Who Played What Now?

I wanted to focus on a lot of things other than games in 2020, at least that was the plan. But then, a world wide pandemic happened and most people were stuck at home to entertain themselves. Though I was not one of those people, I did have to refocus my efforts and leave some side projects on the back burner. In the grand scheme of things, that was a great decision because 2020 was another amazing year for games. I played a lot more than I thought I would between great exclusives, awesome third party games, and two new consoles. I had more fun playing games this year than I have in a long time. Sure, I missed a lot of great PlayStation exclusives like Ghost of Tsushima, Spider-Man, and Final Fantasy VII (which have all been added to my backlog), So without further ado, here are my top ten games of 2020.

10. Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity
| Omega Force + Techmo Koei | Nintendo | Nintendo Switch |

I’m going to be honest, Age of Calamity is only on my list because of the characters and it’s lore implications on Breath of the Wild and it’s sequel. It does bring fun new twists on the Breath of the Wild characters, enemies, and locales, however, giving us a great look into this version of Hyrule. The game is jam packed full of secrets and story elements that anyone invested in Zelda will need to check out. The different character abilities add a really cool change of pace. It’s a really nice game, but don’t go in expecting a game like Breath of the Wild.

9. Twin Breaker: A Sacred Symbols Adventure
| Lilymo Games + Colin’s Last Stand | East Asia Soft | PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch |

I will always support creators who inspire me, that was my original intention behind purchasing Twin Breaker, a brick breaking game by Lilymo Games and Colin’s Last Stand, both owned by Colin Moriarty. But as I started playing the game, I realized I couldn’t put it down. It became one of the highlights of the year for me.  It’s charm and intriguing story (yes a story in a brick breaker) had me hooked and I’m still playing it now. If you’re into classic style games, this is one you should definitely check out. 

8. Immortals Fenyx Rising
|Ubisoft Montreal | Ubisoft | Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, PC, Google Stadia, Amazon Luna, Nintendo Switch |

This would most likely would have been higher on my list if I had spent more time with it. Immortals definitely doesn’t hide it’s inspiration as it takes the Breath of the Wild formula and adds a few interesting ideas in it’s combat and weapons similar to that found in recent Assassin’s Creed entries. Though these ideas don’t always hit, I appreciate what they were trying to do, and in all honesty, it might get better once I’m further in the game. Couple that with some fun writing and story elements, this is a great hold over until the Breath of the Wild sequel. 

7. Gears Tactics
| The Coalition + Splash Damage | Xbox Game Studios | PC, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One |

Gears Tactics would probably be higher on my list if I had spent more than a few hours with it, but the concept makes so much sense on paper. Take the tactical shooter and make it, well, a turn based tactics game ala XCOM. With deep customization and awesome new characters in the Gears fiction, it’s truly a fantastic entry to the franchise. I look forward for more of this style of Gears in the future.

6. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
| Ubisoft Montreal | Ubisoft | Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, PC, Google Stadia, Amazon Luna |

This entry in the mega popular franchise had a lot to live up to for me. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is one of my favorite games of all time, so I had really high expectations for Valhalla. Though it hasn’t lived up to those expectations thus far, it does a great job of making you feel like a Viking warrior in a well realized world (though Ubisoft has always been fantastic at it’s historical accuracy and making their stories fit around these very real characters, even when they take liberties). It is one I highly recommend though, especially if you are lucky enough to own one of the new consoles. 

5. Cyberpunk 2077
| CD Projekt Red | PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 |

Despite the countless technical issues at launch, Cyberpunk is one of the most intoxicating games of 2020. Cyberpunk’s opening hours are nothing short of astounding. With its well thought out world, grungy sex appeal, and amazing cast of characters, it’s hard to argue what a fully realized game it truly is. Even Keanu Reeves’ performance as Johnny Silverhand is top notch. It’s one game I hope to replay once issues are fixed and the Series X|S and PS5 enhancements come out next year. 

4. Cross Code
| Radical Fish Games + Deck 13 | Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, PC

Cross Code is a love letter to 16 bit action RPGs. It’s smooth combat, interesting characters, and extensive color pallet make this one of the coolest looking games I played this year. Though the story is a little cliche with its amnesia angle, the awesome world, party members, and interactions with NPCs more than enough to make this game a must play indie. 

3. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 & 2
| Vicarious Visions | Activision | Xbox One, PlayStation 4

As someone who grew up in the nineties during the height of skateboarding popularity, nothing was more unanimously loved than the first three Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater games. Between the music and the thought and care put into the culture, THPS took over the world. Then as the series began to oversaturate, it declined in popularity and quality, becoming almost irrelevant by the time Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 came out. But Activision has been quietly delivering the remakes fans deserve, starting with Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon and now they have done it again with THPS. What Vicarious Visions has done with a little love and care, the remake is not only great, but it has reinvigorated the entire franchise. If you enjoyed the games at all when you were younger, this remake will take you back you your childhood instantly. 

2. Super Meat Boy Forever
| Team Meat | Nintendo Switch, PC |

Two years ago I was introduced to Super Meat Boy, a cute and challenging platformer with a lot of humor and over the top violence. It instantly became one of my favorite games of all time. Though Super Meat Boy Forever isn’t the same type of game, it takes what made the first game great and turns it into an auto running puzzle game with even more crude humor and grotesque deaths. If you have a Switch and are into challenging platforming and fast paced puzzles, Super Meat Boy Forever is a must buy.

Personal Game of the Year: Destiny 2: Beyond Light
| Bungie | Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, PC |

Not that it’s a surprise to anyone, but Destiny 2: Beyond Light was my favorite game of 2020. Honestly, I fought with myself over this one for many reasons. Beyond Light is technically an expansion to an existing game, it’s not the best expansion Bungie has ever released, and I have a few other issues that you can tune into Tower Casuals to find out. But in the grand scheme of things, between the way Beyond Light felt to play, the graphical and frame rate enhancements of the Xbox Series X|S, and the way I played and reconnected with friends really made the game feel special in a way I haven’t felt about Destiny as a whole since The Rise of Iron. All of these reasons and more are why Destiny 2: Beyond Light is my personal game of the year.

Here’s to 2021

There you have it. These are my top ten games of 2021. It’s an odd list and I know it’s different from what most people expect from a top ten, but I think it’s what makes us unique and why so many of us play games for different reasons.

Games will always be a part of me. Even as I get older and have more responsibilities, and even though I don’t feel like playing sometimes, games are an important part of who I have become. In 2021 I aim to play more of less and really enjoying the hobby more. Even if I am trying to grow Boss Rush Games as a brand, I don’t ever want playing games to feel like work for any of us here. Our brand will be about passion, respect, and fun. I love video games, and I can’t wait to play a lot of the games coming in 2021.

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