The Best Videogames of 2020

  • Publish Date: January 4, 2021
  • Comments: ↓ 2 user comments

Persona 5 Royal is the best new(ish) game of 2020

Best Games of 2020
2020 Persona 5 Royal (PS4) 95
2019 Resident Evil 2 (XB1/PS4/PC) 93
2018 Red Dead Redemption 2
(XB1/PS4)
97
2017 The Legend of Zelda:
Breath of the Wild

(Switch)
97
2016 Uncharted 4: A Thief's End
(PS4)
93
Metacritic's Game of the Year
(Highest-scoring new title, min. 7 reviews)

It's safe to say that 2020 was a transition year for gaming—and for the world at large. Multiple projects saw their release dates shift into 2021 thanks to longer development times necessitated by the pandemic (and the switch to working at home), while the two major new game consoles launched with a dearth of new games to play on their fancy new hardware.

Despite those limitations, however, there were some great new games to play in 2020. In fact, a total of 16 different products scored 90 or higher in the past year, up considerably from 2019's total of just nine such high-scorers.

Leading all 2020 releases was the PS4-exclusive enhanced RPG remake Persona 5 Royal, Metacritic's highest-scoring game for any platform since 2018. Another PS4-exclusive followed at #2: The Last of Us Part II, Naughty Dog's sequel to their acclaimed 2013 post-apocalyptic adventure game (and a record-setting winner at The Game Awards 2020).

Placing third overall in 2020 was a new "Definitive Edition" of the three-year-old RPG Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age for PS4 (an XB1 version also scored highly), followed at #4 by the Switch version of Supergiant's roguelike RPG Hades. Rounding out our 2020 top five at #5 was Half-Life: Alyx, a VR take on Valve's beloved shooter franchise.

Games released in 2020 scoring 90 or higher, by platform

PC PC PS3 PLAYSTATION Switch SWITCH Xbox 360 XBOX
Half-Life: Alyx
93
Persona 5 Royal
95
Hades
93
Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Def. Ed.
91
Hades
93
The Last of Us Part II
93
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
93
F1 2020
91
Microsoft Flight Simulator
91
Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Def. Ed.
93
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
90
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
90
Crusader Kings III
91
Demon's Souls PS5
92
Yakuza 0
90
   
Spelunky 2
91
   

Only games with 7 or more reviews from professional critics are included in this and every other list that follows. All Metascores are from December 31, 2020. Games are ranked by Metascore prior to rounding.

Next, let's take a more complete look at 2020's best-reviewed games by platform ...

PS4

Though Sony's console changed its status to "previous-gen" at the end of 2020, the past year actually saw one more game scoring 90 or higher than in 2019—three, compared to two. And the top two of those three great games (Persona 5 Royal, The Last of Us Part II) were exclusive to the PS4, as was the console's fourth-ranked 2020 game, Dreams.

Best PlayStation 4 games of 2020

PS4 Game of the Year
PS4 Exclusive of the Year
Persona 5 Royal

movie still

Originally released as Persona 5 in 2017, the PlayStation-exclusive JRPG (part of the Shin Megami Tensei series) was reissued in this expanded, PS4-exclusive "Royal" version which introduced some additional content and added a pair of new characters to the story. No game received better reviews in 2020.

Highest-scoring PS4 games of 2020
Game Publisher Buy It Metascore
1Persona 5 Royal AtlusAmazon95
2The Last of Us Part II SonyAmazon93
3Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Definitive EditionSquare EnixAmazon93
4DreamsSonyAmazon89
5Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2ActivisionAmazon89
6Pistol WhipCloudhead Games88
7Kentucky Route Zero: TV EditionAnnapurna Interactive88
8Final Fantasy VII RemakeSquare EnixAmazon87
9DOOM EternalBethesda SoftworksAmazon87
10Spelunky 2Mossmouth87
11F1 2020 CodemastersAmazon86
12CupheadStudio MDHR86
13Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles MoralesPlayStation StudiosAmazon85
1413 Sentinels: Aegis RimAtlusAmazon85
15Nioh 2Koei Tecmo GamesAmazon85
16Bayonetta & VanquishSegaAmazon85
17Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About TimeActivisionAmazon85
18Yakuza: Like a DragonSegaAmazon83
19Ghost of TsushimaSonyAmazon83
20MLB The Show 20Sony83
21Sackboy: A Big AdventurePlayStation StudiosAmazon83
22CreaksAmanita Design83
23Katamari Damacy REROLLBandai Namco GamesAmazon83
24Freedom FingerWide Right Interactive82
25Street Fighter V: Champion EditionCapcomAmazon82
26Yakuza 5 RemasteredSega82
27Desperados IIITHQ NordicAmazon82
28HuntdownCoffee Stain Studios82
29Streets of Rage 4DotEmu/Limited Run 82
30Two Point HospitalSegaAmazon82
31FuserNCSOFTAmazon82
32Unto The End Big Sugar 82
33Pixel Ripped 1995 Arvore Immersive Exp.82
34Hunt: ShowdownCrytek/Koch Media/Deep SilverAmazon81
35BloodrootsPaper Cult81
36SnowRunnerFocus Home InteractiveAmazon81
37CrossCodeDECK13 Spotlight81
38Genshin ImpactmiHoYo81
39The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IVNIS AmericaAmazon81
40Creature in the WellMWM Interactive81
41Fall Guys: Ultimate KnockoutDevolver Digital81
42WRC 9 FIA World Rally ChampionshipBigben Interactive/Nacon81
43Assassin's Creed ValhallaUbisoftAmazon80
44Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[cl-r]Aksys GamesAmazon80
45Going UnderTeam1780
46Neon AbyssVeewo Games80
47Super Mega Baseball 3Metalhead Software80
48SuperliminalPillow Castle Games80
49Mega Man Zero / ZX Legacy CollectionCapcomAmazon80
50VisageSadSquare Studio80

