2020 was difficult for many, but it seems that it has never been played as much as lately. Indies games, like Fall Guys and Among Us, became hits in this year of pandemic and social isolation. The Last of Us Part II was the Game of the Year and Cyberpunk 2077 faced several problems in its launch. The golden key to the highlights was the arrival of the new generation consoles: PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X / S.
More launches, controversies and various subjects permeated the year 2020 in games. O Tecnoblog then he separated five highlights in the middle of this sea of events.
5 facts about games in 2020
1. Xbox Series X and S: Microsoft bets double
Microsoft entered the ninth generation of consoles with two devices: the Xbox Series X (top of the line model from the manufacturer) and the Xbox Series S (the most cost-effective option). Both consoles arrived on November 10 worldwide, including Brazil.
With official prices in the country of R $ 4,599 (Series X) and R $ 2,799 (Series S), video games were evaluated here at Tecnoblog (links to both reviews below).
For the first time in the manufacturer’s video games, an SSD gives way to the traditional HD for faster loading: the storage space of the X is 1 TB against 512 GB of S. In the case of a 100% digital device, 512 GB is a both insufficient, especially considering the sizes of some AAA games today (not counting the space allocated to the console system). It is possible to expand this storage, however.
In relation to games, buying a new video game at the launch of a new generation is having to deal with the shortage of titles developed already thinking about the new platform. In the case of the Xbox Series X / S, the solution to this issue lies in the backward compatibility feature (for Xbox One games, 360 and the first Xbox) and Smart Delivery, which delivers the best possible version of a game.
The Xbox Series X has great firepower with its 12 teraflops and the ability to render games in 4K, as well as having the potential to expand its horizons even further over time and the launch of new games.
The Series S is an interesting option for those who want to enter the new generation, but cannot afford a top of the line. Despite having only 4 teraflops (compared to X) and being limited to 1440p (with 4K upscaling), the “cheaper” console from Microsoft promises to be a good option for Game Pass subscribers and also because it is much more portable than the big brother.
2. PlayStation 5: new controller brings more immersion
The PlayStation 5 arrived in Brazil on November 19 in two editions: with disc, for the suggested price of R $ 4,699, and Digital Edition, for R $ 4,199. Unlike the models of the new generation of Microsoft, which besides the price also differ in the hardware, the only difference between the two versions of the PS5 is the existence (or not) of the disc player.
The Sony console features an SSD for faster uploads, 4K support and up to 120 frames per second – if the game supports it, of course. But that’s not all: the PS5 also has an 8K output, as long as you have a TV (which is far from cheap) to test the feature.
See more details about the PS5 hardware in the review of Tecnoblog, Next:
Perhaps one of the biggest highlights of the PlayStation 5 is the new DualSense controller, successor to the PS4’s DualShock 4. Comfortable to use, the accessory brings haptic feedback that makes some sensations when playing. If the game is supported, it is possible to hear and feel, through the audio and vibrations of the control itself, specific gameplay actions.
The user interface was also updated and organized the store, PlayStation Plus, highlight issues and separated the games from the media.
As with the Xbox Series X / S, the PlayStation 5 also has backward compatibility, only a little more restricted: the function is available for most PS4 and PlayStation VR games. It would be very interesting for this functionality to extend to PlayStation 2 and 3 games as well, but so far there is no news from Sony about it.
Online race to enter the new generation
Sony restricted the sale of the PlayStation 5 to online stores and caused a massive rush to secure pre-purchase of the console. Many who were unable to book the console before now need to wander online looking for a seller or store that still has the PS5 in stock.
The high demand for the low demand for devices even inflated the price of the video game to more than double the original value in some stores in the so-called “gray market”. Even “money changer robots” were being used to buy inventory more quickly for resale.
This behavior, which also happened with the Xbox Series X, is not exclusive to Brazil and covers other countries. Apparently, Sony was not prepared for so much demand.
3. The Last of Us Part II is the grand prize winner of the year
The Last of Us Part II had a troubled pre-release, with parts of the script and gameplay leaked on the internet. Even before arriving on PS4, on June 19, the continuation of one of Naughty Dog’s most successful games, and exclusive to PlayStation, already garnered criticism from some more heated fans, especially because of the possible fates of some characters .
Even so, the game was one of the biggest releases of 2020, which earned it some awards as the game of the year, as in The Game Awards, in addition to achievements in other categories. You can read the review below:
The Last of Us Part II it is, in essence, a story that makes you think of how far you would go for revenge. What (or who) would you risk losing? Although Ellie is the protagonist, the spotlight is also shared with Abby, in the second part of the story, and both narratives meet and are completed more towards the end of the game.
