Cyberpunk 2077 isn't just a disappointment because it misses the mark for CD Projekt Red. It's a disappointment because it misses the mark as a video game from any developer. It lacks the fundamental basics of a good RPG. The best moments in its narrative are tucked away in side quests. Night City is a boring, lifeless illusion of something greater. Perhaps that's a good analogy for Cyberpunk 2077 itself: A boring, lifeless illusion of something greater.
Ultimately, Immortals Fenyx Rising is a delight to play. Its focus on being a lighthearted take on Greek mythology is appreciated, especially since Ubisoft has mostly reserved its open world formula games for franchises that take themselves a bit too seriously. While the comedic tone and constant banter between all the characters won't strike a chord with everyone, it's certainly bound to make someone smile, and even chuckle at its most cringiest writing. The Breath of the Wild formula hasn't really been done to this sort of extent and despite Ubisoft certainly borrowing a slew of elements from Nintendo's flagship game, they still managed to craft a game that's undeniably their own, and I enjoyed every minute of it.
I can't praise Bluepoint enough with just how much care and attention went into not only bringing this world back to life, but bringing it back in such an authentic way compared to its original. But even though Bluepoint will be getting most of the praise here for their exceptional work, I think it's also important to recognize FROMSoftware's original design, and just how well that design held up over the years. Souls fans with a PS5 certainly won't need to be persuaded to hop in, but I'd easily recommend Demon's Souls for the uninitiated to check out where the this third-person subgenre was conceived. The difficulty can be daunting, but it can also be overcome with enough patience and determination.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War had a rough development. From switching developers to being made during a pandemic, it was bound to be flawed. Somehow, though, Treyarch and Raven Software have still pulled it together for the most part. With a series-defining campaign, a classical return to Zombies, and a flawed but still fun multiplayer, Black Ops Cold War is yet another worthwhile entry.
The long year of 2020 has yet to come to a close, but if I was asked today Spelunky 2 would absolutely be my indie game of the year. There has not been a more challenging, rewarding, delightful and just plain fun game that even comes close. Everyone at Mossmouth really did a fantastic job bringing a worthy successor to an already beloved cult classic. If you love platformers or roguelikes and you have not checked out this game yet, it just may be your favorite game that you've never played.
As an Assassin's Creed fan who has stuck by the series through its high points, and was certainly disappointed by many of its low points, I can confidently say that what Ubisoft has crafted here was not only crafted with an immense amount of love and respect for the series, but for its fans as well. Assassin's Creed Valhalla is one Viking adventure you certainly don't want to miss.
Spider-Man: Miles Morales is the end of one generation and the start of another. It serves as yet another defining title for PlayStation but also an essential story for Marvel's greatest hero. With new innovations in Spidey gameplay as well as loads of refinement and a wildly impactful story, Spider-Man: Miles Morales is the game we need right now.
The Dark Pictures: Little Hope is just a frustratingly dull horror game. The characters are unlikable, the story is poorly strung together, it feels dated, and much more. I have very few positive things to say about it. Little Hope isn’t a game I want to dislike because I wanted a good horror game for October but it failed to deliver.
While it has its moments, Watch Dogs Legion doesn't have enough to feel like a fun place to escape to. The gameplay is too repetitive and too restrictive to allow for anything tremendously exciting over a long period of time. It's a game that shows all of its tricks within the first few hours and leaves you with nothing but jank for the remainder of your playthrough.
Star Wars: Squadrons is an interesting take on the aerial shooter genre with a decent story and immersive VR. While it does have some flaws in terms of the multiplayer and story I feel as if the single player gameplay and the controls make up for it and can provide a fun experience.
Like Mafia 3, Mafia: Definitive Edition is a game that works as a good movie. It's not a game that works as a good *game*. It's buggy, it's clunky, and is often just frustrating or unsatisfying. Hopefully, Hanger 13 is able to learn more lessons from this game because I'm not sure a fourth Mafia game can survive this sort of treatment.
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 is like returning to an old friend. It has the same charm that we fell in love with but has adapted to modern sensibilities. It plays like it belongs in 2020 but not as just a game that meets the bare minimum. It's one that exceeds standards and aligns itself as one of the year's best.
Marvel's Avengers only just staggers its way to being a game worthy of Earth's Mightiest Heroes. An incredibly compelling story, rich characters, and some moments fans have always longed for only carry it so far. The competing visions for an online and single player game make for a confusing, uneven experience.
For Madden NFL 21, the only one that's going to be affected by any sort of Madden Curse is EA themselves. While it can initially get by with some fun gameplay, there's little here to justify playing this for an entire year until Madden NFL 22. For a game that's supposed to be the start of a new-generation of Madden, it lacks severely.
While it won't be a game of the year contender, Destroy All Humans stands tall against other 2020 competitors by updating itself for the modern age. With smooth and efficient gameplay, across the board upgrades, and a timeless satire on the 1950s, Destroy All Humans almost effortlessly sets the stage to rebuild itself as a prominent franchise once again.
As the sun sets on the PS4, Sucker Punch has given the console a noble send-off with Ghost of Tsushima. Although it takes some time to feel engaged by its beautifully tragic narrative, its brutal yet eloquent gameplay and picture-esque world never fail to capture you.
The Last of Us Part II tells a deeply upsetting, bold, and powerful story that is sadly held back by painful pacing issues. The game's structure not only holds it back narratively but also from a gameplay perspective as well. Still, Naughty Dog's PS4 swansong often operates at a level many other games never have and likely never will.