The corona pandemic also had the game developers firmly under control. Because people around the world had to spend a lot of time at home, games contributed in their own way to getting through the crisis. With 2020 a very special year is drawing to a close, also playfully. In the course of the past twelve months, numerous video games have appeared that could hardly be avoided. From indie to triple A, there was plenty of gaming fodder. We reveal which games you definitely shouldn't have missed this year.


The four walls at home have been something of a safe haven in uncertain times in the past few months. Millions of people around the globe have struggled and are still struggling with the effects of the corona pandemic. Ultimately, the crisis had something positive: Many people who had previously described themselves as non-gamers found access to boards and video games. There were commercials on TV that fueled popular games brands: Call of Duty, World of Warcraft Shadowlands and, most recently, Cyberpunk 2077.

There was no getting around video games in 2020 - and in many cases by doing so. Games are now much more than just fun. Video games reveal social problems and deal with them through good “storytelling”, video games tell funny, sad, exciting, dramatic stories, video games keep producing new heroines and heroes. Video games are cementing their status as a cultural asset. Games can be many things, always depending on who is playing a title. Solve puzzles, experience adventures, immerse yourself in fantastic worlds - all of this is possible and helps to relax. Games combine art, culture, music and film - video games can even be sports.

10th place: Doom Eternal

Doom Eternal is one of those titles that had to be played in 2020. The new edition of the once criticized brutal shooter with its mixture of classic gameplay and modern optics ensured that players worldwide found access to the brand. Then it was over with the calm: Doom Eternal is fast-paced, stressful, relentless - and therefore the perfect antithesis to the otherwise so leisurely everyday life in times of the coronavirus pandemic.

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The game is now also available for Nintendo Switch. This is a clear signal for the hybrid console: The Nintendo Switch is no longer just a family console with games for shallow entertainment, but also offers adults appropriate gaming alternatives. The fact that Doom Eternal runs on the mini console with minimal resources is one of the highlights in 2020. And because Doom Eternal was also able to convince in terms of play, you simply have to get involved in the battles against hordes of demons.

Place 9: Desperate 3

The German development studio Mimimi Games holds the flag high for stealth tactics, a genre that is always closer to death than life. With Desperados 3, however, the creators have shown what a terrific part of the games scene this genre actually is. After the successful Shadow Tactics from 2016, it should now be Wild West protagonists who sneak around on the isometric cards and lay traps - and thus continue one of the most popular “Stealth Tactic” series in video game history, namely Desperados, in high quality .

Desperados 3 is one of the highlights of 2020. Image: Mimimi

Desperados 3 is one of the highlights of 2020. Image: Mimimi

Players command a small squad of experts to complete the mission objectives. A small star of the game is the design of the level cards. The mini-worlds are detailed and charming, and there are countless ways to get to your destination. Each “map” becomes a playground where you can let off steam. Desperados 3 is a highlight mainly because it is one of those games that prove that breakneck action and fast-paced screen scenes alone can provide great entertainment. With this “time sink” one could have spent countless hours at home in times of the pandemic.

8th place: Ori and the Will of the Wisps

After Ori and the Blind Forest, which appeared in 2015, fans had to wait around five years for the successor to the 2D platformer. Patience should be rewarded: Ori and the Will of the Wisps is again a graceful jumping game that is not only animated as smooth as butter and runs smoothly, but also impresses with its optics.

Moon Studios came back with a masterpiece in 2020. Sure, the Ori successor is no longer the big surprise that Ori and the Blind Forest was when it was released, but the second offshoot in the series is also one of those platform games that a genre connoisseur must have played. The developers rely on tried and tested mechanics and have not added any noteworthy innovations to the successor. Still, there is the story that moves to tears. The game has been released for Nintendo Switch, Windows PC, Xbox One and Xbox Series X | S.

7th place: Streets of Rage 4

The pixel beater Streets of Rage 4 is one of the surprise hits of 2020. The revival attempt of the series has more than succeeded the developers. Crisp action and a cool synth sound, based on the retro classics, ensure fun at the highest level. The actually simple arcade game has the spirit of the nineties in it. Streets of Rage 4 shows how entertaining the concepts from back then can still be today - and how very modern hardware has a positive effect on gaming fun.

Retro has seldom been so modern and yet classic: Streets of Rage 4 was a surprise hit. Image: Dotemu

Retro has seldom been so modern and yet classic: Streets of Rage 4 was a surprise hit. Image: Dotemu

At the beginning, Streets of Rage 4 was not going well. The first pictures of the game took some getting used to: the characters looked rough, the backgrounds seemed to be a matter of taste and even the sound in the trailer seemed anything but successful. And then the fighting game started its charm offensive. Anyone who was able to get involved in Streets of Rage 4 has won over to the modern retro knockout. The sound is one of the best in the series, the hand-drawn backgrounds turned out to be the perfect idea. The developer trio from Dotemu, Lizardcube and Guard Crush Games have shown how around 25 years of gaming history still work in the present.

Place 6: Spiritfarer

If you look at the video game Spiritfarer soberly, there is not much more to play than purely mechanical resource management. What defines this title is what you don't see at first glance: It's the ties to the characters. This creates a lot of dramatic, sad moments that captivate players in an emotional way. Spiritfarer is a moving game.

The process is calm and does not need to be hectic. You take care of the boat guests, collect raw materials, fulfill the wishes of the passengers - and make them happy. You gradually establish connections with travelers, get to know them and invest in your fellow passengers. It's intense and refreshingly different in a special way.