The game features a New Game + mode, beautiful visuals, more agile combat and better use of the environment to your advantage – whether to create distractions or even to sneak into the vegetation for sneak attacks.
Overall, for those who like games well focused on narrative, The Last of Us is a great option and this second episode of the franchise manages to bring an emotional charge even stronger and even heavier than its predecessor.
4. Cyberpunk 2077: fun, full of activities… and bugs
Another highly anticipated game in 2020, or better, in recent years was Cyberpunk 2077 CD Projekt Red, a company that achieved worldwide prominence with the franchise The Witcher. Released on December 10, the game faced difficult times in its release, more precisely, in its versions for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Take a look at the review of Cyberpunk 2077:
The game’s own creation period, which had its release delayed more than once, was marked by the controversy of the crunch, an expression that, in short, refers to developers who need to work long and exhausting overtime to finish a project, without the due rest and / or compatible remuneration. Even with the extra work, it is clear that, mainly, the versions for PS4 and Xbox One arrived well below expectations.
For comparative purposes, the game review on the Tecnoblog it was done on a PC and most of the performance problems and some more serious bugs were fixed with patches from both CD Projekt and Nvidia, throughout the analysis. In fact, the version for computers is the most stable, as far as possible and so far, of all platforms from which Cyberpunk 2077 It is compatible.
CD Projekt Red went public to apologize to players for the problems in launching the title on the consoles and for not showing the PS4 and Xbox One versions before launch to players. Even so, the game was removed by Sony from the PS Store, which said it would reimburse players who so wish. CDPR, for its part, promises to release patches over the months to try to get around the situation and, of course, try to restore its image in front of fans.
In particular, I hope that these problems will be resolved as soon as possible, as it is a pity that not everyone has the same experience. Cyberpunk 2077, at least as I noticed testing on the PC, is a very beautiful game full of details and activities. The game brings great localization and dubbing work to Brazilian Portuguese, has an interesting story and some captivating NPCs. As much as it is not a “game changer” in technical and narrative quality, as many expected, it is worth playing.
5. Indies games that surprised
The games industry, fortunately, is not governed only by AAA games (or blockbusters). Over the years, several independent titles have received so much prominence and, sometimes, even more than games produced in large studios. The 2020 Game Awards itself brought the roguelike style game Hades, from Supergiant Games, as one of the finalists for the Game of the Year.
Besides Hades, which received the prizes for best indie game and best action game (defeating even Doom Eternal) by TGA 2020, the platform and adventure game Ori and the Will of the Wisps, from Moon Studios, also participated in the award for major productions and, despite not having won any awards (which I thought was an injustice), it deserves to be played. The title managed to reinvent the gameplay itself and delivers a beautiful look, immersive soundtrack and unforgettable characters.
Of course, there are also two indie games that, perhaps, were the biggest surprises of 2020: Fall Guys and Among Us.
Fall Guys, from Mediatonic, became a fever earlier this year for bringing a different and more fluffy version to the already widely explored Battle Royale style games. The shots and explosions gave way to obstacle races and / or teamwork (at least it should be) between characters who look like jujubinhas in costumes.
The game quickly became a hit, even for its visual and gameplay without graphic violence – which attracted even younger players.
Of course, every great success also attracts a lot more problems, and Fall Guys suffered from cheaters and hacks and even “clueless” players who found it fun to put offenses and inappropriate messages in the nicknames of the characters themselves. This caused developers to take away the possibility to choose their own nickname. Unfortunately, sometimes we can’t have nice things because of the childishness of others.
Among Us, from the InnerSloth studio, is a multiplayer game, born for smartphones, which has also become a huge hit on PCs. Recently, it won a Nintendo Switch version. In the simple-looking game, the crew of a spaceship needs to perform different tasks to keep everything running. What they must also do is find an impostor, among them, who has a mission to sabotage everything and murder them.
As Hades, Among Us was also awarded at TGA 2020. The game won the awards for best mobile game and best multiplayer game, winning another indie and also a favorite for the category: Fall Guys.
2020 in games “in a nutshell”
This year was very complicated in several aspects due to the pandemic, but looking only at the games market and, especially due to social isolation, people were even more in touch with electronic games – even as a way of interacting with each other.
No wonder games with a multiplayer footprint like Fall Guys, Among Us and Animal Crossing: New Horizons were the real highlights of popularity in 2020. The arrival of the new consoles also stirred the hype at the end of the year and even more than the companies planned, with stocks of PS5 and Xbox Series X / S exhausted.
In general, the games helped to connect more people and served, in a way, as an escape valve to face this difficult moment worldwide. Game studios also needed to reinvent their work routines and, with exceptions, continued to deliver a good final product.
Now it is time to invest the XP points, acquired in 2020, in your skill tree and prepare for the 2021 quests.