We made it through 2020, everyone! Pat yourselves on the back, and take a moment to join us in celebrating some of the best games of the year. We started with over seventy games to talk about, and whittled that list down to our top ten of the year! If you would like to hear the entire deliberation process, we have a special podcast episode you can listen to here.
Despite the last year admittedly being quite a trash fire, it was a fairly fantastic one in terms of the games we played =D We had a lot of fun finding our favourites, and would love to hear which ones were yours!
#10 – Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales (PS5)
A worthy successor to Insomniac’s 2018 Spider-Man, Miles Morales delivers a compelling narrative and a visual upgrade which is miles beyond what we were expecting. To be noted, we are specifically talking about the PS5 version (sorry Andre), which has incredible use of ray tracing and generally has a stunning aesthetic. Not to mention, the story really resonated with some of us, which makes it a very easy pick to be a part of our 2020 Game of the Year list.
#9 – Yakuza: Like A Dragon
Yakuza is a series which has been beloved by us here at Fyx, and Like a Dragon had us half-excited, half-cautious. Introducing a brand new protagonist in a brand new city with brand new mechanics was a bold move; but to our collective reliefs, it turned out great. Ichiban rules, the side characters rule, the story rules, the new mechanics rule – it rules.
#8 – Necrobarista
Necrobarista is a game which has an innate ability to subvert expectations. It is a heartfelt, funny, emotional, affecting story which leaves you thinking for hours, days, and weeks after playing. We’ve talked with some people who have said it has caused them to re-evaluate parts of their own lives, and that is absolutely something to be respected. Necrobarista gets a full recommendation, though we do suggest the non-Apple Arcade versions as they are censored.
#7 – Bugsnax
Everyone truly was talking about Bugsnax. What started as a simple creature collection game turned into an introspective existential nightmare with a diverse, decidedly human-feeling cast of characters (despite not being human at all). Bugsnax is a journey well worth taking, and one where the destination will potentially surprise you. Also, dang, the character relationships are truly something special!
#6 – Trails of Cold Steel IV
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV -THE END OF SAGA- occupies a unique space in the modern gaming world. The Legend of Heroes series exists just outside of the mainstream (at least here in North America and the UK), and it has quietly been building an immense amount of lore and fantastic characters over the past thirty years. Trails of Cold Steel IV is a culmination of this effort, and delivers an engaging, exciting narrative coupled with good gameplay.
#5 – Amnesia: Rebirth
Horror games are often more effective than horror movies since you are the one in control, and while Amnesia Rebirth is a great horror game, it is special because it couples its mechanics with a narrative which is super effective because it is a game. It also tackles subjects which a lot of media often avoids, while doing so in a nuanced and spectacular way. We very much recommend waiting for the sun to go down, closing the curtains, and spending a few nights with Amnesia Rebirth!
#4 – Half Life: Alyx
It’s a pleasant surprise that the latest Half Life game, which has come thirteen years after the most recent entry in the series, turned out to be such a triumph. The only downside to Half Life: Alyx is the high barrier to entry (needing a capable PC + VR Headset), but once that barrier has been scaled, the experience on the other side is nearly transcendent. It is Valve at the height of their craft, and there are few studios who can compete with them at that level.
#3 – Final Fantasy 7 Remake
Before it came out, Final Fantasy 7 Remake seemed more like a punchline than anything else; but now that it is here, it is anything and everything but. It is a wonderful character piece, it has great combat, it reimagines a lot of the best moments from the original PS1 game, all while being wrapped in a fascinating and fresh take on the story it wants to tell. We are definitely looking forward to the next entry (or entries) in this series to see where they take things!
#2 – Umurangi Generation + Macro
Umurangi Generation came out in the first half of 2020, and in that moment felt like a decidedly 2020 game. But after releasing the Macro DLC, it felt more like the 2020 game. Creator Naphtali Faulkner delivers an exceptionally stylish game with fresh gameplay, and is not afraid to take on serious issues from a modern Māori perspective. The subjects & topics covered in Macro could not be more prescient with where the year took us, and Umurangi Generation along with its Macro DLC will continue to resonate for years to come.
#1 – Hades
Sometimes a game just gets everything right. Gameplay, story, characters, visuals, audio – everything. Hades is Supergiant Games proving that they are titans at their craft, and have created a game which deserves every praise we can throw at it. It is a fresh take on the roguelike genre, delivering a narrative in an innovative way – one which reacts to how you play, the hurdles you overcome, and the walls which stop you. And if the walls are often stopping you, they have included a great “God Mode” which can help you experience the game to its fullest, so while it can be difficult, it can also be accessible. Now that Hades has cross-save support between PC and Switch, you can bring the experience with you wherever you want! All-in-all, Hades is a wonderfully crafted game which is absolutely worth the time and effort to experience everything it has to offer.