Marc Morrison’s Top 10 Games of 2020: SnowRunner & More

2020 was obviously an interesting year for games. Many games got pushed back or released in, what I’ll charitably call “unfinished states,” so I honestly don’t feel that there is a single game that is a clear winner, unlike in some other years. The games on my list are the ones that I played and enjoyed the most like SnowRunner. There are some games that I’d normally love but didn’t make the cut because I didn’t have time to play them (Yakuza: Like a Dragon or Microsoft Flight Simulator.) Also, some others aren’t on the list because I didn’t enjoy playing them (Last of Us Part 2, Watch Dogs: Legion, and Animal Crossing New Horizons, two which I actually reviewed.)  So this is my list, which is objectively the correct list for the year.

Also, because my list is unbiased and completely factual, I included a little bonus with each of my picks, a bit of “Video Game Review Haiku Corner”. Of course, because we can all agree that game reviews are their most impactful when in the form of a Haiku.

10. Hardspace: Shipbreaker
Hardspace Shipbreaker/Blackbird Interactive & Focus Home Interactive

This one is unique because it is technically an unreleased game that’s still in Early Access. However, it already has such great content that I want to talk about it. Hardspace: Shipbreaker casts you in the role of an interstellar contractor whose job it is to break apart derelict and old ships. You have a few tools at your disposal: a laser for pinpoint cuts, or else to make wide-sweeping blasts. A gravity gun that you can use to move around objects and tether them to other things. Finally, a scanner to know what’s dangerous and what’s not. 

There is a lot of danger in breaking the ships apart, extracting the reactor is always a tense process, even if you’ve done it 30 times already because something has a chance of always going wrong. You could forget to purge the fuel, or maybe get the reactor casing a little too hot cutting it out too. Not to mention, you could get a blow out by not decompressing the ship beforehand. 

The developers have also added new ships with updates but I am still itching for them to release some good ship-building mod tools. Imagine cutting apart an X-Wing, Serenity, or the USS Enterprise. Since I put it on my list for this year, I probably won’t mention it in the future, but it’s a game I’ve easily sunk 40 hours in and will continue to do so going forward.

Video Game Review Haiku # 10

Cut ships to break them

Reactor meltdown starting

Cloned body at death

9. Cyberpunk 2077
Cyberpunk 2077/CD Projekt Red

Here’s the thing, Cyberpunk 2077 is janky. I’m also playing it on a PlayStation 5 and the game generally crashes every 45 minutes to an hour.  I could probably set a clock to it. I’ve had issues where enemies glitch out, cars float in mid-air, I’ve fallen through buildings once or twice (intentionally and not), among other stuff.

With all that said, I still really like playing it. The city is intricately built, the combat is great, and you can have a lot of options in how you want to approach most situations. It’s really not perfect, and the bugs make it worse (aside from the infinite money, and one-hit kills). Overall though, I’m still having a total blast playing the game. This is doubly so when I’m watching Johnny Mnemonic.

Video Game Review Haiku # 9

Night City looks great

Keanu speaks in my mind

Game crashes often

8. SnowRunner
SnowRunner/Saber Interactive Focus Home Interactive

Snowrunner, one of many games I reviewed this year, is equal parts of a relaxing nature drive and a tense, seat-of-your-pants tightrope act. The relaxing bit comes into play when you are just traveling around the environments in your truck. From the swampy Michigan area, to the frozen Alaska, or even the rustic Russia. Seeing how desolate the places are can make you feel alone in the world and find peace in solitude. 

The tense part comes when you’re tasked with hauling a trailer full of tools from one spot to another, with the road filled with puddles, debris and other hazards. It is some nail-biting action when you manage to haul a load up a mountain trail and you just pray that the road holds and you and your trailer don’t go tumbling off into the area below. Snowrunner does have a bit of a wonky mission structure but there is no better rally game around.

Video Game Review Haiku # 8

Truck stuck in the mud

Michigan is desolate

Perfect existence

7. Ghost of Tsushima
Ghost of Tsushima/PlayStation Studios

I think there is too much world in Ghost of Tsushima. The previous two Assassin’s Creed games suffer from this and I’ve mentioned when reviewing those games that I’m not a fan of bloated game worlds.  If the game was like 25 percent smaller, I probably would enjoy it a lot more. Still, there is a lot to dig about the game. The combat is enjoyable, you can get some really fun upgrades and the game is frankly amazing to look at it even on the PlayStation 4

I never really got tired of slicing up Mongol invaders either. But just the sheer size of the world eventually put me off, because just finding another Fox Den or Haiku spot lost its enjoyment after a while. Partially also it could be that I stuck with only one stance and took out almost everyone with it, even if the game told me that certain stances worked better with different enemies.

