Whether we were gathering cherry blossoms and catching bugs or pillaging medieval England, 2020 kicked off the new decade with some truly exceptional gaming experiences.While the year gave us massive years-in-the-making epics and stunning visions of history, this was our ultimate pick for the best game of 2020:
IGN’s Game of the Year 2020: Hades
Hades is a one-of-a-kind rogue-lite that sets the bar for creatively combining wildly different genres and using their strengths to complement each other in unexpected ways. Satisfying, twitch-based combat combined with the Rogue-lite potential of breaking the game through a lucky pull of boons and power-ups leave you feeling like a god. Above all that, though is how Hades ties narrative progression to its gameplay loop. Failed runs, player choice, and built up relationships are authored moments that feel unique to your playthrough in a way that no game before it has even attempted to come close.
A cast of ancient, storied characters recontextualized through a modern lens makes the Greek pantheon feel new. And that coat of paint extends to the literary device of Greek Tragedy. Transforming this tale destined for a tragedy into a fairy tale that promises to stay with you for all time. Hades is everything that video games should strive to be, all rolled into a tightly-woven package for your enjoyment.
IGN’s People’s Choice GotY: The Last Of Us Part 2
The Last of Us Part 2 feels like the culmination of Naughty Dog’s storytelling ambitions that first took form with the original Uncharted. Living up to one of the most beloved game stories of all time is no easy task, but Part 2 takes what made the original so nuanced and interesting and doubles down on it in a journey that feels entirely real and unexpected. Through the act of controlling characters who are overtly flawed, you come to understand them, even if it hurts you, the player, in the process. And while this sounds like a huge bummer, The Last of Us Part 2 is ultimately hopeful; not just a story about how violence can beget violence, but a story about overcoming it.
That complex storytelling is also coupled with Naughty Dog’s best third-person action stealth and action combat yet, thanks to some brilliantly intuitive level design and smart AI that makes each new encounter as much a puzzle box as it is a fight to survive. (It also makes this Last of Us multiplayer fan pine for a sequel to that mode.) The Last of Us Part 2 is gruesome, brutal, and full of emotional stakes, and ranks as one of the PS4’s best exclusives ever.
For more, check out our full Last of Us 2 review here!
Below, you’ll find the list of all our other favorite games of the year.
Game of the Year 2020 Nominees