Wccftech’s Best Action Games of 2020 – Brawls Both Big and Small
2020 was a solid year for the action fan, as the industry delivered a number of anticipated end-of-a-generation action-adventure epics, a small taste of what’s to expect from the next generation, and a handful retro throwback gems. From the scrappy Streets of Rage 4 to highly-polished fare like That Last of Us Part II and Ghost of Tsushima, there was plenty of keep players’ thumbs in shape as we all rode out one of the most unpredictable and challenging years in recent memory. So, limber up and get ready to battle through Wccftech’s Best Action Games of 2020!
Note: Games that put a particularly heavy emphasis on roleplaying (beyond the standard action-adventure skill trees) will be reserved for our Best RPGs of 2020 list. So, don’t expect to see games like Demon’s Souls, Hades, or Nioh 2 on this list.
Does Spider-Man: Miles Morales reinvent the wheel? No, but more of a good thing is certainly nothing to complain about. Combining the rock-solid open world gameplay of Insomniac’s first Spider-Man game with a likeable new main protagonist, bigger action set pieces, and occasional moments of visual razzle-dazzle to properly show off the new PS5, Miles Morales is a satisfying, if somewhat light, blockbuster sequel. Wccftech’s Kai Powell certainly enjoyed his time with the superhero game…
Miles Morales is a more charismatic hero than Peter Parker in Marvel's Spider-Man and there's no better way to tell his story than with his own PS5 launch title. While shorter and more compact than Peter Parker's adventures, Spider-Man: Miles Morales should be on any superhero fan's wishlist.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla was subject to its share of controversy before it was even released, as the game’s director Ashraf Ismail was fired by Ubisoft as part of a company-wide reckoning that saw several powerful figures let go for inappropriate behavior and abuse. Despite this turmoil, Valhalla turned out to be another solid entry in the series, combining the RPG feel of recent Assassin’s Creed games with some classic elements we haven’t seen in some time. While some may be (understandably) leery about supporting Assassin’s Creed Valhalla given the state of Ubisoft, most of the thousands of people who worked on it just wanted to make a good game, and according to Wccftech’s Francesco De Meo, they largely succeeded…
Assassin's Creed Valhalla is a step up for the series, thanks to the many tweaks made to the RPG mechanics that powered the previous two entries in the series, better storytelling, great atmosphere, and meaningful side-content. Even with the tweaks, Assassin's Creed Valhalla is still an Assassin's Creed game at heart, so those not into Ubisoft open-world game design won’t change their opinion. Everyone else will probably love Eivor's adventure, especially if they are into Vikings and ancient Norse culture.
2020 was a surprisingly good year for old-school brawlers, with the fantastic Streets of Rage 4 leading the pack. In a year of great-looking games powered by cutting edge next-gen tech, I still can’t get the gorgeously-animated 2D visuals of SoR4 out of my head. Every screen of this game is a work of art, complimented by silky-smooth knuckle-busting action. Here are my final thoughts from my review…
Streets of Rage 4 doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but honestly, that’s okay. The game’s dazzling visuals, silky-smooth action, varied level design, and sexy sense of cool more than make up for a few minor old-school irritations. Veteran Bare Knuckle brawlers will get the most out of Streets of Rage 4, but it should provide a satisfying thumb workout for players from all eras.
Ghost of Tsushima may end up being the sleeper hit of 2020. While some initially wrote the game off as just another open-world adventure, the game has attracted a hardcore fanbase drawn to the game’s atmospheric world and visuals, and tight, challenging combat. Wccftech’s Alessio Palumbo was certainly among the game’s early supporters…
Ghost of Tsushima is Sucker Punch's best game to date and a great open world title capable of measuring up to some of the biggest and best names in the genre. The game’s excellent rendition of feudal Japan, along with its well-written characters and story, make Ghost of Tsushima stand out as the last true must-have PlayStation 4 exclusive.
Despite some last-minute competition from Cyberpunk 2077, The Last of Us Part II is probably still the most divisive game of the year. While not all the complaints about TLOU2 were in particularly good faith, there were certainly legitimate criticisms to made about the game – I personally had some real issues with the game’s writing and structure. That said, it’s hard to find much bad to say about the game’s core action. TLOU2 is a fantastic, accessible stealth-action game, featuring a ton of great pulse-pounding set pieces. This is a game that looks as good as anything released this past generation, but unlike some games (coughRDR2cough) it actually controls and plays exceptionally well. So yes, the game definitely deserves a spot on the Best Action Games of 2020 list, and hey, not everyone was as mixed on the experience as I was. Wccftech’s Kai Powell gave the game a near-perfect score…
The Last of Us Part II is one of the finest pieces of cinematic gaming ever created, but Naughty Dog's final send-off to this console generation […] is bleak and at times leaves the player feeling hopeless. This is one game that people will be talking about for a long time.
As mentioned, there were a number of other entertaining old-school brawlers released this year, including the new Battletoads and 9 Monkeys of Shaolin. There were also plenty of worthy action-adventure titles from small and large publishers alike, including The Pathless, Journey to the Savage Planet, Resident Evil 3, Immortals Fenyx Rising, and Watch Dogs: Legion.
So yeah, 2020 wasn’t quite the hardcore action-fest that 2019 was, but the lineup was still pretty impressive considering the state the world was in. Any good action games I missed? Don’t agree with the top five? Hit the comments and hash out your own action favorites. And look forward to more Wccftech GOTY lists over the coming days!
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