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The RLLMUK Game of the Year Awards 2020 - VOTING CLOSED!


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Game of the Year

A1. Astro’s Playroom

A2. The Last of Us part 2

A3. Ghost of Tsushima 

A4. Demon’s Souls

A5. Final Fantasy VII Remake 

 

Biggest Disappointment of the Year

Z1. No Xbox launch titles. 

Z2. Cyberpunk not being properly delayed till next year when it should have been obvious to CDPR

Z3. The huge level of entry requirements for Half Life : Alyx. I can’t believe there’s a new HL game that I basically have to pretend doesn’t exist. 

 

Sound Design of the Year

S1. Final Fantasy VII Remake 

S2. The Last of Us part 2 

S3.

 

Visual Design of the Year

V1. The Last of Us part 2 

V2. Final Fantasy VII Remake

V3. Ghost of Tsushima 

 

Writing of the Year

W1. The Last of Us part 2 

W2. Ghost of Tsushima 

W3.

 

Format of the Year

F1. PlayStation 4 

 

Publisher or Developer of the Year

P1. PlayStation Studios / SIE

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For those curious about Paradise Killer after all the mentions in here, it's currently 30% off on the eshop until the 31st. Definitely worth it. 

 

https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-Switch-download-software/Paradise-Killer-1831122.html

 

Edit: Voted by PC Gamer as their Adventure Game of the Year.

 

https://www.pcgamer.com/best-adventure-game-2020-paradise-killer/

 

 

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Game of the Year

A1. Half Life: Alyx

A2. Hades

A3. The Last of Us Part 2

A4. Paradise Killer

A5. Command and Conquer: remastered

 

Biggest Disappointment of the Year

Z1. Cyberpunk 2077

Z2. XBox Series X launch lineup

Z3. E3

 

Sound Design of the Year

S1. The Last of Us Part 2

S2. Final Fantasy VII Remake

S3. Ghosts of Tsushima

 

Visual Design of the Year

V1. Ghosts of Tsushima

V2. The Last of Us Part 2

V3. Final Fantasy VII Remake

 

 

Writing of the Year

W1. Hades

W2. The Last of Us Part of 2

W3. Spiritfarer

 

Format of the Year

F1. PlayStation 4

 

Publisher or Developer of the Year

P1. Naughty Dog

 

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  • Jolly changed the title to The RLLMUK Game of the Year Awards 2020 - No More Edits Please! New Votes Only! Deadline 31/12/20

Game of the Year

A1. Hades. I’ve never enjoyed a rogue like/lite before, but Supergiant did it in a big way. It’s also a benchmark game for me in terms of changing my attitude to dying — without Hades, I don’t think I would’ve stomached Demons Souls. 
 

A2. The Last of Us Part 2

A3. Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1 + 2

A4. Astro’s Playroom

A5. Desperados 3

 

Biggest Disappointment of the Year

Z1. Cyberpunk 2077

Z2. PS5 SSD capacity

Z3. Super Mario 3D All Stars

 

Sound Design of the Year

S1. The Last of Us Part 2

S2. Carrion

S3. Bugsnax

 

Visual Design of the Year

V1. Carrion

V2. The Last of Us Part 2

V3. Spiritfarer

 

Writing of the Year

W1. Hades

W2. The Last of Us Part 2

W3. Call of the Sea

 

Format of the Year

F1. Nintendo Switch

 

Publisher or Developer of the Year

P1. Supergiant

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I've already counted the existing votes so if you do change them (despite the repeated warnings) you're a massive pain in the arse. Are you a massive pain in the arse, Stanley? Because if you tell me what you want to change but also admit to being a massive pain in the arse, I will change it for you. 

