DDNet Awards 2020! The best games of 2020

7 mins read

Awards by DDNet Team

It’s that time of year again, where we roll out the red carpet and celebrate the best that 2020 has offered us. In a year that has otherwise been so terrible, the fact that we’ve had a steady stream of such excellent games to play has been nothing but a relief.

It really has been a great year for games, from the big blockbusters right down to the most humble of projects. We’ve had surprises that have come out of nowhere, and long-anticipated games that have managed to meet and exceed our expectations when we’ve finally got our hands on them.

This year, for the DDNet awards, we have 16 different categories to recognise, and as we always do. Today it’s the final category. The big one! The overall game of the year! We take the winners from all the other categories and decide which of those games had the greatest impact on us, across all categories. The games that are not just hugely entertaining, but thought-provoking and memorable. The games that we’ll still be raving about for years to come. Each of these four winners (there was a tie for bronze), is something so special that no one should miss out on it.

BRONZE: Quantum Suicide (Read our review here)

After years of struggles, 2020 finally saw Quantum Suicide land, and it was every bit worth the wait. Combining the death games of Danganronpa with a cool sci-fi theme and dating mechanics, Quantum Suicide is also complex and rich, both in lore and concept. And it’s also a lot of fun, with an excellent cast of characters that bounce off one another well, and a nuanced, branching narrative path that makes your decisions really matter in a way that is as rewarding and engaging as the biggest visual novels out there. The fact that you can save your favourite characters (and then do… great things… with them) is something that Danganronpa sure never allowed! While it’s destined to be a cult favourite, Quantum Suicide deserves a far bigger prominence in the VN – and video game – space than that.

BRONZE: Hades (Read our review here)

If Hades was just an excellent “roguelike” action RPG, it would still be essential. Supergiant Games is right up there with the best in the business in terms of producing tight, rewarding action and making every battle feel meaningful. That was the case with Bastion, Transistor and Pyre before. It’s the case with Hades as well. But Hades is also so much more than that. It’s visionary in its aesthetic, with one of the best realised (and colourful!) “Hell” settings that we’ve ever seen. It’s also got some ridiculously good writing and characterisation for a game that, on the surface, seems light on the narrative. Brought together Hades is, simply, compelling, and something that even people who don’t usually enjoy roguelikes will get a lot out of.
SILVER: Deadly Premonition 2 (Read our review here)
Subversion is always a creative risk. The minute you do something that challenges or undermines the status quo, you’re going to put people off your work. Deadly Premonition 2 is subversive on every level, right down to the gameplay fundamentals. That has meant that even in comparison to its polarising prequel, DP2 is incredibly polarising, but to us, that is exactly what good art should do, and SWERY’s subversive, surrealist, complex and nuanced masterpiece is, in every way, the kind of game we like to see. It never loses sight of its need to be entertaining and fun – even if it comes at that from a different angle to most other games – but it’s also transcendent to conventional expectations of video games, and letting it take you for a ride is a wildly creative good time. Deadly Premonition 2 is very, very good art.
GOLD: Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin (Read our review here)
From the moment that we first booted up Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin, we were mesmerised by it. From the genuine sense of humour and the vibrant, flawed, entertaining and interesting characters, through to the way the game plays with classical Japanese folklore and storytelling, and on to the tight, refined, interesting combat system, Sakuna paints a vivid picture that goes well beyond being an action/platformer. And then there’s the rice “minigame,” where Sakuna celebrates something of profound importance to the Japanese aesthetic and mindset by turning the act of planting and harvesting rice – something other games (even those with farming mechanics) would barely bother with – into a complex, rewarding, and philosophical process. That’s why Sakuna has so completely captured our imaginations this year – not only is it a bloody good game, but it does more to represent something true and authentic to the Japanese psyche in video games than anything we’ve played in the last decade. A complete masterpiece. 

And with that we are done for the awards of 2020! Let us know your own picks for the year – which has been a pretty good one for games, all told – and thanks for reading along with u!

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