This has been a great year for the video game industry, not only because they have been full thanks to the pandemic, but because they have launched new consoles and very good games
What would have become of us in 2020, the year in which we could hardly leave home, if not series, movies, books or video games? The latter have had a particularly good year, as they have made the endless hours of confinement more bearable.
How can it be otherwise, this list is personal and completely dependent on my tastes as a player, so I could have other best games of the year for you. I like pistachio ice cream and you like vanilla ice cream, nothing happens: we both eat ice cream.
I have no doubt, however, that on this list there are video games for everyone, from those who seek to test their reflexes with impossible difficulties to those who simply want to relax quietly in a virtual world.
Video games are increasingly better and more varied digital recreations, so there is much to celebrate this year that we have had, for better and for worse, more time at home to enjoy this form of leisure.
1 – HADES (PC, SWITCH)
I’m not afraid to give the title to the best game of the year, the GOTY for those who want to say it in English, an independent game of a niche genre and starring Zagreo, the rebellious son of the god of the Underworld, who has become obsessed with leaving the kingdom of death and will have to fight hordes of enemies in different levels of Tartarus.
What characterizes games like Hades is their repetition loop, which in this case is perfect, neither more nor less: you play, you get where you go, you die and perfect skills, you unlock weapons, you establish alliances with the charismatic characters of Greek mythology , expand what you know about the plot and try again to escape from the realm of the dead. And you repeat. And you go on. And one more time. And come on. And you never get tired: that ‘just one more game’ is a lie.
Whether you get it or not, Hades has content for dozens and dozens of hours, with clever dialogue (never repeating, it’s amazing), fantastic character development, incredible design and aesthetics, and a story that unfolds in a way that it is only possible in a video game.
After more than 60 hours playing it, and the ones that remain, I keep smiling with each interaction and I keep playing a game before I fall asleep. Because that’s another, you can play in sessions of half an hour and always be satisfied. I said, the best video game of 2020, and one in which its workers have not been exploited to finish it.
2 – HALF-LIFE: ALYX (PC)
Revolutionary games are no longer made nowadays because risking is very complicated and the genres are tied and well tied … but Half-Life: Alyx can almost be said that it is because of how well it adapts all the innovations introduced by virtual reality in recent years to a long plot within an already very recognizable franchise.
The video game is a medium that lives and dies through interaction and what it makes you feel. This game literally puts you in the body of the character, forces you to handle the gun in a different way (reload, aim, everything is different when you do it in virtual reality) and frames everything in a world where you even shake a bottle of wine it surprises you.
Let’s add how great the plot of the Half-Life saga is and that this game fills a gap in his world that no one had imagined could be there, and for that reason it is in second place on this list. If you have the opportunity to play it, even for just half an hour at a friend’s house, I urge you to do so: it is quite an experience.
The only bad thing about this game is that to play it you need an investment of about 1,000 euros between the game, the computer and the virtual reality headset to play it (I did it on Oculus Quest and it worked perfectly).
3 – THE LAST OF US: PART II (PS4)
The Last of Us: Part II is a game with a gameplay similar to its predecessor that takes too long at times, with an obsession for gathering resources and which has to improve the skills of its two protagonists. It has incredible graphics and its technology for hiding loading screens is incredible, but as a raw game it could be better.
Luckily, it tells a heartbreaking and novel story for the medium, thanks in part to its two protagonists. Seeing Ellie dehumanize as you reconcile with the villain of the story is something very powerful and something that only a studio like Naughty Dog could have done right.
Only a study this large can introduce a trans man as a co-star of a good part of the plot and make one of its two protagonists, Abby, have a body very little seen in video games, which continue to be conservative, and even conservative. machistas, in the portrait of their women.
The importance of this game lies more in its plot than in the way you play it, which is not the case with the first two names on this list, whose narrative and handling are inseparable; So if you find it insulting that The Last of Us: Part II doesn’t top this ranking, think about this. In addition, it is time to punish a bit the games that exploit their workers until they ruin their health.
4 – ANIMAL CROSSING: NEW HORIZONS (SWITCH)
How ironic that just before strict confinement was decreed throughout Spain, Nintendo launched Animal Crossing, a game in which you escape to an island in the middle of the ocean to lead a totally normal life: plant flowers, help neighbors, dress up handsome. … An idyllic life, in my opinion.
How ironic that many of us caught this game when we were locked up at home and bitter, either because of teleworking or ERTEs or because we were sick from the virus. Each one in our circumstances, but with the sympathy, simplicity and daily novelty of this game.
In an industry that abounds in games of killing people and being competitive, Animal Crossing is the opposite: collaborate with others, love the inhabitants of your island and try to make their surroundings better while having fun. Because planting trees and decorating your house is fun in this game, something unheard of.
