EGM’s Best of 2020: #6 ~ #10
Like the end of every console generation, 2020 was a transitional year for gaming. On one front, we got to play a host of games that felt like satisfying capstones to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One generation. On the new consoles, a handful of exclusives offered our first ambitious glimpses at what more advanced hardware might deliver.
But with the staying power of the Switch, near-universal backward compatibility on PS5 and the two new Xboxes, tons of cross-gen games (often with free next-gen upgrades), and the continued innovation of indies, we saw perhaps a greater sense of continuity—and variety—than we had in any prior generational leap. Games just ain’t what they used to be. They’re also so much more.
To close out the year, we’ll be counting down EGM’s top 10 games of 2020, as well as personal lists from our editors (with a few special appearances from old faces). Not to brag, but we think we’ve put together a list that covers all those facets of gaming mentioned above.
Today, we kick things off with the first five games on our countdown.
|#10||Ori and the Will of the Wisps|
A beautiful story of life, death, and rebirth, Ori and the Will of the Wisps finds new ways to tug on our heartstrings wrapped up in one of the best Metroidvania packages out there. The new streamlined upgrade system is a nice improvement from Ori and the Blind Forest and allows you to better focus on exploring an even larger world, fighting new enemies, and making new friends. The game’s art style and use of color is absolutely eye-popping, and the score serves as the perfect exclamation point on every dramatic moment making it a great all-around game and a must play for fans of the first Ori.
|#9||Watch Dogs: Legion|
Watch Dogs: Legion deserves praise this year just for its impressive Play-As-Anyone system. Never before has a game let you literally play as any NPC you can find. Instead of just one main protagonist like in previous entries, there are hundreds—from construction workers with rideable drones to spies with their gadgets and everything in between. Throw in a pretty good representation of a techno-dystopian London and some futuristic weapons and tech, and you’ve got yourself a nice little combination for several hours of NPC-collecting, Zero Day–defeating fun.
Roguelikes are always at a bit of a disadvantage. Not only do you need to design a game that people will enjoy playing over and over and over again, but you also need to somehow make it fun for players when they’re nearly always losing—and often losing large amounts of progress. That Supergiant managed to make Hades so satisfying—both in the run-up to your first successful escape from the Greek Underworld and in subsequent attempts, thanks to the robust Heat system—is impressive. That it did so while telling a compelling, evolving story full of characters we love (and love to hate, Theseus) is even more remarkable.
There is, admittedly, some strangeness in the fact that a remake of a game that first saw release on the PlayStation 3 over 11 years ago was not only one of the best launch titles for the PlayStation 5, but also one of our favorite games of the year. The reason why both of those happened, however is simple: the marriage of FromSoftware’s creative and daring brand of game design, and Bluepoint Games’ technical and graphical expertise. Back in 2009, Demon’s Souls introduced a developer and gameplay style that would soon take the world by storm. Now, it’s returned to finally get the credit—and fanbase—it’s always deserved.
|#6||Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales|
When working on well-established properties, like comic book superheroes, it’s not easy to find that balance of paying homage to what fans know and making something unique that stays true to the characters but that fans might not see coming right away. Insomniac’s Spider-Man did that better than most other comic book games over the years. So going back to that world with Miles Morales was a welcome sight, and clearly a challenge Insomniac was still ready for. The studio took that same level of care and incorporated it into an original story that reminded folks that Miles is more than just Peter with a few new powers. And the game’s take on its villains? A perfect blend of the main Marvel universe, the Ultimate continuity, and Insomniac’s own special flavor.