Credit: Oliver Cragg / Android Authority
We have a large number of gamers on staff here at Android Authority, and this year has been an interesting one for games. It not only saw the release of the long-awaited PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S consoles, but it also left us with a bit more time at home to enjoy them (for better or for worse).
To round off the year, we’ve put together a list of our favorite video games released (or re-released) in 2020 on any and all platforms. They run the gamut of free-to-play mobile games to console-exclusives to remakes of classic titles. Note that they are in no particular order. Entries simply represent a single game chosen by each staff member.
Since this year was a bit of a bust with delays, we’ve also included a few games that we’re looking forward to next year at the end. Let’s get to it!
Genshin Impact (PC/PS4/Mobile)
We kick off the list with this multi-platform release from Chinese developer miHoYo, picked by yours truly. Released on mobile, PC, and PS4 in late September, Genshin Impact was an instant smash hit around the world, and for good reason. The action-adventure game was heavily hyped before release. It’s extremely rare that a game delivers on its promise so fully, especially when it’s free-to-play.
Genshin Impact drew criticism last year for its apparent similarities to Breath of the Wild, but the result is more than capable of standing on its own. Sure, it shares some exploration and stamina systems for climbing, but it also has a unique cast of characters and elemental reactions that add a new layer of complexity to combat. Granted, you’ll have to put up with a gacha system to unlock the rarest and most powerful characters. However, you can finish all content with free characters, too.
At release, the game featured two enormous areas to explore, with a third added in December. Yet another full area is coming in early 2021. Ultimately this is one of the best and most polished free-to-play experiences out you can find, mobile or otherwise.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Switch)
Next up is Tristan Rayner’s pick: Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The instant-classic casual (or not-so-casual) Nintendo Switch game came out in March of this year. Frequent updates have kept it fresh throughout the change of seasons.
Recruit new villagers, plant flowers, craft new furniture, landscape your island, or just kick back and relax on the beach. New Horizons is a simple game, but there’s always something to do!
It’s also a completely wholesome experience that’s perfect for gamers of all types and ages. Although it was Tristan’s pick, he writes that it also “gave my girlfriend and her friends much joy during the pandemic!”
Resident Evil 3 (PC/PS4/Xbox One)
We leave behind the wholesome world of New Horizons for the truly terrible one of Resident Evil 3. I’ll let C. Scott Brown explain why this 2020 remake is his top pick in his own words:
I am a patient gamer, so I must admit I only played three 2020 video games: Resident Evil 3, Paper Mario: The Origami King, and The Last of Us: Part II. I have a few others on my list (Doom Eternal and Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity for sure), but I won’t get to them until 2021.
I’m picking RE3 as my top choice just because the game only disappointed me for one reason: it’s too short. However, both Origami King and TLOU2 felt way too long (especially TLOU2), and I realized I would rather have a game be too short than too long. So RE3 is the winner. Don’t listen to the flak it gets from Gamers™ online — it’s a terrific game that does exactly what it set out to do and does it well.
Project Wingman (PC)
Hadlee Simons selected the indie arcade PC flight sim Project Wingman as his favorite for 2020. The Aussie game was funded by a Kickstarter campaign a few years back and finally came out on December 1. Here’s what he had to say about it:
I backed this game in 2018 and it finally launched this month! For the uninitiated, it’s essentially an Ace Combat clone. So expect a flight action game that generally leans towards the arcade-style, albeit with real-world aircraft. Anyway, between the familiar gameplay, satisfying explosions, and single-player focus, it ticked plenty of boxes. Project Wingman even has a roguelike Conquest mode in tow for those wanting a little more single-player fun.
In a complete breach of poll protocol (he’s been reprimanded accordingly), Hadlee also picked Halo: The Master Chief Collection on PC, which has slowly added more Halo titles since hitting Steam at the end of 2019. There’s nothing like reliving the Halo magic with the help of a mouse and keyboard.
Final Fantasy VII Remake (PS4)
Our resident app expert Joe Hindy tapped Final Fantasy VII Remake as his 2020 game of the year. Unlike many others on the list, it came out on the PS4 back in March, so the world has had plenty of time (maybe too much time) to spend with it throughout the year.
The game couldn’t have come at a better time for Joe. He writes:
It brought a wave of nostalgia in a year where comfort was appreciated. Plus, the game didn’t have a ton of bugs, and there were improvements made from the original that turned out really well.