PS5

Sony's newest console was on the market for less than seven weeks in 2020, but it did receive a few well-reviewed exclusives including a Demon's Souls remake and Astro's Playroom. So far, however, there are just 20 PS5 releases receiving positive reviews from critics, though that total should grow considerably during the upcoming year.

Best PlayStation 5 games of 2020

PS5 Game of the Year
PS5 Exclusive of the Year
Demon's Souls

movie still

A PS5-exclusive remake of the fantasy action/RPG first released for the PlayStation 3 in 2009, the 2020 version of Demon's Souls adds new gameplay features and modes in addition to a complete overhaul of the visual presentation from the studio behind the successful 2018 remake of Shadow of the Colossus. Critics praised the new polish and modern feel, while also noting that the now-quick loading times will make restarting after your inevitable death(s) slightly less painful.

Highest-scoring PS5 games of 2020
Game Publisher Buy It Metascore
1Demon's SoulsPlayStation StudiosAmazon92
2Devil May Cry 5: Special EditionCapcomAmazon88
3Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate Warner Bros. Interactive Amazon87
4Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles MoralesPlayStation StudiosAmazon85
5Assassin's Creed ValhallaUbisoftAmazon84
6Overcooked! All You Can EatTeam17Amazon84
7Astro's Playroom Sony 83
8WRC 9 FIA World Rally ChampionshipNacon83
9Planet Coaster: Console Edition Frontier Dev/Sold Out Amazon81
10DIRT 5Deep SilverAmazon80

Xbox One

In its final year, Microsoft's console had four games scoring 90 or higher—one more than on rival PS4 (and one more than XB1 had in the previous year). But there were few Xbox One console exclusives to get excited about.

Best Xbox One games of 2020

XB1 Game of the Year
Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Def. Ed.

movie still

After first coming to the Switch in 2019, this enhanced version of the 2017 JRPG game in the nearly 35-year-old Dragon Quest franchise made its way to Xbox (and PlayStation) in 2020 to rave reviews.

XB1 Exclusive of the Year
Call of the Sea

movie still

Yes, it's also available on Xbox Series X/S and PC, but Call of the Sea was the best game exclusive to Microsoft consoles in 2020. It's a first-person, puzzle-solving adventure centering on a missing persons investigation on a South Pacific island in the 1930s.

Highest-scoring XB1 games of 2020
Game Publisher Buy It Metascore
1Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Definitive EditionSquare EnixAmazon91
2F1 2020CodemastersAmazon91
3Ori and the Will of the WispsMicrosoftAmazon90
4Yakuza 0 Sega 90
5Yakuza: Like a DragonSegaAmazon89
6DOOM EternalBethesda SoftworksAmazon88
7Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 Activision/Vicarious Amazon88
8Kentucky Route Zero: TV EditionAnnapurna Interactive87
9HuntdownCoffee Stain Studios87
10Planet Coaster: Console Edition Frontier Dev/Sold Out 85
11Desperados IIITHQ NordicAmazon85
12Wasteland 3InXile EntertainmentAmazon84
13Two Point HospitalSegaAmazon84
14Resident Evil 3CapcomAmazon84
15Bayonetta & VanquishSegaAmazon83
16Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About TimeActivisionAmazon83
17DIRT 5Codemasters/Deep SilverAmazon83
18Super Mega Baseball 3Metalhead Software83
19WRC 9 FIA World Rally ChampionshipNacon83
20Streets of Rage 4DotEmu82
21SUPERHOT: MIND CONTROL DELETESUPERHOT82
22Assassin's Creed ValhallaUbisoftAmazon82
23Call of the SeaRaw Fury82
24EA SPORTS UFC 4Electronic ArtsAmazon82
 MotoGP 20 Milestone/Deep Silver 82
26Gears 5: HivebustersXbox Game Studios82
27Tom Clancy's The Division 2: Warlords of New YorkMassive Entertainment82
28Chicken Police - Paint it RED!HandyGames81
29FuserNCSOFTAmazon81
30SnowRunnerFocus Home InteractiveAmazon81
31Neon AbyssTeam1781
32PHOGS!Coatsink Software81
33Pumpkin JackHeadup Games80
34Mega Man Zero / ZX Legacy CollectionCapcomAmazon80
35SuperliminalPillow Castle Games80
36Hotshot RacingSumo Digital79
37Project WarlockCrunching Koalas79
38Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath Warner Bros. Interactive 79
39Call of Duty: WarzoneActivision79
40ForegoneBig Blue Bubble Inc.79
41Mafia: Definitive Edition2K GamesAmazon79
42RelictaRavenscourt78
43Tell Me WhyXbox Game Studios78
44Freedom FingerWide Right Interactive78
45VisageSadSquare Studio78
46SpellbreakProletariat, Inc.78
47Moving OutTeam17/Sold Out78
48RIDE 4Milestone S.r.lAmazon78
49PGA Tour 2K212K GamesAmazon78
50Star Wars: SquadronsElectronic ArtsAmazon78

