonist in an unoriginal story, don’t @ me.
I think I’m going to get a lot of hate for putting this game above the likes of GOT and Hyrule Warriors but I don’t care. I love what Supermassive Games do and this wonderfully told short horror tale had me glued to my screen throughout Halloween weekend. Add to that the excellent co-op play and Little Hope manages to stand out as a really memorable spooky experience that has me begging for more in the Dark Pictures Anthology.
Okay if you got angry with me placing a 6 hour long interactive drama over GOT then maybe skip this part where I also put a glorified tech demo above it.. But that’s the thing with Astro’s Playroom, it’s way more than a tech demo. It’s a love letter to everything PlayStation and if you’ve been along for the ride from day one with the original PlayStation like I have then this game will tickle your nostalgia like nothing else. Say what you want about technical achievements and games having hundreds of hours of gameplay, but at the end of the day Astro was the only game this year that genuinely gave me the same feeling of opening a new games console on Christmas day as a kid, and for that it should be in my top 5.
Valhalla acts as the most last minute entry into this list given that I only got round to playing it a week ago. However in that time I’ve nearly sank in 20 hours and find myself not being able to put it down. My fear for Valhalla was that it would fall into that trap of open world fatigue with tons of open space and not a lot to do.. which is how I felt about the first RPG style game Ubisoft made in this franchise – Origins. However I just can’t deny my pure love for playing as a Viking in this amazing Anglo-Saxon/Viking age setting while I pillage and raid to build my own settlement. It’s fun, addictive and hasn’t made me bored for one second so far. My only regret is not playing sooner!
Note: I realise this game has had technical issues but I’ve been lucky enough to only play the next-gen version after a few patches so I’ve had no such problem.
It’s worth noting before I start gushing over this near masterpiece that I really struggled to separate this and the number 2 entry. In the end Miles Morales dropped to third place purely due to how many times it crashed my PS5 on launch. I’m not sure whether I blame Insomniac or Sony for that but hey ho. Right, on with the good stuff!
What an incredible experience this game was. After 2018’s Spider-Man my expectations were probably unreasonably high for this spin off so the fact that Miles Morales actually went above and beyond those expectations was my favourite surprise of 2020. Miles as a protagonist is simply wonderful and his relationship with his friends and family made for one of the best stories told this year. Add to that the flawless gameplay inspired from the original, stunning next-gen visuals and non-existent load times that genuinely blew my mind and we have an undeniable contender for game of the year.
Arguably the most important game for me in 2020 was the outstanding Final Fantasy VII Remake, not only because of it being a brilliant game in its own right, but because it got Mr Anti-JRPG over here to start playing other wonderful games in this genre. I gave FF7 Remake a try earlier this year purely out of having nothing else to play and the trailers looking quite good. What I didn’t expect was to fall in love with every character in what was a flawless story from beginning to end. Even some of the more confusing parts of the narrative only led me down a rabbit hole of discovery which has resulted in me playing more Final Fantasy games.
I’m really struggling to pick a fault as the story was near perfect, characters were wonderful and the gameplay was so damn fun. However there was one game that topped FF7 Remake and everything else in all of those departments..
I know I know, it’s so shocking right?! Well this isn’t just a case of a TLOU fanboy sticking to his guns. The Last Of Us Part 2 was divisive, brave and controversial. It was also one of my favourite stories ever told over any medium and felt like one of those rare cases where the experience transcends video games and becomes something else entirely.
Every part of this 10/10 game was flawless to me. Much like its predecessor did for the PS3, TLOU 2 acted as a swansong for the PS4 and pushed the system to its absolute limits when it came to graphics, sound design and animation. The entire journey was pretty much bug-free which is a rarity for AAA games these days, especially ones that look this good! Gameplay also felt so smooth and is probably one of the most realistic experiences I’ve ever had thanks to the game’s incredible life-like animations and voice acting.
The story definitely brought out the haters (most of which didn’t even play the game or get past the second hour) but I love love LOVED what Naughty Dog achieved come the time credits rolled. The way the game deals with emotions such as hate, revenge and loss is so far ahead of what every other game is doing in 2020 and goes way beyond just shooting zombies.
The Last Of Us Part 2 is a masterpiece in every sense of the word, and is not only my game of the year but my favourite game ever made. Thank you Naughty Dog and continue ignoring that hate!