The gaming industry summertime lull is officially upon us, so why not take this advantage of this break in the 2020 release schedule to catch up on some of the best games that you may have missed in the first half of the year. While there's still plenty to look forward to with next generation of consoles launching later this year, here are the top 10 games of 2020 so far (plus a couple of honorable mentions)
Nothing screams Devolver Digital like a game where players take control of a sentient meat monster hellbent on absolute destruction. Coining the phrase "reverse horror", CARRION is equal parts power trip and gory bloodbath. The gameplay can get a bit repetitive and the narrative never really reaches its full potential, but this game is a must for any horror fans who want to see a unique take on the genre.
Hotline Miami meets Samurai Jack. Need I say more? Bloodroots is a fast-paced action brawler where death is welcome and improvisation is the name of the game. You die in a single hit, so you'll have to master the game's run and gun style with tons of weapons, all with their own unique uses and attack patterns. It feels especially good when you see the optimal path the devs line up for you and execute it flawlessly after a ton of trial and error.
If unforgiving and rewarding gameplay is your thing, this games for you.
8. Streets of Rage 4
Streets of Rage 4 manages to ride the line between nostalgia and innovation, offering a modern beat-em-up experience that will immediately click with any long term fan of the genre. The hand-drawn visuals are amazing, the soundtrack is a total bop, and the gameplay has never been more solid. This game is an instant classic and definitely lives up to the hype.
7. Super Crush KO
It's hard to explain exactly what makes Super Crush KO special. It's short, simple, and to the point, but this 2D Brawler is super polished and perfectly crafted for dishing out combos in a way that makes combat feel so smooth and fluid. The mix of long-range and short-range attack gives players the tools to take on any situation head-on while still feeling challenging through and through.
Getting through a level without taking a single point of damage and seeing that S+ ranking pop up is insanely satisfying. Just feels good man.
6. Animal Crossing: New Horizons
A cultural touchstone of 2020, Animal Crossing moved mountains and moved copies (13.4 million copies sold worldwide in just the first 6 weeks of release to be specific). In an otherwise tame year for the company, Nintendo has done a great job of fine-tuning the Animal Crossing experience while dishing out a healthy dose of updates to keep players active and engaged. Definitely a "right place, right time" situation for this one to roll through just when people needed it the most.
5. Doom Eternal
Doom Eternal takes what made Doom 2016 such a killer title and cranks it up to 100. It's fast, fluid, and above all else, unforgiving. You'll need to use every single weapon in your arsenal to fight through the hoards of enemies because ammo is scarce and enemies are relentless.
Once you figure out the brilliant combat flow that's at the center of the game, you'll not only feel like a complete badass for a ruthless tactician as well. Despite the developer's attempt to force "games as a service" elements in, the game's core mechanics outshine its flaws and the result is one of the most fun and bombastic experiences of 2020.
4. Monster Train
Looking for a fresh take on the rogue-like deck-building genre? Monster Train is exactly what you're looking for. Players choose between two different races a the start of every run, which determines the types of cards you'll be using. From there, you'll upgrade units, build out different synergies, and fight against a diverse cast of enemies all with their own unique buffs and strategies. You know the game's expertly crafted when you can start a run thinking that you'll never beat the deck you just built only to fall into a synergy that's completely different and even better than your last.
The thing that I appreciate the most about this game is that runs are quick compared to others in the genre, which lets you dive right back in with a fresh start without feeling like you just wasted a bunch of time. Can't recommend this one enough.
3. Ghost of Tsushima
After six years of silence, Sucker Punch came out swinging to close out the PS4's last prime time year with what may very well be the most gorgeous game to be released on the console. Ghost of Tsushima feels like an old school open-world game, with all of the strengths and weaknesses that come with the territory.
The map can feel a bit padded with collectibles and side quests, but the minimalist UI and overall subdued tone of the story really leave room for the environments to breathe and take on a life of their own. Coupled with the great combat and writing, Ghost of Tsushima manages to deliver in what it sets out to do while leaving a lasting impression.
2. Final Fantasy VII: Remake
What can be said about Final Fantasy VII: Remake that hasn't been said before? The re-imagined graphics are stunning, the new battle system is as refreshing as it is fun to play around with, and that one rhythm game sets a new standard for the entire JRPG genre. The sky's the limit for where Square Enix can take the series from here, and I for one am really looking forward to seeing how far they can push the limit with the next entry.
1. Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Ori and the Will of the Wisps rivals Hollow Knight as one of the best Metroidvanias of the decade. It builds off of everything that the first game already did so well with an enhanced combat system, killer side content, a new array of traversal moves that makes getting around feel so, so good, a touching narrative, challenging boss fights, and art direction so good it boggles the mind.
Personally it's going to be hard for anything to dethrone this game as my number one for the year, but with a slew of launch games releasing this fall, I'm excited to see what lies around the corner.
Persona 5 Royal
One of my favorite games of 2017 made even better with fresh changes to combat and an entirely new story arc that any fan of the original game will enjoy sinking another 100+ hours in to complete.
The Last of Us Part II
While I haven't gotten a chance to play through The Last of Us Part II firsthand, it would be a crime to leave the most critically acclaimed release of the year off of this list. Despite what some may say about the driving narrative, you have to applaud Naughty Dog for putting together this technical marvel that serves to celebrate the Playstation 4 and how far developers have pushed the limit of the console over the course of this generation of gaming.
TANKNAROK is a competitive co-op game where players power up their tanks to destroy their opponents with lightning-fast gameplay. Polyblock Studio isn't doing anything that hasn't been done before, but the fast, fluid and simple controls makes for a great party game that just about anyone can pick up, play, and have a good time with.