It’s that time of the year again. For the last 5 years, I’ve made it a habit to release my game of the year choices for over 20 different categories. And I’m not talking about bullshit like best esports player or coach. I mean actual game categories that I’ve put a lot of thought and time into. Here are my game of the year awards.
Best Action Game – Hades
This little Indie game was a massive hit with gamers everywhere. Hades made me like Roguelike games. It was always one of my least favorite genres in gaming. I couldn’t help, but fall in love with it. Hades told a good story, had interesting characters, and excellent gameplay. You can easily ignore the story if you’re just there for the combat and you’ll still have a great time.
I see why Hades got a GOTY nod at the GOTY Awards Show. It’s honestly that good and deserves all the praise it’s received from everyone. It easily earned the award for the best action game and you might see it again further down this list.
Best Adventure – Spiritfarer
Spiritfarer is a relaxing little game about selling across the ocean while befriending spirits and guiding them to the afterlife. You get to build an awesome ship with various different facilities and you can even catch lightning in a bottle! It’s an awesome game that kept a smile on my face. Not every game needs over-the-top violence or a deep narrative. I don’t think it’s fair to call this game underrated, but it is underappreciated. When you hear someone talking about the best Indie games Spiritfarer is never on their list and that’s a shame since it’s such a good, relaxing game to play and it easily won this award.
Best Graphics – Pokemon Mystery Dungeon DX
I could’ve given this award to a game like Resident Evil 3 Remake, Cyberpunk 2077, or even Microsoft Flight Simulator. If you chose any of these games you would have a really great argument on why they’re the best looking games of 2020. So why did I chose a Nintendo game for best graphics? Because a game doesn’t have to look super realistic to have great graphics.
Pokemon Mystery Dungeon DX’s hand-painted watercolor art style isn’t only unique it’s also incredibly nice to look at. It’s animated beautifully and looks amazing on the Switch. It was the prettiest game I played last year and as soon as I wrote graphics down in my notepad I wrote Mystery Dungeon right next to it. Is this a controversial pick? Maybe. Do I care? Nope.
Best Narrative – Cyberpunk 2077
CD Projekt Red proved that they could tell a good story in a completely different universe that’s not The Witcher. Cyberpunk 2077 told an incredible story and had some incredibly well-written characters. I’m well aware of the controversy surrounding this game, but you know what? I don’t care. I loved this game and I had almost no problems with it and I played it for 97 hours before putting it down.
When it comes to telling a great story no one did it better than CD Projekt Red last year. It sure as hell wasn’t Naughty Dog… When I finished Cyberpunk 2077 I immediately started another file because I wanted to go through the game again because I wanted to choose different dialogue options to see if my different choices would play out differently in the game. Cyberpunk 2077 was incredible and if you’re upset at this pick then I would suggest you stop reading now because you’ll see this game again on this list.
Best Sound Design – Cyberpunk 2077
CD Projekt Red didn’t just create an open-world action RPG with an excellent cast of characters and story. They also created an original score to go along with it and the songs aren’t that bad. I would prefer to listen to the radio in this game over games like GTA and Watch Dogs. I usually drive around in games like this in silence. I turn the radio off and just awkwardly drive in silence. In Cyberpunk 2077, I didn’t do that. The radio was always on and I enjoyed a lot of beats that played.
This award isn’t just for its music though. The vocal performances by everyone involved in this game were nothing short of incredible. Characters like Judy, Panam, and even Johnny Silverhand (Keanu Reeves) did an excellent job at portraying these characters. As a total package, I can’t think of a game that I enjoyed listening to more than Cyberpunk 2077 and that’s why it just won its second award on this list.
Best Multiplayer – Wolcen Lords of Mayhem
This is another game that got a lot of hate when it launched last year. It had server problems for the first 3 days and was admittedly buggy so some of the hate is totally justified, but it’s honestly a really great ARPG. It’s not only the best-looking ARPG on the market right now it’s not another one of those Diablo II wannabees out there. Just about every new ARPG that launches tries to be another Diablo II and Wolcen didn’t try to be one. It’s its own thing and I really love it for that.
