The 2020 GOA Game Of The Year Story

IT has been quite a year for gaming, with some stellar titles released in what has been a pretty challenging year (all things considered).

One of the things that’s apparent is we as a team can’t pick a single Game Of The Year because we all played different things – so rather than picking a single winner, we asked the GOA team to pick their own GOTY winners.

Read on and find out who chose what as their pick of the crop for 2020’s games!

PETE “FREQUENCY” CURULLI

GOTY: Doom Eternal

I don’t know that we’ll see this one topping many game of the year charts, but I couldn’t put it down and it feels like it dropped at the perfect time.

Maybe I’m a little COVID-biased, but March 2020 was Doom Eternal’s release and that happened to be right smack bang in the middle of hell erupting all over the Earth.

It almost seemed like Bethesda knew we were all going into lock down and it was their genuine art imitating life moment.

There’s something soothing about smoothly flying through the air in perpetual motion as you rip and tear your way through legions of demons, cycling through the ridiculously high-powered weaponry, managing economy to within an inch of your ammo stock only to get that refill at just the perfect moment.

As someone who has chainsawed my way through every Doom game since the appearance of the franchise I really enjoyed exploring the easter-eggs strewn through Doomguy’s ship, but to have the settings go deep into the expansive home-world of Khan Maykr with ample lore to pick up and read about the history of this franchise’s universe and how it came to be was just the cherry on top.

This game gave me everything I needed and wanted and did it without changing too much of what makes Doom games great. Bravo, Bethesda.

DAN “THE INTERNUT” VAN DER MEER

GOTY: PGA Tour 2K21

I know it’s such a niche sport but it’s the first time in a long time I reckon a golf game has made it feel like you’re playing the real thing. Still lots to improve on but a huge leap forward for golf games.

EMILY “SKITTLES” DURAND

GOTY: Help Will Come Tomorrow and Ori and the Will Of The Wisps

Coming to me from a recommended game list from somewhere deep on the internet, Help Will Come Tomorrow is a story driven survival game where conversation driven choices decide the failure or success of your campaign.

I love a good puzzle and to say this one is tricky is an understatement, I have clocked almost 30 hours and have only managed one successful survival. It is an awesome single player giving a balance of fight for your life but also don’t starve for anyone looking for something that can be put down and picked up at any stage.

Although the game play is completely safe for kids to be around visually, the story commences with a train being blown up and you are fighting for survival against the renegades that did it while they hunt and remove any survivors, I wouldn’t recommend it for younger kids of reading age due to the extreme nature of the story. As far as game of the year, one that holds my attention for almost 25 hours + in a busy schedule is a winner for me.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps is such an amazing sequel of the type that is so rarely executed that well. It was exactly what I was looking for after falling in love with the first game and the considerations made from first to second in terms of staying true to art style and correcting some control and difficulty issues made it just that much better. Definitely one I will be aiming to 100% again.

CHRIS “INFERNO” INGLIS

GOTY: Ori and the Will of the Wisps

It’s been a long time since a game has appealed to all of my gaming senses in one package. With it’s gorgeous environments and backdrops, the fluid movement and combat, and music that perfectly ties this all together and plays with your emotions.

The music of this and Ori and the Blind Forest is just so damn beautiful. Mix it with the soft art aesthetics of the game, with a depth perception that had me staring at the backdrops in wonder.

Every new environment setting we encountered had me stopping in awe. And no matter how bloody frustrating some of the challenges were, I just couldn’t get mad at the game. There may have been bigger and grander games released this year, but Ori and the Will of the Wisps is the one that ticked a lot of boxes for me and was the most memorable.

ROYCE “ZULU” WILSON

GOTY: Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Cyberpunk 2077

I honestly can’t choose between these two games because they’re both absolutely amazing.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is just an incredible recreation of Dark Ages Britain, with a fantastic story, amazing graphics, and outstanding pacing – it’s a huge game but never feels like a chore and it’s just an engrossing, enjoyable game that’s kept me interested right from the first time I installed it. What’s even more impressive is I initially wasn’t expecting to love it – the Viking theme didn’t leap out at me when the game was announced, but having spent a ridiculous number of hours with the game, I am very happy to say it works really well, is engaging, and the developers have done a magnificent job making the most of the Viking setting.

