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With 2020 coming to a close, let's look back at the Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One games that reviewed the best.
, and now that it's finally coming to a close, we figured it's the perfect time to look back at some of our favorite games. Our top 10 picks make up our , but there were plenty of other wonderful gems that we liked. And many of those games released on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S. Below, we've rounded up GameSpot's best-reviewed Xbox games of 2020.
Now, remember, this list only includes the games for Xbox that GameSpot reviewed. We're only human and there aren't enough of us to cover literally every single game. This list is not designed to diminish other excellent games that were released on Xbox this year, such as Call of the Sea, Evan's Remains, and Coffee Talk (all of which you should go play, by the way); it just compiles the collection of games that we managed to publish a review for on the website that . We've listed the games in alphabetical order.
If you're looking to see what scored best on other platforms or in general, or what stood atop as the best in particular genres this year, be sure to check out the features below. Otherwise, read on for all the best new Xbox games in 2020 by score!
"Despite its strong connection to past games, Assassin's Creed Valhalla is more than capable of standing on its own. It takes a little while to build momentum, but when it hits its stride, Valhalla is a confident Assassin's Creed title that takes a few narrative risks which, as a whole, pay off. Eivor is a good hero with an identity that drives the mystery behind the main narrative, and she shines in the self-contained arc structure of Valhalla's story. The supporting cast may not shine as brightly, but it's easy to forgive that when exploring England and discovering new nuggets of worldbuilding is so rewarding." -- Jordan Ramée, Associate Editor
"That Easter egg owes both its story justification and its level of meta weirdness to Hachi, which is really what sets Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2 apart. It's still a classic Castlevania homage at heart, but it has an eccentricity that feels right at home alongside the giant kitty-cats of Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. When a game seems to be having this much fun at its own expense, it's hard not to join in." -- Steve Watts, Associate Editor
"Even more so than playing the N.Sane Trilogy, which literally remade the original Crash games from my youth, playing Crash 4 felt like getting back in touch with the series. It's an injection of new ideas into now-classic gameplay that surprises and delights, even as it feels like a homecoming. Truly, games like this are why we come running back to long-dormant franchises with open arms." -- Mike Epstein, Freelance Reviewer
"Desperados 3 is a superb package. It's a clever, cunning game of stealth and tactical thinking that, thanks to a generous quick-save system and wealth of informative visual cues, entices you to tinker with all the toys it has on offer and fully explore the possibility spaces of its elaborate levels. There's no need for a do-over here; Desperados 3 is a dead-eye shot on the very first try." -- David Wildgoose, Freelance Reviewer
"Beyond Light might not be the biggest expansion, but it does feel like we've entered a new chapter in the game's life, with new priorities and an approach that makes the game more resonant in a way that goes beyond satisfying shooting. On the whole, Destiny 2 might be more of the same than it is different, but what's the same about it--like its phenomenal raids and tight, satisfying gameplay--is still largely pretty great, and what's different is mostly making the game all the more worthwhile." -- Phil Hornshaw, Editor
"Though it can take a bit to get the hang of it, the intricacies of Doom Eternal's combat, combined with its enhanced mobility and option-heavy level design, create a ton of white-knuckle moments that elevate everything that made Doom 2016 work so well. Its combat is just as quick and chaotic, but requires you to constantly analyze everything that's happening in order to come out victorious. Once you get the hang of the rhythm of Doom Eternal, it'll make you feel like a demon-slaying savant." -- Phil Hornshaw, Editor
"On the whole, though, Evergate is remarkably clever. It's a short and sweet treat of a game that constantly invents new ways to interact with the world and to blend game elements together, making for a satisfying test of brainpower and reflexes." -- Steve Watts, Associate Editor
"Career mode is still a mixed bag, then, but it's reassuring that EA has made some additional moves to try and freshen it up. If you do grow tired of simming through training sessions and managing sharpness, FIFA 21 is still chock full of other stuff to do, whether you want to head to the streets of Paris to show off your skills, hop into Ultimate Team with a friend, or play through a season on Pro Clubs. This is a substantial package that's propped up by exciting gameplay that puts the onus squarely on attacking football. There are moments of frustration on defense when the balance doesn't feel quite right, but then you'll go down the other end and score a Puskás Award contender that makes you forget why you were mad in the first place." -- Richard Wakeling, Freelance Reviewer
