In a year that changed our lives, gaming was—in many ways—an escape. Some of us sought the comfort of nostalgia, some of us went for fantasy, some of us shifted our board game meetups to online tabletop simulators. A few folks downloaded a game for the first time with multiplayer games like Among Us that could keep them engaged with friends far away, while others took up Ring Fit Adventure as a way to bring the gym to the living room. We asked our most active Oasis Gamers what games stood out to them in 2020, and here's what they told us.
browse79 says....."Final Fantasy VII Remake"
This is the modernization of a 20 year old game (some for the worse, but mostly for the better). The battle system is the most fun I've had playing a jrpg since Final Fantasy 10. It's as tactically engaging as a board game, but as visually stimulating as watching an action packed movie. The soundtrack (while it has too many renditions of Let the Battle Begin!) is a work of art. The game is not for everyone, especially if you never played the original on PS1. Square Enix was also not transparent in its promotion before clarifying that this is only Part 1. However, for someone who loved the 1997 classic this graphical overhaul and movie-like production of a story, world, and characters I grew to love in its polygonal days is a feat to behold.
Runner Up: Breath of the Wild - This game proves that Nintendo has perfected the art of fetch questing and collectibles.Runner Up: Ori and the Will of The Wisps - A great platformer with tight controls and an emotional story that explores mature themes.
I came into Subnautica with very few expectations, and no real primer for what the game was about. What I thought would be a fun yet shallow survival/crafting game underwater turned out to be an interesting story of exploration. I really like games where you start from nothing, and build yourself. Here, you start trying to find food, clean water, and air just to stay alive. Then, you start delving deeper and deeper with the story. I like how the game doesn't do much hand-holding and forces you to explore. More than once, I was looking for that next clue and stumbling upon a completely new area that keep making me want to see what was next. It was an immersive exploration experience that had a very satisfying sense of accomplishment at the end.
Runner Up: Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order - This was a fun "Souls-like" experience with light sabers. My brother and I started playing this at the same time, and kept pace with each other. Getting to chat about it as we went through the game made it even more enjoyable.Runner Up: Mortal Shell - Mortal Shell is a distilled and stream-lined clone of the "souls" games (Demon's Souls, Dark Souls, Bloodbourne). It perfectly captures the tone and feel while adding it's own tweaks to make it a compelling and worth-while experience.
Hades is my first adventure from Supergiant Games. The visuals and music (something I'm aware Supergiant has a solid reputation for) hooked me right away, and the Greek mythology setting (tickling my High School Latin Club nostalgia) sold me on the purchase. I think it's safe to say that despite being a late arrival into the popular Roguelike genre, Hades stands out. It tackles the genre's biggest hurdle—repetitive play—by offering a sweet story about family that slowly unfolds with each run through the levels of the Underworld. Olympian and Chthonic Gods help you along on your quest, and these friendly and encouraging characters are actually a wholesome relief in a year filled with so much turmoil. Achilles and Nyx are always available for you in a loving-step-parent role, and even the Fury Sister Megaera secretly enjoys it when you show up at her door to beat the s**t out of each other. Over 125 hours later, and 100+ runs through The Underworld, Hades is my Game of the Year.
Runner Up: Bug Fables - A game developer in Panama surprised Paper Mario TTYD fans (like me!) with a spiritual successor that was unBEElievably satisfying.Runner Up: Animal Crossing: New Horizons - In a year where the world felt like it might end, ACNH accidentally became the escape most of us needed.
Dracarys Malfoy says....."Final Fantasy VII Remake"
For the opening title of a possible trilogy, it is overwhelmingly engaging. The world of Midgar is incredibly immersive. The graphics are unbelievably impressive. It has the same characters I loved from the original as well as some side characters getting their time in the spotlight. The much ballyhooed ending is different and the lack of familiarity of the direction where the story is going is giving me a great sense of anticipation for the next title.
