The past 12 months has seen the release of some absolutely incredible video games which for many have been a much-needed distraction from the confusing reality of the modern world.
As part of our ongoing Female First Awards 2020, we wanted to celebrate some of the best of those games, whether it be for their narrative and character design, impact on the gaming community or something else altogether.
Here are the nominees for Video Game of the Year…
The Last of Us Part II
Whether you were a fan of the decisions made by the Naughty Dog team or not, it’s impossible to deny the brilliance of the sequel to the original Last of Us game, The Last of Us Part II. No spoilers here, but some major events sent Ellie off on a mission for revenge, whilst new characters already interlaced with the story that had been told in the past were uncovered, playing a huge part in the future of the franchise.
Set amongst the backdrop of a new America, factions are fighting it out for power in this strange new world, whilst flesh-eating monsters roam the streets, hungry for their next meal. There are times at the very start of the game where you almost forget about the dangers lurking on the other side of your community’s walls, but there’s always the dreaded feeling of something terrible awaiting right around the corner…
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Swapping our regular villages for luxury island living, Nintendo Switch owners got to go on the trip of a lifetime, not just enjoying a vacation with lush surroundings, but making sandy beaches and stunning oceans a home!
It’s not all fun and games however. If you want to make your new way of life a successful one, you’ll have to put in the work. Digging up weeds, clearing space for new homes, shops and the like and even digging up fossils for your museum are just a handful of the tasks you’ll be asked to tackle. You may have some great fellow Islanders, but don’t expect them to jump in with helping! Every job is YOUR job.
Though it sounds like a lot of hassle, the game dropped at just the right moment, as the world was turned on its head and many of us were left with a lot of time on our hands. New Horizons delivered that as well as a side of peaceful tranquility.
Ghost of Tsushima
Developers Sucker Punch Productions delivered arguably the best samurai video game of all time with Ghost of Tsushima, which was published by Sony Interactive Entertainment exclusively for PlayStation consoles.
Combining a stunning story with gorgeous visuals and all-enveloping sounds and gameplay mechanics is a tough task for anybody, but it was accomplished here and then some. If you’re searching for a single-player experience that will take you by surprise and challenge you when it comes to tactical combat and stealth, then look no further.
Players step into the shoes of samurai Jin Sakai, who's on a quest to protect his home during the first Mongol invasion of Japan. Along with the main campaign, you can enjoy a bunch of side quests and challenges, using tools such as a grappling hook to locate hard-to-reach areas, and weapons including a tachi for taking down opponents. It’s addictive from beginning to end and the narrative will stick with you for some time following completion.
Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout
Undoubtedly one of the most beloved multiplayer releases of 2020, Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout puts your skills to the test on a bunch of different levels where you’ll have to traverse skinny pathways, dodge massive obstacles such as rotating hammers and, contend with other players online that may feel an urge to grab you and send you plummeting to your untimely death!
Though frustrating at times, the impact Fall Guys has had upon the gaming community and in particular, those who stream online, has been incredible. It’s one of the most addictive multiplayer games in existence and so it just had to find its spot on this list.
Those who enjoy roguelike action games should take note of Hades, developed and published by Supergiant Games. Finally making its official release this year after over two years of piquing the interest of those who spotted it in early access, the game throws front-and-centre the hilarious narrative of just how far you would go to escape the actions of your devilish father.
Every room you enter is different to the last, allowing for replayability on a grand scale and serving up a challenge no matter whether you’re on your first or hundredth attempt to escape from the minions and ruler of Hades itself.
It sounds like a serious affair and on the surface, it is. Where Hades really shines however is in its ability NOT to take itself too seriously. Instead, it delivers some biting sarcasm and teenage angst from its lead character, providing a bunch of laughs you never would have expected at first glance.
And the winner is…
The Last of Us Part II!
A massive congratulations to everybody involved. Bring on the HBO series!
Despite the leaks, the game still managed to sling twists and turns in our direction that we didn’t see coming. Naughty Dog made us cry, laugh, smile and scream throughout our run; it’s certainly a title we’ll be returning to in the future for another playthrough!