Video Game Review Haiku # 7

My haiku is good

Better than any in-game

Combat does not change

6. Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout
Fall Guys/ Mediatonic & Devolver Digital

Fall Guys ably mixes up the battle royal gimmick with that of an obstacle course TV show. You and 39 other players race through stages, or do battle against one another in mini-games. All in the hopes of you being the last one standing. Fall Guys has some finicky controls and physics but that’s probably intentional, to make it easy to initially pick up but hard to master. I love the goofy and cheerful nature of this game, including the infectious starting song whenever a mini-game begins. Now, just make a Nickelodeon GUTS spin-off please.

Video Game Review Haiku # 6

Costumed men climb hill

Fall into a pit of slime

Crown is elusive

5. Wasteland 3
Wasteland 3/Deep Silver

I was really surprised that I liked Wasteland 3 as much as I did.  I tried Wasteland 2 and really didn’t get into it. It was too brown, too esoteric and just not fun to play. However, Wasteland 3 fixes a lot of the core problems of the second game by basically making it like Divinity: Original Sin by having you control two characters whose skills can align with one another. The writing, gameplay and sense of humor are all improved, and it’s just a lot more enjoyable to play overall. Also, while it’s a generally snowy area, there is a lot of variety in the different places you can go, which makes actually exploring fun to do.

Video Game Review Haiku #5

Nuclear war happens

Toaster repairs are needed

Bring peace to the land

4. Hades
Hades/Supergiant Games

Hades is just a fantastic Rogue-like game. Using different weapons. Getting random skills. Going through different rooms during each run means that no two runs are ever really the same. For me, I tried to stick with the trident and bow and arrow the most, as getting close to enemies usually spelled danger. But the control you have is as great as it was in Bastion with precise movements in every respect. My only slight knock against Hades is that I dislike how long it takes to rank up certain conversations with people. It can become a slog when the game says “Oh, talk to this person 13 more times in order to get to the next step with them.”  But that is literally about the only minor issue I have with the game really.

Video Game Review Haiku #4

Endless runs in hell

At least the dog is friendly

The spear is god tier

3. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla/Ubisoft

Assassin’s Creed is such a weird franchise. I can think of no other franchise that comes up with and then casts off gameplay mechanics in subsequent games. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is actually a pretty good mixture between the recent (awful) mechanics of light/heavy attacks, gear systems, and leveling up mechanics while also bringing back systems from the past games as well. It is nice seeing settlements, the hidden blade being useful again, social stealth all making a return. Honestly, this is one of the best Assassin’s Creed games in years and I am shocked that they were able to put it out and for it to be so great.

Video Game Review Haiku # 3

Drinking and rhyming

What more could a Viking want?

Good parkour system?

2. Final Fantasy 7 Remake
Final Fantasy VII Remake/Square-Enix

I’m one of those people who doesn’t really evangelize the original Final Fantasy VII. It was decent at the time, but even back then I thought it had a lot of weird issues and the story was bad. I appreciate the way they basically remixed the story by having Sephiroth show up WAY earlier and how the timeline is in flux. Also, the battle system is so good, it’s an evolution of Final Fantasy XV’s but with more character switching and specific skills based on who you are actually using. It’ll be really interesting how they continue the story in part two, which given Square-Enix‘s track record, will come out sometime in 2024.

Video Game Review Haiku #2

Aerith sells flowers

Cloud now has a character

More Red XIII, please

1. Persona 5 Royal
Persona 5 The Royal/Atlus & SEGA

Even though I played the crap out of and reviewed the original version of Persona 5, somehow Persona 5 The Royal improves on the game even more. The reason I enjoyed Royal so much, chiefly, is I was able to actually get almost everything done in one playthrough. I did have a few of the completely busted DLC Persona’s, which make combat a completely trivial thing, but that’s almost incidental. 

There are subtle improvements to the game mechanics, such as having regenerating ammo in between battles, letting you upgrade the Baton Pass, having certain characters doing special attacks if you complete specific battle criteria, and so on. Making it a more enjoyable experience overall. While Kasumi is a bit shoe-horned in, especially at the start, she does come into her own late in the game. Also, Maruki is integrated far better, but the actual added content is very short and almost inconsequential due to its brevity. 

Still, Persona 5 The Royal is great. I was able to get a Platinum Trophy during my first playthrough, it didn’t take me four and a half playthroughs like original Persona 5 did. Plus, it’ll always remain a Game of the Year. Especially, if they put a Nintendo Switch version out in 2021.

Video Game Review Haiku # 1

Sasuke is still dumb

Takemi is the waifu

Trophies are easy

Let Marc know what some of your favorite games of 2020 were in the comments or by reaching out to Marc or us on Twitter, or underneath the post about it on our website FB Page.

You can also hear Marc’s thoughts on his Top 10 list by listening to the Video Games 2 the MAX podcast on your favorite podcast app, Youtube, or by hitting play below…

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