Welcome to the only list of any gaming year that really matters: the very best, of the best, of the best, presented in a top 40 format.
How we came to this top 40 is incredibly simple. Everyone on the team put together their own top ten games of the year. Each position carried a points score - more for the game at number one, rather less for the game at number ten. The points were all added together, and a list emerged. Like I said: incredibly simple. We did shuffle a few spots where there were ties, but otherwise, what you see is pretty much how the points fell. So before you ask: where's Game X? It's because not one person on the GAMINGbible team felt it was worthy of a spot in their own top ten. Again, simple.
Our staff list isn't quite the same as the GAMINGbible Readers' Game of the Year result - which you can find here. But there's significant crossover, as you'd expect. Because great games tend to have pretty widespread appeal.
First, numbers 40 to 11. Click the links to find coverage of the games in question.
29 TELL ME WHY
28 STREETS OF RAGE 4
27 MAFIA: DEFINITIVE EDITION
26 FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE
25 DRAGON BALL Z: KAKAROT
24 HALF-LIFE: ALYX
23 13 SENTINELS: AEGIS RIM
21 HARDSPACE: SHIPBREAKER
20 DEMON'S SOULS
19 THE PATHLESS
18 LITTLE HOPE
16 RESIDENT EVIL 3
14 YAKUZA: LIKE A DRAGON
13 CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS COLD WAR
12 TONY HAWK'S PRO SKATER 1+2
11 FALL GUYS: ULTIMATE KNOCKOUT
And now, to business... And you can choose to watch the top 10 in action, or read below the video.
10: MARVEL'S SPIDER-MAN: MILES MORALES
Insomniac Games; Our Coverage
Spider-Man: Miles Morales is like slipping into a comfortable old pair of slippers, only to realise that they're actually a sick pair of light-up heelys with fur lining. A strained analogy, yes, but what I'm getting at is that SM:MM takes all the elements we loved about 2018's Marvel's Spider-Man (traversal, combat, story) and gives them a vibrant lick of paint.
Miles is an affable character who you root for throughout, and his abilities give the game's already superlative combat an extra dynamic. Let's also not forget that the city of New York is achingly gorgeous on the PlayStation 5. If a game makes you want to boot it up just to chill out and take in the sights and sounds of its world? Yeah, that's pretty awesome. MF
9: THE LAST OF US PART II
Naughty Dog; Our Review
The Last of Us Part II was the most divisive game of this year, and quite possibly of the entire PS4/Xbox One generation. So much has been said about its successes and its shortcomings at this point, but here's my take: The Last Of Us Part II isn't the game anybody expected, or even wanted, but it's exactly the game it needed to be.
Naughty Dog created a game about the corrosive nature of hatred, bringing together two phenomenal leads in Ellie and Abby (actors Ashley Johnson and Laura Bailey deserve all the awards) to show us two very different perspectives on a tragedy, punctuated by tense horror, gripping action, and shocking moments of violence.
It suffers from some pacing issues, to be sure, but this gut-wrenching quest for vengeance is a game people will be talking about for years to come, whether you like it or not. EM
8: PERSONA 5 ROYAL
P-Studio/Atlus; Our Review
The quintessential JRPG, Persona 5 Royal took the near-masterpiece of Persona 5 and elevated it to a whole new level, thanks to a huge helping of extra content and some very welcome gameplay tweaks. Set in Tokyo, the story follows Joker, a high-school student who leads a group of teenage heroes in their quest to change the hearts of cruel tyrants from all walks of life.
A game as long as it is immersive, as stylish as it is deep, Persona 5 Royal deserves a spot in any PlayStation 4's library. Plus it has a talking cat, so game of the year, right? JD
7: PARADISE KILLER
Kaizen Game Works; Our Review
No other game of 2020 has the confidence, the swagger and the style of Paradise Killer. It neither looks nor plays quite like anything before it - and as the debut from its studio, it really is a minor miracle of both gameplay design and narrative structure.
Paradise Killer is a murder-mystery set in a vibrant, fantastical, wholly otherworldly open-world environment, where gods and (should-be subservient) mortals clash with each other, and a brutal massacre is absolutely not what it seems.
It's a game that rarely holds your hand, so if you need to be told what to do at each step of a game, move along. However, if you relish experiences that allow you incredible freedom, the flexibility to tell your own story at your pace, and have a banging soundtrack: GOTY, probably. MD
6: ORI AND THE WILL OF THE WISPS
Moon Studios; Our Review
Ori And The Will Of The Wisps hit Xbox One all the way back in March, and I knew within my first few hours that the charming metroidvania would be one of my favourite releases of the year.
