Top Ten Games of 2020
This year, 2020 has been for the history books and not in a good way. So much has gone wrong this year, and it has definitely been a difficult one for all of us. I like many others can say thank you to gaming for being one of many things to get us through 2020. Months of quarantine and/or working from home just wouldn't have been the same without the amazing games to play. All the extra time at home did give me the opportunity to actually for once work on my gaming backlog. Game Infinite is a gaming platform that focuses on new releases. I am constantly trying to get new screenshots, clips, and content from new games for our daily content, as well as work on reviews and our pending top 10 list. This list is a year in the making and something I start thinking about in January. This list dictates even sometimes what games I choose to invest time in because I need to make sure I have 10 good quality games to make this list, while some I know will not. However, I am thankful for the extra time to play some games that I really enjoyed that did not make the list, as well as actually play some older games. I have some mentions to The Last of Us Part 1, Destiny 2 Shadowkeep/Forsaken, Apex Legends, and a few other older games that I helped me get though quarantine.
Below is my annual Top 10 Games of 2020 list. This list is my opinion alone, and if it is missing a game you really enjoyed, please tell me about it in our social media post comments! I have a disclaimer, that there are a few games I know many reviewers had on their list that I just either never played, didn't get enough time with, or wasn't for me, that did NOT make this list. Ghost of Tsushima and Animal Crossing New Horizons are two big games that frequent top 10 2020 listers that are off my list for these reasons. There is one game I desperately wanted on my list, and really enjoyed so much, that I just could not justify putting on my list; and that game is Marvel's Avengers. I love Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics. I love Avengers and Marvel. I also really enjoyed the game, and had so much fun playing dozens of hours with my friend Blake. It is a blast that for reasons I put in my review, just does fail to reach for "Technical"
greatness. Also, in a previous article, I noted an update to our Review Calendar, indicating that games that released in December 2020 will be elligible for our 2021 list. This will give games like Immortals Fenyx Rising and Cyberpunk 2077 a chance prior to this lists arrival, and brings us more in line with the Game Awards calendar.
This list will contain a few indie games, but will focus on AAA titles, while a separate list for Top 10 Indie Games 2020 is available here. I highly recommend those 10 games as well.
10. Darksiders Genesis
Good lord was I worried about this game! I absolutely love the Darksiders universe, and the first one is in my top 10 all time. I love the lore, universe, combat, and everything. I was really disappointed however in the downward spiral the franchise has been in. Darksiders 2 was a messy shell of it's predecessor that could have been amazing. It literally had DEATH as the protagonist, and they somehow managed to make it bland. It had bad environments, and weird loot/characters. Darksiders 3 was even MORE of a stripped down shell. It was essentially a boss battle simulator and lacked so much of the first two games features. So when THQ mentioned that this "spin off" would be a top down game, I was worried. Usually genre-shifting spin offs are low effort and low quality ways to generate cash for aging franchises. I was prepared for the worst of the 4 games to come, and I was thoroughly surprised. Yes this is an easier game to make to it's "main" 3D open world titles. Yes it doesn't have cinematic cut scenes, instead replaced with art and voice overs. Would I have loved a full Darksiders 4 with the same love and effort and budget as the first one? Yes, of course. However, Genesis proves that there is more to games than just graphics and 3D environments. We get an intriguing story, we get to play two different horsemen, and get to explore great environments. I absolutely loved this title on the Nintendo Switch.
9. Minecraft Dungeons
I have never once touched Minecraft, and maybe that skewed my perspective towards the positive. I know that this is a very different game from the regular Minecraft, but I really commend them for trying something different and exploring new genres. Like Darksiders, genre switching spin-offs can be a red flag for low effort cash grabs, but once again not the case. Dungeons was so fun, and I beat the main game as soon as possible. I just love the enrvironment and characters. The soundtrack is really exciting and gives a sense of retro gaming nostalgia. I loved the flexibility of difficulty as well. This is a game I loved on Xbox Game Pass, and I hope someday to be able to play on my iPad as it would make an excellent portable game.
8. Watchdogs Legion
Watchdogs Legion is probably my most controversial pick for my top 10 list. Honestly, I wanted to rank it even higher because I had so much fun, but my critic side of me tried to keep perspective. This is one of those times when a games execution is at odds with its fun factor. This is another game that joins Cyberpunk 2077 and others that are the foundation of the topic of games that have performance disparities between platform. A growing conversation in gaming is discussing reviews of games that differ widely on console or PC. I stipulated in my review that my positive experience was on console, while many reviewers were having poorer experiences on PC. This game is admittedly not perfect. It has some significant technical flaws, biggest in the area of NPC Voice Acting was just awful. However, the hacking, combat, and world was just an absolute blast. I did not want the game to end when I finished the main story, I went on to complete side missions and map sections. I wanted more. This game gets high marks for diverse gameplay being left to the player. It tests your imagination with how you approach missions. This game gets high marks for innovation, with a unique and crazy "Play As Anyone" mechanic. That mechanic is really intriguing and WHY I bought the game. It is not implemented perfectly, but has the potential for greatness. Watchdogs Legion was one of my favorite games of 2020, even with technical flaws.
