Welcome one and all to the first annual 100 Word Gaming GOTY countdown! A collective effort from our staff, we count down our ten favorite games of 2020. Check back every day to see which game we picked as we work to number one!
#10 – Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Released in March for the Xbox One and later in the year for the Switch, Ori and the Will of the Wisps made quite the impression on some of our staff!
A game that innovated on its original premise in every way, whilst still keeping the beating heart of what made the first game so special. Air-tight mechanics, gorgeous visuals, and a heartbreaking story. Exceptional shit.Michael Leopold Weber
Our review of Ori and the Will of the Wisps was done by Stephan Reilly, just for the event!
#9 – Monster Hunter World: Iceborne
Released on the PC in January 2020, Capcom’s expansion to the successful Monster Hunter: World pleased series veterans and new players alike.
Monster Hunter World is the most fun I’ve had playing videogames in a long time and the Iceborne expansion, despite its poor optimization, made it so much better with quality-of-life improvements, new mechanics, and a varied selection of new monsters to hunt.Hylke Langhout
With the comeback of classic monsters such as Zinogre, Brachydios, and Fatalis, and offering an interesting twist on the clutch claw, Monster Hunter World Iceborne remains one of my favorite games in the entire franchise. Even if the final batches of content weren’t that fun, the overall changes in the quality of life were well received in already polished gameplay.Santi Leguiza
Hylke Langhout reviewed Monster Hunter: Iceborne for us earlier in the year! Also, for our very first episode of the 10 Minute Gaming Podcast, Hylke went into detail about how he enjoyed the base game.
#8 – Coffee Talk
Released in January, Coffee Talk is a narrative indie title that made a lasting impression on our staff.
I fell so deeply in love with the lives and personalities of my shop patrons, that I missed them intensely once the game was over.Natalie Raine
Earlier this year, Specious reviewed Coffee Talk for the site, including accessibility notes.
#7 – Yakuza: Like a Dragon
The latest entry of the beloved series, Yakuza: Like a Dragon made big changes to the Yakuza formula by being a turn-based RPG. Releasing in early November, the title made a quick and strong impression on the staff. It’s also fitting that the seventh main entry to the series is our number seven pick!
One of the most inclusive Yakuza games yet. It’s just so fucking GOOD.Aimee Hart
Absolutely fantastic, even for newcomers.George Foster
A reinvention worthy of the Yakuza mantle.Thomas Hughes
Making his 100 Word Gaming Review debut, Thomas Hughes wrote our Yakuza: Like a Dragon review just for the event! Also, our love of the Yakuza series is no secret–you can see a whole round-up of reviews for the series right here!
#6 – 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim
Releasing in September, 13 Sentinels flew under most people’s radars as they prepared for the next generation of gaming. However, of the staff that did play it were treated to an incredible story with Vanillaware’s signature graphical style.
This is probably the most innovative and surprising release of the year for me. Visually my favorite from 2020 and has one of the most intricate and tragic stories in gaming.Austin Jones
For our event, Elizabeth Henges played through and reviewed 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim!
#5 – The Last of Us: Part II
The long-awaited sequel to Naughty Dog’s most popular title, The Last of Us: Part II managed to live up to expectations. That doesn’t mean everything about the title is all rainbows and roses, though.
The new benchmark for single-player story-driven games.George Foster
A technical achievement, bogged down by a poorly-paced and brutally narcissistic story developed under grueling workplace conditions.Stephan Reilly
One of the most brutal and beautiful games I’ve ever played, The Last of Us: Part II will break you down and put you back together so many times over the course of its campaign. This was not easy to play (especially for the faint of heart), but I’m confident in saying that it’s one of my favorite games of all time and will be remembered as a cinematic landmark for years to come.Ryan Miller
Earlier in the year, George Foster managed to condense his thoughts on The Last of Us: Part II into just 100 words.
#4 – Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Releasing in March right when lockdowns were happening around the globe, Animal Crossing: New Horizons provided many a reprieve when they needed it the most.
