2020’s Games of the Year

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Ever since quarantine started, many people have turned to old hobbies to help get them through the horrible year of 2020. However, most people wanted to stay connected with their friends and family online while still enjoying themselves. One of the biggest PC platforms to download games called Steam, had its highest user count, consisting of 20 million people in March, and one of the biggest streaming services called Twitch, had a 50% increase in gaming hours with 1.49 billion gaming hours watched in April. Users went to choose their favorite games in their new community, so here’s a highlight of the top games according to The Game Awards and other sites.

The labeled best game of 2020 overall was The Last of Us Part II, an adventure/action game, made by the developer team Naughty Dog. It was a very controversial game due to it being so different from the first one, having unending twists and turns throughout the storyline. Without spoiling the apocalyptic, zombie, horror video game, in a fantastic review by Erin Kain, he explains “When Naughty Dog announced a sequel, creative director Neil Druckmann revealed that it would be a game about hate. The first was a game about love, the second hate. Like the tattooed fingers of Robert Mitchum in The Night of the Hunter.” The games were deeply commended for their intense acting as well, allowing the player to immerse themselves in the gameplay and the hearts of the characters.

Among Us was a huge hit this year, even though it had been released in the middle of 2018. It’s a multiplayer mobile and PC game that has a lobby holding up to 10 people, where crewmates (the characters) have to do tasks while the Imposters (Up to 3 but usually people choose 2) attempt to sabotage and pick off the crew one by one. It’s genuinely a very fun game, no matter which player gets chosen to be at the beginning of rounds. It requires a lot of teamwork and communication if you want to catch the imposters and vote off the right crewmates suspected to be Imposters. InnerSloth, the 3 person developer team, had made two other games called the Henry Stickman Collection and Dig 2 China which shows clearly when played that the team puts their heart and soul into creating games. They continue to update the game for Christmas, creating bigger maps and small character customizations, which are teased on their Twitter.

Towards the end of the year came the release and blow-up of the mobile, PS4, and PC game called Genshin Impact. Genshin Impact is a mostly single-player (There’s Co-Op as well) gacha and open-world game made in an anime style where you play as a Traveler who crashes into a world with seven nations ruled by Seven Archons, which are element powered gods. You must search for your sibling among these nations, making stops at each learning about the people in them and helping solve their problems. Since the game is relatively new, there are only two places in the big world of Teyvat called Mondstat, ‘ruled’ by the Anemo Archon, Barbatos, and Liyue, ruled by the Geo Archon, Rex Lapis. The game is super in-depth even only having two places and takes weeks to even get through the story mode, so there’s no shortage of gameplay even for it being early access.

Another game called Final Fantasy VII (specifically the remake) was also very popular and had many positive reviews for it’s deeper in-depth gameplay compared to others of it’s kind that were just flashy. Final Fantasy is a huge, and popular, action RPG game series that is very similar to Dungeons and Dragons, which is a classic, beloved, tabletop game played for years. A quick synopsis of the game from Wikipedia explains “During Final Fantasy VII, the Planet’s Lifestream is being drained for energy by the Shinra Electric Power Company (神羅), a world-dominating megacorporation headquartered in the city of Midgar. Shinra’s actions are weakening the Planet, threatening its existence and all life”. The original Final Fantasy VII came out in 1997 and the remake came out this year, blowing up due to its huge fanbase. Some players didn’t understand why the remake was created and hated it for it, but the real reason was to flesh out the characters and story further, add smaller new details in-game, and create a new lead to another crazy ending.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons took the country by storm when people first ordered their Nintendo Switches and from long awaiting the release when Animal Crossing: New Leaf announced a sequel. The release was around the pandemic heights of quarantine, allowing users to crave for calmer, unshackled gameplay to play to destress due to the news plaguing every TV channel. Animal Crossing provided a fantastic distraction being very similar to the game Stardew, also being a simulation game. The user can spend time creating their own town and raising it from the ground up with the help of other villagers, or even their friends. It has endless gameplay where you never feel like you don’t have anything to do while letting the player relax.

All of these games mentioned above were fantastic games deserving their spots in the gaming rewards, and I highly recommend playing them on your own time while we’re all at home. Whether you want a calming family game like Animal Crossing or an immersive intense storyline like The Last of Us, you will get addicted to coming back to play these games in all your free time.