As ever, keep in mind that I have quit my job and put a mortgage on my house in order to buy and play every single game released in 2020 just to spare you, my loyal readers, the trouble of telling me that I missed something. No thanks are necessary, I do this for you!
17. Resident Evil 3 (Capcom, PC/PS4/XBone)
16. Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Nintendo EPD, Switch)
15. Double Dragon and Kunio-Kun Retro Brawler Bundle (Arc System Works, PS4/PC/Switch)
varying quality and really crappy remakes, Arc System Works finally stepped up to the plate and finally just made a Double Dragon/Kunio collection to appease beat-em-up fans. Five classic NES games, two not-so-classic games, and seven never-before-localized Kunio titles, running the gamut from a historical period drama with beat-em-up mechanics to wacky, hyper-violent sports games. They even have some significant performance improvements over the original versions, greatly cutting down on lag and sprite flicker when there are a lot of characters and objects onscreen at a time (which is quite often). The fact that they all even support online play is a very delicious cherry on top. If you love classic beat-em-ups with a high degree of polish or just want to experience some of the wildest sports games ever created, this is definitely one you need to check out.
14. Crystal Caves HD (Emberheart Games, PC)
13. Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity (Omega Force, Switch)
The first Hyrule Warriors was a big, silly, over the top tribute to the series, incorporating little nods to almost every game going all the way back to the original. Age of Calamity, on the other hand, is very much based on Breath of the Wild in every respect, even working many of its game mechanics into the Warriors fold. Things like summoning bombs and ice blocks, getting to do a "Flurry Rush" after narrowly evading an enemy's attack, and of course collecting mountains of weapons and items for crafting purposes (though thankfully, they don't break in this game) all return from BotW proper and are integrated expertly here. There are quite a few other clever nods - Link's combos incorporate shield-surfing, and all characters can utilize a glider to get around the battlefield quickly and ambush groups of foes from above. It's not without its weaknesses - the framerate feels a bit low overall and gets even choppier during huge battles - but its nonetheless another fun Warriors title with a lot for Zelda fans to enjoy.
12. Trials of Mana (Xeen, PS4/PC/Switch)
11. XCOM: Chimera Squad (Firaxis Games, PC)
10. One Step From Eden (Thomas Moon Kang, PC/Switch)
9. Ghost of Tsushima (Sucker Punch Productions, PS4)
8. Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales (Insomniac Games, PS4/PS5)
7. Shantae and the Seven Sirens (WayForward, Apple Arcade/PC/PS4/XBone/Switch)
The ever-popular Shantae series makes a return, and this might just be its best entry yet. Returning to the more Zelda-esque format after a brief foray into something more akin to Mega Man, Seven Sirens also adds in some very high-quality animated cutscenes by Trigger and some new gameplay twists. In addition to new, instantaneous transformation abilities to reach new areas, defeating enemies sometimes causes them to drop cards, which can be equipped to bolster Shantae's moveset - making some sub-weapons do more damage, getting more healing effect from food, crawling or climbing faster, et cetera. A well-made, very fun and light-hearted adventure, so it fights right in with Shantae.
6. Horizon's Gate (Rad Codex, 2020)
5. Final Fantasy VII Remake (Square Enix, PS4)
4. Yakuza: Like a Dragon (Ryu ga Gotoku Studio, PS4/XBox One/Xbox Series X/PC)
3. Ikenfell (Happy Ray Games, PC, MacOS, PS4, Switch, XBox One)
2. Hades (Supergiant Games, PC/MacOS/Switch)
1. Half-Life: Alyx (Valve, PC/Linux)
Having lived through the brief fascination with virtual reality in the '90s (as well as a few very underwhelming forays into it like the VFX1 and the Virtual Boy), I scoffed at VR's return in the 2010's as being desperate and gimmicky. All that said, Alyx was the game that made me a believer. It incorporates Half-Life's brilliant blend of puzzle solving, creativity and good old gunplay in fine fashion and its atmosphere is top-notch, dropping you right into the oppressive and dangerous world of City 17 armed with only a few firearms, your Gravity Gloves (not quite as powerful as the good ol' Gravity Gun, but still a lot of fun to tinker with) and your wits. The controls are surprisingly natural, the dialog is wildly funny, and it had me absolutely hooked throughout its entire runtime. It still isn't the proper third entry we've been clamoring for, but it's a wonderful new addition to the Half-Life universe and well worth getting immersed in if you have the means.