It’s not often that I make the tonal shift and offer up personal pronouns in my work. Then even less so do I like to offer a view that is subjective outside of a review. However, in this topsy-turvy year, I have cast aside my apprehension, slipped into my cozies as Christmas is here at the time of writing and with a tipple in hand, I find myself reminiscing about the brilliant titles that graced the gaming landscape this passing year of 2020.
We have had a year packed with iconic indie titles, astounding AAA show stoppers, remarkable remakes and some breakout stars that have shocked more than a few. So as I sit by the fire while the red suited fat man flies overhead (he exists, right?). I urge you to join me as I run through my personal selection of games to remember from 2020. This is VeryAli Gaming’s editor’s choice.
I’ll be listing my choices in chronological order and the first game to blow me away this year was the indie masterpiece, Pathologic II. For those unaware, this title is in some respects, a remaster of the original Pathologic first released in 2005. However, in reality, this is much more than a spit shine and more of a complete overhaul in terms of story, themes and gameplay. All the while, keeping all the harsh and punishing core mechanics that make this IP truly iconic.
In terms of fun, spectacle and action packed gameplay, this game falls flat on all accounts, but that’s not what this title is about. It’s about struggle, sacrifice, dealing with intense decisions, adapting to an ever changing world and ultimately, uncovering the wonderful story hidden underneath the brutal experience this game has in store. It’s a game that I find both deeply unsatisfying but also deem as an unmissable game for the true gaming fanatic. So I both recommend it and don’t. It’s up to you whether you take me up on which offer.
The Last Of Us Part II
Moving onto a game that was critically adored but also given a very hard time by the fan base. However, as a fan of the series myself, I wasn’t one of those in that camp. From the day I got my hands on this title, I was blown away by the refined combat, the breathtaking visuals, the sublime acting performances from the cast of this title and of course, the great story. Unlike some, I loved the direction Naughty Dog took with the story. I adored the diverse characters, the bravery of the developer for addressing less talked about topics within the industry. Plus, the choice to offer the player the opportunity to play both the ‘protagonist’ and the ‘antagonist’ was inspired.
Was it better than the original first title in the series? In my opinion, no. The story was not quite as strong. The pacing of the story and gameplay was slightly askew. Plus, some aspects I really enjoyed in the first “part” weren’t utilised enough in my opinion. The open area with the bank, shops and other areas to explore at your leisure was astounding and I wish more areas played out like this. Overall though, this game was a runaway success by a developer that simply doesn’t miss and I can’t wait to see where the series goes from here.
In a year that was packed full of cyberpunk, dystopian realities, I too got sucked into this trend with a gravitational pull. However, its not the game that you would expect. Ghostrunner, the level-based, high-intensity platformer really grabbed my attention when it arrived on the scene and didn’t let it go for quite some time, even though it was sandwiched between two huge Ubisoft titles in the form of Watchdogs: Legion and Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla.
This game really blew me away with its puzzle-meets-action approach. So much so that I even compared the title to titles like Shadow Warrior, Mirror’s Edge, Portal and Doom. This title has more to offer than many gave it credit for. It’s cerebral, requires timing and dexterity and it even looks fantastic into the bargain. Perhaps not the most narratively stunning title around this year but what can I say, you like what you like and I really liked this one.
Many may be scowling at their screens seeing this glorified tech demo included in an ‘Editor’s Choice 2020’ list, albeit a personal one. However, I have my reasons and I intend to state my case. Firstly, I have been a PlayStation boy through and through since I was a boy and never wavered ever since, and platformers have always been a place of comfort for me. Whether it was Jak and Daxter: The Precursor’s Legacy, Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus, Ratchet and Clank or Psychonauts. It would be these titles that offered a certain level of calm to my chaotic, childish mind.
So with that in mind, Astro’s Playroom not only acts as a love letter to all things PlayStation. This game appeals to the platform loving kid of yesteryear that clearly still lives rent-free in my head, urging me to spend huge chunks of my salary on the newest hardware. Then speaking of that new hardware. The DualSense controller was a new experience that felt like a tangible shift towards the future of gaming. With this controller in my hand and Astro’s Playroom using its many features to their true potential, I felt like that kid cross legged in front of the old CRT tv once again. It may just be a tech demo, but it was special for me and earns its place on equal parts merit and sentiment.(Astro’s Playroom is free & exclusive on the PS5, so keep an eye out for the Amazon listings for the PS5 here if you haven’t got one already)
Then lastly and perhaps controversially, I have chosen the vilified title of 2020, Cyberpunk 2077. While I concede that this game wasn’t what it was billed to be. I couldn’t help but be stunned with the sheer scope of this title. The level of passion and detail on show within this title is simply staggering. I found myself in awe of the vistas found upon vantage points within Night City. I found myself satisfied with the flexibility of the RPG elements of this title. Plus, although others may have their own horror stories. I was regularly left with my mouth agape thanks to the outstanding visuals on show here. I can’t count the amount of times I just stood behind characters and zoomed in to inspect the textures of their leather jacket.
The intensive dialogue options, the new age vehicles, the extensive customisation menu and a whole heap of other fantastic features made this game a title to remember for me. This was an experience reminiscent to Fallout New Vegas in many ways thanks to its broken but beautiful presentation. Plus, this title was everything that I wish The Outer Worlds was upon its release. Then of course, there is the caveat that this game will get better with time. I’m still exploring Night City but even in my short time living the city life, I’m sold.(Get Cyberpunk 2077 for only $39 !! here or here )
So that is my editorial choices for the most memorable games of 2020. What do you think of my choices? Are there any that you would agree with? Any you brutally disagree with? Let me know in the comments section below. Plus, if you liked this content check out our news regarding Nier: Reincarnation. Or alternatively, check out our feature on innovative platformers. Thanks for reading VeryAli Gaming, Merry Xmas & happy New Year one and all.