First Annual Written Game Awards

Let’s have some fun and appreciate the best games of 2020

Opinions are something that we all have, but despite some topics being easy to disagree on, there’s one that holds the undeniable truth… 2020 was a bad year. It sucked. Instead of starting the year with a serious article, why not a different and goofy one talking about the best games of last year, the sparks of light during a dark time.

We all know that what the gaming industry needs the most is more award shows. More prizes and ways to recognize the achievements of the past year, right? So let’s get started. Welcome to the first annual Written Game Awards that no one asked for, maybe a friend or two! Not to begin by saying how good the award is, but it’s actually produced after the year ended so all games are eligible like it should be. Unfortunately, no world premieres here though.

Let’s not keep you waiting, literally. The first award of the article is:

Game of the Year

…and the winner is…

Hades!

It took me a while to play this game, I knew people loved it but I never had the time. Playing it was my gaming highlight of the year, each run was a delight and the progression felt so well paced. When it comes to the game’s genre, I previously held The Binding of Issac with high regards, but now Hades set a new precedent for Roguelikes. This happens because of the story being told and how the characters interact and let the player into their lives.

The voice acting is superb, these characters feel real and you are compelled to deepen your relationship with them. There’s so much to learn and do, Hades finds ways to keep you interested even if you’re having a hard time moving forward, there’re multiple ways to feel rewarded. The art of the game is amazing and the gameplay itself feels perfect. After 100 hours I still find myself wanting to hop back and play a little more.

Before you travel to the depths of hell, let’s check next award:

Best Sci-fi story and almost GOTY

…and the winner is…

13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim!

This was the last 2020 game I played and it caught me off guard. This was my first VanillaWare game so I had no idea what to expect, and let me tell you, it’s really good. I’m still not 100% sure if this goes above or below Hades, because I love it so much. The story in 13 Sentinels is well crafted and told in a flawless way that keeps the player wanting to know more. The pace in which the game reveals information is unique and great, it’s like you, the player, is a detective and even small details matter.

Besides being the best Sci-fi story that I have ever played, 13 Sentinels also have a great combat system. The length of each combat encounter feels good and there are definitely some memorable moments. Customization is a part of getting ready for the battles and there’s a lot to learn and play with. The game gives you freedom to approach any character story or combat whenever you want, only locking progress when some events are needed to progress. This is a 40 hours game and I had fun the whole way through, don’t skip 13 Sentinels!

Suit up, it’s time for the next award:

Best Strategy game no snub this time

…and the winner is…

Crusader Kings 3!

For real, this game deserves every strategy award out there. It features so many systems and possibilities when taking care of your small piece of land or empire. I wasn’t familiar with the series but it took me one youtube video to think “I need to buy and play this immediately”, and I’m glad I did. Crusader Kings 3 is complex and allows for different levels of understanding of each mechanic.

Okay, I must confess that I had to watch more than a couple youtube videos after playing, to fully understand everything that was going on. I personally don’t see that as bad thing, I actually like finding out new strategies to try later on. Being able to acquire land by the previous owner dying of mysterious ways is fun (I had nothing to do with it, I swear). This is a deep strategy game that gives the player multiple options to feel rewarded, after 60 hours I think I still have much to learn and can’t wait to play more.

Before someone plots something against me, let’s move to next award:

Best achievement in gaming

…and the winner is…

The Last of Us Part II!

The award name says it all. This is a game with outstanding story, characters, graphics, performance, the list goes on. Naughty Dog, the developers, also managed to bring so many accessibility tools to the game, something that must become a trend in the industry. The Last of Us Part II carries a lot of emotional weight and it’s a game that sticks with you long after completion.

I had a great time playing the game but still have a couple problems with it. The length was something that bothered me, I felt like the game refused to end and kept going. The other thing was a few character decisions by the end that felt forced or just didn’t click with me. Despite these two personal issues I believe this game is worth playing and experiencing, it’s not everyday that you see a LGBT lead character in a game and also a Trans character. Thank you Naughty Dog for putting the effort into it.

Let’s remain calm and move to the next award:

Best I was not expecting to like this as much as I do

…and the winner is…

Ghost of Tsushima!

I was a little skeptical about this game at first but was really surprised by it. Last year I even ended up writing a whole article about the reasons I loved Ghost of Tsushima. When you first step into this world, the tone and character motivations are set and they feel believable, and the way it all evolves lead to great moments later on.

The world is beautiful and full of places to explore. The no-waypoint system is a great implementation and makes discovery more rewarding, seeing a bird or fox and proceeding to follow it is awesome. Dueling someone is also a highlight of the game, the katana combat is expansive and amazing when you master it. I highly recommend giving this game a try, there’s so much here to enjoy and love.

Put your katana away, it’s time for the next award:

Best game to chill and get lost in

…and the winner is…

Animal Crossing: New Horizons!

What can I say about this game… It’s perfect! (Despite the online functions, Nintendo and their baby steps) This new entry in the Animal Crossing series was a joy to play for months, the new crafting system lets you build furniture and decorate the island. Being able to place anything outside of your house is a game changer and allowed for so many island customizations.

The animals themselves are also a wonderful part of the game, I’ll never forget my two starting buddies, Kat and Dom. I also became very fond of Bubbles, she’s the best! Walking around the island, talking to the residents, and doing daily goals was a good way to relax and forget about everything that was happening outside. I’ll never forget my experience with this game, only good memories.

Hop on the Dodo Airlines and let’s fly to the next award:

Best Free to Play game that I don’t play anymore

…and the winner is…

Genshin Impact!

This one was different from the rest. Initially I didn’t want try it out, simply seeing it as a “Breath of the Wild Clone”, but as I learned more about the game I decided to give it a try. It’s a fun game! Genshin Impact has a good gameplay loop that is stained by the gacha system. Being free to play is making the developers a lot of money, but I can’t help myself to imagine how good this game would be if it wasn’t.

I played it for a long time and almost got to max level with a few characters and weapons. The game became so grindy that I lost interest in it, and my bad luck with the gacha mechanic also made me decide to stop playing. During many times I felt like I was a starving bird waiting to be drip fed any amount of currency to be able to gamble on the gacha system. Thankfully I never spent money on it, but the game it pushing you to do so at every moment.

That’s it for this first annual Award show. I could try to complete the top 10 list but it gets a little hazy by the end of it. The other titles that I played and had a lot of fun with are Risk of Rain 2, Fall Guys, Fortnite and Destiny 2 Beyond Light. An honorable mention to Path of Exile, it would definitely get the Best ‘Free to Play game that I still play and love’ Award. Can’t wait to see what 2021 has in store. I hope you enjoyed this fun and quirky article!

Graduated college in 2018, Journalism. Pursuing a Gaming Journalist career. You can follow me on Twitter @thalesaugusto .

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