KeenGamer’s Best Games of 2020 Based on Genre

KeenGamer's best games of 2020 list, based on genre, has arrived! Reminisce about all the great titles to arrive in 2020 and check out our favorites among many standard gaming genres. For those not keen on The Game Awards' results, this may suit you better.

KeenGamer's Best Games of 2020 Based on Genre Cover

2020 is a year that many would like to forget. Given the current pandemic and the continued shutdowns occurring at frequent intervals, many have gone to video games for an escape more than ever. Thankfully, some solace can be taken knowing that in terms of gaming this year, it’s been a great one. Whether you like platformers, first-person shooters, or action-adventure, there has been no shortage of games to fill you in as time creaks by in the background. This list is dedicated to the best games that released in 2020 based on their genre, voted on by the staff here at KeenGamer.

Before that, though, be sure to check out our full list of the best overall games of 2020! Or you can leave that open for after this is through. Your choice!

For the sake of brevity (where applicable), any game that only received a single vote in any category will not appear in this list. And for easy browsing, you can click on any category down below to take you directly to that spot.

Best Action Game

DOOM Eternal

DOOM Eternal - Official Trailer 2

[19 total votes]

Making up over half of the total votes for this category, DOOM Eternal has proven itself to be the definitive action game of 2020. After the revitalized success of the DOOM franchise in 2016, it doesn’t look like the Doom Slayer will be taking any extended hiatuses again for the foreseeable future.

For more on the game, be sure to read our DOOM Eternal review!

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

ASSASSIN'S CREED VALHALLA: LAUNCH TRAILER

[7 total votes]

Making up 20% of the total voting pool, Valhalla has impressed a fair number of writers with its foray into Norse mythology. Mark it as another hit for Ubisoft’s now world-renowned Assassin’s Creed series, which has cemented itself as a surefire bestseller with each passing release.

For more on the game, be sure to read our Assassin’s Creed Valhalla review!

Other selections

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War –  3 votes
  • Immortals Fenyx Rising –  2 votes

Best Action-Adventure Game

The Last of Us Part II

The Last of Us Part II - Official Story Trailer | PS4

[9 total votes]

Much like the fight for KeenGamer’s Game of the Year pick, The Last of Us Part II and the next title fought hard for dominance. Yet Naughty Dog’s critically-acclaimed sequel to 2013’s The Last of Us has taken the top spot yet again. Whether you’re in it for the gut-wrenching story or revolutionary visual effects, there are solid reasons as to why it’s so heavily adored.

For more on the game, be sure to read our The Last of Us Part II review!

Ghost of Tsushima

Ghost of Tsushima -The Ghost | PS4

[8 total votes]

Being a Ghost has appealed to many all over the world. The staff at KeenGamer agrees, as it went toe to toe with the reigning Game Awards Game of the Year winner. Sucker Punch’s latest game boasts gorgeous animation and an immersive tale of full of as-you-choose violence.

For more on the game, be sure to read our Ghost of Tsushima review!

Half-Life: Alyx

Half-Life: Alyx Announcement Trailer

[5 total votes]

The return to the world of Half-Life was a joyous one for many. Over a decade since the release of Half-Life 2, it seemed the beloved franchise would stay dormant forever, rumors of a potential Half-Life 3 notwithstanding. 2020 ended up a year of revival for Valve, which saw them release a full-scale video game exclusive to VR, helping to legitimize the fledgling medium. And I’m willing to bet no one had Half-Life: Alyx on their 2020 bingo card at the beginning of 2019.

Other Selections

  • Demon’s Souls –  3 votes
  • Cyberpunk 2077 –  3 votes

Best RPG Game

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

ASSASSIN'S CREED VALHALLA: LAUNCH TRAILER

[8 total votes]

With DOOM Eternal not as imposing in the RPG category, Valhalla thus flourished when given the chance. Despite the curiously low number of GOTY votes, the game has impressed many on the site with its level of quality and RPG goodness.

Final Fantasy VII Remake

Final Fantasy VII Remake - Final Trailer | PS4

[7 total votes]

The return to Midgar ended up being pretty exciting to many. With a gorgeous visual makeover and a revamped battle system, it heavily expands upon the story and details of the original Final Fantasy VII lore and transcends it into modern times. Much like Star Wars Episode VII: The Force AwakensFinal Fantasy VII Remake is a similar story for viewers old and new.

For more on the game, be sure to read our Final Fantasy VII Remake review!