5th place: Star Wars - Squadrons

You couldn't have dreamed how good Star Wars: Squadrons would be. After the successful Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order, fans had high hopes that Electronic Arts could use the mighty license for mighty good games - and in fact EA Motive has made a surprisingly big hit with the space shooter, which is not perfect, but damn it turned out well.

Star Wars: Squadrons offered crisp space action. Image: EA

Star Wars: Squadrons offered crisp space action. Image: EA

Star Wars: Squadrons has managed to capture at least some of the spirit of the space classics X-Wing vs. Tie-Fighter or Star Wars: Rogue Squadrons. The game is challenging, even more so in multiplayer mode against other human opponents. The developers probably did not expect the success and the good reviews. It was always said that no new content would be rolled out for Star Wars: Squadrons after the release - and then a mini update to the next one, including new spaceships, follows. Star Wars: Squadrons is one of the best games of 2020. And: It's best to play it now, when there are still enough players for the multiplayer mode. That’s the main, if not the only, strength of the game.

4th place: Among us

Some games start their success phase with a little delay, including Among us. The game only became popular in 2020 thanks to Twitch and some streamers, but the title was released two years earlier. Among us is basically a simple game of betrayal: up to ten players set off into space, complete tasks - and always keep their eyes open, because one to three of the “fellow players” are traitors. Your goal: sabotage the mission and kill the players.

Round after round, more crew members die. And whenever a corpse is found, all players come together to uncover the truth and expose the traitors. It seemed like Among us was the perfect game in times of the corona pandemic. It was able to let players get in touch despite existing contact restrictions. In groups, you could play and interact with each other in virtual space and do what was temporarily not possible in the real world.

3rd place: Cyberpunk 2077

Cyberpunk 2007 in a top list? After all the mess around the release? And whether! Despite the poor quality for Playstation 4 and Xbox One, Cyberpunk 2077 and its game world are among the highlights of the year. Due to the terrific PC version, the action role-playing game from CD Projekt Red has earned its top spot.

Despite all the starting problems: Virtual playgrounds are seldom as grandiose as the world of Cyberpunk 2077. Image: CDPR

Despite all the starting problems: Virtual playgrounds are seldom as grandiose as the world of Cyberpunk 2077. Image: CDPR

The developers worked on the title for years, were ambitious to the end, got the crunch behind them to be able to send players through Night City this year. Unforgettable moments await at many corners of the neon-colored play world. The atmosphere? Terrific. The setting? Terrific. The characters? Wonderfully weird. In the end, CD Projekt Red had to admit that everything did not go smoothly in the end. Makers learned her lesson the hard way, but she learned. And now Cyberpunk 2077 is becoming, patch by patch, the game it should have been from the start.

2nd place: World of Warcraft - Shadowlands

The eighth expansion is one of the best that the WoW series has produced so far. The good sales figures underline the quality. Blizzard had shown courage and turned the game inside out in several ways. With Shadowlands, Blizzard is also going back to the roots of the successful MMO: Instead of more or less incoherent quest areas, players experience a continuing story. And it has it all: Again and again you meet well-known characters in the Shadowlands.

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As varied and visually impressive as this new expansion is, it offers players many of the tried and tested mechanisms: New instances, new challenges and new raids, but also new grinds in PvE and PvP. There are also conceptual tricks that make playing with twinks much easier. With Shadowlands, Blizzard has finally achieved something again that has not existed in the world of warfare for a long time: A launch with almost no shitstorm.

1st place: Animal Crossing - New Horizons

Even a newcomer to the industry could have accurately predicted that Animal Crossing: New Horizons would be successful. But that Nintendo's life sim on the desert island would be so comprehensive and entertaining over the long term is a far bigger surprise. In the Corona year, the year in which gamers are screaming for employment, Nintendo steadily stepped up and added new features to Animal Crossing: News Horizons.

Island life instead of vacation: Animal Crossing was the game of the year 2020. Image: Nintendo

Island life instead of vacation: Animal Crossing was the game of the year 2020. Image: Nintendo

The players are so pleased that the video game has sold as well as warm donuts with caramel icing and chocolate filling. As early as the release in March, the sales figures exploded, even more than you are in the middle of the pandemic after a few weeks. Players around the world desperately searched for entertainment and found it in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Even those who are completely new to games often used Nintendo's Life-Sim: The game - in combination with the Nintendo Switch - became a real door opener. It was played alone, online, in a family network - and the game has not gotten boring to this day.

But wasn't there ...?

Introducing ten of the best games of 2020 means dropping a lot of titles by the table. Many of them deserve to appear on this list as well. For example, Hades, which presents Greek mythology as a coming-of-age story, or the remake of Final Fantasy VII, which made one of the best action role-playing games in video game history come alive in a completely different way. Or Astro's Playroom, which is capable of captivating gamers without any detours.

Other games were particularly noticeable because of their backstory: The Last of Us 2, for example, which therefore had to face the hatred of some weird fans, or Ghost f Tsushima, which is about the classic samurai story about honor, but also about the consequences that arise from one's own deeds.

Paper Mario and Tony Hawk celebrated terrific comebacks, enthusiastic players with no-frills entertainment, as did Dirt 5 or Yakuza: Like a Dragon. Call of Duty and League of Legends have also proven in times of the pandemic how valuable long-serving brands are in the games industry. And with Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit, Nintendo is creating another innovation and bridging the gap between console games and toys. The year 2020 had many losers, but also many winners. For 2021 one can now wish that the year will be at least as good in terms of play - and everything else will improve.


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Last updated on 25.09.2022/XNUMX/XNUMX / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API. * = Affiliate links. Images from Amazon PA API