Gosh, if "peer pressure" exists in the gaming industry than Hades is the prime example. Where the hell did this game come from? I never even heard of it until it was at the Game Awards. Then all the major outlets started putting it high in ALL the end of year lists. Not a single "Best of 2020" list seemed absent of this game. I have never felt more pressured to play a game in my life! Good god I get it Hades is fucking great IGN, Gamespot, Kotaku, Reddit, MOM. I barely have had enough time to play the game to experience it for my own lists. ....finally broke down and just played it, and yes yes it is every bit as awesome as they all have been saying. Yes, the shield of chaos is one of the most fun, chaotic, and ridiculous weapons of all time, and yes it makes you feel like fucking Captain America himself, LEAVE ME ALONE.
6. Doom Eternal
"I don't know what I am doing. I don't know why I am here. All I know is I must kill things..."
Every time I see or play Doom Eternal, I am reminded of a meme that best described Doom Eternal in this way. The game hands you a seemingly never ending arsenal of weapons with no mission other than kill more demons along the path to the next objective. I never played much of the 2016 version, in fact, no Bethesda title has ever managed to hold my interest. However, Doom Eternal breaks that cycle in giving us one of the most polished shooter simulators to date. Without the context of the 2016 game, you won't have any context of why you are doing what you are doing or what is going on. All you need to know is demons have seemingly taken over Earth and it is your job to kill as many of them as possible. I will be honest, what makes this game such a phenomenal experience is the traversal and gunplay. This could have been a flat, linear experience, with a much simpler array of guns, and they would have gotten away with a much lazier game. Instead, we get one of the most complex gun systems I have ever seen in a shooter. You don't have the usual two or even three. You carry with you an an entire inventory of weapons at one time. The scarcity of ammo and the unique weaknesses of various enemies will force you to use all of them. You will run out of ammo and be forced to switch weapons. On top of all that, each weapon has various mods that are necessary to face certain enemies. You must switch these weapons quickly, as the game rarely gives you time to think. On top of trying to decide which gun to choose, you must remember to attack in certain ways to maintain health, shields, and ammo. It is one of the most complicated shooters in everything you must do to survive a various area. You can not run and gun, you cannot have a favorite weapon, you can not stand still. This game will challenge even the experienced shooters.
5. Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockdown
After playing through both the Last of Us Remastered and The Last of Us Part 1 back to back, Fall Guys was like being splashed with cold water. Going from one of the most gritty, grey, mature, visceral, and also kind of depressing experiences of my gaming career, Fall Guys was there with a big smile and bright color palette to remind me that video games can be happy again. They don't have to pull my emotions in different directions other than controller tossing anger at losing thanks to an idiot who tripped in front of me. They can have color. They can make you laugh. Fall Guys was a game I knew about but forgot about, and didn't even make enough noise for me to put it on my 2020 Anticipated list. But despite not knowing how needed this game was for 2020, we all needed Fall Guys in 2020. With one pandemic outside, and a zombie outbreak inside, I never needed a little happy break like Fall Guys than when it came out. Fall Guys helped save 2020.
4. Genshin Impact
The world of Free to Play titles is rampant with very specific genres. Free MMO's are countless. Low effort mobile clickers, Hero Shooters and other FPS titles, especially ones that favor the Battle Royale phenomenon, are popular in the free space. So when discussion started to circle of "Genshin Impact" and being the popular buzz of that news cycle, it peaked my interest. I saw snippets of some anime looking game. The discussion seemed positive, and I decided to check it out.
Genshin Impact breaks the rules of free to play in genre, and in platform. Most free games hit PC or Mobile only, but Genshin Impact also arrived on PS4 which is where I played it. I was expecting a low effort ugly MMO, but instead I was greeted by a beautiful, high quality Fantasy RPG with major Breath of the Wild Vibes. We just don't see games like this in the free to play space. The game was free on console, which is even more rare. I was just blown away at how polished and AAA the game felt.
I take away points for choosing the more controversial gacha monetization, some excessive similarities to Breath of the Wild, and for the absolutely insane lack of controller support on mobile. However, I felt the monetization was minimal, and not front and center. It is possible to play the game and never be bothered by it's existence. I loved the photo mode, and the flight, and the combat. Everything about the game is beautiful from its art, world, and character designs. I didn't expect that I would get such a rich and fun console quality RPG, and get it completely free.
3. Superliminal - INDIE GOTY 2020
IGN, GameSpot, and everyone else leave me alone with who you think should be the Indie GOTY because I have waiting for this game longer than any of these other games on this list. I remember seeing the original tech demo for this game way back in 2014! I never forgot the perspective warping concept, and I have been waiting for the actual game ever since. I have never seen a game with the mechanic before so I got major props for innovation in my review. It also doesn't rely on one way of using that mechanic and instead keeps you having to experiment in how to use this concept throughout the whole thing. You will question what is real in this game. You will question everything. The only thing that I wonder is how THIS game wasn't on every single one of those top ten lists out there because this is a puzzle gen that reaches the heights of Portal. If you haven't played this game, as the first 10/10 I gave out this year, it is a must play. My only criticism I could come up with for the entire thing was I just wanted more of it.
