Randy Isbelle’s Top 10 Games of 2020: Carrion, Astro’s Playroom, More

Video games have been such a savior for me in 2020.  Watching my work get closed down due to the pandemic and sitting at home all summer really took its toll on me, but video games were there to help me get through it. Letting me escape my reality and enjoy the stories and worlds that these developers created for us were much needed. It helped that 2020 was jam-packed with games that I was beyond excited for. So many classics getting remade or getting new sequels. Not to mention, tried and true franchises getting new chapters to their story. Plus, there are all of the wonderful surprise games that did not get a lot of hype coming into 2020 but ended up being some of the best of the year like Carrion and a game I barely left off my list in Streets of Rage 4. To me, 2020 was far superior to 2019 as far as top tier quality games, even if many of the games we were looking forward to got postponed to a later date. This even led to me having to leave off a game from a franchise I absolutely love in Resident Evil 3 Remake as well.

10. Ghost of Tsushima
Ghost of Tsushima/PlayStation Studios

Sucker Punch created such a gorgeous world in Ghost of Tsushima. Also, the sword gameplay is so good. Unfortunately, the swordplay starts to feel a little old after the dozens of hours the journey takes.  There also seems to be a lot of collection padding that needlessly stretches out a gorgeous game and feels a little bit too long for me. However, Ghost of Tsushima sets up a fantastic world and I am excited to see what they can do with it in the future. 

9. Crash 4: It’s About Time
Crash Bandicoot 4/Activision

Getting back to the nostalgia kick was really great, as I loved the original Crash trilogy remasters. Toys for Bob nails the feel of Crash Bandicoot with a fantastic platformer that adds in a couple of new gameplay twists too. With 30+ levels to go through, the artwork and design really pop off the screen. It is just unfortunate that I will never platinum this game because I do not have the abilities I used to have as a younger gamer when I would complete every last thing in the original titles.

8. Hades
Hades/Supergiant Games

I feel kind of bad for putting Hades at only eight on my list. Unfortunately, I just have not played enough of it to really fall in love with it like many other people have. I enjoy the combat. The world seems very interesting as well. But every time I tried to get into it, something else came out and Hades just didn’t keep my attention.  It is not because I felt like the game was bad by any means, it just requires more playtime than I can give it. Roguelikes always require me to play only that game for a period of time so I can get into a good rhythm. Unfortunately, with 2020’s tremendous amount of game releases, I just could not find time for it, but I still enjoyed it enough to put it on here.

7. SpiderMan: Miles Morales
Spider-Man: Miles Morales/Marvel & PlayStation Studios

Another game that felt like an add-on to a previous game, Spider-Man: Miles Morales takes everything that worked in the original Marvel’s Spider-Man game and tightens the gameplay into a fantastic little ball. Streamlining some of the side content from the previous game and focusing more on the main story of Miles Morales and his ability to balance his personal life with his super-hero life. Unlike Resident Evil 3, this game does not feel like it was too short.  It focused on one main story, told it well, and got out.

6. Carrion
Carrion/Devolver Digital

The surprise of my list is Carrion. This game was not on my radar at all, and I did not play until a few months after it was released. Luckily, Xbox Game Pass was there to allow me to give this one a shot and I am so happy I did. Playing as the evil creature was such a nice change of pace, kind of a reverse Alien Isolation. A fantastic puzzle game where controlling the creature feels so damn good. Carrion also adds in a little origin story without saying a word, which makes it even more special. 

5. Fall Guys: Ulitmate Knockout
Fall Guys/Mediatonic & Devolver Digital

The party game of 2020. I do not think I spent more time in a game this year (other than with MLB The Show 2020) than Fall Guys. It became a Friday night tradition to get into a group and battle for crowns until one of us rage quit. Fall Guys has already added many new levels and a great number of level changes that keep the game fresh for anyone who plays it once a week like me. The backlash this game is getting online these days is really disappointing as it was such a flash hit at the perfect time this year and for some reason that upset people.

4. Astro’s Playroom
Astro’s Playroom/ Sony Japan Studio & Team Asobi

The best launch game of all-time, hands down, no question is Astro’s Playroom. This is the game that was far better than it had any reason to be. A tech demo for the PlayStation 5 Dualsense controller, that turned into one of the best platformers that I have played in the last few years. Add in the fact that it is a major nostalgia trip on the history of Sony and Playstation and this game was just fantastic. 

3. Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Ori and the Will of the Wisps/Moon Studios

Ori and the Blind Forest was a fantastic platformer that really tested you with some precise jumps in a gorgeous world. Ori and the Will of the Wisps, (which I reviewed), does all of that but combines an element of combat that really brings the whole game together. No longer are you just sending projectiles back at enemies. Ori defends himself with a sword attack that changes the gameplay style completely. Add-in some very cinematic boss battles and Ori and the Will of the Wisps ends up being a sequel that improves on the formula done by the original.

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

The game that could have gone terribly wrong, but instead exceeded all of my expectations. Final Fantasy VII was the first RPG for me that really won me over. It was the reason I got into many of the original Playstation RPG’s. The remake had been rumored for years, and even teased for the Playstation 3, but the time finally came for at least part of the story to be retold. Square-Enix did not just rest on remaking the beautiful world of Gaia to tell the same story, but instead taking the definition of a remake in a slightly different way, opening themselves up for some interesting choices with the sequels. 

Many were worried when it was announced that FF7R would only be the Midgar portion of the original game, something that was only around five hours of the original FF VII. But those worries went away quickly when they got their hands on this game and saw just how much love was poured into it. From the voice actors to the remade music, everything hits the mark and I cannot wait for the second part of this retelling.

1. The Last of Us Part 2
The Last of Us Part 2/PlayStation Studios

I have said many times in the past that The Last of Us was my favorite game that I never want to play again. The story was such an emotional roller coaster that you felt exhausted when you reached the credits. However, the sequel takes that roller coaster and makes it larger and even more exhausting as they take you through a fantastic story that feels both familiar but new. I absolutely love the risks that Naughty Dog took in this sequel, knowing that much of their fanbase might not like their direction. Thankfully, the story they told was a beautiful view into the inner workings of someone dealing with loss. 

Not only was the story amazing, but they improved the gameplay in every aspect. Controlling an older Ellie allowed for more fluid combat with a heavy action tint. This allowed battles to take place on multiple floors of a broken-down building. Giving every battle the same depth as they did in Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, which changed the last game in the Nathan Drake franchise. The Last of Us Part 2 gets a lot of hate, but I think if given a fair and open opportunity, most gamers can see the beauty that Naughty Dog created in a world that seemed to lose its beauty years ago.

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

You can also hear Randy’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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