Self Isolating = More time to play Video Games.

With COVID-19 taking hold all over the globe at an unprecedented level, Gaming has become one of the biggest hobbies to pass the time during the ol’ lockdown. Whether a hardened veteran, or a fresh lockdown newcomer; gaming has been a pretty open hobby in 2020 and has had some pretty solid titles release accross all the major platforms to boot. To allieviate the bordom somewhat (following one overlong conference call on Discord) we here at Game Hype thought we would take the time to discuss our favourtite titles that we’ve played over the last twelve months.

Aaron Moger (@aaronvanmoger)

Game: Yakuza: Like a Dragon

Release Date: November 10th 2020

2020 was an excellent year for gaming for me, despite the goings-on in the world, developers have continued to pump out some great titles. With Final Fantasy VII Remake coming out I was excited about it but was sure that The Last of Us Part II would be my game of the year but unfortunately, it failed to strike the same chord that the first game did. I was then sure Final Fantasy VII Remake would be my top choice, however, there is one title that came along late in the year and stole my heart. That game is Yakuza: Like a Dragon. Most known as Yakuza 7 to many this was my first delve into the Yakuza world and it is one beautiful experience. The game features protagonist and ex-Yakuza Ichiban Kasuga on a quest to find out the truth of his place in the world, with an absolute solid cast of characters such as Yu Nanba an unemployed bum living on the streets and Koichi Adachi an ex-cop. The way these characters interact with each other, as well as the story, is top-notch. The main attraction to me initially was the turn-based battles but as everything came together I fell more and more in love with the game. While the game deals with adult themes it really is a heartwarming game and one that I will treasure forever.

Jamie Burtenshaw (@FlayedEUW)

Game: Genshin Impact

Release Date: 28th September 2020

Picking a ‘game of the year’ is a tough ask when a lot of us spent most of 2020 doing nothing but gaming. Being able to distance ourselves from the stresses of real life was crucial in simply coming out the other end, and I think the fact that I managed to invest myself fully in the world of Teyvat means Genshin Impact takes the cake for me. A vast and varied landscape that actively encourages open exploration and a whole host of interesting and unique characters complement its seamless combat system to deliver a well rounded and thoroughly enjoyable Gacha-RPG. Best of all, however, is the fact that Genshin Impact is absolutely free.Even though the Gacha-gods haven’t exactly smiled down upon me favourably, I’ve still managed (with a bit of work) to obtain nearly every base character and a couple of event ones too, and I never feel as though I’ve run out of things to keep me occupied. I still log on almost every day to something new and developers MiHoYo have been very vocal about the state of the game, their development processes, and the very bright-looking future of one of my new favourite games. I don’t see myself putting Genshin Impact down any time soon and would encourage anyone with 30GB of hard drive space to spare to try it out.

Adam Neaves (@adamneaves)

Game: The Last of Us Part II

Release Date: 19th June 2020

This may not be a huge surprise to hear that Naughty Dog’s sequel masterpiece is my Game of the Year. I reviewed the game and absolutely loved it. The Last of Us Part 2 has everything that I could have wished for from Naughty Dog in terms of a sequel. Still no spoilers from me for those who have yet to play it but it had twists and turns that I could not have even dreamt of. I’ve played through it recently for a second time and I loved it even more so than the first. Ellie is the main character in this one and she does a fantastic job throughout, with a bunch of new characters thrown in that I loved right from the outset. This is a game that is not only my Game of the Year for 2020 but also my game of the generation.

Ryan Perrow (@NBFlying)

Game: Final Fantasy VII Remake

Release Date: 10th April 2020

Game of the year was a ‘Sophie’s choice’ for me, it came down to The Last of us Part Two and Final Fantasy VII Remake. Well, after much thought I settled on Final Fantasy VII Remake. Both games are fantastic but FFVIIR tips it for me for one real reason. The weight of personal expectation. FFVIIR had so much hype around it, so much potential to disappoint. For me, it delivered and did so completely. Of course not everyone liked the changes but then this isn’t their article. The changes which I won’t go into here served to reenergise my love for Cloud and the gang (It also made me love Aerith, whom I hated when I played the original release) and it managed to add things from the extended FFVII universe into the game. It feels like a love letter to the classic while not being shackled by that affection and I can’t wait to see the rest of the remake. If you’ve not yet stepped back into Midgar I urge you to do so.

