RPG fans have had no shortage of high-quality RPGs to play this year—and considering all the stressful turbulence we’ve all experienced in 2020, this surplus of captivating digital worlds comes at just the right time. Expected heavyweights and surprise underdogs both enjoyed some time in the genre’s spotlight, and we couldn’t be happier about it.
13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim didn’t receive the kind of excitement and hype that other RPGs enjoyed this year, but don’t let this one pass you by. Featuring real-time mech battles and a complex, non-linear story split between thirteen characters and chopped up into short segments, 13 Sentinels proves that there’s still plenty of room for innovation in the well-worn JRPG genre.
Bringing back a classic game decades after its original release and updating the experience to satisfy modern audiences is no easy task, but that’s exactly what Square Enix has pulled off with Final Fantasy VII Remake. The character models look incredible, the combat is up-to-date, and the region of Midgar is filled with more things to do than was possible in the original. And this is all just the first part of the whole story! We can’t wait to get our hands on more.
Racing games are a constant in the midst of an oft-changing industry. The primal competitive excitement of zipping along race courses in pursuit of the checkered flag resonates no matter what other trends and fads catch our eye in the moment. Here are a couple of gaming’s 2020 racing highlights.
We won’t lie; TT Isle of Man: Ride on the Edge 2 has a wicked learning curve, so it’s not for the faint of heart. But if you have the persistence to master the art of driving a digital motorcycle, you’re in for a treat thanks to the game’s gorgeous graphics, realistic physics, and intense challenge.
WRC 9 FIA World Rally Championship captures the intense excitement of offroad rally races and builds upon the successes of last year’s entry in the series. Hardcore and casual racing fans alike should check this one out.
While not a huge year for platformers, 2020 saw some interesting platforming games, especially from small indie developers. Below are our picks for the best two.
Carrion takes an unusual approach, putting the player into the role of a terrifying tentacle monster seeking to escape the lab in which it was birthed, slaughtering any hapless human that stands in its way. This reverse horror game caught the eye of many on our staff, as it impresses not only in its thrill of controlling an overpowered entity of chaos, but also in its adept use of puzzles and overall level design.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps is about as good of a sequel as one could expect, and that’s saying something considering how good its predecessor was. Featuring powerful storytelling, significant improvements to its combat mechanics, and a world somehow even more beautiful than Blind Forest, Will of the Wisps offers a delightful platforming experience that shouldn’t be missed.
Year after year, strategy games get overshadowed by games in other genres…and yet, year after year, a handful of developers produce some fantastic strategy titles that delight their passionate audiences. This year saw a few such games, and we’re excited to highlight them.
With its intelligent gameplay design and a colorful, diverse cast of characters, the Western-themed Desperados III offers a highly entertaining and refined real-time tactical experience. Developer Mimimi Productions have produced their best work yet, and strategy fans shouldn’t overlook this one.
Spinoffs always risk alienating their core franchise’s fans, but the good ones build upon what makes their predecessors great in new ways. Fortunately for Gears of War fans, Gears Tactics is great. Gears Tactics smartly incorporates the characters, monsters, and lore of the Gears universe into its story and gameplay, complete with top-notch production values.
Next page: Best Remaster, Best Narrative, Best Soundtrack, and Most Anticipated!