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Game of the Year

A1. Streets of Rage 4 - I just don't understand how this turned out so well. I mean, its been TWENTY FIVE years since the last (pretty average) Streets of Rage 3. It was firmly in the nostalgia territory for most of us, and I think most were quite happy with the idea that this would maybe play the similar to the old games, might not hold up as well as we hoped, but at the very least we'd get a bangin' soundtrack out of the endeavour. "Streets of Rage 4 is better than Streets of Rage 2" - and Lizard Cube/Guard Crush/DotEmu got there by making some inspired changes. A combo meter that actually rewards you, special attacks that are based on risk/reward, and the absolute kinetic frenzy of the physics engine, underpinned by a better moveset which allows for some incredible juggling opportunities and creative think-on-your-feet moments. The stages have excellent pacing and variation, the new enemies are so well mixed with the old enemies, and the dynamics that play out with different factions/items/set pieces keep everything memorable. I also love the design of the millennial Y-Twins - they feel suitably non-committal about ruling the world/evil and feels all centred on wealth and opulence.

 

Praise too for what they didn't add - some fans wanted run animations for all characters and skill-tree/levelling up rubbish could have easily been something that in different circumstances might have been pressured into adding for "longevity". The developers somehow knew what they were doing and to have this amount faith in their own direction is commendable.

 

Special mention has to go to the soundtrack - with major credit to Olivier Deriviere for not creating a pastiche of previous entries - but creating something far less immediately gratifying but one that works so much better as you become more familiar with the game. Its not 90's house classics, or EDM flavour-of-the-month but mixes a lot of different styles really well and utilises the uniqueness of gaming to create a interactive soundtrack that has you anticipating the changes and the build-up. A particular favourite at the moment is Stage 8 when all the gun reload sounds are present and punk grenade girls (I really like this stage - it reminds me of Batman 1989 and has a real comic book vibe) - just hanging around the area a bit longer than you might normally do and the soundtrack plays around in a wonderfully jazzy way.

 

With Sonic Mania we all knew what the team had to deliver - Sega had been trying and failing to do so for years and so it was just about putting all those pieces together. I don't think any of us really knew what Streets of Rage would mean in 2020 - the template just hasn't been around or set in the same way. Streets of Rage 4 is a revitalisation of the genre that I never thought would happen, and will surely be the new benchmark for every modern beat-em up going forward.

 

A2. Spelunky 2 - Spelunky 2 is a complicated game. Its a title that feels like the 16bit sequel to an 8bit original - so much stuff has been revamped, changed, and just overall looks, sounds and feels better - but equally It doesn't really replace OG Spelunky. Spelunky 2 makes veteran players feel dumb and stupid all over again - and that is a wonderful feeling. The pacing is just so remarkably different at every turn - the first area now isn't a 10 minute "finding your feet" but a dense, complicated and ultimately dangerous set of levels that even 500 deaths later, still can bring a good run to an abrupt end. But for all the new, there is a feeling of the old - all those items you know are back (but expanded), those enemies are back (but in different places), the stages and even secret areas are back (but shuffled around a bit). Spelunky 2 is the new challenge for the future (probably at the expense of wider accessibility) and a game I'll be getting to know better over the coming years, and everything I've seen suggests it's ready to do this.

 

A3. Snowrunner - The Assassins Creed of trucking games - it has all those markers on the map, lots of watchtowers for your truck to climb and jump off into bales of hay (note: the bales of hay might be in my mind) and bases to raid (well, deliver stuff to). This is a game about delivering stuff and the journey from A to B and all the possible things that can wrong along the way. Early on you get stuck in mud a lot but a few upgrades in, and experience in switching your AWD and Differential Lock (I don't fully know what these words mean, but I do know that Differential Lock is really good for stopping wheel spin), and you start making more solid progress. Still, failure is only ever a small mistake away but never too much of a setback. You can warp your vehicles back to garage (no cost) and buying/selling prices are vehicles doesn't reduce your cash - experimentation is actively promoted and so although its a "Sim" it doesn't really feel like one. The handling feels quite arcadey to me and the amount you have to concentrate on the actual road terrain is reminiscent of Sega Rally (2007). The ambience of the maps is really well realised too - through a gorgeous day and night cycle which sees early morning fog break to winter suns, seeing the shadows of birds on the snow and hearing the outback radio at fuel pumps really sell the overall experience. The only thing missing from the game is on foot sections (so you can jump into bales of hay) and dinosaurs (so we can all recreate our favourite Jurassic Park scene).