Xbox Series X/S

Microsoft's just-launched console may have impressed reviewers with its hardware, but interesting software is still mostly on the horizon. The console's most-anticipated exclusive was pushed back into late 2021, and there were only 20 positively reviewed Series X games released in 2020. (That exactly matches the total of good PS5 games so far, for those of you keeping score of such things.)

Best Xbox Series X/S games of 2020

Xbox Series X/S Game of the Year
Tetris Effect: Connected

movie still

The best-reviewed game released for Microsoft's new console so far is this enhanced version of the well-reviewed 2018 take on the classic tile-matching game. Connected adds new multiplayer gameplay to Tetris Effect, resulting in perhaps the best (and certainly most complete) version of Tetris to date.

Highest-scoring Xbox Series X/S games of 2020
Game Publisher Buy It Metascore
1Tetris Effect: ConnectedEnhance Games88
2Devil May Cry 5: Special EditionCapcomAmazon84
3Planet Coaster: Console Edition Frontier Dev/Sold Out Amazon84
4Assassin's Creed ValhallaUbisoftAmazon84
5Yakuza: Like a DragonSegaAmazon83
6Gears TacticsXbox Game StudiosAmazon82
7DIRT 5Codemasters/Deep SilverAmazon81
8Immortals: Fenyx RisingUbisoftAmazon80
9NBA 2K212K GamesAmazon80
10Observer: System ReduxAspyr78

Nintendo Switch

If you include products receiving fewer than 7 reviews (which aren't listed in the table below), there were 194 Switch games released in 2020 that were positively reviewed by critics—far and away the most of any console (for the second straight year). And three of those games scored 90 or higher, up from two such Switch games in 2019.

Best Switch games of 2020

Nintendo Switch Game of the Year
Hades

movie still

Also released (to similarly great reviews) on PC, Supergiant's follow-up to Pyre uses the world of Greek mythology as the setting for a roguelike action-RPG. The well-executed result won two Game Awards (including 2020's best indie) and picked up numerous best-of-the-year honors from game review publications.

Nintendo Switch Exclusive of the Year
Animal Crossing: New Horizons

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Possibly the defining game of the quarantine era, this escapist March release was Nintendo's first Animal Crossing installment for the Switch. Its friendly, feel-good vibes made the village simulation game an instant hit and the all-time best-selling title in the series.

