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The best games of 2020: don’t miss these essential titles

Ghost of Tsushima
(Image credit: Sony)

It’s been a phenomenal year for video games, which makes narrowing down the best games of 2020 a difficult task. 

The launch of the PS5, Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S consoles have also added to a wealth of riches gamers could enjoy, providing brand new releases that take advantage of the power of next-gen systems and unique capabilities. The new consoles have also added a new lease of life to older titles thanks to backwards compatibility and free next-gen upgrades.

We’ve been rather spoiled as gamers, then, but we’ve still managed to whittle down the best games of 2020 that you may have missed or simply want to revisit into one succinct list. Of course, we can’t include everything here, but these titles were particularly enjoyed by the TechRadar team.

From emotional rollercoasters to immersive virtual worlds or wonderful day-to-day distractions, these are the best games of 2020.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the first new entry in the mainline Animal Crossing series for almost eight years and the first entry to be playable on the Nintendo Switch – and it was definitely worth the wait. Animal Crossing: New Horizons is packed with charm and the perfect game for those who want to kick back and just take things at their own pace. It’s familiar and fresh, deftly combining the old enjoyable parts of the series with some much-needed improvements and far greater depth than we’ve seen before.

Check out our full Animal Crossing review.

Release date: March 20, 2020

Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About TIme

Crash Bandicoot 4 run level

(Image credit: Activision)

After a 22 year hiatus, the cheeky marsupial returns in Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time – and he’s in fine fettle. Crash Bandicoot 4 recaptures the magic of the late ‘90s platformer that helped PlayStation find its footing in the battle against Nintendo, and proves that with the right developer, classic titles can be rebooted for a modern-day audience without losing all the elements that made them so successful in the first place. 

Check out our full Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time review.

Release date: October 2, 2020

Demon's Souls

Demon's Souls boss fight

(Image credit: Sony Interactive Entertainment)

A game that revels in your demise, Demon’s Souls isn’t for everyone, but the rewards are plentiful for those who have the patience and skill to persevere. It’s also one of the few PS5 exclusives available, and a visual showcase for the system. Sure, it’s a remake of a PS3 game, but it’s never looked and played so good, particularly using the game’s 60fps focused performance mode.

Check out our full Demon's Souls review.

Release date: November 19, 2020

Dreams

Dreams

(Image credit: Sony)

Dreams is less like a game and more like a platform. Developed by Media Molecule, the creators of Little Big Planet, Dreams allows players to play, create and share worlds, games, artwork, music and more. All of this content is created in Dreams, which provides players with a plethora of tools to get creative with. But if you’re not quite an artist, you can simply take advantage of the incredible (and sometimes odd) creations of others.

Release date: February 14, 2020

Ghost of Tsushima

Ghost of Tsushima

(Image credit: Sucker Punch Productions/Sony)

Ghost of Tsushima is the winner of TechRadar’s coveted Game of the Year award, and it’s easy to see why. The game is simply stunning to behold, and owners of HDR capable displays will be treated to a real showcase of what the technology can do. From the game’s stylish and satisfying swordplay, to the engrossing story and initiative guiding wind system, Ghost of Tsushima is the perfect swansong for the PS4. The good news is, it runs even better on PS5 thanks to its 60fps performance mode, so there’s really no excuse not to play. 

Check out our full Ghost of Tsushima review.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Ori and the Will of the Wisps

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Ori and the Blind Forest was arguably one of the best Xbox One games when it released back in 2015, so hopes were high when a sequel was announced. Ori and the Will of the Wisps not only lives up to the original, but it improves on it in every way. From the sumptuous art style to an overhauled and significantly improved combat system, Ori and the Will of the Wisps will firmly test your abilities as a gamer and pull on your heart strings with its emotional story.

Release date: March 10, 2020 

Doom Eternal

Doom Eternal

(Image credit: iD Software)

Doom is back and it's the best it's ever been. Not only does Doom Eternal boast all the blood-pumping, gore-packed fun we expect from a Doom game, it also adds a bunch of new RPG-like elements we didn't even know we needed. If you're looking for a game that doesn't focus too much on narrative and instead throws you into ripping and tearing some demons, then Doom Eternal is one not to be missed.

Check out our full Doom Eternal review.

Release date: March 20, 2020

Half-Life: Alyx

Half-Life: Alyx

(Image credit: Valve)

Some were afraid that Half-Life: Alyx, one of Valve's first first VR games and the first new entry in the series in over a decade, might not live up to the expectations. But, without a shadow of a doubt, this is a Half-Life game that fills the roomy shoes that Valve left behind in 2007. It's that good.

It is, like its forebears, a mind-bending joyride with a physics system to die for. The inventive, head-scratching scientific puzzles you’re used to from the PC games? They’re here. Tense jaunts through zombie-infested death pits that instill terror better than most ‘horror’ games? Alyx has got that in droves.

Release date: March 23, 2020

The Last of Us 2

tlou2 anniversary safe code

(Image credit: Naughty Dog)

An emotional and captivating gut-punch of a game, The Last of Us 2 explores the gray areas of morality like nothing we’ve seen before. It improves on the first game in every way, with an open-ended world to explore, sublime graphics, and a hard-hitting narrative that’s worthy of the silver screen. While we’re still hoping for a PS5 update or remaster, this is a defining PS4 game that you won’t want to miss. 

Check out our full The Last of Us 2 review.

Release date: June 19, 2020

Resident Evil 3

Resident Evil 3

(Image credit: Capcom)

Following up on the huge success of Resident Evil 7 and its remake of Resident Evil 2, Capcom remade Resident Evil 3 and completely nailed it. With its fast-paced action, excellent graphics and, of course, terrifying zombies; the Resident Evil 3 remake is one of the best games of 2020. What's more, you get asymmetrical-multiplayer survival horror Resident Evil: Resistance as part of the package.

Check out our full Resident Evil 3 review.

Release date: April 3, 2020

Final Fantasy 7 Remake

Final Fantasy 7 Remake

(Image credit: Square Enix)

The FF7 Remake had the impossible task of satisfying people's memories of a 23 year-old RPG classic, while only tackling less than a third of its original story. It's successful in a lot of ways, though, especially in its combat, which finally shows how the Final Fantasy series can bring the complexity of turn-based battles into its real-time action. While the sidequests are flabby and the deviations from the original game will prove divisive, this finally gives fans what they've been asking for.

Check out our full Final Fantasy 7 Remake review.

Release date: April 10, 2020

Streets of Rage 4

Streets of Rage 4

(Image credit: Dotemu)

It’s been 25 years since gamers took on countless thugs as Axel Stone and Blaze Fielding, but Streets of Rage 4 emphatically proves that Sega’s once dormant series still can’t be beat. It manages to feel completely new yet instantly familiar, which is helped in no small part by the slew of unlockable content that centers around the previous games. With its phenomenal soundtrack and super satisfying combo system, you’ll find yourself taking to the streets time and time again.

Release date: April 30, 2020