What’s Your Favourite Game Of 2020?

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What’s Your Favourite Game Of 2020?
Image: Kotaku Australia

December’s the time of year to gather and reminisce warmly on the 12 months that have passed. Well, at least the last 12 months of video games, at least.

The end of a console generation is always going to drop some bangers, and we already knew 2020 had a ton of potential. DOOM Eternal, Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Final Fantasy 7 Remake were on the cards early. But the first half of the year was jam-packed well before that.

We finally saw the full version of Dreams, which broke all sorts of ground in its own way. Games like Metro Exodus and Desperados 3 were great fun, although both have been a bit forgotten as the year went forward. There was Ori and the Will of the Wisps, the breakthrough Half-Life: Alyx and its innovations for VR, Nioh 2, and the full release of Call of Duty: Warzone.

Remember Black Mesa? That came out this year too. Persona 4 Golden will probably finish the year as the most critically acclaimed title, at least Metacritic wise.

Crysis returned in 2020. There was Ellie and Abby’s revenge in The Last of Us 2Horizon: Zero Dawn and Death Stranding both hit PC. Microsoft Flight Simulator unlocked the world for a world in lockdown. Risk of Rain 2, Deep Space Galactic and GTFO were all cracking indies that deserve a little more love. But the same could be said for games like CarrionNecrobaristaCoffee TalkGhostrunnerCloudpunkCook, Serve, Delicious 3Project WingmanRing of PainSakuna: Of Rice and RuinUmurangi Generation. The excellent Command & Conquer Remastered Collection, and the equally well-done Age of Empires 3: Definitive Edition.

And then there’s the games that really took off: Ghost of Tsushima, Fall Guys, Among Us, Valorant, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2, Crusader Kings 3, Spelunky 2, Genshin Impact, Hades, Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Super Mario Bros. 35, Paper Mario: The Origami King, Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, Demon’s Souls, Bugsnax, Astro’s Playroom, Immortals Fenyx Rising, Destiny 2, and so much more.

It’s been a massive year of very good games, and an excellent year for solid titles. So please make good use of the Other section, because I don’t think there’s any third-party form creator that will let me reasonably fit in every possible option.

We’ll leave the poll up for a week or so, and we’ll announce the winners just after Christmas! Vote away — and if you feel particularly strongly about your game of the year, tell us why in the comments!

Comments

  • The fact that I have to choose just one is killer – but I guess that’s the whole point.
    While I – like I’m sure no small number of us – spent a good chunk of time everyday for a long time after Animal Crossing’s release faffing about on my island, I ended up dropping it eventually.
    No, for me it comes down to Final Fantasy 7 Remake and Doom: Eternal. If you’ve been in the comment sections on 2020’s games, you probably know that already.

    Final Fantasy 7 Remake has flaws. It’s chock full of padding, low textures (that haven’t been patched), scrotum ghosts, and a nagging sense that this isn’t the remake you wanted, but a sequel of sorts.
    None of that mattered to me; I loved every second of it. It ticked so many boxes: Outside of the nostalgia pandering (my one weakness), the voices were fantastic, the music was fantastic, the combat was so, so good. All my complaints about the game were superficial. From the slums, the upper plate wasn’t as big as it should have been. When Sector 7 comes down, it is very inconsistent in appearance. None of those are deal breakers. Bring on Part 2.

    Doom: Eternal. Good god, Doom: Eternal. I am a gross Doom nerd; the originals are close to my heart. If I were to ever get a tattoo, there’s a high chance it would be doom related. When Doom 2016 I think most people were wowwed. How are you gonna bring that old RTS into the modern era? But, they did it and did it well. Now Eternal has come along and you better believe it makes 2016 look archaic in comparison. Eternal styles all over 2016. It’s hard to even go back. They bottled lightning twice.
    There was some nostalgia pandering in there; this time the farty-soundtrack was less farty, more rock and had a few recognizable tracks from Doom/2. Old enemies and enemy designs returned; the archvile, pain elemental, zombiemen, the OG cyberdemons (now tyrants) and even an unexpected Hell Knight. There’s an unlockable Doomguy skin and the story finally confirms what we all knew: Doomguy and Doomslayer are one and the same.
    The game itself was nonstop with a good difficulty curve. I only played on Hurt Me Plenty and every session was an adrenaline pumping dance, especially towards the end of the game. The changes from 2016, aggravating at first, keep you on your toes and make sure you’re cycling through your weapons. The campaign was a very solid length, too, not feeling too short and unsatisfactory, nor outstaying its welcome.
    I don’t think DLC should be taken into consideration when discussing GOTY, but the 3 missions that come with The Ancient Gods were equally fantastic. They kept the late game challenge and did not surrender mercy for a moment.

    I think, despite how badly Doom: Eternal was snubbed at a recent industry event, my vote is going to be for FF7R. But it’s so close.

