• Daniel Falconer

GamesLoop’s video games of the year: Our top three titles from 2020

In a year that has been consumed by bad news, we’ve never been happier to wave goodbye to a miserable 12 months. Still, we mustn’t forget that which we had to celebrate throughout 2020, including some of the finest video games to ever hit the market.

With that in mind, here are GamesLoop’s top three games of 2020, from Daniel Falconer, Aaron Adlem and Arron Coombes.

Daniel Falconer – The Last of Us: Part II

Aaron’s gonna kill me for this one, but I genuinely believe that despite all of the leaks and controversial moves made in regards to the narrative, The Last of Us: Part II was an utter masterpiece.

Taking place five years after the conclusion of the original title, the game sees players take control primarily of lead character Ellie (Ashley Johnson), now very much a young adult after being forced to grow up before her time. The performance given by Johnson is worthy of ALL the awards, whilst Troy Baker also manages to steal the spotlight in scenes he is a part of as the weary but forever-charming Joel. Props must also be given to series newcomer Laura Bailey who plays controversial character Abby for cementing a spot in video game history within just moments of being introduced.

Exhilarating, beautiful and tragic, The Last of Us: Part II unleashes a torrent of battling emotions that all vie for supremacy whilst asking moral questions of those in possession of the PlayStation controller. A true masterpiece.

Aaron Adlem – Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

Whilst Ubisoft and their Assassin’s Creed series have been met with nothing short of controversy over the years, convoluted with mixed opinion on narrative direction and gameplay – even in spite of its flaws, Valhalla still takes the crown for my game of the year!

As a big fan of Norse mythology, I loved every second of navigating through Viking England, being fully immersed within the story being told and enchanted by the characters that helped tell it. It’s been a while since I’ve felt this engaged and invested in the plot and mysteries that an AC game has to offer. Having clocked over 115 hours so far, I will be sure to return as they continue to add new content.

The continuation of the overarching story set out by Origins and Odyssey leaves a lot to be desired, but the conclusion of Valhalla sets the next generation of Assassin’s Creed up for what could be a very interesting narrative. Disregarding the absence of improvement on core systems, such as parkour and stealth, I cannot help but appreciate what Ubisoft have attempted to achieve this time round, and look forward to what comes next.

Arron Coombes - Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2

I’m fully incapable of finishing a single player campaign at this point in my life. I don’t know whether it’s my short attention span or busy lifestyle (who am I kidding? There was a pandemic this year), but I find much more joy in short bursts of gameplay than something that will take countless hours to sit down and complete. That’s why my game of the year is Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2.

Okay, so technically it’s two games, but they came in the same package. The heavy dose of nostalgia served up by this remastered collection was exactly what I needed to get me through some of the most monotonous months of my life. Being a skater in real life, but not really being allowed to go and enjoy myself in the local parks because of coronavirus restrictions, I found the next best thing in Pro Skater, and have been trying to get those oh-so-tricky high scores ever since.

Gameplay is slick and flows perfectly; there was a bit of a worry that the bugs and glitches from the original titles would be brought over, but they’ve been ironed out with expert detail. A real triumph for everybody involved.