Countdowns & Lists

My Top Five Favorite Video Games of 2020

2020 had its fair share of disappointing moments and hardships. But when it comes to the video game world, there were many games released (or still relatively new) to 2020 that were really amazing! I actually played A LOT of video games this year (partially because my husband and I couldn’t leave the house half the time anyway). Seeing how I love video games (enough to blog about them weekly), I wanted to do a countdown of some of my favorite games I played this year! Before I begin, I want to state that I am not sponsored by anyone or any business. This article is solely my opinion. Also, I’m going to keep this spoiler-free. I’ll talk about very minor things here and there, but nothing that will ruin a game if you haven’t played it yet. Without further ado, here is my list of my top five favorite video games I played this year!

5. Luigi’s Mansion 3

Possibly the best screenshot I took of Luigi in Luigi’s Mansion 3. Luigi looks so relaxed…

I’ve written about Luigi’s Mansion 3 a lot already, but that’s just because it’s such a fun game! I’ll never like it as much as I like the original Luigi’s Mansion, but it’s still an amazing game I’ll go back and play over and over again. This game has a lot of memorable characters, and the floors in the hotel are so creative and well-made! Honestly the hotel in Luigi’s Mansion 3 reminds me of Las Vegas because it’s a combination of every possible type of hotel and hotel amenities you could possibly find in this world. For example one floor is a shopping complex while another floor is medieval themed. The bosses in this game were really fun too! I even wrote a post about my favorite bosses from Luigi’s Mansion 3! If you want to go check it out, it’s called: “My Top Five Favorite Ghosts in Luigi’s Mansion 3”. There were plenty of surprises on each floor and lots of amazing designs and sites to look at while on your journey to once again beat King Boo and save your friends.

Another thing I really liked about this game was that once you unlock Gooigi near the beginning of the game, you can play the game in co-op mode! So my husband and I were able to play Luigi’s Mansion 3 together rather than having to take turns. Both of us being able to play at the same time was really amazing! And the co-op mode was really great later on when I was playing with my younger brother. Sometimes my brother has a hard time with strategy in video games, which means games with puzzles are really hard. He also occasionally struggles with constant combat. In Luigi’s Mansion 3 you find both puzzles and constant combat, so being able to play co-op with him meant I could take on the really hard stuff while he could focus on having fun! Honestly adding co-op to the Story Mode of Luigi’s Mansion 3 was a super smart move by Nintendo, and I hope they do that with more of their games in the future.

Scare Scraper in Luigi’s Mansion 3

Another feature I really like in Luigi’s Mansion 3 is the mini game called Scare Scraper. Scare Scraper puts you in a run-down motel with up to eight of your friends. Then you defeat ghosts, collect money, and perform other tasks to make your way up each floor of the hotel. You’re also only given five minutes to complete the task on each floor, and if you fail to beat the timer you lose. I’ve actually played this mode even more than I’ve played the Story Mode in Luigi’s Mansion 3! Fighting hoardes of enemies with friends and working together to win is really fun!

This game has a ton of features and you definitely get your money’s worth for what you spend buying it. And the ability to play either solo or with friends and family is invaluable to me! That’s why Luigi’s Mansion 3 on the Nintendo Switch is my fifth favorite game I’ve played this year!

4. Fortnite

Shortly after the COVID-19 shutdown back in March, my husband and I started playing Fortnite. Up until that point, I always thought Fortnite sounded stupid because I work in an elementary school setting and I always hear students talking about it. But we were bored so we tried it out. And honestly I was a lot more impressed with the game than I thought I would be! Once you get used to the defensive building aspect of the game, it’s pretty fun!

The game is a Battle-Royale style, with a shrinking map moving everyone closer together. The last person standing wins! This game is honestly way more addictive than I thought it could be, and it’s fun to play alone, with a friend, or in a squad! The theme of the game switches up every few months, so you don’t get bored with the map or features you can find in gameplay. What’s also awesome is this game is free to play, but buying skins or emotes is a bit of money. However if you purchase a Battle Pass every season (you get new seasons each time the map changes) you can get a bunch of skins, emotes, and other items for a great deal! I have a post explaining why the Battle Pass is worth it, so if you want to learn more go check out my post: “Is the Battle Pass for Fortnite Chapter 2 Season 5 Worth It?”

This game does require access to the internet (because you are playing online with other people). But you can play Fortnite several different ways including through: Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, or on PC! I’ve played this game A LOT this year, and while sometimes it gets a little too competitive for my liking, I still have a ton of fun playing it! It’s honestly really cool knowing I’m fighting against real players from around the world, and not CPUs. So when I beat a really hard opponent, it feels really great! And honestly, I really love shooter games. I played a lot of Star Wars: Battlefront 2 growing up so that’s probably why!

