As we settle in to a new year and standby for the many anticipated releases 2021 has to offer, we can only close the book for last year and bid it farewell. Sure enough, that’s where it pretty much belongs, what with the madness of the global pandemic. For games, however, it was a rather spectacular year, with hundreds upon hundreds of strong contenders. Of course, certain titles did steal the spotlight over the course of the year, but we were gifted with some sneaky little gems here or there, too.
Looking back on Metacritic, and it seems that the final votes have been counted. 2020 is over, and all that’s left to do is tally the final scores and crown the top five games. So, without further ado — here are the podium stars for last year in gaming.
5. Half-Life: Alyx (93/100)
Valve struck the anvil rather beautifully with their VR approach to the Half-Life universe. With an exciting new take on the alien warfare; Alyx puts you in the shoes of humanities last hope of survival. Playing as Alyx Vance, you are entrusted with journeying through the enemy ranks in search of a forbidden weapon that might just turn the tides of war. However, as Half-Life has made clear over its many survival forerunners; making the trip into death-defying territories is much easier said than done.
4. Hades (93/100)
If you’re a serious fan of hack and slash mayhem — then you’ll probably adore Hades. Thanks to its combination of addictive combat and powerful narrative, Hades becomes a blistering masterpiece under its own domain. As the son of Hades, you are tasked with escaping the wallowing Underworld in search of the apex of Mount Olympus. However, with endless waves of enemies and scorched rooms to unravel, that journey soon becomes a beckoning challenge waiting to be dominated.
Hades snatched the Golden Joystick and Game Awards trophies for best indie game of 2020. Plus, with an incredible Metacritic score of 93, it’s safe to say that Hades has made its mark on not only the Nintendo Switch — but also the action platform, too.
3. Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age (93/100)
Spiralling through the corridors of the ex-gen platforms comes the definitive edition to the 3DS original, Dragon Quest XI. With enhanced plot elements, orchestral scores, 16-bit graphical modes and a dash of Japanese voice acting, this upgraded edition to the long-standing JRPG proves to be a meaty successor. Like many role-playing games, Dragon Quest XI S relies heavily on traditional turn-based combat, fluorescent worlds and charming characters over a hefty series of playable events. However, with the definitive edition tweaking and improving the nooks and crannies of the base-game, it seems that fans have become more entwined with the 2020 remaster.
2. The Last of Us: Part II (93/100)
Since the first chapter to The Last of Us reached platinum status on a global scale, actions fans kicked and screamed over a sequel to the zombie smash-hit. Thankfully, Naughty Dog followed up with another sensational campaign that sticks to its guns with some outstanding narrative and character development. Similar to the previous chapter, The Last of Us: Part II dwells on the bleak surroundings of an apocalyptic world where hope has been stripped from every mind left to see it. With an open-world approach and a mixture of nailbiting gameplay and emotional warfare, this second sequence demonstrates just how beautiful a game can be. And, to be fair — it deserves the second spot in this list. Plus, did you see how many awards it won over 2020? Sheesh. Talk about setting the new standard.
1. Persona 5 Royal (95/100)
In case you missed the chance to snag Persona 5 back in 2016, you can pretty much bag the ultimate version right now with the Royal edition. With additional battles, characters, zones, activities and even a few more weather enhancements, this deluxe revamp aims to be the ultimate Persona experience. Plus, if you’re up for sinking your teeth into enormous amounts of playable hours — then we suggest you grab your copy of the JRPG phenomenon. With an almost perfect score of 95 on Metacritic, this role-playing kingpin stands as one of the best-selling games of 2020, as well as the fan favourite. Worth it? Absolutely.