Cyberpunk 2077

Cyberpunk 2077 — Official Gameplay Trailer

[6 total votes]

Despite the controversial launchCyberpunk 2077‘s better qualities have shone through for a fair number of our writers. Given all the delays and constant hype build-up, it seemed inevitable that the accolades would come pouring in, if not for all the bugs and technical faults. Despite it all, it comes across as a marvel for RPG adventures, so long as you can keep things steady.

For more on the game, be sure to read our Cyberpunk 2077 review!

Other Selections

  • Genshin Impact –  4 votes
  • Yakuza: Like a Dragon –  4 votes

Best Strategy Game

Crusader Kings III

Crusader Kings III - Release Trailer

[12 total votes]

Much like DOOM Eternal in the Action category, Crusader Kings III has taken the Strategy category by a very large margin; over 50% of the votes went to this. While the year has not been too bountiful for strategy games, titles such as this show there there will always be a sizeable market for those fond of calculative risks and conquest.

For more on the game, be sure to read our Crusader Kings III review!

Desperados III

Desperados III - Launch Trailer | PS4

[4 total votes]

While it doesn’t quite have the same reach as Crusader Kings IIIDesperados III is another hit game within a respective strategy game franchise released in 2020. Full of storied characters and wild west grandeur, there are plenty of shootouts available to you should you dive in now!

For more on the game, be sure to read our Desperados III review!

Gears Tactics

Gears Tactics - Official Launch Trailer

[3 total votes]

The unforeseen deviation from the Gears of War franchise of brutal action-adventure has given some a different appreciation for the franchise. While it didn’t see the same amount of success as past titles, it provided some delightful strategy tactics to players everywhere in a place not entirely expected.

Best Simulation Game

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

What Is Animal Crossing: New Horizons? A Guide for the Uninitiated

[17 total votes]

I’m starting to think there are clear favorites in some of these categories.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the newest installment of the Animal Crossing franchise; 8 years dormant since its last mainline game in New Leaf. Its timing was strangely impeccable, releasing just as the COVID-19 pandemic was spreading like wildfire. Millions of players were able to create their own homes away from home, when home was all they were able to see for months. As unfulfilling as it normally is to call a game a “distraction,” New Horizons ended up being among the best distractions of 2020.

For more on the game, be sure to read our Animal Crossing: New Horizons review!

Microsoft Flight Simulator

Microsoft Flight Simulator - Pre-Order Launch Trailer

[7 total votes]

The gift of flight is one that is not born to humankind. The next best thing we have is piloting, and Microsoft has provided as complete a way to do so as possibly ever before. Microsoft Flight Simulator has managed to be an under-the-radar hit that some may even consider a snub for Game of the Year. Its Metacritic score sure seems to back up that claim.

Other Selections

  • F1 2020 –  2 votes
  • Dirt 5 –  2 votes

Best Fighting Game

Streets of Rage 4

Streets of Rage 4 - Launch Trailer | PS4

[14 total votes]

2020 was not exactly shining with games within the Fighting genre. Nevertheless, a few notable games have brought a satiable itch to those who are into either beat-’em-ups or standard fighting affairs. With Streets of Rage 4, a storied franchise returns to the modern age to re-establish its hold on fighting game history. If the number of votes and a Best Fighting Game nomination at the recent Game Awards is any indication, it succeeded.

For more on the game, be sure to read our Streets of Rage 4 review!

Granblue Fantasy Versus

Granblue Fantasy: Versus - Launch Trailer | PS4

[3 total votes]

While the disparity in votes between this in Streets of Rage 4 is large, that shouldn’t discredit the quality that Granblue Fantasy Versus brings to the table. With tons of characters at one’s disposal and a solid mix of fighting and RPG-adventure mechanics, it’s something to keep on your radar with new content continuously supplied.

For more info on the game, be sure to read our Granblue Fantasy Versus review!

Other Selection

  • One Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows –  2 votes

Best FPS Game

DOOM Eternal

DOOM Eternal - Official Trailer 2

[15 total votes]

Action, FPS, whichever it may be, DOOM reigns supreme. With about 47% of the total votes in this category, it has firmly established its presence in the minds of KeenGamer staff as the Action-FPS game of 2020. Ripping and tearing and all that good fun were had by all.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War

Call of Duty®: Black Ops Cold War - Multiplayer Reveal Trailer

[8 total votes]

It is among the most profitable franchises of all time; such would not be possible without it being a solid product. Black Ops Cold War is the latest Treyarch product that takes some inspiration from past titles, giving it a shiny polish in an ’80s political fashion. Whether you fancy world-bending campaigns, multiplayer shootouts, or zombies, the newest Call of Duty has all that and more.

