What a year it has been! 2020 has been a roller coaster ride filled with its fair share of ups and downs. Now that it’s almost over, thank goodness, it’s time to look forward to 2021. However, before we do so, it’s time for the Best Buy Blog Gaming Team to each choose our 2020 Game of the Year.

The Nintendo Switch had another strong year and is the top selling console in Canada for the past 25 months in a row. What an amazing feat! And, according to the latest information from Nintendo of Canada, sales in the first 11 months of this year are more than all of 2019! This fall Xbox and PlayStation launched their next generation consoles: Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5. All three consoles launched with some phenomenal games that put smiles on gamer’s faces.

Here on the Best Buy Blog, myself, Dave and Matthew got together to take a look back at this year in gaming. We had such fun last year sharing our 2019 Game of the Year choices, we decided to make it an annual event. Before we share our choices for game of the year, let’s take a look at the game of the year as chosen by The Game Awards.

The Last of Us Part II wins 2020 Game of the Year at The Game Awards

Last week, Canada’s own, Geoff Keighley hosted the 2020 edition of The Game Awards. The event was live streamed across more than 45 global video platforms and the PlayStation exclusive The Last of Us Part II took home the 2020 Game of the Year award.

I reviewed The Last of Us Part II in June and was blown away by it. As a big fan of narrative driven games, I can honestly say that The Last of Us Part II is a masterpiece in pretty much every aspect. I loved every last minute of this game. From start to finish, I couldn’t have asked for anything more. It is a game that I will never forget.

Did myself, Dave or Mathew choose The Last of Us Part II as our 2020 game of the year? Read on to find out!

Dave’s choice for 2020 Game of the Year – Persona 5 Royal

It’s good to be king

2020 is a tough year to choose my favourite game. Even after whittling down my options to just two, the struggle is almost unbearable. The grief actually reminds me of the feeling I have when simply playing my runner up—the absolute technical marvel and gut-punch storytelling that is The Last of Us Part II.

However, at the end of the day I am opting to go with the game that gave me the most sheer, unadulterated joy this year. Without a doubt, that’s Persona 5 Royal. Argue that Royal is a re-release of a game that already exists if you must. For me though, it’s an evolution that holds its own with any game on this year’s list—those that are in themselves technically “remakes”, or otherwise.

I’ll reveal your true form

The Persona series is a story of identities. It’s about the faces behind the masks. The hidden thoughts and intentions we bury beneath walls of fear, selfishness, or self-doubt. The true self we tuck deep into the prison maze of our souls, even as it kicks and screams to be set free.

In this sense, Persona 5 Royal feels like a product of its own machinations, ripping off the mask to reveal its true potential. It’s as if the original release were a shadow lurking the dungeon with a sinister and obfuscated disposition. Now Royal arrives like a Phantom Thief to expose the true nature of this story, along with its deepest secrets and most intriguing characteristics.

To put it another way, playing the original Persona 5 (for me anyway) is like seeing your favourite band give the best concert of their lives. Playing Persona 5 Royal is like being at the same show, but having front row seats, a backstage pass, and the band plays an entire extra set. It’s a whole new experience, and every addition makes it that much better.

The Velvet Room awaits your return

I couldn’t begin to list off all the improvements, additions, features, and other content that make Persona 5 Royal such a worthy offering. Even in my full review (a perfect 10/10 that you can check out right here), I’m not able to fully encapsulate everything that makes Royal more than just a base game with some new DLC or superfluous padding. New characters, story content, game mechanics, locations, and more are just the beginning.

What it boils down to is the fact that Persona 5 Royal takes a game that is already a GOTY contender on prior merit, and elevates it to a whole new status. It rises from the ranks of a must-play JRPG with incredible style, storytelling, and gameplay, to the absolute apex of achievement for JRPG’s this generation. Now (to quote Caroline), “back in your cell, inmate”!

Matthew’s choice for 2020 Game of the Year – The Last of Us Part II

2020 is a year that I don’t think any of us will ever forget. While staying home and safe many of us welcomed video games as a form of escapism like never before. The gaming industry delivered in spectacular fashion in nearly impossible conditions. One game out of the dozens I played this year left a lasting impact and that was The Last of Us Part II.

A legacy of excellence

I was a huge fan of the original Last of Us, it introduced a new post-apocalyptic world with unforgettable characters and nightmarish creatures. It was a story about perseverance, survival and hope in a world gone mad. The experience was terrifying, stunning and completely captivating, but could it be outdone?

Lofty expectations

Fast forward to summer 2020 and the arrival of The Last of Us Part II. Leave it to developer Naughty Dog to make bold, daring decisions with characters and storytelling to deliver a stellar new experience. The gamble paid off, TLOU2 exceeded all my lofty expectations set by the first game. The sequel introduces new characters, multiple story perspectives, stunning graphics and a more open world experience.

Outstanding performances and storytelling

Seeing Ellie and Joel reunited was both exciting and heart wrenching as their world pulled them apart. Ashley Johnson turned in an incredible performance as Ellie and her leading role anchored the unforgettable experience. Troy Baker returned as Joel, although with a smaller role, he delivered some of the most memorable scenes in a videogame to date. Laura Bailey played one of the most unique roles as Abby in the game. She added a new dimension to the storytelling that pushed the game over the top for me.