"Though Gears Tactics wears itself a little thin by the end of its protracted campaign, the rush of pulling together a victory from the jaws of defeat carries an exciting, chaotic energy. Unlike most strategy games, playing well doesn't necessarily make you feel like a mastermind, so much as though you've cheated death. Every successful plan, even a last-ditch effort, feels like a small stroke of genius. That's no small feat." -- Mike Epstein, Freelance Reviewer
"The game doesn't so much resolve all the seething tensions and unfulfilled promises seen prior, but demands that you shoulder some of the weight of remembering and honoring what you've seen and heard. The overall point of the game is that not everyone's life will be paid off in a way that provides catharsis, or comfort, or satisfaction. Sometimes it just ends, sometimes it keeps going whether we're there to see it or not, and sometimes it's just disappointment. Conway has debts to pay, and there is a chance he drops dead working to pay them back. That is as American as it gets in the 21st century. What Act V does, though, is give everyone one last chance to rail against that fact, mourn it, continue to have hopes regardless which, too, is what it is to live here. Kentucky Route Zero has been priming us for seven years to recognize that life isn't fair, though we'd gain so much if it was, and sometimes we're lucky enough to make it as fair as it can be. But just as often, we're not. Kentucky Route Zero is ultimately a story about America's ghosts, literal and metaphorical. It's a story about entire ways of life coming to one singular place to die quietly, hopefully with dignity. In all of its oddity, it never backs down from the fact that all that is now dead will stay dead, and for those who have settled in along the Zero, that includes the American dream." -- Justin Clark, Freelance Reviewer
"But when The Last Campfire captivates--which it does so often--it's difficult not to sink into its breezy pacing and satisfying puzzle-solving. It never overstays its welcome or stretches puzzle ideas beyond their limits, letting each one leave an impression despite their brevity. The Last Campfire's narrative contextualizes each of these with small anecdotes, letting your imagination fill in the blanks of its world between worlds to the backdrop of its colorful imagery. It's a consistently relaxing and pleasant experience." -- Alessandro Barbosa, Freelance Reviewer
"Still, Mortal Shell succeeds more often than not at capturing the specific feelings intrinsic to Souls-like games. The twists it adds to From-inspired mechanics do well to help this sort of game become more approachable than most, while maintaining the same air of mystery and foreboding that makes the genre itself so intriguing. Mortal Shell makes for a strong introduction to Souls-likes, a demonstration for new players of what so many have found so interesting about From Software's games and those like them. But Mortal Shell is also a lovingly crafted, weird, and deceptively deep game in its own right that rewards you for wandering its twisted paths and challenging its deadliest foes." -- Phil Hornshaw, Editor
"NHL 21 is a fantastic ice hockey game that pushes the series forward with an enjoyable, engaging story mode in Be A Pro and a flashy, arcade-style way to play with HUT Rush. The new skill moves are a welcome addition to the mix to give players new ways to be slippery and keep defenders guessing, but the best part of NHL 21 is its solid foundation thanks to its excellent controls and presentation package that is getting even closer to mirroring a TV broadcast." -- Eddie Makuch, Associate Editor
"That finality could signal that this is the last Ori game, a farewell to the fantastical world and memorable characters that made Moon Studios such a standout developer from its very first effort. If that is the case, you could hardly ask for a better send-off. Ori and the Will of the Wisps is a remarkable synthesis of artful design and beautiful moments."-- Steve Watts, Associate Editor
"Despite those unfortunate technical issues, Othercide is still a great tactics game. The variety of classes and abilities make for a wide range of strategies, but no matter your team composition, the Daughters work together beautifully to take down their enemies. Boss fights are by far the most memorable and really showcase the reaction and combo system, but they also feed into the game's unique and engrossing story. While Othercide's maps and missions leave something to be desired, it's still a blast to cut your way through hordes of Others and pull off deadly combos that look cool as hell. With an exceptional story, atmospheric horror visuals, and tense, rewarding combat, Othercide offers a challenge you'll want to rise to, again and again." -- Jenae Sitzes, Commerce Editor
"PGA Tour 2K21 improves on the mostly stellar foundation of The Golf Club series, offering the most realistic and pure golf experience in a game to date. There are still some minor annoyances that can temporarily take you out of the experience, but it offers a closer approximation of the actual PGA Tour schedule and a relaxing, streamlined approach to MyPlayer. For the most part, PGA Tour 2K21 admirably captures the peculiar magic of the game of golf." -- Steven Petite, Associate Commerce Editor
"Risk of Rain 2 is lo-fi beats to relax to with the bass boosted until the subwoofers catch fire. And explode. And bleed? What begins as a chill loot-shooty time quickly escalates to a frantic fight for your life where everything is burning and there's a big red target on your back. The lack of any strategic layer between the action did leave me feeling burned out. But the additive nature of the game's builds give Risk of Rain 2 the feeling of a pebble skittering along a rocky cliff. When the avalanche begins, enemies would be well advised to get out of your way." -- Andrew King, Freelance Reviewer