 

A4. Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout - It's just fun. Not too complicated and has enough Mario Party randomness to make it work. I'm glad that the platforming/mini-game Battle Royale effort turned out so well.

 

A5. Wide Ocean Big Jacket - This was a nice little game about going camping. This is a very 2020 game. 

 

Biggest Disappointment of the Year

Z1. Ubisoft - I somehow expected better from Ubisoft but turns out they are just another AAA studio with rotten culture

Z2. Cyberpunk - I'm not even remotely interested in Cyberpunk, but this is a bad precedent to set. I have very low tolerance for games which are not polished to within an inch of their design, and I get that open world design is difficult - but this isn't even in a finished state. CD Projekt Red suggested the multiple delays where to make sure it was this brilliantly polished AAA game, and this falls so far below to the point of deception. Not. Good. I also feel sick for the developer now because

Z3. Developer Crunch - is awful

 

Sound Design of the Year

S1. Streets of Rage 4 - it has a very good soundtrack.

S2. Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout - very Katamari-esq and therefore very pleasing. The characters make interesting noises too.

S3. Super Mario Bros 35 - rubbish game, but one of the best menu theme's in a Mario game - almost sonic-like with the speed and bounciness

 

Visual Design of the Year

V1. Streets of Rage 4

V2.

V3.

 

Writing of the Year

W1.

W2.

W3.

 

Format of the Year

F1. Nintendo Switch

 

Publisher or Developer of the Year

P1. Nintendo - Nintendo found very smart ways to promote older games and provided relief this year in non-conventional ways through the likes of Ring Fit Adventure and Animal Crossing, and just felt that in general that although they a massive corporation making money, they were a positive force for good.

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10 hours ago, Jolly said:

I've already counted the existing votes so if you do change them (despite the repeated warnings) you're a massive pain in the arse. Are you a massive pain in the arse, Stanley? Because if you tell me what you want to change but also admit to being a massive pain in the arse, I will change it for you. 

It’s ok I’ll leave it :blush:

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Game of the Year

A1. A Short Hike - I think this is the best game this year. It is the one that resonated the most. Perfectly balanced, the actual gameplay loop worked, the story wasn't too much. Just the right length, enjoyable to work through and memorable afterwards. Heartwarming.

A2. Two Point Hospital - This has been out on PC a while now but the console conversions were this year. The port is perfect. Strategy games have a long history of compromised ports that aren't quite up to it. This not only nails it, I think the game works better. Bought this on PS4 at release and then later in the year on Switch. Faithful sequel that also expands on the concept and has been well supported with additional content with more to come.

A3. Roki - Think this is the most overlooked game of the year. Very well made. A new take on the point and click genre. It gets all the things right that games like Broken Age tried to and missed the mark on. Has enough depth and content but never feels too hard or unfair.

A4. Pacer - It got a lot of average reviews but think it deserved better. Wipeout Omega Collection is one of my favourite games this generation but it is re-release of a re-release. Pacer is a breath of fresh air. It gives us a look at what could have been if they'd continued the series. Pacer has more content and plays better than Wipeout 2048. The handling isn't quite as tight as Omega however it makes up for it by feeling like a current gen game.

A5. Hades - I don't normally go for blockbuster/popular/mainstream games so much. I do enjoy and play most of the important ones but they are rarely my favourite games. In a year with all sorts of stuff from Animal Crossing to The Last of Us II, Hades stands out above that. This feels the best made and most enjoyable of the critically acclaimed games of the year.

 

Biggest Disappointment of the Year

Z1. Next Gen Consoles - Being permanently sold out. Some gens we've had one console being hard to find for a while but nothing like this. The Vita never had this problem!

Z2. Spelunky 2 - The sequel to one of the most finely tuned and balanced games just felt off. The controls felt wrong, too many new elements added that made the whole thing feel unfair and random to the point they had to update it but it doesn't fix it. In hindsight I would rather the developers had left it alone and used what they learned to make something totally new.

