Unlike some forms of entertainment, new games releases got by relatively unscathed by all that 2020 hurled at us. It was a good thing too, as many of us had more time to devote to releases both big and small.

Now that 2020 is over, once again STACK’s games team convened – remotely this time, of course – for some spirited discussion as to what we all reckon were the greatest games releases of the past year. Here’s our top ten, listed alphabetically. Did your favourite rate a mention?

Words: Amy Flower, Alex Deutrom, Anthony Horan, Nicholas Kennedy, Dan Nicholson

 

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Genre: Social Sim
Platform: Switch
Multiplayer: Yes

What we said: “This is just one of the game’s many delights – you can just putter about in a fugue of blissful escape, or you can go hammer and tongs and revel in all that island life offers. With many of us finding ourselves suddenly isolated, a social game experience like this couldn’t have arrived at a better time. Animal Crossing: New Horizons truly is a joy.”

Buy now at JB Hi-Fi

F1 2020

F1 2020
Genre: Racing
Platform: PS4, Xbox One
Multiplayer: Yes

What we said: “Where F1 2019 felt like you were holding onto the reins of a runaway wild stallion, the accessibility of F1 2020 makes for a much more anxiety-friendly experience. Codemasters have once again cranked out a cracking title which may currently be the best, most authentic, racing sim experience available.”

Buy now at JB Hi-Fi

Final Fantasy VII Remake

Final Fantasy VII Remake
Genre: Action RPG
Platform: PS4
Multiplayer: No

What we said: “The most legendary game in the hallowed Final Fantasy series makes a comeback as a visually sumptuous cinematic adventure. Final Fantasy VII Remake is a treat for fans, a world of surprises and indulgences for newcomers, and one of the most strikingly beautiful games you’ll play this generation. It’s a stunning achievement in every way.”

Buy now at JB Hi-Fi

Ghost of Tsushima

Ghost of Tsushima
Genre: Action adventure
Platform: PS4
Multiplayer: Yes

What we said: “’Wouldn’t it be cool to be a samurai, and do samurai stuff?’ That was essentially the kernel of an idea that led to Sucker Punch’s extraordinary Ghost of Tsushima. Beyond the breathtaking graphics and a wealth of gameplay to revel in, it’s just eminently player-friendly. Ghost of Tsushima proves that there’s plenty of life in the PS4 yet.”

Buy now at JB Hi-Fi

Moving Out

Moving Out
Genre: Puzzle
Platform: PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Multiplayer: Yes

What we said: “Designed primarily as a couch co-op experience, but readily playable in alone time, Moving Out really is pretty much the perfect family game, providing challenge while rarely veering into hair-tearing frustration territory, and dropping genuinely amusing humour bombs more often than its nutcase inhabitants drop valuables.”

Buy now at JB Hi-Fi

Nioh 2

Nioh 2
Genre: Action RPG
Platform: PS4
Multiplayer: Yes
What we said:
Nioh 2 is a return to an insanely difficult and awesomely detailed world of hurt that has fans of sadistically hard games lining up around the block. It successfully builds on its predecessor, and makes everything from that first game better. Without a doubt, Nioh 2 will be the most challenging game you’ll play in 2020.”

Buy now at JB Hi-Fi

Spider-Man: Miles Morales

Spider-Man: Miles Morales
Genre: Action adventure
Platform: PS5, PS4
Multiplayer: No

What we said: “Following up a game-of-the-year in Spider-Man would have been daunting for anybody, however Insomniac have risen to the challenge admirably. Spider-Man: Miles Morales not only tells a fabulous side-story to the original game, it also does it with abundant style and challenge. If you loved the first one, go grab this and THWIP it good!”

Buy now at JB Hi-Fi

Star Wars: Squadrons

Star Wars: Squadrons
Genre: Space combat
Platform: PS4, Xbox One
Multiplayer: Yes

What we said:Star Wars: Squadrons is a dogfight game with a simple story, but it also isn’t trying to be anything else. If you played Rogue Squadron or loved the starship assault mode in Battlefront II then this will be right up your alley. The only real question is whether you’ll fight for the New Republic, or to restore the Empire to its former glory.”

Buy now at JB Hi-Fi

The Last of Us Part II

The Last of Us Part II
Genre: Action adventure
Platform: PS4
Multiplayer: No

What we said: “Six years in the making, if you’re up for an adventure that’s viscerally exciting, deeply emotional and decidedly not “safe” then grab this masterful work of mature storytelling – which also happens to be the same sort of technical mic-drop that the first game was at the end of the PS3 era. It’s a dark masterpiece.”

Buy now at JB Hi-Fi

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2
Genre: Sports
Platform: PS4, Xbox One
Multiplayer: Yes

What we said: “Like the originals, you’re put firmly in the VANS of some of the wildest skateboarders on the planet and bust out tricks big enough to give a physicist a heart attack. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 takes everything about the first two games and upgrades it – this is all that the original experience was and so much more.”

Buy now at JB Hi-Fi

 

HONOURABLE MENTIONS

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
DIRT 5
DOOM Eternal
Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot
Dreams
Journey to the Savage Planet
Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Persona 5 Royal
Wasteland 3