So 2020 being what it was there was a lot of time sat around when I wasn’t working. I’ve done things like watch films and TV shows and read a lot but I’ve also played a hell of a lot of video games. Some of these have been online multiplayer so have given me the chance to stay in touch regularly with friends and some have naturally been story-based single-player games.
With that in mind I’d thought I would go through my ten favourite games of 2020, bearing in mind they weren’t necessarily released that year, it’s purely just games I’ve played.
Tom Clancy’s The Division 2
The Division 2 was a game picked up when it was stupidly cheap after we, as a group, had struggled to get into the original. I think this was down to us not all being the same level due to some having played it already where with this, we started at the same time so progressed together.
It’s actually a lot of fun, there’s loads to do and it’s incredibly atmospheric in places. It looks nice and really does encourage teamwork as failure to work together tends to end badly. We enjoyed it so much that we picked up the expansion, Warlords of New York, when that was also on sale and have put a decent amount of time into that too. It helped that it was a game that also allowed us to chat and catch up. Overall The Division 2 is a solid purchase and one that I would definitely recommend.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
At the start of the year I decided I wanted to play through The Witcher 3 again, this was largely due to watching the Netflix show and wanting to revisit the world. I invested something ridiculous like 250 hours into this playthrough, taking in the main game and both DLC packs. Which add a massive amount of extra content.
I honestly really enjoyed the stories being told and while there are generally happy endings, you always get a sense that there are consequences to what’s got you to this point. It’s one of those games that does a fantastic job of realising the main characters, Geralt is brilliant and his interactions with other NCP’s tends to be really well written.
I’m looking forward to the Xbox Series X upgrade that’s planned so I can inevitably play through it again.
The year started with me completing the Pokedex for Pokemon Sword and then as the year has gone on I’ve played through the two DLC packs completing their respective Pokedexes. I honestly love Pokemon and really enjoyed the expansion of this rather than having to shell out for a brand new game as has been the case in the past.
I get far too obsessive about getting all the Pokemon but last year was probably not a bad year to have that to focus on. It’s been one of those games where it’s been great to just pick it up, catch some Pokemon and then save and exit. It’s been perfect alongside other games I’ve been playing. I’m not sure if there’s going to be any more DLC for Sword and Shield in 2021 but I honestly sort of hope there is as I really like the region these are set in.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
I didn’t play Assassin’s Creed Odyssey much when it initially came out as I prioritised Red Dead Redemption 2, so figured I’d give it a proper go after finishing The Witcher again. I started from scratch and sank a hell of a lot of time into it, I’m really glad I did as it turned out to be my favourite Assassin’s Creed game to that point. The setting was absolutely fantastic and I really enjoyed the story.
Initially I wasn’t sure how I’d like the shift to more of an RPG direction, having not played Origins, but I really enjoyed it and thought it worked well. The addition of the assassination targets and the mercenaries was quite a nice touch.
I think the only things I didn’t really like is that the amount to do, I can be a little overwhelming and the inventory management is a ballache but there are honestly only small niggles.
Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town
I always loved the old Harvest Moon games so this remake of a game I’d played and loved absolutely years ago was one I really enjoyed getting to replay. It’s not the most complicated game but having played the later entries in the series, that had added more and more features, it was actually quite refreshing to play a more simplified game.
It’s one of those games that’s pretty much perfect for just chilling out and playing with no pressure to be had. It’s by no means perfect but it never failed to raise a smile and I’m not going to lie I needed that last year. It also lets you have alpacas and rabbits on your farm in addition to cows and chickens and you can have pet penguins and capybaras which is obviously a delight.
You can read my full review here.
Forza Horizon 4
I’m the worst at driving games, always have been, but I picked this up when it first came out due to finding it cheap. I’d never really played it prior to starting to play as a group with my friends. I’ve gradually gotten better to the point where I can actually win races on occasion but I’m usually one wrong turn away from finishing nearer to last.
What I have found highly entertaining is messing up someone else’s race. There’s nothing quite as amusing as slamming someone into a wall or trying to punt some on a straight so they miss a checkpoint. It’s obviously far more entertaining when it’s not me but even then I can appreciate when karma comes back to bite, even when it’s frustrating to be adrift in last place.
The car collecting element obviously also appeals to me even if I know I’ll probably never try most of the cars I’ve obtained.
You can also read our review here.
Golf With Your Friends
I thought Golf With Your Friends would be something I would play a couple of times and then never touch again just because it’s on Game Pass, turns out I was wrong and we’ve played it constantly. Initially, we played in classic mode which was fun for mockery when someone messed up but then we switched to party mode, which has power-ups and the ability to bash into each other when playing the ball at the same time, and the entertainment level-shifted significantly.
It turns out it’s absolutely bloody hilarious to destroy someone’s game by turning their ball into a cone or an egg or something, it’s also even funnier when you’re doing badly to just cause chaos by just smacking into people when they’re taking their shot.
It does definitely needs some new courses now though as we’ve played through the current selection quite a few times.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla came out in November and I’ve already clocked up around 120 hours, it needs patching as I’ve hit a bug that means I can’t progress the story any further. At this point, I’m not willing to revert to an earlier save as I think I’d lose about 60 hours of progress.
That aside it’s easily my favourite Assassin’s Creed game! The RPG side has been tweaked and the equipment management is much much better, though I do think some elements around the inventory system could do with improving. Visually it looks very similar to Odyssey, however, the lighting is massively improved and really adds to the atmosphere, especially in the more snowy areas.
I genuinely love Assassin’s Creed Valhalla even though I am immensely frustrated with the bugs. I really appreciate the development team making stealth less compulsory and allowing for more murderous rampages.
Final Fantasy VII Remake
The remake of Final Fantasy VII was a game I’d been looking forward to for several years. The original version on the PS1 back in the 90s was the main reason for my love of RPGs. I’m not going to lie, it’s quite padded given that they’ve taken what was essentially the opening few hours of the original game and stretched it into 40 plus hours. Having said that, I was always entertained during my playthrough.
The switch from turn-based combat to more action-based is handled pretty well and was a lot of fun once I got used to it. It was just awesome getting to play with the characters again and it was nice that characters with smaller parts in the original had expanded roles this time. I really enjoyed that it wound up not being a straight remake and trying to do its own thing, though I’m also well aware this could wind up being a disaster later on.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
I knew I was going to wind up playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons a fair amount but I don’t think I realised quite how much. As it stands I’ve hit around 540 hours, which is more than I’ve spent on two full Witcher 3 playthroughs combined. I’ve spent that time catching bugs and fish, digging up fossils and making friends with my various villagers. Even when I’ve been doing jobs like sorting out weeds and fixing my flower infestation (with help, it got silly) which are basically chores, or paying off my home loans I’ve genuinely enjoyed every second of it as it’s just an incredibly chilled experience.
I’ve done the majority of what there is to do now, I have the art gallery to finish and some villager pictures to obtain but honestly having a game like this where I could just drop in for a quick play or hammer it for a few hours was really quite useful last year and getting to go and visit friends islands was also pretty amazing.
I’m looking forward to what’s potentially going to be out this year, I’m probably going to replay Mass Effect Andromeda to see if I judged it harshly initially. There’s also things like Halo Infinite and the Mass Effect trilogy remaster en route which could be interesting, not to mention my backlog, and hopefully a few surprises along the way!