DualShockers’ Favorite Games of 2020 — Camilo’s Top 10
Video games were one of the things that helped me keep my sanity through 2020. Having to only pick ten was tough, but these were my standouts.
As 2020 (thankfully) comes to a close, the DualShockers staff is coming together to share their personal favorite games throughout the year. Unlike our official Game of the Year Awards, each of these lists is meant to reflect which games stood out personally to each of our staff members. Additionally, any game — not just 2020 releases — can be considered in each Top 10 List.
It goes without saying that 2020 was kind of a dumpster fire of a year, to the point that making such comments about it feels like a bit of a cliche. As a result, video game releases were that much more important and meaningful than they may have ever been in the past. There was a major rise in the consumption and usage of video games this year due to the still ongoing pandemic. People have clearly needed things to do while being cooped up and socially distanced or needed some much-needed catharsis to escape the stresses of having to be a conscious human being in the real world.
Despite all of its pitfalls and myriad of headaches, 2020 was a pretty great year for video game releases. Whether it’s more casual style games or hardcore RPGs, the vastness of this year’s content was pretty spectacular and covered just about every one of my gaming itches. That being said, there are several games that I missed out on because I don’t own a PS4 or PS5. Most of the titles like Final Fantasy VII Remake and Spider-Man: Miles Morales were relegated to me having to enjoy those by proxy as my partner played them and told me how cool they were. So I am more than aware that I may have missed out on some amazing titles that I’m certain would have made the list as a result.
All that being said, let’s get into my 10 Favorite Games of 2020.
10. Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition
If you know anything about me, then you probably know that I’m a bit of a Capcom fanboy. You may also know that the original release of Devil May Cry 5 was my favorite game of last year. Everything that I loved about that initial version was amplified significantly by its Special Edition. But due to the nature of it being a special edition and a rerelease, it’s bringing up the rear of my Top 10 list for this year.
If you have yet to play Devil May Cry 5, this is undoubtedly the definitive edition to check out. It’s faster and more furious than any other game in the series to date. The options for upping the frame rate also completely alters the way you have to play, because this game lives and dies on its timing and intricate combos. Of course, the inclusion of series edgelord Vergil as a playable character makes the package that much sweeter. Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition is a game that I know I will come back to repeatedly in the future just because of how much of a blast it is to play.
Check out DualShockers‘ review of Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition.
9. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
I’m fully aware that Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order was released in 2019, but I didn’t get through 100% completion in it until early this year. Plus, it made the cut to receive a nomination in The Game Awards, so if they can include it in their 2020 discussions then so can I.
I have a love-hate relationship with Star Wars these days. The entries we’ve gotten since the Disney acquisition have been a mixed bag for me, and EA has largely squandered the license with far less content than I would’ve liked to see. But Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order was easily some of the best Star Wars media I’ve experienced in years. Everything from the characters, story, and that ever-plentiful lore was everything I had been wanting from the franchise for years. Throw in some challenging yet rewarding combat and you have one of the best action games I’ve played in a long time. Also, I would risk it all for both Nightsister Merrin and Inquisitor Trilla Suduri. I hope they’re both having a good day.
Check out DualShockers‘ review of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.
8. Animal Crossing: New Horizons
I don’t think any game this year hit as hard as Animal Crossing: New Horizons did when it first launched. It came when we all needed it the most and was easily the most cathartic gaming experience to come out in all of 2020. While I wasn’t able to see my friends or go out in the same ways I usually would, New Horizons made it so I could have hangouts with my friends and my partner.
It ended up being one of the most chill ways to get everyone together. We would visit each other’s islands and give tours of our homes. Of course, things would become much less chill when I would enable the ability for visitors on my island to use tools that would always result in an abundance of holes being dug or trees being chopped down. Even in those most chaotic moments, it was always a good time to have everyone hanging out and not having to worry about the real world for a while.
