In addition to the staff who were named this year’s Game of Awards, each of our authors has created their own personal lists, covering the top five PlayStation 5 and PS4 titles in 2020. Today is the turn of video producer Liam Richardson.
Confession Time – I have not yet made a single game in Dreams. I know, pretty embarrassing, right? The thing is, I experience that Dreams is at its best when I treat it like a fuzzy thrift store that I have discovered in a dingy little ally, hidden away from the beaten path. What exciting ornaments do I want to discover today? Ah, a game where Kermit the Frog has a machine gun! Oh my, a Sonic game where all the enemies are Sora from Kingdom Hearts! Dreams not only encourages players to express their creativity; it embraces them to rejoice in the absurd. For that reason alone, it is one of my favorite experiences of the year.
Oof, Streets of Rage 4 is a bit of a winner, right? Not only is it a faithful (and canonical) sequel to the original Mega Drive trilogy, it also reinvents it successfully for modern times. 16-bit sprites have been replaced with beautiful hand-drawn illustrations, which breathe new life into returnees and the series’ newcomers. The soundtrack, composed by several artists, is a synth-wave treat based on the tracks in the three original titles. And the gameplay? Well, that’s where the real magic lies. Primarily unchanged, a few new mechanics result in one of the most satisfying combat systems in the genre. It may have taken 26 years to arrive, but believe me, it was worth the wait.
Is the Astros playroom the best console package since Wii Sports? It’s definitely up there, but maybe not for the reasons you expect. You see, Playroom is Sony’s Super Smash Bros., a celebration of the brand in a way the company has never quite managed to pull off before. Sure, the PS3 had a literal Smash Bros clone in the form of the PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, but it lacked something that the Astros Playroom has in abundance. Heart. This is a love letter, one so loving that it has a photorealistic 3D model of PSP’s GPS attachment as a collector’s item. Nothing made me smile as much as the Astros Playroom in 2020. A sparkling jewel in the crown of PlayStation.
Activision has recently been a bit of a winner when it comes to remasters, but no one has been treated with as much care as this year’s excellent Tony Hawk collection. THPS1 + 2 contains as much a celebration of the series as a whole as it is a remake of the original two games, and features features from later titles (such as the essential reset) to create arguably the best skateboarding game ever made. The birdman is back, cartilaginous, and he’s eraser than ever. Here we hope that Activision benefits from the huge success of this release with a real sequel as soon as possible.
Ghost of Tsushima is at its best when the katanas are safely cloaked. When the roars of invading Mongols are replaced instead by soothing birdsong, bubbling streams and a gentle whisper of a leading wind. In such a difficult year as 2020, the game’s ability to accommodate fugitives has never been so warmly welcomed. Of all the digital worlds I have visited, none have been as enjoyable as the Japanese island of Tsushima. Riding through golden forests, lush fields with blooming flowers and next to coastal cliffs is a close meditative experience, the game’s lively art direction resulting in stunning views unlike anything else on PS4. Do yourself a favor. Take a trip to Tsushima and experience the beauty for yourself. You will not regret.
What do you make of Video Liam’s top 5 PS5, PS4 games? Film your answer in the comments below.