Alongside our staff-voted Game of the Year awards, each of our writers have crafted their own personal lists, covering their top five PlayStation 5 and PS4 titles of 2020. Today, it’s the turn of retro specialist Jamie O’Neill.
My favourite part of Spider-Man: Miles Morales is the beauty of its Christmas winter time setting. There’s a nostalgia factor for me. In 2018, Insomniac Games had already succeeded with a modern take on PS2 Spider-Man 2’s swinging traversal, with an expansion of the free-flow combat from the Arkham games, but Miles adds extra flair and style. I find the succinct game length ideal, so I hope the shorter, standalone, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy template is continued in the ninth generation. The update to include a Performance RT Mode was welcome, as PS5’s combination of 60 frames-per-second with ray-tracing was the icing on a snowy skyscraper cake, with shiny reflective windows.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 is the most fun I’ve had playing a Tony Hawk game since Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 in 2001. Vicarious Visions’ remake was rad through its faithfulness to the flow and feel of Neversoft’s original controls. If you told me at the start of the PS4 generation that Activision would publish two of my favourite remakes — the other being Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled, which also featured the development skills of Beenox — I wouldn’t have believed you. So go bail a 100,000+ point combo, you groms, because Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 is sick on PS4, and I can’t wait for you to hear me shout it.
Alongside Hotshot Racing as a 2020 retro modern release, developer Guard Crush Games can be commended for Streets of Rage 4 as a PS4 brawler that feels authentic to the game design of classic 1990s SEGA. When it was first announced, I initially wished that Streets of Rage 4 incorporated traditional sprites and pixel art, but in a similar way to Lizardcube’s Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap, Streets of Rage 4’s glorious hand-drawn visuals surpassed my expectations. I loved the details, secrets, and nods to the retro games, as well as the absurdity of the final boss battle. I also appreciated later balancing refinements like the 1.03 patch that improved Axel’s movement speed.
Before I read Christian Kobza’s 10/10 scoring Push Square review, I was excited by his sub-heading praising PS5 Demon’s Souls as “PlayStation‘s Best Ever Launch Game”. Bluepoint Games is known through work on the likes of PS4 Shadow of the Colossus as the masters of the remaster, so Demon’s Souls is a true graphical showcase for PS5. The fast load times and 60 frames-per-second Performance Mode are bliss to experience. Also, if you’re unsure about its difficulty, read Sammy Barker’s Soapbox, because anyone fortunate enough to own a launch PS5 shouldn’t miss out on a game that’s in Push Square’s rare ‘Outstanding’ score club.
I don’t just consider The Last of Us: Part II as the best game of 2020, it’s also my personal favourite PS4 game of the eighth generation. With the opening lyric of Pearl Jam’s song Future Days declaring “If I ever were to lose you, I’d surely lose myself” still ringing in my ears, this sentiment depicted a running theme throughout Naughty Dog’s series. Similarly, the PS3 expansion’s idea of being ‘Left Behind’ after losing a loved one is continued in The Last of Us: Part II’s heart-breaking story, which sadly became reflective of 2020 as a heart-breaking year for me.
So, that’s Jamie’s five favourite games from 2020. Do you agree with his picks? Have your say in the comments section below.