There was a lot going on in the video game world this year! Time for a gaming review of the year – those were our tops and flops in 2020.
2020 was an extraordinary year under which many industries groaned. Not so the gaming industry! On the one hand, this is due to the fact that game development is subject to a lengthy process and the pandemic no longer placed any major obstacles in the way of many of the big titles that were planned for 2020. On the other hand, the lockdown in many places has resulted in more gambling than ever before. Just before the New Year, it is really worth taking a look back at this eventful and eventful 2020 in the gaming industry.
- There was a lot going on in 2020 ...
- Our gaming tops 2020
- Our gaming flops 2020
There was a lot going on in 2020 …
2020 will of course go down in the gaming history books as the Corona year, but much sooner than the year in which a completely new generation of consoles caused a sensation. We are of course talking about the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X. But it was really time for a replacement: after all, the previous models came onto the market in 2013.
Where Corona struck, on the other hand, was at the events. E3, Paris Gamesweek and of course Gamescom in Cologne – all canceled or moved to digital. Also unforgettable: The delivery chaos with gaming hardware. Starting in the summer when the demand for the Nintendo Switch skyrocketed. Nintendo’s hybrid console was sold out for weeks. The same picture emerges after the launch of the PS5 and the Xbox Series X. And the PC hardware also looked bleak in places; Graphics cards, CPUs and Co. were hardly available and the prices soared.
In 2020, however, a large number of games, some of which were hotly anticipated, also appeared. “Cyberpunk 2077”, “Assassin’s Creed Valhalla”, “The Last of Us Part 2” – the list of prominent titles is long. That’s why we want to take a closer look at them and name our tops and flops from the past gaming year.
Our gaming tops 2020
There is a lot on the plus side at the moment, even though the expectations for many of the games were extremely high. However, some lesser-known games also made it into our top list, which positively surprised the TECHNOLOGY BUTTON editorial team.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
RPG fans of course couldn’t avoid “Assassin’s Creed Valhalla” this year. After the two youngest offshoots of the popular series – “Origins” and “Odyssey” – came up with huge maps and all sorts of innovations, the expectations for “Valhalla” were of course high. And the game did mostly what it promised before release. As a Viking Eivor it goes to early medieval England. The story is not remarkable, the game world is all the more so. There are tons of big cities (including Winchester and London), beautiful nature and on top of that a strong assassin gameplay that its predecessors easily put in their pockets.
“Assassin’s Creed Valhalla” of course also has its weaknesses, including shallow characters and not very ambitious side quests. Overall, we think the game is very well done and above all it is a worthy representative of the series that recalls the old strengths of the franchise.
On March 23, 2020, almost in time for lockdown, the VR first-person shooter “Half-Life: Alyx” will be released. In contrast to the predecessors “Half-Life” and “Half-Life 2” there is a new protagonist: Alyx Vance. The young resistance fighter and her father oppose the occupiers of the earth, the Combine. Apart from the VR technology, the staging of the story and the game world is particularly successful.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Hardly any other game was as prominent in the social networks as “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” for the Nintendo Switch. In this case, too, it is another part of an already established series. There is hardly any story, but fans of real-time strategy games get their money’s worth. This time the gamblers don’t end up in a remote valley or a camping area, but on a lonely island. The aim is to colonize the island and, above all, to shape it. For the museum, the aim is to fish, catch insects and collect fossils and works of art. The possibilities are incredibly diverse and thanks to major innovations such as diving, you never get bored!
For many, the game “Hades” came out of nowhere. As Zagreus, son of the ruler of the underworld, we try to escape hell. It’s not cozy there and Hades is not a particularly loving father. On the run you die time and time again and then end up exactly where it started: in Father Hade’s office. Under this premise, a great story unfolds, which lets the Greek gods myths appear in a completely new light.
The combat system is also fun in “Hades”. Both speed and tactical thinking are required here, the catchphrase is combination. Zagreus gets new skills from other gods who support the youngster’s escape. All in all, an absolutely well-rounded action role-playing game .
Another afterlife game from 2020 is far less gloomy: “Spiritfarer”. It’s all about dying and death. The protagonist Stella is the new spirit farer and her job is to accompany people in their last moments and, if necessary, to fulfill their last wishes. This game deals with the sensitive topic in a very soulful way. The gameplay is nothing special; the magic of the game unfolds fully through the beautiful story. And at the end of the day, after an intensive play unit, you just feel good.
The real-time tactical game “Desperados 3” was also very popular in 2020. On 16 detailed maps with a Wild West look, you have to sneak, hide, outsmart opponents, set traps and much more. If you want to be successful, you have to fully exhaust the abilities of the five available characters. “Desperados 3” probably didn’t attract many people in the full gaming year 2020, that should change urgently!
One of the most anticipated games of the year was definitely “Cyberpunk 2077”. The role-playing game was originally supposed to appear in April. Then the date was postponed, several times, until it finally happened in December. The expectations of CD Project Red’s game were – self-inflicted – almost utopian. The last hit of the Polish development studio is after all no less a title than “The Witcher 3”. In “Cyberpunk 2077” the gamers do not end up in a magical fantasy world full of monsters but in the futuristic Night City. And it is precisely this Night City that is why the game, despite all the technical problems that will be discussed later, belongs on the top gaming list 2020!