2. Final Fantasy 7 Remake - BEST RPG 2020
Final Fantasy 7 Remake is an absolutely phenomenal experience, and honestly had it not been for the number 1 spot on this list, I would have sworn it was a shoe-in for GOTY. In fact, I will say that this was probably the closest and hardest GOTY decisions of 2020. Being number 2 in 2020 really doesn't coney how I think of the past few years this would have been a GOTY any other year. I have never been a Final Fantasy fan, never played the original Final Fantasy 7, as it has been a franchise that as on many times alluded my interest. I am also mostly a stranger to JRPG's in general, not having much experience with Japanese titles. This all said, I have been told all my life by multiple gaming friends how the original Final Fantasy 7 is one of the greatest video games of all time. In 2020, I got a rare opportunity to experience one of gaming's greatest (at least partially as this tells only part of the story) without having it dampened by ancient graphics.
This game has so many amazing aspects to it. It has some of the absolute best gameplay of the year by a long shot. It perfectly blends real time and "psudo-turn-based-strategy" with it's parseable action ripped straight from Mass Effect. Cloud's ridiculous physics-bending sword is both made to feel like it has the weight something of that size would have, and at the same time Cloud is believably able to wield it with the accuracy of a much smaller sword. I also was absolutely impressed at the variety of enemy types. Just when I thought I saw the last new type of enemy, there was a new one. The level of combat difference was astounding, most games Max out their enemy types long before Final Fantasy 7 was done throwing enemies at you.
The world is phenomenal, giving both the detail of game much more linear and smaller in scope, and the vastness and size of an larger open world game. I can't stress enough how great the world building and environments are. It is narrow enough for single player game but open enough to scratch the open world itch.
The characters are some of my favorite in the game. Cloud really over the course of the game makes a cold stoic soldier type very likable, and Aerith and Tifa are some of the best game companions I have seen since Mass Effect. They are such likable characters who you really come to care about their wellbeing. The fact that such a 10/10 experience was able to come out of only part of a whole story is just amazing. Even if you don't usually like Final Fantasy or JRPG's, I highly recommend giving this one a try.
Before listing my number one spot, here are some honorable mentions.
Something I started last year was really separating out AAA and Indie with an entire list of top indie games. As I mentioned in that list, I picked my top few indie games for the main list, but I can't stress enough how amazing those 7 other games are. One in particular really stood out was number 4 on that list, Butter Royale. I have spent many an hour playing that fun and simple game. Another honorable mention goes to a game I really enjoyed as a gamer, but know that they failed enough from a technical standpoint to fail to meet this list. I really enjoyed Avengers. I loved the story, characters, and the gameplay; but, massive performance issues at launch and failure to succeed as the live service it wanted to be both brought it down from achieving greatness despite being one of my favorite experiences of the year. I wish it had been a off-line or co-op only experience with a complete main story. It's attempt at forcing the live-service model was an unnecessary addition that ruined much of what could have been great. I also have not played enough of Resident Evil 3, but am enjoying it so far. Assassin's Creed Valhalla is a game I have high on my wishlist but have yet to find time to play.
1. The Last of Us Part II
I am aware that my pick for GOTY is one of the most divisive picks in recent gaming industry. The Last of Us Part 2 is the Last Jedi of Gaming in that few games cause this much disparity between gamers and critics, and this level of disparity amoung gamers. While years past some GOTY’s were niche, or maybe just “not for you”, The Last of Us Part 2 has people who straight up hate this game.
For this reason, I really want to pause and stipulate that if you hate the game, that is ok. Some critics and influencers who I really enjoy hated the game. I don’t need to make anyone love this game if they dont. Because of how divisive this game was, I wrote my longest and most detailed review yet in two parts, so if you would like an indepth review of why this game in my opinion is phenomenal read HERE. (Spoiler Free Review) (Spoiler Review)
Here, I will just say that without spoilers, The Last of Us Part 2 takes me on a narrative journey I have never experienced before. It messes with perception and morality in a way I have yet to see a game achieve. There were a few very specific narrative decisions that I only fully appreciated when I finished the game. This is a game you need to finish to appreciate the message.
Narrative aside, I found the gameplay to be addictive and the visuals to be just phenomenal. The Last of Us Part 2 is a game I will forever reference when defending the PS4 and Xbox One’s capabilities to those erroneously claiming they are “too old” to run say certain brand new future scifi dystopian rpg’s....
For graphical, gameplay, and narrative reasons, I found The Last of Us Part 2 to be a absolutely next level 10/10 experience that has to be the pick for my GOTY 2020.