As we spend more time at home, it’s impossible not to feel grateful for video games. Though the release schedule has been altered, 2020 has still been an incredible year for gaming so far. Remarkably, the best may be yet to come.
First announced in 2013, Sony finally released the long-promised exclusive Dreams to widespread critical acclaim. It currently holds a 90 on Opencritic and remains a wildcard entry in Sony’s portfolio. Developer Media Molecule has given players the most accessible tools to create their own games from scratch. When the PS5 launches, I’m hoping to see the ‘dreamiverse’ on the home screen so that we can access creations like we do YouTube videos.
It seems like Nintendo’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons has arrived at the most opportune time. The series has always had a substantial fandom; however, the latest entry has sold over 5 million copies since March. Though there are many dynamic features, perhaps the biggest attraction is the opportunity to socialize with friends in a stress-free and cozy environment, a shared experience that transcends isolation.
The year of the remake, sequel, and revival
It’s incredible that in 2020 we’re drowning in Final Fantasy VII hype again. Its story was way ahead of its time back in 1997. With the Final Fantasy VII Remake, both new fans and old have delved into the slums of Midgar to fight the oppressive Shinra corporation. What was once a 4-5 hour section has become a 40-hour adventure, as though the original was simply an outline. Relationships and character arcs have expanded. It’s not without change, however. And as more players finish and replay it, expect the discourse to rumble on for months (or perhaps years) to come.
2020 saw another reimagining of a classic PS1 game in the form of Capcom’s Resident Evil 3 Remake. The developers ought to be commended for following up the RE2 Remake with such a gripping and polished retelling of the original in such a short space of time. Though, that does come with some drawbacks. You can read my impressions in which I found it to be an exhilarating yet ultimately truncated experience.
After being delayed twice, Doom Eternal smashed series sales records upon release in March. Id Software’s frenetic first-person shooter series has lead the way this generation. Eternal iterates upon the chaotic 2016 reboot, managing to create an adrenaline-pumping romp, insistent on pushing you to your limits.
It almost feels like Persona 5: Royal swooped in under the radar, but the game holds the highest rating of any title released so far this year. In fact, Drew called it the best RPG of the generation. This definitive edition comes with a host of new features including plot points, alterations to the game’s mechanics, and a whole new semester to play through.
Believe it or not, we even got a new Half-Life game. Half Life: Alyx released exclusive to VR and is currently only available for PC. If this hasn’t prompted you to go out and invest in the platform, I don’t know what will. And for those of you holding out hope for a Half-Life 3, this is the best sign in years that it may yet happen.
The best is still yet to come
It’s hard to believe that with all of these AAA games already out, we’re not even halfway through the calendar year. And yet here we are in early May with a number of reasons why 2020 is already a great year for gaming.
The rest of the year may end up being even better than the first several months thanks to some delays. The biggest release of the year might very well be Naughty Dog’s highly-anticipated The Last of Us Part II.
And then there is Ghost of Tsushima coming on July 17. In September, we’ll see Marvel’s Avengers. Later in the fall, we have Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. And if you own a Switch, there’s a good chance that you’ll get some Super Mario remasters this fall.
Let’s not forget about the biggest event of all: the release of the upcoming next-gen consoles from Sony and Microsoft. The holiday season is the expected launch of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.
So, yeah, 2020 has been a great year for gaming so far. Yet, incredibly, we should only expect it to get even better from here.