Best games 2020: The best games of the year, as chosen by us!

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This year has seen many ups and downs, but games has been the one medium which has kept many of us going through some dark or boring periods.

There's been sequels to long-dormant franchises while new ones have already made their mark with critics and players.

As we close out StealthOptional's first year, we wanted to give you OUR game of the years.

Table of Contents

With that, behold the team's separate choices, with some possible surprises.

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Daryl Baxter, Deputy Editor, chooses Streets of Rage 4

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I came into this game not expecting much. I had been burned by another fourth entry related to SEGA; Sonic 4, so I was worried that this would be more of the same, but with a strange take on the first Streets of Rage game.

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As soon as the first level began and I got used to the controls, I was in awe. The graphics make it seem like you're controlling a graphic novel, almost as if 'Comix Zone' was DotEmu's influence here. The control is second-to-none, with no latency and every punch, kick and special move is a joy, and the satisfaction never goes away.

Each stage has its own character and detail that makes you go back to improve your score, which in turn unlocks characters from previous entries, alongside other easter eggs.

The multiplayer co-op mode is also a treat, making it feel like it's 1997 again with Streets of Rage 2 on two controllers.

This game surprised me the most from 2020, and it gives me hope that whatever DotEmu decides to take on next from SEGA's IP, they're going to give it the same love and care that they gave to Streets of Rage 4.

READ MORE: Streets of Rage 4 review; packing an incredible punch!

Jason Coles, Senior News Editor, chooses Hades

I can't believe nobody else has chosen this game. Hades is quite simply the best roguelike in existence. I'm not even being hyperbolic here either, I've played nearly every damn one of them. While there are games that'll last you longer or challenge you more, nothing delivers in quite the same way that Hades does.

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It offers an excellent degree of build variety, beautiful graphics, the most slappingest of soundtracks, and literally the best story integration ever seen in the genre.

It's moreish and intoxicating, and playing it for five minutes will very quickly turn into five hours, especially as you get better at it and your runs become quicker.

It's a damn near perfect game, and also everyone in it is hot. That's not really relevant to how good the game is, but it definitely doesn't hurt it either.

READ MORE: How 'Bid For Power' was built on Dragon Ball foundations.

Oliver Barsby, News Editor, chooses Ghost of Tsushima

One of the most pleasant surprises of the year!
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One of the most pleasant surprises of the year!

When I finished playing The Last of Us: Part II in late June, I half expected to put down my controller and never touch a PlayStation exclusive until the PlayStation 5 arrived later in the year.

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Then I remembered Ghost of Tsushima. Sucker Punch's open-world samurai game had somewhat flown under the radar amid the hype and controversy surrounding The Last of Us: Part II, leading many - myself included- to almost skip it entirely. I'm so grateful I didn't.

Set on the beautiful island of Tsushima, Ghost of Tsushima sees you take control of Jin - a samurai of the Clan Sakai - amid a Mongol invasion led by Genghis Khan's grandson, Khotun Khan. With Lord Shimura captured, and the samurai order desecrated, it is up to Jin to embrace the nature of the 'Ghost' and do whatever it takes to save his home.

This battle between the perceived dishonour of the 'Ghost' and the honourable way of the samurai is one of the more compelling storylines in Ghost of Tsushima. Seeing Jin toy between both paths adds a huge amount of depth to his character that protagonists in open-world action-adventure titles often lack, meaning the storyline carries actual weight throughout your playthrough, rather than just being a device for epic gameplay moments.

Of course, these epic gameplay moments do still exist. With both the Ghost and samurai persona's in mind, Ghost of Tsushima offers players the choice between stealth and sword-fighting- or a mix of the two. The stealth gameplay works well, but it is the sword-play that really shines through here, with different stances and techniques creating a detailed structure that puts most other combat systems I've used this year to shame.

There's so much more to Ghost of Tsushima, including the beauty of its open-world (running on a last-gen PS4!), the vast amounts of thrilling bossfights and side-quests, and its free multiplayer mode, but I'll leave these aspects for you to discover.

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It may have lost out to The Last of Us: Part II at The Game Awards, but Ghost of Tsushima surpassed all of my wildest expectations, rounding off the PS4 era in style, and that's why it's my Game of the Year.

READ MORE:Ghost Of Tsushima devs should make a HUGE PS5 superhero game

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Rob Leane, Editor-in-Chief, chooses The Last Of Us Part 2

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Ellie's character development went to some shocking new places, but also she plays guitar now!

It's a game that split opinion more than any other in 2020, but here at Stealth Optional HQ, we're very much in the camp that thinks Naughty Dog's The Last Of Us Part 2 was an absolute triumph.

As well as tugging on the nostalgic heartstrings of the first game with some fantastic flashbacks, the game also pushes the player into some bold new ideas - some of them are not easy to swallow, which is all part of the fun here.

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Setting such a raw, emotional, multi-faceted story in a fleshed-out zombie apocalypse, replete with rival communities and intriguing new characters, TLOU2 is truly a masterpiece of interactive storytelling. We'll be lucky if we get another game this good next year...

READ MORE:The Last Of Us Part 2 deleted scenes and cut content

Rory Mellon, Head of Ecommerce, chooses Persona 5 Royal

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The score and soundtrack of Persona 5 Royal is another highlight

You can’t improve on perfection. Actually, it turns out that the folks at Atlus can, and with Persona 5 Royal they took arguably the best JRPG ever created and somehow made it sparkle even brighter. 

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Much more than a lazy GOTY edition Persona 5 Royal makes a raft of changes to the original 2017 release, from the small additions like making guns actually useful in combat to adding in a whole new school seminar to the end of the game, which features some of the strongest writing in the whole Persona series.  

Atlus could have easily just hastily added some additional bells and whistles to the vanilla Persona 5 and called it a day, but instead, almost the entire game has been tweaked. 

Frustrating combat encounters have been rebalanced, the procedurally-generated Mementos dungeons now give much stronger rewards making them actually feel worthwhile and players are let loose to explore the game world far more frequently.

Video game escapism has been essential for many this year, and Persona 5 Royal offered the chance to become fully absorbed in the lives of a group of lovable Tokyo teenagers as they navigate growing up while also trying to change the corrupt world around them. 

The conversation surrounding PlayStation exclusives this year has been dominated by hot takes on The Last of Us: Part II and cries that Ghost of Tsushima was overlooked, but months before either of those games came on the scene Persona 5 Royal set the benchmark that all other games had to measure up to, none came close.  

READ MORE: INTERVIEW: How 'Immortals' is more like a Mario game than a Zelda one.