  • I’ve been pondering what my “GOTY” is for a few days now and I can’t really make a solid decision but the three games I’ve enjoyed the most this year for various reasons are Ghosts of Tsushima, TLOU2 and AC Valhalla.

  • Holy heck. All those games you listed up there… have NOT played any of them. Nada.

    Okay. I will admit I spent most of this year playing my Steam back catalogue and games I bought on sale.

    I think the only 2020 release PC games I bought and played are Watch Dogs Legion (finished) and Cyberpunk 2077 (started)…

    20 hours into Cyberpunk, started on Saturday, really enjoying it, getting a lot of Fallout 4 vibes from it. (Quirky bugs and excessive looting)… but better side-quest story telling, and more colour. So it will be my game of the next 6 months.

  • The lack of Persona 5: Royal on this list is disturbing.

    in a year where i have played most of the biggest names (Ghost of Tsushima, Last of us 2, Valhalla, fall guys, Cyberpunk, Miles Morales), P5R still stands above the rest. From its mesmerizing soundtrack, its unmatched sense of style and its amazing city to play in, its the best 2020 had to offer, even if its a rerelease essentially (i never played Persona 5, or in fact any other Persona game).

  • Half-Life Alyx.

    I bought a VR headset specifically for it, it was the first game I ever bought before release (breaking my usual stance on pre-ordering / pre-purchasing anything) and it was a game I’ve been waiting almost a decade for – there was a lot of anticipation and a lot of areas it might have fallen short, but it was fantastic.

    The only problem is it’s the only game of it’s type for VR, there aren’t any titles like it and I feel silly with a headset that I only use for a single game.

    Still though, Alyx was brilliant and did what I thought couldn’t be done in sticking the landing on the first new Half-Life game in over a decade. Valve are far from perfect, but damn do they ever know how to make a game.

    • I loved Half-Life: Alyx! That’s easily my Game of the Year for 2020.

      I was lucky to get an Oculus Quest earlier this year, which I’ve been able to play Oculus PC games via Oculus Link.

      It’s an absolutely incredible experience.

      • It’s so good!

        Glad to hear it holds up over Oculus link, I was thinking some of the darker segments might cause issues with the compression. I picked up a Rift S just before Covid became really serious and I sure was happy to have an escape like that.

  • None of the above? Given I only play PC games, I only got to try 1 or 2 on the list as demos. For me it would have to be the most played game(s) this year, which are all older (D3, GW2, SWTOR). I think the biggest hidden gem for me was WH40K: Inquisitor – Martyr, which is highly underrated & I strongly recommend to any arpg fans (a *thinking* man’s arpg though, with tactics, not just button mashing :).

  • I found 2020 to be one of the worst years for gaming. Just disappointment all around. In terms of AAA games I either didn’t play them because they looked generic and boring, or I did play them and they were generic and boring. The most fun with games I’ve had this year has been primarily with games from years ago that I’ve only now got around to playing. Soma, The Stanley Parable, and Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 being stand outs. I also found myself playing a lot of heavily modded Skyrim and Fallout 4, trying to make them into the sort of games I wanted to play but weren’t currently being made.

    As far as games released this year the only one I’ve had a lot of fun with is Genshin Impact. It’s given me that pure joy I see a lot of people say they get when they played BoTW (which I found fairly average). Yet I sort of hate that Genshin Impact is my GOTY since it’s full of scummy microtransaction elements. I really wish it was a fully released game that I could have just bought for a flat $80 price.

  • I don’t know why but SPIRITFARER is definitely my GOTY.. It’s just so peaceful and relaxing that it made 2020 woes disappear whenever I played it..

    Also, kudos to being the game that brought a 40+ year old man close to tears.. No game has ever done that before.. Stupidly heartfelt..

  • I can’t choose! You can’t make me! THEY’RE GOOD DOGS GAMES, BRENT.

    Stuff I played and loved is like a 50+ list. Picking a top five let alone one will be challenging. And probably boring, with AAA titles at the top. (Cyberpunk, Ghost of Tsushima, Animal Crossing, Nioh 2, AC: Valhalla.) But the indies! My precious indies!

    OK, since I can’t choose a favourite, I’m gonna list 2020 Stuff I didn’t play which sounds worthwhile (although maybe not stellar) and I definitely need to play:

    Yakuza Like a Dragon, Kentucky Route Zero (finally complete), Daemon X Machina, Half-Life Alyx, Persona 5 Royal, XCOM: Chimera Squad, Sakura Wars, John Wick Hex, Helltaker, Wildfire, Liberated, Disintegration.

    • OK, so… after deliberating for a while I’ve decided my indie picks for the year are:

      1) Hardspace Shipbreakers. Yes, it’s still in early access but 2020 is the year it got out there in a truly compelling state. Even when there were bigger, more popular things releasing, my quiet Saturday mornings have been spent in Shipbreakers’ salvage yard, methodically cutting spaceships into digestible pieces to some great sci-fi country music. Despite always flirting with the tension of a single missed cut or launch causing a catastrophic fuckup, it remains an otherwise startling meditative exercise. Especially when you mod the experience to your tastes. Indie of the year for me.

