If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that 2020 was a monumental year for the world of gaming. This turn of the decade saw the launch of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, the release of games announced an entire console generation ago (hello Cyberpunk 2077), and billions of dollars in sales each month.
As this year wraps up and a new year begins, we at Gamers Heroes look back at a time that gave us everything from Materia to BFG 9000s. Narrowing it down to the very best was no small feat, but we’ve managed to shortlist the five greatest games to release in 2020.
Here are Gamers Heroes’ 2020 Game of the Year winners, in no particular order…
Final Fantasy VII Remake
A genre-defining staple of the PlayStation 1’s library, the hotly anticipated Final Fantasy VII Remake delivered on fan’s expectations – and then some. A story beloved by many and appreciated by all (with the fanbase to match), this JRPG served as a complete re-imagination that proved to be much more than a simple second take.
Cloud, Barret, Tifa, and the other members of the resistance group AVALANCHE were given new life through the use of brilliant graphics, fantastic animations, and industry-leading voiceover work. Even the combat system – which eschews the turn-based mechanics of the original for more real-time bouts – successfully meshes with the time-tested Active Time Battle (ATB) system, combining hack-and-slash combat with a strategic twist.
For those looking to return to Midgar, welcome home.
You can read our review of the Final Fantasy VII Remake here.
Ghost of Tsushima
The way of the samurai is one that is well-trodden in the world of video games, filled with gems like Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice and Bushido Blade.
Leave it up to the minds at Sucker Punch to craft the next big Kurosawa-style epic with their title Ghost of Tsushima. In what we deemed the studio’s best release to date, Ghost of Tsushima’s tale of Jin Sakai and his fight against the Mongol invasion engrossed us from start to finish.
Its open world setup doesn’t reinvent the wheel; rather, it polishes the core elements of the genre to a shiny sheen. Whether we were taking over outposts, discovering shrines, gathering material, or taking on side quests, the island of Tsushima was an absolutely beautiful place to explore. Complementing this exploration is an excellent combat system that stresses perfect timing, parrying and stances that add danger and intensity to its samurai duels.
Ghost of Tsushima is a true love letter to fans of the genre, and is easily one of the best open world games to date.
You can read our review of Ghost of Tsushima here.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
The Assassin’s Creed series has made a name for itself with its expansive worlds, with entries like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey featuring detailed environments that masterfully capture eras gone by.
However, the release of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla meets the high standards set by its predecessors. This incredible journey tells an intricate story that combines the vast world of Norse mythology with the myths and legends of ye olde England to create a living, breathing world. Its worldbuilding is at the top of its class, and its setting puts the power of play into the hands of the player. Even something as raw as raiding alongside your Raven Clan proves to be incredibly enjoyable and rewarding.
Put simply, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is the best tale the franchise has ever told, and is one of the greatest RPGs of this generation.
You can read our review of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla here.
Genshin Impact might wear its inspiration on its sleeve, but it also manages to be our surprise hit of the year.
MiHoYo takes the formula that Nintendo crafted in 2017’s The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and runs with it. Both feature environmental puzzles and shrines, along countless other things to discover. However, Genshin Impact changes things up by utilizing elemental team-based combat that manages to be quick, fluid, and engaging after more than 100 hours of play. Exploration is always rewarded, encouraging players to craft their own journey.
Between these things and its free entry point, action RPG fans have absolutely nothing to lose by adding this title to their rotation.
You can read our review of Genshin Impact here.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
The gods have blessed us with a bounty of MetroidVania-style titles in the past few years – Hollow Knight, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, and Dead Cells kept us entranced as we explored its catacombs, castles, and cells.
Moon Studios’ release of Ori and the Will of the Wisps continues the trend, managing to encompass the artistic value of video games while doing so. This title’s warming story provided a heartwarming adventure full of charm and character, one that had the titular Ori fighting all odds to find Ku and restore light to the forest.
The sidescrolling gameplay manages to keep pace, embracing physics and depth techniques to create a living, breathing world in a two dimensional space. Its blend of puzzles, platforming, and battles all comes together to create a title that was truly made from the heart.
You can read our review of Ori and the Will of the Wisps here.
Though these five titles shone brightly in 2020, there were also dozens of quality games released that encompass nearly every genre out there, and even more dark horses that flew in under the radar.
If you think we missed anything, let us know your 2020 Game of the Year in the comments below.