Check out DualShockers‘ review of Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
Carrion was definitely one of my biggest surprises this year. It was a game that immediately had a very striking visual presence and a unique twist on the Metroidvania genre without feeling like a gimmick. Going through those confined corridors as a big amorphous flesh monster made you truly feel like a man-eating force of nature. I do love body horror and weird sci-fi so it was right up my alley. It was in no way a game-changer when it came to Metroidvanias, and some of the exploration proved difficult without a proper map. But that concept of being a creature on the loose was so strong and offered me lots of enjoyment that those small gripes weren’t so egregious.
I have to give it to Devolver Digital, though. They are easily one of the most adventurous, and maybe even weirdest, publishers in the industry and aren’t afraid to back some truly wild concepts. So more extremely weird and high-concept properties like Carrion are more than welcomed to me.
Check out DualShockers‘ review of Carrion.
6. Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate
Mortal Kombat 11 is another one that made the cut for me despite actually being officially released last year. But with the release of the Aftermath content and the subsequent character packs, Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate is the best way to play the game. There really is a wealth of content now that this edition is available, and it has probably one of the weirdest selection of guest characters I’ve ever seen in a fighting game. That’s part of its charm though, and Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate has the charm the series is known for in spades.
More so any other entry in the series, this iteration is a love letter to everything that came before. It’s full of just the right amount of fan service and isn’t afraid to be stupid and over-the-top. With nods to the previous entries and even the films, it truly is the most natural evolution of this never-ending franchise. And nothing is more over-the-top than some of these fatalities. At the end of the day, this is really what MK fans always wanted.
Check out DualShockers‘ review of Mortal Kombat 11.
5. Streets of Rage 4
I have such an affinity and a soft spot for 2D beat-em-ups. So much of my childhood was spent with games like Double Dragon, Turtles in Time, and of course Streets of Rage. As soon as the news dropped that Streets of Rage 4 would be happening, I could not contain my excitement. It was like someone decided to reach into a part of my gaming history and create exactly what I wanted at that particular time. I enjoyed this entry into the franchise for some of the similar reasons that I enjoyed Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate. Streets of Rage 4 is definitely a love letter to the franchise with returning characters and references galore. Throw in some extremely satisfying combat and a gorgeous hand-drawn art style and you have an amazing entry in this already legendary beat-em-up series.
For all of those things that I adore about this game though, it does play it incredibly safe. It doesn’t reach the heights of my favorite beat-em-up in recent years, River City Girls, but I still had a blast pummeling thugs and cops in the incredibly nostalgic package. I’m aware that a lot of what I loved from Streets of Rage 4 is due in part to my history with the genre and the franchise, but it truly is a fantastic entry after so many years of radio silence.
Check out DualShockers‘ review of Streets of Rage 4.
4. Resident Evil 3
I know this is a somewhat divisive entry, but I loved Capcom’s Resident Evil 3 remake. I also know that I am in the minority when I say I enjoyed it more than the previous year’s Resident Evil 2 remake. Which, to be fair, I did also love. It definitely is a different beast compared to that entry, but I was okay with that. I didn’t mind the increased emphasis on action and the shorter runtime. I do understand why those are points of contention for people though. I also played through it completely multiple times, so I feel like I got my money’s worth while playing on heightened difficulties and trying to unlock the special costumes and weapons. It was big and bombastic, and I really enjoyed the hell out of it.
All of that being said, I hope the (inevitable) Resident Evil 4 remake strikes more of a happy medium between the two remakes that preceded it, because that’s more so the vibe the original version of that had. It had the big dumb action and quick-time events while still retaining those horror elements that made this franchise what it is to this day.
Check out DualShockers‘ review of Resident Evil 3.
3. Ori and the Will of the Wisps
If you’re a Metroidvania fan then it doesn’t get much better than Ori and the Will of the Wisps. It expands on nearly every area that its predecessor already did masterfully and dials them up to truly make something unforgettable. The skill progression, the world, and exploration are all top-notch and make for an experience that is firing on all cylinders. Even just walking around and taking in the environments around you will leave you with some many jaw-dropping images that could easily find themselves as an art print on my wall. This game is stunning from a visual, mechanical, and narrative standpoint.
