What better time to have a look at the best games of 2020 so far, particularly as we have all got a little more open time at our hands at the moment. We have had some remarkable games hash out this year already. There is a lot to explore. After all, this is still a massively significant year for gaming. Below, we have coined the best games of 2020 released so far.
1. Animal Crossing: New Horizons
The desert-island alternate-life game that has procreated a thousand memes, Animal Crossing offers a cute, stress-free and extremely controllable little realm to escape into. Persuasive and full of character, it gives lots of reasons to come back every day. Animal Crossing is everything you have been craving: it is gentle, comforting, social and innovative. If there was ever a picture-perfect time for a game such as this, that time is now.
2. Doom Eternal
The demon-slaying godfather of first-person shooters returns with another hyperactive adrenaline gust of blood and bullets. The monsters are larger than ever, the worlds are better-off, but this is Doom through and through. Every design detail serves to drive the player forwards with as little friction as possible, with adequate astonishments and twists to avert the formula becoming out-of-date.
3. Streets of Rage 4
Sega’s legendary scrolling brawler gets an unanticipated reappearance 25 years after its predecessor. Returning to the shadowy back alleys of Wood Oak City, our vigilante heroes must use an array of novel weapons and combos so as to bludgeon waves of criminal goons. As a jubilant merriment of a style of game whose thrills are instinctual, not cerebral, it is a victory.
4. Half Life: Alyx
Fans waited over a decade for Half-Life 3, but what they got instead was this virtual reality-exclusive prequel, following resistance leader Alyx Vance at the start of her fight counter to the alien Combine. Tense, dark and thrilling, it is the killer app VR gaming has been crying out for. Valve is a chief at giving players games they didn’t know they sought – Half-Life: Alyx is another instance of that aptitude to surprise, delight and revolutionize.
5. Ori and the Will of the Wisps
The sequel to indie platform adventure Ori and the Blind Forest is another charming quest via a rich, sylvan landscape awash with myth and magic. It is a gentle, forlorn alternative to the year’s big shooters and brawlers. There is surprising attention to detail – the whole world feels thriving with exhilaration and danger. It is a bold and aspiring sequel.
Guildford-based developer Media Molecule turned us all into platform game inventers with its gorgeous DIY puzzler LittleBigPlanet back in 2008 – now the same studio wants us all to form our own video game, movie or musical universes with this powerful and handy creative package. As enjoyable as Dreams is as a toolkit, what is maybe just as imperative is how it teaches, and Dreams is all a good teacher should be: generous, merciful and thorough.
7. Final Fantasy VII Remake
One of the important games of a generation returns, looking a heck of a lot better than it did in 1997. This re-creation proves that Final Fantasy VII’s story has stood the test of time. It is an epic fiction to sink into. Re-creating a universally acclaimed classic was always an appalling responsibility, but like its own sword-wielding supermen, Square Enix has climbed to the challenge outstandingly.
8. Kentucky Route Zero
After six years, the closing chapter to this minimalist, magical-realist adventure game arrived in January, and bolsters its place as one of the significant games of the last decade. It is subtle, rather desolate Americana, letting you snoop on the ordinary and not-so-ordinary lives of its peculiar characters. It combines the mundane and the mystic to create an atmosphere that sits somewhere along the flimsy continuum between a Samuel Beckett play and a David Lynch mini-series.
9. Nioh 2
You could define this as “Dark Souls but samurai”, but Nioh 2 is no hollow tribute act. Sculpt your way through a cosmic Japanese folklore-inspired world awash with demons and spirits using a fun range of heavy-hitting weapons and mystical capabilities. It is tough, though – if failure makes you want to throw things across the room, this could send numerous PlayStation 4 controllers via the TV.
10. Coffee Talk
You are a barista working the night shift in a small coffee shop situated somewhere within an alternate Seattle where your consumers are elves, vampires and werewolves all eyeing to share their problems. It is a peaceable, funny and humanitarian adventure game where the mission is simply to listen and serve.
11. Lair of the Clockwork God
Friends Ben and Dan must avert the apocalypse in this retro-tinged comedy adventure, where classic platforming and point-and-click play styles are pooled to clever and frankly funny effect. Lair of the Clockwork God strikes an inspiring balance between its two mashup genres, mechanically and tonally. It is a post-ironic take on point-and-click adventures.
12. Resident Evil 3 remake
After last year’s dazzling Resident Evil 2 remake, Capcom has followed the same technique with the third installment, keeping the description and setting of the original Resi 3, but tuning the controls and adding new constituents, including an entertaining multiplayer side quest. A captivating transitional title reestablished to greatness. It is a well-thought-out and pleasantly implemented modern refresh of a survival horror classic – and a welcome slab of (nearly) escapism to invigorate our present house-bound lives.