This was a momentous year for gaming, with the final stages of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One playing out as we awaited the long-anticipated releases of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S. It was a year with challenges, bumps and hurdles, punctuated in the gaming space by the mass delay of videogames through to 2021, somewhat anaemic console launch line-ups and the tumultuous release of Cyberpunk 2077. But now, it’s time to start talking about the top 10 games of 2020.
With the year wrapping up and game releases basically finished, the staff of Rocket Chainsaw have come together to vote on the best games of 2020. The even spread of high-quality games was on show throughout the voting, with every member of staff voting for a different game as the best of the year. Without further ado, here are the Top 10 Games of 2020 as per Rocket Chainsaw:
Equal Ninth Place: Assassin’s Creed Valhalla & Hades
The first of two ties in this Top 10 Games of 2020 list sees the latest entry into the now three generations old Assassin’s Creed franchise, Valhalla, was easily the biggest in the franchise this generation. With a more refined combat system, some fantastic environmental visuals and the reintroduction of sorely missed systems like building your settlement, Valhalla made its mark in 2020.
On nearly the complete opposite side of the gaming landscape, Hades, the latest game from the minds at Supergiant, is a masterclass of gameplay systems, art and narrative. The building of mechanics and systems that propel you forwards, the genuinely interesting characters and the constant desire to continue and improve culminate in one of (if not) the best roguelike games ever.
Eighth Place: Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales
Insomniac’s sophomore entry into the burgeoning Marvel’s Spider-Man game franchise took the best elements of the original game, while trimming the fat and refocusing away from its more frustrating moments. Combined with the amazingly well-realised character of Miles Morales and a fresh and energetic feel, Miles Morales was another fantastic open world game.
Seventh Place: Paper Mario: The Origami King
With some initially middling previews, we were slightly worried about how Paper Mario: The Origami King would turn out, but upon release it was clear that our worry was completely unfounded. A hilarious and charming adventure, Paper Mario: The Origami King was filled with wonderful and creative boss battles, a fantastic world and captivated us from beginning to end.
Sixth Place: The Last of Us Part II
At this point it’s no longer a surprise when Naughty Dog comes to the table with an amazing game, and The Last of Us Part II is just that. A bleak and harrowing journey unlike much else in games, The Last of Us Part II isn’t ‘fun’ in the way that many other games are, but the incredible narrative and voice acting are truly something to behold.
Fifth Place: Final Fantasy VII Remake
After waiting more than a decade since the initial concept was shown off as part of a PlayStation 3 tech demo Final Fantasy VII Remake became a reality. Covering the earliest parts of the original game, while being unafraid of straying from the path and creating its own narrative, Final Fantasy VII Remake surpassed our expectations. We’re eagerly awaiting seeing the remaining parts to the story in the coming years.
Equal Third Place: DOOM Eternal & Yakuza: Like a Dragon
Our second and final tie in our Top 10 Games of 2020 list begins with a game that we called the ultimate Doom experience, DOOM Eternal. Taking the mechanics of 2016’s DOOM and further refining and building on them to create what feels like the ultimate Doom ‘puzzle’ FPS system, along with some glorious metal riffs, makes DOOM Eternal a more than welcome inclusion in this list.
The growth of the Yakuza franchise in the last few years has been nothing short of amazing. After almost disappearing in the West, the franchise has gone from strength to strength since the release of Yakuza 0, culminating in the release of Yakuza: Like a Dragon in 2020. Eschewing the action combat of past titles, Yakuza: Like a Dragon is instead a reinvention, introducing a new turn-based RPG system alongside its brand-new protagonist, city, and wider cast of characters. It’s a rebirth of the Yakuza franchise and one we’re incredibly interested in tracking in the future.
Second Place: Animal Crossing: New Horizons
With perhaps the most inadvertently opportune release date in the history of gaming, Animal Crossing: New Horizons took us and the world by storm in a way that was simply unimaginable before. Blasting through the expectations of both fans and Nintendo themselves, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is simply the best game in the franchise to date. With the most player-choice of an Animal Crossing game to date and an utterly chill experience, New Horizons helped plenty of people cope with some horrifically tumultuous times and was an amazing experience to boot.
First Place: Ghost of Tsushima
Finally, we reach the end of our Top 10 Games of 2020 list with a game that few of us expected to hit this height earlier in the year. Ghost of Tsushima was a change of pace for Suckerpunch Studios and a refreshingly new open world game that feels like the ultimate samurai experience. With an astonishingly gorgeous open world that is simply a delight to explore, tight and rewarding melee combat and a delightfully flawed and human cast of characters, Ghost of Tsushima blew past what we expected from it. Whether the game becomes a franchise is yet to be seen, but assuming it does, we can’t wait to take more adventures with Jin Sakai.
And with that final game, Rocket Chainsaw’s Top 10 Games of 2020 list comes to an end. Despite the struggles of the year, 2020 was an amazing year for gaming with an amazingly diverse range of exceptional experiences. We can’t wait to see what 2021 brings and hope to see the same level of quality continue.