Generation defining graphics

Exploring a post-apocalyptic United States was just as beautiful as it was deadly. The gritty depictions of Wyoming, Seattle and Santa Clara were meticulously crafted with stunning detail. This was far and away one of the most beautiful games of this console generation. This was no small feat considering the gorgeous games that have come out over the last 5+ years.

I was happy to see the game triumph at The Game Awards. It picked up a record breaking 11 nominations and 7 awards. It pushed the medium forward in terms of acting, storytelling and graphics. For me, this wasn’t just my game of the year, but my game of the decade.

I can’t wait to see what Naughty Dog has in store for the PlayStation 5.

Jon’s choice for 2020 Game of the Year – Immortals Fenyx Rising & The Last of Us Part II

For gaming, 2020 was a phenomenal year! We saw a wide variety of games from all types of genres that gave gamers fantastic experiences. Some of my favourite games this year include Doom Eternal, Resident Evil 3, Final Fantasy VII Remake, Immortals Fenyx Rising, Animal Crossing New Horizons, The Last of Us Part II, Ghost of Tsushima, Sackboy A Big Adventure, Spider-Man Miles Morales and Crash Bandicoot 4. As you can imagine, when I sat down to think what my game of the year for 2020 is, I had a lot to think about.

After narrowing down my choices, I was left with two games—Immortals Fenyx Rising and The Last of Us Part II. I spent the better part of an hour going back and forth between the two trying to choose. Each game has so many things that I like about them, I just couldn’t decide! So, after spending so much time undecided, I decided that both Immortals Fenyx Rising and The Last of Us Part II are my game of the year choices for 2020.

Why Immortals Fenyx Rising is one of my 2020 Game of the Year choices

In Immortals Fenyx Rising you play as Fenyx who is on a quest to save the Greek god and their home from a dark curse. The story is unwittingly charming and is filled with plenty of laughs. However, this same story also tells the tale of a “fraile warrior” who lives in the shadows of her brother, a strong, powerful and confident warrior who defies the odds. Fenyx’s journey is filled with self doubt, only to be dismissed as she succeeds in every quest. As a result, her self confidence grows throughout the journey and by the end of the game she has proven to everyone and herself that she is a worthy opponent.

In addition to the game’s story, I really like its gameplay. It has a unique mix of traversal, fight, puzzles and exploration all wrapped up into one that I really enjoyed. Gameplay is addicting and easy to understand. It’s not just about mashing buttons. It’s all about stringing moves together to create combos on both the ground and the air.

Finally, the open world in which you play is gorgeous and full of Greek mythology inspired enemies. Flying around the Golden Isle is breathtaking! I found myself more than a few times using Daidalos’s wings to take in all the sights and sounds. From start to finish, Immortals Fenyx Rising is a superb experience that is one of my choices for 2020 game of the year.

Why The Last of Us Part II is my other 2020 Game of the Year choice

I know, I’m only supposed to choose one game for game of the year. Santa please don’t put me on the naughty list! Let me tell you why The Last of Us Part II is my other 2020 Game of the Year choice. Without a doubt, the game’s narrative plays a major role in my decision.

The story is an intense roller coaster ride of emotions. It is so gripping, that time flew by in the blink of an eye while playing. I was so wrapped up in it. The game’s narrative is centered around Joel and Ellie, with a focus on Ellie and her past and current struggles. One of the many things I like about the game’s story is that it isn’t afraid to touch on sensitive or “taboo” subjects. The game helps push the boundaries and while it isn’t the first game to showcase LGBTQ+ characters or same-sex relationships, it is the most successful game with queer characters who are center stage in the narrative.

Finally, you can’t talk about The Last of Us Part II without mentioning the game’s incredible presentation. The amount of detail given to every single aspect of this game is astonishing. From the world around you to the characters you play as and meet, Naughty Dog has done an amazing job. Not only do the character models look stunning, the facial animations are some of the best I have ever seen in a game. And, character voice acting is second to none. Ashley Johnson and Troy Baker do stupendous jobs in bringing each character to life.

Now you see why, The Last of Us Part II is my other 2020 Game of the Year choice.

That’s a wrap for our 2020 Game of the Year choices

And there you have it, our choices for 2020 game of the year. What do you think? Do you agree with our choices for game of the year? If not, let us know in the comments section below.

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Jon Scarr
Based in Toronto, Jon is a proud Canadian who has a serious passion for gaming. He is a veteran of the video game and tech industry with over 20 years experience. Jon loves to talk about gaming and tech, come say hi and join the conversation with Jon on Twitter @4Scarrs_Gaming.

7 COMMENTS

  1. I’m sad that Ghost of Tsushima wasn’t on this list! By far my favourite game of the year but that’s probably because I’m reaaaaally bored with zombies.

  2. So far my favourite game of 2020 is Hades. At this point I have only made it into the 3rd area a few times, but the random customization every round makes each attempt feel different.

    Two games from this year that I really want to play, but haven’t been able to pick up yet are Ori and the Will of the Wisps and Immortals Fenyx Rising. Both of these games look like they are a lot of fun, and I’m really hoping to dive into them between Christmas and New Years!

    Thanks for the list! Should I ever get a PlayStation I will definitely look at trying out The Last of Us 1 & 2! Persona 5 Royal also looks fun, so I’ll probably check it out too if I get a PlayStation.

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