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Nothing exemplifies the power of the human spirit through a tumultuous time like arguing about video games. And thankfully, GamesBeat is comprised of four heroes who are willing and ready to do just that. During a more than two hour online video conference, which you can watch in the video above, GamesBeat editors Mike Minotti, Jason Wilson, Jeff Grubb, and Dean Takahashi chose and ranked the top 10 best games of the year. You can follow along with the full discussion yourself, or you can scroll down to the final results. Here are the best games of 2020:
10. Yakuza: Like A Dragon
From Jeff Grubb:
After a half-dozen action-style Yakuza games, the series veered hard into turn-based combat with Yakuza: Like A Dragon. Developer Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio also took a chance by introducing a new group of core characters to replace the familiar cast from the previous games. And Like A Dragon succeeds not in spite of these changes but because of them. The combat gives the game a chance to more frequently express Yakuza’s wacky sensibilities, and Ichiban Kasuga and his crew are a lovable group of misfits. It doesn’t hurt that Yakuza: Like A Dragon gets all the fast loading and quick resume benefits of running on Xbox Series X.
9. Ghost of Tsushima
Ghost of Tsushima isn’t going to do anything that you haven’t seen before, but it uses that modern Assassin’s Creed formula to host a big and emotional samurai saga. I’ll even say that I like it better than, say, Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, largely due to the stronger story and combat.
8. Spider-Man: Miles Morales
I’m not sure if a Sony home console has ever had a better PlayStation launch game than Spider-Man: Miles Morales. This certainly beats Knack and Killzone: Whatever the Subtitle Was on PlayStation 4.
It’s so rewarding to carefully drive a truck around a fallen branch on a wet road or to find a path up a hill. And to me, this is what gaming does best. You won’t find any cutscenes or motion captured performances. It’s about our relationship to machines and the physical world in the same way that jazz is about our relationship to sound.
6. Astro’s Playroom
I love 3D platformers. You don’t usually see this kind of charm and polish in the genre unless it has Mario’s name attached to it. Granted, Astro isn’t as acrobatic as our favorite Italian plumber. He has a simple move set consisting of a jump, a hover, and some punches. But Astro’s Playroom never feels dull for a second thanks to its unbounded creativity.
5. The Last of Us Part II
I said that the original game is the very best of what video games can be on the PlayStation 3. And this game, available on the PlayStation 4 on June 19, also represents the very best of what video games can be. It is right up there with awesome titles like God of War and Red Dead Redemption 2 that make narrative storytelling the highest form of video game art, in my humble opinion.
4. Crusader Kings III
Crusader Kings III isn’t a grand strategy game. It’s really a role-playing game in which you play the sovereign of a realm. But where its genius lies isn’t in just playing one ruler — when one dies, you take the mantle of your heir. This doesn’t just keep the game going; it allows you to continue role-playing your realm, but from a different perspective.
3. Final Fantasy VII Remake
Final Fantasy VII Remake is able to make this world feel for real by exposing more details, sometimes via things you hear from chatty civilians as you walk by them. You also get to learn more about some characters that had smaller roles in the original. Avalanche members Biggs, Wedge, and Jessie didn’t do much back in 1997, but here extra dialogue and missions flesh out these characters, making them more (and the whole game) more interesting and likable.
From Jeff Grubb:
Hades is a miracle. Its gameplay and narrative loops work regardless of how you interact with them. Do you just want to upgrade your character and weapons to do even better on your next run in this roguelite? Well, the game ensures that you’ll almost always have something new to play with. Do you want to progress the story? Every return trip to the start comes with new updates from an incredible cast of characters. This is what it looks like to witness a developer solve a genre in a way that unlocks it for so many more people.
1. Ori and the Will of the Wisps
From Mike Minotti’s review:
As a huge fan of Ori and the Blind Forest, Will of the Wisps is everything that I could have wanted from a sequel. It’s a longer adventure with fantastic additions, especially the incredible boss fights. The ending sequence will go down as one of the best in gaming history. The occasional technical problems can be annoying, but I’d put up with five times as many bugs to play through this masterpiece.
Will of the Wisps is easily one of the best Metroidvanias ever, and I know that includes company like Super Metroid and Symphony of the Night. It’s that good.
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