Kyle Doherty (@Antigenetic92)

Game: Amnesia: Rebirth

Release Date: 20th October 2020

2020 was a bit of a mixed bag for myself, as there wasn’t many games that paticularly stood out when I spent most of my downtime on the ol’ PS4. Cyberpunk 2077 (while interesting) turned out to be a massive flop, Ghost of Tsushima was a pretty solid (if familiar) title despite the fact that it failed to reinvigorate a decaying open world format. The game I was most looking forward to: Resident Evil 3 fell short of the legacy left by the original as well as 2019’s excellent Resident Evil 2, even though it had a few shining moments across it’s anemic 5 hour campaign. My game of the year has to go to Frictional Games and Amnesia: Rebirth, which was a pleasant surprise when it dropped in October 2020. Being a sequel to 2010’s Amnesia: The Dark Descent (which is one of my favourite horror games of all time) was a resounding return to form to the series’ Eldritch horror roots. Touching on the Other World from the original game, Rebirth follows pregnant explorer: Anastasie ‘Tasi’ Trianon as she is thrust head first into an interdimensional horror, offering a macabre tale of Motherhood and the price one pays in the abandonment of morality. Offering a more narrative driven experience while still retaining the original games’ mechanics; Amnesia: Rebith manages to refresh the outdated format seen in so many horror games over the last decade, while still holding the recognisable tropes of the franchise (see my full review here) to keep it’s identity present.

Launch Trailer for Amnesia: Rebirth.

Kyle Byrne (@StealthFrag)

Game: Command and Conquer: Remastered Collection

Release Date: 5th of June 2020

Much like how tough 2020 was itself, my choice of Game of the year was only made harder by the limited number of games that managed to grab me especially in the Triple A department. You had Doom Eternal at the start of the year Id doubling down on its new vision for the Doom franchise and offering a refreshing challenge in the shooter department with plenty of call backs and homages to the original titles in the series. This was a great move for people like me who grew up on Quake and Doom, only to double down on the challenge in the excellent Ancient Gods Part 1 Story DLC a game that had me coming back throughout the year. Of course, we also got treated to Ghost of Tsushima, a game that I was indecisive about at first hearing it was open world and third person only made me fear the worst for boring tick box objectives across a large map which is there. I was pleased however to find the game was done so well it never became annoying and ultimately, I was more than happy that I took the plunge and dusted off the PS4 and indulged in my love for Samurai Cinema. In addition to these games, you had some excellent indie titles too such as Carrion which if you like John Carpenters the Thing I cannot recommend more. Essentially Carrion lets you run wild as a monster much like the creature on the film wreaking havoc wherever you go! Other indie games that caught my attention was the highly acknowledged and acclaimed Hades and for good reason with its dungeon crawler style levels that keeps me coming back for more and have already had me put countless hours into it. Although none of these quite hit me like C&C remastered, sure Destroy All Humans Remastered was a very close second but was just beaten by C&Cs value for money and of course C&C being a game I remember playing on the PS1. Originally taking turns on particularly tough missions with either my Dad or Siblings C&C has been with me for much longer and with how quietly C&C remaster flew silently under the radar it would feel like a crime with the amount of love and care the devs put into this remaster with a lot of the original Westwood devs working on it I mean who could do it better? It really adds back into these genre defining games and to bring them back to modern day faithfully having all the same bugs and cheese as the day they came out using most of the orginal source code and with minor quality of life improvements like unit queueing. Tiberium Dawn, Red Alert all their respect Expansion campaigns, even the secret ant and dino campaigns. Not to mention even adding in exclusive PS1 and N64 missions not available on PC previously there is easily over 100 missions which are just as good now and come with all their cheesy glorious FMV cutscenes. To add to this there other additions that are the bonus or behinds scene content from when the games were originally being created. To top it all off the ever-great Frank Klepacki returning to redo most of the music even adding cut tracks, and some tracks redone with the band “The Tiberium Sons”. I could go on but without looking the amount of content on offer and nostalgia value on offer for £18.99 is ridiculously good value for fans or people looking for how the genre kicked off. Simply hours of fun for me personally (And who doesn’t love a good Mammoth Tank spam?) Its just as excellent as it was in the 90s really shows still to this day why it defined a genre all I can hope for now is a Tiberian Sun remaster Red Alert 2? Do not disappoint me EA, this is a superb step away from the atrocitie of C&C Rivals. I hope to see more!