Z3. Dreams - I feel bad calling this a disapointment but this bombed in so many different ways. They made a tool and didn't make a game, a campaign or enough content to have alongside. Art's Dream is actually pretty great but so cut down and short that it barely does anything before moving on. There was no hook to draw people in. I think Playstation VR Worlds does a better job at showcasing and has more depth. The tutorials are genuniely terrible. Too babyish, slow and boring. The worst way of introducing something. The actual development tools themselves are made worse by strange controls (which they have updated and made better but are still not exactly user friendly). This would have been the perfect thing to have a custom controller, even just a playstation/dreams branded keyboard and mouse. The fact that everyone was locked in this year and still hardly anyone bothered with it shows how this failed. 

 

 

 

Format of the Year

F1. Switch

 

Publisher or Developer of the Year

P1. Nintendo - Had a lowkey winning year. No Zelda or big game that stole the show but lots of varied experiences. 51 worldwide games was a nice surprise. Super Mario 3D Allstars gave Super Mario Sunshine a new lease of life and made me want every gamecube game on switch. Things like Super Mario 35 were cool new spins on old games. The release of the NES Fire Emblem in December was great too.

 

 

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I think I've been pretty clear on the criteria for changing existing votes after the regularly communicated deadline. 

 

If you come up to the front of the class and say 'I am a massive pain in the arse' I will change it for you. Thus securing Dicey Dungeons place at somewhere just outside the top 50.

 

You'll have to post the phrase in all caps and bold I'm afraid. I wouldn't want to miss it. 

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Nah it's fine, I am a massive pain in the arse but if it's that much of an issue I will leave it. It is a bit of a shame though as it does discourage people from posting their votes until right at the death, it's not unreasonable that someone could discover a gem at Christmas but not know how good it is until after the PITA deadline has passed.

 

Given how much work is involved in collating things like this though I don't blame you for getting some of the prep done in advance.

 

(psst hey you guys Dicey Dungeons is really good)

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Yeah, I mean if it's literally swapping Crosscode for Dicey Dungeons it's not that much of an issue. It's just after I've done that I'll inevitably get another fifteen changes - some of which will move that poster's other existing votes - so I've got to draw the line somewhere I'm afraid. 

 

I do quite like the idea of having the deadline at the end of January to give everyone a chance to play anything they've picked up. But then that feels a bit after the event. So fuck knows what the answer is. Probably to not take it all so seriously I expect :lol:

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I do wonder if it’d be worth allowing people to vote for the previous calendar year’s releases next time we do this. Each year the majority of the games I play are from the last 12 months or so, but few are from that calendar year. It particularly disadvantages anything released in the back half of the year - when the biggest releases usually land - and favours immediate reactions to those rather than deep impressions.
 

We’re not game journos (most of us) and we’re not marching through the release calendar the way they do, so a structure that works for them might not be the best for us.

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*fond memories of the occasional grumbling that it was too late to be collecting results because they were irrelevant/too late to remember what had come out the previous year(!?), back when I ran the awards in February*

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5 hours ago, Wiper said:

*fond memories of the occasional grumbling that it was too late to be collecting results because they were irrelevant/too late to remember what had come out the previous year(!?), back when I ran the awards in February*

 

Wasn't there one year where we didn't get (all) the results until May or something?  Maybe that was just the length of time it took to post them :P

 

Anyway for the record I concur a end of January deadline would be more sensible to allow time for the Q4 games to digest/get bought/get played - although given half of what I play in a given year was normally released somewhat earlier it probably wouldn't matter to me...

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Game of the Year

A1. Streets of rage 4

I'm not much of a fan of the genre (havent played a beat em up properly since Final Fight), but even I have to bow to this majestic masterpiece.

A2. Spelunky 2

It was initially frustrating having to unlearn my habits from the first game - yet once I was past that, I had to recognize what an excellent sequel this is.

A3. Noita

All the best stuff from BOTW crammed into a 2D game, but without any of the boring stuff - progression can be a bit frustrating due to the RNG though.

A4. Huntdown

A5. Hades

 

Biggest Disappointment of the Year

Z1. Ubisoft

Z2. CDPR / Cyberpunk

Z3. Chris Avellone

 

Sound Design of the Year

S1. Streets of rage 4

S2. Huntdown

S3. Spelunky 2

 

Visual Design of the Year

V1. Streets of rage 4

V2. Hades

V3. Spelunky 2

 

Writing of the Year

W1. Streets of rage 4

W2. Huntdown

W3. Hades

 

Format of the Year

F1. Pc

 

Publisher or Developer of the Year

P1.