Moon Studios has created yet another must-play adventure, one that breathlessly throws out delightful new characters and deadly areas as it seamlessly blends platforming action with exploration and brutal combat. I can promise you two things: you haven't played anything else like it this year, and it will have you an emotional wreck by the end. EM
5: CALL OF DUTY: WARZONE
Infinity Ward/Raven Software; Our Coverage
The second instalment of a Call of Duty battle royale is one that will go down in history. Building on 2018's Blackout, Warzone added unique features in a very saturated market, such as The Gulag - allowing players to 1v1 for a second chance at victory. Modern Warfare's fast-paced, addictive gunplay translates perfectly to the BR genre, creating thrilling team-fights from the beginning to the end of each match.
While we've all been staying at home in 2020, Warzone has replaced your local hangout spot as a great place to catch up with friends, which I'm sure many are grateful for. Even though a new Call of Duty game has now been released, in the shape of Black Ops Cold War, players are still flocking to Verdansk - showing how impactful the game has really been, which could potentially change the way CoD titles are released in the future. WM
4: ASTRO'S PLAYROOM
SIE Japan Studio; Our Review
Who would have expected that one of 2020's best games would come in the form of a pre-installed controller demo? PS5 exclusive Astro's Playroom is a delight from start to end, never resting on its laurels of being a tech demo for the new DualSense. The adorable platformer is full of dynamic and genuinely interesting gameplay mechanics, colourful worlds and 2020's best soundtrack (don't @ me).
Not only does this game show off the DualSense without ever really feeling gimmicky, your adventure with Astro takes you on a ride of nostalgia, looking back at 26 years of PlayStation - from long-forgotten accessories like the PS1 Multitap all the way to the monolithic PS5 itself. If you were lucky enough to get hold of a PlayStation 5 this year, please don't sleep on this pre-installed gem. Now excuse me as I try and get the SSD song out of my head. TRS
3: ASSASSIN'S CREED VALHALLA
Ubisoft; Our Coverage
Assassin's Creed Valhalla was one of this year's biggest surprises. As someone who's never really had the patience to stick out Ubisoft's overwhelming open worlds for more than a dozen hours or so, I was immediately drawn into the game's fascinating recreation of England in 873 AD, which looks stunning on current and next-gen hardware.
The Viking settlement gave me a meaningful hub to return to after adventures, while the prospect of forging alliances in each region to slowly conquer England ensured I'd always put in just one more hour to see what else the game had to show me.
Best of all though, are the game's side missions, which feel like a truly organic part of the world and range from unexpected boss battles to feeding a woman eggs until she farts. Best Assassin's Creed ever? It just might be. EM
2: ANIMAL CROSSING: NEW HORIZONS
Nintendo EPD; Our Review
Animal Crossing: New Horizons: the game where you'll see delightful cottagecore aesthetics recreated through meticulously placed toadstools alongside reams and reams of economic analysis of whether Tom Nook is a villain after all. Hand in hand with the uncertainty of the lockdowns, it turned out that transforming our own kitschy island with cute customisation options was a way to burn off this new-found anxiousness.
Plus, the art direction! Only here humans would have blobby flesh spheres on the ends of their wrists but every scale on a monarch butterfly's wing would be lovingly rendered. And, Nintendo has released subsequent updates with seasonal events where the community has come together over the exciting extras. When birthday plans were cancelled, and it wasn't safe to go out on Halloween, and people weren't able to head home for Thanksgiving and Christmas, Isabelle and the gang were there to add a little cheer into our days. ID
Supergiant Games; Our Review
Ash, smoke, and dry heat surround Zagerus as he once again faces Megaera the Fury. He's tired - made too many mistakes in this fight and knows what's coming next. Meg's razor-sharp whip finds its target and Zagerus falls - no, wait, floats, no - and then he's dragging himself out of a pool of thick, dark blood. The son of the god of the dead looks up to see his father Hades smirk and continue with paperwork. Zagreus has once again failed to escape Hell. So... let's try again, shall we?
If you've played Hades, you know why it's GAMINGbible's game of 2020. We already gave it an almost-unprecedented ten-out-of-ten in our review; but that just scratches the surface of why this roguelike is so phenomenal. Excellent character design and dialogue, engaging combat, a mysterious and captivating story that evolves as you complete runs, and a rad score that we can't stop listening to brings Hades close to godliness. Oh, and you can pet a three-headed dog every time you get slaughtered, which always makes us feel better.
Supergiant Games did an excellent job reworking the game again and again throughout an extensive early access period, where they listened to players to discover what was brilliant and what still needed refining. The result is a fantastically balanced game that you can happily lose dozens of hours to. If you don't think you're the type to enjoy a roguelike or even an indie game, we ask that you give Hades a try - it might just be the game to change your mind. IM
Top 10 words by: Ewan Moore (EM), Imogen Donovan (ID), Imogen Mellor (IM), James Daly (JD), Mark Foster (MF), Mike Diver (MD), Tom Ryan-Smith (TRS), Will McCue (WM)