Wow…what a year. I don’t mean that as a positive, of course; the year 2020 will forever live in infamy. But it pays to look back at the year and remember the good parts. As far as gaming goes, there was both a LOT to love, a LOT to criticize, and a LOT to induce cringe. Here’s but a few examples of the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of 2020…
1- At the start of the year, Nintendo had charmed us all with Animal Crossing: New Horizons, giving us gamers some early relief from the COVID pandemic. I think that, for many of us, a charming, relaxing game was just what the doctor ordered. That’s not even getting into how the game not only became a WORLDWIDE phenomenon, but it went onto becoming one of the best selling games. EVER. The success of New Horizons speaks for itself, and now the Animal Crossing franchise is known to practically every gamer alive. Not bad for a franchise that got its start on the Gamecube!
2- If the first half of the year was codified by the relaxing vibe of Animal Crossing, the second half was codified by the sneaking fun of Among Us. Another game made INSANELY popular by the pandemic, Among Us has given players the socialization substitute they so desperately wanted during these days of social distancing. Hey, if you can’t hit the club, hit the space station and find the impostor!
3- Honestly, 2020 was GREAT for RPG fans. On the Switch, you got the release of Xenoblade Chronicles, a grossly overlooked Nintendo Wii classic. On PC, you got the Steam release of Persona 4 Golden. On the PS4, you got the worldwide release of Persona 5 Royal. And lest we forget, after so, so many years of waiting, we FINALLY got the Final Fantasy 7 Remake!
4- Hey, it wasn’t just RPGs! We got some GREAT games, too! Ghosts of Tsushima, Genshin Impact, Spider Man Miles Morales, Crash Bandicoot 4, Fall Guys…Honestly, too many to list!
5- So, the PlayStation 5. Normally, I’m wary of buying a new console until it has a reliable library of excellent games. But with this long list of excellent games coming out, like Final Fantasy 16 and Spider Man Miles Morales, I can safely say that I won’t have to wait long before I buy myself a PS5!
6- If you’re a SMITE player, I’ve got three words: Cthulhu is Playable. Honestly, Hi-Rez did everything RIGHT about this new playable god. The hype was real, they made the god fun to play as, they made him graphically impressive…this may well be the BEST god release in the history of the game!
1- I can’t believe I have to say this, but… Cyberpunk 2077. Before 2020, CD Projekt Red was one of those FEW companies that enjoyed a strong reputation in the gaming community. The hype for the game was REAL. But now, with choppy frame rates and bad clipping, it seems that the company’s reputation has taken a hit. All those delays, for THIS!?
2- Last of Us 2 as game of the Year 2020. I personally believe this honor belonged either to Animal Crossing New Horizons, or Ghosts of Tsushima. A demonstration of how game critics are disconnected from gamers!
3- My Time at Portia is a fun little game on PC. On console, it’s still good…but not the Switch port of My Time at Portia. Over a year after release, it yet remains the buggiest, most broken port of the game! I’m not saying it’s not good, but I AM saying it’d be hard for me to recommend it in good conscience.
1- Damn…the whole Last of Us 2 controversies. The transphobia expressed against the character of Abby, the anger at Joel’s death, the LEGIT criticism against the game being drowned out and ignored by a gaming press more concerned with its virtue signaling than the state of the community…it was almost GamerGate all over again.