Cyberpunk 2077 might be a controversial choice, but as a PC gamer I’ve had absolutely no issues with the game (beyond those you’d find in any other massive open-world game at launch) – it’s an impressive game with a neon-lit believable setting, a huge amount of stuff to do, some great writing and a lot to discover. Indeed, it’s  one of the very few games this year I’ve been compelled to play through again after finishing it – and that does not happen often at all.

NIC “STIX2412” HOLLAND

GOTY: Ghost of Tsushima

It was so refreshing to have a game release that definitely lived up to if not succeeded the pre release hype. A visual treat of an open world game, Sucker Punch has delivered on arguably the best samurai game of the generation.

A strong contender for most game of the year awards, Ghost of Tsushima should be considered a must have in any PlayStation enthusiasts collection – plus, let’s be honest, any game that you can interact with by petting a fox is a winner in my eyes!

NATALIE “NATTY” TURNER

GOTY: Animal Crossing: New Horizons

In the special hell that was 2020, COVID-19 separated friends and family from each other. In a world where we worried about connecting physically, many used gaming to stay and touch with loved ones. While I struggled over my decision to pick my GOTY, I remembered the game that kept me going when I was most isolated.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons (ACNH) isn’t a graphical or storytelling masterpiece, but it’s a game that brings people together. ACNH is a cute life simulation game where you live on an island with anthropomorphised animals. Catching fish, landscaping the island, chatting with the animal residents, running errands, are some of the activities that fill your day, all based in real-time.

ACNH reminded me that gaming didn’t need to be rushed. In 2020, when the gyms and restaurants were closed, I had time – time to help my friends cultivate their flower fields, decorate their islands, and master the turnip market. Large Messenger chat groups formed as new friends shared clothing designs, and stat charts to track turnip prices. As a veteran of the Animal Crossing series, guiding close friends was a unique pleasure. Sharing the joy and celebrations with my friends when they grew her first golden rose, or completed a furniture set, is something I will never forget.

NICK “NICCO” HOLLIDAY

GOTY: Cyberpunk 2077

I can barely remember what I played 6 months ago let alone the beginning of the year – but this isn’t just me grabbing onto the most recent game I’m playing for an easy GOTY decision. As controversial as it is, Cyberpunk 2077 has become my GOTY. I’ve been lucky enough to not be victim of it’s clusterfuck of glitches and bugs, although the PlayStation 5 version has crashed about a dozen times now.

Beyond that, the world of Cyberpunk 2077 fascinates me, not only because of its sci-fi setting but also the stories of Night City’s citizens – I’ve almost become more engrossed in the side mission story arcs more than the main campaign.

ALEXANDRA “ROGUESULTANA” NITSCHKE

GOTY: The Last of Us Part II

Not only was it my most anticipated game for this year, it did not disappoint in the slightest. The Last Of Us Part II was the game I needed through the hardship of this year and got me through hardships just as much as the first one did.

Naughty Dog delivered with the compelling and emotional story telling as always and has set the bar high for storytelling in the future of gaming.

DARREN “STR8JAKTJIM” MACNEALL

GOTY: Star Wars: Squadrons
This game took two hobbies of mine, flying and Star Wars, and put them together. I loved the X-Wing series games as a kid and Star Wars: Squadrons is a wonderful update of them.

Designed as both a standard and VR game (I played in VR), nothing beats zooming through battlefields in your starship vaping the enemy.

A small game by EA’s standards, but incredibly fun and the VR really brought it to life. Being able to track an enemy just by turning your head instead of having to rely on the limitations of a monitor and your instruments was amazing.

ALEX “MENTHONSO” SAVOY

GOTY: Ori And The Will Of The Wisps

After Ori and the Blind Forest came highly recommended from within the GOA community, I decided to pick it up. 10 hours later and I had 100%’d it. It’s safe to say I instantly bought Ori and the Will of the Wisps and sunk my teeth into it; I have put just under 18 hours into the game and yet again 100 percented it.

The story picks up perfectly from where the last game left off. Aesthetically beautiful along with a brilliant score, I could honestly just sit there for hours listening to the music. From a person that loves RPG games and also platformers, the mix of the two is done magnificently.

Not many games have made me weep (Looking at you, Rime !) but Ori and the Will of the Wisps has been added to this list… 10/10, would recommend again.