And I can’t move on without addressing the narrative in a bit more detail. If the original Ori and the Blind Forest was an emotional gut-punch, then Ori and the Will of the Wisps was an emotional freight train that ran me over and dragged me into another area code. Moon Studios knows how to craft a story with a heart and soul with no dialogue and minimal narration. It’s a marvel of storytelling and something that anyone with access to Game Pass (especially if you’re running on a next-gen console) or a Nintendo Switch would be sorely mistaken if they missed out on.
Check out DualShockers‘ review for Ori and the Will of the Wisps.
2. Yakuza: Like a Dragon
I’m very new to the Yakuza franchise and haven’t had too much experience with it in the past. I’ve had a few forays into some of the previous titles, but just the timing was always wrong for me and I never was able to get too deep into them. Maybe it’s due to the release of the next-gen consoles, but Yakuza: Like a Dragon ended up being my true jumping on point, and it’s easily one of the games I’ve played all year, if not in a long time.
There’s so much to love about this game. Whether it’s the ongoing melodrama within the Yakuza clans of Kamurocho or the often absolutely hilarious misadventures of loveable himbo Ichiban Kasuga, I was never bored with whatever was happening in front of me. Like a Dragon‘s tonal balance of wacky antics and huge dramatic shifts would be truly jarring anywhere else, but here somehow it always works. I don’t think any other franchise could pull that off quite like Yakuza can. The combat as well, which is a departure from previous entries yet fits the tone perfectly, finds a happy medium between being turn-based but always feeling alive and active due to actions never coming to a halt.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon has so much packed into it, but it never feels overwhelming. Aside from the extremely entertaining and compelling main quests, the wealth of options to dive into as far as side quests feels nearly limitless. I found myself wanting to do anything and everything that I came across. This is definitely a title I intend to go back to so I can try to find and do everything just so I can experience this world and its characters a little more.
Check out DualShockers‘ review of Yakuza: Like a Dragon.
I have played a good number of roguelites over the years, but Hades is undoubtedly in a category all its own. One of the pitfalls of the genre is often the eventual monotony brought on by the repetitious game loop. Hades subverts that and completely incorporates the life and death cycle directly into its amazingly written narrative, to the point where death is almost rewarded with story progression and character moments. I can’t say that I have ever experienced a narrative structure like this in a video game.
Hades is undoubtedly Supergiant Games’ magnum opus amongst their already untouchable catalog of amazing titles and perfectly marries all of the strongest elements from each of them. There isn’t a single aspect that isn’t expertly crafted. The combat lends itself to limitless variations due to its weapon options and enhancements. The art for each character is beautiful, as is each of the environments you’ll be traversing as you push Zagreus through to the surface world. The voice acting is some of the best I have ever heard in a video game and there isn’t a single weak link amongst the amazing cast. Even at its most challenging, Hades never feels frustrating and I always wanted to keep going to see where the narrative would take me next. I could literally go on and on about the minutiae of what I love in Hades and why I love it, because there is truly so much love.
Hades is an experience like none other and no one should miss it. It’s unlike anything I’ve experienced before with its mixture of intricate storytelling, beautiful visuals, and tight gameplay. I truly can’t recommend it enough for fans of honestly any genre because it’s a game that I believe has something for everyone. Not to mention that we gave it the highest honor of a ten out of ten rating here at DualShockers.
Also, everyone in the game is hot. If everything I said leading up to this wasn’t enough to convince you to play it, then I feel like that final point would do the trick. Seriously, don’t miss out on Hades.
Check out DualShockers‘ review of Hades.
Check out the rest of the DualShockers staff Top 10 lists and our official Game of the Year Awards nominees:
December 24: Grant Huff (Senior Staff Writer) // Camilo Olmedo (Associate Staff Writer)
January 4: Game of the Year Awards 2020 Official Winners Revealed