Each year I like to reflect on a bit of a personal ‘Games I’ve really enjoyed’ list. It’s not ‘Game of the Year’ exactly, as ranking them is a bit of a challenge. So, in no particular order, my highlights from 2020:
Immortals: Fenyx Rising (PS4/PS5/Xbox One/Xbox Series S/X) – bright, colourful, a densely packed open world without being overwhelming. I found a lot to do in Immortals, and I really enjoyed the Greek mythology setting but with modern day quips – sassy Zeus didn’t sit well with me at first but it won me over, and I found it witty, amusing and sometimes laugh out loud funny.
Call of Duty: Warzone – (PS4/Xbox One/Xbox Series S/X) – Battle royal Call of Duty in the form of standalone Warzone captures the intensity of what made games like PUBG such a hit, with the speed and gunplay of Call of Duty. It can be slow and tactical, balls-out insane, throw in vehicles and some of the stuff that you can do or see – every battle ends up in a YouTube highlight. Absolutely outstanding.
Desperados 3 (PS4/Xbox One) – real-time strategic tactics gameplay set in the Wild West had me hooked immediately, and knowing it was a spiritual sequel to Shadow Tactics meant I was basically going to love this anyway. It is brilliant, from atmosphere to story, to the puzzle box levels, brilliantly merging thinking, action and strategy. The developers have announced they’re working on a third real-time tactics game, and I can’t wait.
Picross S1/2/3/4 (Switch) – I put in over 100 hours on Picross S3 this year, but since it wasn’t released I felt a bit guilty listing it. However they’re all pretty much the same, I bought S4 so it’s going on this list. I mean, it’s Picross. But there’s tons of it, and I loved it.
Ghost of Tsushima (PS4) – an open world Samurai game? Yes please. Mechanically, it’s a by-the-numbers open world type game, but a good story, and most importantly some excellent sword-play make this excel. Added features such as ‘realistic’ sword damage (which is scary) and a co-op mode round off an excellent package.
UFC 3 (PS4/Xbox One) – I didn’t like it at first, but some patches later has transformed UFC 3 into a fantastic simulation combat game. A close representation to the sport as you can get these days, it’s fluid and fast. Despite some over-indulgent XP metagame stuff, this is my ‘go to’ for a quick game.
The Last of us Part 2 (PS4) – Part 1 might be my favourite game of all time. Part 2 may have surpassed this. Excellent in every way, divisive for many due to length of story, some of the issues tackled and the extreme, realistic violence, but I loved it all. I came away with my mind blown, the experience delivered in line with the best that I’ve seen from the cinema, and some of the best that I’ve played – the perfect combination. I felt like Naughty Dog have really perfect video games with this. Amazing.