I completed Wolcen 3 times last year and it was my favorite multiplayer game that I played by far. Is it an unpopular opinion? Sure. Do I care? No.
Best RPG – Wasteland 3
I thought about placing Cyberpunk 2077 here, but when I thought about it… it’s not the best RPG I played last year. It actually doesn’t have really deep RPG mechanics when compared to Wasteland 3. Wasteland 3 is underrated in my opinion. Not a lot of people talk about it and that’s a shame. Microsoft has one of the best RPGs around under their belt and I think the future is bright for this series.
Wasteland 3 is an incredible game that can be played fully co-op. There’s no half-assed multiplayer (Xcom) mode in this game. The multiplayer is going through the campaign with a friend. There’s a lot of dialogue, decision-making, and character customization in this game. There’s even really good turn-based combat to keep you on your toes. I really, really enjoyed playing through this one.
Best Male Character – Ichiban Kasuga
The goofy main protagonist from Yakuza: Like A Dragon was the best male protagonist of 2020. Ichiban Kasuga is just a good dude that tries to help everyone to the best of his ability. He has a really messed-up perm too, but that only added to his charm. Yakuza: Like A Dragon was the only Yakuza game I ever enjoyed and I think that’s because it’s a full-fledge JRPG now and not a brawler like the previous games in the series.
Best Female Character – Jill Valentine
Jill Valentine is back! And she’s more badass than ever. Capcom redesigned Jill Valentine and a lot of horny gamers were outraged over the decision. I personally thought Jill Valentine was equal parts sexy and badass. Yes, her iconic blonde hair is gone, but it’s not like she’s ugly. She’s still a beautiful woman that kicked Nemesis’s ass on more than one occasion in Resident Evil 3 Remake.
Best Companion – Johnny Silverhand
Johnny is a total dick when he’s first introduced to V in Cyberpunk 2077. Underneath the tough guy act is a good man that doesn’t want V to die so he helps him (I played as Male V) out. V and Johnny eventually become friends and have some of the best dialogue in the game. Johnny Silverhand is such a well-written character and Keanu Reeves nailed the role perfectly. I wouldn’t be against seeing him return as Johnny somehow in either an expansion or sequel.
Best Strategy – Crusader Kings III
Crusader Kings III was my introduction to the series and to Paradox games in general. I was always hesitant to jump into their games because of all of the DLC. If you want to experience Crusader Kings II in its full glory you’ll have to spend over $200 to do it. I pushed all of that out of my mind and jumped knee-deep into Crusader Kings III and my god I’m glad I did. This game is absolutely perfect on every level. It’s relaxing, is one of the deepest strategy games I’ve ever played, and hard as shit for a noob. Thankfully, I’ve had thousands of hours of experience playing various different strategy games so it wasn’t that confusing for me to jump in and enjoy myself.
This is a game that I (regretfully) don’t have a lot of time in, but what I did play (about 30 hours) was more than enough for me to give it this award over Total War.
Best Platformer – Monster Sanctuary
Monster Sanctuary is a weird mix of Pokemon and Castlevania and it’s fucking fantastic. This game is a turn-based monster collecting Metroidvania that plays beautifully. It flew a bit under the radar and I’ll admit that if it wasn’t for Game Pass I never would’ve experienced this gem. I also really love how unique it is. It’s not trying to be another Castlevania clone. It’s a mix of good turn-based combat and good ole Metroidvania goodness. Backtracking, equipping new gear on your monster team and fighting upgrades for your character to progress further into the game. It’s a lot of fun and if you’re a fan of the genre I highly recommend it.
Best Shooter – Doom Eternal
Was there a better shooter than Doom Eternal last year? No. No game came close to the nonstop action that Doom Eternal offered. The impressive thing about this game is the fact that it managed to improve on an already solid foundation that the first reboot did. This game added puzzles and platforming to Doom that worked beautifully. The boss fights were awesome, the story (and lore) was very interesting, and the soundtrack, my god the soundtrack, was so close to winning the best sound design from me. Doom Eternal is something special and you’re missing out if you haven’t played it already.
