What a better time to take a look at the best games of 2020 so far, especially since we all have a little more free time on hand right now. We’ve already had some awesome games this year and although Doom Eternal and Resident Evil 3 haven’t quite made it onto this tight list, there is a lot to explore. After all, it’s still an extremely important year for the games. Not only will we see the games take full advantage of everything the PS4 and Xbox One have to offer at dusk, but we also get the PS5 and the Xbox Series X.
At the end of each month, we go through all of our recent reviews to find the two games that qualify as must-have games, slowly amassing a list of the best games of 2019. Think of them as the highlights of the year so far now – and if you’re looking for something to play until the other new games in 2020 (and beyond), these standout titles are a safe bet.
April Game of the Month (Runner-up) – XCOM: Chimera Squad
Review score: 4 Stars
Firaxis ‘surprise not a sequel’ to XCOM 2 is an unexpected departure from the turn-based strategy plan the studio has perfected over the years, but this lighter spin-off still looks like hours and hours of addiction, endlessly satisfying tactical brain food. By changing the consumable avatars for the pre-built characters, by introducing new ideas like the Breach system and the interlaced turning mechanisms, and in general, by simply having fun with its future Earth parameter, XCOM: Chimera Squad is a purchase easy for any longtime fan of the series, not to mention a perfect entry point for the uninitiated. The ever-passionate XCOM mod community has already worked to provide new game modes and experiences for the base game, ensuring a continuous feedback loop of new content, all encouraged and endorsed by Firaxis itself. Alex Avard
April Game of the Month – Final Fantasy 7 Remake
Review score: 4.5 Stars
Final Fantasy 7 Remake has successfully brought the world of classic 1997 into the modern era with meticulous detail and its own distinctive touch. Fully located in Midgar, you spend more time with the decor and main characters, which adds so much depth and richness to the overall experience. Facing the challenge of providing something that would appeal to newcomers and longtime fans is no easy feat, but Final Fantasy 7 Remake is proof that it can be done, and you can really feel the amount of care and of love that were needed to recreate as much adored game for new audiences. With a reworked combat system, beautiful graphics, and many discoveries just waiting to be discovered, finding Cloud and the gang is an absolute treat. Heather Wald
March Game of the Month (Runner-up) – Half-Life Alyx
Platform (s): Valve Index VR, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Oculus Quest (With PC Link) and Window Mixed Reality
Critical Score: 4.5 stars
When you get “VR Hair” is the only downside when considering a game, you know it’s good. Half-Life Alyx is the best virtual reality experience money can buy right now, and it sounds like a tantalizing glimpse of what big game studies could achieve if they were more willing to invest in AAA experiences. VR. Of course, more than anything, it is a love letter to the iconic Half-Life series, with the feeling of real danger and the vague feeling of being trapped in a dream. After all that Alyx and I have experienced, this is a game that will stay with me for a long time. Rachel Weber
March Game of the Month – Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Platform(s): Xbox One, PS4, PC
Review score: 3.5 Stars
There’s no denying that Animal Crossing: New Horizons arrived at exactly the right time. By giving us a sense of normality that we all dream of right now, New Horizons has taken the world by storm. If my Twitter feed is anything, everyone’s playing right now. Plant trees and raise flowers, try to catch all the insects and fish before the seasons change, discover how the turnips work, and finally play K.K Slider on our seats. There is a lot to do and a lot of time to do it. Adorable, peaceful, and completely absorbent. There is nothing not to like about New Horizons. Sam Loveridge
February Game of the Month (Runner-up) – Zombie Army 4: Dead War
Platform(s): Xbox One, PS4, PC
Review score: 3.5 Stars
There is a contagious confidence in Zombie Army 4 that will leave anyone who plays it completely obsessed with his exciting vision of the cooperative shooter. It’s not perfect, but it manages to deliver an always fun and frantic shooter that blossoms when played with a friend. If you like Left 4 Dead, it has Valve’s shooter in its DNA, with enough play and creative slaughter to satisfy any zombie killer. It’s silly and rarely remembered, celebrating the scenery and a relentless rhythm of hordes of the living dead. It is definitely the worldwide enrollment in this particular army. Mark Delaney
February Game of the Month – Dreams
While creation is at the heart of Dreams, you don’t have to be tempted by what it has to offer. There are literally thousands of games created by the community, from fast-paced board games to full adventures and shooters. And, obviously, a bunch of weird hella in between. Developer Media Molecule then describes it as a YouTube of games and it’s an accurate description – you can endlessly browse the content, and it’s easy to spend an evening weaving your way through the following games and creators. If all of this ends up arousing your more artistic side, you will find that Dreams’ creative game development tools are surprisingly accessible. Even if you think you can’t do anything, there are a multitude of predefined things like enemies, levels, and other items you can use to create your own stuff.
January Game of the Month (Runner-up) – Kentucky Route Zero: TV Edition
Platform(s): Xbox One, PS4, PC, and Nintendo Switch
Seven years of development, Kentucky Route Zero is one of those rare games that people aren’t afraid to wait for. Those long stays between episodes could have been his downfall, but now with the TV edition, everyone can understand why it was worth the wait. This magical point-and-click surreal narrative adventure will take you along the journey, seeing you gather a group of lost souls together, including an old rickety dog. But unlike most point-and-click games, there are no puzzles. There are choices to make, but they are presented as thematic dialog options, allowing you to co-write your own story. Because of this, it never quite works out what you would expect, allowing you to click for more story until everything goes smoothly. Sam Loveridge
January Game of the Month Winner – Journey to the Savage Planet
Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, and PC
Review score: 4 Stars
As its name suggests, Journey to the Savage Planet concerns a planet, it’s wild, you travel there. But while it all sounds very serious, there is a much lighter adventure here. A sweet comic book, a semi-open world that plays like a linear and comic vision of the ideas of No Man’s Sky. You explore a strange part of the universe, discovering the mysteries of the ancient alien structures and cataloging the local fauna. Just that is fun, with a great progression system that unlocks things like jetpacks and grapple devices to help you explore. What really makes it successful, however, is the humor that underlies everything – from silly creature designs to in-game commercials to sensitive blob sex lines, and a GlaDOS-style computer that has not quite tact yet. It is an always pleasant space for relaxation which makes people laugh out loud in places and does not go beyond their welcome but gives you a lot to do if you enjoy your visit. Leon Hurley
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