Operation Backlog Completion 2024
Dec 312020

There’s a lot you can say about 2020… some good and a lot bad.

One of the positives for me has to be all the incredible games I played this year! Choosing my top 5 was difficult, because I kept looking back and seeing all these great games I finished in 2020!

And while I skipped one of my most-anticipated games of 2020 entirely after seeing the reviews and two others were delayed, the others came through!

So now I’m ready to talk about the best games I played in 2020.

Honorable Mentions

Once again, we have three honorable mentions this year: Bug Fables, 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim, and Bloodborne.

These are all games that I feel could be strong contenders for this list… except I haven’t finished them yet. I thought there was a chance I might close out the year by completing them, but it looks like those three will be early 2021 games for me instead. But hey, at least that will get 2021 off to a good start!

Moving on to the list itself, here are my top 5 games I finished this year.

5. Hades

When Hades was announced, I thought it looked neat, but I wasn’t too interested because it was a roguelike. The roguelike genre never really appealed to me, so I intended to skip it. Then Hades left Early Access, and I kept seeing people say that even though they disliked other roguelikes, they loved this one.

So I decided to give it a try.

95 hours later, I can confidently say I’m in that camp. Roguelikes never appealed to me because I don’t like the thought of needing to start over and over, but it doesn’t feel like that in Hades at all.

Deaths and multiple runs are built right into the game’s story, so every time you die, it still feels like you’re making story progress. Everyone at the starting area has new dialogue after you die, sometimes to advance the story, sometimes to progress smaller character arcs, and even sometimes to acknowledge specific things that happened on that run. With everything happening in the context of the overall story, I never felt like I was “starting over.”

But we’ll talk about that more in the actual review. I’m technically still playing Hades, but since I’ve long since passed the end credits, it counts as complete for the purpose of this list.

4. Yakuza Kiwami 2

It feels like a lifetime ago that I played Yakuza Kiwami 2, but yes, that was this year.

I have absolutely fallen in love with the Yakuza series, and Kiwami 2 proved to be another epic ride. I disliked some aspects of the ending, and it didn’t quite reach the highs of Yakuza 0 and Judgment for me, but I loved so much about it that I had to put it on this list.

The story was fantastic, the side content was hilarious, and the only regret I have is that I haven’t played more Yakuza games yet!

(I started Yakuza 3, but I put it on hold for Bloodborne, which is on hold for 13 Sentinels.)

I love the series so much that I wouldn’t be surprised if Yakuza lands another entry on next year’s list… but let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet.

3. Deadly Premonition Origins

Speaking of games that are both epic and flawed, how did I go so many years without ever trying Deadly Premonition? I finally took that leap this year with Deadly Premonition Origins (aka the Switch port) and found a bizarre experience I didn’t want to leave.

As I mentioned in my review, I don’t think it’s at all fair to call Deadly Premonition “so bad it’s good.”

It is a legitimately good game that blends supernatural horror combat with relaxed life sim investigation sections, creating a weird blend that turned out to be exactly what I was looking for. It’s the sort of game where you really need to relax and take your time to get the most out of it, especially when it comes to its wacky humor.

Things I’ve read about Deadly Premonition 2 have me a little worried… but I won’t be able to hold out forever. I need to play the sequel to see how it holds up to the surprisingly excellent first game.

2. Final Fantasy VII Remake

You probably saw this one coming, because not only was the Final Fantasy VII Remake one of my most-anticipated games of the year, but it lived up to those expectations and blew me away.

It took a small section that I didn’t enjoy a lot in the original and expanded it into a full-length game that I loved. They did a great job with the characters, both keeping the main cast true to their personalities and fleshing out the side characters, and I found the combat to be a lot of fun once I got used to it.

Yes, the ending is controversial. Yes, I still have mixed feelings about it.

But man, I’m excited to see where this remake is going with its sequel.

And so for the one game I played in 2020 that I liked more than any of these, more than the surreal strangeness of Deadly Premonition or the thrilling remake of Final Fantasy VII…

1. Persona 4 Golden

A lot of people probably played Persona 4 Golden for the first time this year because of its surprise PC port, but I played it on the Vita with no idea that a port was coming.

(In fact, I finished it so close to the PC announcement that my review actually came out after it.)

Persona 5 is an amazing game, but to me, Persona 4 Golden is even better. The story, the characters, the addictive gameplay loop – everything stood out to me so much that I had to name it the best game I played this year. Whenever I started it up, I knew I wouldn’t be putting it down until hours later.

It’s an absolute gem of a JRPG that is available to even more people now thanks to the PC port, and I couldn’t be happier for that.


There you have it, my five favorite games I played this year. What about you? What are the best games you played in 2020?

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  5 Responses to “Top 5 Games I Played in 2020”

  1. Really happy to see Persona 4 Golden make the list! It is still my favorite of the Persona series, and one of my favorite games, full stop.
    I tried Deadly Premonitions, but… not for me.
    And I actually finished 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim earlier today. If I had a top 5 list, I’m sure it would be on it. Alas, I never made one. On to next year’s games!

    • Thank you again for getting me to play Persona 4 Golden! It’s definitely a great one. Here’s hoping I’ll get to play Persona 3 eventually, although I’m still holding out hope for a remake…

      Nice! Glad to hear 13 Sentinels is so good!

  2. […] else. This year is absolutely stacked with games I’m excited about. Yesterday I discussed the best games I played in 2020, and now I’m ready to look ahead at the games I can’t wait to play in […]

  3. […] can’t praise 13 Sentinels enough. It is an incredible game, and it would have made my top 5 list easily if I’d finished it last year instead of this year. As it is, it got 2021’s […]

  4. […] It’s finally time to talk about Hades, which I brought up previously as one of my favorite games I played last year. […]

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