Fortnite being free to play, having really fun items to buy to add to your profile, the competitive aspect of it, the fact it’s great when you play with friends or by yourself, and the fact it’s a fun and unique shooter game makes Fortnite my fourth favorite game I’ve played this year!

3. Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Anyone who knows me or reads my blog knows I LOVE Animal Crossing: New Horizons! It’s such a chill game, and there’s really no true ending, which is why I keep coming back to the game. I’m always looking for ways to improve my island, making it a permanent project. I have spent a lot of time playing this game, in fact I have more than 230 logged hours! And despite how much time I’ve spent playing, I’m no where close to feeling like I can stop.

A restaurant in Animal Crossing: New Horizons on the Nintendo Switch

Animal Crossing: New Horizons always finds something for you to do. You have to collect all of the fish, bugs, and sea creatures that come to your island. This takes at least a year since many of the fish, bugs, and sea creatures are only around for parts of the year! There are over 400 villagers that can come live on your island! So the fact you can only pick ten to live with you on your island means you have to be a bit picky. Honestly I think my favorite part about Animal Crossing: New Horizons is searching for the best villagers to live with me on my island, and to kick off the not so great villagers. I have a post about how to increase your chances of finding good villagers and how to get rid of lame villagers as fast as you can. If you want to check that out, it’s called: “Three Tricks to Get Bad Villagers Off Your Island, and Two Tips to Get Good Villagers For Your Island!”

Another reason I love Animal Crossing: New Horizons is I love decorating my island! I love being creative and coming up with ways to make my island look as amazing as possible! Some of my creations I’m most proud of is my island’s outdoor restaurant, my mini maze to my personal zen area, and my beautiful peach orchard surrounded by all pink flowers! I also love visiting other players’ islands and seeing what they came up with! And with the Dream Island update back in the summer, I can go see what other people have made without having to visit their physical island in real-life! There are some really AMAZING islands out there! If you’re wondering what some of my favorite Dream Islands are, go check out my post: “Animal Crossing: New Horizons—Top Five Dream Islands”.

Walking down Main Street in the Disneyland-themed island of Cookie.

I also love playing with friends and hanging out with them through Animal Crossing: New Horizons! It’s fun running around other people’s islands and seeing what they’ve made, and seeing what villagers roam their island! It’s also really fun attending events with friends such as the Fireworks event in August, or chatting while you wait to wish on shooting stars!

But honestly I think something that really sets this game above a lot of other games I’ve played this year is you get a lot of free updates for the game! I feel like most video games I play, if I want additional content I have to buy it. But Animal Crossing: New Horizons updates regularly, and allows users to download additional content for free! Because there are so many free updates and events added to the game regularly, I am less likely to run out of things to do and stop playing when I am satisfied with the state of my island and the villagers living on it! This game can always call me back to it, so Animal Crossing: New Horizons on the Nintendo Switch is my third favorite game I’ve played this year!

2. Fire Emblem: Three Houses

This is my first time talking about Fire Emblem: Three Houses on my blog! It’s VERY time consuming, so I plan on writing additional posts about it once I complete more of the game! This was actually my first Fire Emblem game I’ve ever played! My husband has played past Fire Emblem games (and loves Fire Emblem), so he was able to show me the basics of this strategy game! Normally I don’t play a ton of strategy games, since I prefer more melee and quick action games. But Fire Emblem: Three Houses is super fun! And for anyone who hasn’t played Fire Emblem before, basically the battles are like Stratego or Chess, but way more interesting! You can play this game in two ways. Either you can play in “Casual Mode”, which means if your characters die in battle they come back once the battle is over. Or you can play the traditional way otherwise known as “Classic Mode”, which means if someone dies in battle they’re dead permanently. My husband and I like a challenge so we’ve been playing the game through “Classic Mode”. And we’ve honestly gotten pretty smart with how we place our characters (especially since we get attached to the characters and don’t want them to die)!

Another reason I really like this game is because you get A LOT of gameplay for what you pay. My husband and I got this game on sale, but we totally would’ve paid full-price and bought the game sooner if we knew how long we’d be playing it! There’s three different storylines you can follow, and there’s four possible endings you can unlock in Fire Emblem: Three Houses. We’ve already completed one of the storylines, we’re about three-fourths of the way through our second storyline, and we’ve already played the game 130 hours! What’s awesome about this game is every storyline has something interesting to contribute to the main plot. And you can’t hear the whole story without completing every possible path in the game. Each main character you can choose to follow has their own story and motives, and those motives move the main plot along.