Runner Up: Immortals: Fenyx Rising - It provides a tremendous amount of good, old-fashioned escapism and overall sense of fun in a cartoonish and vibrant environment.Runner Up: Cyberpunk 2077 - The compulsory answer, it nonetheless has gorgeous graphics, engaging side quests and an incredible, Blade Runner-esque cyberpunk aesthetic that makes it profoundly unique.
xaved says....."Star Wars: Squadrons"
It’s a smaller title but it fulfills such a childhood dream of mine. I always wanted to climb into the cockpit of an X-Wing and go fly around and shoot things out of the sky. This game delivers this on every level - the gameplay is competitive and balanced, with a 5-player squad based PvP setting which essentially makes it a MOBA in spaceships. The VR experience outstanding (but not required to play the game) - there’s nothing like turning your head to watch ships fly past your cockpit or to look at the asteroid you just barely dodged.
Runner Up: Ghost of Tsushima - It is an absolutely beautiful open-world game that nails the samurai movie aesthetic.Runner Up: Final Fantasy VII Remake - This game delivered on powerful nostalgia trips as well as defying expectations for how the game would go.
Marelacrim says....."If Found..."
I play games not only to entertain myself, but experience things that my plain, white-bread upbringing would not have given me access to. If Found...is a visual novel about a young trans woman returning to her home in a small Irish town, circa 1993. It's gut-wrenching, authentic experience that uses journal entries to tell a story of transitioning more than just the body. Instead of clicking a page to turn it, you experience the story by erasing scribbles, doodles, scratch marks, and other common journal detritus. I highly recommend it.
Runner Up: Hades - Everything a great Indie title should be.Runner Up: Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1 & 2 Remake - Nostalgia overload. My childhood was spent on the boards.
Rodney182 says....."Among Us"
Among Us took the gaming community by storm, quickly becoming THE go to game for friends who always wanted to secretly kill each other. This simple social deduction game set itself apart from the rest of 2020 games for one simple reason. Accessibility. Among Us is currently on PC, Switch, and mobile devices all with CROSSPLAY! The simple act of making a fun, easy to play game catapulted Among Us into the top games played in 2020, and my personal favorite to play with my favorite Oasisians at Oasis Gaming.
Runner Up: Cyberpunk 2077 - The closest you can get to a physical manifestation of 2020. Big promises, but ended up being the letdown of the millennia.Runner Up: Doom Eternal - Amazing single player experience, but lackluster multiplayer mode makes it less than ideal for social gaming.
Shepherd of Wolves says....."Dungeons & Dragons (on Tabletop Simulator)"
It was my first DnD campaign. Being a table top gamer, this was a significant change in role playing and theater of the mind. It takes more commitment, but allows for incredible creativity. That creativity allows for a serious change to strategy and tactics.
Runner Up: Troyes - Playing this online with friends is awesome. The artwork is amazing! (Boardgamearena.com)Runner Up: Race For The Galaxy - Very fast simultaneous game play with significant depth. (Boardgamearena.com)
moonrabbit says....."Animal Crossing: New Horizons"
ACNH came out at just the right time when people were grappling with having to shift their lives due to the pandemic. I feel like I have never seen a game have quite as large of an impact as it did this year when it comes to connecting people. When every form of in-person social interaction came to a halt, ACNH seemed to help fill those voids. We saw people using the game to host weddings, funerals, graduations, and more. The game itself may not have as strong story, mechanics, and things that other amazing games might have, but its ability to give people a unifying virtual escape in 2020 was quite powerful.
Runner Up: Assassins Creed: Valhalla - The story, design, and characters that make up the world in Valhalla are impressive and breathtaking. (A lot of it actually reminds me of Breath of the Wild, which would have been my GOTY if we were in 2017.)Runner Up: Among Us - I think just culturally, this game has made an impact - not quite to the ACNH level, but I'm seeing a lot more friends and family online due to having accessible games like Among Us.