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What Games Wowed Us – The Syft Games of the Year

What Games Wowed Us - The Syft Games of the Year
What Games Wowed Us - The Syft Games of the Year 9

In a year with so many unknowns, one thing was certain: there were a myriad of games that made us laugh, cry and relive our childhoods. While hundreds of games were released in 2020, the Syft writers gathered to discuss our top games for 2020.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Animal Crossing Game of Quarantine1
Photo courtesy of Nintendo

Given the 2020-ness of 2020, the obvious contender for game of the year is Animal Crossing: New Horizons. During those first few months of lockdown, ACNH became a lifeline for me in so many ways: since I couldn’t hang out with my friends in real life, we hung out in Animal Crossing, making mazes and hitting each other with axes. I reconnected with old friends as we were celebrating our villagers’ birthdays. As the world around me seemed unruly and difficult to understand, I was able to have full control over my island and create my own pleasant, small world. That outlet was immeasurably necessary this year.

Kirsten Carey, Editorial Writer

Marvel’s Spider Man: Miles Morales

Miles Morales Spider Man
Photo courtesy of VideoGamer

Although 2020 has been a horrible year objectively speaking, there’s one thing that happened that I’m extremely happy about: the release of Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales

For me, the engaging storyline, beautiful graphics, impactful voice acting, intuitive gameplay and wonderful representation featured in Miles Morales just makes it a quintessential addition to any PlayStation owners’ game library. Though the story is relatively short in comparison to other titles, the sidequests and collectibles will ensure at least 20-25 hours of replayability. All this makes for an enjoyable experience, especially since the game retails for $50 USD. 

Simply put, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales is a fantastic game – in every sense of the word – and is my 2020 Game of the Year. It’s a game that’s not to be missed. 

Jarrod Castillo, Editorial Writer


Photo courtesy of Nintendo / Supergiant Games

There’s something about going to hell and back and then back to hell again that is rather cathartic. Enter Hades: the indie game that shocked the world with its simplistic objectives yet enriched storytelling. I usually tend to shy away from these types of games due to their difficulty and stressful objective to complete levels in record times. Still, Hades drags me back in. This masterpiece of a title always leaves me wanting more.

While playing as Zagreus, the underworld’s edgy prince just yearning for an escape route out of hell, it’s easy to relate to his urge for freedom. While playing with a multitude of unique weapon combinations and strategies, no two runs feel the same. What’s more, dialogue interactions with every god, mortal, deity and skeleton makes the game a unique experience for all gamers. 

While this is definitely the hardest game I’ve ever encountered, it is one worthy of the mythological gods themselves. If you’re looking for a game to begin 2021 on a high note, take a boat to the River Styx and enter the world of Hades.

Jay Silver, Contributing Writer

Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time

Crash Bandicoot2
Photo Courtesy of Microsoft

The original Crash Bandicoot game for the PlayStation 1 is a childhood favorite and the first game I ever recall owning. It was such a pleasure to see the series not only come back, but also capture the magic and nostalgia of its original trilogy. 

Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time does this wonderfully while also making a successful transition into a new generation of gaming with cool new features, attractive, modern designs, and a fresh-yet-familiar playing experience. It is for those reasons that Crash Bandicoot 4 is a soothing shot of nostalgia, and my slightly biased pick for game of the year.

Jeffrey Jenkins, Contributing Writer

World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft Shadowlands
Courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment

My favorite game of 2020 isn’t actually a 2020 game. I started playing World of Warcraft for the first time in April of 2020, and I couldn’t have understood what was missing from my life until I created that first character and successfully completed my first quest. I have played many other excellent games in 2020, but WoW remains my favorite because it sparked my love of RPGs and it gave me so many worlds to explore while stuck inside during the pandemic.

Sarah Ward, Breaking News Writer

Final Fantasy VII Remake

Final Fantasy VII
Photo courtesy of Square Enix

My personal Game of the Year for 2020 is, hands down, the Final Fantasy VII Remake. I played and beat the original Final Fantasy VII in my high school years, creating some of the happiest memories throughout the process as I got to know these captivating characters and go on this incredible and fun adventure. When the official remake was announced back in 2015, I was over the moon.

When Final Fantasy VII Remake finally dropped this April, I quite literally locked myself in my room and practically pulled all-nighters until I finally completed it, and I regret nothing. Having played the original game when I was so much younger, I felt like I was pulled back to those more innocent, simple times just by experiencing this gorgeous blast from the past. As a diehard Final Fantasy fan, one of the best things about following the series is seeing how it’s evolved and changed over the years. With game mechanics, namely the battle system, borrowing from past titles like Final Fantasy IX, Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy XV, I found myself reliving the roots of the Final Fantasy series as a whole in this wonderfully familiar title. 

To see the once-polygonal characters and 2D environments brought back in such beautiful, lucid graphics and presentation was an emotional experience; seeing these familiar places, events, and beautiful music fleshed out and expanded upon made me realize how far the series had come and how much I really enjoyed the original Final Fantasy VII. With regard to the strain 2020 has put on most of us, it was really nice to feel like a kid again. Final Fantasy VII Remake is honestly a title that reminds you why the Final Fantasy series is one of the greats.

Mariah Qaiser, Breaking News Writer

Paper Mario: The Origami King

Paper Mario The Origami King
Photo courtesy of Nintendo

Nintendo has been a part of my life since I fell in love with video games at age 6. One series I’ve loved since its first installment is the Paper Mario Series (check out my articles if you haven’t already) so you can imagine how excited I was when, seemingly out of nowhere, a new Paper Mario arrived on the Switch this year: Paper Mario: The Origami King. If you want this game to fit into the larger realm of RPGs, it won’t. If you want it to be an action adventure game within the Paper Mario franchise, you’re in luck, because it will blow you away. The visuals are stunning, the gameplay is smooth, and even the new battle system, while taking some getting used to, is still fun. 

I don’t normally 100 percent complete games, but I was so engrossed in the world that I had to. I wanted to find every hidden toad, fill in every not-bottomless hole, and get every collectable treasure. The writing is fantastic, I found myself audibly laughing, and there were also moments of the story where I was tear-jerked around… in a Mario game. Each world is unique, and even if the bosses aren’t the most creative (they are real life origami tools), the boss battle system is a welcome addition. In a year full of sadness, this game brought a smile to my face.

Izzy Salant, Assistant Editor-In-Chief

These are our picks for the best games of 2020. What are your favorite games? Let us know and we look forward to seeing you in 2021.

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