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1 minute ago, dirk_beefhammer said:

Biggest Disappointment of the Year

Z3. Chris Avellone

 

Oh god, I'd forgotten him turning out to be a power-abusing dickhead was this year. A real disappointment that, as I idolised a lot of his earlier works, and had fond memories of bumping into him in a queue at Gamecity one year and becoming entirely tongue-tied.  Ho-hum :(

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38 minutes ago, Wiper said:

 

Oh god, I'd forgotten him turning out to be a power-abusing dickhead was this year. A real disappointment that, as I idolised a lot of his earlier works, and had fond memories of bumping into him in a queue at Gamecity one year and becoming entirely tongue-tied.  Ho-hum :(

Ah jeez I'd forgotten all about that. There's been so much shit this year. As a fan of the genre, I've held him in high regard ever since the late 90s. If there was Avellone writing to be found in an RPG, it was an automatic interest level+1. That was so disappointing to find out about one of the few idols I had in gaming. Ho-hum indeed, it should have been on my list. 

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I am a massive dick, can I add Immortals: Fynex Rising in at...

 

actually, I’m not sure, but it is a happy game that isn’t just a complete BoTW clone (it has a story, far fewer towers(!), and a really good fifth area for a start) and should therefore be recognised with a special Dumped To Die In December award and then people might play it.

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  • Jolly changed the title to The RLLMUK Game of the Year Awards 2020 - DEADLINE TODAY!

Game of the Year

A1. Animal Crossing: New Horizons - Shout out to the flower posse! Helping out for the mega sparkles everyday for weeks (months? :lol:until finally we all got the elusive blue rose :) 

A2. Astro's Playroom - What a wonderful love letter to Playstation history and the music! Wonderful

A3. Crusader Kings III - It's like CKII, but easier and yet more complex, amazing achievement to make such a complex game so user friendly.

A4. Fall Guys - I won a single crown and yet I kept playing right up until everyone learned all the levels and it got too hard! lol

A5. MS Flight Simulator - a stunning achievement and truly next gen, if you ever wonder just how big the world out there is, try flying in from the sea into the Amazon, three hours later and you've not even covered a couple of percent of it. Truly next gen and would vote it higher if there was just a bit more "game" there.

 

Biggest Disappointment of the Year

Z1. Ubisoft - I like their games (so sue me) mostly because they are good at creating worlds to play in with your mates. So to hear about the awful practices going on there has left a sour taste in my mouth. I haven't bought a game (or played one now I think about it) from them since.

 

Sound Design of the Year

S1. Astrobot - can't fault the music at all, and the way they use the sound from the controller to compliment the rumble is sublime.

 

Writing of the Year

W1. Crusader Kings III - the self-made stories that the game allows is very smart writing.

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Game of the Year

A1. Final Fantasy VII Remake. Final Fantasy VII Remake wasn't the best game I played last year mechanically. That pleasure goes to my number 2 or maybe DOOM Eternal, but what it did it did perfectly. It transported me back into the world of one of my favourite games of all time, and did so not in look or mechanics or in some cases even story, but in feel. It made Final Fantasy VII something strange and new and unexpected again. And it let me spend more time with some of my favourite characters in any medium ever. It was too long and bloated in places and it's definitely heart over head that puts FF7R at the top of my list, but it gave me something I've not experienced since I was 11 in an incredibly difficult year so here it is. 

 

A2. Hades. Perfect game design, a fantastic soundtrack, a rogue like I actually like. It's the way it uses its genre to tell its story that makes Hades so special to me. Hades couldn't be done in any other medium, hell any other genre within its medium. Story is layered throughout and opened up via your choices, and each death leads to a little more colour or information, sometimes directly tied to what happened on your run. A remarkable achievement from a superb team. 