Speaking of the story, it’s REALLY riveting. Let’s just say there’s A LOT of drama in this game. Between the anime cutscenes and the plot twists you encounter, Fire Emblem: Three Houses’ storytelling ability is something totally unique and amazing! This game did a really great job drawing me in and making me want to play more so I can move the story along. Besides the story being spectacular, Fire Emblem: Three Houses has some really amazing characters. Byleth, the protagonist in Fire Emblem: Three Houses, is a very complex character with a very interesting story. And the other main characters are also really interesting and complex as well! There are also a TON of side characters that contribute to the plot, and many of them have a lot of secrets and motives that add to what is already going on in the story of Fire Emblem: Three Houses. And another thing about Byleth that’s cool, is the game allows you to pick Byleth’s gender before you start playing the game! So you can choose whether to play Byleth as a girl or boy! I’ve done both ways and it’s interesting to see the differences between the girl and boy Byleth.

The riveting story, the fact this game is so time-consuming (making Fire Emblem: Three Houses worth what you pay for it), and the unique gameplay experience of strategy with exploration made this an entertaining game! And despite the fact I haven’t finished the game yet, I am confident in saying that Fire Emblem: Three Houses on the Nintendo Switch is my second favorite game I’ve played this year!

1. Final Fantasy VII Remake

I talked about this game briefly two or three months ago in my blog post: “My Top Five Favorite Video Game Soundtracks”. I talked about how the soundtrack to this game was my favorite soundtrack in a video game I’ve ever heard, and I still stand by it! Also in case you didn’t know, Final Fantasy VII Remake on the PlayStation 4 won the Best Score and Music award at The Game Awards 2020. They also won the Best RPG (Role-Playing-Game) award! To learn more about that, check out what Square Enix (the creators of Final Fantasy) had to say about it! I agree that this game deserves the best music award, and that it deserves the best RPG award! Final Fantasy VII Remake is filled with very compelling storylines and their characters, scenes, and objectives have a great deal of depth to them. Out of every game I’ve played this year, I feel like Final Fantasy VII Remake drew me in the most and had me on the edge of my seat, wondering what would happen next!

The story of Final Fantasy VII revolves around Cloud Strife and his companions Barret, Tifa, and Aerith. The characters had very complex and real emotions and personalities, you can definitely tell they aren’t just cut and paste characters. I personally think Cloud Strife is the most emotionally complex of them all. He changes from someone who is totally indifferent about everything going on around him (because he’s so focused on surviving), to someone with a purpose and objective to protect those he cares about and save the planet. It’s crazy because sometimes I go back and play the game again from the beginning and I forget how much Cloud didn’t care in the beginning of the game, because he’s a totally different person by the end of the game!

Along with the characters being really interesting, the story had a lot of fun twists and turns and different plot points that really made the game enjoyable! And what’s crazy is this game gives you at least 40 to 50 hours of gameplay, but you don’t really get an ending for the game. Square Enix leaves us on a cliff-hanger and promises that they’ll make “Part Two” for Final Fantasy VII Remake to finish the story. I’m really hoping Square Enix keeps their promise and makes the second installment of the game, or I’ll be pretty sad. I figure they will though, since they got so much recognition and praise for the first part of Final Fantasy VII Remake!

Along with the story, music, design of game, and great characters! I really think the gameplay in Final Fantasy VII is spectacular! The fight scenes and exploration of the different regions of Midgar are top-notch! I feel like even if a game has a good story, well-written music, detailed design, and interesting characters, it can’t be a really good video game unless the player controlled features (like fighting and exploration) are good quality. The fight scenes blend really well into whatever is going on in the moment in Final Fantasy VII Remake, and the game also offers A TON of exploration options. But if you decide you just want to speed-run the game, you can!

You can tell the creators of Final Fantasy VII Remake put A TON of work into this game. Between the design, story, characters, and gameplay there was a ton of detail and care. And honestly every time I go back and play this game I’m amazed every time. It’s not even like I don’t remember what’s going to happen, I just think the game is flawless in how everything flows and enjoy watching the cutscenes and gameplay over and over again. I had pretty high expectations for Final Fantasy VII Remake, and it exceeded all of them by a long shot. Final Fantasy VII Remake on the PlayStation 4 definitely deserves to be my number one favorite game I’ve played this year!

And there you have it, my Top Five Favorite Video Games in 2020! Have you ever played any of these games before? Are there any you haven’t played and want to try out? Which one of these games is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below!

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