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Letters from the Front

2020 has been a very powerful year. A historic one. An interesting year. A difficult year. But outside of the real world, 2020 has been an excellent year for videogames: a quite historic year. From the return of Medal of Honor and Half-Life to the return of a cult classic mafia game of the 2000s, there has never been quite a year for videogames.

Unlike previous years, this year will be quite different: On January 28th, I will reveal my personal Game of the Year but I will also do a countdown of the top 10 games of the year starting tomorrow. I’m going to be counting down from number 10 until January 28th when Game of the Year will be revealed. I hope you enjoy what I cooked up here and what will come in the following days, I think it’s gonna be a fun ride and a fun read for all to click on the articles. I can’t wait to see what you guys say. And now, let’s get the Award show on the move!

Best Action Game: Call of Duty: Warzone

Call of Duty: Warzone takes a vastly different approach than most battle royale games. While death is an inconvenience rather than the end, top-tier weapons are easy to come by, and skill will only get you so far when armor plates are no longer viable. While, it is pretty easy to pick up and is quite accessible, there is a line drawn in the sand: it pays to be not just good but excellent if you want to score some hot Ws. Verdansk and Rebirth Island is the penultimate peak of Call of Duty’s map design, it is a testament to the great map designs of the franchise’s legendary past; it combines the greatest maps from the franchise into one giant open world varied in design, great to navigate, and ripe for great stories to tell your friends. Warzone is the ultimate Call of Duty experience in 2020.

BEST MULTIPLAYER: Call of Duty: Warzone

In 2007, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare released to the world. It was a jarring, gripping, iconic take on conflict in the new millennium: a far cry from the battlefields of the Second World War that was so popular in that era with games like Medal of Honor, it was a great sequel to 2005’s Call of Duty 2. It’s multiplayer was revolutionary in online gaming at that time, that same formula that made Call of Duty 4 an iconic multiplayer game of the late 2000’s is here in Call of Duty: Warzone. Warzone is a fun, chaotic, memorable experience that never gets old. Warzone is the ultimate Call of Duty experience in the present day. There is nothing quite like it.

Best Story: Mafia: The Definitive Edition

In a year dominated with the likes of iconic games that made a impact in the past like Tony Hawk: Pro Skater 1+2 and iconic games of the present like Call of Duty: Warzone, Hades, and others, there needed to be a good return to the past and that happened to be Mafia: The Definitive Edition, a game of the early 2000s.

The original Mafia launched in 2002 on PC, and in 2004 for the original Xbox and Playstation 2. At the time, Mafia commanded heaps of praise for its gritty take on the formula provided by Grand Theft Auto III. Mafia was something that emerged from the minds of Hollywood giants like Martin Scorsese, and in the present day that same feeling has remained in place and that modern technology elevates the cult classic to new heights. It is an essential buy for anyone who enjoys a good story ripped from premium cable TV like HBO or Showtime. It has some of the best story delivery in recent memory.

Best Setting: Mafia: The Definitive Edition

Lost Heaven is a port city in the Midwest, inspired by the city of Chicago, Lost Heaven has to be one of the best locations I’ve ever been too in recent memory. The city of Lost Heaven isn’t designed to be explored, like San Andreas in Grand Theft Auto V or New Bordeaux in Mafia III, it serves as a backdrop to the story with relevant radio broadcasts of the 1930s and music from the time period alongside chatter, adding tone and context to the overall story. The real reason why Mafia wins this award is because it takes the city seriously, almost as if the city itself is its own character in a tale about crime in the Depression-era. Mafia is a very immersive and atmospheric game with 1930s era jazz and big band music wailing on the radio, glossy Model T-Fords race each other in the streets, the world that Mafia inhabits is one of hypocrisy and corruption; videogames often talk about world-building and immersing you into that world, but it rarely happens like this. You’re experiencing history through a pair of cans on your head and through a screen. Much like Red Dead Redemption 2 did in 2018, Mafia brings 1930s era America to life in ways that many games don’t.

Best Remaster / Remake: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2

Bringing back two classic games that is seen as flawless in the eyes of many is no easy feat, but Activision’s execution of these two games is nothing short of perfection. The 1999 cult classic returns and the sequel from 2000 was brought back and elevated to new heights.

Games like American Wasteland, the two Underground set of games were a huge thing for me growing up in the early 2000s and the franchise has always been a present entity in my life so to remake two set of classic games from my childhood makes me filled with excitement. From everything we wanted in a remake to brand new graphics that pop with modern hardware makes this the remake of the year; the soundtrack takes me to the early 2000s, unlockable characters and stages make this game worthy of a replay every time. There’s nothing quite like that.

Game of the Year 2020

Come back on January 28th, 2020 for my Game of the Year.

And this wraps up the Best of 2019 Awards! Tomorrow is the beginning of the countdown to Game of the Year 2020. See you then!

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