2020 was a great year for games. I happened to spend a lot of time with games released outside of this year. Some I adored, others not so much. Here is a quick run through of every non-2020 game I played this year.
The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine (2016)
My year started out with an old favorite. My journey with the Witcher 3 started three years ago, but it’s taken me three years and hundreds of hours of playtime to get through the base game and the DLC. Witcher 3 is one of my favorite games of all time. Blood and Wine was great content, and a wonderful send off to an amazing trilogy.
God of War II (2007)
I thought the first god of war was extremely reminiscent of the games in the 2000’s good and bad. I loved the arcadey combat and bombastic set pieces, but sometimes cringed at the extremely juvenile sex scenes and Kratos’ edgy demeanor. I actually enjoyed the sequel more going into it knowing to tune out the writing and enjoy the action sequences.
Spider-Man was a really great superhero game, maybe one of the best. Not a huge superhero fan – been getting a bit burnt out with the constant Marvel releases each year, but Spider-Man was just pure fun, and a game I wish I could have played 10 years ago. It was great to play a game where traversing the open world was actually fun. I could spend hours web slinging around New York doing tricks as Spider-Man
Hyper Light Drifter (2016)
Hyper Light Drifter reminded me of NES Zelda in all of the best ways. It’s a beautiful game, I’m not usually much for pixel art but it works here and captures the ruined beauty of the world. The combat is really fun but punishing, which sometimes frustrated me. I wish this game was a bit longer.
God of War III (2010)
God of War 3 was more of the same from god of war 2 ratcheted up to a 10. It’s a satisfying wrap up, but also pretty much where I felt I had seen everything this formula had to offer.
Red Dead Redemption II (2018)
Red Dead II is perhaps the most immersive game I’ve ever played. Once you had gotten used to the slow pace and sometimes combative controls, you begin to feel like you are living in the turn of the century American Midwest. Great story too, more games need to take note of the narrative decisions Rockstar undertook here. This game’s story left a greater impact that the first one, which was still quite good on its own.
So hard. I felt my spirit leave my body on some of these boss fights. Once you beat one you get a feeling of accomplishment few games can provide. Still, I can’t see myself ever going back to this one again.
Dead space 2 (2011)
I adored the first Dead Space and felt this one took a step back. Felt like it leaned too far into action sequences with far too many enemies. There wasn’t the same magic that I felt exploring the Ishimura level by level. It was a fine third person shooter, but not going to look back on this one with the same fondness of the original.
God of War (2018)
I know this is an adored game, but I did not feel especially enthusiastic about the newest God of War. While I was glad to see them taking a new direction with the franchise, I did not connect as much with the new mythos. I was never much interested in the new gods at all. The combat I thought was a bit too heavy with the tank controls and zoomed in camera and was disappointed that many of the boss fights were basically recolors of the first one you fight in the game.
Nier Automata (2017)
I strongly disliked this game. Gave it a chance despite not enjoying the robot-anime maid girl aesthetic but gave up on it about 2 quarters of the way through. I know some people love this game, but I could not stand the lifeless open world, repetitive mission structure and gameplay. Some suggested the game gets way better in the third act, so I watched that on YouTube. I came away from it thinking that the ending was neat, but ultimately glad that I didn’t spend tens of hours forcing myself through this game that I really didn’t enjoy.
The Banner Saga (2014)
I used to be a huge Fire Emblem fan, so I thought this game would be an interesting alternative as a turned based strategy game. While there were some problems with the gameplay (why is it more advantageous to let low-health enemies live rather than just killing them?) I did enjoy this game for the different choices you can make to ensure the survival of your wandering clan. I’m looking forward to playing the two sequels next year.
Horizon Zero Dawn (2017)
Something never clicked for me with Horizon. For some reason, the game just felt lifeless. Maybe it was the characters whose facial animations ventured toward uncanny valley. Maybe it was the incredibly boring in-the moment plot. (Though the lore was interesting) Maybe I just never enjoyed traversing the world (comparing traversal to Breath of the Wild really taints your perspective on this game). It is very nice to look at. But I was glad to be done this game when I saw credits roll.
Slay the Spire (2019)
This one was one of my favorites. I love card based rougelikes – Monster Train was one of my favorite releases this year. Slay the Spire was my podcast game for the better half of 2020. It’s easy to shut your brain off and play, though at the higher difficulties you need to think quite hard about which cards to put in your deck and which to play on a given turn. I personally loved the Defect character, a robot who specializes in using orbs of different powers to deal elemental effects to enemies.
Super Mario Odyssey (2017)
Mario Odyssey was the first Mario game I’ve played in a while that felt like it was doing something new with the formula. While I wouldn’t put it up there with either of the Galaxy games, I felt Odyssey took me to some really inventive locations and enamored me with the new hat mechanic, which allowed Mario to transform into just about anything. It was creative, something that can’t be said about what we saw Mario do on the Wii U.
Night in the Woods (2017)
This was such a cozy game. It captured the feel of autumn so well; I could see myself going back to this one next October to get me in the mood. The game is centered around a college dropout going back to their hometown and reconnecting with their old friends. The moment-to-moment dialogue was great, and though the story went needlessly off the rails towards the end, this one was one of my favorites from this year. Still listen to the soundtrack to this day.
Darkest dungeon (2016)
This game was so stressful. A dungeon crawling roguelike with permadeath is tough enough, factoring in its insane RNG made this an absolute beast to get through. I did enjoy my time with Darkest Dungeon after I really dug into the different hero combos. Very fun, a bit grindy, but worth it for the incredible moments and gothic art style.
Little Nightmares (2017)
Another game I played around the Halloween season; this game was so short that I am glad that I got it on sale. It only took me 3 hours to get through. Nothing really impressed me from a gameplay standpoint, and while there were some cool enemy designs, I found it a bit forgettable.
Among us (2018)
This was a fun, cute little game that I played a few times with friends and family. While I enjoyed Among Us for what it was, after a few matches you’ve basically experienced all there is to this game. Fun for what is though.
Jackbox Party Pack 3 and 4
A bunch of us spent the holidays a bit differently than usual this year. These two games did a great job entertaining us after thanksgiving dinner. While you get the gist of each game after a few rounds, I probably had the most fun during those sessions than I’d had all year with a game.
And that’s it. I beat 22 games this year, 16 coming from this list. Pretty good ratio if I do say so myself. Let me know what you think of my list. Did you play any older games this year that captured your attention? Any takes here that you disagree with? Feel free to yell at me in the comment section below. Stay posted for my top 10 list of 2020 games coming out soon. Thanks for reading.