In most regards, 2020 hasn’t been a great year. But while other leisure activities were curtailed for obvious reasons, there were plenty of new game releases to help keep people entertained. Here are some of the best new games that came out this year.
It’s certainly been a mixed few years for the games industry. Whilst there have been some great smash hits, such as The Witcher 3 of CD Projekt Red, recently industry big hitters have been patchy at best. Formerly reliable developer giants Bethesda and Bioware have gone from the beloved Skyrim and Dragon Age: Origins of the previous generation and declined all the way to Fallout 76 and Anthem today. But there have also been some fantastic new games out there, which is just as well because 2020 really is a year when people needed cheering up.
Mediatonic is not the biggest or best known developer in the world, which made their hit release of Fall Guys all the more surprising. Perhaps inspired by the trend of recent years for battle royale gameplay but giving it a fun, vibrant twist, Fall Guys sees players compete against one another online in a series of massive multiplayer contests. It’s a sort of colorful chaos, with games including teams playing giant soccer or competing to finish with the most balls and individual challenges such as tail-grabbing or trying to be the last to survive as successive floors disappear one tile at a time. Fans of old school TV shows like It’s A Knockout or Total Wipeout will be very at home, and it’s proven a surprising, and huge, success.
Open worlds with crafting are all the rage nowadays but sometimes you just want an old-fashioned shoot ‘em up, and that’s exactly what Doom Eternal provides (published by Bethesda, but developed by id Software). Get up close and personal with your enemies, before you introduce them to the business end of your chainsaw. Stress relief doesn’t get much more straightforward than the high octane combat that Doom Eternal brought to the table, maintaining the series’ commitment to challenging gameplay that emphasizes smart decisions on who to slay first, and clever movement around the battlefield. It’s not the easiest game but it is stacks of fun, and comes with a variety of multiplayer modes too.
Players of video games (so-called e-gaming) have been spending more time with their hobby this year due to the pandemic lockdowns, and much the same has happened with i-gaming (online betting). As with consoles and PCs, online casinos have released numerous games this year, including these highly rated and genuinely reviewed games.
Online casinos offer a wide range of games, and whilst every site worth its salt has classic table games the biggest attraction these days is slots, and new games are coming onto the market all the time. In 2020, leading software developer Microgaming released the fantasy-themed Goldaur Guardians, which combines high volatility excitement with the firm’s Hyperspins gameplay feature.
Players can also hit the streets of Miami with NetEnt’s eagerly awaited sequel Hotline 2, a video slot that comes with an expanding wilds mechanic and an astounding 1,944 bet ways. For those who prefer delving into the jungles of South America, Thunderkick, a smaller but high quality studio, has released Beat the Beast: Quetzalcoatl’s Trial (which has a 5 level free spin feature).
Sucker Punch was the firm behind Ghost of Tsushima, and the developer lived up to its name with a game that few people realized would become the juggernaut it turned into. The setting is feudal Japan,
and the Mongols have invaded. Needless to say, this isn’t exactly welcome and pretty soon they’re painting the walls with samurai blood. The player controls Jin Sakai, and it’s your duty to repel the invaders. The game looks stunning, with incredible use of color to evoke the feel of Japan in both natural settings and when visiting settlements and temples. Following animals can lead to special surprises and bonuses, and players can customize their look as well as their combat stance, which can drastically alter the way you dispatch the myriad foes you’ll face.
Even late on, Sucker Punch, already swimming in goodwill and popular approval, garnered yet more brownie points with the public by releasing an unexpected multiplayer mode and making it free.
Final Fantasy VII dates all the way back to the original Playstation, over 20 years ago. The multi-disc classic has grown a cult following who had been keen on a modernized version for years, and in 2020 Square Enix released it as a PS4 exclusive, one of the best of the generation. The graphics are phenomenal, light years away from the blocky character models (even derided at the time) of the original. Unlike the first game, the characters are voiced, but this hasn’t stripped away the hilarity from Cloud’s early contempt for Barret’s eco-warrior self-righteousness (and crossdressing fans won’t be disappointed either).
It is worth mentioning that this is not the whole game, but the first chapter of a full version that many suspect will end up being around four parts in total. In addition, certain aspects of the plot have been changed, mostly adding content rather than altering what was there. And even though the combat gameplay has shifted from turn-based to real time the materia system remains fantastic. Yes, it was released on a tidal wave of nostalgia, but it stands up on its own and even if you’ve never played the original this is still a great game (and players who like a tough challenge can crank up the difficulty to put themselves to the test).
A name as inaccurate as the Final Fantasy franchise, The Last of Us was an immensely popular blockbuster of a game, receiving plaudits from practically everyone who played it. But how would the sequel cope?
The sales were tremendous for this hotly anticipated new instalment in Naughty Dog’s latest series, a PS4 exclusive that released to critical acclaim. Players returned to Joel and Ellie, and see the female protagonist descend into a spiral of bloody revenge. The combat remains as tense and visceral as ever, with the ominous soundtrack of unworldly clickers keeping tension high and ammunition low. The unrelentingly grim storyline and edge-of-the-seat stealth gameplay reach a bloody climax in a fight where right and wrong are matters of perspective, rather than moral absolutes. Definitely not one for the kids, but a gripping game that eschews black and white morality for a greyer world filled with fungal zombies.
One of the weirdest things to happen in gaming this year was the crossover fan art regarding Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Doom Eternal, which both released on 20 March and prompted some perhaps unexpected mutual appreciation. Animal Crossing’s latest release returns to the life simulation genre with the Switch, enabling players to assume control of a deserted island once more. Players are free to explore as they please, gathering resources and customizing their island as it becomes populated with friendly animals. It’s a cute time sink and was a very welcome distraction for players keen for escapism from the rising COVID-19 pandemic, and is currently the second highest selling game for the Switch.
Both e-gaming and i-gaming have their hits and misses, but there have been plenty of great releases for consoles, PCs, and online casinos this year. Whether you’re into cute fun with Animal Crossing, the visceral gameplay of The Last of Us Part II, or the latest slots, there’s a lot to like about 2020.
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