Every year there are those moments in gaming that you can’t stop thinking about. Whether it’s a massive story beat, a sweet character interaction or just an intuitive gameplay moment, we’ve narrowed down our picks for the most memorable.

Here are our picks for the Top 5 Best Moments in Gaming for 2020.

[This article contains spoilers Astro’s Playroom, Hades, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales and The Last of Us Part II]

5.) Miles Lets Go – Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales [PS4, PS5]

To a certain extent, the end of Miles Morales is similar to Marvel’s Spider-Man. Both Spider-Men face people they once thought of as friends, Peter Parker’s mentor Otto Octavius and Miles Morales’ childhood friend Phin Mason. Of course, the difference is in how their enemies react in defeat. In Marvel’s Spider-Man, Octavius begs Peter to help keep him out of prison, even going so far as to threaten to reveal his identity.

Phin on the other hand does things differently. After realising that Miles was right about the Nuform reactor, she watches as Miles absorbs all of the unstable reactor’s energy but is struggling to contain in. She repurposes her Tinkerer gear to allow her to run up the side of the Roxxon building with Miles and shoot up high above Harlem. As Miles tries to keep all that energy contained she tells Miles “Let go” and that’s the last we see of her as Miles releases all that energy safely above the city.

Octavius justifies his actions to Peter by saying “Men like us have a duty, a responsibility, to use our talents in the service of others, even when they don’t appreciate it.” While he believed that from a position of superiority over others, Phin embodied the true ethos of Spider-Man as she got some redemption for her actions, sacrificing herself for the greater good.

Ashley Hobley

4.) Picking Up The DualSense For The First Time – Astro’s Playroom [PS5]

The moment this new generation of gaming officially felt like it had started was when I booted up Astro’s Playroom. We’d all heard the stories and potential tall tales about just how good the PS5’s DualSense controller would be. There had even been videos leading up to the console’s launch from specific influencers and media showing and talking about how the haptic feedback and adaptive triggers (among other DualSense features) feel. But nothing could prepare me for just how unique that game would be, and that that first controller demo would make me feel. 

Within a short period, I went from optimistic to sold on the DualSense. This is before I’d even played the game. It was just a DualSense on the screen, getting me to push all the buttons and feel all the features. But within that time, I knew the DualSense was the shinning ‘next-gen’ feature for the PS5.

I’ve since booted up that DualSense demo in Astro’s Playroom to show my non-gaming family some of the PS5’s best features in a way they’ll understand. Of course, what followed with Astro’s Playroom was a joyous and magical platformer; but that first moment with the DualSense is one I’ll be cherishing for the rest of this generation, and may even into the next.

Dylan Blight

3.) Ellie Lets Abby Live – The Last of Us Part II [PS4]

In the final act of The Last of Us Part II Ellie manages to track down Abby and Lev once again. However, they’re not in the shape she expected to find them in. Instead, they’re both beaten and been pushed to their limits by a group called The Rattlers. For a moment, it seems like Ellie is going to be happy to save them and know Abby has been through hell as is— but she couldn’t leave it at that. Ellie pushes Abby to fight her once again. This time threatening to kill Lev if Abby doesn’t comply.

The fight is bloody, brutal, and one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to play in a video game. I’d come to learn why Abby chased her revenge against Joel, and Abby has learnt that the revenged never quenched that void inside of her. The violence brought on more violent. I didn’t want Ellie or Abby to die. I tried to put the controller down.

However, in a moment many have taken too literal, a fleeting memory of Joel causes Ellie to stop choking Abby underwater. And Ellie lets Abby and Lev both leave. It wasn’t that one memory of Joel. It wasn’t that she suddenly realised she’d killed enough. Ellie remembered that she was once ready to forgive Joel. She’s prepared to try and forgive Abby too.

This is one of the 2020s most memorable gaming moments. It’ll be remembered as one of the most memorable gaming moments of all time.

Dylan Blight

2.) Escaping For The First Time – Hades [PC, Nintendo Switch, macOS]

There have not been many more satisfying moments for me that beating Hades, the God of The Underworld, as Zagreus sought to leave to find his mother. It took me over 40 attempts to escape and the combination of pride and relief as Hades’ body was taken back to the House of Hades was incredible.

You step out into Greece for the first time and look at the sunrise, the first sunrise Zagreus has ever seen. It is beautiful. You push onto a small house where Persephone, Zagreus’ mother, is living. After a short reunion, we learn that she believed that Zagreus had died in childbirth, seemingly permanently, and that is why she never came back for him. And then, just as these two are starting to get to each other, Zagreus’ body betrays and he dies as he is unable to be away from the underworld for so long.

It is a somber moment as Zagreus is forced to leave the mother he just met but a moment that makes you appreciate the storytelling in the game that they found reasons to both make you return to the House of Hades and to keep trying to escape. An example of the excellent weaving of story and roguelike game mechanics in Hades.

Ashley Hobley

1.) The Final Scene/Epilogue – The Last of Us Part II [PS4]

Perspective is a key theme of The Last of Us Part 2 and this final scene shows even more perspective. Over the 30 hour story, we find out about the Journey that Joel and Ellie have gone on since the final moments of the first instalment and how far they have drifted apart due to Joel choices. These last moments give a different perspective to Joel’s mindset about his own life and choices and add to lines from the start of the game. 

Early in Part 2, Ellie comments on plans for a movie night with Joel. In your first time experiencing this, you may smile to think that it’s nice the two characters are still spending time together. This scene provides the context that this would have been the first chance at Joel and Ellie rebuilding their relationship. At that point, we know that the path of revenge leads to characters losing everything that matters to them. For Joel, it was his relationship with Ellie. For Abbey, it was everyone close to her, and in many aspects even herself. Ellie lost Dina, JJ, and her ability to play the guitar (the last thing connecting her to Joel in many ways). 

The game ends with a final shot of Ellie walking away from the empty house, representing the continued signs the cycle of revenge has broken by her choices. This moment was a lovely moment that closes off a very special game for me; a scene that I come back to regularly.

Ciaran Marchant

This Top 5 list was compiled by Dylan Blight, Ashley Hobley and Ciaran Marchant.