"Spiritfarer is somehow a game with no risk but all reward. There's no death, no pain, no rush on any task, and yet I don't think I've ever felt this complete. You're allowed to totally take your time, play on your own terms, and even though your tasks are easy, they are incredibly fulfilling. If the game had kept giving me quests, I feel as if I would have kept doing them for eternity, just because I wanted to. All of Spiritfarer's novel mechanical variations kept potentially repetitive actions from ever growing old. Its gleeful little islands got more exciting to explore as new platforming abilities were unlocked. The characters, even small ones with funny little quips of dialogue that you encounter, were friends that I cherished. I absolutely adored existing in Spiritfarer's beautifully animated, compassionate world so much that it genuinely came to feel like home." -- Hope Corrigan, Freelance Reviewer
"No matter how many hours I spent in Star Renegades, every run, every battle, every turn felt like a new captivating puzzle to solve. In my experience, roguelites lose their luster when the runs start to feel the same no matter how you change things up. Even after playing for dozens of hours and having seen the vast majority of what there is to see, I never lost interest in picking apart each battle to dismantle an opponent for a turn, then another one, and another until the battle is finished. The satisfying feeling of living in the moment and conquering it never gets old." -- Mike Epstein, Freelance Reviewer
"All in all, though, Streets of Rage 4 is an admirable comeback for this long-dormant series. It looks great, sounds great, and plays very well. Even if the experience is relatively short, it's the sort of game you and your buddies can easily enjoy playing and re-playing. If you're craving some classic brawling action with a modern edge, these rage-filled streets are calling your name." -- Heidi Kemps, Freelance Reviewer
"Superliminal is a great puzzle experience, full of smart ideas that are richly realized. The game's playful use of the first-person camera and clever perspective manipulation puzzles take video game tropes and mechanics most players will be familiar with and wring something truly fresh out of them. Superliminal achieves its clear central aim--it offers up some genuinely fresh perspectives on what first-person puzzle games can do." -- James O’Connor, Freelance Reviewer
"But there's no time for regrets in Tetris. The next piece is falling and you only have a few seconds to put it in place. Then the next piece, and the one after that. Some people meditate to clear their minds. Other people cook, or build models. Tetris Effect has a similar capacity to clear your mind. In 2018, that made Tetris Effect feel special. In 2020, it feels essential." -- Mike Epstein, Freelance Reviewer
"Through the Darkest of Times paints what feels like an accurate portrait of life in Nazi Germany. Cherry-picking major events, like the Reichstag Fire or the opening ceremony of the Olympics, it convincingly places you at the scene, putting you in the shoes of a regular German trying to come to grips with how one person--or even five people--can respond in the presence of evil. It depicts everyday life, and everyday people, both those seduced by ideology and those finding the strength to rally against it. I'm not sure it offers any answers--indeed, I suspect my frustrations with futility were intentional. One person alone can't change the world. But that's no reason not to fight for it." -- David Wildgoose, Freelance Reviewer
"Because it nails so much about that original Tony Hawk experience, it's really hard to be mad at Pro Skater 1 + 2 for any of its downsides. The load times aren't enough to keep you away from the plethora of satisfying combos, and the lack of level goals for every skater isn't enough to keep you from jumping back in with a new character. Playing through the newly remade levels is immensely enjoyable, and that on its own is enough to call Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 a success. However, smart additions and an engaging challenge system make it an experience that's more than just a brief skate through Tony Hawk's past." -- Mat Paget, Tech Commerce Editor
"Watch Dogs: Legion is an anti-fascist game, and it's admirable that it sticks to that message and sees it through to a satisfying and affirming conclusion. It also bolsters the franchise's clever hacking gameplay to offer more creativity than ever. One of Legion's more profound messages is about what it means to be a true Londoner, and by the game's end, you'll have a DedSec crew made of wildly diverse and disparate citizens from unique cultural, ethnic, and economic backgrounds--all united in their goal to restore their home. If anything, that's as powerful a message for the game as you can get." -- Alessandro Fillari, Editor
"For RGG Studio's first crack at an RPG, it's a damn fine result. It delivers what I love most about Yakuza and introduces new ideas that largely pay off. Ichiban isn't doing it alone, either. He has friends and mentors, ones who've helped him fight and overcome personal tragedies. It was an absolute thrill to watch him grow, and that's what's most important for a game so focused on its characters. Yakuza: Like a Dragon is a passing of the torch, and a fantastic entry in a beloved franchise that proves that it's in good hands with Kasuga Ichiban." -- Michael Higham, Associate Editor