Half-Life: Alyx

Half-Life: Alyx Announcement Trailer

[4 total votes]

With the added VR effects, Alyx provides a completely new feel on the FPS genre. To be able to precisely pinpoint your shots and reload manually encourages further immersion into the action. If not for an equally engaging story, Half-Life: Alyx may have been able to glide by on its innovative detail alone.

Other Selections

  • Valorant –  2 votes
  • Serious Sam 4 –  2 votes

Best Battle Royale Game

Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout

Fall Guys - Official Cinematic Launch Trailer

[15 total votes]

The results for Best Battle Royale came down to two titans: Fall Guys and the next on this list. In the end, the big beans(?) pulled through to provide one of 2020’s surprise indie hits. With Fall Guys, a new type of colorful, party-esque battle royale was born, and while its popularity has dwindled, there are still tons of players duking it out in the myriad of mini-games available… and soon to come.

For more on the game, be sure to read our Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout review!

Call of Duty: Warzone

Call of Duty®: Warzone - Official Trailer

[12 total votes]

When Call of Duty entered the battle royale scene, many saw it as an easy fit. With the rise of PUBG and Fortnite, it was only a matter of time until the most profitable FPS of all time stepped into the fray. Thus, Call of Duty: Warzone was born, and with it the accolades began to pour in. The staff here feel similarly, as it’s among the premiere battle royale games on the market currently.

Other Selections

  • Spellbreak –  2 votes
  • Super Mario Bros. 35 –  2 votes

Best Platformer Game

Astro’s Playroom

Astro's Playroom - Gameplay Trailer l PS5

[9 total votes]

Another tight race for the top spot of this category, the unrivaled cuteness of Astro and Sony franchise cameos won out over other established franchises. A free game bundled with every PS5 console purchase, Astro’s Playroom has the polish and heart of a 40-hour adventure, bundled into a short-but-sweet experience.

For more on the game, be sure to read our Astro’s Playroom review!

Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time

Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time – Gameplay Launch Trailer | PS4

[8 total votes]

It’s all in the name. For many years, Crash Bandicoot was but a relic of the ’90s, a testament to Naughty Dog’s start as a serious game developer. Now, in 2020, the spinster is back in an all-new adventure, revived from the dead. It’s About Time has provided life into the franchise once more as a more-than-solid game that does more with more—maybe a little too much.

For more on the game, be sure to read our Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time review!

Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Ori and the Will of the Wisps - Launch Trailer - Nintendo Switch

[6 total votes]

The sequel to 2015’s indie hit Ori and the Blind ForestWill of the Wisps continues the winning formula of metroidvania mechanics combined with emotional storytelling and beautiful aesthetics. Should it continue to perform well with each new entry, this may be the next big platformer franchise to watch for as the years go by.

Other Selection

  • Spelunky 2 –  3 votes

Best Indie Games

Hades

Hades - Launch Trailer - Nintendo Switch

[16 total votes]

It should come as no surprise that a Game of the Year candidate that also happens to be an indie title would be quite popular in this category. With over 45% of the total vote, Hades is the clear winner here, and for good  reason. With in-depth roguelike details that rewards player deaths not just with added clarity and insight, but story bits, it’s a game that innovates as well as it enthralls. Whether you like fantasy action or colorful characters, Hades would be a splendid option.

Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout

Fall Guys - Official Cinematic Launch Trailer

[10 total votes]

It doesn’t have the same narrative flair as Hades, but for those looking for a good time with friends and strangers, Fall Guys is a battle royale party for the ages. Occasionally described as “Mario Party as a battle royale,” should that moniker suit your needs, the game’s not very expensive for any platform.

Spiritfarer

Spiritfarer - Launch Trailer - Nintendo Switch

[4 total votes]

Rounding out this list is an indie darling that soothed the souls of players everywhere. Interacting with lost spirits and guiding them to their final rest is something that sounds somber on the surface, yet Spiritfarer manages to make it engaging and meaningful. An emotional game for emotional souls, it’s a pleasant candidate for a good indie game or AAA game alike.

For more on the game, be sure to read our Spiritfarer review!

Other Selection

  • Paradise Killer –  2 votes
That’s all we have for this year! What were some of your favorite games from these genres in 2020? Comment below and tell us your thoughts!
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And to a wonderful 2021!

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