Best MMO – Black Desert Online
The Elder Scrolls Online has taken this spot on my game awards for three years in a row. Black Desert Online has earned its first award from me for the simple fact that it was my most played game in 2020. I put over 400 hours in Black Desert in 2020 and I fell in love with it in a way that I rarely do with MMOs. I no lifed this game for a good 2 months getting multiple characters up to level 60 as well as enjoying the huge sandbox world.
Fishing, traveling from town to town selling off my trade goods, and so much more. There is so much to do in Black Desert outside of killing mobs or doing fetch quests. That’s what I love about it. Every time I play I experience something different and that’s what made me finally dethrone ESO as my favorite MMO of 2020.
Best Horror – Resident Evil 3 Remake
Jill Valentine is back! And so is Carlos and his glorious hair. Resident Evil 3 Remake was everything I wanted it to be and more. Nemesis was awesome and terrifying to run from. This game is brilliant and I know it’s the popular thing to hate on it because “it’s different from the original game”, but I don’t care. Those same people bitching about how bad this game is were the exact same ones bitching about how bad the original Resident Evil 3 game was.
Capcom did one hell of a job with this game and it’s one of the very few games that I continued to go back to and play throughout 2020. The puzzles, awesome gameplay, and B-grade horror story are exactly what I wanted in this remake and Capcom delivered on every count.
Best World Design – Cyberpunk 2077
I can’t think of a game I enjoyed exploring more than Cyberpunk 2077 last year. Around every corner was something new to discover and some new story being told. Yes, the AI is complete shit and cops might as well not even be in the game, but the exploration and sense of accomplishment is there. CD Projekt Red designed a really great open world for me to get lost in and that’s exactly what I did for 98 hours.
One of my favorite things to do is just cruise around in one of my many cars and take in the sights because this is a beautiful game. I upgraded my PC just so I could play this game the way I wanted to play it. Just so I could see it with ray tracing take in everything around me. I played this game the way I did Fallout and Elder Scrolls. I just chose a direction and got lost and I’m not saying it’s designed as well as those games, it’s not, but it is an incredible achievement in world design and CD Projekt Red proved that they could do something different than high fantasy.
Best DLC – Remnant From The Ashes Subject Zero
Remnant From The Ashes was one of my favorite games to release last decade. It took everything I loved about Dark Souls and added guns to it. It’s a true third-person shooter Soulsborne game with excellent gunplay. The Subject Zero expansion, which is only $10, added some new interesting areas to the game with awesome new loot to collect.
The thing I love about Remnant is the randomness of it all. You won’t collect everything there is to collect in your first playthrough because everything is procedurally generated. This encourages multiple playthroughs if you want to see everything. I absolutely loved going through the Subject Zero expansion and it wrapped things up beautifully. I can only hope that we’ll see a sequel to this excellent game in the near future.
Best New IP – Cyberpunk 2077
When I give out my new IP award it goes to the IP that I want to see a sequel to the most. This time that honor is going to Cyberpunk 2077. I want to see other cities in this new universe that CD Projekt is in charge of. I want to meet new companions, join interesting factions, and experience new, dark stories being told in this interesting world that CD Projekt Red created for us to get lost in. That’s why this game won this award.
Best Family – Streets of Rage 4
This is probably the first time in 5 or 6 years that a Nintendo game didn’t win the best family category. No game was more fun to my entire family than Streets of Rage 4. I was happy to be playing one of my favorite game series again from my childhood while at the same time introducing my kids to the best beat ’em up game series of all time.
They loved it, I loved it, and we completed it in a single sitting. We ended up playing through this game more than 10 times together. I even played through it multiple times solo on various difficulties because I loved it that much. Streets of Rage is back and it’s honestly better than ever.
Best Indie – Troubleshooter: Abandoned Children
Troubleshooter is an interesting little game from Dandylion. This game task you with fighting crime all across Valhalla. I fell in love with this game almost immediately. It’s like a low-budget Xcom mixed with a JRPG without permadeath. At first, it’s just your main protagonist fighting crime and eventually, you meet your would-be companions as your progress through the game.
