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 reviewer John Cal McCormick.
Ultimately, I found that I enjoyed Kentucky Route Zero most at the beginning of the game, and the longer it went on and the zanier it got without providing answers, the more I lost interest. While the overall narrative didn’t really land for me, the game does have a cool Twin Peaks-esque atmosphere that stayed with me for days after I finished it. The song performance at the dive bar in the middle of the game was a highlight. If you’re wondering why a game I feel so tepid about is in my top five of the year, it’s because I didn’t play many new games that weren’t rubbish.
I’m not actually sure whether I liked Persona 5 Royal more than the original base game or not. In some ways it was objectively better, but in others — particularly the new final chapter — I wasn’t sure it was an improvement. The brand new ten-hour epilogue actually just derailed the story for me and made the ending feel anticlimactic. So a deserving #4, then. This is going well.
About twenty hours into Final Fantasy VII Remake, I was sure this would be my favourite game of the year, and one of my favourite games of all time. But once I got to the Kingdom Hearts daddy chuff ending I’d kinda soured on the experience. It’s still mostly a great game, and I loved seeing the old gang back together, but we didn’t need to reinvent the wheel here with a cartoonland finale. Less is more sometimes. A lot less. A lot of less. It’s like if, for the last twenty minutes of The Dark Knight, they swapped out Christian Bale’s Batman for Adam West’s.
I really couldn’t decide whether this would be number 1 for me or not, and on another day it might have been. While the story delivery is perhaps a bit dry, it excels in every other regard. It’s beautiful, the combat is fantastic, and for an open world game, it’s wonderful to see a title that doesn’t bombard us with pointless busy work to keep us playing for 100 hours. Wandering around the world Sucker Punch created was a joy, and I can’t wait to see what comes next.
I think I went for The Last of Us: Part II as my game of the year because of how it made me feel. While some games — every game on this list, actually — made me feel genuine real life emotions in parts, The Last of Us 2 gave me feelings throughout most of the playthrough. Bad feelings, mostly, but feelings nonetheless. I don’t think that the narrative was perfectly handled — particularly the ending — but the game is almost unbearably intense, and I loved Abby’s story. I couldn’t put the pad down because I just had to see what happened next, and I can’t say that about many other games this year. Plus, I want it to win game of the year so Internet babies have a tantrum. And isn’t that the real reason we vote in these things? Spite? Yes. Spite.
Do you agree with John’s personal Game of the Year picks? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.