      2) Project Wingman came out of nowhere (for me, I know it was on some radars) at the last minute to completely annihilate a year of intense competition. I’ve hyped the hell out of this thing since playing it and even gifted it to friends because in the ‘arcade dog-fighter’ genre, Ace Combat defines the genre, and when I tried to think of which entry in the franchise was better than Project Wingman I couldn’t.

      3) Carrion. The puzzle-platforming metroidvania with light combat isn’t new, but the twist Carrion puts on the traversal, the power fantasy, the gorgeously grotesque art, and understated storytelling are refined into something that is easy to access and digest while being novel in its subversively ruthless tone.

      Everyone’s going to give much-deserved love to Spiritfarer, everyone should give love to Coffee Talk, and it’s too hard to recommend niche nonogram-fan-specific entries like the delightfully earnest Pixel Puzzle Makeout League and the better-written and more involved Murder by Numbers, and life in 2020 was just so much more enjoyable, unexpected, and interesting for gems like Othercide, BE-A Walker, Haven, and pretty much 90% of Apple Arcade without wondering if the unthinkably puzzle-laden world of Genshin Impact even counts as indie.

      This was just a fucking amazing year for games without even looking into the AAA space and I really hope that the ones I got to play yield a reward for their devs anywhere even remotely close to matching how grateful I am for their efforts.

  • If you had asked me in February did I want a switch, my answer would have been *shrug* ‘yeah nah, no thanks’. Yet somehow my favourite game is Animal Crossing. I dont know why or how. A friend left his switch at my place for two days and told me to try out a few games. Within minutes of starting Animal Crossing my heart melted. I dont think I have ever feel in love with a game so much… well until Astro Bot. Yes my second favourite game was nothing more that a tech demo, but its simplicity was something else.

    Runner up… GoT for me it came out of nowhere, technically brilliant across so many levels but my connection to the subject wasnt as strong, one day i will finish it but still it was such as achievement I think it still deserves to be a GoTY!!!!

  • Hades for me this year, gotta be. I certainly had a very good time playing some other games, but top to bottom Hades grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. I’ve become a sucker for Supergiant’s aesthetic, tone and feel.

    Honourable mention goes to Bloodborne, which I only played and completed for the first time this year but obviously is not a 2020 game.

  • In a year where I bounced wildly between games, rarely finishing any, routinely getting bored around the 8-10 hour mark, my GOTY has to be the only game that actually managed to pull me in all the way to completion. Cheers, Persona 5 Royal, and I look forward to probably calling Strikers my GOTY 2021.

  • My Game of the Year for 2020 would be Half-Life: Alyx for PC / Oculus.

    I was disappointed to see that this game didn’t receive much recognition for Game of the Year awards, but being fair, VR is not as accessible as console games.

    My follow-up favourite games for 2020 would be Cyberpunk 2077 (PS4 / PS5), Spider-Man: Miles Morales (PS5), the Demon’s Souls remake (PS5), Ghost of Tsushima (PS4), The Last of Us: Part II (PS4) and the Final Fantasy VII remake (PS4).

    My most disappointing gaming experience for 2020 is honestly the Resident Evil 3 remake, especially considering the Resident Evil 2 remake released in 2019 was in my opinion, a mind blowing game.

  • It feels like a cop-out, but I think my GOTY is The Last of Us 2. I just found it incredibly polished, highly engaging and I was sold on all it had to deliver. Notable mentions to: FFVII Remake, Ghost of Tsushima, and Cross Code. I’m playing Ori and the Will of the Wisps and Hades at the moment, and they’re both great, but I haven’t finished them so can’t reasonably include them. I have faith that Cyperpunk 2077 will be a redemption story in 2021, at least for next-gen consoles.

  • Can’t believe Trials of Mana isn’t on here. I played it straight after FF7, and while the battle system for these games is now practically identical, Trials comes out better because you don’t have to hit the enemy 3-4 times just to use a damn item!

  • There’s a lot of games vying for this position, but I think if I’m honest with myself (and you by extension), my game of the year is Teardown. there’s nothing else quite like it out there and it hit’s a really sweet spot for me of creation and destruction, planning, puzzle and blind panic.

  • I sunk more hours into Xenoblade Chronicles Definite Edition than anything else this year. Not a “new” game but a perfect update. If Tony Hawk can be on here, so can Xenoblade.

  • I don’t have time to play many games, probably a good thing so I can’t get burnt out and lose the passion for it like some prolific commenters here clearly have. But it also means I don’t usually play games on release. The game I played this year which had the biggest impression was definitely Control.

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