Peter’s Top 10 Video Games of 2020

Sooooo (again), 2020, amirite? If there ever a year to lose myself with a controller and 4K TV, this was it. I spent the better part of the year obsessing about playing many great games. Then September arrived, and like many nerds, I became more obsessed over securing an online order for a PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. True, I was initially bummed I wouldn’t be going to my local Gamestop at midnight on Nov 10th and 12th, but in the interest of being safe, I was fortunate enough snag a preorder. Then I just needed to wait eight weeks to greet my neighborhood FedEx peep with social distancing in place. The actual games to play on these big consoles (looking at you, PS5) were the best kind of pricy distractions. More web-slinging! Thrills involving a nemesis! An island full of wisecracking animals! And an ever relatable tale about a pandemic that turned everyone into polarizing monsters. That last one was just the reaction to the game on social media.

While the following is a list of the best games of 2020, I played a lot this year that were older (Like 2017 ancient). None more so than The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I put in over 200 hours. I regret nothing. So a shoutout to anyone that was able to enjoy, marvel, and just live among our pixelated selves. With that, on to the games and the characters that stayed with me.

10.  Call of Duty: Cold War

The best single-player COD campaign since the original Modern Warfare (2007), Cold War nails the 80s spy vibe (Complete with a pretty good Reagan impersonation). Led by a dude that looks like Jackal era Robert Redford, you’re tasked with infiltrating several locations to stop a terrorist that might not even exist. Plenty of twists and turns kept me guessing through this tight six-hour story. PS5 owners rejoice as every gun in your arsenal feels different thanks to the incredible implementation of the Dualsense controller’s haptic feedback and adaptive triggers. Both PS5 and Series X/S owners can play the game at 120fps or with ray-tracing.


9. Destiny 2: Beyond Light

It only took developer Bungie half a decade, but Destiny 2 is the best “games as service” franchise ever. This latest installment could almost be considered Destiny 3 since “beyond” a new campaign, raids, and strikes is a brand-new subclass. “Stasis” is, as the D2 title of this iteration suggests, not light power but dark. Freezing foes like The Fallen, The Taken, and the other too obvious named baddies (seriously, what is it with sci-fi/fantasies and their blunt names?) is wicked fun. Beyond Light bliss culminated this holiday season with a festive Tower and a quest to bake cookies for D2 mainstays like Ikora and Savala, who then give you treats like better gear and guns. Who knew three-eyed Eris is such a foodie for oatmeal raisin? Here’s hoping February’s season thirteen keeps me invested in looting, grinding, and above all, acquiring the right cape for my hunter. Priorities, guardian.


8.  Astro’s Playroom

Both the PS5 and Series X/S boasted faster load times, more teraflops, blah blah blah, but wow, only the new PS5 Dualsense controller offered a new feel to interacting, which, pun intended, is a game-changer. Haptic feedback means vibration now emulates the feel of, say, water being sprinkled on your character or squeezing through a tight space. Adaptive means the pull of the trigger is harder or easier depending on your weapons or, even better, a fishing pole. All of this was incredibly well demonstrated with the PS5’s packed in game Astro’s Playroom. You play the adorable Astro who you guide through state of the art platform levels, which also serves as a fun look back at the PlayStation brand. Check your inner cynic at the portal and dive in.


7. Resident Evil 3

The remake to the third outing in Capcom’s survival horror franchise has long been rumored. After 2019’s RE2 being not just a great remake but one of the best of the series, were the stakes high? Sort of? See, unlike the beloved RE2, RE3 was… well, the ’98 the original has its fans, but mostly the sequel was forgotten in the mainstream. This was most likely because the follow-up RE4 is arguably the best survival horror game of all time (RE3 is the Search for Spock to RE4’s beloved whale outing with the crew of the enterprise, I suppose). Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect but darn it all, the RE3 Remake is a very strong and visually astounding entry. (Yes, RE2’s Claire Redfield is my fav RE character, but RE3‘s Jill Valentine kicks serious butt in this.) While many I know are excited that 2021’s RE: The Village is going back to first-person a la RE VII, I’ll be working on platinuming RE3.


6. Animal Crossing: New Horizons

The first fully HD AC was always going to be a hit for Nintendo, but dropping only a month into the pandemic made New Horizons a zeitgeist pop culture phenomenon. Everyone was playing it (Even Captain Marvel herself, Brie Larson!). Tons of think pieces were written about the need to escape to an island with cute furry creatures, away from our real-life quarantine – even though we still had to live under slum lord Tom Nook’s regime. Gorgeous, easy to pick up and play, and best of all, a haven of creativity for players, er, residents. My personal fav was my pal Vikki, who recreated Buffalo Bill’s basement from The Silence of the Lambs in her fully decked out home. You just can’t unsee that.