5 – FINAL FANTASY VII: REMAKE (PS4)
The remake of one of the most beloved video games in the history of the industry, what could go wrong? Beyond some performance problems and a bit of padding, the truth is that Final Fantasy VII Remake is a great game not so much for retelling the story of Cloud and company, but for introducing certain changes and risking a little with the traditional remake formula.
Fortunately, the combat system is totally different and works like a charm, allowing magnificent combinations between the combatants and introducing the right touch of strategy and planning in a saga that usually had the fighting as a mere formality in the story.
And the changes in the narrative, which we all know widely, are very interesting, because for fans who already know what happens with Aerith, Sephiroth or even Zack, a new path seems to have opened that can change what we take for granted and make this remake is something new. The success of this game is not only the well rethought nostalgia, but also the new opportunities.
6 – DOOM: ETERNAL (PC, PS4, XBO, SWITCH)
If we’ve learned anything over the years and years from shooting games, it’s that there’s something very satisfying about popping an enemy’s head with a gun. The more outlandish the gun and the bug we shoot, the better the better.
Doom: Eternal understands that this is the key to its success and has invented countless ways to do it, building around all kinds of excuses that serve solely and exclusively to make you feel very powerful when you kill an enemy. The double jump, the dodge, the sword, the flamethrower … It all adds up to that single purpose.
I can’t say that I wouldn’t have preferred the game to focus more on these good ideas that broaden the gameplay and less on adding an undertone to the Doom Guy killings, or Doom Slayer now; but I even think these stories about our stars are fine.
Doom: Eternal is pure rhythm and as a game it knows how to get you into the action. ‘Shred and tear until there are none left,’ says the game, and indeed, it is.
7 – AMONG US (PC, IOS, ANDROID)
Yes, Among Us was launched in 2018, but it was in 2020 when ordinary mortals have discovered it and we have realized that playing ‘The Thing’ on a mobile while chatting with friends on Discord is very, very fun . No wonder the streamers have not stopped playing it and its popularity has only increased.
The Among Us proposal is easy: up to 10 crew members on a stage, with their tasks to be done. The girito: there may be between one and three impostors who hunt down others and go unnoticed with the naked eye … until they kill someone or sneak through one of the cracks on the stage.
Suspecting everyone, falsely accusing friends and ending up screwing up or hitting the group decision is genuinely fun and more like a board game than a video game. In a year in which we cannot be together due to the virus, this game has been a great replacement for traditional board games.
8 – DEMON’S SOULS REMAKE (PS5)
Sneaking another remake on this list might not say anything good about me or this year’s video games, which can’t compete with another game’s reissue. But it just so happens that the two games, Final Fantasy VII before and now Demon’s Souls, are fundamental classics.
In this case, the game’s revision is a near-perfect copy of the original, but with better graphics, fewer bugs, and a few improvements in control, making it wonderful to enjoy the first ‘Souls’ ever.
It is true that out of its context, Demon’s Souls is not so revolutionary, but even today, it is an experience of survival and of learning to master a game to the core in order to succeed. And all this without ever being frustrating, because what killing you when you make a mistake does is that you never do it again.
There are few video games like this and I can’t think of a better title to release that brand new PlayStation 5 that you bought as a Christmas ‘self-gift’.
9 – MICROSOFT FLIGHT SIMULATOR (PC)
If you miss traveling and flying, as a server, Microsoft Flight Simulator may be your best medicine. Good luck if you don’t have a good computer, because it is one of those games that requires everything from a computer.
As with Animal Crossing, there is something nice and fun about the ease and fulfillment of piloting a plane in the most realistic way possible (this is not GTA, buddy) and seeing the world’s landscapes from your home, especially in a year like 2020, where the same, from your interior floor, you did not see the street for weeks.
The simulation genre has very loyal users who even build, in this case, airplane cabins so that the illusion of being piloted is almost a reality, but you don’t have to go so crazy to simply enjoy a little trip in command of a plane and see the world as a bird.
The experiences that videogames allow today are so gratifying that titles like Flight Simulator have an increasing audience, since not all of us need (or do not always need) the fast and constant impulses of a FIFA or a Call of Duty to entertain ourselves.
10 – STAR WARS: SQUADRONS (PC, PS4, XBOX ONE)
Perhaps it is because I have had the stupid year with flying games or virtual reality games, but the truth is that the story without excessive ambitions, the fantastic control and, obviously, the setting in the Star Wars universe of this game went absolutely crazy.
Whether you play it in virtual reality (my case) or not (also my case), Squadrons is a very different action game with an arcade essence from those of yesteryear, but in which there is also space to manage your ship and go crazy with the weapons and the maintenance you do with it. This is thanks to Star Wars and, of course, how can you not have a luxury X-Wing and do all kinds of pirouettes while shooting in a battle against the Empire.
I wish all Star Wars games, and their movies, really, were so clear about their identity and what they have to achieve in their consumers. In the case of Squadrons, especially if you play it in virtual reality, it is making you feel like a pilot from a galaxy far, far away.