Game of the Year 2020


With the streak of a tear, Like morning dew
Pretty self-explanatory, feel free to share your own choices in your preferred format. Without further ado...

The 2020 Game of the Year:

Half-Life: Alyx - The game of the year you probably haven't played. It's an epic AAA franchise flagship game that happens to be made for virtual reality, the combination of which makes it like nothing else I've played in either VR or traditional gaming. It incorporates features of traditional gaming in VR and makes them exceptional, and makes features of VR feel conventional, that is to say it has a combination of technological craftsmanship, innovation and polish you won't see anywhere else. I'm replaying now with a new overhead cord VR setup, and man is it great. This is the futuristic gaming experience you were looking for in 2020 and beyond (travel to 2077 not necessary, but we'll get to that later =). Don't come to it looking for Half-Life 3, which would amount to a glorified retro experience, but something more on the evolutionary scale of Mario 64. I just don't know how accessible and replicable it is, and therefore how influential and recognized it will ultimately be. Maybe it'll have to settle for being the most high profile, cutting edge and transcendent cult game of all time; or, the best game ever nobody ever played.


Final Fantasy VII Remake - This may be a nostalgia trip and pick, but what a nostalgia trip! This is basically the gaming equivalent of trying to remake Star Wars and actually kind of pulling it off, if not always in quality, though the production value is top notch, than with apparent quantity to spare and still more to come. They'll probably still blow it... but not yet!

The Last of Us Part II - Gorgeous, moody, bloody, and exquisitely produced, but for all its apparent effort not nearly as engaging, or transcendent, as its predecessor.

Ghost of Tsushima - Gorgeous and earnest, but it's a AAA open world buffet of familiar features. Well done, though.

Doom Eternal - It's a hell of a fun gameplay loop, but almost too dependent on it to the point of being immediately repetitive, and sort of feels like a kitsch retro game experience in a modern ultra settings package. I'd have liked to have seen what would have resulted if they continued more in the vein of the 2016 version rather than going all out to the point of self-parody.

Cyberpunk 2077 - Visually impressive, ambitious, but the characters and plot are nothing special and it's basically a Bethesda game with some Rockstar sprinkled in, which is every other big game you've ever played over the last two decades. If the cyberpunk genre is your bag, great, otherwise just play Witcher 3 instead.

Special mentions:

Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate - Technically a 2019 game, but it somehow just won best fighting game of 2020, and I've played no other game more this year or most years of my life (zeroing in on 700 hours, YIKES!). My favorite fighting game ever and it rekindled my passion for the genre.

Hades - Aaz got me into this one, but I'm not counting it because it's technically been in early access for a couple years and I only started it about a week ago, so I'll be writing a lot of impressions here. It's basically a Greek mythology themed Rogue-like, or Diablo if you prefer, with a twist: each run is until death and you make a different random build every time you play, though you can also level abilities and the story moves forward as much, or even more so, when you fail as while you progress (basically, you're always progressing, even when you die). It manages to capture that old school try 'til you die magic, without feeling like a waste of your time, plus with a lot of modern tricks and twists. The new build every time you play thing is pretty great, and it's just begging you to always try, "One more run..." The art style and story elements are delightfully charming, and the way the gameplay and storytelling naturally compliment each other should be envied by a lot of purportedly narrative driven, but actually clunkily executed, games. I also appreciate the way the references to Greek mythology actually correspond logically, even as they take intentionally irreverent liberties that result in pretty humorous commentary, unlike certain AAA franchises I won't mention (but God of War =).
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Death May Die

"That day you left, that's when I knew."
Last of Us 2 for me. I loved FF7 but Last of Us 2 left a experience that really resonated with me. What a great year for games. In a gloomy world it’s really nice to have these quality escapes.


Staff member
Man, it's hard to say! Feels like it's been three years since I played HL: Alyx, which is one of my problems with GOTY choices in general: the recent stuff always feels more relevant than the ones from the beginning of the year. In my case, Hades would have to be the game I played most over the past 3 months. I'm over it now, but I do find it excellent. FFVII Remake doesn't feel like it qualifies, even though I did everything I could in it. Loved Doom Eternal too, but not sure I'll remember much of it in 2 years. In fact I already don't remember all that much about it. In short... I don't know. Alyx might be it for me too. It pushed the envelope.
Half-Life Alyx sounds great for sure but I haven't played it. For me it's Cyberpunk, even tho I've had opportunity to play some of the worst performing version of the game I don't look that much on performance as I've played worse or similar performing games on my PC or PS2/PS3.

It's basically and mostly (except some cut content) what I wanted from this game which can be basically played with variety of modifications, hacking and gameplay approaches just like Deus Ex, but with even more satisfying gunplay (bottlenecked by enemy AI at some moments tho) Also this game reminds me of some action RPG classics I've played in the past, and in a good way. But this time set in very impressive looking city with lots of interiors/buildings to explore during quests and there are also fun vehicles and very disturbing dark quests to experience. It's mature and brutally realistic experience from CDPR with stunning soundtrack.


Last Guardian when? - CyberKlink 20XX before dying
FF7R and 13 Sentinels.
FF7 pulled off the right level of nostalgia for me even with some of the annoying bloat( that I think will plague the later parts of the series in ways Griffith brought up at some points) and the new stuff was really intriguing.

13 Sentinels, while not for everybody in terms of its characters/aesthetic, weaved together a really complicated and interesting narrative with pretty neat tactical gameplay. The way the story was told really impressed me since it took all these big reveals and had them laid out over time instead of just throwing stuff in as a big TWIST that comes out of nowhere or something that you could easily just guess from little clues at the beginning. As I played it it reminded me of a lot of specific anime/manga/movies I really enjoyed and reading an article about their influences mentioning Sukeban Deka, Please Save my Earth, Megazone 23, and Toward the Terra(among a lot of more obvious western 80s Sci-Fi movie stuff) was really validating.

FFXIV Shadowbringer's continued plot through the patches was also really good, I'm extremely excited to see what the producer and writers will do for Final Fantasy XVI. The team's practical approach to game development while pushing new talent forward is extremely refreshing and I can't wait for people who don't want to spend 600+ hours in an MMO to be able to experience it with that level of budget.
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