We’re about halfway through July now gamers, which means that despite some… extenuating circumstances we’ve seen about a half a year’s worth of new and exciting video games. It’s impossible to play everything, but in my line of work I’ve had my hands on more than enough to start lining them up against each other a bit. I haven’t played everything of course, including the… divisive blockbuster The Last of Us Part II or Ghost of Tsushima. But those aren’t really my speed anyway. That being said, there were still several games I’ve had a great time with so far, and these will definitely be up for consideration for my eventual game of the year evaluations. So here are my personal top five games of 2020 (so far).
Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX
The Mystery Dungeon series has always been one of my favorites, no matter how frustrating they can be. But with the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon series, Spike Chunsoft has always taken that dungeon-crawling formula and found ways to make it friendlier and more relaxing. That culminates in Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX, a huge HD remake of the GBA original that brought the series to Switch in a big way.
Speaking of rogue-likes, Koei Tecmo and Team Ninja’s Nioh was a fascinating take on the Dark Souls thing that ended up making it a strong second option. Nioh 2 took it even further with gameplay improvements, tons of customization options, and just more of everything. It looks great, plays great, and has tons and tons of content.
Final Fantasy VII Remake
It’s amazing that this game even exists. Final Fantasy VII has been a remake demand from fans ever since the original PS3 tech demo, if not before. It finally came to be, and had such a tumultuous journey it was almost a joke. Then it arrived, and was everything I wanted it to be and more. It takes the original story, expounds on it in compelling ways, then takes it in a totally different direction that brushes up against the boundaries of what “remake” means.
Streets of Rage 4
Speaking of remakes of classic titles, here’s a sequel to a series we haven’t seen since the Sega Genesis. Streets of Rage 4 is one of the best brawlers I’ve ever played, and I’ve played a crapload of these things. It looks amazing in action, has tons of cool moves, a compelling scoring system, and an absolutely banging soundtrack. Streets of Rage 4 simply blew me away.
Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2
The first Curse of the Moon was a smaller-scale Kickstarter bonus for the much larger Ritual of the Night. But while it was small, it was a powerful homage to Castlevania III that nobody expected to be as good as it was. Naturally that led to a fully-fledged sequel, and it’s one of the best “Classicvania” style games ever. It follows a similar structure to the first game, but even more NES-style fidelity, personality and character, and some really interesting special moves that change up the usual gameplay.