5.  Call of the Sea

The year’s best Xbox exclusive is a first-person adventure that concerns the whereabouts of Norah’s explorer husband circa 1934. A mysterious tropical island in the South Pacific is home to a black goop with even some bizarre The Grudge-like side effects. All the puzzles make sense, the controls are intuitive, and as voiced by Cissy Jones, Norah is the perfect balance of determination and good old-fashioned British sensibility.


4.  Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales

More of what made Insomniac’s Spider-Man great just two years ago? Yes, please. This PS5 launch title (although you can play on PS4 too) was the Christmas gift I didn’t know I wanted. Set during the holidays, Harlem, NY is a winter filled wonderland. And with ray-tracing turn on, the most detailed open world I’ve seen. Best of all, Morales is not a Parker clone (Nor is the brand new villain a rogue’s gallery retread.). Peter and Miles might share some of the same abilities, but Miles has some cool new ones too, like a bio-electric venom blast and a covert camouflage. Plus, Miles’ home life is grounded with a loving mom who’s also running for mayor! Little touches like Miles having a metro pass or web-slinging NYC with a kitty in a backpack makes Miles, the game, a standout. Like Naughty Dog’s Uncharted spin-off, The Lost Legacy, this is a shorter title that is nevertheless just as good as the original.


3. Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla

Forty-five hours in, and I’m still nowhere near finished with Norse Viking Eivor, the “wolf kissed” story. The idea of an AC stealth Viking title seemed absurd. What I didn’t realize before playing was that developer Ubisoft knew that too. Valhalla is, in many ways, not an AC game. The open-world structure is there, along with astounding detail of England circa 873 AD (where most of the game takes place), but unlike a traditional AC entry, players aren’t forced or even encouraged to be stealthy. Eivor (male or female) ain’t about that. She even wears her league of assassin’s wrist blade thingie backward! This is no time for hiding in the shadows. Instead, it’s the time for mead chugging and “flyting” (ye old times rapping) some dope ass rhythms like a Viking fool.


2. Final Fantasy VII: Remake

The game I waited over two decades for! Well, okay, how about the version of the game that I was finally able to finish? While my younger brother seemed to breeze through Square’s (eventually, Square-Enix) sprawling JRPG’s on the SNES, PS1, PS2, and PS3 with ease, I, sadly, only ever finished FFX for PS2. Part of my issue was I was horrible at turn-based combat. Another was, especially in the PS1 days, the too hard to control characters and harder to navigate locations drove me crazier than Bahamut not obeying my commands. Finally, Remake offers up an easy to navigate yet no less thrilling dive into the city of Midgar with Emo hero Cloud, passionate Barret, cool beans Tifa, and the rest of the Avalanche crew. I’ve heard the criticism of this version being bloated and, I guess it is, but rarely in my forty-seven hours was I not entertained. Bring on Remake II, please by… 2022?


1. The Last of Us: Part 2

What exactly is a post-apocalyptic tale about? Lawlessness? Sure. Survival? You betcha. Though, the great ones have always been about more than flesh-eating zombies or clickers with sonar hearing. The ones that endure (as well as survive) over generations find a way to let us escape, and right when we’ve maybe had too much, let us go. Neil Druckmann’s masterpiece to his other masterpiece pushes that vibe over and over, and I don’t blame anyone that said “this is too much” after killing another dog or witnessing the most brutal reality kills in a game. Yet, for me, in June of 2020, I couldn’t wait to dive into the further adventures of Joel and Ellie. I had a blast going on a virtual vacation with Animal Crossing, but now it was time to live in a world where a pandemic ended civilization. To witness the cost of tribalism. Where only the most selfish and uncaring were left alive but far from living. Yet there was also hope, kindness, and an affection for characters that I’d never felt in a game ever (#AbbyandLevFTW).

I’ve heard it said that Part 2 is like the double album a band makes after a chart-topping debut. Or, in movie terms, it’s the blank check, no-hold-barred work, refusing to yield to the bottom line. And both are totally true of this sequel. The first time I played it, I was in a feverish dash to finish, and without spoiling too much, the story is divided into two parts. So, it was admittedly tough to get to the end of the first album, only for me to now have to go through another one. But but but! That really only mattered the first time. In keeping with the music analogy, this last of us has only deepened with every listen. A whopping 103 hours later, after making my way through a harsh three days in Seattle four times, I’m still not done. I hope I never will be. Okay, maybe if they ever make a Part 3.

2020 Games I Hope To (Finally) Dive Into in 2021:

Persona 5 Royal, Ghost of Tsushima, Among Us, Hades

Honorable mentions:

Watch Dogs: Legion, Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1+2, Demon’s Souls, Paper Mario: The Origami king, Doom Eternal

Hope to see you all online!
Gamertag/YT/Twitch: pajamo



2 Responses to “Peter’s Top 10 Video Games of 2020”

  1. Aaron Neuwirth

    Hey! I got a platinum trophy on two of these! Hoping to get to Call of Duty soon.

  2. Brian White

    Sweet let me know when you want to do multi-player on COD! Peter hasn’t yet 🙂