Your companions don’t work for free though. You have to pay their wages or you’ll lose them. You even have to pay your rent or you won’t have a place to live. I love this game and it’s one I’ll gladly share awareness to because not enough people know what it is. When I sat down and thought about my favorite Indie game I could’ve easily given it to a game like Hades or Banner of the Maid, but I had more fun with Troubleshooter and it has more content than both of those games combined. This is an easy one to recommend if you’re a fan of games like Xcom.
Best JRPG – Tokyo Mirage Sessions
I know this game didn’t technically release in 2020, but that was the first time I played it and there was no JPRG that released last year that came close to the excellence of this game. Tokyo Mirage Sessions is a mix of Persona and Fire Emblem and it’s a brilliant game that didn’t get enough love because it released on the Wii U.
This game kept me glued to my Switch for dozens of hours and I can’t thank my friend over at Falcon Game Reviews enough for buying for me while my mother was in the hospital.
Best Early Access – Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord
This is a new category that I added. I play a lot of neat early access games that I rarely write about. Every time I make these game of the year articles I always leave early access games off of them because they’re not finished products. I decided to give early access games their own category so they wouldn’t take a spot away from completed games.
The best early access, and one of the best games I played last year, is without a doubt Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord. This was my introduction to the Mount & Blade universe and I loved it so much that I went back and bought Warbands and played the living shit out of it. I usually play early access games for 4 to 5 hours before shelving them because of character wipes and the lack of content. I put 60 hours in Bannerlord before shelving it and I can easily see myself getting hundreds, possibly thousands, of hours of it once it officially releases. So… yeah… this game won this award by a landslide. It wasn’t even close and if you’re a fan of RPG games like Kingdom Come: Deliverance then I would highly recommend checking this game out since it’s better in every way imaginable.
Underrated Game Of The Year – Resident Evil 3 Remake
Resident Evil 3 Remake’s third, and final, award of the day. Resident Evil 3 was hated on almost as much as Cyberpunk 2077 by both the media and its own fans. This game didn’t deserve the low review scores it received because of its short length when every single Resident Evil game out there can easily be completed in under 2 hours. I have timestamps from my games to prove it.
Resident Evil 3 Remake IS a great game and I’m convinced that most people hate it because of Jill’s new look. I wasn’t a fan of her new outfit because it’s basically just Jill cosplaying as Lara Croft, but that didn’t take away from the great experience I had playing as her again in a main Resident Evil game or the fun I had running from Nemesis.
Best Comeback Game Of The Year – Streets of Rage 4
The last time we saw Streets of Rage back in 1994. There was no Playstation when part 3 of this game launched. Let that sink in for a minute. How could Streets of Rage 4 not win the best comeback game of the year? What’s old has become new again and Streets of Rage 4 was one of the best games that released last year after more than 20 years in dormancy. Those re-releases of the classic game don’t count to me so…
Game Of The Year – Cyberpunk 2077
Yes, Cyberpunk 2077 is my game of the year. I’ll be honest… I don’t care what any of you think of this choice or how bad the game performed for you on your potato. This game worked near flawlessly FOR ME and that’s all that matters since this is MY game of the year list.
“Game journalist” went out of their way to hate on this game before it even launched. It’s been called racist, transphobic, and buggy. Only that last one is true. I proved that “game journalist” lied about the game being transphobic already and since everyone is so quick to call everything racist I feel as if the word has lost all of its meaning today.
Cyberpunk 2077 is an incredible game that kept me playing for 98 straight hours. I didn’t play a single other game while I played this one. That is incredibly rare for me. I usually juggle 2 or three games at a time to prevent burnout. I never got burnt out playing this game. Add in the fantastic story and characters and decent gunplay and you’ve got a game of the year contender. At least for me. It came down between Resident Evil 3 Remake and Cyberpunk 2077 for me. Cyberpunk won and it honestly wasn’t that close.
This controversial game is my game of the year and if you don’t like it… oh well.
I’m Omar. I’m the founder of drakulus.com and the new founder of Petescorner.net. I cover every type of game genre there is and I’m using all of the skills I learned over the last 7 years working on Drakulus to make Pete’s Corner the best it can be. My favorite types of games are strategy, RPGs, and Shooters. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy other types of genres. Those are just my top 3. You can expect my brutally honest opinion on what I think of games in long reviews, editorial pieces, and game news coverage.