John Betts (No twitter handle)

Game Of The Year: Assassins Creed Valhalla

Release Date: 10th November 2020

To be blunt with all our wonderful audience, I felt somewhat underwhelmed with the gaming library of 2020. (Perhaps covid 19 impacted my mindset somewhat). As I decided to wait for the next-gen CyberPunk game, my current copy is gathering dust. The current Xbox Series X offering doesn’t feel like the experience I envisioned the developers wanted gamers to have. FIFA 21 appears to get less enjoyable every year, with changes kept to a minimum. However, I will give an honorable mention to Ghost Of Tshunima. I’ve had countless hours of fun with the great open world-hack and slash adventure and the tone and production values of the game remain seriously impressive. The game that just pip’s Ghost past the post is AC: Valhalla. My first proper 4k experience on the Series X and it’s a truly remarkable game that has few if any flaws. Offering an engrossing story that has many similarities with the popular Vikings TV show. Perhaps it feels somewhat treacherous picking a game that champions the slaughter of my fellow countrymen, but everything about the game is first-rate. You’ll enjoy a stellar looking environment in a world that truly feels alive, as you experience an incredible journey with Eivor, Sigurd, and many more from a time where the gods are idolized and raiding is treated like it’s some kind of competitive sport. It’s bloody, sometimes jaw-dropping, and even mind-boggling (when you climb up some stupendously high castle). Yet, in my humble opinion, Assasins Creed Valhalla sets the benchmark for new releases in the open-world genre. So do yourself a favor and buy this game, you can thank me later ;).

Caleb Moran (@Rad_Sh1ba)

Game: Red Dead Online & Grand Theft Auto Online

Release Date: RDO – 26th October 2018. GTAO – 17th September 2013 (PS3/X360) / 18th November 2014 (PS4/XONE)

Ok, So I am cheating a bit here, but let me explain. Despite being a locked down and locked in year, there really wasn’t that much I really got into. Animal Crossing was interesting, but I found it pretty tedious and underwhelming, and I got through The Last of Us 2 despite having huge problems with its pacing, length and storyline. So I’m choosing to put my Game Of The Year as the game I enjoyed and played most this year, which was my return to Grand Theft Auto Online, and Red Dead Online. I put a lot of hours into GTA Online in the years following its release, but it fell off my radar around 2016 due to the high cost of newer content, such as super cars, jet planes and properties. With the announcement of GTA 5 for PS5/ Xbox X/S I decided to return to San Andreas and continue my criminal empire. By the end of the year I had obtained nearly all the major businesses along with an array of vehicles from go karts and anime cars to nuclear subs and hover bikes, which even I admit is getting a bit over the top now. That’s where Red Dead Online comes in however. Red Dead Onlines content is much more down to earth and grounded. There is no orbital canons, stealth bombers or mobile missile trucks, just your camp, your horse and the great frontier. There is a major lack of updates from Rockstar, but what the game lacks in content it makes up for with it’s gorgeous scenery and far superior shooting mechanics. Where GTA is more concerned about your vehicles and several properties, Red Dead is more about your characters online presence with what you wear, how you decorate your horse, your guns and what they look like. It’s a lot more personal and I try and make my character as elaborate as possible – A big feather hat, Solid black guns with golden triggers and red engraving, a horse I named Marshmellow who wears a reindeer mask, or the dog who chills at my camp whom I called Nacho Tumbleweed. The roles it offers can be bounties, hunting or even tracking and photographing animals. Both games compliment each other with the hugely different sides of the same coin – GTA Online is over the top, with hundreds of vehicles, missions and properties to own, making it a huge destructive playground. But when I’m done with that I can return to the calmness of Red Dead Online with some satisfying hunting, exploring, or just chilling at my camp with Nacho Tumbleweed.

So that just about covers out favourites from 2020 (except for Caleb, but he always was odd). Agree with our list? Feel like we missed out on any gems of 2020? Let us know in the comments below, as well as our twitter: @GameHype_. Stay safe, and happy gaming folks!