The game world is easy to kneel down and the numerous quests skilfully lead across the open world map. You are constantly faced with moral questions that can have a lasting effect on the course of the game. Keanu Reeves is just one of the icing on the cake. “Cyberpunk 2077” is a jewel that will hopefully soon run smoothly with any hardware.
The author has her problems with shooters, she likes to dive into gigantic storylines that are unfortunately rare in this genre. “Metro: Exodus” is one of these rarities. Protagonist Artjom and his wife Anna travel through an impressive post-apocalyptic world in search of a protected space in which they are safe from the omnipresent dangers of the land and above all the omnipresent radiation. The basic setting is certainly not the most creative, but the design is even more so!
Yes, your grace
A (actually two) royal family (es) with a dark secret, betrayal, blackmail – there is more than enough of all of these in “Yes, Your Grace”. The indie game was released at the beginning of the year and went completely surprisingly through the roof – rightly! As a monarch of a kingdom you not only have to ensure the satisfaction of the population, but also defend yourself against all kinds of attacks from outside. As if by the way, there is an exciting main quest in which nothing less is at stake than the life of the entire royal family.
The great strength of the game is its unpredictability. Every decision, no matter how small, can later have unforeseen consequences. If you don’t buy the darned rooster (spoiler caution), your youngest daughter can get the right pet, which she defends at the right moment. If you support one baron, you are unexpectedly snubbed another. Besides, it is still important to pay attention to the resources, to manage the royal troops and to solve a murder.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Beautiful, beautiful, most beautiful – and that says everything about “Ori and the Will of the Wisps”. The sequel to “Ori and the Blind Forest” does not provide anything new, but that is not necessary. In addition to a gripping story, the jump-and-run game above all offers a great game world and beautiful graphics. And last but not least, one of the most beautiful gaming soundtracks of all time!
Our gaming flops 2020
Of course, not all games in 2020 were successful and good. Or to put it more pathetically: where there is light, there is also shadow. The following seven or eight games did not convince us or even disappointed us last year.
Let’s start directly with the “Cyberpunk 2077” mentioned above. Yes, the game is really fantastic, but all of that is of no use if the performance can’t keep up. Our sincere condolences to all of the console gamers who have been looking forward to the release for months, if not years! Despite the ingenious game world, great quests and successful gameplay, “Cyberpunk 2077” is unfortunately a real gaming flop in 2020 so far …
Dawn of Fear
“Resident Evil” fans were really looking forward to new survival horror, unfortunately “Dawn of Fear” didn’t turn out that well. Especially in this genre, smaller indie titles often make people sit up and take notice, in this case unfortunately not. The cheap graphics that have few ideas of their own, poorly written texts, boring puzzles, unambitious monsters – unfortunately a total flop.
Madden NFL 21 / FIFA 21
Due to their similar nursery and mechanics, the two sports simulations “Madden NFL 21” and “FIFA 21” end up in the same pot with us. And unfortunately, they both disappointed in a similar way this year. Neither game offers anything new. A few small screws like the speed of the game in “FIFA 21” have been turned, but that doesn’t really matter when playing. The competition mode is quite nice, but definitely still expandable. With “Madden” the innovations are even less noticeable.
Both are by themselves not bad games, but they have been waiting for a real bang for the buck for some years. You shouldn’t forget that the fun costs 40 euros (“Madden”) and 70 euros (“FIFA”).
Godfall “has already been released for PC and even for the next-gen PS5 console. The expectations for the first announced exclusive title were accordingly high. Unfortunately, the role play lagged far behind. Everything looked nice in the trailer – and it really did. Graphically, the game is a real eye-catcher. Unfortunately, the game doesn’t really have much more to offer. The story is as simple as it is sucked out: good brother fights against bad brother. To do this, he has to do all sorts of missions beforehand to improve his weapons and armor. Pithy supporting characters? Nothing! Freedom of movement? Not really. Real Challenges? In a nutshell: No. The combat system is quite entertaining and well staged, but that’s about it on the whole. We would have expected more for a next-gen gaming title in 2020.
Elder Scrolls: Blades
We come to the last and thus a very personal flop: “Elder Scrolls: Baldes”. This title definitely doesn’t deserve the “Elder Scrolls” in the name! Just because you write it on the package, pick up the look and let the character be a former blade, it is not a worthy representative of the franchise. Already clear, the game should be more of a mobile game, but the quests are effortless and the combat system is boring after 5 minutes. At first glance, the idea of rebuilding a city sounds great, but building time and costs quickly become utopian and the choice of buildings and decorations are severely limited.
The dungeons are also tiny and absolutely linear. Even the hidden treasures cannot change that. Highlights such as the chaotic magician tower are few and far between and the main story is played through in a very short time. Then all that remains is the same quests to collect resources. Unfortunately, “Elder Scrolls: Blades” is nothing more than a sometimes nice pastime that advertises in-game purchases in a very intrusive way.