Hades was a favorite for many of us at Android Authority, but the first to pick it was our Sound Guys colleague Sam Moore. The rogue-lite action game topped the list at many publications around the web too, and rightfully so. It’s hard to find fault in Supergiant Games’ latest release, but I’ll let Sam take it from here:
Everything from the writing to the music to the art is spot on. The gameplay strikes just the right balance between being complex and approachable. It was easy to lose almost 100 hours (in just a few weeks) playing this game.
Persona 5 Royal (PS4)
The Persona series is a household name for fans of Japanese RPGs. The 2020 re-release of Persona 5 caught the attention of our own Oliver Cragg. Here’s what he had to say about it:
Atlus’ expanded re-release of one of the best RPGs ever made added new gameplay tweaks, memorable characters, fresh music, and a whole new semester to spend with the Phantom Thieves. Somehow, the best game of 2017 (yes, better than Breath of the Wild) got even better in 2020. Despite already sinking far too much time into the original version, it was a comforting joy to spend another 100+ hours with Joker and co. in Tokyo and the Metaverse.
Seven Deadly Sins: Grand Cross (Mobile)
The only pure mobile title on our list of the best video games of 2020 was picked by resident drone expert Jonathan Feist. I’ll let him do the talking:
I installed 7DS on a whim, a Play Store recommendation. The first half-hour of the game impressed me very much, with decently seamless transitions between story scenes and gameplay. I was most impressed with the interactive cutscenes. This game is VERY well animated.
It was after that that I learned the game is based on an anime. Seven Deadly Sins borrows a lot of cutscenes from the show and apparently follows the same storyline. I guess that could be a disadvantage to a fan of the anime, but it’s all new to me.
A few months in, I’m enjoying the constant flow of new content, the diversity of characters, and the lengthy story that I may never finish with my level of casual play. Make no mistake, however, this is a gacha game. I have no ambition to keep up with the Beeg Whales 🐳. The store is full of $40 and $80 packs. No thank you!
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 (PC/PS4/Xbox One)
News editor and sk8r boi Jimmy Westenberg took a trip down memory lane by picking the re-released bundle of the first two Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater games. A true return to form, it came out on the PC, PS4, and Xbox One in September. It includes all of the great levels and skaters you remember. The games even retain most of the iconic soundtrack. Here’s what Jimmy had to say:
After some of the nonsense Tony Hawk games from recent years, it’s so refreshing to go back to basics with Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2. The graphics are great, the challenges are fun, and I love the mix of new and old skaters.
Games we’re looking forward to in 2021
So many games were delayed this year. 2021 will therefore have a bumper crop of excellent titles. Here’s a quick list of what we’re looking forward to:
- Bomb Rush Cyberfunk — If you’re someone who grew up with the stylish skating moves of the Jet Set series, Bomb Rush Cyberfunk should be on your radar. We expect it to rail grind onto Steam sometime in 2021.
- Bravely Default II — The third installment (don’t ask) in the Bravely RPG series is expected in early 2021. It will keep what fans love about the game mechanics while adding new characters. That should give it the fresh start it needs after the slightly iterative Bravely Second.
- Breath of the Wild sequel — It should come as no surprise that the Breath of the Wild sequel is one of our most anticipated titles of 2021. If it’s even half the game that BotW was, it will be yet another defining game for Nintendo’s pint-sized console.
- Cyberpunk 2077 — This one technically came out in 2020, but let’s be honest, it’s still a little undercooked. Patches and updates in 2021 should help Cyberpunk 2077 achieve its full potential, especially on last-gen consoles.
- Dying Light 2 — Announced at E3 2018, the sequel to 2015’s Dying Light is set to come out soon for PC and current/next-gen consoles. C. Scott Brown is looking forward to it enough to wait until 2022. At least if that prevents another Cyberpunk 2077-esque fiasco at launch.
- Far Cry 6 — The sixth major installment in Ubisoft’s open-world despot-battler takes place on an island in the Caribbean. The game promises to be bigger than ever. With Giancarlo Esposito (of Breaking Bad) set to portray the dictator Antón Castillo, it should allow for hours and hours of sick stunts and dumb fun.
- Halo Infinite — The quintessential Xbox Series X launch title that never was, Halo Infinite remains one of our most anticipated games. The fact that it will be included on Xbox Game Pass on day one is just icing on the (soon to be) cake.
- Overwatch 2 — The follow-up to Blizzard’s esport-focused hero shooter will add story missions and new maps. However, it will keep all new PvP content available for those who purchased the first game. It might land in 2021 or later, but it should make a big splash when it does.
- Psychonauts 2 — The sequel to 2005’s Psychonauts was announced more than five years ago, and has been a long time coming. Despite being published by Xbox Game Studios, it will be available on PlayStation consoles, as well.
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