From ‘Hades’ to ‘Ghost of Tsushima’ to, well, kind of ‘Cyberpunk 2077,’ here are the favorites that got us through a very long year + some honorable mentions
The year in video games has been nearly as wild as the unprecedented year itself with delays, glitches, and pulled releases baked into our new reality. But with the constraints of stay-at-home orders came some silver linings including more time to dive into games we had yet to explore in our normal, day-to-day lives. While some people caught up on games from previous years, there were tons of great new releases to dig into. Video games offered up an escape that was desperately needed and an opportunity to connect with people despite being way more than six feet apart.
The medium is a pretty perfect match for mandated lockdowns, and the industry delivered with stunning visuals and compelling storytelling. From beginners to veterans, gamers took advantage of the extra time and discovered new, challenging worlds. We rounded up eight Gnomon team members to give you their take on which games stood out in 2020 and what they enjoyed most about playing.
Below, get to know our staff with their picks for coolest games of 2020, and be sure to let us know what caught your eye this year, too!
Alex Alvarez, Founder: The Last of Us Part II
“The amount of work and love that went into this game are clear over and over again. From one beat to the next, from one zone to another, the details in design, performance, animation, sound, music, story...this is a video game? You can't be my generation having grown up with the Atari 2600, Apple II, Ultima, Myst, etc and not just pause sometimes and be dumbfounded at where we are and where we may be going.
Then of course...the environments. Design, modeling, lighting, texturing, shading, details, vegetation, destruction, story. So much story in all of those sets that it almost becomes overwhelming. Perhaps that is a unique experience to us 3D artists when playinggamesas opposed to the general public. I just am so aware that everything I'm experiencing was made by uber talented artists...who cared so much. I see their passion, dedication and hard work, and am grateful to have the fortune to live at a time when such experiences are possible.”
Josh Herman, Chief Creative Officer: Hades
“In a year where the last thing I want to play on is my PC, Hades came out at the perfect time for a Rogue-like, action, hack-n-slash with an excellent story and a ton of play style options to explore. It’s super fun and really versatile. You can play it for 10 minutes or less, you can take it anywhere. The visuals also can’t go unnoticed; it’s a really pretty game. Loved it.”
Adam Hartel, Recruiter: Star Wars Squadrons
“I’m an old school X Wing simulator player (X Wing Alliance, X Wing Vs Tie Fighter, etc…) from the 90s. When this game was announced, I was really hoping that it would be more of a combat simulator, and less of an ‘arcade' style game. I was not disappointed, and the fact that it was in VR brought the experience to a whole new level. The Star Wars Squadrons experience, with my Rift S, is like being a kid again – only my imagination has become reality. I’m also surprised that EA is already releasing new ships and maps, which they said they wouldn’t do. But please EA, keep it coming!”
Anton Napierala, Education Lead: Ghost of Tsushima
“A stylistically beautiful take on feudal Japan set in a sandbox action adventure game.The visuals are gorgeous and detailed despite the fact that the game has an enormous open-world.The combat system is fun and easy to pick up and has a surprising amount of depth, which really makes you feel like a deadly samurai warrior once you have mastered it.”
Hannah Webb, Director of Admissions: Overcooked 2
“My favorite game of the year has been Overcooked 2!It’s an addictive two-player co-op game, with timed challenges and a ton of different levels.It’s been a great way to pass the time stuck at home this year.”
Max Dayan, Director of Education: Vocational: Cyberpunk 2077
“Although I'm just scratching the surface of what it has to offer, Cyberpunk 2077 is my pick for 2020. The world-building and character that Night City provides are fantastic. The game is not without flaws, but the art, story, and quirky dystopian setting has me hooked. I can’t wait to see where this game goes from here.”
[Eh, let’s see how things look in 2021 for Cyberpunk 2077.]
Lucy Bellamy, Director of Library and Learning Resources: 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim
“As a new gamer, it was a challenge (for me) to focus on working my way through the game, distracted by the visually stunning environment and different (13!) characters. Honestly, I’m likely progressing much slower than most. However, based on the ease of play (good for newbies), the storytelling, and the visuals, it’s a game worth the intro towards more complex strategic gaming adventures.”
Miranda Herrington, Social Media Manager: Animal Crossing: New Horizons
“This year, one of my favorite games was Animal Crossing: New Horizons! I’m a huge Animal Crossing fan and I had been waiting patiently for the new game to finally drop this March. It was great to be able to spend my evenings crafting my pirate-themed island and getting to play with my friends from all over the country. We certainly won’t talk about how many hours I dropped into the game in the first week I had it.”
Streets of Rage 4
World of Warcraft: Shadowlands
Assassin's Creed Valhalla
Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales
Cheers to more game play in 2021!
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