 

A3. Paradise Killer. The longer I play games the more I realise that what I want from them is stories that I craft as the player. Outer Wilds was my GOTY last year for this reason and Paradise Killer scratches a similar itch in 2020. The fact that it does it with humour, style to spare and the best original soundtrack of the year certainly doesn't hurt either. 

 

A4. Animal Crossing: New Horizons. It feels weird for me to say that I don't think New Horizons is the best game in the series. That honour goes to New Leaf on the 3DS. I actually think New Horizons is really disappointing in quite a lot of ways, but it helped get me through parts of this year that I honestly don't know how I'd have coped with if it wasn't there, and for that it deserves its place on my list. 

 

A5. The Last of Us: Part II. If you'd asked me before I played it I'd have told you that TLOU2 would be a game with a fantastic story and bog standard gameplay. Having blasted through it at launch in just shy of two weeks I've actually sort of settled on the opposite. I honestly think the combat in this game is some of the best I've played since Metal Gear Solid V. And while it lacks the breadth of options of that game, what is has is a truly excellent sneak/alert/hide/repeat stealth combat system bolstered by some stunning, crunchy movement animation. The story for me was well told but just too damn linear for its own good, but more on that later.  

 

Biggest Disappointment of the Year

Z1. Ubisoft, and their games still being supported by games buying public. Ubisoft are a house of bastards and that's pretty well known throughout the internet. We had a thread on it on rllmuk, a fairly left leaning forum, and yet at launch the Watchdogs and AC: Valhalla threads are still fairly busy. Stop buying their games everyone! They're abusers!

Z2. Crunch. Whether it's becoming more of a thing due to rising expectations or, more realistically, it's just being reported on more, crunch felt like a big thing this year. I'm not sure you can be into this hobby and not support crunch in some way shape or form but I'm certainly trying by waiting if possible and buying second hand to not support that shit. 

Z3. The Last of Us Part II. I've said it in the thread a few times on here but I think The Last of Us Part II tells a really good story that is actively harmed by it taking place in a video game. After Outer Wilds last year my brain's started thinking a bit differently about game stories, and I think it's such a shame that Naughty Dog spends hundreds of millions crafting these stories in video games and then doesn't let you impact them in any way. I felt certain elements of the game were making me do things as a player that I didn't want to do, with an insta-fail status being the only alternative. There are plenty of games that do this but more than anything I was disappointed with TLOU2 because of how good most of it was, how much the story sucked me in only to really let me down in the key moments. 

 

Sound Design of the Year

S1. Final Fantasy VII Remake

S2. Paradise Killer

S3. Hades

 

Visual Design of the Year

V1. Final Fantasy VII Remake

V2. DOOM Eternal

V3. Destiny 2: Beyond Light

 

Writing of the Year

W1. Paradise Killer

W2. Hades

W3. Spider Man: Miles Morales

 

Format of the Year

F1. Xbox One

 

Publisher or Developer of the Year

P1. Supergiant Games

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Game of the Year

A1. Paradise Killer

A2. Murder By Numbers

A3. Journey to the Savage Planet

A4. Hades

A5. Star Wars Squadrons

 

Biggest Disappointment of the Year

Z1. Ubisoft’s cultural issues

Z2. This industry continuing to be filled with abusive arseholes - people I’ve looked up to, people I’ve worked with (hearing from women I’ve worked with about men I’ve worked with in the past). And it’s not just sexual abuse, it’s also bullying and abuse of power - the smart asshole trope needs to die, too many people take it to heart.

Z3. Me for not using this year of being locked inside to play more.

 

Sound Design of the Year

S1. Star Wars Squadrons

S2. Paradise Killer

S3. Hades

 

Visual Design of the Year

V1. Spiritfairer*

V2. Paradise Killer

V3. Journey to the Savage Planet

 

Writing of the Year

W1. Paradise Killer

W2. Murder By Numbers

W3. Pendragon*

 

Format of the Year

F1. Switch

 

Publisher or Developer of the Year

P1. Kaizen Game Works
 

 

* haven’t played enough to consider for GOTY

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  • Jolly changed the title to The RLLMUK Game of the Year Awards 2020 - VOTING CLOSED!
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