So 2020 being what it was there was alot of time sat around when I wasn’t working. I’ve done things like watch films and TV shows and read alot 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 more easily with friends and some have naturally been story based and single player. With that in mind I’d thought I’d 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 in that timeframe.
Division 2 – This was 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 alot of fun, there’s loads to do and it’s incredibly atmospheric in places. It looks nice and really does encourage team work as failure to work together tends to end badly. We enjoyed it so much that we picked up the expansion when that was on sale and 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 so it was a solid purchase all in all, would definitely recommend it.
Witcher 3 – At the start of the year I decided I wanted to play through this again, this was largely off the back of the first season of the TV show making me want to revisit the game. I invested something ridiculous like 250 hours into this playthrough taking in the main game and both DLC packs, which had quite alot of content in them. I honestly really enjoyed the stories being told and while there are generally happy endings to them you always get a sense that there’s 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 in it, Geralt is brilliant and his interactions with the other characters tend to be really well written. I’m looking forward to the Series X upgrade that’s planned so I can play through it again.
Pokemon Sword – The year started with me completing the pokedex for the main game and then as the year has gone on I’ve played through the 2 DLC packs and completed the respective pokedexes for those. 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, so 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 games are set in.
Assassins Creed Odyssey – I didn’t play this much when it initially came out as I prioritised Red Dead Redemption 2, so figured I’d give it a proper go after finishing Witcher. I started from scratch and sank a hell of a lot of time into it and I’m really glad I did, turned out to be my favourite Assassins Creed game to that point as the setting was absolutely fantastic and I really enjoyed the story. I wasn’t sure how I’d like the more RPG direction of the game 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 cool touch too. I think the only things I didn’t really like is that the amount to do is a little overwhelming and the inventory management is a ball ache but there are honestly only small niggles overall.
Story of Seasons – 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 play. 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.
Forza Horizon 4 – I’m utterly shit 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 fuck away from finishing nearer to last. What I have found highly entertaining is when one of us fucks up someone elses 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 me 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.
Golf With Friends – I thought this would be something me and my mates 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 a shitload of it. Initially we played in classic mode which was fun for mockery when someone fucked up but then we switched to party mode, which has power ups and the ability to twat 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 fuck someone up by turning their ball into a cone or an egg or some shit, 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 need some new courses now though as we’ve played through the current selection quite a few times at this point.
Assassins Creed Valhalla – It came out in November and I’ve sank around 120 hours into it so far, it needs patching as I’ve hit a bug that means I can’t progress the story any further and I’m not willing to revert to an earlier save as I think I’d lose about 60 hours of progress and fuck that noise basically. That aside it’s my favourite Assassins Creed game now, I like the way the RPG side of it has been tweaked and the equipment management is much much better this time round though I do think some elements around the inventory that 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 it though I am frustrated with the bugs, it’s crashed on me a fair few times and there’s current bug I’ve hit which essentially breaks the game given I can’t progress the story any further. I will say though I appreciate the making of stealth less compulsory and allowing for more murderous rampages.
Final Fantasy 7 Remake – A game I’d been looking forward to years, the original version on the PS1 back in the 90s was the main reason for my love of RPGs, it came out not long after the start of the first lockdown. I’m not going to lie it’s quite padded given that they’ve taken what was essentially the opening few hours of the game and stretched it to 40 plus hours but I was also personally always entertained. The switch from a 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 play through with the characters again and it was nice that characters with smaller parts in the original had expanded roles and 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 – I knew I was going to wind up playing a lot of this but I don’t think I realised quite how much but as it is I’ve hit around 540 hours which is more than I’ve spent on 2 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 alot 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 and then there’s things like Halo Infinite and the Mass Effect trilogy remaster that are due out later in the year and there’ll likely be other stuff I play that I’ve had kicking around for a while. I think this will be the first year where I don’t have huge list of games I’m excited for which is an odd experience but hopefully that’ll just mean lots of fun surprises to play.