Highest-scoring Switch games of 2020
Game Publisher Buy It Metascore
1Hades Supergiant Games93
2Ori and the Will of the WispsMicrosoft Game Studios93
3Animal Crossing: New HorizonsNintendoAmazon90
4Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive EditionNintendo89
5A Short HikeWhippoorwill Limited88
6Super Mega Baseball 3Metalhead Software87
7Kentucky Route Zero: TV EditionAnnapurna Interactive87
8Streets of Rage 4DotEmu87
9HuntdownCoffee Stain Studios86
10Heroes of Hammerwatch - Ultimate EditionBlitWorks85
11Bug Fables: The Everlasting SaplingDANGEN Entertainment85
12Two Point HospitalSegaAmazon85
13Pikmin 3 DeluxeNintendoAmazon85
 GrindstoneCapy Games85
15Lonely Mountains: DownhillImage & Form84
16Thronebreaker: The Witcher TalesCD Projekt Red Studio84
17WHAT THE GOLF?Triband84
18BioShock: The Collection2K Games84
19Sega Ages: Fantasy ZoneSega84
20To the Moon Freebird/X.D. Network 84
21The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III NIS America84
22Knights and BikesDouble Fine Productions83
23Mega Man Zero / ZX Legacy CollectionCapcomAmazon83
24No More Heroes 2: Desperate StruggleXSEED Games83
25Sega Ages: Sonic the Hedgehog 2Sega83
26Horace505 Games83
27Code:Realize - Guardian of Rebirth Aksys GamesAmazon83
28SpiritfarerThunder Lotus Games82
29CrossCode Radical Fish/DECK13 Spotlight 82
30RuinerDevolver Digital82
31Super Mario 3D All-StarsNintendoAmazon82
32Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2Inti Creates82
33No More HeroesXSEED Games82
34Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[cl-r] Aksys GamesAmazon82
 Ys Origin DotEmu/Limited Run 82
36Devil May Cry 3: Special EditionCapcom82
 Borderlands Legendary Collection2K Games82
38Among UsInnersloth82
39Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide ClassicsNintendoAmazon82
40Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE EncoreNintendoAmazon81
41Paradise KillerFellow Traveller81
42Aviary Attorney: Definitive EditionVertical Reach81
43Going UnderTeam1781
 Jet LancerArmor Games81
45WunderlingRetroid81
 Operencia: The Stolen SunZen Studios81
47Rune Factory 4 SpecialXSEED GamesAmazon81
48The Last CampfireHello Games81
49Nowhere ProphetNo More Robots81
50AVICII Invector Encore EditionWired ProductionsAmazon81

PC games

Many people found themselves spending extra time at their home computers this year, and there were plenty of ways to keep entertained while doing so. We count 195 positively reviewed PC games released in 2020, up from 185 in 2019 and 171 during 2018.

Best PC games of 2020

PC Game of the Year
PC Exclusive of the Year

Half-Life: Alyx

movie still

The first new release in 13 years in Valve's FPS series is a VR-only release that takes place between the events of Half-Life and Half-Life 2 rather than continuing from the cliffhanger ending of 2007's Episode Two.

Highest-scoring PC games of 2020
Game Publisher Buy It Metascore
1Half-Life: AlyxValve Software93
2HadesSupergiant Games93
3Microsoft Flight SimulatorXbox Game StudiosAmazon91
4Crusader Kings IIIParadox Interactive91
5Spelunky 2Mossmouth91
6There is no game : Wrong dimensionDraw Me A Pixel89
7Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2Activision88
8Ori and the Will of the WispsMicrosoft Game Studios88
9Halo: The Master Chief Collection - Halo 3Xbox Game Studios88
10F1 2020Codemasters88
11DOOM EternalBethesda SoftworksAmazon88
12Monster Hunter: World - IceborneCapcom87
13Legends of RuneterraRiot Games87
14Persona 4 GoldenAtlus/Sega87
15Death Stranding505 Games86
16Observer: System ReduxBloober Team86
17Panzer Corps 2Slitherine86
18Desperados III THQ NordicAmazon86
19Monster Train Good Shepherd 86
20Cyberpunk 2077 CD Projekt Amazon86
21Risk of Rain 2Hopoo Games85
22Deep Rock GalacticGhost Ship Games85
23Wasteland 3InXile Entertainment85
24HuntdownCoffee Stain Studios85
25Football Manager 2021Sega85
26Manifold Garden William Chyr Studio 85
27If Found...Annapurna Interactive84
28Horizon Zero Dawn: Complete Edition Sony84
29Streets of Rage 4DotEmu84
30Sam & Max Save the World Remastered Skunkape Games84
31Lair of the Clockwork GodSize Five Games84
32Genshin ImpactmiHoYo84
33SpiritfarerThunder Lotus Games84
34Assassin's Creed ValhallaUbisoft83
35World of Warcraft: ShadowlandsActivision83
36One Step From EdenThomas Moon Kang83
37Disc Room Devolver Digital82
38Command & Conquer Remastered CollectionElectronic ArtsAmazon82
39Yakuza: Like a DragonSega82
40Chicken Police - Paint it RED!The Wild Gentlemen82
41CreaksAmanita Design82
42The Sims 4: Eco LifestyleElectronic Arts82
43Crown TrickNExT Studios82
44Paradise KillerFellow Traveller82
45Sakuna: Of Rice and RuinXSEED Games81
  Remnant: From the Ashes - Swamps of Corsus Perfect World Ent. 81
47SnowRunnerFocus Home Interactive81
48The PedestrianSkookum Arts LLC81
49Filament Kasedo Games81
50The Walking Dead: Saints & SinnersSkydance Interactive81

What do you think?

What were your favorite games of 2020? Let us know in the discussion section below. And be sure to check out our list of 2020's worst-reviewed games.

Comments (2)

  • radicalwizard  

    to the dude who said "critics dont matter"

    then why are you here?? lol!

  • UsernameX  

    critics dont matter

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