This year has been a strange one, hasn’t it? The sooner it’s gone, the better. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t a massive year for gaming. We had the highly anticipated next-gen consoles arrival on the scene, with the PS5 being the early standout with the DualSense controller. I cannot begin to express how impressed I am with the new hardware.
Back to the topic at hand, I had some real trouble deciding what games would reach my end-of-year picks; as there have been some spectacular gaming gems. This was only made even more difficult as there are quite a few games I haven’t played on my hit list. Watch Dogs: Legions, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Yakuza: Like A Dragon are just a few of the games I haven’t found time to squeeze in yet. I’m sure one of them might have been in the running to reach this list otherwise. My stack of shame is only getting bigger and bigger…
Without further ado, here are my personal top ten games of 2020.
Super Mario 3D All-Stars
It was everyone’s favourite plumber’s 35th anniversary this year. They released perhaps some of the best 3D platformers of all time in one convenient package to celebrate in style. Not a bad way of celebrating a landmark, huh? I’ve already wasted so much time throwing penguins of mountain cliffs in Super Mario 64 and clearing up Isle Delfino from graffiti in Super Mario Sunshine. I haven’t got around to re-playing Super Mario Galaxy, but that gives me something to do next year.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
When Animal Crossing: New Horizon dropped back in March, I probably spent more time than I would like to admit on the Nintendo life-simulation game. My inner hoarder had plenty to keep me occupied with as I became absolutely transfixed crafting my perfect home to every small detail.
On those rare occasions, I had finished all my daily island exploits; I would always jump across to see what my friends had accomplished with their islands. For many, it offered much-needed escapism from real-life, and it truly felt like a home away from home.
Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout
Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout came out of nowhere, but it was without a doubt one of this year’s breakout hits. This battle royale game is pure carnage as it takes inspiration from game shows such as Takeshi Castle (but instead of duking it out for a fridge you’re battling for a shiny virtual crown).
Playing as an adorable but almost eatable jellybean; you’ll challenge players in multiple rounds until you are eliminated or the last triumphant bean standing. Even though the game has been out for several months now, there’s a part of me that shivers every time Slime Climb appears…
Before playing Hades, I had never experienced a Supergiant game, but I am now seriously tempted to go back and play their prior games like Bastion and Pyre. Hades is a gripping yet punishing rouge-like dungeon crawler that will see you attempt (again and again) escape the clutches of the Greek underworld. With immerse gameplay, phenomenal storytelling and a distinctive art style, Hades will have you hooked like no other. I’m sure moving forward into 2021 I’ll be still sinking plenty of time into this game – secretly keeping my fingers crossed for a PlayStation port.
Two Point Hospital
Back in the day, I played a lot of Bullfrog Production games on my old-school Windows 98. As you could imagine, I was excited by the idea of a spiritual successor for Themed Hospital. I’m happy to report Two Point Hospital certainly didn’t disappoint.
The aim of the game is to strive for a profitable business whilst attempting to appease the public with things such as reasonable healthcare and satisfactory facilities. The staff members themselves are not much better either constantly asking for a promotion or personalised staff room. Don’t they know I have a capitalist enterprise to run?
Two Point Hospital is highly addictive, with a very light-hearted tone throughout. Every time I return to this game, I always find it nothing but a pleasure. Even if getting that infamous three-star rating is a challenge.
This is the first game I ever reviewed for Pure PlayStation, so it will always hold a special place in my gaming heart.
You can read my review of Two Point Hospital for PS4 through here.
Astro’s Playroom was the first game I booted up on my PS5, and I’m beyond glad this was my introduction to the system. Travelling through the PlayStation hardware’s inspired levels, it was truly heart-warming to see such care was taken to this narration of PlayStations history. Giving the chronicles of Sony a homage to be proud of.
The new DualSense controller blew me away with what it was able to do and showcase in the game. It really paid attention to small details like feeling the rain-drops patter off Astros head, that literally made the emergence go to a whole new level. Combined with an infectiously cheerful tone, brightly coloured levels, and Astros playful antics running throughout, I found it hard to play this game without a stupid smile on my face.
You can read my review of Astro’s Playroom for PS5 through here.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2
When I was younger, I would go outside and ride on my skateboard, but I wasn’t too good at it, to be entirely honest with you. But the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater games changed all that. Within minutes I was able to perform tricks I could have only imagined pulling off in real life (and probably helped me avoid an injury or two). This remake re-captured the magic of what made the original two Tony Hawk’s games so special with a modern lick-of-paint. The nostalgia was only enhanced even further with the return of the brilliant soundtrack. Skateboarding around wouldn’t be the same without Superman by Goldfinger playing.
You can read Chris’s review of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 for PS4 and Xbox One through here.
Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot
I’m a huge anime enthusiast, and like most people, my introduction to anime was through Dragon Ball Z. This game is every fan’s dream, come true, with the original story of the anime being loyally followed, together with reliving iconic fights from the series which to any faithful fan like me are priceless.
I really appreciated the different storytelling style that Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot used compared to previous DBZ games. Its free-roaming RPG experience allowed me to cross off many Super Saiyan ambitions, such as haunting down dinosaurs in the Wastelands, blasting Kamehameha waves in the sky, and most important of all, jumping on Yamcha’s lifeless body (yes, you can actually do that).
With upscaled graphics and dramatic fight scenes scattered throughout, I cannot recommend Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot enough for returning fans like myself or newcomers to the series just looking for a good time. The only drawback of the whole game is it doesn’t feature Vegeta iconic moment of “it’s over 9000!”
Final Fantasy VII Remake
The moment Final Fantasy VII Remake was announced back at E3 2015; I was beyond excited. I couldn’t wait to see Cloud and the gang come to modern-day graphics.
Playing this new version of the game brought all the old memories of the original flooding back, but it did not lose any of its prior charm or personality in the process. Quite the opposite, I really enjoyed the advance storytelling used in the remake, like fully exploring Sector 5’s Reactor.
Likewise, I also found the new combat system introduced compelling. Moving away from the traditional RPG system and adopting an action-based one encouraged me to use and shift between all the characters (any excuses to annihilate opponents with Barret gun is always welcomed). Plus, it always forced me to think and strategize one step ahead with the new ATB gauge.
With stunning visuals, first-rate combat, and outstanding additions to the story, I did not just merely enjoy playing Final Fantasy VII Remake, it was my standout Game of the Year.
You can read Stuarts’s review of Final Fantasy VII Remake for PS4 through here.