In a year of nesting at home, this was the ultimate game about just that.Joshua Jarrett
While it’s not MY game of 2020, it is most certainly THE game of 2020 and a game that got me through a very tough part of the year.Stephan Reilly
I don’t know how I would’ve pushed through this year without New Horizons.Ryan Miller
New Horizons simply the game of March 2020. In the midst of a terrifying pandemic, New Horizons was the perfect escape from the fear and uncertainty of those first few months. While I didn’t stick with it, this new entry to Animal Crossing was incredibly important to many people needing some escapism.Elizabeth Henges
For the event, Joshua reviewed Animal Crossing: New Horizons and spoke about its place in 2020.
#3 – Nioh 2
Nioh 2 released in March, and Team Ninja’s take on the Souls-like formula was a big hit with staff that enjoy the genre.
It’s one of the few Soulsborne-esque games that was more interested in seeing me succeed than mocking me for failing.Natalie Raine
An excellent souls-like that masters the co-op aspects of the genre.Jason Coles
My favorite game that I only completed 10% of this year. It’s hard, y’all.Austin Jones
For the event, Natalie Raine wrote up a review for Nioh 2, explaining the sequel’s appeal.
#2 – Final Fantasy VII Remake
Releasing in April, Final Fantasy VII Remake had many lofty expectations placed on it, as Square was remaking one of the most beloved JRPGs of all time. For most, the title met and exceeded those expectations.
Such a hype payoff! Beautiful, great story changes and updates (for the most part), campy fun, really excellent gameplay.Austin Jones
Obviously a huge milestone for Square Enix. The most talked-about video game ever is back and I want to talk about it.Joshua Jarrett
FF7R had incredibly tough expectations to reach, with the original being so popular and beloved. Somehow, Square Enix has managed to reach those expectations and provides a beautiful, fun title that truly makes you question what a remake should be. I’m excited for Part 2!Elizabeth Henges
With lofty expectations to meet, FF7R manages to beautifully capture what made the original game so captivating, while also opening the world up to an entirely new generation of gamers.Thomas Hughes
Earlier this year, George Foster reviewed Final Fantasy VII Remake for our Final Fantasy event. In fact, we have a round-up of all of our Final Fantasy reviews! You can tell we’re pretty big fans of the series.
#1 – Hades
Supergiant’s latest title came out of Early Access on September 17, and Hades took much of gaming by storm. Those who played the game while it was in those early stages knew there was something special, so to many it was no shock that Hades received critical claim this year.
Of course, most of our staff was also enamoured with Hades!
Redefined the genre with the most polished roguelike game to date, that itself is a big feat. And it also gave us horny and gay Olympians so 100/10.Santiago Leguiza
I hate roguelikes. They annoy me with their unnecessary skill requirements and artificial difficulty spikes. Hades made dying fascinating and even though it took me over 30 runs to beat the game, at no point did I think it was impossible.Michael Leopold Weber
I tried to type out how good this was, but I got killed by Meg, so I had to start again with a buff on my keyboard. Semi-colons do double damage. (Seriously this game has an overwhelming script, is pick up and play, and just…is good!)J.D. Lowe
It’s Hades! The sexiest game alive!George Foster
What’s not to like about Hades? The visuals and music are unsurprisingly top-tier but the real star is the writing. It has the best narrative progression of any roguelike I’ve ever played and all of the characters are unreasonably hot.Hylke Langhout
Supergiant manages to take a genre I hate, and not only make me tolerate it, but love it. You always feel like you’ve done something productive, even in the worst runs. Coupled with a compelling plot and well-written characters, you can’t do much better than Hades.Elizabeth Henges
While many narratives are hindered by the cyclic nature of rogue-lites, Hades drives its narrative forward through the cycles of failure.William Dowell
Come onJason Coles
For the event, Elizabeth Henges reviewed Hades, and gave her reasons why it’s one of her favorite games this year.