I love talking about Game of the Year more than I probably should. At the end of the day, it’s just a pretentious award given by a bunch of people that call themselves game critics.
Like me *diva emoji*
I think one thing I’ve really learned over the last few years is how valuable my time is. Not in a deep or spiritual way, but naturally as I’ve gotten older and started to pursue different career interests I’ve realized how my free time has slowly dwindled away. There’s only so many hours in a day and I absolutely fucking hate when I pay $60, spend 10-15 hours playing it, and it ends up sucking. Same with movies, TV, and even IRL friendships; if I’m giving it time or energy out of my day, it better be worth it.
So that’s really what I’d say the Game of the Year award is at the end of the day: a measure of the best games released that year that are worth your time. Everyone has different tastes and interests, but these games usually transcend all of that.
Here’s the six games that have been released (or are still coming this year) that I think will be frontrunners for Game of the Year 2020 in December:
Ghost of Tsushima
Yes, I’m about to type about how cool grass and trees are in a video game. You have been warned.
Sucker Punch Productions (Sly Cooper, InFamous) first game in 6 years isn’t perfect, but it has set a higher bar for graphics and world-building. In most games, the environment is stagnant; trees are stiff, grass and shrubbery sound like plastic bags crackling, the sky is a photoshopped mess of blue and grey. But these guys went full-on Pocahontas “Colors of the Wind” with the world of Ghost of Tsushima. I’ve never seen a gaming world that’s looked more alive with the way that the wind guides the player and affects every detail of the environment. The game itself can be a slog at times (LOTS of fetch quests and trailing missions), but the combat is pretty awesome and aesthetically this game will be remembered for years to come as a highlight of this generation.
The Last of Us: Part II
This game is fucking incredible and I will fight anyone that says otherwise. Mechanically, visually, emotionally, spiritually, sexually; it has everything. Its everything I expected and more. Fuck all the haters that are upset about the “political narrative”. Seriously, fuck them all. I’ve played tons of games and watched tons of movies that have political undertones and overtones and I really don’t care if I agree with them or not. I care about if they make a good game and they do a good job handling it, which I think that Naughty Dog did. You may not like the themes or agree with the narrative, but no one can deny that The Last of Us 2 is a phenomenal game in every aspect.
Now leave me alone while I go in a state of mental depression for the rest of the week. This game hits fucking hard.
This game is flying under the radar due to it being on VR, but I think of all the games released to date it’s the favorite for GOTY so far. People have been waiting for a new Half-Life for over a decade and Valve did not disappoint. And how could they? It’s not like the developers of Steam had any reason to make another video game; they’re literally raking in millions. They’re only making games now when they feel they can push the industry forward and that’s exactly what Alyx did for VR.
I remember talking to a member of the SUPERHOT Team last year about when VR games are going to reach AAA quality and low and behold, here we are. The physics in this game engine are mind-blowing. I mean you can pick up a bottle of rum, turn it, and the liquid flows exactly like in real life. No other game does that. You can pick up an EXPO marker, take the cap off, and draw a dick on a window.
If that right there isn’t Game of the Year material I don’t know what is.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
The fact that Nintendo Switches are still hard to find this late in the year shows how popular this game is. During the early stage of quarantine, you literally couldn’t go anywhere on the internet and not see something about Animal Crossing. It took the world by storm. There isn’t anything necessarily new or groundbreaking that New Horizons does but that’s kinda the point. Animal Crossing is Animal Crossing and there’s nothing else like it. No need to completely revamp everything or try to reinvent the wheel. Nintendo is most successful with it sticks to its roots and makes just enough changes to make it feel fresh, and that’s exactly what they did here.
Also, they basically turned the whole world into a bunch of furries so that’s a W.
Can we all admit this game is actually good? Can we stop comparing it to simple ass CS:GO? They’re not the same thing. There’s so much more complexity going on in Valorant with the abilities and I’m sick of seeing a bunch of salty CS hardos who are just upset that someone new has entered their genre shit on this game. It’s way more entertaining to watch than someone staring at a wall for 2 minutes and it’s only going to get better from here.
Riot Games took a big risk to combine the hero shooter genre with the precision shooting from CS and I think it paid off. I personally suck at this game but I can see it’s potential and greatness right away. Many will probably leave it off their GOTY list but considering the hype surrounding the launch and the continued growth of it as an esport, I think Valorant is a pretty decent lock for at least a nomination this December. Unless the panel is a bunch of CS fuckbois.
The only game on this list that hasn’t been released yet is still at the top of my hype list for this year. It cannot be bad. It’s impossible. We’re talking about the team that made the masterpiece that is The Witcher 3. We’re talking about a studio that has literally never made a game with a Metacritic score below 80. Ever. And you can customize your penis. I mean, what more do you want?
I built my PC in February specifically for this game and I think it’s going to absolutely blow our minds. I love the cyberpunk theme and the freedom they claim you will have in the game. If you’ve been following me for any amount of time, you know my dream is for “The Oasis” from Ready Player One to become a reality. Cyberpunk 2077 is the next step toward that reality and I cannot fucking wait to play it.
Dark Horses/Honorable Mentions
The most obvious dark horse is probably Fall Guys. The party game that is currently taking over Twitch is so much fucking fun and it’ll probably give Call of Duty: Warzone (also a dark horse) a run for Best Multiplayer game, but I think it’ll probably be overlooked for GOTY for being too simple. If an indie makes it into the GOTY discussion, it’s gonna be Ori and the Will of the Wisps. It’s one of the most beautiful games released this year and if you’re reading this and haven’t tried it yet, pick it up right now. You won’t be disappointed. Other games I could see get a sneaky GOTY nomination are DOOM Eternal, Final Fantasy 7 Remake, and Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla.
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