Generation Xbox 2020 Awards

The end of 2020 is finally here, and I think we’re all pretty happy about that. Not everything in 2020 was the worst thing ever though, and there were some awesome games that entered our lives just when we needed them the most. Our writers ranked, voted and tabulated to determine the Xbox games most deserving of praise in this weird, terrible year.

As 2021 knocks on the door, let’s take one last opportunity to celebrate the great games of 2020. From shooters that let us escape and defeat evil at every turn, to sports games that helped remind us of that time when fans were allowed in the stands. From great storytelling, to just pure fun. Whether it’s the game we needed most in 2020 or just the flat out best game of the year, these are our yearly awards for 2020.

Note: A game had to be released in 2020 to be eligible for consideration, and it had to be released on either the Xbox One or the Xbox Series X.

I’m So Glad This Came Out In 2020

Sometimes a game is just right for the moment, and these games were the ones that we’re so glad came out in 2020. Whether they provided that fun release, ate up time, or helped us connect with others, they were what we didn’t even know we were going to need. These games were all intentionally heroic in their own way, and we salute them.

Nominees:

  • Ori and the Will of the Wisps
  • DIRT 5
  • Moving Out
  • Two Point Hospital
  • Tetris Effect Connected

Winner: Ori and the Will of the Wisps

The sequel to the hugely popular Ori and the Blind Forest, Ori and the Will of the Wisps arrived in early 2020. It brought with it a challenging, fun, and gorgeous experience that all players could enjoy. Ori delivers that rare game where it’s visually stunning, rewarding to experience success, and challenging to overcome something new. Many games do at least one of those things, but Ori and the Will of the Wisps does all of them.

Sportsball of the Year

Sports video games have a special place in our hearts. They offer quick, fun games with lots of different modes. They scratch the itch for people who are super competitive (like me). And, let’s not forget that they give you the opportunity to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on virtual cards to build virtual teams that will completely reset in the next year’s game. Super fun, right? At their best, sports games are fun, intense, and help people connect. These games did it the best in 2020.

Nominees:

  • FIFA 21
  • NBA 2K21
  • NHL 21
  • Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2
  • PGA Tour 2K21

Winner: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2

Nostalgia shines through in this remastered release from Activision. For years, the Tony Hawk series set the standard for excellence in skating games, and the release of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 reminded fans why that was true. Fans were thrilled when the announcement was made, and the release didn’t disappoint. In a field with many quality nominees, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 was an overwhelming victor.

Shooter of the Year

The world needs saving, and you’re the only one who can do it. Sure, we didn’t get to help Master Chief conquer evil once again as we had all hoped we would this year, but there were still plenty of quality shooters out there. Each of these games offered epic sequences, made you feel invincible, and delivered a quality shooter experience on the Xbox console.

Nominees:

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
  • DOOM Eternal
  • Superhot: Mind Control Delete
  • Destiny 2: Beyond Light

Winner: DOOM Eternal

DOOM Eternal gave us one of the most refreshingly fun action games in the past few years. In an industry that sometimes tries too hard for artistic value, it’s great to see a video game that is pure unadulterated fun. DOOM Eternal fills the player with enough adrenaline to rip and tear through everything in their path.

Just Pure Fun

Games that we can’t put down because they’re just plain fun are always welcome. We don’t mean intense fun, we mean pure, innocent fun. These games all provided that in one way or another. In 2020, the year of no fun whatsoever, they were a welcome distraction from the real world and we embraced every one of them.

Nominees:

  • Ori and the Will of the Wisps
  • Destiny 2: Beyond Light
  • Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time
  • Super Mega Baseball 3
  • Immortals Fenyx Rising
  • Two Point Hospital

Winner: Immortals: Fenyx Rising

Immortals Fenyx Rising is Ubisoft’s version of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and it works really well. You play as Fenyx, who is tasked with saving the Greek gods and all of Greece from the titan Typhon. Like BOTW, you can climb any surface, fight the monsters roaming about, and go into the different vaults of Tarturus to solve puzzles and collect loot. It’s sheer fun coupled with funny narration provided by Zeus and Prometheus. It’s a game well worth checking out that will provide you hours of fun.

Best Story

A game can have the best graphics, be challenging, or even rewarding – but if it doesn’t have a good narrative, a lot of gamers won’t be hooked. A great story is often what makes you say “one more mission” when you know you have work in four hours. The games that make you need to experience what happens next are often the best and most memorable ones. These games accomplished that the best in 2020.

Nominees:

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
  • Cyberpunk 2077
  • Call of the Sea
  • Wasteland 3
  • Immortals Fenyx Rising

Winner: Wasteland 3

An RPG that will actually react and adjust to the player’s choices? We’re in. Wasteland 3 does something that so few games do – it slowly builds up to the big, climactic moments. This allows the player to become invested in what is happening around them, because they’re not bombarded with huge set pieces every half hour. You will develop and build your forces up for hours before the huge moments begin, and that makes you invest in the story Wasteland 3 is telling. The huge moments have meaning because they are actually meaningful.

Game of the Year

Here it is – the award everyone scrolls down to anyway. Narrowing to a list of the six nominees for best game on Xbox in 2020 wasn’t easy, but each of these games stood out. Each offered something different, fun, and exceptional. The people who worked so hard to make each of these games should be proud of the work they have done, and we hope fans take a second to recognize their work.

With that said, these are the games that represented the highest standard of excellence on the Xbox brand of consoles in 2020.

Nominees:

  • Cyberpunk 2077
  • Ori and the Will of the Wisps
  • Yakuza: Like a Dragon
  • DOOM Eternal
  • Wasteland 3
  • Gears Tactics

Winner: DOOM Eternal

DOOM Eternal takes home our Game of the Year award thanks to its visceral combat, outstanding optimization, and another killer soundtrack. Eternal does more than just exceed lofty sequel expectations, it crushes them. Developer id Software continues to push the first-person shooter into new heights, blending brutality and speed into the most fluid combat experience in years. Weapon mastery and traversal expertise make Eternal replayable on all difficulties and prepares players for the exciting Battle Mode multiplayer, a major upgrade from the stale deathmatch of 2016’s DOOM. With an impressive slate of content lined up for 2021, including the highly anticipated The Ancient Gods: Part 2 DLC, Eternal shows no signs of slowing down. There’s no better vessel for modern shooters, and that’s why it’s our pick for Game of the Year.

Stay with Generation Xbox for all the biggest Xbox news in 2021 and beyond!

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