Features

2020 In Gaming, What A Year!

2020 sure had a lot of great games.
Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr

2020 was a year where we spent more indoors than we did out, where we spent more time getting to know the fictional characters of the IPs we perused rather than our established relationships… It’s also the year where I did more than a hundred runs in Hades but still found new things to enjoy.

2020 was also “bad” for video games – The Last of Us Part II being depressing, Cyberpunk being delayed multiple times, console preorders being a mess… but at least we get Bugsnax for free.

There are a lot of events to remember and many more to talk about, but it all boils down to the games that stood beside us throughout the year and made us smile despite the pandemic. Like I said, 2020 was good for games and here are just some of the games that made the year more memorable.

13 Sentinels – Aegis Rim

OMG Rating: Buy It!

Visual novels litter Steam, PSN, and Nintendo Store with every topic under the sun. However, when a good one comes along, you could be sure it’s from Kotaro Uchikoshi; but when it’s Vanillaware (Odin’s Sphere) reimagining the genre and elevating it, you can be sure it has my attention. Continuing the legacy of what Front Mission has abandoned, it combines real time strategy elements on to the defunct Strategy-RPG genre with an ambitious but satisfying science fiction tale.

Told from the perspective of thirteen separate individuals in a strange 1985 where talking cats, giant robots, and a looming conspiracy that involves time travel and secret organizations, it’s a combination of all your beloved science fiction tropes in a thirty-hour visual novel for the ages.

Ghost of Tsushima: Legends

OMG Rating: Buy It!

Besides my obvious apprehension towards its English dubbing and countless glitches of the base game; Ghost of Tsushima: Legends is the free post-release multiplayer co-op that I actually fell in love with. Live Service games should learn from what Sucker Punch has done to show their appreciation with their player base. I’m not a big fan of anything that involves playing with another human being but for the value this game offers however, damn this game was good.

While the main game’s story really didn’t strike me all that much, the art style really flaunts its excessive pulchritude, it’s ridiculous. However, Legends’ sparse storytelling reminded me of how Bloodborne did the same thing by telling a story just with its environment. The game encourages teamwork by dangling loot and leaderboard promises, which I was actually happy to partake. I can’t wait for what modules they have planned for this co-op in the future on PS5.

Yakuza: Like A Dragon

OMG Rating: Buy It!

It’s not just Yakuza on a JRPG skin, but if you strip the game of its novelty, it’s a definitive JRPG title. Not only by its fantastic usage of positioning, creative implementation of character classes, and even pushing the envelope on how much fabulism you can fit into a modern, urban setting, Yakuza: Like A Dragon is what Persona 4 and 5 failed to deliver in a modern day RPG by just making a carbon copy of what Persona 3 has already delivered and blown our minds away in 2007. Plus it also takes my pick for racing/sports, arcade shooter, and strategy simulation with the crazy content of its many mini-games.

Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales

OMG Rating: Buy It!

I actually would’ve preferred to give the best performance nod to Phin’s voice actor Jasmin Savoy Brown, because I loved her as Evie in The Leftovers and equally loved her as the show stealing Phin Mason. Yet I guess this is as close as she’ll get to be nominated with some heavy hitters on the nomination list. My vote still goes to Spiderman: Miles Morales for a solid ensemble cast of amazing actors bringing this story to life. If there was an ensemble voice acting award, I’d still give it to the Miles Morales cast even if it looks like the favorite is The Last of Us 2.

Watch Dogs: Legion & Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla

OMG Rating: Buy It!

I know I know, the accessibility award will surely go to The Last of Us 2 for some of their impressive accessibility options and the fact that a visually impaired gamer can manage to get a platinum trophy, I’d like to say that the accessibility and playability options for Ubisoft has significantly improved with the release of these Fall heavy hitters.

The fact that they are able to reduce the Open World Fatigue in their games, it may not bring back the same passion I had for their IP back in 2009-2012, but to go from “I can’t believe this is Assassin’s Creed…” to I Can’t Believe This is Assassin’s Creed OMG! speaks volumes on how they’ve improved as a developer. Keep it up, Ubi.

The Last of Us Part II

OMG Rating: Editor’s Choice

Controversy and bad juju aside, one thing that The Last of Us 2 establishes from the get-go is its moody setting, which is fully realized by the power of its music. From the ominous guitar solo that starts the game, to the missing chords punctuating its bitter end, the sardonic Take On Me cover upon entering Seattle, to the climactic orchestration of its heart wrenching set pieces, even silence serves perfectly setting up its melancholic tale of revenge and redemption. A truly masterful achievement in making you feel good and bad at the same time.

Final Fantasy VII: Remake

OMG Rating: Editor’s Choice

Nostalgia and hype gave this game a massive leg-up on its launch and despite the surprise Nomura (or was it a trap?) had in store, Final Fantasy VII Remake was truly a promise fulfilled and an old love rekindled and even strengthened by its re-imagining. Once the hype died down and the novelty faded, all that was left was years of experimentation actualized and the ATB system finally catching up to the demands of contemporary gaming trends breathing new life into the JRPG genre. If only its expected sequel and the upcoming Final Fantasy XVI would follow through, it’ll be a return to form from Square Enix.

Hades

OMG Rating: Editor’s Choice

If October was any indication in how much I love this game, this fourth title from Supergiant Games is their masterpiece they’ve been building up from Bastion and Transistor. They’ve re-imagined the rogue-like in such a fantastic manner and created an addictive experience where the player’s patience is tested for the long haul with its subtle narrative rewards and even a greater delayed gratification for its punishing experience. You can always switch on God Mode, but why would you? Paying back Hades with everything you’ve got for the punishment he dealt in itself is its own reward.

Cyberpunk 2077

OMG Rating: Wait For It

My love and hate affair for this game is just so staggering that it took up quite a lot of my energy this year. From its endless hype built upon on Night City Wire to getting a sub-standard PS4 release and then finally catching a glimpse of its brilliance… and Panam Palmer on the PS5.

Just like Final Fantasy XV when it released, it was largely unfinished, but there is such a deep lore and a masterpiece waiting to happen here. The world is so vast, they aren’t overselling the immersion of it. Sometimes I just drive around the city listening to new wave and synth pop and I’m happy. I can’t wait for the final version.

Acquiring a Next-Gen Console At Launch

OMG Rating: Ignore It.

If there’s anything more exciting than any of the games I’ve played above it is trying to get a brand new next-gen console at launch. It’s a multiplayer game that doesn’t require you to be a gamer and everyone gets to play even if you don’t want to, especially scalpers. Maybe because I’m salty that Amazon cancelled my order, there are worse things that has happened this year, and I’m glad it’s just a cancelled order.

That being said, continue to stay healthy, continue to stay safe, be kind to each other, and be understanding. I wish you the best for 2021, and may all your crits connect and all your RNG to your favor. Happy Holidays!

Author

Vincent Ternida moved Vancouver, Canada in 2006 and called it home ever since. He spends the lockdown catching up with his Japanese RPGs, writing his new manuscripts, and figuring out why he suddenly became the main character of the latest Haruki Murakami novel.

Write A Comment